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Old 10-12-2016, 01:02 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Hanging the water tanks

A thought just came to me in regard to suspending the water tanks underneath.... not sure if the dimensions are gonna work out to do this but bear with me for a second and tell me if the idea holds water (pun intended)....

Fabricate a metal frame with plywood bottom to hold the tanks, then use threaded rods with big thick washers and nuts to hang them using existing holes in the metal floor... one at each corner, then 1 or 2 or 3 more along the length of the tank.... done correctly with 8 rods on a 100 gallon tank, each one would only be supporting ~50 lbs plus the weight of the tank and frame itself.

This of course would be done before putting the new flooring in.

The tanks I'm looking at are 81x26x11 so it should not be an issue getting both fresh water and grey water in the space between the frame rails.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:57 PM   #2
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i mounted my waste tank outside the frame rail for ease of use. the drains were also outside the rails so it made it easy to plumb.

instead of hanging them from the bus floor, i think i'd use the frame. my waste tank, battery box, sewer pipe holder and my transmission cooler are all things that i added that hang from the frame.

the frame is real easy to build off of with some L brackets. just drill holes that correspond to the existing holes on the frame.

i've seen other tanks on here that were suspended from the floor like you described, so that works too.

50# X 8 is only 400lbs

good luck
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by turf View Post
i mounted my tank tank outside the frame rail for ease of use. the drains were also outside the rails so it made it easy to plumb.

instead of hanging them from the bus floor, i think i'd use the frame. my waste tank, battery box, sewer pipe holder and my transmission cooler are all things that i added that hang from the frame.

the frame is real easy to build off of with some L brackets. just drill holes that correspond to the existing holes on the frame.

i've seen other tanks on here that were suspended from the floor like you described, so that works too.

good luck
I was thinking center between the rails more for keeping the weight even from side to side than for any other reason, though you make a good point for at least having the grey tank outside.

The plan for the frame was to repurpose some old bed frames I have here.... you know a king size frame can hold 400 lbs with ease. If there's enough bed frame material I may be able to fashion something for the batteries as well though that's gonna be nearly 800 lbs so may have to split that into several modules. Gonna go thread crawling later today and try to find some ideas on that.

And yes 400 lbs just for the weight of the water... the tank and framework will probably add another 100 or so to the mix.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlleyCat67 View Post
The plan for the frame was to repurpose some old bed frames I have here.... you know a king size frame can hold 400 lbs with ease. If there's enough bed frame material I may be able to fashion something for the batteries as well though that's gonna be nearly 800 lbs so may have to split that into several modules. Gonna go thread crawling later today and try to find some ideas on that.
Bed frames are alright for use under a bed, but I question if the steel is strong enough to not only support 500 pounds of tank + water - but also keep in mind it has to withstand the vibrations, bumps, and other forces of simply going down the road.

My thought would be to simply visit a truck salvage yard and collect one or two used aluminum fuel tanks (and the associated brackets) off a road tractor. Bolt them to the frame, just like they came off. The engineering is already done for you, and you'll know they have the necessary strength to last with no problems.

Aluminum is easily welded by most shops, so while everything is off you can have the necessary plumbing fittings welded in place.
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:19 PM   #5
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
My thought would be to simply visit a truck salvage yard and collect one or two used aluminum fuel tanks (and the associated brackets) off a road tractor. Bolt them to the frame, just like they came off. The engineering is already done for you, and you'll know they have the necessary strength to last with no problems.

Aluminum is easily welded by most shops, so while everything is off you can have the necessary plumbing fittings welded in place.
That would be ok for a grey water tank.... not so sure I'd want to store fresh water in a tank that's had diesel fuel in it previously. Not sure even steam cleaning would get it ALL out.

And yea, anything to add strength is a good thing.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlleyCat67 View Post
A thought just came to me in regard to suspending the water tanks underneath.... not sure if the dimensions are gonna work out to do this but bear with me for a second and tell me if the idea holds water (pun intended)....

Fabricate a metal frame with plywood bottom to hold the tanks, then use threaded rods with big thick washers and nuts to hang them using existing holes in the metal floor... one at each corner, then 1 or 2 or 3 more along the length of the tank.... done correctly with 8 rods on a 100 gallon tank, each one would only be supporting ~50 lbs plus the weight of the tank and frame itself.

This of course would be done before putting the new flooring in.

The tanks I'm looking at are 81x26x11 so it should not be an issue getting both fresh water and grey water in the space between the frame rails.

