09Van Build Guide

Sprinter Van Plumbing

Step by Step Guide to the DIY approach to building your Sprinter Van

 

Summary

The topic of plumbing in the van is one of the most complex / robust topics when doing a van conversion. As with most of my build I did leave many things out of the build, so with my plumbing there are a lot of things you could do without if you wanted but for me and my version of van life I deemed them as essential parts of the build.

I wanted to use a low flow shower head on the van, that didn’t feel like a low flow shower head. So I went with the 1.5 GPM North Sierra Shower Head.

Shower Head
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The sink I selected for the van was the SpinFLo Kitchen center. The sink has been great in the van and I really like having the lid option. I haven't used all the other accessories such as the drain pan, cutting board and wash tub, mainly because with the sink rack on the lid you can’t close the lid with those items inside.

Sink
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This another add on for the ShurFlo pump that I used in my Van Build and what this does is provide more instantaneous water pressure when you go to use the tap. Without this you might experience a lag in water pressure until the pump catches up.

Accumulator Pump
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I went with the 12v ShurFlo 3GPM Water Pump. This unit seems to be a very popular option with the conversion community and so far its been great. I opted to include the the small screen filter to protect the pump from any sediment passing through and also the accumulator tanks

Water Pump
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Installing a tank meter on your system is not essential and probably an unnecessary expense for lots of people. But with the iSeries system it’s easy to install and save me having to crawl under the van to see the tank levels and from finding out that I'm out of water when it stops coming out of the tap.

iSeries Tank Monitor
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For dumping my greywater and blackwater tanks I wanted this process to be as simple as possible. So after doing a lot of research it seemed like the Valterra Knife Valve System was the most common. They make a model that can be used for a greywater and blackwater system as it has both a 1.5inch opening for the Greywater and 3 inch opening for the Blackwater.

Dump Valve
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Having a flush toilet after doing my research seemed to be the best option. I looked around at toilets and all of them see to have their pros and cons. After making the decision to use a Flush Toilet the RV Toilet from Dometic seemed to be by far the most common choice.

RV Toilet
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Due to the fact that space is so limited in the van I merged the toilet and shower area together. In order to do this I purchased a shower pan and toilet combo that allowed me to do this. The shower area isn't large but it does work well and no water doesn’t go all over the van when showering.

Shower Pan
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If you go with the ShurFlo water pump then you will want to get the strainer filter that goes on the intake side of the pump. This will help eliminate and large sediment from entering into the pump and potentially causing damage.

Strainer Filter
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For more information on the water filter system I used check below as I went it to greater detail.

Water Filter
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The majority of the build is done using PEX Pipe because its really easy to work with.

Pex
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When doing any plumbing work I’m sure the need will come up for some Teflon Tape.

Teflon Tape
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When working with ABS Pipe you will need to use ABS Glue or Cement to fuse different sections together. I used a Oatey Medium Body Cement that is designed for non pressurized fittings up to 6 inches, as my largest connection is 3 inches for all the black water fittings.

Plumbing Cement
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Used in the installation of drain pipes, sinks, and valves, plumber's putty will ensure a watertight seal. Providing that the putty is softened before use, it's incredibly flexible and pliant texture enables plumbers or DIY enthusiasts to apply the putty relatively easily

Putty
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ABS Pipe is the black plumbing pipe that you see at the hardwear store. In my build ABS Pipe was used in all the drains. So from the Sink to the Greywater, Shower to Greywater, Toilet to Blackwater and as well to connect the Greywater and Blackwater tanks to the Dump Valve.

ABS Pipe

In a few areas on the van where the plumbing piping is exposed / on the interior wall. I elected to use copper piping just purely for its appearance. The copper piping is less forgiving to work with and takes some skill to properly install and solder all joints together.

Copper Pipe

Install Process

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Pro Tips

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Author

Scott Adamson

Vanlife aficionado with his rescue dog Ellie. We travel around North America in search of good times and fresh coffee.