Ram Promaster Forum banner
1 - 20 of 74 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I was given a warm welcome at the introduction section, and thought I might make a build log for my Fiat Ducato L4H3 conversion. I know now, that, these are not identical to the American "Promaster" as I first thought, but merely based on the same chassis. My cars knowledge is very limited ;)

I said "no skills" because I basically have none. I am a software engineer, and if you know anyone in software development, you'll know they have zero practical skills :D So I have started this project to learn a lot, and hopefully complete my dream van too. So crossing fingers :)

As for the van, it's an extra tall H3 model, as I am 6'4, and thats the only version I'll be able to stand up in. So tall one it is.

The plan is to make a van that I can use during winter and also live in for for extended periods of time. I don't have any floor plan, or anything else for that matter, planned out. What I do know, is that I will have a fixed bed with a big garage. I need to place all my sports gear, and its quite a lot, so need lots of storage in the back. I guess it also makes construction a little easier. I'll also design it around 1-2 people, not more. It will mostly be used by myself alone, so not going to design a common area with room for 4 people.

I'm also working full-time, so don't expect updates that often. I have to make use of what spare time and weekends that I have. But It will be nice to share some updates once in a while, and maybe someone will have some pointers when I'm stuck along the way :)

So first two days, what I've managed so far:
  • Got the side walls down, and cleaned the interior.
  • Fixed some butyl for sound deadening some of the walls (although not completely finished yet).
  • Got a massive headache from all the cleaning detergents (note to self, more ventilation next time).
  • My back feels 80yrs old.

Window Building Engineering Door Electric blue
Tire Land vehicle Vehicle Sky Wheel
 

·
Registered
2021 1500 136"WB High top
Joined
·
1,566 Posts
I also came at tyhis with no skills––except designer skills.

Do you have a floor plan to post? If not, pull out some graph paper and give each square a value. Then start laying out where you want the bed, the kitchen, the wetbath, (if you want one). When you're dealing with such a small space, you really need to consider every inch and the only way to do that effectively is in pre-planning. Your counters, sink, faucet... all might need to be smaller than you would buy for a house. A floor plan is your best buying guide.

I initially had the cab blocked off like you have, and several people here alerted me to the fact that I would need to leave the van and enter through the slider to get to the cargo area. That would be horrible in the winter, and I would find it horrible anytime because closing the slider from the inside isn't all that easy. I do love the designs that block it off. You have to decide if the tradeoffs are worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,556 Posts
It's nice to see what an extra-tall (H3) looks like on the inside. Lots more storage space in the forehead! @Lolaeliz beat me to it. Ditching the cab partition and adding swivel seat-bases would also bring the cab seats into play in the living space and eliminate the need for additional seating, freeing up valuable space for other stuff.

Here is a handy floorplan helper. Your L4 has the same floor footprint as the Promaster Long Body diagram. However, the L4 over here is properly called a Promaster 3500 EXT, but it only comes in H2 here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
It's nice to see what an extra-tall (H3) looks like on the inside. Lots more storage space in the forehead! @Lolaeliz beat me to it. Ditching the cab partition and adding swivel seat-bases would also bring the cab seats into play in the living space and eliminate the need for additional seating, freeing up valuable space for other stuff.

Here is a handy floorplan helper. Your L4 has the same floor footprint as the Promaster Long Body diagram. However, the L4 over here is properly called a Promaster 3500 EXT, but it only comes in H2 here.
Thanks for the floorplan helpers!

As @Lolaeliz also pointed out, there are some tradeoffs by keeping the cargo wall. However, I do like the design options I have by using the wall. I don't mind the hassle of going out from the drivers cabin and in the sliding door, makes the van more "stealth" which is also one benefit.

Either way, If I want to be able to actually use the car before its registered as an RV, there are tax regulations that prohibit me from modifying that wall. So there is that. So I make everything just a lot easier by designing everything with a wall still in place, so that will probably be the way forward for me.