Thoughts?
That's essentially what I did. I have two 110-gal fresh water tanks, a 65-gal poo and a 115-gal grey, and they're all hung the same way. The two fresh are hung from ten lengths of 1/2" threaded rod that run from the frame rails on their inside edges and from longitudinal floor supports on their outside edges. The grey hangs from ten lengths of rod under the frame rails, and the poo hangs from another six. Each threaded rod is double-nutted top and bottom. All four tanks sit on support frames made from Mil-spec heavy slotted angle, and are sheathed in 1/2" plywood under the bottom and on all four sides to prevent road debris from damaging them and to give some slight insulation. To positively locate the tanks in all four horizontal directions I made a frame around the tanks' tops that completely prevents them moving at all, then the threaded rods merely have to support them vertically instead of also having to locate and brace them horizontally.

The two fresh tanks are interconnected with a 3/4" pipe under the bus, and each one has its own Whitecap stainless marine deck fill as a gravity fill (much nicer than the usual plastic RV crap). Either or both tanks can also be filled from the city water connections on either side of the bus. The poo and grey tanks are dumped through three cable-operated 3" dump valves, and the grey also has a 1.5" dump valve on the kerb side 'just in case' . . .

John
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:53 PM   #8
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BTW...old pot metal bed frames are not good for anything but a mattress.

And even then, you don't want to get too...rambunctious.
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:42 AM   #9
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Slotted angle..... I hadn't even thought of that, would sure make the framework construction a lot easier. Drill the plywood, line up the holes, run the threaded rod through, secure with lock washers and nuts above and below.... then drill and screw the sides of the box in place... I'm liking this. Haven't decided yet if I will be placing tank heaters in with them or if it will be feasible to just figure a way to heat the underbelly storage area (not to living area temp, but just enough to keep it from freezing if the temperature drops.... kick on at 40, shut off at 45)... so for the tank heaters, space will have to be left to run the wiring but that would be nothing more than just drill a hole in the plywood side big enough to run 12v and 120v connections (the heaters go either way) and fish it through a small piece of PVC pipe conduit to a connection box. Got an idea for the underbay heating too, haven't quite got that worked out yet but it's similar to the underfloor radiant heating system I would like to do.

Will have to see how much space I have to work with, then I can figure out the best way to go about it. Maybe even be able to double my water capacity to 200 gallons if I put a tank on each side and connect them like you did, and two 100 gallon grey tanks between the rails, also connected (space permitting).

Appreciate the input.
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Old 10-13-2016, 03:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
That's essentially what I did. I have two 110-gal fresh water tanks, a 65-gal poo and a 115-gal grey, and they're all hung the same way. The two fresh are hung from ten lengths of 1/2" threaded rod that run from the frame rails on their inside edges and from longitudinal floor supports on their outside edges. The grey hangs from ten lengths of rod under the frame rails, and the poo hangs from another six. Each threaded rod is double-nutted top and bottom. All four tanks sit on support frames made from Mil-spec heavy slotted angle, and are sheathed in 1/2" plywood under the bottom and on all four sides to prevent road debris from damaging them and to give some slight insulation. To positively locate the tanks in all four horizontal directions I made a frame around the tanks' tops that completely prevents them moving at all, then the threaded rods merely have to support them vertically instead of also having to locate and brace them horizontally.

The two fresh tanks are interconnected with a 3/4" pipe under the bus, and each one has its own Whitecap stainless marine deck fill as a gravity fill (much nicer than the usual plastic RV crap). Either or both tanks can also be filled from the city water connections on either side of the bus. The poo and grey tanks are dumped through three cable-operated 3" dump valves, and the grey also has a 1.5" dump valve on the kerb side 'just in case' . . .

John
I would love it if you had some pics of your setup? This is where I am most confused about my project...
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Old 10-13-2016, 04:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by turf View Post
i mounted my waste tank outside the frame rail for ease of use. the drains were also outside the rails so it made it easy to plumb.

instead of hanging them from the bus floor, i think i'd use the frame. my waste tank, battery box, sewer pipe holder and my transmission cooler are all things that i added that hang from the frame.

the frame is real easy to build off of with some L brackets. just drill holes that correspond to the existing holes on the frame.

i've seen other tanks on here that were suspended from the floor like you described, so that works too.

50# X 8 is only 400lbs


good luck
Things go wrong. Someone forgot to dump but filled with water. Just a little downhill grade a slick spot and the pendulum effect. Just to keep in mind the safety of things.
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Old 10-13-2016, 04:48 PM   #12
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I would love it if you had some pics of your setup? This is where I am most confused about my project...
Sorry, no photos! I'm photographically challenged (and that's being kind).

