Thursday, March 31, 2016

Standards aren't all that standard which is why hanging the waste barrel was so hard.

Today was the day designated to installing the waste barrel under the bus. It was expected to be a fairly swift task given that 6 holes had been drilled yesterday. It was envisaged that another barrel might also be installed on the other side of the bus. This was not, alas, to be.

Drilling the next six holes took an age, after which I decided to raise the barrel into position using my dollar store cargo straps. Problem number one was the cargo straps were so long that they could not be tightened enough without jamming the mechanism. The straps had to have the excess cut off and then the ends heat sealed with a match. This is something I'm used to doing with all kinds of nylon straps and webbing. Following drilling the holes, I sprayed the bare steel liberally with Rustoleum zinc paint. With any luck, should water get up there, this will stop rust from being so prevelant.

Next, I installed the turnbuckles on the far side of the barrel since they are the weakest link. The chain should hold 520lbs but the turnbuckles are good only for 130lbs. Full, the barrel will weigh 125lbs so there's a decent safety margin. In order to install the turnbuckles, I had to uninstall the barrel. That was about as time consuming as putting it there in the first place!

During installation of the turnbuckles, I applied Locktite Thread Locker to the threads of the cabe grips I'm using to secure it all to the sub frame. That should be pretty solid! The Thread Locker does come off but only if it is heated. I'd imagine if I needed to remove them, an angle grinder might be faster.

Let me take this time just to state how much I hate rolling around in the dirt underneath vehicles and how much in general I don't like doing DIY stuff. I am driven to it by necessity and even though I'm good at it - mainly due to being a perfectionist - I'd still prefer not to have to do DIY.

The barrel was reinstalled using the cargo straps and a length of chain held up to the assembley to see how much I needed. It turned out to be 22 links. That means my 20 feet of chain should be good for at least another barrel (on the other side of the bus) and possibly a fresh water barrel too (also on the other side of the bus - whenever I am near a U-Line supplier.

Cutting the chain was no easy task, given that I had to hand-hold the chain with a wrench while cutting it with an angle grinder. Still, I did it and the chain was cut in the right places. Installing it was where things became interesting. If you remember I made a template yesterday to drill holes for my cable grips. It turns out that not all the U bolts in the cable grips are the same distance apart between the ends of the bolt. That made installation a mix and match affair of trying the cable grips in different holes in order to find the ideal arrangement. Not a very standard standard!

Eventually, as thunder was beginning to rumble and the sky darkening, I installed the barrel and tightened the turnbuckles then removed the cargo straps. This seemingly simple task had taken all day. In fact, it took several days. The waste barrel on the other side should be much easier!

Two little footnotes. One is that I'm going to leave the plumbing as it is but will connect the barrel with the outlet and a faucet using flexible PEX piping if I can get it big enough. The second is that I need to get a marginally longer socket. It was only just biting on the nut and my deep sockets were so deep that I couldn't get the socket and the wrench in place to turn the nut. I might loosen the chains and slip the barrel an inch or so to the right but I'm not bothered. I think it'll work just fine.

The flexible clear overflow and breathing tube dangling down has been fastened to the barrel in two places with plastic zip ties. I'll trim the excess that hangs below the skirt. Speaking of hanging below the skirt, you'll doubtless be delighted to hear that a 15 gallon barrel placed thus is an inch above the bottom of the skirt. In other words, Joe Public cannot see it and have no reason to believe that this is not in fact a bus.

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