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Nice Designs & Nice Work @aaronmcd !!

Thanks for posting your build thread “as it happens” as I think it records a unique story about your unique build. But not just about the build as it also paints a small insight into you the builders & what they have learned along the way - The Human Factor - for me that is the most interesting part. You have posted about “the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly” of van design/build & I for one appreciate any DIYer Forum Member who has the courage to post their opinions on here & tell it the way they see it. From what I have read and seen, you have had way more successes than failures & have learned more than you probably realize.

Regarding the human factor; If that component was eliminated from the Forum I would find it a very boring place & my enthusiasm would wean. One of the human factors I have read (maybe wrongfully) into your posts is some of your frustrations (eg leaking valves). I have been a non-residential professional builder for almost 4 decades. You are a P.Eng. IIRC. My point is this - If you & I get frustrated (& I do, & I believe I do for similar reasons you do - lack of information or mis-information) think how hard design/build is for someone without design/build, trades, or science education/experience of any sort & realize your huge advantage.

There are 3 types of things;
1) There are things we know.
2) There are things we know we don’t know.
3) Then There are things we don’t even know we don’t know (like some valves need to be installed for flow one way). When I feel frustrated, I have usually learned something that I did not know I didn’t know. These things I typically only have to learn once.

I believe I have literally “seen” you learn as you build & post on here. The human factor & your self design/build discoveries are what makes your build thread very interesting to me along with your Forum Personality. I think you are a smart guy & I have enjoyed watching you figure out solutions to your problems. FWIW, you have earned my respect for going thru the process, learned much, & having the confidence to post about it.

You are a relatively young couple & I suspect this will not be your last DIY van design/build.

Congratulations on your build to date - It Looks Great !!
 

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I've been working on the water and propane systems.

Water is far and away the hardest thing on the build. People seem to be afraid of electrical, but electrical connections seem to be more standardized, and water tries it's damnedest to escape, while electrons prefer to follow the path you make for them.

I made several orders for Flair-It fittings, several PVC threaded fittings, and some re orders, and even a random sharkbite push to connect fitting. One really annoying thing is retailers not specifying threads properly. I found straight threads are often advertised as NPT. I also discovered straight to NPT seems to work with Teflon tape, but straight to straight will leak. By far the easiest are swivel fittings with a gasket. Swivel fittings are also very useful for removing portions of the piping to re-do stuff.

I even had a leaking compression fitting factory installed on the water heater. All in all, plumbing is a veritable nightmare. Here is the final piping after all leaks were fixed and water heater is working. I'm using an aquajet variable speed pump:
View attachment 73822

Bought a flaring tool and flare nuts for the gas lines. Also bought a spring-style copper pipe bender. All in all, running the gas lines was fairly easy. The one difficulty is that the flare nuts and flaring tool take a lot of space, so I can't put fittings super close to each other. This made it difficult to get the side line to the Propex installed.

Here is the flaring tool:
View attachment 73824

I cut the pipe with a jigsaw, which worked alright. Easy enough that I'm glad I didn't bother buying a specialized pipe cutter. Just used a handheld orbital sander to smooth out the cut end. Here's how the flare looks:
View attachment 73825

This photo shows how tight it is trying to get fittings close to each other. The tee fitting is as close to the bulkhead as is possible, forcing me to do an "s" shape, which required very tight bends, while leaving enough straight pipe at the ends for the flare and flare nuts, and space for the valve. Turned out I had JUST enough space, to the 1/8" to get this done in 10 inches:
View attachment 73826

Ran a pipe up the back of the oven space. Used a swivel 90 fitting to connect to the oven:
View attachment 73827

Painted the cabinet, installed Propex vents, and covered the Propex with removable panels:
View attachment 73828

Put in the oven!
View attachment 73829

View attachment 73830

View attachment 73831

Oh, also, a pump switch is really handy when setting up the pump, and turning it off when away from the van. Installed it under the sink location right next to the pump:
View attachment 73832

Super excited for the major systems to be done next weekend after I get the sink, faucet, and water filter installed!
I guess your post answers this question 😜

73984



Can you tell me if your Propex HS2800 was “rejetted” and if so was it also “relabled” to reflect that rejetting for North American standard 11WC?

TIA
 

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2019 136 low roof
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Nice Designs & Nice Work @aaronmcd !!

Thanks for posting your build thread “as it happens” as I think it records a unique story about your unique build. But not just about the build as it also paints a small insight into you the builders & what they have learned along the way - The Human Factor - for me that is the most interesting part. You have posted about “the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly” of van design/build & I for one appreciate any DIYer Forum Member who has the courage to post their opinions on here & tell it the way they see it. From what I have read and seen, you have had way more successes than failures & have learned more than you probably realize.

