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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

Yet another insulation question! I'm looking to use my van for ski trips as much as possible. I've insulated a majority of the rig (open panels, in ribs) with 3m SM600L Thinsulate.

According to the literature, the Thinsulate needs 2 inches of expansion to be most effective. In certain cavities, I can definitely double up on thinsulate. However, this may mean putting two layers of Thinsulate in a 3" wall section before my wall panels. Is this worth it? Maybe Hein will chime in.

Additionally, I'm considering using EZ Cool over the remaining exposed metal. I'm following what Far Out Ride http://faroutride.com/ez-cool-installation/ did. They covered 75% of the thinsulate with EZ Cool to reduce thermal conduction through the metal. Only covering 75% should allow the Thinsulate to breathe.

Does anyone have any comments on using EZ Cool this way? I have already used Thinsulate, and am not interested in spray foam or other materials. Just trying to figure out if the EZ Cool will make a tangible difference in thermal conduction.

Finally, any other ideas how I can better prepare my van in terms of insulation for western winter adventures? Already know I need a BULLETPROOF plan for window coverings.

Thanks, Merry Christmas all.
 

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I’m in the same boat as you, great timing! Just finished thinsulate and wondering if the reflectix type stuff is worth it.
Got anymore room in that boat? My thinsulate is on the way and am wonderin' the same.
 

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MMXVI - L2H2 in IN
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I think the output of your heater might determine how much insulation you need.

High btu and high r-value might not be a good fit.
 

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GaryBIS’s calculator is invaluable for answering this question. I used it. I got just what he predicted. I am happy I did. Why do these questions come up over and over? Doesn't anyone know there is a search box? Or is it just easier for us to look it up for you and give you the page? Phil is right!
Since it’s Christmas.
Try this:
https://www.builditsolar.com/References/Calculators/VanHeatLoss/VanHeatLoss.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #7
GaryBIS’s calculator is invaluable for answering this question. I used it. I got just what he predicted. I am happy I did. Why do these questions come up over and over? Doesn't anyone know there is a search box? Or is it just easier for us to look it up for you and give you the page? Phil is right!
Since it’s Christmas.
Try this:
https://www.builditsolar.com/References/Calculators/VanHeatLoss/VanHeatLoss.htm
Sorry to have bothered you with this RD. I think I meant to focus on more specific questions re: dual thinsulate and the insulation with low e from the link I provided.

In general, I’m finding the PM forum doesn’t use their vans in nearly as harsh as environments as the sprinter folks. Week long winter camping ski trips with full interior shower/full build? Haven’t seen much in the PM world. I’ll post over there, they might have some more specific suggestions for true winter usage (not roughing it in a dry camper, going for a long period of time, etc).
 

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Kilo, I think you're right. There's a guy over there who showers outside at -30°F. Many on the Sprinter Forum are young folks buying older cheaper models that we don't have yet. Many here are older folks coming in from the cold because our bodies can't take it anymore.
 

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MMXVI - L2H2 in IN
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My only point was a large heater in a small well insulated van may cycle to much. A small heater in a well insulated van may give you a longer burn time. Small heater in a non insulated van may never turn off or reach desired tempeture.

Cycling on and off every couple of minutes would be irritating to me.

Lots of variables, you could invest lots of time and money with the wrong combination.

I'm doing the basic insulation, I will probably get the espar D2 or B2, and insulate for the lowest btu setting at 32F, and go from there.

I prefer long burn times.
 

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The problem is also noise. When my Espar diesel heater starts it is about 10 times as loud as when it idles along on low. I designed my insulation to allow that idle at 32º. Heat loss=low output. So I can heat at a much colder temp but the heater makes a bit more noise. If it is much warmer then the heater shuts down, restarts (loudly) and runs for a while then shuts down. I can’t sleep through that so we don’t run it all night above about 35º. At 20º it runs great and quiet so I sleep. If I insulated more I push that temperature where heat loss=low heat output to a lower temp so I have to either sleep colder or listen to the short cycle. It’s a Goldilocks thing. YMMV
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
As far as two layers of 2 inch thinsulate in a 3 inch space. The data sheet for the SM600L lists its nominal thickness as 1.65 inches, so two layers would not be a whole lot over your 3 inches.
http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/784669O/3m-thinsulate-acoustic-insulation.pdf
Thinsulate's nominal R value is about R5.2/1.65 = R3.15 per inch -- I think 3 inches would give you about 3*3.15 = R9.5. I don't think that compressing it a little bit would reduce its R value per inch. So, if you do a lot of cold weather camping, it might be worth adding the 2nd layer where you can -- it would cut the heat loss in those areas nearly in half.

