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If you are staying put in the heat, an OUTSIDE cover of Tyvek is the best I've seen. It stops the heat before the heat invades the interior. At 100° ambient, I have measured glass under Tyvek at 104° and exposed adjacent glass at 135°. Amazon sells plain white Tyvek for $4/yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
I'll try to not duplicate what was already said but here's my experience:
I put 2" of polyiso all around the interior. However, there are lots of places that you simply can't get it, like much of the doors and the ribs of the van (and any windows, but I don't have any in the back). The utility of the insulation is therefore greatly limited. I used wool batting for all the places I couldn't get polyiso. What I found is that all the places I've insulated maintain a constant temp and do exactly what they're supposed so.
However (and it's a big however), if I don't put the insulated reflective cover on the windows when it's hot, the van gets exceedingly hot really quickly, just like any car because of the sun on the dark dash. Even the insulated reflective cover (I bought the one here) gets to about 110 degrees according to my infrared thermometer.
Further, the doors are the single largest source of heat loss/gain. When it's sunny they get really hot and when it's cold, they're really cold and drafty. To mitigate this, I put up curtains attached with velcro which separate the cab and cover the doors. This makes a pretty big difference.
With temperatures around freezing, I can keep the van at about 50 degrees F with no heat and in the heat usually within 5 degrees of ambient if I put all the curtains and covers in place.
Hey Ben,

This is really useful information for me. I plan on using 1" polyiso in the van and keeping the factory floor. Do you think I should go with 2" polyiso? I really don't anticipate going anywhere with my van where I have to leave my dog, but I have, in the past, had to leave Dexter in the truck when we wanted to grab a bite/brew at a non-dog-friendly brew-pub. Thankfully, I like fall camping here on the West Coast and it was overcast and there was really no chance of him overheating in the truck, but we were in eye-sight of the truck nonetheless.

I haven't started the insulation yet but if the 2" polyiso will help, even with the poorly insulated sliding door and rear door, then I would rather do this than the 1" polyiso.

I also like the idea of a curtain on the sliding door and rear door to provide additional heat barrier. I will have some form of partition to isolate the cab from the living area so I think I won't have too much heat ingress from the cab - I am planning a wood panel partition, sandwiched between 1/2" polyiso for insulation. I'm not sure how well this will insulate but I'm guessing better than the factory partition.

MsNomer - The Tyvek insulation is interesting. Are you putting this via suction cup or something similar to the outside of the window?

I really need all the advice I can get so I insulate sufficiently to keep my dog healthy if I have to leave him in the van. But I don't want to overdo any of this either. I'm thinking I'll just go with the 1" polyiso and see how it works, I can leave a temperature probe in the van to see how hot it gets in the sun. Worst case would be that I need to pull the paneling and add another 1" polyiso.

Does this seem reasonable to you guys?

Paul
 

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I’d say yes. I put 1” polyiso everywhere, including the sliding door and rear doors but not the cab doors. The tyvek can be held on with magnets if it is cut oversize. It is not insulation but is a light blocker to stop the solar gain of the greenhouse effect of the windows. I have a curtain separating the cab and it is surprisingly effective at creating a delta with the rest of the van. The secret is ventilation. My two awning windows and the Fantastic Vent pushing air out keeps the van near ambient temperature. You are not going to do much better w/o AC.
 

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Yes, magnets. I sewed them into the edge. Interior covers prevent the spread of heat within the vehicle. Exterior covers address the cause of the heat.

Unfortunately, the exterior cover is not something you're going to want to slap on before you hop into the pub. I use it when MrNomer meets up with his fellow geologists in the desert.

This thread and our recent trip have prompted me to contemplate the extremes in which our van functions well--from extreme heat to bitter cold, from bone dry to dripping wet.
 

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PHK,
I think you're fine with 1". The point I was making was that, regardless of how much insulation you use, it's pointless unless you find a way to fill the rest of the gaps. It would be like putting R20 insulation in a house and then leaving a window open all the time. The only argument I would make for 2" is simply that it fits better in many places. Most of the panels are about 2" inset so it just worked out well to put 2" of foam to make them flush with the ribs.

As for curtains, not knowing anyone who sews and not wishing to do it myself, I bought a bunch of the "thermal" curtain panels from Target and attached adhesive velcro to them, with a little superglue to help. I also bought a magnetic screen door off Amazon and that comes with velcro to attach to the frame. So now I can swap out curtains or screen door depending on the situation.

One last thing about dogs, I tried to find a wifi-enabled thermometer that I could connect to an old phone I was using as a hotspot so I could keep an eye on the temp while I'm away. This proved surprisingly difficult. However, I did find a camera made by Motorola that plugs in to USB and has a thermometer in it. At the time I bought it, I paid $40 but now it looks like it's $80 on Amazon.

It's a little buggy but works decently well to give me peace of mind. I can set a temperature alert on my phone and also keep an eye on him.
 

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If you are staying put in the heat, an OUTSIDE cover of Tyvek is the best I've seen. It stops the heat before the heat invades the interior. At 100° ambient, I have measured glass under Tyvek at 104° and exposed adjacent glass at 135°. Amazon sells plain white Tyvek for $4/yard.

Hi MS,
The outside cover sounds interesting and effective.


How much of the van do you cover?


Any pictures?


Do you try to space it off the van skin a bit, or right against it?



Gary
 

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PHK,
I think you're fine with 1". The point I was making was that, regardless of how much insulation you use, it's pointless unless you find a way to fill the rest of the gaps. It would be like putting R20 insulation in a house and then leaving a window open all the time. The only argument I would make for 2" is simply that it fits better in many places. Most of the panels are about 2" inset so it just worked out well to put 2" of foam to make them flush with the ribs.

