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2014 136” HR
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This will be a slow build because we spend so much time hiking. I did get a small start, though, before we leave this weekend.

The first improvement was a floor mat from Eurocampers. "Dark Grey" is darker than in the pictures, but light enough to brighten the cabin a bit. The fit is excellent. The hold-downs are for carpet, so I will do a bit of modification to anchor it to the seats. So far, it hasn't moved, though.

Because Photobucket hijacked her photos in this thread, MsNomer has created a website detailing her build: msnomersvan.wordpress.com
 

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Those cup holders are dusty because of my first real project. Yeah, the cabin has cup holders, but they are waaay too low. And we need a spot for the GPS to supersede the lousy speedometer. I was determined to preserve the usefulness of the original cup holders.

A nice piece of curly maple should do nicely.



To support it without any modifications to or holes in the vehicle, I first shaped a bracket to the curve of the recess. This support rests on the shelf behind the cup holders. I covered the back side with foam tape so the wood would not rub against the plastic. The maple does not go all the way to the back, leaving room for a nylon strap.



This nylon strap has Velcro sewn onto the ends. There are vertical rods behind the console that these can cinch tight around.

But without more, the shelf would slide right down. That more begins with supports that bridge the intersections between the original cup holders. The ones in this picture had off-centered holes. I later realized that centered was best. Dowels run up from them to the outermost hole in the L-Bracket. (The lower hole in the bracket was part of that first failed attempt, so ignore it.)


Support members were all painted black, so they fade away, leaving the maple appearing to float. (I didn't realize until I saw this picture that the black needs a bit of touch-up.)



Cup holders from Walmart and the GPS fit nicely.



Underneath the maple, I have Velcro and cup hooks to manage the GPS cords. The cup hooks will also be handy to stabilize plastic grocery bags--hook the handle to keep the bag from falling over.

Because Photobucket hijacked her photos in this thread, MsNomer has created a website detailing her build: msnomersvan.wordpress.com
 

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Thumbs up on that! Since the origional cup holders appear to be intact can they be used for something used occasionally... perhaps a flashlight or ?????
 

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2014 136” HR
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Discussion Starter #6
Original cup holders are as functional as they ever were. We like iced drinks on long drives. Top cup holder for the drink. Bottom cup holder for the rest of the can.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I can't actively work on my van now because we are traveling through November, but I have made some progress in my travels, particularly in Portland, Oregon. I was fortunate that we had a couple days to spare and a cooperative husband.

First Stop: Motion Windows in Vancouver, WA, outside Portland. They are one of the few manufacturers of windows for the Promaster. These windows have the slight bend instead of forcing the panel flat as generic windows would. Very friendly folk and a quality product. The installer patiently walked us through the installation process and we left with precise hardboard templates for each window. When I get home, I will order the windows--the largest that will fit all around--and we will join the company of brave?? souls who attack their new vehicles with sharp objects.

Second Stop: A flooring store that sells Marmoleum. I got a remnant at a good price with no sales tax and no shipping because it fit in the truck. I am super pleased with this purchase. It must be installed >68°, so I will have to create a monolithic floor, cut the ply to fit, install the Marmoleum on the ply and cure it in the house, then install the unit in the van. Don't want to think about how heavy and unwieldy that will be, but the alternative is wait til summer.

Third Stop: A business which upfits Sprinters and Promasters--that day they had about equal numbers of each. A stupidly simple conversion was going to cost its owner $38,000 on top of the cost of the van itself. I was not impressed with what I saw. Fiberglass insulation. No sound insulation. Wall panels were a fabric about the consistency of burlap wrapped around Luan, then screwed on. They are a custom shop, though, and what I saw was what the customer ordered. I assume they can do better if paid even more money to do so.

Fourth Stop: CampingWorld. I asked to see Class Bs. The first one I was shown was a Viva by Itasca on a Promaster cutaway chassis--didn't know it existed. I was then shown the Travato, the Trend, and a Sprinter. Overall impression: the Promaster wins hands-down for roominess. It didn't look particularly crowded even with all amenities. A couple things I learned about mileage and swivels I will post separately.

I learned a lot from the upfitter and from the models. The most important thing I learned is that I would have to do some really crappy work to sink to their level. The upfitting on the Winnebagos in particular was pathetic.

Now I have to wait another month doing mundane things like the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim (maybe rim-rim-rim) before I can really dive into my Promaster project.
 

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So sorry! All that fun stuff waiting, working on your PM... And you're stuck trudging in the Canyon... I feel for ya! :):);):D:laugh:
 

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Cool shelf and mounting arrangement.

Hello, We're out in Hood River, OR (East of Portland on I-84) and would like to see your van if you have time. I'd like to get to know the ProMaster a little better. I have a Sprinter you can check out. We have developed some niche products for the Sprinters and looking to expand our offerings to other vans. Maybe we can produce that cool shelf for some other folks. We also have 3M Thinsulate on hand if you want to see it. We are home mostly so feel free to stop by. I'll PM my number and address.

-Hein
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just missed you, but thanks for the offer. The Promaster, though, is still in the driveway. Only my husband could explain why we aren't traveling in it. This is the farewell journey for the truck tent that has served us well for 10 years.
 

