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tomas_maly 08-12-2012 10:16 PM

Propane tank location, single sink ok?
I'm just curious, but does it matter which side the propane tanks are installed? ie passenger (under)side or driver's (under)side? I am still planning and constructing the interior layout and am thinking maybe of switching the dinette to the driver's side so I have more seat room (ie 6 instead of 4). I'd probably place the propane stove to the passenger's side, if that's not a problem safety or legal or practical wise.

The thought of using Compressed Natural Gas instead of Propane has crossed my mind, but I'm not sure what costs (or install time) differences there are.... I've heard that CNG is cheaper than Propane and perhaps a larger capacity. Also, I'm not sure if there's an issue with converting the stove I currently have. It came from a beat-down camper.... Any general thoughts or rules of thumb?

Also, I'm thinking maybe the toilet could go on the front passenger's side as well (this will be one of those composting toilets, none of that wasting drinking water to take a poop).... It would provide a very wide (33"?) window for ventilation.... And be near the front door, which seems a bit more natural anyway. And I'm wondering if it's okay that there isn't a second dedicated sink just for toilet.... I am not 100% sure about sanitation other than utilizing hand sanitizer and water with soap as necessary. I envision probably having a dedicated bathroom sink at some point (to lessen the chance of pathogens spreading) but it's probably a project for later. I'm curious if that's technically/legally okay in the meantime (one sink, multiple uses). When I get the chance I would probably have a copper (water) pipe go under the vehicle from one side to the other since there is a foot-wide (and 2 inch tall) gap between the floor (cross beams) and the lengthwise chassis steel beams.

Stuff 08-13-2012 01:04 AM

Re: Propane tank location, single sink ok?
natural gas not as easy to find when you run out.

shouldnt matter what side but closer to stove/furnace etc the better. make sure vented to the outside etc etc.

chev49 08-13-2012 09:29 AM

Re: Propane tank location, single sink ok?
Propane tanks are normally either in compartments or strapped on under the Passenger side of the bus.
Black and Grey water disposal hooks are normally on the Drivers side of the bus.
Sinks are normally on the drivers side, while some bath tub/showers occasionally are on the passenger side, across from the toilet.
Therefore, most bathrooms are on the Drivers side of the bus, and propane and usually battery boxes are on the passenger side.

Be sure to read posts about proper construction of the battery boxes, proper propane venting, and so forth.

roach711 08-13-2012 11:07 AM

Re: Propane tank location, single sink ok?
One sink is common in the short bus world.

Where you place your sinks, showers and toilets comes down to where the plumbing and tanks will fit. Seems the big schoolies have more flexibility than we short bus types.

Like Chevy said, dump stations are on the driver's side so plan your drains accordingly.

tomas_maly 08-13-2012 08:20 PM

Re: Propane tank location, single sink ok?
Thanks for the info....

My battery box/drawer is on the drivers side underneath the first row seats, and the diesel tank is opposite immediately next to the steps. As I was daydreaming today I was thinking of having the dinette, sink, toilet and possible shower on the driver's side.

The passenger side would then have the propane stove, some countertop, cabinets/drawers, and maybe a desk and/or a murphy bed. Right now I have a bunk bed installed on the driver's side wheel well (since the driver's side is a bit wider, having held 3 seat benches), but I'm thinking if I move the bunks (which isn't hard to move except that I have to insulate and seal the wall all over again) to the passenger's side then I can fit a woodstove on top of the wheel well on the driver's side. I'm thinking of experimenting with a wood-burning hot water system (at least part of the year) that I found on Mother Earth News (involving water coils that wrap through the stove's flue, etc).

It's frustrating when you're in mid-project and you totally change how you do something - like swapping things to the other side. I just spent the last 3 days getting the wall done for the dinette only to just now decide to switch it to the other side. My design so far involves mounting 2-by's to the metal frame and placing foam panels in between them and then screwing plywood over that (to double insulate). Wouldn't be a problem except that the dinette exterior wall was designed to leave the full 24 inch window height exposed when that's way too low for the propane stove. I'm probably going to remove the entire wall (about 8 feet worth) and just transfer it to the other side. Except that the driver's side has some things in the way, ie the heater venting (which is why I thought it was best to move the dinette over anyway, so it warms sitting passengers while driving), some clumsy wiring, and the driver's seat belt mount (which I have to somehow cut a hole for I'm guessing because I probably should not remount it elsewhere). I've been trying to bolt down any wood framing to the steel 'rib' frame for optimal structural support, and this might prove a frustration.

But I have learned that removing torx screws from the windows and (galvanized) panels does speed up the whole process by not only making the wood more consistently straight but also by providing existing holes to use my bolt anchors with. It's an interesting project, uniting the two worlds of wood and metal. I'm not sure if I'll ever really do something of this extent again, I might just opt for a house made purely of natural materials (strawbales, wood, clay, etc) that are more organic and forgiving.

I just don't want to get it done only to realize a week later that there is a design flaw that necessitates totally re-doing it, yet again. I had finished the bunk beds and it's insulated wall when I realized I ought to re-insulate the bus walls with better insulation. Half a dozen broken cobalt drill bits and several hundred torx screws later, it's back the way it was several weeks ago. Feels like I've barely done any work.

chev49 08-14-2012 06:22 PM

Re: Propane tank location, single sink ok?
Working with design flaws is just a normal part of the conversion. It's in chapter one in my book. Drilling holes in fingers, sawing off legs, and yelling is part of chapter 2.

bus-bro 08-14-2012 07:24 PM

Re: Propane tank location, single sink ok?
Yeah, I should name my bus "design flaw", but then again the execution of the flawed design ain't too good either. So maybe I should just name it "wasted years". :lol:

roach711 08-15-2012 10:13 AM

Re: Propane tank location, single sink ok?
We've all been there. You refine your floor plan over and over but when you finally start building you find that SOMETHING is in the way or something else has to go there because it won't fit anywhere else and now it's all about how you handle Plan B.

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