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Boondocking and the Water pump


FLYnGATOR

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I have questions with regard to the house water pump and filling the freshwater tank via the Boondocking port.

 

During extended Boondocking, I plan to have a large water container to refill the freshwater tank.
 

#1 What is the duty cycle of the house water pump and it’s affect on longevity using it in this manner?

#2 Is there a maximum length of hose if my water source is located above the freshwater tank and gravity assisted? Or should I purchase a dedicated water pump to transfer water via the freshwater port?

#3 Am I able to use the water container as a second freshwater tank and draw as needed via the Boondocking port?

 

Thanks!

 

Mark

 

 

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Mark & Claudia

 

“Mr. Douglas” 2024 LE ll twin, hull # 1457, Truma AC & WH, Platinum solar, Natures Head

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29 minutes ago, FLYnGATOR said:

#1 What is the duty cycle of the house water pump and it’s affect on longevity using it in this manner?

The answer to this question has a bunch of variables - the time the pump is run, how many times is the pump run, what is the pump being expected to "pull" and from how far, etc.  I've never had a water pump fail under virtually any circumstances while others have had them fail after only a short period of time for a myriad of reasons.

Having said all this - under the circumstances you describe, I think that you should do fine and that the standard water pump should serve you well for a number of years.  But, if you are planning to really be way out in the boonies and/or don't want to take the chance on the pump failing, then simply by a "spare" to cover that base.

35 minutes ago, FLYnGATOR said:

#2 Is there a maximum length of hose if my water source is located above the freshwater tank and gravity assisted? Or should I purchase a dedicated water pump to transfer water via the freshwater port?

I've virtually always used a 25 foot hose for the purpose you describe and the draw has usually been from the back of my tow vehicle or from a container located right at the inlet port.  However, on two occasions I did draw from approximately 50 feet without difficulty.  And, I've drawn from the back of my tow vehicle through a 25 foot hose while using a Camco water filter.

39 minutes ago, FLYnGATOR said:

#3 Am I able to use the water container as a second freshwater tank and draw as needed via the Boondocking port?

If I understand your question correctly - the standard procedure is that the port draws water into your fresh water tank and you must configure the water valves in order to do this.  Then you must reconfigure those water valves in order to pressurize the water lines inside the Oliver.  I've never actually tried to draw directly from my tow vehicle and use that water inside the Oliver at the same time.  My guess is that you can't do that. 

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Near Asheville, NC

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Awesome! Thanks for your advice as you are someone who’s been there done that!

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Mark & Claudia

 

“Mr. Douglas” 2024 LE ll twin, hull # 1457, Truma AC & WH, Platinum solar, Natures Head

2024 Ford f250 Lariat Ultimate 7.3L gasser / 3.75, FX4

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I carry a spare pump as they do sometimes fail.  I have it stored in a case and setup so it can be used to fill fresh water through the fill port.  (An alternative to using the house pump.)

Project here:

https://4-ever-hitched.com/ggs-blog/f/transfer-pump-project

 Craig - Hull 505

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In order to "balance" the equation - 

I've never carried a spare water pump in over 20 years of RV camping and have never had a problem with any of the water pumps.  

Having said this - I do always carry at least two gallons of water (stored in plastic milk jugs) in order to flush the toilet, wash my hands, etc. in the event I'm without water for ANY reason.

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Near Asheville, NC

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We've never carried a spare pump, either, as they are so commonly available. But, if you are planning to be "way out there" for long stretches, by all means,  carry a spare. They're not all that big or heavy-- probably 6 or 7 pounds.

We did use the pump for boondocking water a lot in the first few years. First pump lasted 7 or 8 years. 

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On 10/9/2023 at 4:11 AM, topgun2 said:

I've never actually tried to draw directly from my tow vehicle and use that water inside the Oliver at the same time.  My guess is that you can't do that. 

GJ NOTE:  This response is written for newer owners or those not well familiar with our OTT water systems.  For the OTT Pros, it is overkill.  

The Freshwater Port (On the street side) is designed to flow water directly into the OTT 32-gallon water tank.  My experience is that it can flow via gravity or a shore provided pressure system/pump.  To flow via gravity, you need a several feet of pressure head.  I.E. the tank on your TV needs to be a higher than the top of the OTT water storage tank.  The higher the pressure head the faster water will flow.  On occasion I have put a 25-gallon soft flexible tank on top of my bed cover to gravity flow water to the OTT freshwater tank.  A friend puts that same tank on top of his ancient Chevy.  NOTE:  Not all bedcovers or cab roofs will take such loadings without damage.  His is made from 1950 real steel, and my bed cover is rated for 500 pounds.  If you can't get the head elevation on your rig, then a pump will be needed if you are sucking water from a  non-pressurized source.  I tried putting the flexible tank in the bed of my F-150, but it did not flow much water.  I suspect that the pressure head was insufficient to overcome a check valve in the Freshwater Port line.  It is possible to draw water out of the tank using you OTT pump and fill at the same time via gravity or under citywater pressure.     

