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Discussion Starter #101
Stayed up til 1:30 last night planning electric box layout and trying to comprehend how to build it. So by the time I got back from the gym and working on the van it was 2:30.

Planned to do both bunk windows, but as it turns out bunk windows are WAY harder than the big sliding door window and I only got one in before dark.

To cut or remove the vertical rib?
I decided I'd try cutting it so it remains underneath to help stiffen up the sheet metal. To make a template or not? I figure a template is harder and less accurate so I stuck with measuring. Carefully measured minimum and maximum desired cut size, as well as the corner radius. I measured out the centers of both sides from the inside, drilled to the outside, then carefully drew up the shape I'd need to cut. I drew it such that I'd have 1/16" tolerance each side of each line.

The cut went smoothly except for cutting through the vertical rib, which caused my jigsaw much distress, but I was successful. Test fit only had to smooth out one corner a bit.

Sanded the edges, and grabbed the rest of the primer from Van Windows Direct. It had completely hardened. So I did some frantic searching, and reading the training manual for Sikaflex P2G. Decided I don't know what to do, but chances that it holds to paint are good. Bought a primer called rustoleum from the hardware store for the raw cuts, but it takes 24 hours to dry so didn't prime where the urethane goes on the paint.

This time I did the "V" shaped bead, which was MUCH MUCH harder to get consistent. It kept getting smaller, I'd slow down and put more pressure, then it got too big, etc. The round bead was many times easier to get an even bead.

When I smacked the window in place, no urethane came out the edges, but it was obviously closer to the bottom (visible) edge in a couple places. When I installed the sliding door window I didn't understand why people on this forum call it nasty. Now I know. I attempted to clean one of the bulges a bit with some goof off. Half an hour, several dozen paper towels, and a lot of goof off later I managed to clean it so it wasn't worse than it was originally. It just smears everywhere.

It's finally in place, and hopefully tomorrow won't take 4 hours and I'll have time to put it the roof fan also.

This $100 telescoping ladder off Amazon is PERFECT!

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You can see a bit of black goop, but not TOO bad.
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Anyone know what this clip on my rear door is?
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Discussion Starter #103 (Edited)
Managed to get the other bunk window and roof fan installed today despite waking up late again, spending some quality time with the wife 😁, and getting a 1.5 hour workout in at the gym.

By now I'm used to people stopping to see what I'm doing every day, but today there were maybe 5 different people who stopped to chat, including my landlord who is quite the character and doesn't understand that a short chat is ok but 20 minutes is a bit long when it's after 5 and I've just started cutting a hole I'm the roof!

Got a better V bead on the passenger bunk window. Made sure to not get too much on the bottom plastic bits cause they tend to squeeze out more urethane when I push the window in place.

For the Maxxair fan, I had decided to put it in the center up front. Good spot cuz it's perfectly flat after cutting out the 14" square. Used some spare 1x2s stacked to frame out the opening for future finishes and screw penetration. Glued urethane as I did for the windows and stuck in the frame. Used a couple c clamps to hold the wood frame in place while I put in the screws. 12 of the 16 screws went in fine with a small pilot hole. 4 screws were stubborn as ****, and even after drilling a larger hole I had to set my driver for drilling to get them in. Didn't want to seal them with the nasty black urethane so I left them bare for now. I'll hopefully buy something easier to seek them. Any ideas?

The unit itself was tough. The wires were on the passenger side (why??) even though the instructions say they are on the driver side. Maneuvering on the roof was difficult being careful to only put weight over the supports. Had to lie down flat and the roof was covered in dirt, but what's a little dirt to mingle with all the metal shavings? The unit holes didn't align with the frame holes, but I discovered I just had to lift the metal clips on the frame a bit to get them to align.

Spent another hour after dark cleaning up, sweeping metal shavings, and putting stuff back in the van. I'm sure I got metal shavings in the ribs and down the floor crack. Any idea how to clean in there? I don't really want to buy a special fancy heavy duty vacuum. Maybe the house vac will work but I'd have to get the inverter and batteries installed to use it.