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Nice work. Make it look more functional. I agree the cup holders are way too low and the one on the dash is not level and the one in the door is for sealed vessels only (as I slammed the door, then realized I left my coffee).

I like my GPS to the left of the rear view mirror instead of down low, but that's just me.

Do the brackets carry the weight or the support dowels? Maybe spreading the brackets out a little to pick up the meaty part of the original cup holders might spread the load??
Did not know there were support bars behind the panel. Good to know and again nice job!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The dowels transfer the weight to the joins between the original cup holders via the inverted u-shaped brackets. The strap keeps the assembly from pivoting forward. It must be as tight as possible; fortunately, it doesn't seem to have stretched. The brackets can't carry any load because there's nowhere to give them solid flat feet except in the original cupholders, which would inhibit their use.
 

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The Ceiling

Finally, I have some real progress. The part that took the most time is now covered up, but I'm pleased with what I see. I can't contemplate how many hours I've spent studying the framework, including its >500 holes, and looking at other builds, pro and self-build, online.

First, a MaxxAir fan with remote control. I splurged for the remote control because sometimes I get vertigo would not be able to look up at the manual controls. A conveniently located tree branch was quite helpful.



The first thing up for the ceiling was the side supports. 45° bevels on 1x4. The holes are simply to allow the ceiling to breathe.


Next I installed 1" furring strips along the ceiling ribs, made from 2x4, thus 1.5" wide. The curve is a perfect arc of a circle with radius somewhere in the 10-12' range. The strips total 54.5" long, but for ease of handling, I cut them at 28" and 26.5". These strips were fascinating to work with. The curve is so subtle that I had to be careful which surface I was working on.


Up front, I used Loctite PL Premium 8x to attach a screwing strip to the ceiling weld just rear of the ceiling liner. This strip is made from 1x4, is 1.5" deep, and has the same curve as the ribs. I thought I would need several supports while it set, but one on each side held it firmly. I used scrap resting on the black tray as a base for the support. It is as solid as if it were part of the vehicle.


I put tapered shims on the fan surround.



The rear was the hardest. Same curve cut out of 2x4, bottom edge 1.5" below ceiling weld (like the front), but with all the bumps back there it was difficult to hold it in position for screwing.



After agonizing over insulation, I settled on EZ-Cool with Thinsulate. I got the EZ-Cool off eBay for the same price as Reflectix and it appears to be a much better product. The two fit the space perfectly. I understand that I lost any reflectance benefit.



The ceiling panels are 1/4" (actually 3/16") Luan ply. I got the best I could find, but the quality was so poor that there was no hope for a really smooth surface. Accepting that reality, I applied primer, two coats of paint matched to the white of the van, and three coats of Minwax Polycrylic all with random strokes--no feathering. I like the effect. We will also be carrying momentos of our cats (hair) on our travels. :laugh:

I actually cut the panels too precisely. Installation above the head is not so precise a maneuver. Fortunately, I was smart enough to install front and rear first, then make adjustments on the middle two that were just rectangles. It was critical, though, that the front edge butt the lip in the headliner, that the screw line be 2 7/8" back from the front edge, and the hole for the fan start 7" back from that edge. That fit perfectly.

The result passes my ultimate test--reflections are true with no dips or waves. Thin battens and moldings will cover the seams, but these will come with the upper walls.


(You may notice the rear light turned 180° and installed in the ceiling.)

Because Photobucket hijacked her photos in this thread, MsNomer has created a website detailing her build: msnomersvan.wordpress.com
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Immediate Proof of Insulation Benefit

Only the ceiling is insulated. I have a 1500W utility heater.

In the bare van, the heater could raise the interior temperature 20 degrees, from 30° to 50° in two hours. It couldn't do any better.

With the ceiling in, the inside temperature went from 25° to 50° in an hour. After 1:45, inside temperature was 65° and still rising. Outside temperature had risen to 30°.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I lowered the ceiling 1" below the ribs. The 1.5" front and back is because the welds are 1/2" higher than the ribs.

Two reasons: insulation and the sides fit better--the smooth curve can go all the way across. I saw the dilemma other folk were having with the sharp curves at the side.

We are both 5'6", so the loss of an inch is noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm no good at estimating weights; my husband estimates around 50 lb. I do think that if I could stack all the materials just right, I could lift it. Certainly, no individual component felt the least bit heavy. The real wood part was the equivalent of about one 2x4 and one 1x4.
 

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The Upper Side Panels

A bit more progress. I have installed the rear panels above the window panels. The front one behind the driver is made, but I will not install until the electrical in that area is finished.

I just thought the ceiling was weird. What finally worked was a "crown mold" made from 2x4. One edge 45°, another 36° and the third I'm not sure--whatever worked.


This was attached to the wall panels before installation.



Turns out the 2x4 wasn't quite wide enough and my two hands weren't sufficient to hold things in place for measuring, so I filled the resulting gap with a thin strip (5/16").


That boo-boo resulted in a nice shadow effect. The wall panel actually has a bit of bow as it crosses an intermediate cross piece, but it is not noticeable. It has suddenly become much easier to address that chunk of rib sticking out. Later.



Windows go below this panel--as large as will fit the spaces. They are ordered and will arrive early April. I'm thinking they will have to be framed with fabric because I have not the talent to fabricate something that shape out of wood.

Slowly but surely. Next up is the Marmoleum floor.
 
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