The Citywater Port that is located adjacent to the Fresh Water Port.  This port bypasses the OTT water storage tank and when connected to shore pressurized source will send water directly to the OTT faucets.  Do not use your OTT pump as the pressure is provided from outside the trailer (Your pump or the City System). There are significant risks in using the Citywater port.  I.E. the city or well may be pumping out water at a pressure that our plastic pipe will not handle.  Personally, I own a pressure reducing valve and still very very rarely use this port.

Freshwater and Citywater Ports Caution:  Under very high shore water pressure or if you oversize your supplemental pump, there is a potential for over pressurization of the freshwater system.  Be sure to check the flow rate/pressure at the fill point after it has been filtered by your blue filter.  Also, as the freshwater tank fills, it is wise to also slow down the fill rate as you approach the capacity of the freshwater tank.  No point in over pressurizing the systems and risk of damage as a result.

The Boondocking Port is my primary go to when boondocking.  I purchased a stiffer 6-foot garden hose that is cut near the middle to provide two hoses.  The side with the female end stays in the TV.  The side with the male hose bibb connection stays in Ollie.  The one in Ollie is longer than the one in the TV.  This allows me to elevate the 5-gallon water jugs to the tailgate of my TV for faster water transfer.  WHY?  To provide greater pressure head to the OTT pump when onboarding.   To boondock onboard water you have to flip the valves and use your OTT pump.  No, you cannot draw water from the faucets while using this Port.

PS:  Recommend you cut the 6' hose at a 45-degree angle.  Helps prevent it from sucking down onto the sides of the water jugs.

I hope that the above is useful.  

Geronimo John

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We spend most of our time off the grid boondocking. In addition to a full freshwater tank in the trailer, We have a custom 30 gal tank in the back of our truck. The spare tank in the truck has an open/close value with standard a standard hose fitting, fitted with quick release hardware. The truck tank also has a "breather vent" that allows water to flow out without creating a vacuum.  We run a standard 25' water hose from the back of the truck water tank to the Boondock trailer port / passenger side rear port (use quick release hardware without check valves on both ends of hose (trailer and truck tank) for quick/easy setup. We open the truck tank valve and set the trailer water pump valves inside the trailer to draw water from the boondock intake port. Next, we turn on the trailer pump and it fills the trailer fresh water tank in a few minutes. When full, we turn off the trailer pump, close the valve on the truck tank, discount the quick release connectors, put the Q/R travel cap on the trailer and truck tank Q/R valves. Next we drain any water left in the hose (able to this because the Q/R ends do not have check valves). Then we wind the hose and snap the two hose end Q/R together sealing the hose from contaminates.

This method of transferring water to the trailer fresh water tank is simple and does not require having your extra tank above the trailer to gravity feed. We can have the truck in any position with the trailer while still hooked up to the truck.

Another tip: We generally take outdoor showers from the outside water port to keep from overfilling the gray-water tank. 

 

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4 hours ago, taylor.coyote said:

discount the quick release connectors, put the Q/R travel cap on the trailer and truck tank Q/R valves

Where did you find quick release fittings with caps?

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6 hours ago, taylor.coyote said:

Another tip: We generally take outdoor showers from the outside water port to keep from overfilling the gray-water tank. 

Absolutely!

When and where allowed I will set up one of THESE TENTS for privacy along with a solar shower.  Mossemi also designed an enclosure that is basically a three sided curtain and can be attached to the side of the Ollie near the outdoor shower.  Either way, I always use unscented soap - particularly in bear country.

Bill

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6 hours ago, taylor.coyote said:

Next we drain any water left in the hose (able to this because the Q/R ends do not have check valves). Then we wind the hose and snap the two hose end Q/R together sealing the hose from contaminates.

Watch out for mold forming inside the hose. 

