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Discussion Starter #1
After I worked out a price on my ProMaster 1500 with a dealer in neighboring Wisconsin, he offered to pass along any upfitting I wanted done at his cost. He was very eager to move this van as he was sitting on it for quite a while. He had the upfitter call me and I asked her to price out a floor liner, partition, wall panels, and some Ranger shelving. Her prices to me were too high as I could buy most of the stuff online or locally for less. She was very slow at getting pricing to me, the process took almost two weeks. The Penda wall panels were the exception. She was able to sell them to me for $660 whereas the best I could find them elsewhere (Inlad) was $880. I had her deliver them to the dealer which she was not far from, so I could take them with me when I picked up my van. Once I knew I wasn’t getting the partition, liner and shelving from them I started looking at other options and places to purchase. I needed them ordered and shipped quickly as I was going to have some time to install everything between Xmas and New Years.
I felt that a ½” thick rubber mat would be what I wanted for durability and sound deadening. I ordered what was supposed to be a ½” 3 piece mat from a place on the east coast and would ship the next day. I spent a lot of time looking at partitions and I knew I wanted one with a sliding door. I have steel one in my Econoline with a hinged door and didn’t want to continue having to clear stuff out of the way every time I needed to open it to haul long lengths of lumber, trim, pipe, etc.. That meant having to go with an aluminum one because that seems to be the only material that sliding door partitions are offered in. Ranger Design is the most common and readily available and costs $1200 as opposed to a hinged door steel partition that is about $600. I was prepared to shell out whatever was needed to get this van set up the way I wanted. I spent the last 12 plus years in a base Ford E250 without any options and when I consider what the cost is spread out over the life of the truck to have a few options, I was prepared to spend the whatever it took to get it set up my way. Besides, the $4000 in rebates made it easier to do, not to mention the aluminum looks first class.
Well, the mat arrived in about 3 days, but it was not the one I ordered nor the one listed on the company web site. It was a Legend ¼” one piece mat not the ½’ 3 piece we had discussed. I figured I give it try so I unrolled it and put it in the van. It was very heavy, somewhat messy, and had that bad rubber smell. There was lots of rubber crumbs everywhere and it was about ½”away from the sides everywhere and even more so behind the wheel wells, about a 2” gap to the side panels. It was not as thick as I wanted and it didn’t hide the floor ribs very well. I contacted the company and they agreed to have it picked up and returned at no cost. Prior to ordering that mat I had visited an upfitter not far from me (Inlad truck and van equipment / US upfitters) to see what they carried. They had a Legend Ultragrip solid plastic 3 piece mat with a rubber coated surface but it was very rigid and nothing like the rubber one I felt I wanted. It was also $600, over $200 more than other mats I was considering. Well, I was running out of time and options as my Xmas break was coming and my partition was due to arrive on the Dec 29. I knew the mat had to be installed before the partition so I had to spend the extra money and get the one from Inlad. Fortunately they were open xmas eve so I made the trip to get it so it would not hold up the rest of my upfitting.


