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Old 03-28-2018, 06:20 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NorCal
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel
Lateral balance in a shorty (water and fuel tanks)

I've tried searching for the answer, but they're all for full sized busses, not shorties like mine. I have a four window E350 that's nearly gutted, and I'm getting more serious about planning before I start installing.

However, are there any concerns with lateral balances with regards to tank placement? The fuel tank is on the left side of the vehicle, and my layout calls for the galley/head to go on the left side too. The plan calls for a 30 gallon freshwater tank and the greywater tank will go below the frame (probably just gonna do the PVC pipe method for that one).

Are there any concerns with putting so much weight on the left side of the bus? What about putting the water tank just forward of the left rear tire? Is that too much weight on the back axle?

I also have single tires on the rear axle. The GVWR is 9600 pounds, the GAWR - FRONT is 4050 pounds and the GAWR - REAR is 5084 pounds, and the unladen weight is 6830 pounds.

EDIT: That's about 250 pounds of freshwater basically centered on the left rear tire that won't be present on the right side of the vehicle (I'm going to try and put the batteries on the right to try and even it out).
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:00 PM   #2
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To remove the guessing bit, try to get it weighed on each wheel.

Most of us can ignore that because the buses are bigger, with a GVWR well in excess of any loading we add, but for the shorter buses it's worth knowing which wheel is carrying the weight before adding stuff.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:10 PM   #3
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We put our 35 gal water tank under the bed and centered between the wheels.
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:20 PM   #4
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I am glad to see you considering the weight balance--many don't. I sweat over the same issue with my little bus and did the best I could to even things out. Over the years I have driven various types of equipment where the weight distribution was way off. The result was unexpected reactions to seemingly normal operation which is very freaky.

I'd bet our buses are about the same length. Mine is 22.5 ' bumper to bumper with a 156" wheel base. Fortunately my fuel tank is centered directly behind the rear axle. Because of this I was able to put a 15 gallon propane tank and a 60 gallon fresh water tank on the left side between the axles and a generator and 40 gallon grey water tank on the right side. My 27 gallon black tank is centered behind the fuel tank (30 gallons).

The following tare measurements reflect empty tanks (fuel tank full).

Total tare 9820

Front axle 3930

Rear axle 5890

L side 4630

R side 5190

While my GVWR is higher than yours, the ratios should be similar. With my fresh water tank full the weight balance is nearly perfect. I was concerned that the grey tank would fill more than the black tank (relatively speaking) and that the emptying fresh water tank would go light and throw the balance of the bus off. After 4 years of use I have yet to notice any imbalance. Try your best to get things to balance out as you plan your build and then learn it's nuances. Jack
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:29 AM   #5
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Year: 1992
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Question

Thanks for posting this. I'm at almost the same place you are only I have a 1992 e-350.

When folks say "weigh each side" or each wheel, a few questions come to mind:

Is weighting each wheel just a matter of finding a friendly place with a truck scale and only putting one or two wheels on the scale or is there a special scale that has to be used under each wheel?

Is the absolute weigh important or really just the relative weight? Do I just have to be sure that the same amount of the truck is over the scale when I weight the front end vs the rear-end or left and right sides?

Thanks
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by alpinekid View Post
Thanks for posting this. I'm at almost the same place you are only I have a 1992 e-350.

When folks say "weigh each side" or each wheel, a few questions come to mind:

Is weighting each wheel just a matter of finding a friendly place with a truck scale and only putting one or two wheels on the scale or is there a special scale that has to be used under each wheel?

Is the absolute weigh important or really just the relative weight? Do I just have to be sure that the same amount of the truck is over the scale when I weight the front end vs the rear-end or left and right sides?

Thanks
You can't use a regular CAT Scale because there isn't room to stop with just two wheels on the platforms. You'd have to find one open at the sides.

RV owners regularly weigh each wheel, maybe your local RV Dealer knows somewhere.

You want the actual weight on each axle too, because that limit is governed by your data-plate.

You don't have to center the wheels or axles on the scale. As long as they are on the weighing platform you should be good.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:49 PM   #7
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I put a lot of thought into this matter and wish I could build it while itís setting on 4 individual scales. Thatís not an option so generator behind the rear axle on the driver side and equal amount of weight in batteries in same spot on the passenger side. Fresh water tank is centered between the wheels and slightly rearward under the bed. I didnít figure the black/grey tanks because Iím not going to be driving very far with those tanks full. My bus is nose heavy from the factory so I really have to watch what I put in front of the rear axle.
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