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On 10/21/2023 at 2:51 AM, taylor.coyote said:

We spend most of our time off the grid boondocking. In addition to a full freshwater tank in the trailer, We have a custom 30 gal tank in the back of our truck. The spare tank in the truck has an open/close value with standard a standard hose fitting, fitted with quick release hardware. The truck tank also has a "breather vent" that allows water to flow out without creating a vacuum.  We run a standard 25' water hose from the back of the truck water tank to the Boondock trailer port / passenger side rear port (use quick release hardware without check valves on both ends of hose (trailer and truck tank) for quick/easy setup. We open the truck tank valve and set the trailer water pump valves inside the trailer to draw water from the boondock intake port. Next, we turn on the trailer pump and it fills the trailer fresh water tank in a few minutes. When full, we turn off the trailer pump, close the valve on the truck tank, discount the quick release connectors, put the Q/R travel cap on the trailer and truck tank Q/R valves. Next we drain any water left in the hose (able to this because the Q/R ends do not have check valves). Then we wind the hose and snap the two hose end Q/R together sealing the hose from contaminates.

This method of transferring water to the trailer fresh water tank is simple and does not require having your extra tank above the trailer to gravity feed. We can have the truck in any position with the trailer while still hooked up to the truck.

Another tip: We generally take outdoor showers from the outside water port to keep from overfilling the gray-water tank. 

Exactly what I wanted to know, thanks!
 

Have you ever run into an overheat situation on the trailer pump while refilling the onboard tank?

Mark

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Mark & Claudia

 

“Mr. Douglas” 2024 LE ll twin, hull # 1457, Truma AC & WH, Platinum solar, Natures Head

2024 Ford f250 Lariat Ultimate 7.3L gasser / 3.75, FX4

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On 10/20/2023 at 3:03 PM, Geronimo John said:

No point in over pressurizing the systems and risk of damage as a result.

We don't use the City Water port.  

That said, we typically use the adjacent Fresh Water port to fill the 32-gallon fresh water tank.  Using an inline filter and flow meter (indicates how much water we've been using*), we'll fill the fresh tank until we notice water draining from the street side over-flow outlet.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe this causes any dangerous over-pressure in the system.

*Flow Meter:  when the SeeLevel gauge shows single digit levels of water (5% is the lowest we've seen with zero water available in tank) the max onboarding water volume indicated on the meter is about 27 gallons.  This verifies that the OTT 32-gallon tank provides only 27 gallons usable without the fresh water tank modification described in other posts.

 

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7 hours ago, MAX Burner said:

Using an inline filter and flow meter (indicates how much water we've been using*), we'll fill the fresh tank until we notice water draining from the street side over-flow outlet.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe this causes any dangerous over-pressure in the system.

This has been my method for the last 8 years.  No issues.  Mike

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4 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

This has been my method for the last 8 years.  No issues.  Mike

My method too.  

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15 hours ago, Nan said:

I have never boon docked before, but planing on doing it at the end of December. Please tell me what I need to do to be successful. 

Nan - 

There are many YouTube videos on this subject.  Simply go to YouTube and type boondocking in the search box.  HERE is a start for you.

A simple and safe way for you to "test" your boondocking "skills" would be for you to simply unplug your Ollie from both water and electricity while you are still a commercial campground.  That way, if you don't feel comfortable and/or something goes wrong, you can simply plug yourself back into the pedestal without fear.

Good luck.

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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On 11/30/2023 at 8:31 AM, MAX Burner said:

That said, we typically use the adjacent Fresh Water port to fill the 32-gallon fresh water tank.  Using an inline filter and flow meter (indicates how much water we've been using*), we'll fill the fresh tank until we notice water draining from the street side over-flow outlet.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe this causes any dangerous over-pressure in the system.

Unless you are filling your tank from a fire hydrant, it would be virtually impossible to over pressurize the fresh tank. The overflow hose is 4x larger than the inflow hose. PEX tubing has a standard hydrostatic pressure rating of 160 psi at 73℉. In general, residential water pressure ranges between 45-80 psi. You shouldn't run into problems there.

However, from personal experience, about 8 years ago we stayed at a commercial campground in San Antonio. When we checked in, management warned us that the campground water pressure was about 90 psi and recommended we use a pressure reducer to protect the water lines inside the trailer. "No problems, I don't need that", I thought to myself. I hooked up the water, placed one of the blue water filters in the line, turned on the water and went around to the other side of the trailer and sat down in a chair. A little while later someone walking by said that I had water coming gushing out of the other side of out trailer. Upon examination, I found that the sonic welds on the plastic casing of the blue filter have given way under the pressure and it had exploded. I removed the remains of the filter and reconnected the water hose. No damage to anything else.

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