Water Weight and Miles per Gallon - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2014, 01:06 PM   #29
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I remember our 3- 50 gallon motorhome tanks had baffles, of course the smaller trailer tanks don't. In the motorhome, the tanks were the width of the motorhome and having a 100 gallons moving from side to soie could be an issue.

I have not felt any negative effects with a half full trailer tank, the center of mass can not move more than a foot.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:35 PM   #30
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I like to fill up the water tank at home because I know what the water is like. Often the water at a destination is less desirable. Sometimes it will leave a chalky residue in the sink, for instance.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:17 PM   #31
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As we travel about water is what it is. Not necessarily unsafe but different from place to place.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:12 PM   #32
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As we travel about water is what it is. Not necessarily unsafe but different from place to place.
Different minerals in the water in different parts of the North America. I always filter the water going into the fresh water tank. Not because I'm concerned about the safety of the water, or even the taste, but I want to eliminate as much of the stuff could grow inside my tank as possible. Therefore I use a fine ceramic filter with an activated charcoal core. So far this and an annual cleaning has kept the growies mostly away. Once while at Quartzite I had something growing. A bit of Clorox and flushing fixed the problem. I think it had been over 2 years since I did a clean and flush.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:27 PM   #33
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Many of the things we do are just part of the yearly schedule like the bearings, inspecting the brakes, rotating the tires and painting any rust. None of it takes very long and just forces an inspection of the whole rig.

One thing we also do is to go through every storage area to review what's there.

We do the water each year before we take off, not that it's necessary. Flushing the system including all tanks with city water and bleach.

This year we have to have our propane tank re-certified ($5).
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:36 PM   #34
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1 gal of water is 8 lbs so a 30 gal tank filled 1/2 full would weigh 120 lbs.

120 pounds of water moving around in a water tank at the back of the camper that weighs 1500 to 2000 lbs and is being towed, well that is quite significant compared to a really heavy motor home with a tank with baffles.

To further the problem, When the water moves to the left, that forces the trailer tong to the right which forces the tow vehicle and so on. Allot of forces come into play. Do you think this might cause some extra sway?
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:44 PM   #35
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Water moving around in a tank effects handling so that is why tank trucks have baffles inside. It would be best to either have the tank full up or completely empty.
having spent years having to calculate out ships stability I agree. Water tanks in trailers are much like a ballast tank on a boat. Always better for stability that they be either empty or full. Free water movement (known as Free surface effect) generates far more instability than some might think... even the relative small amounts in the tanks of most of our trailers.

Think most people would be shocked to learn just how little water it would take free flowing across the main car deck of one of the large car ferries that BC Ferries operates to turn it into the next Herald of Free Enterprise.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:02 PM   #36
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The Scamps have water tanks that are about a foot wide and half full in a Scamp means 6 gallons or 50 lbs. Water can not move from one side of the trailer to the other. Side to side the water can not move very far, at most a half foot from side to side of the tank. I suspect the side forces created by a passing car are greater or a gust of wind.

I don't believe water motion in our tanks has much effect on the trailer. I suspect front to back motions, though longer have less effect.

We have never experienced any sway with our Scamp or Casita, water induced or otherwise. The only thing I ever notice is a passing car carrier. their shape, or possibly non-shape, seems to create noticeable turbulence but never sway.

It should be added that we have an anti-sway bar though the Casita was never towed with one and the Scamp was originally towed without one.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:12 PM   #37
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I like to fill up the water tank at home because I know what the water is like. Often the water at a destination is less desirable. Sometimes it will leave a chalky residue in the sink, for instance.
Unfortunately, I also know what our water at home is like - bad! With Carol, I also don't like the extra weight at the rear of the trailer, so we will continue to travel with empty tanks. Mileage is one factor among many to be weighed in the decision.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:32 PM   #38
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The Scamps have water tanks that are about a foot wide and half full in a Scamp means 6 gallons or 50 lbs. Water can not move from one side of the trailer to the other. Side to side the water can not move very far, at most a half foot from side to side of the tank. I suspect the side forces created by a passing car are greater or a gust of wind.

I don't believe water motion in our tanks has much effect on the trailer. I suspect front to back motions, though longer have less effect.

We have never experienced any sway with our Scamp or Casita, water induced or otherwise. The only thing I ever notice is a passing car carrier. their shape, or possibly non-shape, seems to create noticeable turbulence but never sway.

It should be added that we have an anti-sway bar though the Casita was never towed with one and the Scamp was originally towed without one.
Keep in mind Norm that not all trailers have the tanks as the stock Scamp has them. There a number of trailers with the tanks across the rear and lots of photos here of folks doing such changes to their Scamps.

If one stays at below 55 mph as you indicate you do Norm then your right the water may not be an issue no matter what the conditions are outside.

Funny enough my one big scary enough sway in six years towing my 16' Scamp where I was compelled to use the lever on my break controller was with a 3/4 full tank of water (long funny story as to why it was 3/4 full which is not my normal practise) while doing 65 mph and a slightly windy situation, although the trailer had been through far heavier winds without water in the tank in the past, traveling at that same speed and had no issues. Willing to bet that the extra weight of the water sitting on one side at the rear of the trailer & the fact it took a bit of weight off the tongue had more than a little to do with the sudden sway issue .... yup slowing down to 55 mph took care of the issue.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:59 PM   #39
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Carol, We normally do drive at 55 except on Interstates, which we avoid when we can, and the TCH. On Interstates and the TCH we do 60-62. I would expect you are correct and it's more likely the lightening of your tongue. I wonder how much 65 pounds of water effects your tongue weight. Next time I weigh my tongue I'll weigh with and without water in my tank.

With the a 3/4 full tank there can not be much of a weight shift.

As to modified trailers, I can't imagine how to handle that situation. Certainly large volumes of water shifting from side to side could cause problems.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:16 PM   #40
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I would think 90# of water weight would matter more to trailer weight distribution and suspension than to fuel economy in "typical" use. Noting exceptions for stop and go or lots of hill climbing.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:20 PM   #41
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Roger, Hard to disagree with the physics of your statement.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:34 PM   #42
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Now all I need to do is a couple thousand mile camping loop to test the theory out! Last time I did that it was in the school bus camper (would have looked right at home next to your geo dome house).

That beast had 80+ gallons of water but weighed around 17,000 lbs. and got about the same gas mileage in all situations except downhill. Low enough mpg that it was ridiculous to even worry about if water made any difference.
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