The SyncroBo Build: Part 4 – Water, Air, Fuel, & Climate Control

Compared to the electrical system the water system is very basic. We have a water tank mounted between the frame rails on the driver side of the van (~13 gallons) that feeds a General Ecology Water filter and via a Shurflo pump mounted under the rear seat. The faucet and filter are mounted on the side of the cabinet behind the front seat. This preserved cabinet space, and makes servicing very easy. The fill has been cut in on the driver side and hoses run through the frame to the tank. The sink drain runs into the front driver wheel well. Due to the tank being underneath the van the drain couldn’t run straight down as it would be on top of the tank. We can screw on a hose to the fitting and direct the grey water into a container if we need to. We do not have a city water connection on the side of our van, as we never used water hook ups.

Fill & Drain
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IMG_0485 by RandallBrownIII, on Flickr

Compressed Air 
The air system was an integral need from the beginning of the design. We wanted the ability to run air tools and air up the tires as needed. We decided on the dual compressor ARB CTMKA12, the unit is rated for a 100% duty cycle that was important to use because you don’t want to worry about it overheating at the time of need. We plumbed a quick release to one of the side Westy ports for our air hose building on the idea from GoWesty. For capacity we mounted two small air tanks in series underneath the van. This gives us a bit of reserve pressure for air tools. The air compressor is mounted at the rear underneath the closet. There is sufficient airflow and it has never overheated. The airline runs forward and then down and through the floor through some waterproof bulkhead fittings to the tanks and then comes back from the tanks to a water separator, filter, and then regulator. From there we have two “loops” we can connect to. One is a straight connect to the port on the side of the can and then other is a oiling loop, it has an inline oiler for air tools and then runs to the quick connect. When we aren’t using air tools we don’t connect the oiling loop. We have am assortment of air tools and blowguns to use on the go. The biggest asset has been a simple air gun, it’s the best tool to blow out dirt and dust from the interior and dry off dishes. Smile

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IMG_2891 by RandallBrownIII, on Flickr

Tanks (not the drain valves were changed to a lower profile type for impact resitance)
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IMG_0159 by RandallBrownIII, on Flickr

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IMG_0156 by RandallBrownIII, on Flickr

Heating/ Climate Control 
We installed a gasoline burning Eberspacher (B3LP) underneath the rear seat. This unit was sorted from Europe as a NOS item. We considered and purchased a Propex, but ultimately decided we didn’t want another fuel source and also were tight on space underneath the van for space. Mounting this turned out to be a pain in the butt. We needed to create a flat surface for the heater to mount to and cut holes into for the intake, exhaust, and fuel to come into. We ended up creating a plate that lines up with the pipes on the heater and then cutting that section out of the floor of the van and welding in the flat plate. Turned out awesome but was way more work than anticipated. The other issue is that the ducting and vent sizes were the same as most small heater so we had to source high temp ducting from an aeronautics supply company. Wasn’t expensive but it took time. The heater came with a very basic on/ off switch to attach to the loom. Well we studies and studied and the switch simply didn’t fit the harness. Given it was summer we moved on with the rest of the build. But we finally got it sorted in Europe at a campervan builder. They hooked us up with a new controller and we used the manuals wiring diagram to patch it together and it works amazingly well now. Highly highly recommend this heater if you want to stay gasoline. It burns about .1 gallons an hour and draws about 2 amps when running. Start-up draws about 25 amps for 60 seconds or so, and the same when you shut off. And this sucker gets HOT. In 35-degree weather it will sweat you out of the fan in about 20 minutes with the top popped. It’s also very quiet except for the ticking of the fuel pump. Doesn’t sound like the jet engine Eber’s on YouTube. We are going to write more about this in our travel section, but this has been the killer upgrade to the van, and the decision going with one fuel source for the van shouldn’t be taken lightly. We have been significantly more mobile and capable as a result of this heater being able to burn common gasoline. If we were propane, it would have added so many additional headaches to our travel. I would STRONGLY recommend you go with a furnace that burns the same fuel as your engine.

Heater under seat
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IMG_2888 by RandallBrownIII, on Flickr

Aux Fuel 
To extend our range and easily fuel additional appliances, we imported an auxiliary fuel tank that mounts under the passenger side of the van between the frame rails. We used a vanagon fuel filter and then plumbed in a Syncro fuel pump and it pumps into the vent line of the Syncro filler neck in the rear. So it acts as a transfer tank. We have to manually hit a button for the transfer to take place. Also, by using a Syncro fuel pump as the transfer pump we are carrying another live spare. The tank is fitted with a fuel tank sender than is connected to the VSM display. This tank holds 13.5 gallons. In addition to this tank we also have jerry cans on our expedition rack (see exterior modifications)

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