Ram Promaster Forum banner

L4H3 no skills van conversion - build log

10271 88
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
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Premium Member
2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
Joined
·
3,181 Posts
Hi,
I would not use XPS in walls or ceiling because the max service temp is 165F and these areas could see temps in this area on rare occasions. DuPont (or DOW?) have lots of cautions on their website about keeping XPS from getting to hot - like don't leave it outside in the sun with the black lettering facing the sun - its not a fictional problem. As RV points out XPS is great for the floor, which won't see high temps.

On the insulation test I did under quite humid conditions the Polyiso did not pick up any water weight (sample weighed before and after to within a gram). So, XPS is no doubt better on moisture resistance, but Polyiso is probably good enough? People use Thinsulate and Wool, which are very permeable to water vapor, and I've not heard any horror stories from them about moisture problems.

The R value per inch of Poliso does go down with temperature, but it starts quite a bit higher than XPS and the crossover point where the Polyiso R value drops to the same value as XPS is quite low - about -10F outside temp. There are test data on the Building Science site on R value of Polyiso vs temperature. Its important when looking at this data to remember that the temperatures in the plots are the mean temperature of the insulation, so, if the outside temp is 0F and inside temp is 60F, the mean temp is 30F (not 0F). Even at lower -10F temps, the R value of Polyiso does not plummet, it just gets a bit lower than XPS.

Gary
 

·
Premium Member
2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
Joined
·
3,181 Posts
Hi,
I did not do a lot of filling of the ribs/frames, but I did work with Thinsulate a bit on filling the ribs, and its pretty nice for that. You can use a flexible wire to hook the scrim cloth on the back of the Thinsulate and pull it up into the rib that way. Probably other insulations with a scrim that would also work.

Gary
 

·
Premium Member
2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
Joined
·
3,181 Posts
XPS vs Polyiso & "Foil Face Polyiso"

View attachment 79722

XPS is direct buried against foundations with soils - They do not do that with Polyiso

Here is a temp R Value XPS wins out on Polyiso in the cold - but not in the heat - If you plan on being in warm areas the roof and walls can get quite hot & especially if you have a dark van paint job.

View attachment 79724





Here is more on the XPS vs Polyiso if you care to read the attached file pdf.
Hi RV,
I think its important when looking at the table that shows polyiso R values at different temps is that the 15F is the mean temp of the insulation. If the inside temp is (say) 60F, and the mean temp 15F, then the outside temp is -30F -- pretty chilly :) But, Foresty Forest did do -40F once, so not totally unreal :)
My reading of the test data on the Building Science site is that XPS and Polyiso have the same R value at about -10F outside with an inside temp of 60F.

Gary
 

·
Premium Member
2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
Joined
·
3,181 Posts
Thanks all for valuable input and ideas! There are indeed a lot of knowledgeable and experienced users in this forum :)



Thanks, I'll look more into what options I have in this regard. I've also seen the health concerns regarding different types of mineral wool, at least if not properly incapsulated. After all, I'd like to make a healthy living environment :)

I might also have to test my approach during the winter, and add a layer if it is not sufficient. For example, I'm planning on 25mm (1") Armaflex on the bulkhead and headspace section, so I guess I'll have to test this in practise to see if its sufficient (this is to save precious space, and also oddly shaped parts where its hard to fit solid insulation panels).

Regarding the ribs, all good and valid points. I'll make sure to cover all metal faces, after all, this is where most air is most likely to condensate first. My initial idea however, was that stuffing ribs with some sort of "soft insulation material" is a very quick and easy fix, if it adds any benefit that is.



I might be reading too much into this though, who knows. Anyways, all of these polyethylene based products (adhesives and / or sealant products) like Great Stuff, as far as I can see are highly toxic (at least until cured). Now, having said that, I believe products made for indoors use obviously should be OK to use and not pose a health risk, even long term. But now, since I've been reading up on the safety data sheets on all these products (I'm probably the only one bothered to actually open these boring manuals :D), I've decided to go the route of some more environmental friendly and Isocyanate-free products. The downside of course is that they cost 3 times as much, but I'm willing to pay, at least for ease of mind. I'm probably being paranoid, this is the "no skills" part of me doing research of stuff I know little to nothing about, but I can live with being called paranoid just fine ;)

As for the insulation panels I've ordered aluminium face PIR panels from a Finnish company FinnFoam that make them for their saunas. If they can use it in their highly moist saunas, I surely can use it in my van :D

As for your other question. I will use the van for weekend trips to the mountains for skiing, and my more "long-term" plan is to quit my job and go around Europe for a year or two living in the van. So I wanted to prepare it, at least to a degree, to handle both hot and cold weather. When I say cold, it's not extremely cold, maybe -10degC give or take.



Maybe my math is completely wrong, but how do you get those extreme numbers? I mean, the PIR panels I'm looking at I'm looking at is rated to 0.022 W/mK. A thickness of 50mm should be around R=2,27? (0,05/0,022). My math is probably ****.. or maybe mineral wool is the way to go after all ;)
Hi,
Remember R value ins US units is about 5.7 times greater than R value in SI units.

US R value is in: sqft - F - hr / BTU
SI Rvalue is in: sqm - K / W


I did do a test on the Armaflex type material - basically just like the test mentioned above for the other materials. My conclusion was that it looks like a good material. It insulates well, and did not absorb any measurable amount of moisture. Its so easy to bend around corners and curves - very nice to work with. Only downside I saw was the expense.

Gary
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top