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Old 08-14-2019, 04:31 PM   #1
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Water weight

I'm looking into tanks for fresh water. Considering at least one, maybe two, 100 gallon tanks, mounted center frame, just behind the rear tires, one on top of the other. That would put me at 1,668 pounds of water.



For my bus, is this too much? I don't want to be maxed out in weight, and would rather be way below maxed out.


One thing, I have air bags, so the bus sags in the back when parked for a while, and then is fine when running.


PS
Looking at Recpro tanks.





My plan is to install the tanks with a heating element inside them, or heating tape at the bottom, and surrounded by rigid foam insulation, with that canned spray foam stuff for gaps.


I'm installing the tanks outside because inside there is really not much space for that, and there's a lot of space underneath the bus.



Will use a composting toilet.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:19 PM   #2
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Its probably not too much weight overall but putting it all behind the rear axle is going to change your road handling. Liquid is constantly in motion during transit and in volume can exert itself unexpectedly. First, behind the rear axle will cause the front steer tires to lose traction - probably not a noticeable amount but then you get onto a rough road and all that weight is bouncing the back end, with the rear axle as a fulcrum, and you start to realize you're not as in control as before. This is essentially why auto manufacturers stopped making the old style 15-passenger vans because a little weight parked becomes a lot of weight in motion and where its riding makes a difference in safe handling.

Second, where is all this fresh water going to end up? Gray and black water tanks are the other side of the equation and during a trip the weights are essentially shifted from fresh to gray until the gray is dumped and fresh replenished. Its a little bit easier if you stay between the frame rails but still there's 'load shift' involved. Even if you use a composting toilet, all the waste water from sink and shower atill has to go somewhere, right? That's my thinking anyways, maybe you have another idea.

Just my thinking too, but I might lean towards a fresh water tank under a cabinet or seat just to keep it inside. I know you say you plan to insulate and heat it but I'm just thinking there's still risk of freezing if you go into a colder climate and the wind chill as you drive overwhelms the heating capability. Just a thought.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:25 PM   #3
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That's like 16 students body weight. If your bus had 4 seats behind the axle, you won't exceed what was there originally.
I'd hate to have 1600lbs on the back end if that pendulum if the bus was empty
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:49 PM   #4
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That is a lot of water to carry, but not too much for the bus to handle.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:22 PM   #5
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I don't know if the tanks you're looking at have them or not, but someone on here once pointed out the need for baffles in large tanks to keep the water from moving too fast too far.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:23 PM   #6
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I don't know if the tanks you're talking about have them or not, but someone on here once pointed out the need for baffles on large tanks to keep the water from moving toofar too fast!
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:41 AM   #7
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As alway, its great to have so many different views pointing things out that may not be immediately evident-or that may have been bypassed by our dreamy minds...


Between the rear tires and the front tires, the center area has the drive shaft in the way and seems like much more of a problem, and has much less space. Still, Maybe I can use a few smaller tanks instead of a really big one for the fresh water.


I am considering the 200 gallons of water to have plenty for boondocking for extended periods if necessary. Maybe I could install a 100 gallon tank tucked into the frame in the back and use it only when I know I'll be boondocking for a long time, and the other towards the front.



Another option is to place the tanks, instead of the storage boxes, on the driver side area, between the rear and front tires, with a couple more wherever they fit in the center, and use the back to have all the storage.


The fuel tank is on the passenger side, which prevents another tank there.


I am thinking of adding an extra fuel tank eventually, so would need a spot for that.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:48 AM   #8
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I carried 200 gallons of fresh water on my first bus. It was great having that capacity. I could dry camping for three weeks. The bus handled the weight just fine but it was a little different bus..

I would be reluctant to put that much weight at either end of the bus. I would endeavor to get it as close to the center of the bus as you are able.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:37 AM   #9
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So maybe the best bet is to leave the rear for storage, and maybe the gray tank, and place the fresh water tanks between the rear and front tires.





I could make one hell of a spacious storage compartment back there that goes side to side.




The only issue now is that the water will possibly have to be on the driver side. I suppose I can counter this by having the appliances like the fridge and stove on the passenger side. Maybe I can get some of those tanks situated in the frame rails at center also.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:17 PM   #10
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Most RVs have to contend with a driveshaft as well although I doubt most are built for 200 gallon capacity.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:59 PM   #11
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The only issue now is that the water will possibly have to be on the driver side. I suppose I can counter this by having the appliances like the fridge and stove on the passenger side. Maybe I can get some of those tanks situated in the frame rails at center also.
The potential problem with that approach is that you'll still have an imbalance as you consume/use the water. Also - and especially with that much water - I'd imagine you're going to have a really hard time finding enough heavy stuff to counterbalance that much weight.