Even though I thought that my tanks' installation was a difficult project, looking back on it now it actually was quite simple, at least compared with some other things I've done. You first have to find space for the tanks you have, or buy tanks for the space you have. I suggest having the most possible water capacity - just because you have X gallons of tanks doesn't mean you have to have them 100% full all the time, but there may be occasions when having lots of water is good. Make sure the tanks cannot move at all in any of the six possible directions of movement (up, down, left, right, forward, aft) - this means positive location by using something solid and strong to keep them in place. As I mentioned, you can control their horizontal movement by cradling their tops within a surround frame under the floor, then as long as they are held tight up against the floor they cannot move at all. It's simpler and better to do it this way instead of making diagonal or cantilevered bracing against their bottoms.

You can drill holes through the frame rails' lower flanges, but you have to drill them along the flanges' center line where the stresses are neutral. The tanks should be supported underneath all around their periphery, and underneath every foot or two to prevent them bulgeing when full. Polyethylene tanks should be protected from debris by being sheathed in plywood. If you have roto-molded tanks, it's worth having all their fittings spin-welded in, and use the thickest heaviest-duty fittings available to lessen them stretching as you tighten pipe fittings into them.

Fresh water tanks need vents to equalize pressure inside as they fill or are drained - a 1/2" line should be plenty. Black and grey tanks however need much more venting. You need to allow fresh air in to let the aerobic bacteria do their thing, you need to let any methane harmlessly out, and you need to let lots of air back in when dumping their contents. Most folk use a single 2" or 3" vent up through the roof. I did something different. Each of my waste tanks has two 2" vents in diagonally opposite corners of their tops - the black tank's rear vent goes up through the floor and behind the closet, and exits through a louvered marine hose vent high up on the bus's side just under the roof gutter, with the louvers pointing forward. The black and grey tanks' front vents are interconnected, and the grey tank's rear vent goes down to ground level and points back with a large opening just ahead of the differential. When I'm driving, air is forced into the black tank through the forward-facing upper louver vent, flows through the black tank and into the grey tank, and is pulled out through the grey rear vent by venturi effect as air rushes under the bus. This way I have positive airflow through both tanks while driving, and any smells are exhausted at ground level so they cannot be sucked back inside. When parked, natural convection causes cooler air to enter through the ground-level grey vent, through both tanks (the opposite direction than when driving), and up through the black's upper vent, aided by that vent pipe being next to a panel that gets warm in the sun so the air in it heats up and wants to rise, pulling the air in the tanks behind it. It sounds more complicated than it is, but it seems to work just fine.

And you thought tanks were simple!

John
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:06 PM   #13
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I have a pretty good understanding of how to build the supports for tanks, but its attaching everything to the underside of the bus where I am lost. IE: the blue circle. Lets assume the red is plywood, the green is all thread.

You guys keep saying drill into the underside of the bus but how are you attaching the all thread to the holes you made?
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:44 PM   #14
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Sorry, my computer doesn't show your picture.

If you're drilling through frame rails lower flanges, then a pair of nuts (jammed together as tight as possible) and a washer on the top will support vertical loads. Another nut and washer underneath the frame rail is good to keep everything tight. Repeat the process but the opposite way under the tank's lower supports. Easy! Just don't overtighten the nuts, or you may cause the tanks to push the floor up - I inadvertently did that, then wondered why my floor was no longer flat inside. Doh! And don't attach anything to only wood or plywood - the threaded rod must be secured through structural steel. Wood should never be used for any critical or load-bearing applications.

When I was doing my tanks, I visualized someone picking up my bus and violently shaking it in all directions. Would anything become loose or fall apart if that happened? That was my design parameter. Not too much advanced math involved, but like how Victorian engineers made things it should last for ever - Forth Bridge, anyone?
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Old 10-13-2016, 06:03 PM   #15
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Hmmm I think that would be fairly easy if all my floor joists were L shaped. Mine have no lip so i have no access to put the nuts/washer on top of the all-thread. They are all square tube.
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:04 PM   #16
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Research eye sockets for the size of rod you would like to use and also uni-strut.
Erico is a cheap place to start and Hilti engineered Uni-strut systems will give you an idea of what is possible.
Check them out?
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:41 PM   #17
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That would clarify a few things... I think I have the general idea but a photo or two would confirm that I'm on the right track.
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