I don’t remember exactly how I found the site where I saw the aluminum partition I ended up getting, but I’m glad I did. It looked even nicer than the Ranger partition and was $200 cheaper. The company is J & M Truck Bodies in Garden Grove, CA. (https://plumbingvans.com/product-category/ram-promaster/:) ). I called them to find out more about their partition and they were very friendly and had no problem answering all my questions. They even connected me with Josh, the guy who designed this partition. I asked Josh why I should buy his instead of the Ranger and he said his fits better and didn’t have large holes at the top corners like Rangers’. If you look at Rangers’ you can see that you could put your hand or arm through the holes that their partition has. He said that that they were selling fast and had one in stock with the window option that I wanted and could ship it that day. I like to buy from a smaller company instead of some giant supplier like Ranger Design. I received it about a week later undamaged in a surprisingly
compact box. Now I had the pieces I need to get started.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Finally time to have some fun installing this stuff.
The floor Legend Ultragrip liner is essentially hard plastic so I wanted a layer of something to keep it from clapping the van floor and to provide a cushion effect. I placed the floor liner in the van to make sure it fit correctly and that the D ring holes lined up properly. Like the ¼” rubber mat I sent back it was also about a ½“ away from the walls, but not 2” away behind the wheel wells. I saw a number of you here talk about Reflectix but I had never seen it in person. That was until I saw my HVAC contactor was using it to wrap ductwork on the job he was doing for me. It was perfect for what I wanted it to do and would also provide some insulation value. I laid pieces of Reflectix on the floor, taped the seams to keep the sections together, then laid the floor liner over it and cut the Reflectix to the exact shape. I used a ¾” hole saw to cut the cargo D ring holes out at the six locations. I then put the Reflectix into the van and taped it in place to keep it from shifting when I installed the floor liner. The nice thing too is that the liner comes with longer screws to reattach the D rings because of the added floor thickness. The D rings also hole the liner in place, no other fasters or glue needed. The installation when smoothly and I will say that I am very happy with the liner and even though it was expensive, it is well worth it. It’s remarkably grippy which is why I originally wanted rubber liner and it cleans up easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
With the floor liner in I could now install the aluminum partition. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. In the process of figuring out how the setback wings went in, I attempted to put the driver side wing in place and found that the large chuck of black foam at the header panel was in the way. I called Josh to see what needed to be done and he said the just remove it altogether. I proceed to cut it out with my oscillating multi tool. The wing panel is attached with 2” self-tapping screws that you screw right through the plastic pillar cover. You can see from the pics the wing is contoured perfectly with the van walls. I then went to install the passenger side wing panel and thought they sent me one for the high roof model. It was the same length as the driver’s side but was much too long for the passenger side because of the door framing there. I called Josh again to ask what if I had the wrong part. He told me that wing had to be cut to length to fit and that the black foam had to be removed too. The instructions make no mention of this and I am surprised that it does not come precut to length. Upon assessing the situation I saw that with some trial fitting I could probably manage to leave the foam in place and just notch it as deemed necessary. I ended up cutting a full 5” off the height of that wing panel.
With that stuff figured out I proceeded to assemble the partition outside the van as instructed. I then moved the assembled unit into the truck to install. I had to do several fittings and trimming to the black foam at the passenger side to allow it+ to tuck up into it. I’m glad I did it that way. It took some extra time but it looks much better and there are no holes or gaps there that would have been had I removed entire piece. I must say that I was very impressed with how precise all the holes and parts lined up during the partition assembly with such close tolerances. These guys could do work for NASA. Again, I’m very happy with my purchase, looks and works great. It also makes the cab area super quite. Feels like I’m riding in a luxury automobile.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wall panels and insulation
I waited to install the Penda wall panels until I installed the partition in case they would interfere with attaching the wing panels. It turns out that they don’t. I chose to do the wall panels because my econoline got some dents in it from hauling lawn mowers and snow blowers that weren’t secured properly and slid around and dented the door panels. I also want a cleaner look, and they do just that. After reading all the talk about insulation here discussing vapor barriers, closed cell this, thinsulate that, I decided that I would just go with my original plan and just put some mineral wool bats behind the panels. It’s a work van, it’s kept in a garage, I don’t camp in it, and there are plenty of places for the walls to breath. It has an R value of 16 and really helps muffle sounds and vibration. Also, the partition makes the insulating factor and the sound attenuation less important. Having wall panels makes the need for backs on the shelving unnecessary too. I picked up a bag of 8- 24 x 48 x 3” thick bats which was enough to cover the walls ($35). The 24” width made having to install only one piece to cover each area real handy as opposed to a 16” wide bat that would have require a two piece install per bay. I only had to thin out the bats a little at the top corners of some of the upper bays. You can see that all it took was a couple of pieces of duct tape to hold them in place until the panels were installed. The black pieces of plastic on the upper pillars are part of the wall panel kit helped to hold the insulation in place until the panels were installed. I had an extra roll of Reflectix so I add a layer of it to the back of the wall panels before installation. The Penda panels are fairly thick, surprisingly heavy, and very strong. Inlad’s web site shows the panels as weighing 109 pounds. I installed the panel behind the driver seat first and that went very quickly. You just have to put the included plastic push fasteners in all the holes. The other two panels were more work. The only holes on the panels that lined up with the holes in the van on these panels where the holes forming the arch around the wheel well. All the other holes had to be drilled by hand, which there are many as you can see from the pics. I wondered if that is why I got them so cheap? Maybe they were from a bad run from the manufacturer? As with the trimming I had to do to the partition wing, these aftermarket upfit items are generally meant to be installed by upfitters who are accustomed to working around the issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Shelving and bins