The sun reflecting off the side was blinding but luckily whoever sold the van to the dealer left a pair of sunglasses! I felt like a storm trooper with all this face protection:
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Another hole opposite yesterday's hole:
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The roof hole was a bit scarier than the wall holes. To those wondering, don't cut from the inside! I cut from below on online advice but it was much harder, and metal shavings all I'm my hair kinda sucked. If I had to do it again I'd do it all from the roof.
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Oh, a fan!
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Fan from the inside:
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Metal shavings from fan install. I put the seats all the way forward and leaned them forward and they seem to have stayed clean!
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Also discovered the majority of time is not installing a thing, it is research, drive to store, search for things, ask questions, read labels, try other stores, etc. I installed the floor the other weekend, took 5 hours or so. But it took the entire previous day to buy stuff. This weekend I wanted to work again. But it again took the whole day to buy stuff and I still need to find more tomorrow.
Don't worry about taking a little time. We got our vans about the same time, and you are SOOOOOOO much farther along than me. You have your floor in, a couple windows, two swivels, the ceiling fan, a bed platform. I have half a roof rack and a grab handle near the slider.
 

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Says the guy who used scaffolding to put his fan in... :)

View attachment 67947
@Sather

Ya I did not really want to go to that bother, but I did not want to put any weight on the roof. IIRC the metal skins are 30 thousands of an inch & the ribs flex & I weigh over 200 lbs. @aaronmcd build “site & situation” is a bit different & I try to understand his situation & think of options I would do in his shoes. It is like I tell my Staff, I have lots of ideas & “the odd one is even good” 😜

Thanks for pointing out the humor in that post 🤣


@aaronmcd

Even though you have “Sidewalk Superintendents” You are killing it dude 👍. I can imagine how hard it is to cut the roof opening from below, but now you are done with that task. I had a few that I dreaded & even worse they were self inflicted by my design.

Conrgats on “gettin er done” !!

Not sure of the metal shaving collection, but would a strong magnet work?
 

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Aaron - sorry for the brief hiijack. I tried vacuuming up metal shavings once with a Shopvac. DON'T DO IT! The shavings are like little springs with sharp edges, and the inside of the hose is not smooth. When one catches, the rest dog pile it and you end up with what looks like a steel wool baffle. Way up inside the hose like a plugged coronary artery. Took hours with a length of 3/4" PVC pipe to clean it all out. Better to just sweep what you can into a dust pan and toss directly into the trash, strong magnet for the rest.

RV8R - all ideas are good ideas. I dented the roof of the Savana putting in her vent. For the PM, I am waiting until the rails are both on, then putting some planks across... poor man's scaffolding, but the idea was born from your post. Thanks!
 

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The roof hole was a bit scarier than the wall holes. To those wondering, don't cut from the inside! I cut from below on online advice but it was much harder, and metal shavings all I'm my hair kinda sucked. If I had to do it again I'd do it all from the roof.

View attachment 67941

Oh, a fan!
View attachment 67943

Fan from the inside:


Metal shavings from fan install. I put the seats all the way forward and leaned them forward and they seem to have stayed clean!
When I saw that you cut the roof hole from the inside, I recoiled in horror.

Thanks for posting your experience and the caution against doing this.

I think that metal shavings in your hair might have been by far the least of the problems. Imagine if even 1 shaving got in your eye (not impossible, even with your stormtrooper double-eye protection). It could happen even after the fact, when you were shaking off the shavings in your hair (possibly with eye protection no longer being worn). It might have required a hospital visit, possibly resulted in permanent eye damage.

Metal shavings are razor sharp. Sawdust is comparatively much tamer.

Metal filings are super sharp too. And I know this from my own stupidity: I used an angle grinder to cut my hole. I would never do that again and would caution others against it too because it creates a ton of sharp filings, some microscopic. Harder to clean up than shavings.