As for curtains, not knowing anyone who sews and not wishing to do it myself, I bought a bunch of the "thermal" curtain panels from Target and attached adhesive velcro to them, with a little superglue to help. I also bought a magnetic screen door off Amazon and that comes with velcro to attach to the frame. So now I can swap out curtains or screen door depending on the situation.

One last thing about dogs, I tried to find a wifi-enabled thermometer that I could connect to an old phone I was using as a hotspot so I could keep an eye on the temp while I'm away. This proved surprisingly difficult. However, I did find a camera made by Motorola that plugs in to USB and has a thermometer in it. At the time I bought it, I paid $40 but now it looks like it's $80 on Amazon.

It's a little buggy but works decently well to give me peace of mind. I can set a temperature alert on my phone and also keep an eye on him.
No, not true at all! Go with 2" in the walls and just fill the cracks with Great Stuff door & window. Any small spaces (such as doors’ etc) are basically meaningless. The heat loss thru those amounts to next to nothing in the overall heat loss! Yes, get or make insulated panels for the glass - most of your heat loss or gain will come thru the glass. This is a metal box on wheels, not a house! If you must get some of the overpriced thinsulate from Hein if it makes you sleep better at night (at least there won’t be a big bulge in your wallet keeping you awake if you sleep with your pants on!) ;)
 

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The Tyvek Cover

For the front, I essentially copied the design of covers that sell for >$100. Mine cost about $20 for front, side, and back, plus it folds to almost nothing for storage.

First, I draped the Tyvek over the windshield, holding it with magnets on top.



I cut the second side to match the first side.



Then I added the wings over the windows with cutouts for the mirrors. There's a piece of Velcro under the mirror opening.



Pleasant light effect on the interior.



The setup for my contrasting temperature experiment. Both measurements on the same piece of glass.



I don't have photos of the side or rear cover. Just rectangles with magnets. The front and rear behave well in wind. The side needs more magnets because wind gets under it. Actually, I have only one side cover--the open door with awning takes care of the passenger side.
 

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So on the extreme cold side of things I did a week camping in central Canada last February. Temps got down to -15F one night and were generally around 0 to 10F. Fully insulated with Thinsulate and 1/2" of closed cell foam in the floor plus insulated window covers I stayed pretty warm running the Propex full blast all night. Usually around 50-55F inside the van. If I had a lot of wet gear I had to run the roof vent on low to make sure I didn't get condensation. Now walking to the coffee shop on that -15F day was brutal but the van did well. 20# propane tank lasted about 4 days in those temps. I found that blasting the van heater for a bit before parking helped set things up for a warm night.

A few key things I learned on the insulation:

- Stuffing the "soffit" areas and ribs with Thinsulate is key. The less bridging you can manage the better. Same with the doors. Fishing Thinsulate into the side and rear doors is a pain but worth it.
- If I were to do it again I'd use polyiso rigid foam in flat rear side panels and the ceiling and Thinsulate elsewhere for both better R value, less condensation and cost savings.
- I'd also cover more of the metal areas with plywood/foam/fabric. I did panels that left some of the metal exposed such as in the rear and side doors and that exposed metal has a lot of thermal bridging.
- The cab is really cold. Even though it was 55F in the back water bottles left on the cab floor would freeze. An insulated cab partition curtain would help a lot and will be on the agenda for next winter.
 

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Nexus6 has experience most of us don’t really want. I agree on 90% of the van being insulated with Polyisocyanurate of 1” for temps down to about 0º and 2” if you are going colder. Then fish some Thinsulate into the ribs. KOV is right it is not going to make a big difference at 40º but for -10º it would pay off. I found it hard to get the Great Stuff to stay where I sprayed it in the ribs so I ended up fitting rigid foam into many of them. That too is hard to do but with the Great Stuff progun you can cut it and glue it almost anywhere.
The cab divider will make a considerable difference! Mine is not “insulated” but is a fabric with a backing and helps a lot. It also gives some privacy when boondocking happens to be at Walmart.
BTW I have a 9’ wide roll of white housewrap and have offered to cut, and ship what anyone wants to do the MsNomer window covers a couple of times on here and no one has asked. It is still available. You pay shipping for a flat rate envelope when it arrives. Just saying.
 

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PHK,

One last thing about dogs, I tried to find a wifi-enabled thermometer that I could connect to an old phone I was using as a hotspot so I could keep an eye on the temp while I'm away. This proved surprisingly difficult. However, I did find a camera made by Motorola that plugs in to USB and has a thermometer in it. At the time I bought it, I paid $40 but now it looks like it's $80 on Amazon.

It's a little buggy but works decently well to give me peace of mind. I can set a temperature alert on my phone and also keep an eye on him.
Looks like you already bought something, but I was thinking of trying this:
Remote Monitor
 

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Looks like you already bought something, but I was thinking of trying this:
Remote Monitor
The reason why I didn't like that one and many of the others is because it requires a connection to a LAN as well as always on AC. I was looking for something that would run off USB, connect to WiFi, and be able to be accessed remotedly via a phone.
 

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The reason why I didn't like that one and many of the others is because it requires a connection to a LAN as well as always on AC. I was looking for something that would run off USB, connect to WiFi, and be able to be accessed remotedly via a phone.

All good points, although running on AC is okay in my case. Here's an interesting unit I found on ali express: Sonoff S22

We would need wi-fi of course, but that's a different thread!
 
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