Our project is a 1971 Astro made as number 121 as a model 8TT measuring 9' 5" long by 6' wide and 5' tall in its plastic dimensions, this does not include the galley pop up Its weight
is 720.00lbs G.V.W. its design is in the family of those cute boxy pop tops with the big beds i.e. Compacts, Campster
or Hunter brands. (see side view pic and model plate)
My wife Kenna and I have owned the Astro for 13 years now being the 2nd owners.
It was purchased for 800.00. This little trailer has been raised off the ground with 1500 lbs springs added, the axle
is still original and was flipped over 180 degrees and u bolted to the new springs, the shackles were elongated and outfitted to go into civilized but rougher spots without bottoming out.
We prefer out of the way spots over the commercial ones where our grown children would never think of looking for us ever.
We use the bed as a large bed permanently; since my wife and I are of middle age ilk that being of sturdy Scottish stock with builds to match we got tired of more than one bed slat mishap, so we decided never again the slats! Our collective experience helped us to come up with wood “I” beams as a support solution instead.
Using 1 X ¾ X 6’ long wood furring strips we built our “I” beams, these were screwed and glued together finally cutting to length to build the eventual frame of the permanent bed. (see pics of wood "I" beams)
Since water is an issue in Arizona, greater capacity to carry water on board for extended camping was needed. On the starboard side there is added a 10 gallon tank being strapped in with a bottom pad of rubber 1/2 mat with widened metal anchor straps over the top of the tank, placed under the anchor straps at the top of the tank is 1/2 rubber padding too. (see pics of starboard tank)
A fill port to that side of the outer cabin was added for that tank, On this same side the 12v diaphragm demand pump was installed with the pump head down and the motor pointing up, (see pic) Our thinking on this was if it leaks
it will not interfere with the motor or damage it, it will at least leak where we want it too.
Installed on the inlet of the pump was a serviceable inlet water filter with a anti back flow valve in line supplying the 6 gal suburban water heater, this serves the purpose of making sure any hot water back pressure from water tank or thermal expansion pushing heated water is kept isolated from the temperature sensitive plastic and rubber parts internal to the demand pump, water moves in one direction only ever.
When the supply water from the starboard storage tank stops because the tank is empty there is still a full hot water tank to protect it from damage until its supply tank is refilled. The Suburban 6 gal tank was installed thru the cabin wall into the port side lower cabin sitting on the floor deck forward of the 5 gallon auxiliary tank nearer to the trailer tongue. (see pic of water htr and tank)
A 3/8 flare tee connects the water heater gas supply to the existing 3/8 copper gas line supplying the gas to the gas light/stove/gas/refrigerator and the Nt16S 12v Suburban forced air furnace
. The 10 gallon water tank supplies water to the water heater thru the back flow valve so when the starboard tanks run out the hot water tank is left full though not pressurized being protected from operational damage that can occur if the tank were to go empty while the water heater is lit.
There is also a 3/8 compression tee branching a cold water supply directly to a plastic garden water faucet installed outside the starboard side of the trailer cabin at the bottom of the cabin near the wheel well. I use this service to attach a garden hose using the demand pump output for the faucet and hose for doggie washing or a fire hose when needed.
The hot water tank supplies a single wash sink in the galley, then goes to the outdoor wash/shower station built into the rear port side of the trailer cabin being recessed into the cabin just below the belly band. A sink sprayer was used instead of a hand shower to lower water consumption; once the temperature is set correctly at the temperature flow valves the sprayer allows showers with instant on off water control at the preset temperatures.(see pic of outside wash station)
When camping in the rough this feature is used most of all. The outdoor wash station being recessed into the side of the rear port cabin has a locking door for traveling, the hose was lengthened to 9 feet for standing showers if needed, hoses and sprayer stow away quickly behind its hinged access panel door.
There is a second 5 gallon tank with its own fill access on the port outside side of the trailer cabin, (this is original) a small electric non demand pump is plumbed in line with the hand operated pump also at the galley sink, This auxiliary 5 gallon water storage tank is where we put filtered water for drinking only. We can run the electric pump being lazy or if the electric or pump fails we can still pump water manually plumbed this way. A faucet was installed into the outside of the port cabin the same as the starboard side connecting the 5 gallon tank to it. Using the N.S.F. garden hose we carry (10’) and these faucets with their respective pumps water can be quickly transferred from tank to tank when needed.
Harry and Kenna