Eric's Neverending Story - Ram Promaster Forum
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post #1 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
z120pi
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Eric's Neverending Story

This spring my wife and I decided to sell our travel trailer and try a camper van instead. This would allow me to handle the "let's stop here" request without anxiety over an exit strategy with the trailer. I hate disconnecting to get out of a jam.

We couldn't find a factory model that suited us so I said "let's build one, piece of cake". Yeah, right! This job took much longer than I promised but we are now just about ready for the maiden voyage after missing the summer camping season.

It turned out our requirements made it difficult to fit everything into the 136" wheel base Promaster we wanted. At my age a bathroom was a necessity (all you that suffer BPH know what I mean). We also needed the stuff we enjoyed in the trailer - a stove, fridge, heater, fresh and gray water system, electrical system, dining area, and a decent bed. Consequently planning took a long time. I used much info from the Promaster forum and the great builditsolar.com site.

With a rough plan in hand we bought a 2015 diesel high roof 136" WB Promaster with a lot of great options. The most appreciated were the factory trailer hitch, power mirrors, speed control, back-up camera, and park assist. I also really like the automated manual transmission in the diesel version.



The only way to fit all this stuff in was run the bed crosswise, utilizing the 74" width of the body. I am 72" tall so this was satisfactory when I mocked it up. The bed would turn into a dinette for daytime use that is located at the very front of the cargo area. This meant that one could not walk inside from the cab to the camper section, which was a reasonable trade off. This scheme makes use of some space in the cab by moving the seats all the way forward for camper mode and then deploying a hinged panel that makes the bed wider. Here is the initial plan:



The drawing shows the folding panel behind the seats and a leaf the hinges up from the right side dinette seat. A panel stored under the seat is then placed to bridge the gap from the leaf to the left side dinette seat. The table is dropped to seat level and the cushions rearranged to make the bed. There is just enough room to squeeze out the sliding door when the bed is made.

The other cabinets and fixtures are similar to those seen in other conversions. The stove and water heater run on propane, the fridge is 12 VDC electric, and the heater is an Espar diesel fuel model. I didn't want to deal with a black water tank so I selected a Thetford C-200 toilet with a removable waste water cassette. The access to the cassette is through a door at the back of the toilet, which allows me to remove the tank through the van's back door. This toilet is not imported into the US but I was able to get one from the UK via eBay.

I also included an inverter in this design, which I didn't have in the trailer. Now we will be able to run the microwave and TV without being hooked up. The inverter/charger is a pure sine 2 KW unit running off two 6V AGM batteries.

Here is list of some of the major items purchased for the conversion:

  • Thetford C-200 Toilet
  • Nova Kool R4500DC Fridge
  • Manchester 6814 ASME propane tank
  • Flexco FP-1220 Retractable step
  • Luverne grip steps for cab doors
  • Barker 10109 20 gallon fresh water tank
  • Ameri-Kart HT189B Holding Tank
  • Right and Left windows by Motion Windows
  • Garelick Eez-In Adjustable Table Pedestal
  • Moen Kg2045522 Sink
  • Ramblewood GC2-43P cooktop
  • Aquajet 55QUAJET-AES fresh water pump
  • Panasonic NN-SD37S microwave
  • Espar Airtronic D2 diesel heater
  • Espar Digi-Max D1000 controller
  • Atwood GC6AA-10E propane water heater
  • Cole Hersee 48530 smart battery isolator
  • Fan-Tastic Vent Fan
  • US Battery AGM 2000 6V Batteries
  • Kisae Abso Sinewave Inverter-Charger, 2Kw (IC1220100)
  • Fiamma F65S Awning

I will follow up with more posts later showing the construction details.
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post #2 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 01:45 AM
jostalli
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Sounds like a great plan so far!

