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We love our IKEA sink with the drain board. It serves many functions including a good place to put our butane stove, store purchased items temporarily, dishes, wash up our hands, our hair, and store wet stuff. Of course we managed to put a 54” wide bed, a porta pottee, a dinette to seat two, the galley with the sink, video, seating for six when we need it and it is all in a 136” van. The answer is to plan well and have it all.
 
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Discussion Starter #203
Even with the 159, I'm losing cabinet and counter space by doing a full shower stall and choosing to not build in front of the slider. I know we would use the sink if it was there, but I know we could make due without one. I refined the drawing a little more and broke it up into snapshots of the general build plan/process. The counter top section can always have a drawer taken out and drop a sink in.
 

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Hi RnR. We have the ext 159. And your build plan is a lot like ours. We are a more mature couple and have to get up a couple of times a nite so our beds are the bench style that slide together for a full bed. Good luck on your build
 

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We love our IKEA sink with the drain board. It serves many functions including a good place to put our butane stove, store purchased items temporarily, dishes, wash up our hands, our hair, and store wet stuff. Of course we managed to put a 54” wide bed, a porta pottee, a dinette to seat two, the galley with the sink, video, seating for six when we need it and it is all in a 136” van. The answer is to plan well and have it all.
We use our sink like RD (sink drain board), but also temp store purchases / dishes / hands / hair / etc. But we don't have a shower.

We used our van without a sink when we 1st started using it. We used a small plastic tub outside to wash dishes & still do most of the time as it saves water & grey tank storage. If I built again I could consider no sink. In our case we could eliminate grey water tank & all the plumbing & the hot water tank & the fresh water tank & the pump. We like our sink, but it sure would have been easier to eliminate it from our build & have more storage. You are putting in a shower so a sink is a hot & cold line & drain, as I believe everything else is there for your shower (unless you are doing on of those portable propane showers?)

For us we could easily get by without a sink, but we do like having it.
 

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Discussion Starter #207
You are putting in a shower so a sink is a hot & cold line & drain, as I believe everything else is there for your shower (unless you are doing on of those portable propane showers?)
At the moment, I'm leaning toward one of the engine coolant heaters, like the Isotemp.
The supply water tank will mount in the base cabinet, directly across from the batteries, next to the shower.
I was thinking of running the sink and shower to a shallow 15 gal. gray water tank under the van and having a single thin shower wand that clips in over the sink and then pass it through a hole with a rubber membrane in the side of the shower wall to use as the shower head. So, it would be one set of hot/cold lines, one pump and the pump switch attached right to the faucet head.
I had it all figured out, then decided to make my life even easier and lose the sink.
Between wet wipes, hand sanitizer, bottled water and a working shower with 12 gal of water, we should be able to do ok on a 2 week road trip. Especially with hearing the amounts of water and setups you guys are working with for even longer periods.
 

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Discussion Starter #208
Has any ever seen/heard of or tried using a small, low flow recirculation pump and some copper tubing coiled around the exhaust pipe?
 

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Has any ever seen/heard of or tried using a small, low flow recirculation pump and some copper tubing coiled around the exhaust pipe?
How hot does your exhaust pipe get? Maybe around the cat instead? The easiest way is most likely just a plain old heat exchanger in conjunction with the vans cooling system.
 

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Had a sink built into my kitchen cabinet with two tanks - fresh and gray

Removed fresh tank, used water bottles if needed

Removed drain and grey water tank, just kept bowl, with a cover counter over it

Removed bowl = no more sink, which gave ma a lot more room in the cabinet for "storage"

Added a drawer at the top of the cabinet where the sink used to block underneath access

Kept all the pieces and modules, so it could all be restored in about 15 minutes... if I wanted a sink again...

Which I don't ! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #212
Not sure how hot the exhaust gets.
I've heard stories of people getting nice burns from them :rolleyes:
I do like the isotemp type engine coolant heaters.
But they ain't cheap.
Just wondering if anyone has every tried coiling 3/8" copper tube around a foot or 2 of the exhaust pipe.
I would imagine that with a recirc pump running for a few hours of driving, it would get 12 gal at least warm.
People do it on stove pipes quite a bit. I figured it would have at least been asked about or tried in the last 5 yrs.
There's no way I'm the first to be that smart,........or stupid.
 