We've decided (reluctantly) to place our water tanks directly behind the rear wheel-wells also. It was really the only place we could make work. Our untested solution will be to have two freshwater tanks of equal size, connected via a common drain, on opposing sides of the bus (balancing each other), tucked as close behind the rear axle as we can, with a single grey-water tank situated directly between them inside the frame rails (no black - composting toilet). Then a bunch of weight as close to the other end of the bus (as close to the front wheels as possible) to help balance that out. In our case, a good portion of that will be our house battery bank.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:19 AM   #12
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To mitigate the sloshing effect (and it will make it feel like you're driving a bowling pin in sufficient quantity, though I doubt 200 gallons will be much of a difference), you might see if it is possible to get such tanks with baffles.

Baffles, quite simply, are nothing more than difuser barriers that allow the liquid to move within the tank, but stifle its motion to a bare minimum to reduce its effect on mounting hardware, and, in this case, vehicle handling.

They are used on tanker trucks for a single tank with a common cargo that simply needs a bit of motion arrest for the contents. For those with multiple kinds of liquids (such as a fuel delivery tanker carrying diesel, regular / premium gasoline, etc), bulkheads are used, which are solid walls that arrest the sloshing without allowing the different liquids to cross-contaminate.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:58 PM   #13
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Good points.


Seems ridiculous that those tanks are made at all without baffles!


Another solution may be several smaller tanks connected via hose or tubing, as one of you mentioned.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:46 AM   #14
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Some tankers cannot have baffles, i.e. food grade tankers like milk and syrup. These have to be sanitized after each use and baffles create corners where material can hide, rot, and breed bacteria. Additionally, the sanitizing process uses an automated steaming nozzle on an articulated arm which reaches down and then forward and backwards to hit every inch of the interior surface area which is itself all stainless steel which disinfects with just hot water, no chemicals required. Fuel tankers can be baffled but not food grade.

Now, of course no one here is planning to haul 50k pounds of unbaffled liquids.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:48 AM   #15
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Good points.

Seems ridiculous that those tanks are made at all without baffles!

Another solution may be several smaller tanks connected via hose or tubing, as one of you mentioned.
That was one thing I considered, Joe. I mentioned 2 tanks, but that was more for the purposes of one balancing the other rather than baffling (though you'd obviously at least injure both birds w/ that approach). Obviously you could scale up the idea by breaking your storage into even more tanks. I'm not sure how the economics of this solution would work out compared to sourcing baffled alternatives.

I'd like to hear CheeseWagon's opinion on this since he likely has real-world practical experience, but I've heard (aka read) that the where liquids are concerned, you're best off to either roll fully filled, or completely empty. Doing either should take care of sloshing issues. But that may not always be practical?
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:07 PM   #16
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That was one thing I considered, Joe. I mentioned 2 tanks, but that was more for the purposes of one balancing the other rather than baffling (though you'd obviously at least injure both birds w/ that approach). Obviously you could scale up the idea by breaking your storage into even more tanks. I'm not sure how the economics of this solution would work out compared to sourcing baffled alternatives.

I'd like to hear CheeseWagon's opinion on this since he likely has real-world practical experience, but I've heard (aka read) that the where liquids are concerned, you're best off to either roll fully filled, or completely empty. Doing either should take care of sloshing issues. But that may not always be practical?



I'll have to look for baffled tanks, and also how much multiple ones would cost. I guess rolling full or empty is an option. Only problem is that on a long trip rolling empty would defeat the purpose of having tanks, and rolling full would still use water as the days go by, since we're transporting water to use and not to deliver elsewhere.


Seems like the options are baffled tank or a series of smaller tanks.
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:39 PM   #17
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I understand the theory, but have never read a detrimental case of water sloshing being an issue.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:21 PM   #18
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I understand the theory, but have never read a detrimental case of water sloshing being an issue.



You have a point. Maybe with the sheer weight of these buses it isn't really an issue? After all, those tankers are hauling tens of thousands of pounds, and we're hauling under 2,000 punds of water even if we use two 100 gallon tanks.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:13 PM   #19
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Next time you pull up next to one of those driveway car wash guys with the Harbor Freight trailer loaded with 100 gallons of water--watch closely as he tries to stop for a light. The tow vehicle and the trailer try to stop but are then pushed forward by the still in motion water. Its like creating your own tsunami.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:33 PM   #20
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I do wonder if we are making Much Ado About Nothing because in spite of the real concern of weight I think there is less of a concern about surge with the quantities we are discussing. A semi-truck has up to 300 gallons of diesel fuel in two 150 gallon tanks and I don't think they're going to have any noticeable effect at whatever fuel level they're currently carrying. At least I know I could never feel any difference and I think I have a pretty finely-tuned buttometer. I think side to side balance will be a bigger issue so if you go with two 100 gallon tanks one on each side and a crossover line I think that would be more than adequate.
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