Winterising me tanks!

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Allanm, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    Autosleeper dont do frost protection for their underslung water tanks, at least they didn't when I bought mine 7 months ago, but now the 2014 range can have a Winter pack option fitted, which includes heated tanks and an upgraded heater as well as blinds on the cab windows. It "now" achieves Grade 3 thermal insulation ( which mine already has but they didn't make a song and dance about it then!)
    So, I went to have a look at the new ones, knowing that they now use the TankBlanket system.
    Cab blinds? Check.
    Upgraded heater? Check.
    Tankblankets? Check.
    Lagging around tanks........no
    Lagging around drain pipes........no
    Lagging around water feed pipes from in tank pump to interior........no.

    In fact, all they have is a small tank blanket on the bottom of each tank.

    I did ring them to ask how much the tank blanket system was to have fitted ( before I saw them.) £124 for 1 blanket and 3 hours fitting, at £65 per hour!

    So, I decided to do it myself, but not using tank blankets.

    I ordered 2 x Cak Tanks internal tank heaters, 2 switches, 4 metres of insulating blanket and about 10 metres of Armaflex waterproof pipe insulation, in various bore sizes.

    This afternoon, I took off the waste tank, cleaned it out, drilled a hole in the tank and fitted the frost-stat, lagged the tank ( 2 layers) and fitted the tank back under the van. 2 hours!

    Tomorrow ( if its dry) the front tank gets drilled and frost-stat fitted, lagged ( without removing it) cables run into the vehicle, switches fitted and wired up to the vehicle electrics via 2 x 3 amp fuses. All outside pipework will be lagged using the self sealing Armaflex.

    Job done. Saved myself a couple of hundred pounds and the water system is properly protected ready for out trip down through France towards the Alps next month.

    Winter Pack Option, my :moon2:

    Allan
     
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  2. Mousy

    Mousy Funster Life Member

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    Well done Allan. Now that you've had a practice on yours, do fancy do mine for me...there could be a homemade lemon drizzle cake in it for you:Rofl1:
     
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  3. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    will there be copious amounts of tea??
     
  4. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I used tropical fish tank heaters which are 12 volt but run through a small inverter. Throw the inverter away and wired through a fuse and switch direct to the 12 volt system. A couple of quid each from a car boot sale. Job done. Worked fine, even down to -15.
     
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  5. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Good luck with the project, but don't be too confident. Lagging ain't no substitute for a properly designed internal water system when the going gets really tough.
    Even 'winterised' continental vans have problems when it gets really chilly.
    Having pipework INSIDE the van is no guarantee of success if it touches exterior walls or isn't followed by heater ducting.
    Haganap started a thread last year about winterising his Bessacar. That thread, and his blog, are well worth reading if you are modding a Brit van!:thumb:
     
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  6. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    I'm not expecting it to be as efficient as a factory fitted system, I have been fine with no lagging down to -5, so it should be ok a few degrees colder. I'll see how we get on next month and modify accordingly.
    Allan
     
  7. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    unfortunately you have to know where the weak spots are before you can fix them. and you can only do that by extreme testing and the years you have the MH.

    i have heated tanks, heavily lagged and redesighned pipe fall internal heaters rerouted to offer hot air in places where frezzing pipes became apparant.

    the best thing I done was to remove the external traps and then replace with internal ones. Because having done all the above year by year and test by test you iron out the problem areas bit by bit the traps caused most issues in getting rid of water. the tank heater in the fresh water and rerouted heater pipes cured the poorly designed fresh water routes from freezing...

    and when we test we test at temps dropping to -25 and at 2300 meters of height, far more than your manufacturer..:Smile:
     
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  8. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    Luckily, all the traps are internal, the drain pipes come out of the floor straight into the waste tank. I am using 25mm wall, self seal Armaflex for all the pipes , but I guess there will be times when the cold overcomes all this and we will have 60 litres of fresh water in the van to use.
    As you say, time will show the weak spots, and hopefully I will be able to cure / modify as time goes on.
    Or, we just follow the sun and spend every winter as close to the equator as we can!

    Allan
     
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