Oh, and I simply love the extra cargo space in the forehead section :)

And yes, next step, floor plan :) (besides some rust treatment which I will do the coming days)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,556 Posts
Thanks for the floorplan helpers!

As @Lolaeliz also pointed out, there are some tradeoffs by keeping the cargo wall. However, I do like the design options I have by using the wall. I don't mind the hassle of going out from the drivers cabin and in the sliding door, makes the van more "stealth" which is also one benefit.

Either way, If I want to be able to actually use the car before its registered as an RV, there are tax regulations that prohibit me from modifying that wall. So there is that. So I make everything just a lot easier by designing everything with a wall still in place, so that will probably be they way forward for me.

Oh, and I simply love the extra cargo space in the headroom section :)

And yes, next step, floor plan :) (besides some rust treatment which I will do the coming days)
Ahh! We have variations on tax and registration limitations over here too, but yours sound a bit worse.

"Rust treatment"? Promaster bodies are galvinized at the Mexico factory. They rarely rust (like Sprinters). Are Fiat Ducatos different?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ahh! We have variations on tax and registration limitations over here too, but yours sound a bit worse.

"Rust treatment"? Promaster bodies are galvinized at the Mexico factory. They rarely rust (like Sprinters). Are Fiat Ducatos different?
Yes, they are quite strict. As long as the van is registered as a "utility vehicle / cargo van" the wall cannot be changed. Modification of any kind will trigger a tax-class change to regular vehicle (according to some annoying EU directive), which is a lot (probably in the area of 20k). Well, only if you get caught that is, but I'm not taking any chances ;)

Maybe "Anti-rust-treatment" is a better word for it ;) There are just some areas with bare metal where the paint has come off, so I thought I'd be a good idea to treat those. A few spots of surface rust in the cargo area, but other than that, its spotless (Its an 2018 model, so a few years used). The galvanised body was a big selling point for these vans, something I did not know before after I bought it :D
 

·
Registered
2014-159 HR in CT
Joined
·
4,497 Posts
A few thoughts:

1) looks brand new except for a few wheel well dings!

2) I like the look of the front end... it's a modern Promaster !

3) If you have to leave the partition, can you put a door in it? Would be easier to get to the back without going outside...

4) Lots of good floorplan ideas here. Floorplans

5) "no skills" just means you'll have lots of opportunities to gain some! Enjoy the process - it's just as much fun as using the finished product!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First weekend with some actual work.. two steps forward and one back :p I feel that I'm making no progress what so ever, but I guess what I have learned is that things take a lot more time than I think :D

I'm posting some pictures of my progress for anyone interested. What I've done this weekend:

  • I planned a little bit ahead (as this was a lot more fun than the boring painting part) and designed and 3D-printed a cover for the duct, so that I can seal of that lower "rocker panel channel" when I get to the insulation part. Not sure if its a good idea, guess I'll find out when I get to insulation sometime. If it works I'll print it in a more durable material like PETG or CPE.
  • As I'm a little annoyed by the road noise in the drivers cab, I tried to insulate the cab, starting with the doors. I quickly managed to destroy the vapor barrier. Of to a good start. I then thought, oh well, at least I can insulate the door, and cleaned it and put on some alubutyl sheets. I then discovered that the "foam mats" (to put on top of the butyl sheets) I ordered was in fact not foam mats, but more alubutyl sheets (just the more expansive brand to make it more annoying). So that was a complete waste of money. I now have one door without vapor barrier or noise mats :D Anyone else have noise treated the driver cab? I wonder if it's easy to access and helpful covering the wheel arcs, if its even possible. I struggled with all the panels, so had to call it a day this time around.
  • I finished the interior paint job. I might have gone a little overkill on the sanding and painting. I probably could have used the white paint the for bumper too (since it will be cover up anyway), but my ocd wouldn't have it.
  • Almost finished with the interior noise deadening. I think I might have fixed too much of that stuff , as I'll keep the wall, the noise deadening might not be worth much on the side walls. For the roof I've tried cutting strips of the alu sheets to fit within the grooves. The idea was that this will in addition to help with noise, fill those "gaps" for the insulation later, time will show if it's a good idea.

