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Old 03-13-2015, 06:48 AM   #1
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Waste tank size and material?

Looks like I'll be custom fabricating my fresh and waste water tanks (big surprise there right?), and being new to this whole RV thing I have questions.

First, what capacity should I make the tanks? I know this depends on a lot of variables, so let me throw some at you. A family of four, two adults and two kids, boon docking for up to 6 days, with shower and vanity and sink, as well as a toilet. What would be a good/standard capacity for each of the three tanks?

Second, what would be the best material to make them out of. I currently am looking at three options; plastic using angle iron as a frame and sealing the edges, aluminum, or stainless steal. I'm a little skiddish of the plastic because it would be flat pieces, sealed at the corners, instead of one blown piece with no seams. What are the pros and cons of each of these materials?

Thanks in advance, I always find good advice around this place.
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:44 AM   #2
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Why did you decide to build your tanks?

Polly tanks are cheap, and available in almost any size from a few hundred manufactures nation wide.

I love custom building things. However, a water tank is one thing I'm buying because cost wise, I can't beat how durable a one piece Polly tank is.

The only tank I will be building is my 100 gallon boiler. All 14 ga stainless steel. Costly as hell.

Nat
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:53 AM   #3
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I haven't been able to find any in the dimensions that will fit my applications, at a reasonable price. I have 8 inches of clearance to work with, the way I have it laid out, and 42 inches wide, length is the only variable. However, if you know of a place that has something for a reasonable price, I'm open to change. Just the ones I've seen have been several hundred dollars, when I can build them for less than half what the poly tanks cost.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:14 PM   #4
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What are you thinking of using to build them?

Why only 8 inches high? Where are you mounting it?

Nat
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:15 PM   #5
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I agree on the poly tank recommendation - if you can find one. If not, if _I_ was going to custom build a tank that didn't have to hold pressure/heat (grey or black water tanks, or maybe fresh water) I'd probably use fiberglass.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:17 PM   #6
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These tanks are 8":
Amazon.com: Valterra R8030 8" x 16" x 30" ABS Water Tank: Automotive
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:31 PM   #7
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Nat,

My first two options are aluminum or stainless steal, I could use a plastic polymer, but I don't have much experiance with it so I'm not sure if I want to go that route.

I'm building a raised platform to put my walk-through bathroom on, to get it above the wheel wells. So I figured that would be the perfect place to put the waste tanks, directly beneath the toilet (black) and shower (grey). My fresh water will be beneath the bus, between the frame rails.

Taskswap,

That's a lot smaller than I was thinking I would need, which is why I'm asking these questions. At that price, for what I was thinking, it would cost me around $650 and I would still have to plumb several tanks together.

My original thoughts were; grey tank 42x48x8 = 70 gal and black 42x36x8 = 52 gal

And fresh water I will have two tanks 25x30x20 = 65 gals each

but I don't know if this is over kill for a family of 4 to go a week at a time.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:03 PM   #8
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Most skoolies do the opposite. The fresh water is in the cab of the bus, and waste tanks are under the bus.

Your fresh water need depend on the number of showers per week, how many times the toilet will be flushed, ect.

Black tank sizes can be estimated by the liters per flush of your toilet, + 20% for urine and poop, over the week you need it to last.

Gray tank can be estimated by how many liters per minute your shower head is, times the number of minutes the shower will be used per week.

And of coarse, you can't use any more water than you have in the fresh tanks unless your connected to a shore water connection.

Nat
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:14 PM   #9
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But my shower doesn't use liters, I'm an American, WE USE GALLONS! lol, \m/
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:22 PM   #10
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We use both systems here.

I was born into a age of having to know both systems. As a building contractor I have to convert in my head all the time.

All our building materials are still the standard system. Our land is still surveyed in miles.

Fuel, oil, ect is sold by the liter.

Water is sold by the gallon.

It's all really dumb.

Nat
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:29 PM   #11
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Man, and I thought we were messed up with all the mixed measurements.

I'm a former auto mechanic, so I have to have both scales in all my tools. It's always nice to get a late 80s Chevy or GM, they could have SAE and metric bolts in the same component.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:52 PM   #12
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I argued sae vs metric with some German friends once.
Two things that sae is almost universally used for are wheel sizes and fine machining measurements.
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:12 PM   #13
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Odd, wheel sizes may be SAE, but tire sizes are almost universally metric. That's messed up.


Well I guess they are actually mixed. the first number is metric, the second is a percentage and the third is SAE. Talk about mixed messages.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:13 AM   #14
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Back to the original subject. If I can't find a premade tank to fit my plans, which I haven't yet, what are the pros and cons to aluminum vs stainless steal?
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Old 04-01-2015, 03:19 PM   #15
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It looks like this thread is dying. Let's bump it up.... I am interested in building holding tanks.

1. Plastic. Forget about DIY

2. Aluminum. You can weld it. The problem is urine will eat it....

3. Stainless. You can weld it. You can braze it.

I have a source to get 304 SS sheets fairly cheap. It is not 316 and this is bothering me. I was thinking about tig weld it using silicone bronze.