Getting onto the roof didn't harm it. Initially, I used a scrap piece of 1-inch polyiso and some plywood. I didn't get a sense that the roof was denting, though I moved gingerly. It helped that my vent is at the back where there are more ribs under the sheet metal and I weigh less than 160 lbs.
 
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Discussion Starter #109
Last weekend spent all day Saturday staring, thinking, planning, and wandering around Lowes buying materials like wood, hardware, and unistrut. On Sunday we put a couple coats of primer on the subfloor and bed platform:
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A bird pooped on the wet primer as we were working :ROFLMAO:
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Discussion Starter #110
This weekend I got some various stuff done.

Got the rest of the rigid insulation in. Still have an entire sheet. It's a pain putting it in and out of the van all the time. Might add it to some of the walls, but haven't planned where/if I'll want electric outlets in walls. Anyone know what to do about those top corners?
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Saved some insulation from food deliveries and stuffed it in the rear doors:
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Applied Lexel sealant (what the guy at ACE suggested) around the Maxxair and over screws. The screws were a PITA. I'd recommend having the sealant on hand and applying first and screwing through it.
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ACE didn't have gorilla glue construction adhesive, so I used this Loctite Power Grab Express to hold the furring strips on the walls while the Loctite PL 3x dries. Hopefully this works. These strips were too long for the panel curve, so I'll have to find out tomorrow if the top and bottom are enough to hold it.
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Used expansion joint foam between gaps, and then great stuff (which is pretty annoying when it builds up on the straw nozzle). Also the "Windows and Doors" foam doesn't seem to expand much, so I went over a couple times.
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Lastly, I built a box to go over the driver side wheel well and support the electrical system. The upper part will be built next weekend. I used 3/4" edge glued panels, joined with wood glue and #6 screws. This under bed area is my practice area before building more visible cabinets and boxes.
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If you mean theses? I just beveled the edges of some polyiso and spray foamed them in place over the metal.
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If you mean theses? I just beveled the edges of some polyiso and spray foamed them in place over the metal.
View attachment 68397
That's a quick and dirty but effective trick.

For me, those channels run a fair amount of my electrical and if that's foamed in place that would effectively seal them off as removing the polyiso would result in destroying it (ask me how I know...)

So it would be best if your electrical is finalized before sealing that corner area off if you use them like I do.

Just the other day, I re-did my puck lights, adding a few more, and so needed access to those corners.

And I could see myself needing access to those areas again later as I add some cameras and more exterior lighting.
 

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Another option, in this pic the red line is a true 1x2 nailer, I cut 2'x2' interlocking floor mats slightly oversize and pressure fit them into place between the blue and red lines.
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Discussion Starter #114
I've been going to bed and getting up ridiculously early all week (9:30 to 6:00), and focusing on getting work done, so I managed to have 5 hours Tuesday and 5 hours today to work on the van!

The insulation is ridiculous. I've spent so many days on this. I hate it. But now I finally have it all in. It could maybe use another can of great stuff, but I do have at least one bead of foam around all panels.

Emptying all the crap out of the van before work, and loading it back in after is a pretty big chore. I'm accumulating many small pieces of wood I don't want to throw away but also don't have an immediate use for.

The biggest job on Tuesday was getting the roof rails installed. I broke 2 jigsaw blades on the unistrut before figuring out the best way to cut it by angling it and rotating as I cut to ensure the blade doesn't go through both sides. Then I sprayed the ends with zinc paint, realized I had a whole can and sprayed the whole struts. Mounted a 7 ft and 5 ft section each side on Unaka Gear mounts.
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Cut some wood for the electric box today. No time to stain, so I'll do that on Saturday and hopefully get started on electrical install by Sunday.
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Discussion Starter #115
Worked Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (today) on finishing the electric box, hooking up some of the electric, and slapping that last extra sheet of polyiso over top of the first layer, just to get it out of the way.

Almost all my tools and materials are stored in the van so it can be a chore to load and unload onto the sidewalk every time I work on it. The bags of materials, fasteners, adhesives, loose tools, etc have been steadily piling up. Bought another toolbox at ACE to stash the extra pile of tools and fasteners (having an ACE a few blocks from home is a lifesaver).