EZCool depends on its reflective surface to achieve any useful R value, and in order for the reflective layer to work, it needs to face an airspace. So, if you can't provide the airspace its not going to do much. Its only 3/16 inch thick, so its R value without the reflective layer facing an airspace is probably only about R0.5.

I could see putting EZCool over the inside surface of bare metal frames and providing a small benefit. But, bear in mind while the metal frames have near zero thermal resistance, the air layers on the surface of the metal do have an effective R value of about 1. Its the same situation as a single glazed window -- the glass itself has a near 0 R value, but the R value of the air layers inside and outside the glass give it an effective R value of about R1. So, in rough terms, adding the EZCool might raise the efective R value for these small bare metal frame areas from R1 to R1.5.

If you could get something like half an inch of polyiso on those inside bare metal surfaces of the frames, then, this would add a very worthwhile R3.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi,
As far as two layers of 2 inch thinsulate in a 3 inch space. The data sheet for the SM600L lists its nominal thickness as 1.65 inches, so two layers would not be a whole lot over your 3 inches.
http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/784669O/3m-thinsulate-acoustic-insulation.pdf
Thinsulate's nominal R value is about R5.2/1.65 = R3.15 per inch -- I think 3 inches would give you about 3*3.15 = R9.5. I don't think that compressing it a little bit would reduce its R value per inch. So, if you do a lot of cold weather camping, it might be worth adding the 2nd layer where you can -- it would cut the heat loss in those areas nearly in half.

EZCool depends on its reflective surface to achieve any useful R value, and in order for the reflective layer to work, it needs to face an airspace. So, if you can't provide the airspace its not going to do much. Its only 3/16 inch thick, so its R value without the reflective layer facing an airspace is probably only about R0.5.

I could see putting EZCool over the inside surface of bare metal frames and providing a small benefit. But, bear in mind while the metal frames have near zero thermal resistance, the air layers on the surface of the metal do have an effective R value of about 1. Its the same situation as a single glazed window -- the glass itself has a near 0 R value, but the R value of the air layers inside and outside the glass give it an effective R value of about R1. So, in rough terms, adding the EZCool might raise the efective R value for these small bare metal frame areas from R1 to R1.5.

If you could get something like half an inch of polyiso on those inside bare metal surfaces of the frames, then, this would add a very worthwhile R3.

Gary
Gary-what an awesome post. Very helpful and scientific. Much appreciated.
 

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Thank you Gary for the info. Helps mucho to make my decision on the EZCool layer.
 

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We use Low-E in stages depending on van-usage or desire to boost the overall R-value. The easiest most useful application is to line the inside of the roof after installing Thinsulate(TM) and before the ceiling panel. It is true that there is no perfect air space behind it but it does seem to help. Maybe Gary can put some numbers to it. Apply it front to back and use double sided tape to attach it to the roof beams. We stock Low-E in a 72" width so it fits the wider Promaster. The Promaster roof isn't as deep as other vans so some added insulation does help, imo.
 

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This topic needs more threads!

Hey Kifo, I don't have much to add to your question about doubling up on thinsulate; but do want to mention that having a lot of BTU available will make up for a poor insulation job.

I'm also planning to use my PM camper for extended backcountry ski trips and a nice hot shower *inside* is mandatory on my list. So I'm curious to see what others are doing or planning to do. We are starting out from a different place. I have a Carado Axion Class B build and it has a shower pan / toilet / fold out sink / kind of thing in the back of the van. The van also came with an Alde 3010 boiler which has turned out to be better than I expected.

Anyway Hymer did a piss poor job insulating the ProMaster; but even so the Alde boiler keeps it nice and warm with plenty of hot water for showers. The problem for me is that the pex fresh water pipes freeze up in sub 20F temps.

I plan to route some of the glycol mixed hot water along the fresh water lines and maybe even put in some in-floor heating under the shower pan (where the fresh water pipes go anyway). Plus, I'm looking to run a line through (or around) the grey/black tank that is *outside* the van to keep it from turning into a solid block of icy sludge.

Anyway, I could only find one partial thread where I guy had run this mix on his lines in the Class B forum and I've seen anyone talking about hacks to the Alde boiler. So please keep the winter preparation discussion alive!!
 
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