So that sums up my weekend. Making some progress.. very slowly. Next weekend I'll try to fix what I destroyed today :)

@SteveSS I added a better photo for you of the headspace section :)

Light Gesture Finger Thumb Line

Automotive tire Finger Automotive design Automotive exterior Bumper

Automotive tire Wood Road surface Asphalt Automotive exterior

Automotive tire Font Personal care Electric blue Cable

Motor vehicle White Automotive tire Automotive design Textile

Engineering Gas Electric blue Machine Urban design

White Blue Light Azure Air travel

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Water Automotive lighting

Automotive tire Automotive design Motor vehicle Bicycle part Rim

Hood Window Interior design Grille Automotive lighting
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,556 Posts
Love all that extra-tall space! I'd have a hard time deciding between upper cabinets and windows up there.

Your noise problems will largely go away once you insulate. The butyl sheet makes a noticeable difference at this point, but insulation will improve on that a great deal.

There is very little room for Insulation inside doors, plus it can get wet in there. I have not looked myself, but there may be some room for insulation on the back of the interior panels, like there is on Transits. Maybe wait and see what you think after insulating the rest of the van. The vapour barrier looks to be the same foam sheeting used for packing material. If you can't find a source for that, plastic vapour barrier sheeting for homes should work, too. That's what I found inside my old Ford van's doors. Get some double-stick outdoor carpet tape, and you'll be back in business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Love all that extra-tall space! I'd have a hard time deciding between upper cabinets and windows up there.

Your noise problems will largely go away once you insulate. The butyl sheet makes a noticeable difference at this point, but insulation will improve on that a great deal.

There is very little room for Insulation inside doors, plus it can get wet in there. I have not looked myself, but there may be some room for insulation on the back of the interior panels, like there is on Transits. Maybe wait and see what you think after insulating the rest of the van. The vapour barrier looks to be the same foam sheeting used for packing material. If you can't find a source for that, plastic vapour barrier sheeting for homes should work, too. That's what I found inside my old Ford van's doors. Get some double-stick outdoor carpet tape, and you'll be back in business.
Yes, I've decided for extra cabinet space, but Windows sure is a tempting idea.

For the doors I can also see there are drain holes in the bottom. The "foam panels" I thought I ordered are thin, and will fit behind the window-slides (?) so I'm good there (Dynaliner I believe the product was called). Anyway, I've started now, so got to finish the job, lol. But a good point for the rest, I'll wait until after the insulation to see the result then. It might be good enough. At the very least, I want the doors to make a "floof" sound and not the "clank" sound ;)

I'll source some regular plastic sheets and maybe some butyltape and fix it again. Probably after 15 hours of scraping work to get the sticky glue-stuff removed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
any idea what happen to crack/rust at rear of cargo space???? a blanket on wire/shower rod between cab and cargo area will greatly reduce noise

Sent from my LG-H871 using Tapatalk
Don't know for sure, but it looks like the rubber seal on one of the back doors are gone, so I'm guessing it's been slamming the metal every time it shuts. Need to get a new rubber seal. I sanded it down and painted, hopefully that will do the trick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I also came at tyhis with no skills––except designer skills.

Do you have a floor plan to post? If not, pull out some graph paper and give each square a value. Then start laying out where you want the bed, the kitchen, the wetbath, (if you want one). When you're dealing with such a small space, you really need to consider every inch and the only way to do that effectively is in pre-planning. Your counters, sink, faucet... all might need to be smaller than you would buy for a house. A floor plan is your best buying guide.
...
Since its been raining constantly for the past few weeks (and I'm mostly working from outside), I've not managed to do much actual work lately, but I have however finished my floor-plan, I think! It's at the very least ambitious, so we'll see how I get on, but I'm quite happy with it. I've attached a few drawings of my plans to this post.