The custom mattress from the foam factory arrived last Friday. 3" 4 lb memory foam, 1" medium foam, and 2" firm foam, custom cut to 58x74 with chamfered corners to clear the rear pillars. We chose to forego glue in case we want to swap out any of the layers, but it feels like it will be comfy.
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Watching paint dry. Wood conditioner, one coat stain, 2 coats polyurethane, over some really soft edge glued wood. So. Much. Waiting. But I had plenty of small stuff to do in the meantime.
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Cut and stained this thin plywood to replace the ugly sliding door panel. Planned to screw it in instead of using the ugly black press fit connecters. If the door ever fails it'll have to come out though. I broke a bit and was unable to drill into the front edge of the sliding door. Maybe I need a better bit, or a better drill? Or perhaps I should redo this panel, order rivnuts, and use those.
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Assembled the box with gate hinges and magnetic latches. The magnets feel super strong.
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Fastened this fuse for the Sterling 1260 charger. I couldn't find the square head bolts. I used 5/16" hex bolts and sanded 2 opposite corners for 45 seconds to get them to fit the square holes. It worked!
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First time using the hammer crimper on these 4awg wires. Running them behind the plastic door step trim (which was a royal pain to remove and replace). Then ran the wires along the corner of the floor, to the wheel well, and up into the back of my box. Used a lighter for the heat shrink, which is slow and takes a bit of practice to hold it close enough to shrink the tube but not so close it starts smoking. No I didn't use that tiny hammer for crimping, I used it to bang the hex studs into the square holes lol.
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Got the switch and breakers mounted at the back door. This blue sea switch is quite annoying to mount. I wanted to use through bolts for all of these, but the mounting holes are so close to the big hole for the switch that one or more merge into it. But that's not really a problem as it's still held solidly in place.
Top to bottom: charge controller, main, DC panel, Sterling 1260.
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Discussion Starter #116
These 9" long cutters successfully cut 2/0 battery wire! They need a lot of force though. Just held the handles between my thighs and crushed it like a watermelon. Then used the utility knife to score the perimeter, scrape off one side, and peel the insulation off. Slow but oddly satisfying.
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5 blows to the hammer crimper:
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Beautiful positive battery wire:
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Minimum electric hookups are now done to get power on the road: 2x 100Ah LiFePO4 batteries, Sterling 1260, and 2000W inverter.
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Set the Sterling for lithium and it seems to be working.
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Inverter comes on. Haven't yet tested it.
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Still need to secure the batteries, secure the whole box, and wire the other items.
 

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Watch out... with those batteries mounted sideways, some of the electricity may spill out! 😁

Forgot to mention a while back, if you get a piece of foam pipe insulation and cut two pieces about a foot long, it works well to wrap around the telescoping ladder at the point it touches the van metal - protects the paint.

Nice work so far !
 

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Discussion Starter #118
Watch out... with those batteries mounted sideways, some of the electricity may spill out! 😁
Yes, but with the terminals up near the top I can fill it 3/4 full and still get 150 Ah!

Forgot to mention a while back, if you get a piece of foam pipe insulation and cut two pieces about a foot long, it works well to wrap around the telescoping ladder at the point it touches the van metal - protects the paint.

Nice work so far !
Might look for that next time I'm at the store. So far I've just been real gentle and it seems to be ok.
 

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Maybe a bit too late, but mount at least those breakers on the inside. Unless something goes WAY sideways, you won't need to reset those breakers, ever. So it sucks having them on the outside and having to look at them all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #120
Maybe a bit too late, but mount at least those breakers on the inside. Unless something goes WAY sideways, you won't need to reset those breakers, ever. So it sucks having them on the outside and having to look at them all the time.
But I LIKE looking at them!
Yeah too late to move them anyway. I guess I could have hidden them inside, but now I don't even have to open the box to turn everything off.
 
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