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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I get the van ( 2500, 159” HR) I’m going to mock it up with tape/cardboard, but on graph paper this is the vision. Borrowed several ideas from builders I interviewed and vans in the wild, and floor plan influenced by my dislike of commercial class B Rv layouts( they all have that airplane aisle feel)
Must haves:
*platform bed sideways over garage, need the storage for camp chair/bike, rv mat and hiking gear
*2 maxx air fans for ventilation, will not have a/c
* window. in slider with vent/slide that opens
*bench to store cassette toilet (when needed) and to seat guest
*swivels/multiple Lagun mounts and place to store top behind driver seat
*solar, alternator charger and decent inverter
  • min. 25 gal fresh water
  • open area from cab step to rear door under bed and by slider, open feel
  • awning ( manual) to make use of outdoor space
  • 24” manual RV step to get in/out the slider

Ideas I’m still toying with:
*some sort of movable box to serve as a footrest for the swivels and also a step to get in the bed. Would love ideas, original thought was to secure it with l track in the floor but that seems like a dirt magnet, other idea was to use d rings and strap in to the bench while driving.
*outdoor shower at rear door. thinking a solar shower with a curtain/mat, would only be when really off grid in summer
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My layout is pretty similar to what you have in mind. Works good for us, I wouldn't change much if I did it again.


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Nice,
My layout is pretty similar to what you have in mind. Works good for us, I wouldn't change much if I did it again.


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Nice build out. Are the footrests storage? I like how you made them tall enough for the lagun mount, I was picturing more of the lower box you have in the middle but tall enough for a lagun mount would be handy
 

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Nice,

Nice build out. Are the footrests storage? I like how you made them tall enough for the lagun mount, I was picturing more of the lower box you have in the middle but tall enough for a lagun mount would be handy
Two batteries in one footrest and one in the other. The lower middle section has buss bars. Did you notice both footrests have lagun mounts, we almost always use the way it shows in the picture, works well for both seats.

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Looks good.

It looks like you have windows in the bed area - if so, the two maxfans may be overkill. A single maxfan with windows to let air in or out can move an awful lot of air. This is what we have and running the maxfan on a mid speed provides all the air we ever want.

I'd look into a composting toilet (commercial or homemade). I think going with a composting toilet was one of the best decisions we made in our conversion.

The cardboard mockup in the van will be really helpful.

Gary
 

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Van #2 2021 EXT
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Looks good to me @carolinavangirl

Here are a few questions; Things heat - how are you going to do that? Furnace, hot water, cooking? I think I understand you method to cool down your van & I think @GaryBIS is right about the airflow & 1 fan if you have opening windows etc.

Composting toilet is also a great suggestion of Gary’s. We have a “Nature Head” in our cabin & like it so much we bought one for our van.


As for the minutia of detail, best to get the big ideas sorted first & then get to the details. There is a small bit of electrical & mechanical “engineering” or at least understanding before those designs can be completed.
 

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How much time will the van spend in sub 30 F weather vs over?

That can really affect how the electrical system operates.

I have spent some time in the Carolinas. Beautiful area. Great red velvet cake. Air conditioning can be pretty desirable.

Your diagram indicates a 2000 watt inverter and 300 amp-hrs of LiFe batteries. Assuming that you have 3 each, 100 amp-hr batteries such as BBs that will just be enough. 4 would be somewhat more robust for dealing with surge loads or two things coming on at the same time.

Many individual 300 amp-hr LiFe batteries cannot support a 2000 watt inverter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks good.

It looks like you have windows in the bed area - if so, the two maxfans may be overkill. A single maxfan with windows to let air in or out can move an awful lot of air. This is what we have and running the maxfan on a mid speed provides all the air we ever want.

I'd look into a composting toilet (commercial or homemade). I think going with a composting toilet was one of the best decisions we made in our conversion.

The cardboard mockup in the van will be really helpful.

