Various water tanks installation and construction

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Fresh water tank showing level sensing probes and filling spigot (middle of vehicle side)

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Fresh water tank, clearly showing recess's for chassis. The three white dots are to allow air out when filling the tank. You know when its full as the water is running down the road. We're going to remove the tank and fit proper air vents back up to the filler pipe to avoid going down the road with water running out of the insulation.

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Fresh water tank in position, complete with an inch (25mm) of foam insulation.

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Fresh water tank clearly showing the filler tube running through a length of stainless steel tube to avoid the exhaust silencer melting the hose, plus it supports the filler hose. Why stainless? it was what we had lying around!. The cross in the middle is the access hatch to the bottom tank cleaning hatch.

The above was done at the initial build stage. However several years down the road I had discovered a few things that could be improved upon in the way of fresh water storage. The OEM tank breathers were not the best as we found that when filling the tank so the water came up to the filler cap (the cap is about 12" above the the highest point of the tank) for a while afterwards water would dribble from the breathers under the vehicle. Didn't look good after begging for water, then driving away with water dribbling everywhere under the vehicle.  When I installed a second fresh water tank I modified the breathers by blocking off the originals (basically three small holes!) and then running a pipe from with-in the highest points of the tank to an external pipe terminating higher up in the vehicle with a small air filter on the end to prevent bugs etc entering the tank. Another thing I noticed, which is basically fair wear and tear. I had coated the thermal insulation with GRP. However the water spray from the wheels had eroded the GRP. 

Anyway, the following photos are of the original tank after some minor improvements like an outer skin of thin aluminium sheet to help prevent long term erosion of the GRP and thermal insulation.

The white stuff is polystyrene to help prevent damage from being clamped up against the underside of the van floor. The red tube is the new breather pipe, whilst the white tube underneath is the feed to the water pump. The reason for such a large un-insinuated area on the side is that the exhaust silencer is too near the tank to allow any, however I may try something like Asbestulux board.

Whilst the capacity of the above tank was about 55 litres, we found it a bit too small as we where having to refill almost on a daily basis, certainly more if everyone had showers. Rather than try and find a suitable tank to fit the remaining under body space, I thought it best to make my own from GRP, thus making the best use of all the space available. Having taken a good look around under the vehicle, the best place seemed to be along the nearside sill.

I think its worth pointing out at this stage that the extra tank was well worth the effort as it took our fresh water capacity from 55 litres up to about 125 litres (not measured accurately, only timed after filling a 10 litre bucket).

The mould was made from wood and designed to collapse in on itself to make its removal easier. All the joins etc were filled very carefully and smoothed down, them main hours of polishing to avoid the GRP sticking to the mould

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Another view of our mould before coating with fibreglass, and below with numerous coats of GRP and various tubes and spigots for filling, draining and breathing.

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Our new tank, clearly showing inlet/outlets. The various cutouts on the tank are for various obstacles under the vehicle.

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Inside the tank, before the fitting of the base and insulation. 

Above. Tank now fully sealed and complete with all the various pipe connections (feed to pump, tank interconnection to other tank, filler inlet, filler outlet to next tank, breather) (Yes the ground was dry at our place during the summer, hence the cracks!)

Below showing thermal insulation in place with an aluminium skin on the lower parts where its likely to get hit by spray and grit from the road.

The square plate is covering the inspection/cleaning hatch.

The following photos are showing the drain hose from the grey waste water tank. However on fitting the second fresh water tank, the drain hose had to be rerouted.

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View under the chassis from nearside before the addition of the second fresh water tank.

The photos below are of the pipework from the shower and kitchen unit to the grey waste water tank.

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People have asked what's the white bits shown by the red arrow, simple, they're packing blocks supporting the vehicle while I work under it. The white pipes shown above and below are the grey waste water drain pipes from the shower and sinks. These are 1.25" at present, but I'll be replacing them for 1.5" to help stop air locks forming when water is draining from the shower. They will probably need lagging before any serious winter camping takes place.

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The red arrow is pointing out hot and cold water feeds to the kitchen unit with loads of thermal insulation.

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