By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you’re like us, you sometimes find yourself a little short of space. Our rig doesn’t have “basement storage,” and what little space is accessible from outside the rig is at a premium. After doing a little head-scratching, we came up with a way to store our water hose outside the rig – on the spare tire.
The design is that of a basic rectangle form that slides down over the top of the spare tire. On the back side (the side closest to the wall of the RV), an “arm” comes up from this rectangular bracket and makes a 90-degree turn to run toward the RV wall. This makes a place to hang the hose, and another 90-degree angle makes a stop to prevent the hose from falling off on the wall-side of the hanger.
We wanted our handy hose rack to hang onto the spare tire and not get bounced off when the rig hits bumps, so we figured having it slide down over the top of the spare by close to seven inches would give us a margin of safety. At that point along the tire, measure the distance from tread-side to tread-side across the face of the tire. This provides the needed length of the front brace. End result? It took a hunk of PVC 21 ¼” to make the distance. The length of the side braces is figured similarly, measuring from sidewall to sidewall. For us, in the end our side braces were 7 ½” each.
The back brace is a bit more complicated. In the end, the total inside dimension of the back brace should mirror the front brace, but you’ll need a tee at the center of the brace, to allow for the vertical arm. In this case, two 10 1/8″ pieces of PVC added to the tee gave us pretty close to the same width as the front brace.
Finally, the hose support arm a is single piece of PVC pipe, with an extraordinary breeding with the tee in the back brace, to two elbows (with a 1 ¾” “close” cut from PVC to mate them), and a cap (with yet another 1 ¾” “close”) to keep water and debris from entering the system. We coiled up our water hose, and then held it behind the tire to determine the height above the tire the arm would need to reach, to allow the coiled hose to just clear our RV bumper.
In the end, the height of our arm that the hose rests on worked out to about 7″. In taking into account the height that would be added by the two, coupled elbows, the actual length of the PVC for the “riser” portion of the arm was 5 ¾”. When calculating the length of the PVC pipe, take into account you’ll need enough clearance between the arm and the back wall of your RV to “clear” the hose when putting it on or removing it from the rack. There is a small amount of “give” in the completed project.
We dry-assembled the whole works, as shown in the photograph, making sure of fit and that the rectangle was, indeed, square. Then we primed and glued only the front and side bracket PVC pipes and elbows, but DID NOT glue the rear bracket to the elbows or tee. After the glue was set, we installed the bracket on the tire, and then adjusted the angle of the arm relative to the tire bracket portion to allow a slight backward angle, thinking this might give us a more secure footing for the stored hose. In retrospect, a straight 90 setup is probably fine. After we doped out the remaining joints we double-checked everything in place.
Since we are in the desert southwest much of the year, we’ve seen just what kind of damage UV radiation from Old Sol can do to untreated PVC. We shot several coats of Krylon’s Fusion for Plastic white spray paint over the completed project. Alas! This paint doesn’t “like” purple PVC primer. No matter how hard we tried, we ended up with a little primer bleed-through on the paint. After we completed our hose carrier, we ran across a study of primer versus no primer on PVC. Bottom line: Believe it or not, using PVC primer actually weakens joints. Since our project doesn’t require us to meet the plumbing code, we’ll skip the primer next time!
While it looks like the arm will hold the hose in place on its own, we’re using a ball bungee as an added layer of protection to make sure that hose doesn’t jump off at some roadside attraction. Whether or not the hose might vanish at the hand of some ne’er-do-well remains to be seen. In any event, we’ll come back to you on how this project works out after we’ve put a few thousand miles on the clock with the hose riding around on our spare tire.
All photos R&T De Maris