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Discussion Starter #1
Weather is turning nicer up here, so it's time to start some work on the van and start the build thread at the same time. Will try to update as often as time permits.
Some background first :
Coming from '98 Jayco conversion Chevy with high top. Did some minor mods (aux batt., fridge, cupboard, hand water pump, plastic sink with no drain...). Enjoyed it quite a bit.
Van rusted up into dust. Bought a truck (needed at time), replaced it with passenger Chevy, got heavily T-boned four weeks later, complete write-off, no injuries. Opened a door of a promaster and was amazed by the space inside. Brought home 2014 silver 136 low roof gasser. Lots of work ahead, but it will be nicer and more convenient than truck with slide-in camper i was seriously considering.
Plans are relatively modest. We do not spent time inside the van other than driving and/or sleeping. So no dinette, minimal seating, good size permanent bed. Will be adding few things I used to wish I had in the old Chevy. I'll get to that later. This forum helped me tremendously already and i am hoping my own thread will help someone as well...
 

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Floor insulation
I have filled the spaces between the ribs with 1/4" Luan plywood underlayment. The strips (and whatever shapes) are held down by strips of carpet double sided tape from home Depot. I have no expectations of a long term performance from that tape, but it held the pieces in place nicely while I was scurrying around. Got 1" polyiso sheets, used cardboard template to cut polyiso into very snug shape. Removed floor tiedowns, measured and drilled corresponding holes in the polyiso panel. After dry-fitting, traced the shape (and holes) on 3/4" plywood which will be a subfloor under the bed. This area will be also a cargo space used for my day job. Polyiso and plywood went into place and tiedowns were replaced with M8x60 bolts. Got large rubber washer between the metal and polyiso. Used 1" spade bit to countersink into the plywood and used 1" washer under the hex bolt head.
Sound deadening :
I used Noico sound deadener from eBay. Easy to work with. Used the thinner stuff (40). Did a fairly good coverage on wheel wells, 25% coverage on walls, no floor, no ceiling. I am not finished with the walls yet. Drove the van with rear 2/3 of floor done and Noico on wheel wells only. Much quieter!
 

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I didn’t fill the gaps feeling the reflective coating would work better with the air gap for about 1/2 the floor. BTW the polyiso can support 25 lbs./sq. inch so its plenty strong enough to resist crushing. The plywood spreads the load so unless you put something that weighs more than 29,000 lbs. on a pallet in there you would be fine!
 

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RD, you are probably right, it all did cross my mind, but I still didn't like the spaces empty. When the bed's not there the back will be cargo area for tools'n junk, it might see some abuse...
To take break from insulating, I have made a rough prototype of a pull out table this morning, that should serve for outdoor cooking. I can't call it pull out kitchen I guess, as it will not have a kitchen sink :)... (all dimensions will change)
 

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I used Noico sound deadener from eBay. Easy to work with. Used the thinner stuff (40). Did a fairly good coverage on wheel wells, 25% coverage on walls, no floor, no ceiling. I am not finished with the walls yet. Drove the van with rear 2/3 of floor done and Noico on wheel wells only. Much quieter!
Looking good! How much Noico do you think you'll use, in total?
 

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Love the idea of the pull out table to the outside. I think I'd put a hinged section of table top on top of the fixed section that I could fold back onto the open gap when fully open.
 

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Steve: I ordered 25 sqft and will do with it fine. No noico on roof or floor.

Rooker: I am working on that. I think the second shelf will be cut in half, double hinged, lifting up (like a horizontal bifold door) and will stay vertical when folded, so one can leave stuff on the outer shelf and shove it in...
 

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First couple of wall panels with 25% noico sound deadener and 1" polyiso embedded in bead of great stuff. I have followed the recommendations on this board and ordered the pro gun from Amazon, and I am very glad I did, it's ten times worth the investment! (thank you for pushing me the right direction :))
 

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Steve: I ordered 25 sqft and will do with it fine. No noico on roof or floor.

Rooker: I am working on that. I think the second shelf will be cut in half, double hinged, lifting up (like a horizontal bifold door) and will stay vertical when folded, so one can leave stuff on the outer shelf and shove it in...
Steve,
I ordered two packages (72 ft2 in total) of the 80mil noico, the black stuff. I did 25% coverage everywhere, except floor., (remember I only have one window on pass door), and full coverage on wheels wells. I still have about a quarter of it left and plan to use it in the front doors. My van is 159 extended. I think you need about 60 ft2 for the coverage I got. Definitely get a roller of some sort to apply it.

Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have received couple of small CRL windows from DK hardware couple of days ago. They are kinda funny little horizontal sliders. I have had window vans before and decided less will be more this time. 2 main reasons: I still use van for work and the bed area will be cargo space for most weekdays, and even when used for camping/travel, I want to have wall space that can have things attached to it. There's not much wall space in 136er. Also we do not usually spend any time inside the van other than sleeping or driving. All I wanted was some ventilation in the back. Love to open the side windows in the morning before getting up...
I have installed one of the windows today and I am quite pleased with it. Pictures of the process are below. It was less difficult than expected.

