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Old 03-27-2019, 08:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 48
Question Ultra High Water Capacity: How did you implement over 200 gallons of holding tanks?

After searching for posts on ultra high water capacity, more than 200 gallons of holding tanks in a bus, I only found bits and pieces.

For those who have installed more than 200 gallons of freshwater & greywater capacity on their skoolie, how did you build it? What kind of tanks did you use (U shaped, rectangular, barrels, etc.)? How many angle iron straps did you use on each tank and what did you use in between tanks and angle iron (rubber, foam, plywood, other)? If you insulated your underside tanks, what were your considerations and how did the result hold up? I don't want to reinvent the wheel when someone else has figured it out.

I want to boondock luxuriosly as the anti-miser. In the summer when I am boondocking in the SW for whatever reason, I estimate half of the freshwater will go into the evaporative coolers, and another 10-20% into transpiration. 100 gallons is my minimum standard; with space, ground clearance loss minimization, center of gravity & GVWR load factors really the only limits to my ambitions.

I had thought up having one 255 gallon IBC totes for the fresh & gray tanks ahead of the rear axle on each side of the bus. This is a problem as I will have over 1 ton left / right weight distribution range as the grey fills up. Back to the drawing board.
Then I remembered you can strap 55 gallon drums under the bus - I want to be more space efficient than that.

For 300 gallons fresh & gray, what is the ideal weight distribution that will improve the handling of the bus? For your typical dog-nose, how low can things go before you start losing ground clearance with the stock skirting?

I want to know how you did it and what lessons you learned, and what you recommend when installing over 200 gallons of tanks to do it right and make it last.
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:50 PM   #2
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We are in the southwest now and paying for water. Not so easy to get unless you go to an rv park or fancy campground. Also not all water taste great. RO water price in Ridgecrest, CA is $.39/ gallon. We carry 50 gallon wash and 12 gallon drinking water. And some beer of course. We are good for 5 days boon docking on the drinking side. But I would not call it luxurious and this is in winter. Water is heavy and hard on fuel...It is all in your mission plan.

Good luck j
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:10 PM   #3
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Can the bus nuts with jacuzzies please chime in?
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:25 PM   #4
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I'm planning on putting 100 gal of fresh water. For weight distribution I'm planning on using long, wide tanks that are around 6 inches high. I will mount the tanks inside, under my passenger seats or bunk beds since I will be doing winter camping in the cold. I will be putting a fresh and gray tank on the left side and a fresh and gray on the right. I'll connect them together so they will be at the same water level.

If your thinking you want to put 200 gallons of fresh pay attention to your weight distribution as that will be almost 1600 lbs of water. For a bus with duals you will want approximately 1/3 of the total weight of the bus on the front axle and 2/3 of the total weight on the rear axle.

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Old 03-27-2019, 11:41 PM   #5
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I am/was planning on using the RecPro 200 gallon kit.

I have a pusher and am sorta forced to put them aft of the rear axles under the bed room.
My wife requires a clothes washer on board.
That's why I'm looking at 200 gallons fresh.

Top tip: TELL your wife you are installing a washing machine but make up reasons why it isn't done yet. I'll report on how this goes. lol

We plan to boondock on BLM for extended periods. Have a nice lil' 4x4 pick up as toad. So I reckon we can tote water back as required.

I am also intrested in what the other "anti-misers" have to say.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:14 AM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2017
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I feel like 800 pounds strapped to the left-right cross members will start to sag the cross members under the bus, no matter how much I spread the load and reinforce. Or can the underside of the dog nose support way more?

Because I want to have the most aux diesel capacity as I legally can before needing permits on top of at least 200 gallons of freshwater.

What is the highest freshwater capacity you have seen or heard of installed in a bus conversion (not just skoolies, any type of bus including million dollar motorcoaches)?

“I will mount the tanks inside, under my passenger seats or bunk beds since I will be doing winter camping in the cold.”
Not to derail the thread on a related issue. Since I’m going to make the bus ready for -115 F with 100 MPH winds (as well as 115 F with 100% humidity) is it even a good idea to have extremely insulated tanks & plumbing under the bus? Could the water stay above freezing from the heat given off by the bus (-115 to 68 F temperature delta means a very well insulated bus will give off heat), or will I need to circulate the freshwater to keep it from freezing in this inhospitably cold extreme?

I am even looking at ways to evaporate & boil off grey water so I can carry more freshwater because I won't have to have equal grey capacity. I've heard of the conventional RV with its exhaust-powered grey water boiler, marine bilge water boilers and other implementations of sending grey water into air. If diesel exhaust is hot enough, I'm thinking of diverting the engine exhaust to a home built grey water boiler system that ideally would send 100 gallons of grey water into thin air in less than a days travel. While boondocking, utilize the generators exhaust heat to a hybrid mini boiler / forced air evaporator to evaporate some greywater. That and im thinking a small metal line meant to drip feed grey water Into the wood burning stove, for wintertime. All three will be discharge above the roof of the bus so the stink blows above everyones head.

Lastly, if I can cheaply & cost effectively - recycle shower water.
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Old 03-28-2019, 09:48 AM   #7
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Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
I have two 110-gallon water tanks, one on each side of the fuel tank. No problem. I could even have fitted a slightly larger one on the right side, but 220 gallons should be enough! My gray tank is 115 gallons and the poo tank is 65 gallons, so I have 400 gallons total tankage (plus 100 gallons of diesel). All the water and waste tanks were rotomolded by Ronco Plastics in Tustin CA, with umpteen threaded fittings spin-welded into each one. They are all rectangular/square section to minimize wasted space, sitting on support frames that hang from the frame rails and body longerons.

After I installed the water tanks I filled them and took the bus for a test-drive - I couldn't feel any difference to its steering or braking at all, and it rode slightly smoother because of the extra ton of weight behind the front axle. So far, so good.

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Old 03-28-2019, 10:09 AM   #8
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one thing to remember is if you can distribute it right... the kids that rode the bus were also weight.. an RE with 84 passenger capacity.. even it was little kids.. 50 pounds a pop would have over 4000 lbs of bodies ..

distribution seems key to me..

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Old 03-28-2019, 11:44 AM   #9
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I plan on having 2 x 100 gal tanks - I'll carry them as far forward as practical - I'll be having considerable weight behind the rear wheels in the garage, and think I'll need a counterbalancing weight to keep traction on the front wheels when driving on icy roads
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by debit.servus View Post
I feel like 800 pounds strapped to the left-right cross members will start to sag the cross members under the bus, no matter how much I spread the load and reinforce. Or can the underside of the dog nose support way more?
My bus can carry 65 kids - at 100 pounds a kid that's 6500 pounds. One row of seats alone would be 600 pounds. An 800 pound water tank is not a big deal.

Also, the cross-members won't sag, as the middle of the floor is resting on top of the chassis rails. If there's any tendency of the floor to bend, it would be bending down at the outside edges from the weight of the walls (known as "hogging" in sailing terms) rather than sagging.
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