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Old 06-15-2017, 06:30 PM   #1
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Setting up bus for external water connections only?

Has anyone ever set up their vehicle with no holding tanks, just external connections? We're trying to do the bare minimum to convert the bus to an RV status for the Alaska DMV since getting CDLs is looking increasingly difficult. (Currently there is a 2-month waiting list for road tests. And please don;t bring up the Vermont loophole or try to tell me that we don't need CDLs for personal use.)

I need to meet at least one of these two requirements, and #4 seems the lesser of two evils. I can sort of see how we could do a city water connection and run it straight to the sink, but what about gray water?

2) ____ Self-contained toilet or toilet connected to a plumbing system with connection for external water disposal.

4) ____ Portable water supply, including plumbing and a sink with faucet either self-contained or with connections for an external source.
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:50 PM   #2
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You can get a composting toilet to satisfy the self-contained toilet.Nature's Head Composting Toilets -- The Official Site

Plumbing directly from city water is as simple as hooking up a potable water hose to a source. Disposing of gray water would require another hose from a common drain to a disposal drain, probably of larger diameter.

Apparently in Alaska, the type of license depends on your GVWR. If your GVWR is LESS THAN 26000, you can get by on a Class D (normal) license. So, to answer that question, how heavy is your skoolie?
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:05 PM   #3
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GVWR is 30K. Plus it was designed to carry more than 16, thus it would require the CDL. (Sorry if I sound cranky about this. Nearly everyone I talk to locally tries to tell me I don't need a CDL. Except the DMV. They say I most definitely do.)

The cost of buying a toilet is more than we want to spend right now. We're putting this stuff in to meet the requirements, but will remove it before we hit the road. In the long run, we'll have a toilet and fresh/gray/black tanks and everything, but for now we need to use the vehicle to move down to the Lower 48.

So it sounds like I could set up the sink drain to connect directly into a gray water hose, and then would put that into a disposal drain at a camp site. And set up a city inlet hookup that would connect right to the sink.

Most likely we'll jump through all these hoops and they won;t even go out to the parking lot to look.
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:24 PM   #4
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Some DMVs will accept mockups inside the bus. Bed, camp stove, water jug, chemical or composting toilet, something that resembles an electrical system.

You can make your own composting toilet.
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:35 PM   #5
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The cost of buying a toilet is more than we want to spend right now.
My original composting toilet cost me less than $40 to build. It took me a couple of hours to build. I did add a urine diverter later and that added about $60.

If that is too expensive you may find the entire conversion process a financial challenge.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:38 PM   #6
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2 cents.

Being rural makes it harder, but what I do is shop for a DMV location or even person that is amenable and knowledgable to get transactions completed.

You can go and start the proceess, and if given grief, bail and say you forgot your checkbook...come back when they go to lunch.

I do many oddball DMV transactions (SF97) - ours limits me to 10 titles/day to give you an idea of my level of familiarity.

Polite, contrite, yes ma'am your way. My state requires the special Secretary of State Police to inspect your potential motorhome- at your house- prior to switching to RV, but I smiled and was pleasant last time, and my ambulance is an RV now, despite none of the requirements.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:10 PM   #7
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I thought finessing DMV personnel was something I invented? Guess not.

Steve; Have you looked into the batteries from an electric walk behind pallet lift? Lots of them for sale currently.
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Old 06-16-2017, 01:56 PM   #8
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I should clarify that we do not want a composting toilet for our bus for the long-run, therefore it wouldn't make sense to pay $1K plus shipping to get one just for now. I've spoken with our DMV, and they will not accept anything like a handmade composting toilet or one of those camp toilets that sits on top of a small tank. She was pretty clear that it would need to connect to a black water tank or external sewage connection. Thus, we're pursuing the water setup for a sink instead.

