I want to be in Hot Water

Submitted: Monday, Jan 08, 2007 at 22:36
ThreadID: 41013 Views:4042 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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Hi Guys,
This has probably been done to death but I still cannot make up my mind.

I am rebuilding a 1973 Millard 17.5' van. I have replaced everything!!! above the chassis except for the frame and a couple of alum sheets. It's about 75% complete.

It's working out real well too. Although I need a life :).

The main question I have is about hot water systems. I almost bought a Coleman portable for about $350 or so, as it seems an easy option as the pricing on dedicated HW systems was much dearer than that.
I have a new pressure pump capable of running 3 taps together and all I really want is to supply hot water for the shower. A bonus would be for the kitchen sink but not necessary.

When finished I will have a 12v power system for lights, cooking, Entertainment and fridge from Batteries, a 240V (mains and Gennie) system for the A/C, Microwave and Bat charging and an 85w solar panel for Bat charging. Also gas for stove.

As I have just about completed the internal sheeting, I need to check whether the Coleman is the best allrounder for the job or whether there is something else out there better suited. I am now working on the shower area and although it's not yet too late, it soon will be.

By the way, I initially thought I might rebuild the van for $10k including purchase, but this site has opened up many new ideas to me and have now pushed that budget just a freckle. It will be brand new everything (I have bought just about all I need now) and looks and smells new and is just the way I want it. It's just a pity it's for the in-laws and not me.

In the end it will still only be $15k or so for a new van and as it's alum framed, there is no "age" issue other than basic shape styling which in my opinion still sets it out from the crowd of new vans and is much better looking than aged old vans.

I hope they enjoy it as much as I'd like to!!! :)

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Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Monday, Jan 08, 2007 at 23:52

Monday, Jan 08, 2007 at 23:52
Hi Camo - we have used both.
If you have an external shower, my advice : stick with the Coleman.
Several reasons :
1. Gas useage - the onboard units chew it up. The Coleman is very frugal.
2. Portable - easy to take outside to shower tent; simple to put on sink for wash-up water; can put beside van to do washing.
3. Price - Both units do the same thing, yet Coleman is a minimum of 50% cheaper.
4. Installation - Coleman none. Onboard - holes in van; wiring; gas pipes; water pipes.

Sounds like you are ready for a new career. Could be a huge market.....................Keith
AnswerID: 214155

Follow Up By: Camoco - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 09:32

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 09:32
Thanks Kieth,
I will be installing in it in the van in a permanent shower closet but.... I am setting it into a hatch accessible from outside to be easily unhooked and used elsewhere if I go the coleman route.

Seems like it may be the way to go.

As for the career, I like doing new challenges but I don't often follow them up with a repeat unless there are significant differences. Unfortunately, as I have learnt a lot doing this van. I don't have many regrets as to my approach but I would probably tackle a motorhome next. Better return on time investment plus it would be easier to do a slide out wall section (no I didn't do that this time).

FollowupID: 474436

Follow Up By: flappa - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 09:49

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 09:49
Colemans are very good and very reliable , but , occassional may require restarting or adjustment. They aren't really a "set and forget" like the proper HW systems.

My only concern would be being able to access it to do any adjustments without needing to go outside.

I would think a two way hatch would be the go.

FollowupID: 474439

Reply By: D-Jack - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 08:39

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 08:39
Can't help you with the hot water thingy, but I WANT TO SEE SOME PHOTOS OF THE VAN!
AnswerID: 214183

Follow Up By: Camoco - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 09:42

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 09:42
Hi D-Jack,

I have been tacking progressive build photos as I have gone along. Partly to remember what is where and partly to document the build.
I am planning on collating them once I am finished and putting them on the web.

Hope you can wait a bit.

I saw a Millard "rebuild" article in a recent Caravan and Motorhome Mag. I was hoping for some inspiration from it, but unfortunatlely it was really just a spruce up. Not the fault of the owners but seemed to be a bit of Journo hype.

I may talk to the mag later to see if they want to run this build. Not looking for glory, but it is hard to see much on decent rebuilds and I have never towed or used a van prior to taking on this project.

I must say I am keen on it now though.

The only comparable rebuild I have seen has been Vicky by John Rooth. He is a bit rough but quite clever and manages to hide his roughness in the end. Very good coverage with Photos and explanation and he is also keeping to the theme along the way.

I notify you all when done. I started the rebuild slowly in August and have now hit speed and running at about 75%. I had hoped to be finished by end Jan but more like mid March.

FollowupID: 474438

Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 10:15

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 10:15
One key difference we found was water - both use and type :
The inbuilt HW unit _Affordable_Storage_Drawers.aspx the shower water and wash-up water from your drinking supply. You waste some waiting for the hot to come through; plus being on hand, you tend to use more. This results in your drinking supply being used much faster.

We usually camp in National Parks, Forestry, Conservation parks, etc.
There is often a creek nearby, so we draw 10ltrs from the creek, and filter it through a water filter I fitted in the front boot of the van (using a $15 Dick Smith/Jaycar 12V shower pump).
So - Always plenty of hot water for showers etc, and not using the drinking water...Keith
AnswerID: 214200

Reply By: Member Boroma 604 - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 10:56

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 10:56
Would look at a Truma, Gas /Elect, S/Steel resivoir, no anode, 14 litres, heats to shower Temp in a bout 15 mins. Have had ours about 4 years, not a moments trouble.
AnswerID: 214207

Follow Up By: Camoco - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 13:08

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 13:08
Thanks Boroma 604,
While searching for the Truma (which I found) I came across the REZI instant HWS.
This looks just the ticket (although it will only work off 240v 15a)
I'll see what the in-laws think about this.
Anyone else used one of these???

Cheers Cam
FollowupID: 474468

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 13:34

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 13:34
Mate, have a look at the diesel powered Webasto hot water systems. Not cheap to start with but 10 litres would last you weeks. Site Link The Kimberley Karavan has one in it and it is fantastic. You could provide a space heater too heated by the same unit. Runs 12v and diesel with a heat exchanger to heat the water or the caravan. Lovely innovation. Better than gas with FRUGAL attitude.
AnswerID: 214228

Reply By: dags666 - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 16:04

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 16:04
Camaco, Bosch make a low pressure hot water system idea for caavans etc. I have one on our camper trailer uses very little gas and needs very little water pressure to work it. the model is Bosch W125-KV2P32S2405 bought it through reese plumbing supplies at brendale Dags
AnswerID: 214259

Reply By: Mr Fawlty - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 17:09

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 17:09
The Gin Palace has a gas only one, an Atwood, seems reasonable with gas use, takes an hour to heat 22 litres. All aluminium container with no anode...
I would like to organise a seperate water supply, if you are not connected to the mains, it takes water from the drinking tanks. I can enjoy quite a reasonable shower, it has a 9ltr/min shower rose which is as good as my shower at home...
AnswerID: 214271

Follow Up By: Member Boroma 604 - Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 17:26

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2007 at 17:26
Gooday again,
Think you will find the ZIP is only good while the water is running & fairly heavy on power, think the bigger ones may have a not sure.
The Truma will work off your caravan pump, or mains connnection. We use ours a lot when bush camping on the gas, turn it off at nght after we have used it, still hot enough to wash up in the morning in summer, in winter a few minutes on gas & ready to use again. Whatever you get make sure you get a nice low volume shower( Caravan suited), head or you will have a cold shower quickly.
Cheers Boroma604.
FollowupID: 474511

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