Build Stage 12 : Installing water tanks, water inlets and starting the Shower Room

Once the bedframe was complete we installed the lockable water inlet on the outside of the bus and the fiamma 70l fresh water storage tank under the bed frame. We had forgotten to mark out the best place for the water inlet at the framing/insulation stage, so ended up drilling into a one and half inch thick steel plate (which resulted in about 30 drill bits dying and about 5 hours of arm-numbing torture. As the hole we needed was about 70mm across it meant we had to drill about 50 holes in a circle and then smash the steel out with a sledge hammer/cold chisels/wrecking bar/angry fists/ weary heads). All in all another great lesson about forward planning!

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For our shower room we bought an old Thetford C200 Electric Flush Cassette Toilet for around £70 plus £20 postage. Having started the shower room once before, and built in another Beige Thetford toilet, we decided that the beige colour was simply way too 80’s looking, so decided to dismantle our efforts thus far, and buy a different white one. We were really pleased we did as the new one matched the shower tray and the wall board we had ordered. (If buying a used Thetford one becareful to not to get the beige one if you want a really nice white crisp finish!)

The position of the internal wheel arch really decided where our showroom was going to go, specifically the shower tray itself (something to consider for a tri-axle van). We decided to build a wooden box over the wheel arch that would act as a seat in the shower, with the shower tray sitting just to the left of it.

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We originally were planning on using a left hand toilet but this meant we would have to take the toilet waste through the bus to empty it. Unfortunately there was a steel frame member running horizontally from the wheel arch to the cab, right through where we needed to pull out the toilet waste tray to empty it. This meant we had to lower the toilet significantly by cutting off the bottom of the plastic frame to the toilet. Thankfully this was hollow so does not effect the performance or function whatsoever, but it did mean that because it was so low, that the waste door was now into the fibre glass skirting of the bus. But there was no choice. We had committed so no turning back.

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We drilled four holes in the corner of where we expected the waste locker door to go and then jigsawed out the rectangular section in between. The fibreglass was thicker in some areas and was very loose on the metal frame. This needed then packing out with timber in between the inner metal frame skin and the fibre glass, to enable to the locker door screws to be strong and secure.

The locker door hung out of the fibreglass skirt too much as well, so we had to make a timber frame addition here to pack that out too, and then covered in Sikaflex. Not a bad bodge job really in the end.

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The shower tray was a small caravan tray (cost about $50). We built a wooden frame for it to sit in, lined the underneath of it with several layers of acoustic underlay to cushion it slightly from the wooden van base underneath, and then drilled a 20mm waste pipe hole through the van floor. We sikaflexed in some waste pipe, attached it to the shower tray, and plugged it all in with trusty Sikaflex. We built a wooden framed section between the toilet and tray, covered with 6mm ply and then some pvc sheet that we bought cheap from a local window manufacturers. We then built a timber frame from 2’’ x 1’’ and 1 x 1’’ timber sections, covered it with 6mm ply, and then the slotted together the wall boards and glued them to the ply walls with super strength adhesive. We wired in the spotlights for the bathroom and added the switches for the kitchen into the left hand wall of the shower room.

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Building and adding the toilet door and adding the white pvc trim inside the shower was one of the least enjoyable we undertook and we kept putting it off because it was so boring. The door was made from timber frame covered with 5mm ply for strength and then covered in more of the slot-together shower pvc slats. The endging of this was then covered with pvc L-shaped angles. We opted for hidden hinges as we didn’t want clearly visable huge hinges inside or outside of the shower room. These were only about £8 for the pair from an architectural design website, but needed precise routering to install. We also decided at this stage to make the width of the shower room door match exactly with the width of the corridor between the shower room and the closet, so that the door would create a useful partion between the bedroom and front of the bus. This was to give us privacy for when the front double bed was extended when we had guests or to block light out from the front when parking in highly lit city streets. I would say this simple consideration is one of our favourite design features and works fantastically well – amazing for creating a cosy totally-blackouted-out cinema-in-bed hideaway!

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