I have made made a hole in a piece of plywood first and tried to stick the window in it. It seemed a bit too loose, do made another hole 1/8" smaller which fit much nicer. Then i made to marching templates out of 1/4" Luan and made sure they fit into my hole nicely. I have drilled 4 holes through both templates about 4" from edges. Then I measured the center of the space between the rear rib and the end of the van. My little windows fit in without removing the ribs. With some masking tape on the wall I traced the template, made sure I liked the location, and taped the template in place. I have also put some masking tape on the outside wall estimating where the cut will be. Then using the four holes predrilled in the template earlier, I have drilled holes through the metal, inserted four bolts into the holes, walked around to the outside and mounted the other template onto the bolts using nuts. Double / triple check the location, traced the template on the outside, removed the templates. Added more masking tape to protect paint on the outside. Taped over all holes below the window on the inside and taped a cardboard box the window came in below to catch the pesky metal shavings from cutting. Then made couple starting holes and cut the hole with jig saw. Used 32tpi short metal blade and the lowest speed setting, slow cut, no rush. Had a bolt in one of the early corner holes to be able to hold onto the metal at the end. Also kept taping the panel back together with masking tape after the cut to reduce vibrations.
Primed the exposed metal. Had wood frame already prepared and glued it flash with the opening using nearly 30 clamps. This
might have been the most difficult step, but worked fine in the end. Cardboard was used under the clamps on the outside to protect the paint. When the glue set, I removed all the clamps trimmed excess glue and primed again. 1/8 x3/4" butyl tape went on the inside lip of the outside frame and I pushed the window into the hole. Butyl seemed to grab and hold the window in place, so I went inside, slid the inside frame into place and started screwing. I thought the screws provided would self drill, but ended up predrilling holes. I kept tightening the screws little by little until both frames (in and out) were nice 'n tight. Last step is to remove excess butyl from around the outside frame.
I will be doing the other window tomorrow. I am thinking of skipping the "glue the wooden frame, clamp with clamps and wait and wait for the glue to dry" step. I would like to try to put the butyl on the outside frame, stick it into the hole and have somebody hold it while I spread the adhesive in the inside under the wood frame, slide the frame over, insert clamping frame and tighten up with screws. I'll have about 30 minutes before the glue starts setting. We'll see...
(just realized I don't have picture of it finished. Will do tomorrow)
 

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What a clamp collection! That window will be nice!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So my second window took just over three hours to install. Keep in mind it is small window and I had all measurements, template and wood spacer frame ready from yesterday.
I have skipped clamping the spacer frame.
Instead, I stuffed the window with the butyl tape into the hole and had DW pushing on it from the outdide.
I have applied enough adhesive on the wood frame and slid it over the window from the inside. Added the inner frame and started tightening the screws.
I like it better, I think I had better control over the whole installation. It seems to work fine, the butyl is oozing out happily and uniformly on the outside and inside the wood is in decent contact with the metal, having pushed the excess glue out.
Overall I like the windows and the way the install went.
I am also glad it's done. I am a woodworker, I can do plumbing and electrical, but I don't like metal. And the metal does not like me either. It usually bites me. Then I kick back. Then it gets ugly.
This time we got along somehow. It was tense but peaceful :)
 

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Slow build: major update

It's been about a year since my last post here and I have spent more time travelling than working on the van, which is a good thing.

In next three posts I'll try to briefly sum up what I have done to the van before last year's summer road trip (Ontario to CO, WY, MT, ID, BC, Alberta and back). Along the way we camped as high as 10,000ft at Elbert Creek campground, brought the van to 14,130 feet above sea level (mt Evans), and drove few interesting dirt roads in Wyoming.

The van performed through all that flawlessly and we were quite happy with it…



Mt Evans, June 2017




Independence Pass, Colorado



Badlands, SD
 

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Basic Electrical

My very basic electrical system comes from previous Chevy van. My power demands are very modest (almost nil, compared to some). It started few years back with a simple goal: have a fridge running for couple days in the boonies. I am still that simple today, although I’ll be adding some lights, water pump and shore power.

Components:
125 Ah Lifeline AGM battery
Basic 500w invertor
6amp smart marine charger
Norcold 12 volt 1.7 cuft Fridge 2.7 Amp max
Few 12v relays, fusebox, etc
Here is basic diagram



Relay functions, left to right, as per the diagram pictured:
(All 3 relays are energized when ignition turns on)
R1 connects charger to aux battery
R2 connects invertor to truck battery. Charger is hardwired to invertor.
R3 switches load (fridge) from aux battery to truck battery.
In real life it looks like this:





(the diagram does not show fuse box on right and temporary black override switch used for testing)
It's all hidden behind a door that holds Voltmeter with a switch (aux batt / off / truck batt)




Some changes / upgrades to the system are coming soon.
 

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Shower / Toilet / Fridge combo

Shower / Toilet / Fridge combo

- by Petr Maly, on Flickr

This was a crazy idea that happened to work out quite well:
1/ Small shower base in an enclosure with door. Really just meant for kind of navy showers, using USB rechargable shower. The shower base will drain through the floor and just into a bucket under the van. (I can still slide the shower base out for the drain work, while the inside waterproof is not done yet) The whole inside of the shower will get waterproofed this year, hopefully.

- by Petr Maly, on Flickr

2/ On one side of the shower base sits thetford toilet on an elevated base.

toilet by Petr Maly, on Flickr

3/ Now there's fridge sitting in a box just above the toilet, with a little pantry cupboard on top. The fridge box hangs on drawer slides mounted near top of it. There is one additional drawer slide near bottom to prevent horizontal movement of the bottom of the box.

fridge in by Petr Maly, on Flickr


When the urgent need for loo arises, the box with the fridge slides out of the enclosure making room above the toilet. We’ve got used to just sliding the gizmo out before retiring to bed. The bathroom is ready if needed and the cupboard blocks view (mostly) and light (somewhat) through/from the windshield.

fridge out by Petr Maly, on Flickr

- by Petr Maly, on Flickr
 
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