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Old 10-28-2013, 11:33 AM   #1
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Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

Hi all. I'm looking at buying a used SMB but it doesn't have water or rear AC. I called SMB and they do not do those retrofits on a completed unit, I guess as they run the lines behind the insulation. Does anyone have an opinion on how difficult/costly this would be to have completed? Would it ruin the fit/finish that's already there? I guess I have the same question in terms of an on-board compressor too. This is related to a Chevy Express.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:53 AM   #2
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

Are you sure you really need built-in water? A lot of people do without it, or if they have it, only use it for non-potable purposes. I removed the sink a year ago in our (used) SMB in order to make room for a third captain's chair. Haven't missed it at all. We bring along a five gallon water container that we fill at campsites. We do most of our cooking and whatnot outside, though, so the inside sink wouldn't be much use to us in any event.

One benefit to onboard water, I guess, is being able to haul larger quantities of water if you are going off the grid for a longer period. But you aren't likely to be able to retrofit that big of a tank, anyway.

To do an install similar to an OEM SMB water system, you'll need an external inlet, a water tank, a fair amount of piping and connectors (PEX or similar), a 12v water pump (need to run 12v power to the pump and install a switch), a sink or shower wand, etc.

Also if you are installing a sink, don't forget that if you are in developed campsites you'll probably need to also add a gray-water collection system, either a permanent tank (inside or underneath the van) or a hose that drains to a portable tank. Many campsites now expressly forbid outside shower setups, too.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:22 PM   #3
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

No, I'm not sure I need it. The purpose of the vehicle is for overnights near the river and to haul my scuba diving or kayaking gear. I need some sort of way to wash up afterwards as I hate smelling like lake water on the drives home so SMB is my solution. Maybe I can get away with a Mr. Buddy and a 5 gallon water jug & hand pump?

I'm an avid backpacker so I can do without but I was trying for something a bit more sophisticated
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:19 PM   #4
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

Check with Van Specialties. They don't seem to mind one-off projects and upgrades. Opening up a wall seems pretty trivial in the van conversion world.

http://www.vanspecialties.com/
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:22 PM   #5
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

SMB doesn't like to do retrofits. So you will have to find another supplier (like carringb suggested).

On board air is a simpler problem. Any competent off-road shop could handle that for you.

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Old 10-28-2013, 04:35 PM   #6
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

So you're basically looking for an outside shower setup, then, it sounds like? That should be an easier retrofit, depending on the floor plan. The main challenge is finding a place to put the tank. If you have something like an EB50 you'll likely have an easy time finding some space. I have a center-aisle design with a dinette; the tank is under one of the dinette benches. The trick is putting the tank as close to the outlet (e.g., shower) and inlet (water fill) as possible, so you don't have to run much in the way of tubing. If it is was all in the same area you might not have to mess with the paneling much, if at all.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

If you just want to be able to "hose off" gear, dogs, etc you might check out this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=11431
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ygreeny
Hi all. I'm looking at buying a used SMB but it doesn't have water or rear AC. I called SMB and they do not do those retrofits on a completed unit, I guess as they run the lines behind the insulation. Does anyone have an opinion on how difficult/costly this would be to have completed? Would it ruin the fit/finish that's already there? I guess I have the same question in terms of an on-board compressor too. This is related to a Chevy Express.
$50 for pex tool, pex and clamp fittings. plus or minus, I retrofitted the existing pump, tank, sink etc. I redid my entire water system because behind the insulation is against the van wall which means frozen pipes before there is even frost, plus the hot water has to travel a mile up over and around the van to get to the tap (at least in my build).

It's basic, basic stuff, but can take a lot of fittings and patience to go around all the existing bits.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:18 PM   #9
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ygreeny
Hi all. I'm looking at buying a used SMB but it doesn't have water or rear AC. I called SMB and they do not do those retrofits on a completed unit, I guess as they run the lines behind the insulation. Does anyone have an opinion on how difficult/costly this would be to have completed? Would it ruin the fit/finish that's already there? I guess I have the same question in terms of an on-board compressor too. This is related to a Chevy Express.

In my van I installed a 5gal water can that is in the rear storage area on the drivers side. I mounted a 12volt water pump on the wall just above the can and ran a hose behind my cabinets to the kitchen faucet I put in. I have a West marine switch panel installed above the kitchen counter that I use to turn on the pump. The pump has a pressure switch so it only runs when I open the faucet. For the gray water I found a 5gal can that is easy to see the water level thru and installed it under the sink. The sink drain has a short hose into the top of my gray can. It's easy to monitor how full the gray can is getting and when needed I pull it out and dump it. I carry an extra 5gal can with fresh water so when the first runs low it only takes a few minutes to switch it out.

I don't have a shower feed on this system yet so we use our solar shower and a shower tent I picked up at Walmart. Future plans will be to add the hot water for showers either a portable system that runs off the 1lbs propane bottles or the unit(can't think of what's its called)that installs inline with the heater hose to heat the water while the engine is running.

Let me know if you want to see pictures and I,ll go out and take some when its light out
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:46 PM   #10
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Re: Add rear AC and water to a completed SMB?

Found a picture of the gray water can under the sink. Can also see the four switches on the wall one is to turn on the pump.

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