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Water Storage

There are a number of solutions to storage of water in the back of a vehicle, and this becomes even more critical once a set of drawers are installed - potentially, it is also now more difficult to access them.

Certainly when travelling, the less work that is needed, especially with loading and unloading a vehicle, the more time is available for that sought after #6.

Add to this, the high cost of some commercial systems (~$500 for 50 lt)

Ivan Sanders has implemented a water storage solution based on the following criteria:

1.   Must be semi permanent - can be removed easily
2.   Can be filled easily
3.   Is pumped to the rear of the vehicle for easy use by all the family.
4.   Keep the budget intact for something more deserving..

The components of this system are:

  • Water Jerries ($20 ea for total of $60)
  • Pressure activated 4 lpm pump ($130)
  • Switch ($2)
  • Tap  ($5-$30 depending on style)
  • and of course, some hose.. (couple of $$ per metre)
Total cost of investment is approximately $200 - probably less, because everyone already has some jerries! - compared to the general price of almost $500 for a container for a commercial container - and that's before you buy the pump.

Here's each component in some detail:

Water Jerries

The basis of Ivan's system is that it doesn't involve expensive water containers - just the simple water jerry - in fact, he uses three of them to sit behind the seat (between the seat and the back of the drawer system) and between the wheel arches.

One jerry (20l) lasts Ivan's family of five for two days

The benefits of using the jerry are:

1.   If one breaks, you only lose 1/3 of your water (max)
2.   They can be filled in the car - or out of the car
3.   If one is contaminated, it doesn't affect any others
4.   Easily replaceable (did I say at LOW cost !!)

The points to note with fitting of these are:

The cargo barrier was retained between the drawers and the back seats - but the bottom half of the cage mesh was cut out to provide space for the jerries.

A method was required for ease of connection/disconnection to each jerry - standard quicklock hose fittings were used..  As a new jerry is required, it's standard cap is moved to the empty jerry, and the modified cap moved to a full jerry.

The seats sit down, and hold the jerries perfectly in place.

On the jerry side, (connecting to the barbed pipe in the cap), is a length of pipe to go to the bottom of the jerry.   The fitting required is available from any irrigation shop or hardware - quicklock male on one side, and 13mm barb on the other.   I drilled a 13 mm hole in the top of the lid and then gave the connector a heave-ho to push it through - you could silastic this on if you want, but I don't find there is any water leakage.  

Jerry to pump

On the outside (male quicklock side), note also the fishtank hose joiner used to provide some air intake (prevent a vacuum).   This has been extended up the pipe to minimise splash/spillage.

The pump ( a 4 lpm pressure activated job) has a rightangle hose connected, allowing the hose to the jerry cans to have a natural b
end - the length of the hose (from pump to jerry), is based on a natural bend to any of the three jerries being available.  

So that the hose isn't fouled inside the cargo area of the vehicle, a stainless frame was fabricated.  If you don't have some steel, you could use the cut out piece of mesh from the cargo barrier and some RHS to do the same.

Pump to Tap

The hose is run from the pump to the back of the vehicle - I have gone along the top of the fridge slide runner.

For the tap, I have just used a trigger hose gun thingamy (see photo). 

All connections in this section have hose clamps on them.


I used a switch (see photo above) with a light in it, but anything will do - so long as you can turn off power to the pump when required.   I just wired mine into the back of the accessories socket at the back of the vehicle, so it shares the same fuse.   Your choice whether to do this, or to run a dedicated connection to the battery with it's own fuse etc.

Other Notes

  • Initially I purchased a pump that wasn't pressure activated - that is, it needed the switch to turn it on and off.   I also pondered using one of those extendable laundry taps that all houses used to have a few years ago - they are about $30, but the biggest problem is that when you turn the switch off, the length of pipe between the pump, and end of the tap is full of water - as soon as you go uphill you'd have a fair old drip (I reckon).   This led to me using a tap at the end of the hose - but now there is a switch to turn on the pump, and a tap to let the water out....   I reckon there is no way around the tap at the end of the pipe - moral of the story - a switch activated pump is no good by itself - it needs to be pressure activated (ie, when you open the tap - or press the trigger, depending on your tap type, then the pump starts working.
  • I've seen these with a 12 lpm pump - way too fast - 4 lt is about right (especially because we want to be able to fill cups up with it..)
  • there is some logic to connecting all three jerries together from the bottom - they will equalise levels, and you won't need to swap the feeder pipe from one to another - obvious problem though, if it springs a leak, you lose all your water.  
  • there is some logic to connecting all three jerries together from the top - they should drain at equal rates - but if they don't, as soon as you start sucking air, your pump will stop.   An option is to put taps one each jerry to 'turn it off' - now it's starting to get messy ;-)

Email me if I can help !!  

Ivan Sanders


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