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Discussion Starter #1
And So It Begins

As tent aging campers, we were looking for an upgrade from our Kelty 4 man tent with sleeping bags. The thought of setting up or breaking down in the rain is much less appealing and various ailments make it much more difficult to get down on the ground and even more difficult to get up.

So our new van needed to provide us a few things:

  • A comfortable, real-sized bed
  • A bed we can comfortably sleep in
  • A dry place for that bed
  • Easy way to carry perishable groceries for several days
  • Tall enough for my wife to stand up.
  • Room for all of our junk

Like others here we looked at the usual offerings: Sprinter, Transit, NV 2500 and the Promaster. There things we liked about each one but in the end the ability to put a real full size bed across the back of the Promaster was one of the biggest factors.



We bought a 2016 Promaster 1500, 136 wheelbase with a low roof.
 

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The Floor
The first thing we wanted was something other than the metal floor. Since we have the low roof version, building a floor with insulation, supports and then a plywood top was not really an option. My wife at 5'2" can comfortably stand up inside, at nearly 5'10" I have to duck a small amount.

We purchased a VanRug for about $200 that fit the floor exactly. Installation did not take long. The only difficulty was getting under the plastic pieces by the drivers and passenger chairs. I removed the screws but could not get those pieces off. I did manage to move them enough to get it under. Putting the screws back on was difficult because those pieces now rested on the rug and holes did not quite line up.
 

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How do you like the VanRug? I was thinking of building a floor for mine, but with that VanRug option, I'm not so sure. I kind of like the idea of having a foam backed comfy squishy floor vs vinyl tile on top of 3/4" ply.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How do you like the VanRug? I was thinking of building a floor for mine, but with that VanRug option, I'm not so sure. I kind of like the idea of having a foam backed comfy squishy floor vs vinyl tile on top of 3/4" ply.
It was a quick install and did help quiet the van. We have used for a number of day trips and for 7 nights of camping and its nice enough to walk on and keep the floor warm enough even when the temp were near freezing. If I were doing now I might consider put a layer of Herculiner or similar on the floor first for sound deadening and extra protection.
 

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Sound Deadening

I know there have some discussion about whether or not this is really required. It seems that what I would need this for was to dampen that drumming sound from large pieces of sheet metal and the wheel wells. I opted to cover about 25% of most areas. I used Hushmat 10400.

Two things I would do differently now

1. Cover the entire wheel well. The wheel wells are noisy. Partial coverage helps and I did more than the 25%. I wish I had done 100%.

2. Cover the entire floor with some type of bed liner rather than deadening strips. Besides provided dampening it would protect the entire floor.
 

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Most people just build cabinets or a bed over the wheel wells so sound deadening really isn't an issue. I have nothing on mine and I don't hear anything either
 

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Most people just build cabinets or a bed over the wheel wells so sound deadening really isn't an issue. I have nothing on mine and I don't hear anything either
My plan was to leave them open. Having the 136 low roof I figured I did not want to loose any space by enclosing them.
 

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My plan was to leave them open. Having the 136 low roof I figured I did not want to loose any space by enclosing them.
Actually, the space above them may be more useful if you have a flat surface above them. My wheel well boxes are angled to match the shape of the wheel well, 1.5" out and up to allow a layer of Thinsulate.
 

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Actually, the space above them may be more useful if you have a flat surface above them. My wheel well boxes are angled to match the shape of the wheel well, 1.5" out and up to allow a layer of Thinsulate.
Probably better organized if its flat but the odd shape allows to stuff just a few more things in. And we have noticed that we are bringing way more stuff with us than we had originally thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Windows

We considered the Motion Windows and the CR Laurence for our van. We chose the CR Laurence because they had a more "factory" look and because when the windows are open the window itself will shield the opening from rain.

Keeponvanning offered to guide me for this installation and I appreciated the offer. But there are somethings I was just unwilling to do to a brand new van. Cutting large holes in it was one of them. Boston Truck and Van did the install and they look great.
 

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Roof Vent

I was not certain that I wanted a roof vent. But after reviewing it here I was convinced.

http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53698

I opted for the MaxxFan 4500k. It has the automatic opening with a remote and it will close if it starts raining. I had this installed in the front flat area rather than in the back. I know you can get adapters to make it fit the ribbing but I preferred to install in a flat area of the roof that looks like its made for a sunroof. Like the windows I had this installed by Boston Truck and Van.

When driving at 70 mph I can hear a slight amount of noise form it if I really listen for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Insulation

Coming from a tent I wondered, "Do I really need insulation?" One overnight sleeping in our van produced condensation on many metal surfaces. I needed insulation.

Searching the internet I found several options: Sprayfoam, insulating boards and batt insulation. Spray foam seemed messy and I really did not want to wear a respirator and a onesie to do it. Insulating boards are usually held on by spray foam. And batt insulation does not resist moisture.

In the end I opted for a closed foam insulation that I am familiar with from refrigeration and HVAC work. It has an R-value of about 4 for 1".

I looked at 3' x 4' sheets by Armacell and by K-Flex. I had though one with pre applied pressure sensitive glue would make it easier to install. I also purchased contact glue as well in case I needed it.

Sheets
Glue

I had thought, "What could be easier, peel the backs off the sheets and stick em on - done!" The reality of installing these sheets was much more difficult that I thought. There are odd shapes and supports that interfere with getting the sheets in just the right spot. I was constantly trimming pieces to size and at time reducing thickness to get it into some spots.

There were places like in the doors where I could get it into place but could not get the sticky back off. Some spots I scored the back and just stuck the ends to the metal. Other places were so difficult to get in I never even tried to get the sticky back off.

As for the ribs at the top? I filled them a layer of reflectix and covered then with a kflex insulating tape.

Tape
Reflectics

Some other trouble spots were the top at the back and the back corners. Both received a layer of refletics. Unused holes were covered with aluminum tape.

In retrospect, I think buying the insulation without pre applied glue might be easier. Then I would just apply glue as I go. Also I would look at getting some 1/2 insulation as well to use in tight spots.

Or maybe I might just go for that onesie and industrial size canisters of expanding foam.



 

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Jeez guys, its a van. I just cut the sheets as best I could and held them in place with duct tape until I put the finished paneling over it. I could have used Great Stuff window foam (doesn't over-expand) but I didn't even do that - to messy and a real PITA. No condensation that I have ever observed ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I think the less cold weather camping you do, the less you need to worry about it. And unless you are doing the spray foam, you will end with some spots that are not completely sealed.

Part of the fun of converting one of these vans is sifting through all of the information and trying to discern what level converting you need to do, what level you want to do, and what level you can afford.
 

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The Plan

An important part of our plan is a real full size bed. The thought of breaking our bed down before we can eat or being exhausted when we arrive but still needing to make our bed was not an option.

The bed is elevated to provide storage of 24 bankers boxes. That is quite a bit of stuff though we have found we can easily attempt to bring more than will fit underneath.

The fridge needed to be a front opening fridge. Too many years of searching through coolers and loosing things at the bottom in the water led both of us to want this.

Our plan is attached.
 

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