Running water is an absolute luxury that we all take for granted when living at home and is a game-changer when living in a van. Taylor and I converted a 2015 Mercedes 170” Cargo Sprinter Van, into a tiny home on wheels and ensured we have all of the essentials that we have in a house, like electricity, heat, and plumbing! This post covers all there needs to know about our plumbing system sharing diagrams below.
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Now that you checked out our van’s plumbing system diagram above, I want to talk about all of our van tools and required fittings to make this a success! My recommendation is to really think through your plumbing system for your build ahead of time, before buying all of your parts. Also, try to create a diagram and get it as detailed as humanly possible!
This helped me tremendously saving me several trips to Home Depot and Lowes!
To start here are our critical water components making up our plumbing system.
Some of the essential tools needed (especially if you’re using PEX, which I highly recommend) include the following.
For PVC (which we used for our supply spout)
Part 1 of building out the plumbing system, includes building out the water compartment next to the van’s garage and securing the water pump, water tank, and hot water heater in place. I also started to run the PEX cold and hot water lines to the shower of the van as well as the kitchen.
We’re using a mixture of Braided Vinyl Hoses and PEX pipes throughout the water compartment.
We used the following Vinyl Braided Hoses for:
We used a mixture of SharkBite push to connect fittings as well as plastic barbed fittings to lock our tubing in place. For our braided vinyl hoses, we used barbed fittings including, tee barbed fittings, barbed MPT, and barbed 90-degree elbow MPT and FPT fittings.
Honestly, it was pretty hard to find all of the necessary parts in one place. We found some of the fittings in Home Depot and Lowes but we also found a lot of great deals on Amazon sometimes finding cheaper deals here.
Here’s the breakdown of what was used where:
I did not put J-B Weld on the fittings yet but plan on doing so to ensure I have a strong water seal.
From a PEX perspective, I used Push to Connect SharkBite Fittings for everything. Below are the different fittings used.
Like I mentioned above, the most important part of building your van’s plumbing system starts with the plumbing diagram! Without it, you’re basically guessing what should go where and you will likely end up doing trial and error to figure out how everything should lay.
We prioritized quality over price for our plumbing system using parts that are on the expensive end. However, I wanted to build the plumbing system in a way that makes it easy to fix if anything were to go wrong. That’s why I chose to use PEX tubing and push to connect SharkBite fittings, it makes life a lot easier without the need to worry about soldering in tight spaces in your van.
If you’re interested in other van build posts, check out the following:
Before we decided to buy our own van we rented one to test the waters! This helped us realize it’s something we really want to do since buying a van and converting it is a lot of money and a lot of effort! We rented a van in Portugal and absolutely fell in love with van life!
A heads up: This blog post is a review of the van we rented, not really a van life video.
If you have any questions about how to install side panel bunk windows to your van, drop a comment below! If you’re interested, please follow our van build series where we will document every step of the build process as well as our youtube channel!
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