It's a total hack job weekend bike camper - Ram Promaster Forum
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post #1 of 52 Old 04-22-2019, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
jagarcia89
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It's a total hack job weekend bike camper

After looking at everyone else's build threads for inspiration, I decided to start my own. Unlike most, mine lacks about any craftsmanship, was poorly planned and built as I go.

I started almost a year ago in June 2018, so I will do my best to keep it in order and get myself to real time.

This is not my first van, but is my first modern van. I grew up racing mountain bikes and had an assortment of cheap cargo vans that I'd throw free couches in the back and travel around sleeping on the couch. The goal was to make a slightly more adult version of that.

The van: Even acquiring the van was a hack job. I was going to purchase a 2016 window van that had a luxury shuttle upfit from my employer. I had a price, a loan, and insurance on it as well as the first trip planned when I found out due to a strange policy, I could not purchase the van without it going through auction- so with one week before my trip, I found a similar mileage one for the same price. I ended up with a no window 2019 159"HR with 16k miles for $23,500

2016 159" Highroof 2500 Gas Engine
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post #2 of 52 Old 04-22-2019, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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So with the van purchased, we sat out on our first adventure. A decision I’m glad we made as it gave me at least some direction on what I needed.

We brought a portable ac unit which we found extremely helpful when parked at shore power and that has stayed with the design. We found out how important a roof vent was and we realized an elevated bed was a must so we wouldn’t have to remove bikes to sleep. We also realized we must have a fridge.




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post #3 of 52 Old 04-22-2019, 08:33 PM
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That's a pretty good price.

As I've learned myself, it's fine to pace yourself to do the build, especially for a weekender outdoors vehicle. I've slowly been building mine since January, and I find that I don't need things that I thought I did at the beginning of the process.
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post #4 of 52 Old 04-22-2019, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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For the first project I got started on the floor, which was a first lesson in measuring. I ended the floor at the little ridge on the back, but the door actually sets about 2” further back. I also made my front cuts to go around the B pillar trim when I should have removed it and trimmed it. Would have been much cleaner.

I used 3/4 tongue and groove plywood on top of 3/4 polyiso. I’d rather have not done 3/4 polyiso but it’s the only thickness available in my area. I used a paper template and that got it pretty close. It’s all held down to the factory tie down points.


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post #5 of 52 Old 04-22-2019, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jagarcia89 View Post
After looking at everyone else's build threads for inspiration, I decided to start my own. Unlike most, mine lacks about any craftsmanship, was poorly planned and built as I go.

I started almost a year ago in June 2018, so I will do my best to keep it in order and get myself to real time.

This is not my first van, but is my first modern van. I grew up racing mountain bikes and had an assortment of cheap cargo vans that I'd throw free couches in the back and travel around sleeping on the couch. The goal was to make a slightly more adult version of that.

The van: Even acquiring the van was a hack job. I was going to purchase a 2016 window van that had a luxury shuttle upfit from my employer. I had a price, a loan, and insurance on it as well as the first trip planned when I found out due to a strange policy, I could not purchase the van without it going through auction- so with one week before my trip, I found a similar mileage one for the same price. I ended up with a no window 2019 159"HR with 16k miles for $23,500
Congrats on the progress! You're doing well!

My own conversion is also a hack job but progress has been glacial. If anything, I'm OVER-planning and -researching and -thinking and it's taken a toll.

Keep blasting away at it and it's better to be useful and in use than being forever worked on like mine and still not yet made its maiden voyage.

Ordered Feb 2018, arrived Sept 2018. 159-inch WB regular length, high top, 3.6L gas, both driver's and passenger-side sliding doors. Planning to lightly camper-ize it for spontaneous and free-spirited travel!
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post #6 of 52 Old 04-23-2019, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by travelvanvan View Post
Congrats on the progress! You're doing well!



My own conversion is also a hack job but progress has been glacial. If anything, I'm OVER-planning and -researching and -thinking and it's taken a toll.



Keep blasting away at it and it's better to be useful and in use than being forever worked on like mine and still not yet made its maiden voyage.


Thanks. Yeah I keep thinking and planning. Then I’d remember how many people’s builds I followed that changed things or completely rebuilt so I figured at times just do something and worst case I’ll learn from it.


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post #7 of 52 Old 04-23-2019, 06:28 AM
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You’re doing fine. You’re correct, you and many of us are constantly making changes in our build as our needs change. If it comes out poorly you can always redo something (other than that oversized hole in the roof or side ).

I gotta ask tho - what is the hatchet for? I don’t know many van converters that find them useful for anything other than pounding tent stakes in and splitting wood. Is it a "finish" hatchet or just a "roughing in" one?

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster camping conversion. https://www.promasterforum.com/forum...ad.php?t=43121

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post #8 of 52 Old 04-23-2019, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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It's a total hack job weekend bike camper

The one thing I did extremely carefully was install my maxxfan. Went with the maxxfan because in florida, it’s essential to be able to have it running during rain.

I used the Hein adaptor with with 3m windshield urethane he recommends in the instructions. I hung a plastic sheet on the inside with a magnet in the middle to catch shaving and used painters tape and paper up top to keep things clean.

I used flex seal after everything was mounted but then we got some light rain so the last pic is with it covered while the short rain passed.




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post #9 of 52 Old 04-23-2019, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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After I had the fan mounted I went ahead with insulation. This was the most procrastinated part of my build but probably the easiest once I got started. Again went with 3/4 polyiso due to availability. I held it all up with great stuff windows and doors after researching many other build threads.

I may, down the road add some thinsulate. At least on the ceiling as I’ll have some extra space.

I used a harbor freight expanding cargo bar, some wood pieces cut to length and a bike stand with a broom to hold everything in place. In hindsight, I would have spent another $15 on a 2nd cargo bar and used those and the bike stand. The cut wood was a pain.



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post #10 of 52 Old 04-23-2019, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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For the bed, I needed extra height over the normal horizontal supports to clear my specialized enduro and my girlfriends 6” travel diamond back trail bike. I also knew I was going to lose additional height when I build a bike drawer

So I used a 2x12 bolted to the side using factory tie down points and every hex hole with 8mm rob nuts. Then for extra support I added 2x4 legs at each corner. For the platform itself I used the Reese loading ramp design others have used here.

As you can see, I started fitting the bed even before insulation. The bed has gone in and out probably 10 times so far on my build. So the ramp design is nice because I can pretty easily take it out.


A few items to note that learned.
1: the bikes need 60” in length with the front wheels off. The bed is 54” wide and does not extend to the back corner. This leaves quite a bit of extra space I need to account for:
2: the added height also losses usable width so the full size mattress is a bit tight. I dealt with this by sinking the rear panels into the space a window would go, Directly onto the polyiso. While this works, it has left more exposed bits and I am having a hard time paneling the rest of the van. But more on that later.

Prior to building a bike drawer I made this “bike stretcher” out of scrap wood, my fork mounts, and some harbor freight rollers. This allowed me to size the board and figure out positions.




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