A few notes on the plan:
  • According to regulations, I need a cabinet (minimum size 40x40x75cm), so I've added an almost full size one. Since I will do a lot of kitesurfing, I've planned to channel the diesel heater into the cabinet, effectively making it a fast drying cabinet.
  • As the car is registered for 3 people, I need at least the same amount of sleeping arrangements (regulations), 3 beds (but they don't have to be "fixed"). Since I'm 6'4 I can't have a full sized fixed bed, as that would occupy too much space, so I've based the bed on a pull-out section.
  • It's based around keeping the cargo wall.

I've also fixed and sealed up the rocker panels, as I've mentioned in another post, they were leaking quite a bit, especially around the marker lights. I don't want to worry about potential leaks behind the insulation, so I've done the following:
  • Removed all rocker panels (and breaking 40-50 plastic clips in the process - put my anger management to a serious test).
  • Cleaned and prepared the surface.
  • Designed a 3d-printed bracket/spacer to seal the open gap between van skin and rocker panel that was leaking.
  • Sealed every plastic clip with a butyl sealant.
  • Sealed the top- and sides of the rocker panels with sikaflex. In retrospect, I should have made a better masking job. Oh well, next time.

Next I plan to do the maxxfan install before I start with building and insulating the floor. Oh, and I've also found that the electric caulk-gun to be the best tool ever :)


Your noise problems will largely go away once you insulate. The butyl sheet makes a noticeable difference at this point, but insulation will improve on that a great deal.
I should have listened to you! I finished insulating both doors with alubutyl sheets and Dynaliner (yes, the expensive stuff). The leftovers I used to replace the original insulation under the hood. I thought it was a good idea at the time :p I did sound measurements both before and after treatment, and the result? ZERO difference. I could not hear any difference, and the measurement actually gave me 1dB higher sound pressure lever after treatment, lol. So that was a complete disaster. Well, I can only hope for a slightly better sounding stereo at least. I guess I've learned something at least.


Product Font Rectangle Parallel Schematic

Rectangle Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Font Motor vehicle

Rectangle Automotive lighting Font Motor vehicle Automotive exterior

Rectangle Font Art Parallel Automotive lighting

Rectangle Font Parallel Motor vehicle Automotive lighting

Wheel Tire Automotive tail & brake light Automotive tire Hood

Hood Motor vehicle Automotive design Bumper Automotive tire

Hood Automotive tire Bumper Motor vehicle Automotive lighting

Light Hood Wood Bumper Automotive exterior

Tire Automotive lighting Automotive tire Output device Bumper
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Happy with my progress today.I made a hole in my car, which I’ve never done before :) it was a lot easier than I thought it be. So I mounted and installed the Maxxair fan, at what seemed to be a template cutout in the roof. So to make the installation easier and level, I used this area for mounting. I did not measure properly regarding my planned wall, so I'm just hoping it will fit within the design, crossing fingers :p

Hood Automotive tire Automotive design Wood Motor vehicle

Product Automotive design Rectangle Automotive tire Gadget

Hood Automotive design Engineering Automotive exterior Wood

Line Air travel Gas Tints and shades Engineering

Automotive tire Hood Automotive design Wood Grey

Wheel Tire Ford kuga Vehicle Window

Wood Flooring Floor Gas Engineering
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I cannot believe how much more time it takes than I anticipate, every single time :D I was suppose to complete the entire floor, fix it, and attach the floor base, but no, all I've managed in 3 days is to cut everything to shape. I guess going at it alone takes more time :)

I think I am the only one I have seen out there that has put 50mm (2") insulation in the floor. If my math is correct, I have just about enough headspace left for the extra insulation in the floor. I've gone down that route because I will use it in the winter, and hate cold floors, so I'm hoping some extra insulation will help, we'll see.

I've cut the batons and XPS insulation to shape, and my back is hurting like a motherf...! Need to work on my posture :) I've also placed the batons where I think the furniture and other inventory will be placed for extra support and easy fixing to the floor.