I spent a lot of time researching shelving options. I have metal units in my econoline that have held up well and did what they were supposed to do. The problem I have with them and other premade shelving units is that they aren’t deep enough to store large tools like miter saws and compressors. That means always having to keep large items including shop vacs and garbage cans on the floor. It limited the amount of power tools I could keep in my truck and I always had to unload those items when picking up bulk materials. Having seen a few wood shelving setups online in sprinter vans and others, I opted to build my own. This is of course much less expensive than purchasing a shelving package which can run between $1000-$3000, but about 10x the work. I also wanted to have a bin system as I had in my Econoline. I find bins to be very handy and efficient for items you don’t necessarily want to keep in tool boxes but right there when you need them without searching and digging for them.
Bin system
The bins and bin panels are by Akro-mils. The panels are available in various sizes, both width and height. They also vary in price dramatically depending where you purchase online. I got 3 panels from atgstores.com for about $30 each. The panels are #30136 approx. 36w x 19h. I purchased the bins from zoro.com for about $150. I had some smaller bins in my econoline that were not nearly as useful as the larger bins. I ordered the larger bins and a set of dividers to separate things as needed.
As the pictures show I attached rips of ¾’ plywood directly over the panels to serve as firing and a backer to attach 1x4’s to mount the bin panels to. Firing out that ¾” allowed the1x4’s to go all the way down to the floor for added support and also higher up to bolt through the wood and sheet metal that will be supporting the weight of the bin system. The fine thread self-tapping drywall screws I used to attach the firing and 1x4’s on their own are not enough to support the weight and stress that the hanging bin system would create. The nice thing about this system is the adjustability. I knew that my Dewalt table saw would have to reside on the floor so I just started the bins right above that. I also knew that the width of 3 larger bins totaled 33” whereas the panels was 35 ¾”. I cheated the panel arrangement into the cavity that the partition wing provided. I left 34” from the partition to the far edge of the panels for the bins so I could gain an extra 1 ½” of shelving space. Pics with bins in place to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Street side shelving
I measured the depth of my miter boxes and determined that the shelves to be 19” deep to allow the miter box to fit there easily. This is where having the panels was nice because I didn’t have to put backing on the shelves which saves space, material, and weight. When I build things I like to make efficient use of space and not use bulky materials. Being that my miter box also requires a fairly tall space (21”), I decided to split the shelving into two sections so I could have smaller shelf spaces for smaller tool boxes. The large section is 48” to make efficient use of plywood and the remainder was about 23 ½” also making efficient use of the plywood width.
I decide the panel at the rear of the van would go as far as possible to the rear. Where the angled part of van that houses the plastic grille enclosure to access bulb changes meets the side walls, it makes for a nice and straight but not plumb starting point. Note, nothing is level or plumb when doing this as the walls are not plumb and the floor is not level. Everything has to be parallel or perpendicular to the floor or parallel with that corner of the van.
I put tape on the floor so I could mark out the 19” depth I needed this 48” section to be. I then ripped my plywood an inch wider that. I also cut the plywood to a height of 62”. That took me right up to the top of the sheet metal framing / gutter (this dimension will vary based on your flooring thickness). In order to scribe the contour of the walls while making sure the front edge of the shelving remains plumb and square, I let the bottom of the plywood rest on the floor and slid it toward the wall until it touches the top of the van side wall. I measured the largest part of the gap between the panel and wall. I then cut a piece of wood a ¼” wider than that to use as my scribe block, I think that was about 3”. I did the same at the other two wall panel locations. The contour at the rear is not exactly the same as in the middle of the van so you have to repeat the scribe process. As the pics show I attached the ¾” plywood strips at the new panel locations. Note some of the plywood firing strips are 5 ½” wide to provide anchoring or backing on both sides of a partition. The scribe cut can be made with a circular saw with the blade set shallow as the curve is not very sharp. After test fitting the scribed panel I removed and cut it to 19” deep, removing that extra inch I allowed at the start to allow for scribing adjustment the might have been needed. I also cut a notch at the bottom of each panel to allow for loading 4 x 8 materials.
Before installing the rear panel I removed 3 screws from the grilles in the corners that would be very difficult to remove for access later because they are about an inch away from the wood panel. This still leaves 3 screws in each to hold them in place without vibrating. I attached the panels to the firing/backing strips with 2” drywall screws. Then I made the two remaining panels for this side of the van.
To work around the issue with the deep pillar in the narrow self section I added and additional piece of ¾’ firing on each side and a piece of grey plywood I had laying around conceal the pillar.
The ¾” shelves remain adjustable because I used simple rails/cleats ripped from 1x4 to support the shelves that are screwed to the wall panels. Just remove the 2 screws from each cleat and the 2 from the 1x stock on the front and they can be moved up or down easily. I added a 2 ½” board to the front of the larger shelves and only 1 ¼” high board on the smaller shelves. The wider shelves need a wider board to prevent sagging. All boards are ½” above the shelves to keep items from sliding off.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Curb side shelving
I chose to start the curb side shelving from the very rear also. I also chose to keep the width at 48” plus panels to make good use of the plywood. This leaves about 11” to the door opening, leaving room for other storage options later. I made this side 16” deep to accommodate the depth of my compressor. Like my miter saw, the compressor requires a tall space too, 19”. So in order to not have to make that entire second shelf that height, I installed a partition between the bottom and the top shelves. I made the narrow compressor section 17” wide leaving about 30 ¼” in the remaining section. I made the top shelf continuous which will give me a place to store my levels, long wrecking bar, and other items that require length and little height. The end panels on this side and the rear of the street side provide a lot of surface area to mount hooks and other accessories.
 

