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I have been looking, lurking, and vicariously learning from everyones' builds. I have been drawing too. My goals are to:

1. Have a van short enough to park on a city street, but be tall enough to stand up in.
2. Have a bed for two that is (nearly) queen size.
3. Have a dinette to sit at, use as an office, and eat at.
4. Have lots of windows, light and airy feel, and be able to make private if needed.
5. Have a place to cook inside and grill and bake outside, store cold foods and drink.
6. Have no Propane to save space, and for safety.
7. Have the parts be modular to allow removal of most of the conversion.
8. Simplify by using a portapotty, and both grey and fresh water jugs, no "tanks"
9. Have the ability to camp remotely for extended time, up to a week or a bit more using an outside shower and latrine if appropriate.
10. Have a heater that is consistent with the above and is quiet.
I will post a couple of times to make my plans clear and show my current drawings. Please contribute.:nerd:
 

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In order to get all these things I am planning to buy a 1500 High Top Diesel Promaster in the spring and build out my best approximation of these things. It is a van for two. We have camped in a slide-in pickup camper on a 6 1/2 foot truck with an overhead bed. We loved it for its good elements but it had some shortcomings and we are finding it increasingly difficult to open the top, get into the bed, and it is very expensive to drive (12 mpg) The truck is old so we will need to replace it soon. We once had a Westfalia VW van and loved that two and liked the way we could stop, walk back and camp, even in the rain and it was inexpensive to drive (25+ mpg).
I have been a builder, cabinet maker, mechanic, and have training as a plumber and electrician. I have the normal tools associated with these. I have a building to put the van inside while I work. I am no longer young (65) but manage to ride my motorcycles, run a chainsaw, use the internet, and travel etc. I do not have the financial resources to buy a conversion unless I give up something. That ain't gonna happen.
My budget is $6K for the build, van is extra of course. I will sell the truck, the camper is already sold. Here is my build list, I know it is only an estimate.
 

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RD, you and I are somewhat on the same page. I call it the difference between "RV" and "campervan," but that's just my terminology. We’re coming from Vanagon to truck tent to Promaster for much the same reasons and with similar goals, but probably less budget.

I am anxious to see your plans. I'm assuming that if it's a 1500, it's a 136' like mine.
 

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Here are the plans:


 

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RD, you and I are somewhat on the same page. I call it the difference between "RV" and "campervan," but that's just my terminology. We’re coming from Vanagon to truck tent to Promaster for much the same reasons and with similar goals, but probably less budget.

I am anxious to see your plans. I'm assuming that if it's a 1500, it's a 136' like mine.
Yes it is a 136" We love to go into cities to balance our hermit nature so parking even the longer van is out.
I'll adopt the campervan term as I like it for being more specific. Don't even think about being on a smaller budget than us. I avoided the gyrations we need to go through to get the $$. Fortunately we have a way to raise it. Of the $6K we will have less than half but we do have a plan! BTW thanks for your postings!
 

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RD,
I was amazed when I read your post. I could have written it, that is how close your plan is to mine. I hope to purchase the very same van in the next month or so. My envisioned layout is almost the same down to the bench seat behind the driver. I hope to add windows all around.
One question, from where do you plan to source the bench seat?

I look forward to more details.
Thanks,
Frank
 

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Golly, that looks so good it almost makes me change mine. Well-thought-out. Lots of amenities and still open and light. You might consider swapping the sink and stove, though. Not sure I'd want open flame that close to upholstery. Accidents happen. And you might could put storage under that raised floor.
 

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RD,
I was amazed when I read your post. I could have written it, that is how close your plan is to mine. I hope to purchase the very same van in the next month or so. My envisioned layout is almost the same down to the bench seat behind the driver. I hope to add windows all around.
One question, from where do you plan to source the bench seat?
It is a plan that suits many people and honestly I saw some similar set-ups on a Euro Ducato site. I plan to build the seat as a cabinet with storage under the seat (it is 24 inches from the floor to the seat) with a slightly curved seat and backrest and use an upholstered foam for the cushions. I could buy something but would loose space for storage. BTW I plan to put an Espar airtronic D2 under the dinette floor to have it far from the bed and keep the noise down so we can sleep. Easy to get to it with a hinged piece of the floor. That way the dinette floor and seat can be removed as a unit leaving only the heater and its ducts.
You are going to be ahead of me building so I want feedback as you go. Thanks!
 

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Golly, that looks so good it almost makes me change mine. Well-thought-out. Lots of amenities and still open and light. You might consider swapping the sink and stove, though. Not sure I'd want open flame that close to upholstery. Accidents happen. And you might could put storage under that raised floor.
Good points, the stove is portable anyway and may go anywhere, even outside on a folding table hitched to the galley ala Steve. Done. Thanks. BTW see my post above to see part of what goes below the floor. I think a drawer will work there too. Can goods? A bit of heat lost from the heater will keep them from freezing on a cold night?
 

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Europeans are so far ahead of us when it comes to camper vans, as opposed to RV's. It is true, though, that European campgrounds tend to have more amenities, such as spacious kitchen rooms with sinks, burners, counters, seating with tables and boiling water spigots. This room often becomes a social hub at night with a fireplace. With those amenities readily available and desireable, it's easier to KISS.

