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2020 159" high roof, northern IL
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Discussion Starter · #321 ·
Which reminds me of an old saying amongst shipwrights. Probably applies to DIY vans, as well...

"When you build a house, the tolerance is within a quarter of an inch.
When you make cabinets, the tolerance is a thirty-second of an inch.
When you work on a boat, the tolerance is the boat next door."
 

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Discussion Starter · #322 · (Edited)
I tend to go into greater detail on things that (a) are sorta unique to my build (shackle D-rings, 1515 rack) or (b) I am clueless and need help with (most everything else). I'll be brief on things that are sorta standard and/or better described elsewhere. Got the two rear lower sidewall panels cut, just clamped in position as I have to finish the insulation. In general, I am using 1/2" polyiso on flat spots bordering the sheetmetal belt line (lower left). 1" polyiso (lower right) goes over that, bridging the gap. Will use Great Stuff Windows and Doors to join the faces and seal around the perimeter. I expect to have enough room to lay some Thinsulate over the top of the whole thing, under the walls.

Textile Wood Rectangle Window Line


Wood Automotive tire Gas Tints and shades Motor vehicle


Motor vehicle Trunk Gas Computer hardware Electrical wiring
 

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Discussion Starter · #323 ·
it will be interesting to see how much red interior u keep.....
Right now its looking like the "C" pillar won't be covered. It sticks out pretty far, and if I end up with smooth walls (the goal), I would lose a lot of interior to compensate. It will be behind cabinets for the most part, but will still have access to it for wiring. May use some of that stretchy carpet in places to cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #324 · (Edited)
Plunging forward with insulation, using techniques recommended by good friends and trusted advisors Nate and @RV8R. I did the lower panel (by the driver seat) last night as a test and confidence builder, followed by the first overhead panel today. Great Stuff "Windows and Walls" doesn't expand as aggressively as "Gaps and Cracks", so I trust it more to NOT bend the sheet metal skin outward. And the Pro Gun is a good tool to invest in... not only is it easier to aim and control the flow, it allows you to start and stop over a period of up to 20 days, rather than individual cans which pretty much have to be used in one session. Will be doing a few panels a day over the next few weeks.

Wood Building House Gas Beam
 

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Plunging forward with insulation, using techniques recommended by good friends and trusted advisors Nate and @RV8R. I did the lower panel (by the driver seat) last night as a test and confidence builder, followed by the first overhead panel today. Great Stuff "Windows and Walls" doesn't expand as aggressively as "Gaps and Cracks", so I trust it more to NOT bend the sheet metal skin outward. And the Pro Gun is a good tool to invest in... not only is it easier to aim and control the flow, it allows you to start and stop over a period of up to 20 days, rather than individual cans which pretty much have to be used in one session. Will be doing a few panels a day over the next few weeks.

View attachment 77977
Hi @Sather Looks Good 👍

Yes the Window & Door is less aggressive & a better type IMO. Still be conscience of an escape path for the foam to go & try not to over fill it. The factory finished sheet metal on the PM is about 0.030” & not perfect out of the factory (at least I gave never seen one without “oil canning”). On my 2018 build I made my factory finish worse by over filling. This showed up under “critical lighting” conditions.

I installed rivnuts prior to insulating (rivnuts everywhere). Not sure what you are planning for fasteners, if tech screws you are good to insulate first. I also HVAC aluminum foil taped over the aluminum foil face Polyiso & roof ribs (it is a bit of a damed if you do dames if you don’t regarding 2 vapour barriers). 2 vapour barriers is a “no no” for building science in buildings. In a van, we are kind inheriting a problem that IMO can only be best sorted by an entire “spray foam” job - but I prefer Polyiso & Great Stuff.

The less “mould food” present in the roof / wall / floor systems the better in my opinion. Van usage, best to keep the humidity as low as practical.

Roof / Wall / Floor finishes; Plywood’s are considered a vapour barrier & it is best to totally seal these regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #326 · (Edited)
Progress

Slowly but surely. Insulation has to be my LEAST favorite part of the build. Being careful to not overfill cavities with foam, partly because of fear of warping panels and partly because canned foam needs exposure to air to cure. There has been some speculation that it never fully cures in cavities that are completely filled. I normally use 2-part expanding foam in other hobbies, mix it like epoxy and you have a few minutes before it kicks. Comes in a variety of different densities, so managing expansion is better. Too runny for this application, though.

I did foam the smaller beams (across the roof and between pillars on the sides), and did not notice any changes in the sheet metal. Mine wasn't perfect to begin with, if you sighted down the sides, you could tell where the supports were, before adding any foam. H. F. Red certainly makes it more obvious. I know those supports are heat bridges, but my thoughts were that instead of the entire area (width x length) of the support being a bridge, now only the cross section area of the actual metal edges will bridge heat, eliminating the roof/wall area "inside" the support. I don't have a surface heat measuring device, but today, with the hot sun beating down in the van, the sheet metal of the ceiling was very hot and the inside surface of the now-foamed support, while still hot, was noticeably much less so than the bare sheet metal ceiling. In the big picture scheme of things, the windows are still going to be the biggest problem.

I also seal the edges with foil tape. Have to trim down the high (low) spots in the perimeter foam with a long flat razor blade, carefully to not nick the paint. Getting a stiff neck from all that overhead work. And it hindsight, it would have been better to wait on the footrest storage area until after the ceiling was in. I keep tripping on it moving around while looking up.

Vehicle Motor vehicle Wood House Gas
 

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Discussion Starter · #328 · (Edited)
Philosophy

Here is my chance to blather on about van building in general. A van, like a boat, is a compromise in needs and wants. In the sailing world, you choose between space, economy, and performance. And you can really only get two of those in one hull. In extreme cases, you sometimes only get one. I've been trying to picture a corresponding maxim for the van world. The "space" for us is wheelbase & roof height driven, with what you can pack into it (furniture & storage) vs empty (living) space to move around in. The "economy" obviously ties in your base vehicle cost with your conversion budget. The "performance" varies among us - everyone has a different plan for using their vehicle. You see that in our builds... some quickly convert back to work-capable vans, some are weekend campers, some are full-time homes. One of the things I enjoy most in following builds is the list of criteria each van is designed around. This impacts the space available and the budget. My first van (40 years ago) was a weekend camper (insulated bedroom), road trip machine (cruise control & 36 gallon gas tank), and boat puller (B250 & V-8). The second started as that but with the addition of a modest kitchen it evolved beyond what its hull was capable of fitting. I expect this one (#3) will be my final, hence the slow build as my criteria is still evolving. What I anticipate is a mobile "cabin-equivalent" second home, capable of 30 days unsupported on the lake shore or a 4 month maximum road trip. Gas and water are the limiting factors that set how far I could venture from civilization. (And roads, I guess. Unlike blue-water sailing, most wheeled vehicles need some infrastructure.) Bringing my own lodging reduces my imposing on others while visiting, and hotel costs while on the road. Could be used as a guest house as needed. The stand-up height is literally the one thing I could never go without again. Game changer.
 
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