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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,

Wanted to start off by thanking everyone for posting their experiences here. It has been immensely helpful. I figured I would post our experiences in case they are also helpful to anyone.

After dreaming of vanlife for 3 years I finally pulled the trigger on a used 2019 Promaster High Roof 136 WB with about 15,000 miles on it and named it Appa the Pastafarivan.

My SO and I are avid mountain bikers and snowboarders so we planned the build around bike & snowboard storage (mostly bike storage). We had a rough plan that I drew out and then quickly threw it away as we soon figured out it would be too hard to make that plan work. This has been the theme of our build since the beginning so we're going in with the vaguest of plans.

First things first, flooring. We used 1" Polyiso Board, 1/2" Birch Plywood, and Roll-out Vinyl.

Cut the Polyiso Board with an electric turkey carving knife. Worked out better than expected. We used cardboard for the lines around the front and the wheel well.

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For the wood flooring we used a circular saw for the big cuts and borrowed our neighbors jigsaw for the more precise cuts. We kept the cardboard that we used for the polyiso board to mark the wood. Cuts were a bit too snug so we had to whittle them down a little to avoid any rubbing around the wheel well. Filled all spaces around the wood with Great Stuff. This was our first time using it. We had a blast even though we may have went a bit overboard. Some of the wood didn't lay flat because we stored it on it's side so we put some weight on it and let it sit overnight. Celebrated with drinks!

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The vinyl we ordered was long enough and wide enough to not have to cut it into strips. However, getting good cuts on the vinyl was a lot harder than it was on the polyiso board and wood. We cut down a little too far in several areas and had to fill those gaps with plenty of caulk.

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Capped the sliding door and rear door edges with stair nosing and adhesive vinyl flooring.

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Next task was swivel seats and bike tray.

~ Kim
 

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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Swivel Seats

Got the CTA Lesure Line swivel seats. Paid a bit of money for shipping but they were delivered in about a week. Install was pretty straight forward. I didn't think the seat height increase was much of an issue but my SO noticed it on our first trip (about a 3 hour drive). We don't think we'll get the piece to lower them for now but may in the future if it continues to be an issue.

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Bike Tray

We went to the bike tray before installing the insulation because we wanted to get our bikes in this van ASAP. We built a box out of 5/8" baltic birch 39 in W x 62 in L and put a crap ton of brackets on it to make sure it was sturdy. We then covered the wood with danish oil for water proofing. Applied our 48" slides to the box, then realized we needed to apply to the structure first. Took the rails off and applied them to the structure, then back to the box. Bought more brackets and attached the whole tray to the floor. Went heavy on these brackets too as we wanted to distribute more weight so the floor would not get pulled up.

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Attached out mounts to the board with the suggested hardware and we are hauling bikes!

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The plan is to have two more mounts facing the front of the van.

Currently, we are trying to get everything we need for the bed set up. Which will be a fixed structure over the bikes.

I have added a link in our profile to our cost spread sheet if anyone finds that helpful. We have also added the hardware we use to each section on that spread sheet.

~ Kim
 

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2017 159, w/dual sliders. SF Bay area
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Looking good. I like your priorities. May the blessings of His Noodliness be upon you!
 

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Swivel Seats

Got the CTA Lesure Line swivel seats. Paid a bit of money for shipping but they were delivered in about a week. Install was pretty straight forward. I didn't think the seat height increase was much of an issue but my SO noticed it on our first trip (about a 3 hour drive). We don't think we'll get the piece to lower them for now but may in the future if it continues to be an issue.

View attachment 66524

Bike Tray

We went to the bike tray before installing the insulation because we wanted to get our bikes in this van ASAP. We built a box out of 5/8" baltic birch 39 in W x 62 in L and put a crap ton of brackets on it to make sure it was sturdy. We then covered the wood with danish oil for water proofing. Applied our 48" slides to the box, then realized we needed to apply to the structure first. Took the rails off and applied them to the structure, then back to the box. Bought more brackets and attached the whole tray to the floor. Went heavy on these brackets too as we wanted to distribute more weight so the floor would not get pulled up.

View attachment 66525

Attached out mounts to the board with the suggested hardware and we are hauling bikes!

View attachment 66533


View attachment 66534

View attachment 66528

The plan is to have two more mounts facing the front of the van.

Currently, we are trying to get everything we need for the bed set up. Which will be a fixed structure over the bikes.

I have added a link in our profile to our cost spread sheet if anyone finds that helpful. We have also added the hardware we use to each section on that spread sheet.

~ Kim
I don't see the link to your spreadsheet in your profile. Very curious to see what it all cost you!
 

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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't see the link to your spreadsheet in your profile. Very curious to see what it all cost you!
It's under the about section. I just put it in the website field. If it doesn't work let me know and I'll see if my IT guy can fix it (some of my computer skills aren't the greatest).
 