I am interested in your, "Flexco FP-1220 Retractable step". Did you also purchase a part to control it via a button or automated with the opening/closing of the door? Please share or PM me. Thanks!
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post #3 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 07:00 AM
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Welcome to a Convertion Process !!!
My wish and experience = Keep van drivable , at least for weekends=
Do not anchor it in garage with excuse (Thi'z iz not DONE yet )

2015 Ram Promaster 3500 HR 159" Diesel 2 side doors, NO windows. No passenger seat, NO radio. Alloy wheels DEDICATED for Work and Play
ordered Dec 19.2014 Got-it in May 8.2015
Latest NEWS Multy purpose cabinet inside a van https://youtu.be/mAIePHC2cH8
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post #4 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jostalli View Post
Sounds like a great plan so far!

I am interested in your, "Flexco FP-1220 Retractable step". Did you also purchase a part to control it via a button or automated with the opening/closing of the door? Please share or PM me. Thanks!
I am looking for simplicity so this step is strictly manual. I would never need to deploy the step automatically or from inside the van because one can't get from the cab to the camper section without going outside. This was one of the few steps I found that has a small enough drop from the mounting flange to fit the Promaster.

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post #5 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by uNik View Post
Do not anchor it in garage with excuse (Thi'z iz not DONE yet )
I am guilty - still running off the tank of fuel provided by the dealer.
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post #6 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 11:16 AM
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Can you show us the instal of the step on the van? Thanks
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post #7 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 11:22 AM
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Interior pictures or progress pictures? Where is your 20 gal tank and grey tank? If under the van I would like info on source and specific model and mounting info. This is one of the most unique layouts we have seen. Thanks for posting.
We did a 136 too and love that you can go and park anywhere, however a 159 would be much easier and most folks thinking of converting probably should consider one.

2015 136" HT Diesel 1500 Sandstone Pearl Metallic
Campervan build see:https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=37177
You can browse my build pictures at http://tinypic.com/RDsPictures
Conversion Costs see: https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=85761
$500 solar and $700 complete Electrical: https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=71562
If you must make a mistake, make a new one each time.
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post #8 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Eric's Story - Insulation and Interior Panels

The first task was to install sound damping and insulation. I wanted the conversion to be as reversible as possible to make changes easy. Consequently I decided not to use spray foam, glue, and wiring inside body frame members where possible. The floor would have 1/2" rigid foam insulation topped with 1/2" poplar plywood, later to be covered with vinyl flooring. The walls would have Dynamat damping, an insulation spacer, Thinsulate, and Reflectix. The spacer is to provide a ventilation path to prevent condensation on the van skin.

Here is the Dynamat installed. The 18 x 32 Xtreme Bulk Pack has just enough for the whole van.




The floor was leveled with rigid foam strips ripped from the 1/2" panels I got at Home Depot (what a mess that was).




Three sheets were required:




Then the walls were insulated after some wood framing was installed:










The roof insulation will come later after the fan is installed:




The wall insulation stack was covered with painted 3mm (1/8") poplar plywood:




To be continued...
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post #9 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for the pictures. That Home Slicker 10 looks interesting!
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post #10 of 87 Old 12-15-2015, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Eric's Story - Ahhh, I just cut a hole in my 36K van!

After some anxiety I cut the hole in the roof for the Fan-Tastic vent. I did this hole by hand with a hacksaw blade from the inside using the frame as a guide. Some of the framing in the van was redwood left over from the deck on my home - light and rot resistant.








Next was the water heater cutout:




The cardboard was to prevent hot metal chips from damaging the paint:




I mounted the water heater from the inside because I didn't like the look of a boxy water heater protruding from the curved side of the van. This was accomplished by bending the water heater flange inward instead of outward. Other not-so-easy modifications were necessary to get the heater mounted. A drain was also necessary to allow water trapped in the water heater frame to escape.




Curved fairing strips were used to match the curvature of the body:




Now for the windows:






I got the windows from Motion Windows that were specific to the Promaster. They matched the body curvature well and look great. The left window had a problem with the slider not closing properly due to the frame assembled wrong. They gave me the option of shipping the window back (no way) or driving to Vancouver (not thrilled) to get it fixed. I was able to fix it myself by removing the slider and using a die grinder to remove the interference.






To be continued...
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