Blue Purple Flooring Wood Floor
 

·
Registered
Van #2 2021 EXT
Joined
·
5,246 Posts
Happy with my progress today.I made a hole in my car, which I’ve never done before :) it was a lot easier than I thought it be. So I mounted and installed the Maxxair fan, at what seemed to be a template cutout in the roof. So to make the installation easier and level, I used this area for mounting. I did not measure properly regarding my planned wall, so I'm just hoping it will fit within the design, crossing fingers :p

View attachment 79210
View attachment 79211
View attachment 79212
View attachment 79213
View attachment 79214
View attachment 79215
View attachment 79216
Nice 👍

IMO, that is the factory designed spot for the roof fan. On the highest part of the roof & no corrugations to promote leaking.

Good Choice !!
 

·
Registered
Van #2 2021 EXT
Joined
·
5,246 Posts
I cannot believe how much more time it takes than I anticipate, every single time :D I was suppose to complete the entire floor, fix it, and attach the floor base, but no, all I've managed in 3 days is to cut everything to shape. I guess going at it alone takes more time :)

I think I am the only one I have seen out there that has put 50mm (2") insulation in the floor. If my math is correct, I have just about enough headspace left for the extra insulation in the floor. I've gone down that route because I will use it in the winter, and hate cold floors, so I'm hoping some extra insulation will help, we'll see.

I've cut the batons and XPS insulation to shape, and my back is hurting like a motherf...! Need to work on my posture :) I've also placed the batons where I think the furniture and other inventory will be placed for extra support and easy fixing to the floor.

View attachment 79692
2” Thick XPS 👍. Not seen much here & for you only really increases your step up height from the ground.

If I understand that “Jackodur 300 XPS” has a 44 psi (300kPa). What was your thoughts on the battens? Also are they pressure treated (the colour makes me believe they are, but I’m from Canada so products could be different). If they are it would be best to research what fasteners to use, as PT chemistry can quickly corrode the wrong fasteners.

It looks to me that you have done really nice work so far for a novice. I do not know if I would have installed battens, but maybe I am missing something.


Font Rectangle Parallel Screenshot Number



Things taking a long time to build is pretty typical in a van & especially for 1st timers. Ya just adjust the time expectations.

Good Luck with your build !!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
2” Thick XPS 👍. Not seen much here & for you only really increases your step up height from the ground.

If I understand that “Jackodur 300 XPS” has a 44 psi (300kPa). What was your thoughts on the battens? Also are they pressure treated (the colour makes me believe they are, but I’m from Canada so products could be different). If they are it would be best to research what fasteners to use, as PT chemistry can quickly corrode the wrong fasteners.

It looks to me that you have done really nice work so far for a novice. I do not know if I would have installed battens, but maybe I am missing something.


View attachment 79700


Things taking a long time to build is pretty typical in a van & especially for 1st timers. Ya just adjust the time expectations.

Good Luck with your build !!
Hey, thanks!
I've used "Jackofoam 300" from Jackon (maybe its a different name over here..), but it looks to be the same product. I've read that XPS performs a lot better than other products like polyiso in cold temperatures, so thats why I chose XPS. I'll consider Polyiso for walls / ceiling though, and I'm planning on using Armaflex in the hard to reach spaces (and oddly shaped parts like the wheel wells).

Yes, the battens are pressure treated. I thought that would be better for mold protection, but then again, I don't know these this very well, so my very simple logic thought PT must be the way to go, since the price was almost the same anyway. I did not think of any reaction with fasteners to be honest..hmm. I'm anyway planning to fasten them with Sikaflex, not making any holes in the floor (I'm keeping the bulkhead, so I have that extra protection anyway in case of an accident).

As for the battens, the idea was to have a solid base to mount the interior into. I've also seen every other youtuber do this, so I guess I did not think of leaving them out.
 
1 - 20 of 74 Posts
Top