Join Date: Sep 2008
Re: The Bookmobile
As much as I type, you'd think there'd be no way for me to leave anything out. I should go over some of the "why or how did he do that?" questions people may have.
The waste tank started out as a 105 gallon clear (translucent) tank. You can buy them with fittings to use for fresh water (probably the original intent), or with a screw-in fitting to use as a waste tank. There's indentations on both sides. There's a piece of rebar next to the passenger side (with two bolts sticking out the side). The way the tank is jammed in there, that'd just about be all it needs to hold it in place, but I have two heavy-duty ratcheting straps, put right where the side indents are, to help hold everything in place. If I ever had to take the waste tank out, I'd just have to undo a few bolts, loosen the straps, undo one of the two rubber 90 degree drain elbows, and unscrew the waste valve (if the tank is empty, if it's full I'll need a couple jacks too). The aforementioned rubber 90 degree elbows are there for two reasons. One is in case the tank has to be removed (no having to cut the 1 1/2 inch gray-water drain pipe and patch it back), the other is in case the tank flexes some (it may bow down some, the rubber elbows will have some play in them to allow for that). As for how the drains work, I pretty much covered that. The gray water can drain to the point right past the actual waste tank valve (and right before where the sewer hose connects). That way when I'm connected to septic 24/7 or when I'm somewhere that allows you to dump gray water directly on the ground, the waste tank is only for black water (and at 65 or so gallons, it'd take a while to fill up). When on the road or somewhere with no hookups/can't dump gray water on ground, I can divert the gray water into the waste tank. In the top of the waste tank there's two grommets, one is 3" for the toilet, the other is 2" and is for both the 1 1/2" gray water drain and the 1 1/2" vent (I figure even if the 1 1/2" drain pipe is completely full, there's still an extra 1/2" of pipe where it and the vent pipe meets for it to actually vent). The shut-off valve for the gray water is just before the vent, so the vent is fully functional regardless of where the gray water is routed to.
For freshwater, not much exciting news there. The 10 gallon hot water tank is enough to take a reasonable shower, or to wash dishes. Needs about an hour to recover. The washer has it's own built-in water heater, so it doesn't use any of our precious hot water (I wouldn't have minded if it did, but I got this for $250 off craigslist; for a combo washer/dryer I couldn't beat the price). As for the freshwater tank, it's not quite installed yet but I do have a 45 gallon tank sitting under the head of the bed. The idea is to T the main water line where it goes to the cold water side of the shower faucet. It then goes toward the water pump, but Ts off again. One part will go to the pump and then to the tank. The other part just bypasses the pump and Ts again on the other side of it. I'll have two more shut-off valves. The idea is when you need to run off of the tank, you have the bypass turned off and the valve just past the pump opened up. When you're hooked to water you'll have both valves turned off (so no water goes back there, the pump should prevent any backflow but still...). When you're about to leave, open up the bypass and let the water run straight into the tank until it's full, and close the bypass again. No having to run a separate hose to fill up the tank, just open and close some shut-off valves and you're done.
As for only using the rear door, we weren't going to use that space for much anyways. Maybe put a floor over the steps so I won't have a long fall out of bed. The front door though was taking up valuable living space. So we just put the kitchen cabinets right in front of the front door, and use the rear door that's in the bedroom. Couldn't justify wasting the space to use the front door. The front door still opens and closes, right now I'm just storing stuff like the sewer hose and connectors there.
Since we planned on living in this for at least 3 months at a time, up to 9 months (wife wants to start travel nursing), there's some things we did differently than if we just wanted this for weekend excursions. Things like having a full shower, regular sized toilet, and sink. Having at least a queen bed (and not a short queen bed like some RVs have). A full-sized fridge. A full-sized kitchen sink. And of course, the washer/dryer. It would have been nice to shrink the main bedroom some (but where would we put storage for clothes and stuff?), shrink the bathroom, have a small kitchen sink, dorm-sized fridge, no washer...could have opened up the space a good bit. We did give up the stove though, which we actually use a fair bit. In its place is a microwave that's also a convection oven, and a dual hot-plate (which I've lost somehow, gotta look for that).
There's lots of storage planned. Will probably put another cabinet to the left of the TV. Probably put another one above the couch. The right part of the shower that's exposed right now will probably have shelves put in (the left part of the shower has pipes running everywhere, but the other side has nothing so there's room to put stuff between it and where the wall is framed out). There's some storage under the bottom bunk (over half is taken up by the wheel well, but there's still space). The top bunk looks weird underneath, that's because I'm going to put a sheet of cardboard like stuff (what you have in the bottom of drawers) underneath all that and put some 1x2 strips under that. Instant storage space, kids will probably use that for clothes and stuff. There's a lot of room under the master bed (had to be high enough for the water tank). We can always stash stuff under the couch.
There's currently an empty space between the kitchen counter and the table on the passenger side. That's intentional and is a small-ish area designated as the kids' play area. The space under one of the tables is being used for the inverter, the other table will most likely have a litter box and food/water for the cats underneath (right next to the driver's seat, hrm I guess if I really have to go between rest stops...).
That's all I can think of for now. I'll try to take some more pics sometime in the future when it's more completed, and not as messy.