Regarding the human factor; If that component was eliminated from the Forum I would find it a very boring place & my enthusiasm would wean. One of the human factors I have read (maybe wrongfully) into your posts is some of your frustrations (eg leaking valves). I have been a non-residential professional builder for almost 4 decades. You are a P.Eng. IIRC. My point is this - If you & I get frustrated (& I do, & I believe I do for similar reasons you do - lack of information or mis-information) think how hard design/build is for someone without design/build, trades, or science education/experience of any sort & realize your huge advantage.

There are 3 types of things;
1) There are things we know.
2) There are things we know we don’t know.
3) Then There are things we don’t even know we don’t know (like some valves need to be installed for flow one way). When I feel frustrated, I have usually learned something that I did not know I didn’t know. These things I typically only have to learn once.

I believe I have literally “seen” you learn as you build & post on here. The human factor & your self design/build discoveries are what makes your build thread very interesting to me along with your Forum Personality. I think you are a smart guy & I have enjoyed watching you figure out solutions to your problems. FWIW, you have earned my respect for going thru the process, learned much, & having the confidence to post about it.

You are a relatively young couple & I suspect this will not be your last DIY van design/build.

Congratulations on your build to date - It Looks Great !!
What he said!
 

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Discussion Starter · #284 ·
I guess your post answers this question 😜

View attachment 73984


Can you tell me if your Propex HS2800 was “rejetted” and if so was it also “relabled” to reflect that rejetting for North American standard 11WC?

TIA
I don't know. If there's a label maybe it's on the bottom where I can't see it.
 

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I don't know. If there's a label maybe it's on the bottom where I can't see it.

Both of mine (I have purchased 2 Propex HS2800), say 37m/bar which is approximately 15WC not the North American 11WC.

So mine come from a Canadian Distributor (not rejetted as far as I know). So I am curious if there is a USA Distributor that has "rejetted" units and if the labels are also changed to reflect this "rejetting"

Here is a photo of the label that came with my newest Propex HS2800 (it is on the end with the gas inlet);

73995
 

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Both of mine (I have purchased 2 Propex HS2800), say 37m/bar which is approximately 15WC not the North American 11WC.

So mine come from a Canadian Distributor (not rejetted as far as I know). So I am curious if there is a USA Distributor that has "rejetted" units and if the labels are also changed to reflect this "rejetting"
Ours has the same label and came from the US distributor (now vancafe).
 

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Discussion Starter · #287 ·
Nice Designs & Nice Work @aaronmcd !!

Thanks for posting your build thread “as it happens” as I think it records a unique story about your unique build. But not just about the build as it also paints a small insight into you the builders & what they have learned along the way - The Human Factor - for me that is the most interesting part. You have posted about “the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly” of van design/build & I for one appreciate any DIYer Forum Member who has the courage to post their opinions on here & tell it the way they see it. From what I have read and seen, you have had way more successes than failures & have learned more than you probably realize.
Posting the annoyances are part about venting, part in case someone reads through all this and can avoid any specific difficulties, and mostly just my personality. I like to describe as much of the process as possible and have always been very "blunt". I prefer to tell things the way they are, and let the people who can't handle it avoid me lol!!

Yes, I think I have had more successes than failures. I general life, I tend to plan and make sure I don't fail. I don't subscribe to the whole "learn from your mistakes" philosophy. I'm more of a "learn first and don't make mistakes" person. So then I tend to get frustrated with mistakes that, in my mind, I should never make! There are SOOO MANY tiny little quirks and "mistakes" in this van I could not count them all. I just have to learn to accept some mistakes, work around some, and be OK with occasionally fixing or re-doing others.

Regarding the human factor; If that component was eliminated from the Forum I would find it a very boring place & my enthusiasm would wean. One of the human factors I have read (maybe wrongfully) into your posts is some of your frustrations (eg leaking valves). I have been a non-residential professional builder for almost 4 decades. You are a P.Eng. IIRC. My point is this - If you & I get frustrated (& I do, & I believe I do for similar reasons you do - lack of information or mis-information) think how hard design/build is for someone without design/build, trades, or science education/experience of any sort & realize your huge advantage.
Yes, I have been coming off as a very frustrated person lately with all this plumbing stuff! I've been talking about that last sentence (how hard it must be for some others) with my wife. Like - I'm a pretty smart guy, professional engineer, Stanford masters grad, and still having a very hard time on this. I can't imagine how frustrating it could be for a more "typical" person. But one thing I don't have is hands-on handyman type experience. I've always preferred to pay a professional than spend my time on fixing things. So I imagine someone could have a lot of handyman/woman experience, and do a great build even without being super smart or an engineer. I've also seen a lot of builds online and more often than not the builders have an engineering background. I think it's the kind of project engineers tend to be drawn to. Perhaps it seems less daunting to us engineers and we are more likely to think we can do it. I never considered "can I do this or not" - I tend not to ever consider that question. I just assume I can do whatever I want. But this project is vastly more difficult than I imagined, even factoring in the standard "everything is twice as hard as it seems". I think for a van build 4x as hard, 4x as long, and 2x the cost is about appropriate.

