Monday, October 17, 2011

....setting up a sink in your van.

....When I built my kitchen cabinet I struggled with the price of an rv sink. The units I found were in the mid 200$ range and I just couldn't swing it so I decided to build my own. I had just a few requirements...

1. Battery Operated
2. Hidden (mostly) when not in use
3. Cheap
4. A large water capacity

I wanted a push button sink. I had a hand pump sink in an old pop-up I had and it was always a PIA so this time around I got a 12v pump/faucet combo from Jabsco on Ebay. Here it is.

Installation was pretty straight forward for the electrics and a bit more problematic for the water supply. The pumps + wire attaches to the faucet switch's + wire and then to the +12v from the battery. The ground from the pump goes to the ground of the van. That's it for the here comes the fun part.....Water source.....

A usable water container proved to be difficult. Sure, I can buy an RV fresh water tank but where is the fun DIY in that (honestly, I wish I had. My trial and error on this was costly). I ended up using a blue Reliance 6 gallon water jug which I modified the spigot end so I could hook a hose directly to it. Here is the jug...

Mine is a little different than this as it has a screw on breather cap. I got mine at Wallyworld. They make a smaller 4.5 gallon unit as well and that would be great for a setup that used less space.

The next step is connecting it all together. I ruined about 3 different containers (and different valves) trying to cut a hole in the water container and glue the right kind of connection in. One failed at night with a full jug of water and soaked my floors so I decided to go a different route. The Aqua-Tainer has an on/off spigot for the water. This spigot is two pieces. The big piece screws onto the container and the actual spigot part screw into this plastic ring. I unscrewed the spigot part and went shopping.....and did not write model numbers down so you'll have to do a little legwork. Sorry.
First, I bought a plastic thingy in the plumbing section (at lowes I think) that had the same threading as the inside of the plastic ring. This bit was also threaded on the inside (basically a reducer). I screwed this into the Aqua-Tainers plastic ring using some teflon tape. Then I found a screw in barbed connector (at Tractor Supply) that matched the inside of my reducer and screwed that in using teflon tape. This barbed fitting matched the inner diameter of the plastic hose coming from the pump (be sure to measure that!!! Once cut, you cannot return plastic hose). In my case I found one that was at a 90 degree angle, which worked for my shallow cabinet. The pump and faucet will need a connector hose too and I think that this is a smaller diameter than the pump inlet hose (maybe not, measure everything twice).

The whole thing has to be removed to fill the water which is a pain but there is a screw on breather cap that sits on the top of the water tank. I am thinking of attaching a hose to this which will get routed to the outside of the van with one of these... I can easily fill with a hose. Remember to close the breather cap while you are driving with a full tank because water will slosh out of it.

OK, so the pump and faucet are all hooked up. One of the things about the pump is that it needs to be below the water source (a little water pressure) to work. Sometimes mine is finicky if the breather cap and hose angle aren't just right but a little shimmying usually gets things going. The next step was the.......

Sink. I used a stainless steel bowl that I already had and cut a hole in the bottom and added a sink drain kit from Lowes. Cutting the stainless was a pain with a hole saw but it worked and the sink drain was pretty straight forward. I used plumbers putty around the hole and the whole thing works fine. I used a washing machine outlet hose for the drain and drilled a hole in the floor for it. The hose stays put with a little silicone and a rubber drain stopper closes off the exhaust fumes while I am driving.

I countersunk the sink Bowl and made a wooden plug that sits in the sink so I can use it as a counter top too. On the underside of the sink cover I mounted a knife sharpener. I spent a bunch more on this project than I should have because of trial and error but as a whole the system works great now. Just remember to close the breather hole while you are driving (I always forget!!!)

1 comment:

  1. This is very helpful. In my van I'm planning to get a kitchen island. Yes I'm not that handy to build a cabinet out of scratch. But this will come in handy when I get it to build the sink part.