Plumbing broke

To kick off this section of the site, I have some pictures to share. Backstory: In our rush to get the truck built, I ran plumbing between the leaf springs and the frame, over the back axle. While not an ideal setup, I had Wayne and his son jump up and down on the truck to simulate bounces, and there was always room enough for the pipes. So we went with it.

Fast forward to yesterday. Ready to start moving loads up to the new house, I loaded some heavy items including a table saw and jointer, book boxes and other stuff, plus 200 lbs of wood. Not thinking about the reduced suspension travel, I started down the road, and took a mid-sized bump a bit too fast. Crunch!

Made it home fine on gasoline, but woodgas travelings have ceased until I get it fixed. Not just repairing the break - it needs to run a different way so that it won’t break again.

Moral of the story, stay away from moving parts with your plumbing!! Even suspension parts. Also be sure things are secure and that pipes can’t sag. Pictures of the mess follow:

Hi Chris, get used to it :o) … Obviously you need a flex joint or the such. I don’t glue my PVC joints. I just shove them together and wrap duct tape around them and use copper electric wire with the insulation on it like twist ties on the tape to keep it from working loose … There are some spots where I need to use that flex aluminum but I usually wrap it with high quality duct tape as it corrodes through in a hurry. See you soon. Mike

PS, it looks like you ran that pipe where the bumper rubber was supposed to be to keep the truck from bottoming out. Better move it elsewhere and replace the rubber that was supposed to be there ??? M

Hey Chris,

Now you know what it means to “break a leg”!..Once you get through the initial break in period, you should end up with very little problems down the road as far as leaks go. It is good to find the weak spots in the system so you can fix them right now. Tie down the pipe is very good first step. Have you figured out how to fix a leak if it’s raining? :sunglasses:

Whats that saying? You can plug some of the leaks all of the time or all of the leaks some of the time… Anyway I’ll be running the pipe forward from the condensate tank and over the gas tank to the hay filter. This is trickier plumbing but avoids all “entanglements”. Frankly I can’t see how else to do it without cutting the frame.

Off to buy some pipe.

Don’t cut the frame. Small holes may be drilled but not too big. How big a hole is OK??? I don’t really know. Maybe some one else around here can chime in with some answers.

In the Navy you are trained to plug all the leaks all the time…there is always a way…but in a sinking ship there is only so much time.

Bruce & Chris, Only Wayne cuts and re-welds frames and he is probably the only one of us qualified to do this. The frame on my truck is pretty well had so there would be nothing to cut and replace … Just don’t put the pipes where they will obviously get smashed. You could try a rubber connector in the location so if the spring does get jarred all the way it will get squashed for part of a second … You obviously have a few hundred miles on that setup so you know it is OK until you hit that big bump in your driveway with a load on. That would probably be the simple approach. ??? Without looking at it directly it is hard to tell. Wayne used to use a lot of flex connectors like what are usually used between the throttle body and air cleaner or the such … Mike

can the wood gas exit the setup in front of the wheel axle and all moving parts? mine exits at the front of the bed just behind the cab. an its just a short distance along the frame to the engine compartment. no moving parts in the way.

Here’s the plumbing all finished. I rerouted things to go from the condensate tank forward, left over the gas tank to the hay filter. I also tied down the pipes to the engine bay tightly to increase my left turn capacity. Used a giant cable tie!

Hi ChrisKY
On your first picture the inside plastic gas pipe appears to be too close to the shock absorber. As the axle goes up the angle on the shock absorber will increase.
Take MikeL’s advice and instead of the short rubber plumbibg connector go with a 12-16" piece of automotive rubber hose. Then occasional cotact will not break anything - just compress squeeze it down.

Steve Unruh

Good idea Steve (and Mike). It will continue to evolve, I have always said this one’s a testbed.

I’m looking at your later pictures there and it looks to me like your plumbing (right in front of the leading edge of the door) is the new lowest point on your ground clearance. I’d gather it might be rather easy to have a rock/log/“hard thing” clear your front suspension and crack your pipes. This could be especially true if there was a dip behind whatever bump you hit. I know on all the old logging roads around here there usually is a pothole with a large rock on front of it. Your vehicle bounces up off the rock and crashes back down into the pothole, usually bottoming your vehicle out in the process.

Hi Brian,

Yes it’s the lowest vulnerable point on the vehicle. However I generally stick to the pavement where its not a problem. If I were headed to the woods I’d get stuck in the mud right away. This is no longer even a farm truck, just a work truck in town.

The pipes in that picture were a bit lower than they ended up later, I figured out how to pull them up higher and snug against the frame.

Hello Chris,
I would definitely tape up those wire nuts. It won’t take long for corrosion to set in under the truck.

Hi Chris; Steve U. stole part of my thunder.I was going to ask if anyone uses or thought of using rubber hose for all of the plumbing? Or if they have’nt , would it be too costly being the reason?

Hi Danny,

Rubber hose will tend to collapse under vacuum. But it’s fine for short stretches and tight spots. I will note that the fix as shown here has done fine for the past year over 2500 miles of driving (including dropping the rear end into a deep ditch).

Hi Chris,

They make spiral springs to insert into the rubber hose to keep the hose from collapsing under vacuum while still allowing the rubber hose to flex.