After having slept on it I find myself leaning even more toward your plan. I had assumed that a dinette was too much, but now I'm not so sure. If all goes well, the swivels will be installed this afternoon. Then I can play around with the idea. Coming at this from a truck tent, even KISS is going to be a palace. One thing I won't change, though, is my permanent bed. The head 2' will fold over to allow a passageway to the back, but I shouldn't have to remake it every day. I don't like making beds even at home.

I will post some pics when I get a mockup done.
 

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We sleep in a sleeping bag that is perfect for the camper, we hate to make the bed too. We can leave the bed open but have the option to compact it. Oddly we sometimes have guests! We invite interseting tent campers in for coffee on a cold morning, it does make them jealous. The dinette really is for only two. I need your experience with the swivels. WWWWH? I'll look forward to the mockup, you are being a big help!
 

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?? Bed? We are not putting them up for the night! Just coffee. 2 in the dinette, one or two on the collapsed bed (it's then the couch) and one more (perhaps) in the swiveled passenger seat. BTW come up with a plan for the dangling feet in the passenger seat when you get the swivels in and reverse it, please.
 

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RD, I'm liking the dinette behind the driver. The seat sits well with a table. What I'm not liking is having to put the sink on the other side. So here's a harebrained a notion I'm throwing out to chew on:

What if the sink were in the middle of the table with a cover? What about a cover for the whole table that opens from the side like an old sewing machine cabinet and rests on the top of the opposite seat, thus yielding a large prep counter?

We do not plan to "plumb" the sink. Water jugs with a waste water jug underneath. No built-in stove.
 

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Idea: You could build into the dinette floor a drawer with lid that pulls out to make a foot stool for the passenger. Slide it back in when not in use. Store only light stuff in it. Make it full-depth--if it doesn't come all the way out, it will be easier to put back in. You could also put slides on it and maybe a flip-down rest for when it's in position.
 

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What I'm not liking is having to put the sink on the other side. What if the sink were in the middle of the table with a cover? What about a cover for the whole table that opens from the side like an old sewing machine cabinet and rests on the top of the opposite seat, thus yielding a large prep counter? We do not plan to "plumb" the sink. Water jugs with a waste water jug underneath. No built-in stove.
I don't understand why the sink on the other side isn't better. We foresee having the van open whenever we can, cooking with the butane stove, on the attached table hitched to the galley like Steve's Backroader. Like yours, our sink has to have two jugs under it for fresh and grey water. When the outside table is removed (we don't plan to hinge it) I can get access to the jugs from the outside. Easier to fill/empty/replace. I need and want the sink at the door. I wish I could find as easy a spot for the portapotty too. The table will serve several purposes for us including office as well as eating.
I will have to get a different swivel if you don't find Eurocampers swivel can go the other way. I was on a UK ebay site and many are available that turn inward, are offset to the right, back, or centered. The prices are about 120 Euro, cheap enough to ship here.
Your idea about the drawer is a good one. Perhaps a long drawer with a lid for stepping on and that can be opened to store stuff seldom needed. A footrest really. I was thinking of a folded shelf with a rugged folding support but it would be in the way of entry anytime it is deployed. The drawer would be too. I was hoping to put a swivel on that side with the offset towards the front of the van so the seat has a 3 inch lip of the risen platform in front of it when reversed.
 

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I like the sink at the door for all the reasons you mention. My reluctance is that with cabinets on both sides, we get an aisle in the middle instead of a more open space. I am capable of changing my mind and deciding that's OK. One possibility is shallower cabinets.

Our pee-can will probably store under the bed and come out at night or when otherwise needed.
 

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I like the sink at the door for all the reasons you mention. My reluctance is that with cabinets on both sides, we get an aisle in the middle instead of a more open space. I am capable of changing my mind and deciding that's OK. One possibility is shallower cabinets.
Our pee-can will probably store under the bed and come out at night or when otherwise needed.
Pecan? Nuts! I understand what you are saying. If the bed doesn't collapse into the couch in my plan then the body of the Van which is basically 10 feet front to back has about 5 feet of bed (58"). On one side is the galley but no overhead of course, and on the other side we will have a cabinet that will not reach from floor to ceiling and will not extend from the wall as far as the dinette does. That should give some visual and actual space along the street side of the van above the back of the dinette seat. The alley you refer is then at the most 32" front to back. If we collapse the bed (front is two narrow cushions about 14" wide each which stand up on the back cushion) by sliding the front section of slats into the back section it is done. I have made such a thing before and some Futons work this way. The Ikea mattress is made for their bed with just such slats. I'll just slit the mattress lengthwise twice, use the current cover to cover the larger piece (30"wide) and one of the narrower pieces and recover the other narrow section. With the bed collapsed the van now has 6+ feet of open space front to couch, and nearly 4 feet width in front of a nice couch. I may have to have a step or rail in front of the couch to allow people a place to rest their feet so there is storage space below it for rear door storage. the campervan is now open and bright, and with the doors and vents airy we hope.
That storage is very important. With the bed collapsed ALL storage in the camper is available even the overhead cabinets above the bed. That is important to us.
 

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I will have 2' -deep storage under the front side of the bed, all drawers. The back 2', accessible from the back doors, is currently open space until I see what needs to go there. However, the cabinetry in what will be the passageway between front and rear will be mobile. I'll be looking at that possibility. Nothing about the furnishings is set in stone at this point.
 
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