We've discussed our long-term bus layout ideas and where we believe we'll locate the water tanks in the future, and have agreed on where we can put in our city water inlet valve. We will plan on connecting the drain to a hose for direct gray water drainage.
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Old 06-16-2017, 02:16 PM   #9
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You seem to know very well what you need to make the DMV happy. That obviously conflicts with what you would like to do. If you want to put your bus on a foundation you can certainly hook it up to standard sewer hookups and city water, but that's not an RV.
As I understand it there are pretty big fines for dumping even grey water, not to mention the black tank. If you want to be mobile with an actual bathroom you will have to have tanks.

Then again for a long time I've had this idea of making a outhouse slide-out that doesn't need plumbing.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:18 PM   #10
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You seem to know very well what you need to make the DMV happy. That obviously conflicts with what you would like to do. If you want to put your bus on a foundation you can certainly hook it up to standard sewer hookups and city water, but that's not an RV.
As I understand it there are pretty big fines for dumping even grey water, not to mention the black tank. If you want to be mobile with an actual bathroom you will have to have tanks.

Then again for a long time I've had this idea of making a outhouse slide-out that doesn't need plumbing.
Better warn the Wife not to use it while you are driving........ Oncoming traffic can play hell with the slide out.....
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:45 PM   #11
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Perhaps the slide-out out-house ought to be on the passenger side, unless....
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:26 PM   #12
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Couple of thoughts - both have already been stated but maybe saying them differently will help make sense of them.

A composting toilet can be made from a 5 gallon plastic bucket, a toilet seat, a plastic sack, and some composting material. I've never done it but check online - lots of ideas.

The "no holding tank" approach to a water system could be very simple - just a bunch of PVC/PEX (basically). Mount a hose in your bus that runs to a sink and a toilet (RV toilet, right??). Plumb the sink and toilet drains to a 3" RV tank valve and your done. When ready to use, connect your 3" valve to a blank tank snake/hose and to the sewer drain. Connect your fresh water hose to the fresh water supply. I would guess you could spend a couple hundred dollars or nearly nothing.

Edit: Come to think of it - you could mount your toilet with the outlet going straight down to that 3" valve. Add a T just before it for the 1.5" pvc drain coming from the sink. If you are REALLY brave, you could forgo the 3" valve.
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:01 PM   #13
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I thought he didn't want tanks at this time in the build?
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:14 PM   #14
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I thought he didn't want tanks at this time in the build?
No tanks.

My use of the term "tank valve" may have confused. I just meant one of these valves connected directly to the 3' PVC drain line.
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:28 PM   #15
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That's what I thought you meant. So that valve with 3" hose or pipe between the toilet and the valve as the holding area?

It does make me think about the possibility of using a 6" x 20' pvc pipe as the holding tank, or whatever large size pvc that can be had. It might fit inside the frame rails, or with a macerator it could be roof mounted. Yeah, that's another bad idea.

You see why I'm probably going composting?
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:41 PM   #16
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I wasn't really thinking of using the hose as a tank. I just thought a valve on the end would make it a "cleaner" operation (and less smelly when not connected to a drain line).

I don't see this as a "good" idea but I do understand the OP's reason for a quick and simple solution.
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:01 PM   #17
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Hey, I'm just thinking outside the tank.

I'm not understanding. Is there a way to get around the DMV requirements for an motor home if they require tanks?

It may be possible to go to a different DMV and try to find a more sympathetic clerk. I've also done the "I forgot to bring cash" bow out a number of times when it's not going well with a DMV clerk. They don't take checks at the DMV in Oregon.

Does the OPs bus have to be registered as a motor home for this trip? It seems simple enough that as a motorhome it has to meet certain requirements. Without tanks and more it doesn't meet those requirements. Maybe as a private bus or as a van?

The only other thing I can think of is mock up some tanks, even if they're ill fitting and aren't connected. People do a mock-up on the interiors all the time, so why not on the tanks?

This issue doesn't seem to have a lot of loopholes other than finding a sympathetic DMV clerk.
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