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Loading up. Added 1x6 at the bottom of the partition attached with velcro to protect it somewhat from tools and supplies bumping up against it. Also added a thick felt pad to the edge of the left rear door that likes to bang up against the right door that sometime get shut first.
 

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Nice.

Jealous you got the leather wrapped steering wheel. The leather wheel is the hardest option to find on dealer lots.
 

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Dwight, I wish we didn't have it. I anticipate that lacing getting grungy and impossible to clean. I didn't choose it; it was just included with the one we bought.
 

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That is a very nice, well engineered, van interior! It is optioned the way I would option a PM if I could fit comfortably behind the wheel. I think the leather steering wheel will grow on you. I had one on a Jetta wagon & it is such a great feel over time, plastic is just not as nice, & your hands spend many hours in contact with the wheel.
I had visions of a passenger side shelving system from the rear door to just behind the slider, mounted on 450 lb. 36"pantry slides that would slide forward into the side door opening for storing the most frequently used tools, cords, boxes, etc. so that one would not need to climb into the van.
Once again-Great Job!
 

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Nice work van! Todd
 

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I have posted this statement before but, it is nice to see that there are still true craftsmen that take pride in their work. Many times, you get a bunch of hackers sent to the job site that couldn't tie their shoes without instructions. JMC- JWD (Job Well Done!)
 

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Absolutely outstanding. Don't see a roof rack, have you added anything like that since you posted on this thread? Also, do you find the 1500 sufficient for the type of hauling you do? I'm in light construction too and would have it outfitted almost like you do, the heaviest materials would be sheetrock and misc plywoods, if it gets too much I get a delivery.

The idea of the 2500 is appealing since I've never had a vehicle under that capacity, but I don't want the high roof since it'll be very difficult to place lumber on the rack. That would mean that I'd have to have a dedicated ladder at all times in the truck to reach that high...ugh.

How's the head room for you too in the low roof? I'm 5'11" but these newer style vans seem so much more roomy than the tradition styles.
 
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