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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cab curtains installed. We've taken the van out a couple times and it's been a huge pain to hang blankets/towels/sleeping bags from the over cab storage to stay somewhat stealthy. My SO double backed vinyl coated picture hanging wire through the existing holes under the cab storage, ran some black-out insulated pocket curtains along the wire, and clipped them up for more tension and to cover gaps. When we'd like them to stay open we simply use velcro straps to wrap them.

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Last picture is curtains closed during the day. Once we figure out the framing situation we might opt for something more elegant but this works great for now.

~ Kim
 

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2019-159 HR in CO
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Love the curtain, we have been using a moving blanket and C claps on the overhead bin to hold it up. So far it hasn't been that much of a hassle when the two of us hang it up. We will get something more permanent once we are done working on it. We also took our van out and slept on the floor! Glad you're getting after it. It helped us generate a lot of new ideas and think about what features we wanted.

Currently, we are trying to get everything we need for the bed set up. Which will be a fixed structure over the bikes.
We also did a fixed structure above the bikes. We used 80/20 you can check it out in our build thread if you're curious!
 

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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We also did a fixed structure above the bikes. We used 80/20 you can check it out in our build thread if you're curious!
Wow. This stuff looks great. Thank you for showing it too me. I'm about to do some measurements and price out the bed to see if this would be a better direction for us to head. Did you order from 80/20 Inc directly?
 

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We did order directly from 8020! My wife @cjo did all the measuring. I could give you our order sheet and specs. It wasn’t super cheap but it was relatively easy for her to assemble once I mounted the hip rails. I know a lot of people save money on 80/20 by making their own corner brackets, we opted to order them premade.
 

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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We did order directly from 8020! My wife @cjo did all the measuring. I could give you our order sheet and specs. It wasn’t super cheap but it was relatively easy for her to assemble once I mounted the hip rails. I know a lot of people save money on 80/20 by making their own corner brackets, we opted to order them premade.
That would be amazing, if you don't mind.
 

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It's under the about section. I just put it in the website field. If it doesn't work let me know and I'll see if my IT guy can fix it (some of my computer skills aren't the greatest).
Found it! Sorry I'm new here >_<. Great job on it btw love that it has links.
 

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If you are going to use 80/20, I have some advice. If you know what you are going to do, order the pieces pre cut from 80/20. You'd think it would cost a bit more, but you don't end up with any waste. I have a box full of 8-10 inch cut offs - that's expensive.

Premade connectors are great for most things. I ordered mine from t-nutz. They are much less expensive than ordering from 80/.20. Read about and use "roll in" nuts. Get the ones with the little rubber handle so you can position them. 80/20 does not tend to square up automatically. Get a 3-4 inch square to use inside the corners as you assemble it. Lock tite blue comes in a stick - use it on every bolt.
 

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Hey, as per @cno here is our 80/20 info! I measured like 20 times and then we bought some cheap 2x2 pine to mock up the bed and make sure my measurements would work! Our specs were also built mainly around being able to fit our two mountain bikes! Ultimately, our bed is 64" long. The main part of the bed is 58" long and then we utilized that kind of awkward extra space in the back as much as possible by creating a little bed extension that added an extra 6". Because the bed needed to be tall enough for bikes, we had two main supports attached to the hip rails and then on each of those had 4 small "riser" pieces of 80/20 that would allow us to build the main frame of the bed up higher by 3.25". I'll attach some mock-ups and our final 80/20 order! Getting the 80/20 precut was a life saver, everything fit together so smoothly (thank God my measurements were correct).
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And here's the order. One note is that only having done a 2D mockup (as seen above) I missed ordering a few corner brackets and we did end up having to buy 4 additional corner brackets (#4332) and the additional hardware. But other than that, once we got the order in, I put it all together in just a few hours!


Items​
Qty​
Description​
Price​
1503
SKU: 1503
41.50” X 1.50” T-Slotted Profile - Three Adjacent Open T-Slots$112.20
Length
58 Inches (1473.2 Millimeters) x $0.45
Cut To Length
1 x $1.95
Unit Of MeasurementInches
1515
SKU: 1515
21.50” X 1.50” T-Slotted Profile - Four Open T-Slots$78.63
Length
70.5 Inches (1790.7 Millimeters) x $0.53
Cut To Length
1 x $1.95
Unit Of MeasurementInches
1530-Lite
SKU: 1530-Lite
11.50” X 3.00” Lite T-Slotted Profile - Six Open T-Slots$60.26
Length
70.5 Inches (1790.7 Millimeters) x $0.82
Cut To Length
1 x $2.45
Unit Of MeasurementInches
1515
SKU: 1515
21.50” X 1.50” T-Slotted Profile - Four Open T-Slots$8.67
Length
4.5 Inches (114.3 Millimeters) x $0.53
Cut To Length
1 x $1.95
Unit Of MeasurementInches
1503
SKU: 1503
11.50” X 1.50” T-Slotted Profile - Three Adjacent Open T-Slots$29.85
Length
62 Inches (1574.8 Millimeters) x $0.45
Cut To Length
1 x $1.95
Unit Of MeasurementInches
4332
SKU: 4332
3015 Series & Ready Tube 2 Hole - Gusseted Inside Corner Bracket$129.00
4302
SKU: 4302
815 Series & Ready Tube 2 Hole - Inside Corner Bracket$23.60
3320
SKU: 3320
76Bolt Assembly: 5/16-18 x .687" Black FBHSCS with Slide-In Economy T-Nut - Offset Thread - Black Zinc$45.60
1515
SKU: 1515
81.50” X 1.50” T-Slotted Profile - Four Open T-Slots$29.38
Length
3.25 Inches (82.55 Millimeters) x $0.53
Cut To Length
1 x $1.95
Unit Of MeasurementInches


