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Old 04-26-2014, 10:54 AM   #1
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evy's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Terrebonne, Canada
Posts: 216
Camping in cold weather vs plumbing & tanks

Ok so I red a lot of posts about insulating the campervan, I live near Montreal Canada, I'm thinking I want to have the possibility to camp out from mid March (23°F avg) to mid December (21°F avg), so it can get pretty cold (mostly at night).

Working on my design for a DIY campervan, I came up with a couple of ideas, please tell me what you think and what your experiences are.

Basically I'm Trying to move all the water tanks inside the vehicle rather then under it :
-Fresh water tank with pump under the bench.
-Grey water tank under the bench next to the kitchen sink (gravity)
-Black water tank : Thetford cassette, under the toilet seat but above the van's floor
-Grey water from the shower : I was thinking making a 27"x24"x8"High shower base slopped to a SIDE drain connected to a small pump transferring the water to the grey water tank under the seat, maybe with a manual on/off switch (no floats)

As a result all the water pipes and tanks are above the van's floor and in the heated area. So no insulating the tanks or heating pads/wires under the van.

Am I forgetting anything?
Am I over thinking this?


DIY conversion build, extended 2010 Ford 5.4L E250 + high top, from Montreal Canada, new to all this so please be patient and clear with me (never built or camped in a van yet)
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:06 PM   #2
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carringb's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 5,017
Re: Camping in cold weather vs plumbing & tanks

My only thought is the grey water....

You don't have to worry about protecting the grey water tank so much because you can just throw some Rv-pink antifreeze down there. Just be sure the trap is in side the van. Moving it underneath should free up some valuable inside space, and it you ever had a leak it won't make a mess inside (and avoids extra complication with a shower sump pump). A heat trace at the drain valve will ensure you can dump in cold weather. My past tailer had heated and enclosed tanks, but I still had trouble dumping the tanks when it got into single digits.

BTW - I really like your layout

2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:27 AM   #3
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4MacFam's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 163
Re: Camping in cold weather vs plumbing & tanks

X2 on the grey tank outside. I just pour some pink stuff in. I do have the luxury of a heated garage when I return, put a 5 gallon bucket under the drain pipe and leave it open over night. Even with the pink stuff it turns to snow cone ice and is hard to empty without heat.

I had SMB install all my water tubing INSIDE the van instead of in the walls. The drain valve for the fresh tank is also inside the van to make sure no pockets of water can freeze outside the van.

I didn't notice a heat source inside the van. Here in Wisconsin it can get pretty cold at night and unless I'm constantly plugged in to shore power an electric heater would suck my 2 house batteries dead in no time trying to keep the van warm. I have a propane furnace to keep things warm.

Good luck with the plans.
Steven McKenzie
Madison, WI
2013 E350 EB-44, V10 6.8ltr
Toyo LT285/70 R17
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