The camper conversion in our Toyota Land Cruiser Troop Carrier had one significant disadvantage: The closed roof covered the sink and water tap in the galley counter; to use it we had to raise the pop top. The Expedition Centre in Sydney had installed an extra water line from the chassis-mounted 95-liter tank to the rear of the vehicle, fitted with a simple twist valve, from which we could get water via gravity feed.
However, it was extremely slow, and its parked position tucked up into the chassis was a pain to access and guaranteed it would be filthy—no help when you wanted to wash your hands. Also, a raised bend in the line meant that once the level in the tank dropped below half, we could get nothing out of it.
On our last trip across Australia, jealously watching Graham Jackson and Connie Rodman access pressurized water through a convenient tap at the back of their Troopy, we knew we needed a similar arrangement. With our Land Cruiser back home in Arizona I was able to tackle the task.
I bought a solid brass Wadeo rain barrel ball valve tap with a bulkhead fitting. Using this meant I would have a semi-permanent fitting in the bumper and an easily replaceable tap. I selected a spot on our Kaymar bumper where the tap would be well-protected by one of the swingaway latches from accidental impacts, then drilled through the (thick!) bumper and installed the bulkhead fitting and tap.
We’ve used Shurflo 12VDC pumps for the water system out at our desert property for years, with excellent results, so I ordered a model 4009-101-E65 on-demand pump. This is a fairly bulky unit, but I found a good mounting spot behind the Land Cruiser’s right rear wheel well, tucked up inside the fender area. There is flat sheet metal here, a void behind it where wiring runs for the vehicle’s tail lamps and rear window wiper, then the exterior body panel. With a right-angle drill I was able to make four holes to bolt the pump’s flexible bracket securely to the fender. Since the Shrflo pump is an on-demand unit and is self-priming, I was able to use the gravity-feed line to supply the pump, since it can draw water over the loop in the line to access water all the way to the bottom of the tank. A half-inch line runs from the outflow through the back of the Kaymar bumper to the tap.
Graham and Connie’s water pump had a master switch inside the vehicle, to prevent a mischevious passer-by from turning on the tap and draining the tank—an excellent idea. Our Blue Sea auxiliary power fuse block is in a recess in the cabinetry behind the (right side) driver’s seat. I grounded the water pump to the wheel-well sheet metal, and ran its hot line into the interior, behind the cabinetry up to the fuse center, and through a 20-amp-capacity toggle switch. Every point on the fuse block is utilized, so I simply siamesed the new pump onto the fuse for the sink pump, knowing that we’d never be using them simultaneously.
It’s a luxury to have on-demand pressure water outside, not only for washing hands and filling bottles, but rinsing dishes as well.
EDIT: Reader Bill Ruttan kindly pointed out that on the Amazon ad he found for this tap, there was a warning that it was “not for potable water” as there is lead content. I looked back at the page from where I bought ours and found no such warning. Nevertheless, I found similar products that were certified lead-free, such as this one, so look for those rather than the one I got if you’re concerned about it. Will I bother to switch ours? Hmm . . .
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