Gary
Yeah the rear opening windows made the sketch but might not make the budget, the slider window is a must for driving and the van will have rear fixed glass. I also forgot the Espar heater, it will go next to the pantry or bench mid van. Don’t plan on using the van much in <35 degrees except the pretty part of fall in New England until I retire.
I looked at the dry flush and composting toilets, and also a luggable loo. I won’t be living in the van, and it has to fit in the bench, which rules out a lot of toilets by req height of the finished bench. the luggable loo is probably where I’ll start. the dry flush except the cost was pretty cool once they release their bio degradable bag option
Loved your post on the insulation comparisons!
 

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In our 1st build we had a 40” wide seating area & a toilet under 1/2 of the seat top “removable” to access the toilet. We startet with a low Dometic toilet, but when the seal went on it cost wise it was cheaper to buy a new toilet. So at that point we went with Thetford.


Font Output device Rectangle Parallel Kitchen utensil






Our bench setup;

Wood Rectangle Gas Motor vehicle Machine


It was not planned, but ergonomicly we used the fixed part of the bench seat as a setup to the bed.

Our 1st floor plan (Note our 2018 van was an EXT & the Sportmobile graph is wrong for wheelwells & slider location - the overall graph is pretty accurate- if you want to know more detail about this just ask me)

Handwriting Rectangle Font Schematic Parallel


Photo of the bench seat with toilet under;

Furniture Tartan Rectangle Wood House


So we found if we could utilize “van space” for 2 or more needs/wants it makes for a better design. In this case with our bench seat; 2 person sitting area, toilet, storage under the fixed side, step up or down for bed.
 

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2014 136” HR
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If toilet must fit into a bench and you are considering a luggable loo, also consider my toilet.


The main difference is that you can use a smaller bucket—I use 2-gallon. I envision for your setup a wood seat that lifts out. I also have nested a second identical bucket which is handy for other purposes, accessible when toilet has contents, yet requires essentially no space for storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In our 1st build we had a 40” wide seating area & a toilet under 1/2 of the seat top “removable” to access the toilet. We startet with a low Dometic toilet, but when the seal went on it cost wise it was cheaper to buy a new toilet. So at that point we went with Thetford.


View attachment 81606





Our bench setup;

View attachment 81607
That’s what I had pictured with the ability to slide it out forward and out for cleaning, with just enough room side to side to prevent tipping/sloshing. Looking at the slightly taller model,the 365, 16.5”. An average chair is 20-21”, minus 3-4” cushion and plywood top, so any taller and the bench would be weird
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If toilet must fit into a bench and you are considering a luggable loo, also consider my toilet.


The main difference is that you can use a smaller bucket—I use 2-gallon. I envision for your setup a wood seat that lifts out. I also have nested a second identical bucket which is handy for other purposes, accessible when toilet has contents, yet requires essentially no space for storage.
Nice workmanship, I agree for occasional use a bag is optimal, can dump in any garbage can. A cassette toilet isn’t awful, the key to dumping it, a little vicks vaporub under the nose, you won’t smell anything, and if you dump at an rv dump station or outhouse you won’t see it either, dumping it in a public restroom would be gross, splash back from the water, ewww
 

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I always empty my bags before disposing. Since it's every day, smell isn’t much of an issue. Boondocking, I lay it on the ground with open end down a bit so liquid escapes, but paper remains inside. Pit toilets are easier than flush toilets—just let’er rip.
 

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Nice workmanship, I agree for occasional use a bag is optimal, can dump in any garbage can. A cassette toilet isn’t awful, the key to dumping it, a little vicks vaporub under the nose, you won’t smell anything, and if you dump at an rv dump station or outhouse you won’t see it either, dumping it in a public restroom would be gross, splash back from the water, ewww
Every toilet system has it's pros and cons. We've been using a Thetford porta-potti for years and dumping is second nature now. Dumping in pit toilets (outhouses) is my preferred option. No chance of splash-back. Regular toilets are a close second. The trick to avoiding splash-back is hitting the side of the bowl and dumping a little slower. But I avoid RV dump stations like the plague. That little hole in the ground is too small a target, and your feet have no protection. Someday I'd like to try a DIY "composting" toilet like @GaryBIS built, but I'm not hating the porta-potti. I must say a porta-potti can get really heavy if you don't dump often.
 