There are 3 types of things;
1) There are things we know.
2) There are things we know we don’t know.
3) Then There are things we don’t even know we don’t know (like some valves need to be installed for flow one way). When I feel frustrated, I have usually learned something that I did not know I didn’t know. These things I typically only have to learn once.

I believe I have literally “seen” you learn as you build & post on here. The human factor & your self design/build discoveries are what makes your build thread very interesting to me along with your Forum Personality. I think you are a smart guy & I have enjoyed watching you figure out solutions to your problems. FWIW, you have earned my respect for going thru the process, learned much, & having the confidence to post about it.

You are a relatively young couple & I suspect this will not be your last DIY van design/build.

Congratulations on your build to date - It Looks Great !!
Thanks for the compliment! This may not be my last DIY van build ever, but I probably won't attempt another with a full time job. After this one is finished it will be time to travel, relax, and unwind for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #289 ·
Both of mine (I have purchased 2 Propex HS2800), say 37m/bar which is approximately 15WC not the North American 11WC.

So mine come from a Canadian Distributor (not rejetted as far as I know). So I am curious if there is a USA Distributor that has "rejetted" units and if the labels are also changed to reflect this "rejetting"

Here is a photo of the label that came with my newest Propex HS2800 (it is on the end with the gas inlet);

View attachment 73995
Ours has the same label and came from the US distributor (now vancafe).
I would assume my label is the same. I wouldn't expect a different label from "Van Cafe". I can't really see the back of my Propex because it is inches from my propane cabinet. Would need to stick a small mirror in there to read the label.
 

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Ours has the same label and came from the US distributor (now vancafe).
Thanks @supermoocow !!


So we have a Manufacturer's label detailing one "spec"

&

A USA Distributor's who allegedly said or wrote that these have been "rejetted" and a purchaser who posted about this on "Reddit" (no other documentation or change in lable)

&

We are dealing with "Gas" safety issues - well in this case Propane. At least the UK pressure is greater than the North American 15WC vs 11WC so I can't think using 11WC would be a problem other than not getting the full rated BTUs outta the Furnace.



@aaronmcd These are the things that "frustrate" me & why in business I get everything in writing. I have had a career of chasing the minutia of details like this into rabbit holes just to find out somewhere along the line there was a misunderstanding or in some cases avoidance of the truth.

In Van Building or construction or engineering design these sorts of little things turn out to be big big time wasters (something I have gathered from your posts you do not like either - 4X as long for no real good reason).
 

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Discussion Starter · #291 ·
Packing up to van down to AZ to see family. Gonna stop at Deep Creek Hot Springs again on the way down, and see my bro and his fam near long beach on the way back.
Took 2 loads out to the van, worried about it fitting, but it all barely fit in the drawers. Can't wait to have the under sink area closed off and some uppers built!
74087

74088
 

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Discussion Starter · #292 ·
We are in Arizona visiting various family members. This time we brought my cat Solomon along to see how he does. I also have more amenities built than our last trip, so it's good to give stuff a test run every now and then to see what works and what doesn't.

Solomon didn't like the 2 days of driving. He didn't cry, which is a good sign. He seems to be perfectly happy at night. It's 100 degrees in the day here, which really isn't that hot for us, but obviously the fan won't cut it for the cat.

I considered a makeshift evap over the maxxfan, but my wife Kairee felt better borrowing a portable AC from her parents and keeping the van near an outlet during the day. I think that was the best choice, considering how much heat gain we get through the windows which we don't yet have insulated or reflective covers for. And we don't have the luxury of parking strategically to keep the sun off the windows. Shade doesn't exist here. So the AC runs continuously until mid afternoon when it has had enough and the compressor keeps stopping, at which point we turn it on fan for a while with the van AC running. The cat isn't too pleased mid day. He likes to hide in a dark hole when it's hot, so he chooses the litter box sometimes in the van. It's clean.

Having the drawers is great, and despite their large size, nothing seems to shift around in them. Sink is great to have. I haven't washed my hair in it, but I did my laundry and Kairee took a washcloth bath. The 5 gallon gray tank has been filled twice in the 6 days, but that will probably be more often once we get more storage and cook in the van more. We are eating with family a lot now.

Kairee has been working in the van, standing at the counter. Half days. Seems to work well for her. We don't have any table installed yet so I've been working at coffee shops and families' houses.

AC cooling the van. Cardboard in the window and the duct is duct taped to the cardboard. Extension cord out the cracked driver window:
74226


Solomon likes the bunk windows:
74227


Very first use of the oven. Pizza pockets!
74228


Obligatory van pic:
74229


We woke up at 5:30 AM (about 3 hours early) to make the 3 mile hike down to the hot springs and have a couple hours to soak and still make it back to the van before the desert sun roasts the cat! I grew up in the desert and always thought it was boring and ugly, but some places can be glorious.
74230
 

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