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Old 06-18-2018, 02:15 PM   #1
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Vintage Kin Owner
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 9
Need advice on fresh water storage (trailer renovation)

I need to figure out my fresh water storage solution. The original 1968 Streamline Empress used a pressurized steel tank which was mounted above the floor, on the side of the trailer. Above-the-floor space is precious, and so we'd rather find a way to install our fresh water tank(s) in the belly. The most logical place to do this is over the axles, but I am constrained by the dimensions of the steel frame. I envision two tanks which lie in adjacent "bays" and are connected to one another to basically form one large tank.

I'm looking for a tank that is in the ballpark of: 51"L (preferably less) x 19"W x 5"H. There are very few tanks out there that would fit in this space. I also have concerns about freshwater storage in the belly during the winter in sub-freezing conditions.

So I'm wondering if I should go back to the drawing board.

Are there other options I'm not considering? Other, less traditional ways in which I might store freshwater? Maybe I should just bite the bullet and store freshwater somewhere above the belly?

I'd like to get something in the ballpark of 80 gallons, if practical. Use case: we're a family of 4 and want to boondock for at least three days before needing to re-up on water usage.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:38 PM   #2
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2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8,402
Belly-mounted tanks can resist freezing in a couple ways. One is to provide some heated air into the tank space from the propane furnace.

The other is 12 volt powered tank "heating pads" to keep them above freezing. The downside is that this takes battery power...

A third is--an empty tank will not freeze. Some use bottled water to drink, wash, and cook, and flush the toilet with RV antifreeze. No dishwashing...

My International has both of the first methods. We have used it in well below freezing weather by being on 120 volt AC power and running the furnace with the tank heaters also on. No issues.

Our Solar system is a bit light to boondock this way, but more panels and bigger batteries can fix this...
Rich, KE4GNK/AE, Overkill Engineering Dept.
'The Silver HamShack' ('07 International 22FB CCD 75th Anniversary)
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:41 PM   #3
Half a Rivet Short
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 8,898

A local welding shop can (for a price) make up just about any shape tank you would ever want. All you really need is a sketch and a willing shop. The other alternative is a bit more DIY friendly, glue it up from plastic sheet goods. They can mostly be cut with woodworking tools. There are lots of places on the internet that will even pre-cut stuff for not a whole lot of money. Some of the glues are more insane than others. That's as much a factor in the "what to use" decision as anything else.

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Old 06-18-2018, 08:31 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
Vintage Kin Owner
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 9
Trying this again since my last reply somehow didn't make it through the portal...

All good suggestions, thank you. I hadn't considered using 12 VDC heating "pads," though I would question how realistic it'd be to use those while boondocking. I'm planning a fairly robust solar array, but I'd need to some research about current draw for those elements. We're planning on using a wood stove for primary heat during the winter, though we will have the option of 120 VAC powered heat pump when we're plugged into shore power.

Uncle bob, I do like the thought of going the DIY route. I've done a few fiberglass layups in the past, but it's a while. Plastic and silicon sound a little easier. I'd just have to balance time spent and cost of materials with cost and ease of just buying something pre-made. As before, more research needed.

Part of me is still tempted to just drop back and punt, and buy something of fairly standard dimensions that I can just stick under the kitchen sink or hide under a bed somewhere.

Anyone ever done anything really off the wall, like ceiling mounted tanks or some kind of gravity fed system? Just shooting from the hip here...
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