The reasons I want to build my own tank are:

1. I love building things myself.

2. I can utilize space much better.

3. I can make it any configuration I like

4. Price will be comparable to plastic ones sold on eBay.

We need some serious welders to give us more advice.

What do you think about 304 SS silicone bronze tig welded tank for black, grey water tanks?????
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Old 04-01-2015, 03:33 PM   #16
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Urine will not cause any issues in a aluminum black tank due to the dilution ratio. You would have to have a Urine only tank for this to become a issue. Even then, years would pass before you seen a issue.

Tig welding stainless steel needs no filler rod. We simply overlap the seam 1/8, and melt the two pieces flush.

The grade of stainless steel you mention is more than good enough. It will still last over 50 years before you see corrosion.

Cost wise, you will not beat the plastic ready made tanks.

Have you ever had to weld a water tight tank seam? Pin holes suck.

I might even be using plastic tanks for my fuel tanks. That's how much I hate leaks.

One last thing I want to mention is, look at the way most bus fuel tanks are made. The main part of the tank is one piece, bent with rounded corners. Only one seam to attach the ends of the sheet together. Then they weld in the end caps.

Nat
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Old 04-01-2015, 05:39 PM   #17
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I know I'm the "new guy" Skoolie-wise but as a long time camper I'd like to add another word for plastic: field repairability. Plastic repair kits are cheap, durable, and easy/fast to apply in the field with no special equipment.

Last year we got into a situation when rainwater washed out a gully across our campsite. I misjudged my clearance and dinged a rock with my black water tank - of all things to hit - and sprang a small leak. Laugh if you want, but it could as easily have been a rock on the highway thrown by a truck wheel.

Anyway, I jacked the camper up to get the liquid level away from the hole, dried it with a paper towel, threw on a patch, and it was ready to go in 5 minutes. The patch is still on there - I couldn't get it off with a chisel if I wanted to. All you need is the appropriate type of plastic (same as the tank) and the right solvent glue. Loctite even makes adhesives for PE and PP.

OK, maybe a metal tank would have been dented instead of punctured. Maybe. But there's something to be said about not having to empty something out before you can weld on it if you have a leak.

My 2c, FWIW.

Although I do love looking at Vlad's fab work, if you aren't a skilled welder I'd go with plastic.
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:32 PM   #18
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I used silicone bronze to TIG weld/braze sheet metal sections when I was raising the roof. I am not a pro welder especially when it comes to TIG.

It was so easy to control flow and fill gaps and dents here and there using silicon bronze. This is why I was thinking about using it when tig weld stainless tank.

My crawl space is 24" high and almost 8' wide. But there is a frame in the middle. This makes middle section not very useful.

I was thinking to fit tank between frame rails (24"Wx32"Lx24"H) and have the rest for storage. This would give me almost 80 gallon tank in almost useless space.

I can add another grey tank in next frame rail section which is even longer about 36" (almost 90 gall tank)

Also I can add connections I like where I like.

Here is a price:

I can see a bunch of 40 gall tanks on eBay at about 200 USD. Quality??? I have no idea, shape I don't like because they are almost flat...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RV-Holding-T...item19edb0c81d

I will pay just over 100 CAD (75 USD) for 4'x8'x 14 gage 304 stainless. Filler rod will be another few bucks and labour is free.


Grey tanks are different story I can see many of them "cube" shaped. I can even stack them and cascade connect them. This will be almost like a septic field...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/30-Gallon-P-...e390d4&vxp=mtr


When it comes to fixing the tank you can fix them all. metal cal be glued using epoxy or soldered/ brazed, ABS plastic solvent glued, PE plastic welded.


I am thinking about adding a Sewage Pump into tank but will think about it what pump type to use.



Hey just found this very educating video:



WOW COOL
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:54 PM   #19
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Nice, I like your thinking.

Nat
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
I know I'm the "new guy" Skoolie-wise but as a long time camper I'd like to add another word for plastic: field repairability. Plastic repair kits are cheap, durable, and easy/fast to apply in the field with no special equipment.

Last year we got into a situation when rainwater washed out a gully across our campsite. I misjudged my clearance and dinged a rock with my black water tank - of all things to hit - and sprang a small leak. Laugh if you want, but it could as easily have been a rock on the highway thrown by a truck wheel.

Anyway, I jacked the camper up to get the liquid level away from the hole, dried it with a paper towel, threw on a patch, and it was ready to go in 5 minutes. The patch is still on there - I couldn't get it off with a chisel if I wanted to. All you need is the appropriate type of plastic (same as the tank) and the right solvent glue. Loctite even makes adhesives for PE and PP.

OK, maybe a metal tank would have been dented instead of punctured. Maybe. But there's something to be said about not having to empty something out before you can weld on it if you have a leak.

My 2c, FWIW.

Although I do love looking at Vlad's fab work, if you aren't a skilled welder I'd go with plastic.

JB weld or Metal Medic (loctite) or a myriad of other epoxy mixtures for metal will do the same thing for a metal puncture that you have described for plastic.
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