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Discussion Starter #1
Going to start to document this in an effort to both get your help and share what I'm learning. My first effort at something like this, should be "interesting".

Goals: I've got a 136 low roof. Van needs to be my work (small operation building contractor), after work and weekend play rig, and travel rv. My wife and I are avid backcountry skiers and mountain bikers, so those will be primary travel/play uses.

General plan: Back will be open shelf storage on either side, full height on passenger side, up to 3' or so on the driver side so a fold down bed can live above that. Thinking about a removable bed as well. Would be great to have bed high enough to get bikes under, but haven't figured out if that leaves enough room to sit up in bed. Feet will tuck into one of the open shelf areas on the P. side.
Ahead of the bed will be small kitchen (stove, dishpan, plug in cooler below). Would like to find room for seating for two passengers as well. Haven't tried to actually lay things out yet.
Went with the low roof so I could put a light duty roof rack for ladders and lumber on without it being impossible to reach, have the Vantech H3 on order for that. Got sliding door window, rear windows and tow hitch in as part of the upfit allowance at purchase.

Progress so far: Built a floor of 1/2" AC plywood over 1/2" Tuff R insulation. Will bolt down with the holddowns, other than that it will float. Will post a pic or two when I figure out how to do that. Next up is spraying 1" of closed cell foam (R7) on the walls and ceilings. I've got it all masked and ready to go, just have to wait for a little warmer weather so I can get the wall temps warm enough (in the 20's today).
After that I'll start on the wiring, aux battery system for lights, cooler, furnace and an inverter for 110V uses. Will have solar but not mount to the van.

Enough for now, will work on trying to post some pics.
 

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Pretty cool. I can say that the $60 walmart cot works well, folds up nice, and is pretty comfortable. If you get stuck obsessing about the bed, that can be a problem solver.

Might be the same with insulation. We're never going to get it perfect , and im thinking i should just spray glue purple velvet to the walls and be done with it. Just a thought.
 

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Looks good so far-first PM I have seen with the smaller windows on the rear doors I like. I have inquired before about after market opening/screened windows on this forum and have gotten great info. What size/kind do have on your van? Trying to cover all the bases before the cutting begins! Nice job so far.
 

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My build will be a similar all in one transformer. It just too cold for me to be outside working in it right now. -8° F without windchill I'm just gonna wait to when I can use my buddies heated shop. Once I get going I'll be starting a thread on the build. Good luck Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looks good so far-first PM I have seen with the smaller windows on the rear doors I like. I have inquired before about after market opening/screened windows on this forum and have gotten great info. What size/kind do have on your van? Trying to cover all the bases before the cutting begins! Nice job so far.
Thanks. Rear windows are 24w x 15h. Dealer put them in, not sure where they got them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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A couple photos of the spray foam. I used the Foam it Green 202 kit, and it worked well. 200 bf kit should have covered the van to about 1", definitely did that and more. I glued 1/2" Tuff R to the bigger flat panels to help prevent the heat from the spray foam from deforming the panels at all and to help with the cold. It was a 30 degree day but sunny day, so I sprayed the side in the sun first, then turned the van around and sprayed the other. Put a sheet of Tuff R on the roof with a tarp over it to keep the ceiling warm enough to spray.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So next up is the wiring. Going to follow the dual battery model with solar and inverter eventually. So very basic question, what size/type of wiring do I need? Just one AC circuit, would 14/2 romex suffice? What about for the 12v circuits? Fridge/cooler, small propane furnace and lights are going to be about it.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Project update

Moving along pretty well now. Got the cabinets/shelving done except for doors and drawers. Propane for atwood furnace and cooktop is complete as well. Installing and hooking up the aux. battery, isolator and fuse box is next.

Here's some pictures:

Open shelving for work mode. Bed will extend from 2nd shelf across to the other side.


Counter with cooktop installed. Bed is just out of sight to the left.


You can see both sides in this photo.
 

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As for the wiring question you had earlier..... The guidelines for DC low voltage wiring are the same gauge as AC wiring and depends on the current in amps. Up to 20 amps=12 gauge, up to 30 amps=10 gauge..... etc. However the current draw for low voltage is apt to be high. An example might be my former refrigerator was a gas, DC, and AC. On DC it could draw 20+ amps because it had a resistance coil to evaporate the ammonia that was 250 watts and Watts/volts=Amps so I installed 10 gauge stranded wire for the DC and 14 gauge for the AC as 250W/120V=only 2+amps.
 

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As for the wiring question you had earlier..... The guidelines for DC low voltage wiring are the same gauge as AC wiring and depends on the current in amps. Up to 20 amps=12 gauge, up to 30 amps=10 gauge..... etc. However the current draw for low voltage is apt to be high. An example might be my former refrigerator was a gas, DC, and AC. On DC it could draw 20+ amps because it had a resistance coil to evaporate the ammonia that was 250 watts and Watts/volts=Amps so I installed 10 gauge stranded wire for the DC and 14 gauge for the AC as 250W/120V=only 2+amps.
Hi,
Also good to keep in mind that if you want to limit voltage drop to 2% you are limited to pretty short runs if you go up to the maximum amperage for a given wire size in a 12 volt system. For example, #12 wire at 20 amps in a 12 volt system is limited to 3.5 ft for a 2% voltage drop.
http://www.solarseller.com/dc_wire_loss_chart___.htm

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Got the van out for its first trip

Took a trip to the Southern Utah desert area. Here's a couple pics:





 

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How do you keep the drawers and cabinet doors closed when driving? I had to install turnbuckles on my truck camper or we would find our stuff spread around the back, I want something that is positive and looks good..
So. Utah has some dramatic scenery! I can't wait to get back. Thanks for the pics,
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How do you keep the drawers and cabinet doors closed when driving? I had to install turnbuckles on my truck camper or we would find our stuff spread around the back, I want something that is positive and looks good..
So. Utah has some dramatic scenery! I can't wait to get back. Thanks for the pics,
Haven't really come up with a permanent solution for the doors/drawers. For now we just wrapped a small bungee through all three handles, worked pretty well. Lots of small details like that still to work out. The next big project is the swivel seat adaptor.
 
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