Subtotal$517.19
Shipping & Handling$93.15
Tax$48.84
Grand Total$659.18
 

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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you @cjo & @cno for letting us know about the wonderful world of 80/20 and sharing your build and plans with us. We debated long and hard about using 80/20 for our bed set-up and decided that we just couldn't swallow the price at the moment (I already splurged on some things that I really did not want to do myself).

Instead, we decided to go the difficult route and build our own bed platform out of wood and Skorva beams from Ikea. The cost of the platform was less than what I spent on the mattress and we cannot be too happy about that.

First, we had to get some rivnuts and hexnuts installed. We put in 5 hex nuts and 2 rivnuts on each side (there were 2 rivnuts pre-installed, yay!). We then tried to use builder's paper to make a template before we drilled out 2 x 12 piece of wood. This was harder than it seemed and our holes were by no means perfect. We did however get good enough holes that we felt we could work with and bought large washers for our bolts for a little extra support. Once we got the 2 x 12s in place we felt we wanted a little more support near the top and used the extra wood we had to add supports.

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We tried to use aluminum tubes for out platform but once we got them in place, with the slats, we did not feel comfortable that they would be able to hold our weight. My SO did get on top of the slats to test them out and the aluminum tubes flexed A LOT. Here's what those looked like. Note the look of confidence on my SO's face before he got onto the platform and realized that he might fall and take out our bike rack in the process.

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Back to the drawing board. We brought out the Skorva beams to see if we would be able to mount those and still have enough clearance for the bikes. We ended up using 3 Skorva beams, some bolts, brackets, and duct tap to make a sturdy platform that we could feel confident getting on and off. We then used some velcro type stuff (I'm not sure what it's actually called) to secure our slats to the beams.

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We then brought out our foam mattress and began cutting it to size with an electric carving knife.

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Once the mattress was cut to size we put the protector back on and dressed up the bed. DONE. This project was more challenging than either of us thought it would be but we were very happy with the outcome.

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Our next project will probably be the insulation . Until next time!
 

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I'm currently debating aluminum extrusion, custom cut steel, a bunch of smaller tubes, or ikea cross members.

I like steel because it's thinnest. I like aluminum because it is almost as thin.The smaller tubes I suspect would flex too much when climbing on one side. Ikea I know is stiff enough but also a bit deeper. I want to fit my gravel bike and maybe a bike for my wife. Do you have opinion on storing a bike with the dropper post down? I could gain a lot of bed headroom that way but not sure it's the best idea.
 

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Appa the PastafariVan 2019 High Roof 2500 ProMaster 136WB
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I like steel because it's thinnest. I like aluminum because it is almost as thin.The smaller tubes I suspect would flex too much when climbing on one side. Ikea I know is stiff enough but also a bit deeper. I want to fit my gravel bike and maybe a bike for my wife.
We knew we wanted to make our bed 38" off the floor to give us space if we ever had bike upgrades. With our current bikes, we could have probably done 37" maybe 36.5". That's why we originally tried the aluminum tube beams. We saw that someone else made them work with 2 people and a dog. When we went to test them out both of us felt super uncomfortable that they would hold us so we rigged up Skorva beams to sit higher (we have the bottom of the beam at 38".

To rig the beams we lengthened each beam and used the bolt holes in the middle of the beams to keep them from collapsing, then wrapped this in duct tape for extra support. We surrounded each beam by 3/4in brackets on the ends (using duct tape again to avoid metal on metal) to stop them from shifting forward and backward but did not directly connect them to our wood, they are just sitting on top. We did not use the brackets the beams came with as that would have put our bed too low.

I do think you might be able to use steel tubes and be alright, we just happened to already have the Skorvas so we gave them a shot and they look like they'll hold up nicely. The bed itself is still pretty easy to take down if we'd ever need to and the Skorva beams ended up being the most secure and cheapest option. I hope this all made sense. If you'd like I can try to get some pictures of how we rigged the Skorva beams to sit up higher.
 
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