building the shower - Yay! - Fiberglass RV

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Old 09-19-2012, 08:38 PM   #1
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Rick G's Avatar
Name: Rick
Trailer: former Boler, now 1980 Trillium 4500
Posts: 368
Smile building the shower - Yay!

Now, finally I got to do the shower! As I stated in my other thread on the front cupboard, we have wanted an interior shower to preserve some privacy when we are camping at ball tournaments and boondocking where there are no facilities, which happens several times a year for us. We are happy to use campground showers or a municipal pool when they are available, but still there are occasions where it is not possible. We have used a shower tent, but sometimes feel the lack of privacy is less desirable. Our trailer has the front dinette which converts to a single bed, and we also wanted to preserve that function. Even if we had a shower, we would only be using it for a few minutes each day, so maintaining the original functionality of the dinette was important. We decided to put the shower in the front passenger side corner, which had open space around it that made it more accessible.

First, the drain. I decided to have the drain go out of the trailer into a bucket below. That eliminates any complicated plumbing. We can then just empty the bucket wherever it is convenient. I found a rubber tub that fit beneath the seat and drilled through the floor of the trailer, and installed a standard sink drain. Easy.

Second, the shower. I bought the 12V car wash system that was described in a post last June for $9 at XS Cargo. I removed the system from the large bucket it came from, shortened the hose substantially, and attached it to a hand held shower head with an off/on switch. The mounting for the shower head was mounted permanently in a space on the trailer wall. I found a 2 gallon tall narrow bucket at Wal-Mart and used that for the water reservoir. It should be tall and narrow so that the pump gets almost all the water before running dry. The setup gives a wimpy but adequate shower stream. I don’t want it too strong in order to save water, and also to prevent it from getting water all over the place.

Third and most challenging, the shower curtain. I decided to use cheap thin and light shower curtain liners, held on to an upper ring and then supported on the dinette seat by a lower ring, both of standard copper plumbing pipe. The shower curtain would extend into the tub to direct the water into the tub without getting everything else wet. I decided to make the rings removable and able to be taken apart for storage, since I wanted the entire shower unit to be able to be stored in and under the dinette seat we were using. The shower curtain hooks were attached to the curtains, not the rings, to make setup quicker.

With the available space in a small trailer, it will always be a challenge to have enough room, even though my wife and I are both fairly thin. So, I made the upper ring wider in the open space to give a bit more room to manoeuvre the upper body.

The pictures show the upper and lower rings. The upper ring sits on 3 hooks, and against the front wall of the trailer to prevent it from being pushed down in the open area. I was not able to put the hooks in the best spot on the trailer wall because I had to use spots where there was a “tabbed” layer there to screw into, so I made extensions out of steel to hold the ring up. The lower ring simply sits on the seat and forces the shower curtain out wide so that it does not cling to the body. Both rings can be dismantled and fit under the seat for storage.

Then the test. I was camping at a ball tournament last weekend and decided to try it out. I hadn’t made the rings yet so just jury-rigged the shower curtain up with a lot of clamps. The first time I used just cool water because it was late afternoon and my water jug had been sitting in the sun all day. It was bracingly cold! I got some water in the trailer because I was using quick connects to attach the hoses. They worked fine but I forgot to tighten the adapter for the shower hose itself. I used only about half of my 2 gallon reservoir of water, but had a sufficient sailor shower (get wet, turn water off and soap, rinse). The next morning I heated some water on the stove. I found that I had to heat about half the volume of water to boiling to get a really nice warm shower. This time I used all the water, just to see how long it took. I had a nice long shower, longer than I actually wanted, at a guess maybe 5 minutes. It was heavenly luxury and I couldn’t stop smiling for an hour or so afterward. My drain tub easily held all the water. When I got home I made the final rings that are in the pictures here.

So, now we are ready to go, no longer concerned about whether we can find a shower. We won’t use it all that often, but if feels great to know it is there is we need it. Some day I might go ahead and hook it up to the water tank with an on-demand heater, but we will wait a year or two to see how this works and how often we use it.

Rick G.
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:00 AM   #2
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some of us are more than jealous, congratulations on an extremely creative solution.

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Old 09-20-2012, 07:12 AM   #3
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Nice job. I wouldn't have thought of using that compartment as a base.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:18 AM   #4
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would using plastic pipe save some weight?
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:33 AM   #5
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Name: Rick
Trailer: former Boler, now 1980 Trillium 4500
Posts: 368

Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
would using plastic pipe save some weight?
yes, in theory I might save a bit, but the copper pipe only weighs about 4 pounds for both rings, and it is stiff and maintains its shape well when jutting out into the open space, plus being smaller in diameter so it fits into the hooks well and stores underneath easily. Plus, I had most of it lying around from a previous project so it only cost a couple of bucks for a few extra fittings.

Rick G
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:56 PM   #6
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:39 PM   #7
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I wondered how you would preserve the front dinette. From concept to sucessful execution is very satifying. Good for you. Now we'll see what ideas you have sparked. Thanks for sharing. Raz
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Great JOB! Good thinking on this one!
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:21 AM   #9
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Very nice!

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