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Every toilet system has it's pros and cons. We've been using a Thetford porta-potti for years and dumping is second nature now. Dumping in pit toilets (outhouses) is my preferred option. No chance of splash-back. Regular toilets are a close second. The trick to avoiding splash-back is hitting the side of the bowl and dumping a little slower. But I avoid RV dump stations like the plague. That little hole in the ground is too small a target, and your feet have no protection. Someday I'd like to try a DIY "composting" toilet like @GaryBIS built, but I'm not hating the porta-potti. I must say a porta-potti can get really heavy if you don't dump often.
I'm with Steve... Had our Thetford Curve for years... no issues, dump in a regular toilet (available almost everywhere)... no spills if you go easy at the start. I keep a few plastic bags available to line the portapotti with in the winter so I can keep the water tank dry (no freezing issues), but still use the toilet with a bag for removal.
 

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On trips where a toilet may be needed, we've been throwing a river bank "groover" in our vans for almost 25 years. They are 100% leak and smell proof (with the tank cover on), hold up to 30 person-days, and empty directly into RV dump stations using the standard hoses and fittings. These things are built tough for river rafting use.
Cylinder Gas Plastic Font Machine
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
On trips where a toilet may be needed, we've been throwing a river bank "groover" in our vans for almost 25 years. They are 100% leak and smell proof (with the tank cover on), hold up to 30 person-days, and empty directly into RV dump stations using the standard hoses and fittings. These things are built tough for river rafting use.
View attachment 81753
Now this seems like the bees knees, it’s on my short list if I find myself relying on the toilet more than i thought. super sturdy looking and i like the rv hose coupler aspect. Taking the inner lid out between uses seems to be the main usability difference between it and say a Thetford or camco, the square dimension of this seems more practical for placement in the van as is the built in lid/seat. Thanks
 

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In our 1st build we had a 40” wide seating area & a toilet under 1/2 of the seat top “removable” to access the toilet. We startet with a low Dometic toilet, but when the seal went on it cost wise it was cheaper to buy a new toilet. So at that point we went with Thetford.


View attachment 81606





Our bench setup;

View attachment 81607

It was not planned, but ergonomicly we used the fixed part of the bench seat as a setup to the bed.

Our 1st floor plan (Note our 2018 van was an EXT & the Sportmobile graph is wrong for wheelwells & slider location - the overall graph is pretty accurate- if you want to know more detail about this just ask me)

View attachment 81610

Photo of the bench seat with toilet under;

View attachment 81611

So we found if we could utilize “van space” for 2 or more needs/wants it makes for a better design. In this case with our bench seat; 2 person sitting area, toilet, storage under the fixed side, step up or down for bed.

Post #14 in thread below



Product Vehicle Rectangle Automotive design Output device



I was looking at this thread to reference why I will avoid Dometic if at all possible & found a photo of the replacement toilet that was low profile.

a big advantage of these toilets is the ability to dump them “cleanly”. No “stinky slinky” I would not even know where to store that in a van, let alone want to handle it.
 

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2019 Promaster 3500 Silver high top 159"
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I didn't notice it mentioned, but I'll say it here: I have been using my Natures Head for a year and finally, after a two-month hiatus, turned the compost into the garden and renewed the Coir. Zero smell. It is rated for 6-8 weeks of continuous use by two people (the urine bucket only holds 2 days). When on the road I always took advantage of alternate toilet facilities which probably explains the 12-month clean cycle. I probably have something like 40-60 people-days of use over the last year.

Natures Head is way overpriced (as is everything marketed to the RV crowd) but, IMO, totally worth it. Never an issue needing a toilet, day or night. So convenient. So easy to clean. There might be less expensive, equivalent products coming out soon.
 
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