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They make muffler heat exchangers and exhaust heat exchangers, seen nothing for a van.
There's no reason why it wouldn't work.
Maybe SS brake line tubing.
Determining where on the exhaust pipe is the optimum location.
 

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Discussion Starter #214
Ed, that's why I love that 3D program so much. I've already been able to eliminate a few things and make a few design changes without even doing any work yet. Obviously, real life is the true test, but I will do myself as many favors as I can.
Good thing that E-brake thread surfaced. I found a 4"x50" x21" gray tank. I have to get under there and measure a few things before I order anything else.
 

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Not sure how hot the exhaust gets.
. . .
Just wondering if anyone has ever tried coiling 3/8" copper tube around a foot or 2 of the exhaust pipe.
I would be worried about the water boiling in the coil, making steam and pressure. There is an upper limit on engine coolant temperature--uncomfortably close to boiling--but it should still be below boiling. The exhaust, on the other hand, can reach very high temperatures. It would not be good to have steam and pressure in a homemade hot water system.

The Dometic water heater I looked at that had engine heat boost used a 6" section of 5/8 pipe brazed to the back of the tank. So I think if you took a metal water tank of some kind, wrapped it with a coil or two of tubing, then insulated the whole mess you would be good. You then need a mixing valve. And you have to worry if the chemistry of the tubing you chose is compatible with the coolant and other engine parts.

On the other hand, IsoTherm has been doing this for a long time . . . . so they might know a thing or two about construction and safety.

We ended up deciding to try this (affiliate link):
and plan to mount it vertically in the shower cubicle. It has a fan to draw combustion air in and force the exhaust out, so we figured it would help vent the shower some while in use. It looks like the exhaust will be some challenge -- but I am up for that. If the fan is strong enough, I might try running the exhaust around a u-turn and straight down through the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #217
I'm assuming it's a propane on-demand type water heater(?)
 

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I would be worried about the water boiling in the coil, making steam and pressure. There is an upper limit on engine coolant temperature--uncomfortably close to boiling--but it should still be below boiling. The exhaust, on the other hand, can reach very high temperatures. It would not be good to have steam and pressure in a homemade hot water system.

The Dometic water heater I looked at that had engine heat boost used a 6" section of 5/8 pipe brazed to the back of the tank. So I think if you took a metal water tank of some kind, wrapped it with a coil or two of tubing, then insulated the whole mess you would be good. You then need a mixing valve. And you have to worry if the chemistry of the tubing you chose is compatible with the coolant and other engine parts.

On the other hand, IsoTherm has been doing this for a long time . . . . so they might know a thing or two about construction and safety.

We ended up deciding to try this (affiliate link):
and plan to mount it vertically in the shower cubicle. It has a fan to draw combustion air in and force the exhaust out, so we figured it would help vent the shower some while in use. It looks like the exhaust will be some challenge -- but I am up for that. If the fan is strong enough, I might try running the exhaust around a u-turn and straight down through the floor.
Thanks Baxsie

I thought of going instant & decided against for my thought water consumption would go up significantly in our case (sink only no shower). Im waiting for our new Johnson Pumps HWT that is similar to the isotherm, but also planing of the hot water line to be less than 2 feet long from the HWT.

once you are operational, I would like your data on how long you have to run the hot water before it is hot (how many seconds). Further if you use a measuring container to collect the “flushed” cold water the ”wasted” water could be measured in your system. In houses this can be overcome by a hot water recirculation loop, which in my van would be a bad idea. My HWT is planned to be right below my sink.
 

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I think MsNomer is right here.

The system should be designed as a “closed loop to atmosphere“ - that is intake from outside air & exhaust to outside air. If it takes intake air from inside the van (especially a hot moist air shower area), I would pass

edit; I stand corrected - you are right from what I can tell - it sucks the air from the van interior from what I can see

59898
 

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Discussion Starter #220
RV8R, I think it's ok to have it pull air from the van if you are using the shower in fair weather and can have a window open and your shower is also not sealed.
If also using it in winter, I would want a unit that works like the propex heater and pulls outside combustion air.
 
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