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Old 10-01-2017, 01:42 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Can the bus handle the weight?

We are putting a gravity fed water system in our bus to avoid using a water pump and to utilize the space on top of the bus. We are putting a deck on the roof and the 250 gallon water tank as well. How do we figure out if the roof can support that kind of weight?

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Old 10-01-2017, 02:02 PM   #2
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Me personally, I would not mount a 250 gallon water tank up that high. You're talking 2000 lbs of weight 10 feet off of the ground. That's going to make your bus extremely top heavy.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:03 PM   #3
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I'd say not a chance your talking literally a ton of water when tank is full.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:05 PM   #4
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There are other pumps available. Doesn't need to be an electric pump. I put a foot pump like on a boat in my bus. And my tank is under the sink.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:07 PM   #5
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We aren't worried that much about the pump part of it we just want a lot of water storage and figured since we've seen huge decks and vw buses mounted to the top of buses that maybe it could handle some weight.

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Old 10-01-2017, 02:16 PM   #6
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Roof deck maybe 500lbs. Depending on framing. The vw mounted on top thats basically just sheet metal. With windows. Even if you could add the structure support to hold the 250 gal. I wouldn't want to make any turns in that rig. Plus, water sloshing around your ride would be swaying from side to side.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:17 PM   #7
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I hear you totally about the roof space. Its very large and quite inviting to some creative ideas
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:22 PM   #8
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So say we are determined to have some sort of water tank on the roof. What do you think the roof can handle weight wise? That's spanning at least 2 roof bows where the structure of the roof is.

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Old 10-01-2017, 02:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rensch26 View Post
Me personally, I would not mount a 250 gallon water tank up that high. You're talking 2000 lbs of weight 10 feet off of the ground. That's going to make your bus extremely top heavy.
I have to agree with Rensch.

2000 lbs of water between the frame rails is a tall order. I'm afraid that much weight on the roof would be down right dangerous.

Perhaps even worse would be having the tank half full and having it slosh to the outside when you turn a corner.

Remember "levers & moments" from high school physics?

I am curious as to why you don't want a water pump? If you did put a water tank on the roof and relied on gravity feed you will, depending on the location of fixture, have 1.5 to 3 psi of water pressure. Pretty puny.....
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:29 PM   #10
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I'd be fairly comfortable with under 1000lbs up there centered. I'm no engineer tho. Someone smarter than me will probably chime in. I'd say mount your tank, and take a test ride. I learn by trial and error myself. Find out how much to fill your tank.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:32 PM   #11
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The sloshing around is my concern mainly. The roof is stout. At the ribs
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:33 PM   #12
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We are quite a ways away from mounting the water tank but a lot of our plans are centered around water location. We want the ability to be off grid for a long time and there will be at least 3 of us on the bus but obviously we don't want to destroy the bus or injury anyone. A lot of people have little water tanks and that just won't work.

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Old 10-01-2017, 02:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertoliann View Post
So say we are determined to have some sort of water tank on the roof. What do you think the roof can handle weight wise? That's spanning at least 2 roof bows where the structure of the roof is.
That big a water tank on the roof? That would be making a horrible mistake and asking for trouble. I can say with a fair degree of certainty the roof was *NOT* designed to carry this much weight, and I'm not sure if it could even handle that much weight at all (at least not in a concentrated area).

I drove tanker for 7 years and would *NEVER* want 250 gallons of liquid 10 feet off the ground.



You do *NOT* want to end up like this!!!!
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:54 PM   #14
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I don't think that the structure of the roof holding up the weight is your biggest issue. I think that placing 2000 lbs that far above the buses (current) CG is the truly scary part.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:55 PM   #15
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Would putting baffles in the tank make a difference?

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Old 10-01-2017, 03:12 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bertoliann View Post
We aren't worried that much about the pump part of it we just want a lot of water storage and figured since we've seen huge decks and vw buses mounted to the top of buses that maybe it could handle some weight.

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When that weight leans on a oght curve. Then look out. Ground looping(spinning) and rolling. Keep weight as down low as possible. Were you not driving the bus while having water in it won't hurt. 250 gallons of hot water.
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:18 PM   #17
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You would have to use a few smaller tanks to keep sloshing under control, or baffled tanks.

Seems like some people carry quite a load on the roof. It would be fine if it it worked, but if it didn't work....it'd be bad.

over 2.jpg

over 1.jpg

over.jpeg
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:25 PM   #18
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We might be changing our plans

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Old 10-01-2017, 03:28 PM   #19
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Without some advanced engineering calculations, this is a terrible idea. Don't do it. All the calculations will do is confirm that it is a terrible idea.

There is a reason all the advice you will hear is to get heavy weights as low as possible, and between, or at least close to, the axles.

This is a disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:41 PM   #20
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When I started my bus project, I had full intention of putting water on the roof. Some day I would still like to, but so far, I havn't really needed to yet as I can keep my 40 gallon filled pretty easily. I wasn't going to use a tank. Sewer pipe. Either 6" or possibly 8"pipe. Sewer is cheaper then water pipe but is still has the orings to keep it sealed. The biggest difference is price, the bigger fittings get expensive.

Here is a picture of a friend of mines RAGBRAI bus.
Untitled by Hvbuzz, on Flickr

They used 4" pvc and painted it black for solar heat and runs the lenght of the bus. You can't see it in that pic but there is another pipe on the other side then both pipes are Tee'd together. Has worked well for many years. They don't have a water heater either and I hear the showers are decent. The deck on top holds a ton of bikes every year too. I would not be worried about the weight if it is evenly spaced out like the pipe does. The pipe also keeps the "sloshing" to a minimum. I drive Line bucket trucks at work. Talk about top heavy trucks with the booms clear up over the cabs. My bus has never felt top heavy and I would feel comfortable with the weight of the water on top.
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