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Old 08-16-2015, 03:57 PM   #1
Name: Eric
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 37
Utilities and other options

I would like to get some input on locations for water tanks, shore power inlets, power centers and even external access doors. Since I have a blank canvas, a 2014 unfinished Trillium 4500, and need to cut all external access holes, I was wondering if any of you would have any suggestions for specific locations or do's and don'ts.

I will be putting in a fresh and grey water tanks, a PD 4045 power center, LP stove & fridge. I would also like to add an external shower, external curbside propane outlet, external access doors for either or both front and rear dinette storage compartments and plumb an LP line to the lower portion of the closet or a portable propane heater.

I am assuming that the freshwater tank should go in the pan behind the axle and the smaller grey water tank under the driver side rear dinette in order to keep tongue weight down. I was thinking of putting the the PD-4045 under the front dinette, driver side. Does anyone see any possible issues with my current train of thought?

Oh yeah, I will be wiring the trailer for solar but will not be hooking it up right away.

Thinking about putting a city water inlet curbside.

There will not be a furnace, water heater or a/c.

I would appreciate any feedback!
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:09 AM   #2
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Tim D.'s Avatar
Trailer: 1986 17 ft Bigfoot
Posts: 117
Sounds like you have given this a lot of thought already.

With regard to fluid holding tanks locations, I consider

-weight distribution [sufficient tongue weight, not so much weight aft that the trailer sways, and perhaps balancing weight port and starboard],

-usable space in the cabin [mount in the cabin or underneath?], and

-potential freezing temperatures [with no furnace I'm guessing this is a summer-only rig so mounting underneath will not be a problem].

-location of plumbing

Your location of a power center under dinette sounds fine to me: close to the battery or batteries which will presumably be on the tongue. When you get around to solar, you'll want an inverter mounted as close to the batteres as possible. For good information about RV solar see https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

If you plan to be sitting away from shore power for any length of time, a manually controlled, rather than electronically controlled, refrigerator would be my choice. The electronically-controlled models may draw 0.5 amps 24/7, even when you are running the fridge on propane. The only new manual model that I am aware of is a Norcold. N305/N306 | Products | Thetford This model is available in ac/propane and ac/dc/propane configurations. Dometic no longer manufactures a manually-controlled model. Used manual refrigerators with rebuilt cooling units are available from various rebuilders around the country.
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:36 AM   #3
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The Minimalist's Avatar
Name: Clif
Trailer: 08 Weiscraft Little Joe 14 Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT
Posts: 754
I can't think of a back in or drive through campsite I have camped in where the utilities are on the curbside. I don't have much experiences with black and grey water tanks, as the Little Joe has neither. However, most dump sites are on the way out of a campground and are on the curbside.

As to the location of appliances, trailer balance, front/rear and left/right, is of utmost importance. On this point, I would recommend looking at the floor plans on several trailer manufacturer sites and see how they do it. You may have to call some of them to see where their tanks are located. I would think that you would want to place the tanks so that they maintain balance in use. i.e., you don't want the fresh water in the front and the black/grey tanks in the back, as the balance would shift as you used water.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:47 AM   #4
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 11,542
All the trailers I have seen have had the waste dump connections on the street side. I would assume the dump stations are compatible with that set-up.
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:48 AM   #5
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Name: RB
Trailer: 1992 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 121
Before you go too far down the road of placing things, particularly heavy things like tanks and appliances, consider this:

Caravan Dynamics

Simply put, you want tongue weight as high as your TV can cope with to a minimum of 10% of trailer weight and you want as much heavy stuff as possible close to the axle to minimize polar moment of inertia.

The fresh water tank on my 16' Casita is about a foot forward of the rear bumper. It really does reduce the stability of the trailer to tow it with a full fresh tank and empty black and gray tanks (black tank is way forward, gray tank is about halfway between axle and hitch). One of the things on my winter project list is to move the fresh tank as far forward as I can to reduce its influence on trailer CG when full.

Also, think about stowage. Once you've placed the heavy, immovable things, you still have to allow for stuff like toolkits, pots and pans, and the heavier stored objects. Light stuff (clothes, bedding stowage) should go overhead and high, heavy stuff needs to be down and centered or down and forward.
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Old 08-19-2015, 08:08 AM   #6
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Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 2003 16 ft
Posts: 1,899
As Tim alluded to, I’d spend some time with weight and balance.

There’s the mount it and hope for the best strategy or you can s.w.a.g. it using rudimentary statics calculations. A table of appliance and tank weights (full/partial/empty). Assume a point load for each component that is at the center of the component footprint.

Starting with the empty shell the model is basically a seesaw with the pivot at the axle and the starting tongue weight at the hitch ball fitting. Adding 100 pounds 3 feet in front of the axle is distributed proportionally to the axle and the tongue depending on the proportion of that 3 feet to the total distance axle-to-tongue. Adding weight behind the axle increases the load on the axle while reducing the tongue weight. I’d probably have two spreadsheets; Front-to-back and Left-to-right.

Then I’d probably draw up a floor plan with additional cut outs for appliances, tanks, bed, table etc. and go to town, checking the balance as I went.

But then, I’m an engineer and I can't help myself.
Without adult supervision...
Quando omni flunkus, moritati.
I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:25 PM   #7
Name: Eric
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 37
Thanks for all the responses and the ideas! I have a lot to think about now in regards to balance. I'm glad everyone on this forum is willing to give advice and share their experience. It really makes the building process more enjoyable. Thanks again!

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