diy van build plumbing

How NOT to Do Your Van Build Plumbing?

Materials needed for this project →

Navlifer Jeremiah Luke Barnett

I’m here for ya.

Seriously! Reach out on Instagram or YouTube with questions.

Hollar at me on Instagram or YouTube.

The video in which I gain respect for plumbers…

Step 1:

Decide on location and how much space you want to use, size of sink as well as amount of freshwater capacity, and then build the space!

I built my “kitchen” right behind the driver's seat and planned the size of it all to fit my entire electrical system (under the right side of the kitchen), my fresh and grey water (the big empty cupboard you see on the right), my sink (sitting above the fresh water), and my induction stovetop (sitting above the electrical system).

As it turns out, I have just enough space in the left cupboard for four 6-gallon jugs as well as the tubing for the Whale babyfoot manual pump, and the depth of the sink mounted in the countertop. I went with a 13” x 15” sink to fit my counter space but still be medium-sized.

I am not sure how long 18-gallons of freshwater will last me on the road, but I feel happy with that amount for now.

Step 2:

Assemble PVC pieces for drainage from the sink and fit tubing.

The Ruvati sink has a female threaded plastic piece on the bottom to which you need to attach various PVC pieces to feed down into the tubing you’ll use to direct water from the sink bowl into your grey water jug.

I took the little grey threaded piece into Home Depot (our mighty DIY van build heroes!) and played around with all the available pieces until I found pieces that in combination would bring the grey piece on the bottom of the sink down to a barb that would fit inside 1/2” internal diameter flexible tubing.

I then cut a short length of 1/2” internal diameter tubing (the length was determined by where I planned to position my grey water jug in relation to the other fresh water jugs as well as the bottom of the sink), shoved it all the way onto the barb on the bottom of the sink, slid a small metal clamp ring up around the tubing now wrapped around the barb, tightened that bad boy as much as physically possible without breaking the clamp, and ran that little bit of hose into the opening of my grey water jug.

Step 3:

Mount Faucet and measure and cut tubing.

I mounted my goose neck faucet to the back right of the sink so that the tube running from the base of the faucet could run directly to the Whale Babyfoot pump, which I knew would be mounted to the right of the cupboard opening since I would be using my right foot to pump.

I took a hole saw drill bit the same size as the base of the goose neck faucet, drilled a hole through my countertop, stuck the faucet through and secured it using the provided pieces.

I then wrapped Teflon tape around the threads of the faucet, attached the appropriately sized barb (again, playing around in Home Depot’s isles) on the bottom of the faucet, and then cut a length of 1/2” internal diameter tubing to run from the base of the faucet to the foot pump (which would be mounted just outside the cupboard for easy access). Jam the tubing as far up the barb as you can (with enough force, you can work the tube all the way up the barb as far as it will go, this is recommended) and then use small metal clamp rings to securely tighten that connection point (put your back into it for the sake of avoiding leaks!)

NOTE: I had to go back and reaaaaallllly securely attach the barbs to their respective attachment points (one at the faucet bottom, one at the sink bottom) to prevent leaks. Take some wrenches and really tighten those connections to keep it water-tight.

I then took one of those metal clamp rings, stuck it around the tube, jammed that tubing as far onto the foot pump prong (the output prong) as possible then tightened that clamp ring to kingdom come.

Step 4:

Secure jugs and run tubing from fresh water jug to foot pump.

I stuck all my jugs under the sink, making sure that the grey water tank was safely reached by the tube coming off the bottom of the sink and that the tube running from the base of the faucet to the foot pump were where I wanted them and unobstructed, then I screwed some wood screws into positions on either side of the jugs in order to be able to stretch a bungee cord from one screw to another and keep the jugs in place while driving.

I then measured and cut a portion of the 1/2” internal dimeter tubing from one of the fresh water jugs to the foot pump and secured it to the foot pump using a metal clamp ring (attaching it to the input prong).

Once everything was in place and my tubes were connected, I drilled the foot pump directly to the floor (which is vinyl on top of plywood).

Originally published on my site,




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