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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New Project, basic "base" build out for phase 1 of a camper build Build will include:

Wall panels, head liner, fantastic fan, dual batteries, full size rear 3 panel bed with cubbies, vented window, and various outlets for portable fridge and electronics. Future plans are to add Possible Solar as well as other minor interior and exterior modifications as they are needed after using the van for a while and figuring out what is "really" needed. I recommend this for any build as often you don't need all the bells and whistles and it's a snow ball effect in costs as we all know when you start adding things such as heat, sink, stove, shower, nice seating... The theme less is more is the focus and have a nice clean interior for two that can be modified in the future. The focus is also to have the van versatile as both a camper and a hauler, not just a dedicated camper. You don't need to do a lot to have a functional van that is also nice inside and to keep the build at a reasonable cost.

Started out with well equipped Diesel 136" High Roof


Basic Sound Proofing and Insulation -using Raam Matt and heat reflective automotive insulation as well as MLV over the wheel wells. My experience has been this is more than adequate to greatly reduce sound and heat/cool air for most applications. Sure you could get crazy. but there is a loss of return to some point in time and material; especially when you have windows that will bring in/out heat or cold air.

Beginning of sound proofing and insulation



Start of Wall Panel Pre-Fit Process
 

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This van is a 1 year younger identical twin to my van..... It will be interesting to see where you go with it. Like mine the rear springs seem very arched and the rear lifted more than any longer van!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The springs on this van make a lot of noise, I told the owners to have the dealer check it out. Its seems super high also, but that also might be because how it looks in my driveway.

Its a simple build, bed, interior, fan, batteries; but that's all you need for a camper. Add Porta-Potty, ARB fridge, table and you are set ready for camping. Materials will run around 4-5k when all said in done for this build and about 80 hours of work for those wanting to know very roughly what it would take to duplicate this simple build. As with anything there is a ton of nickle and dime stuff and it starts adding up very quickly. Not to mention tools if you don't own them to do the work. Wood isn't super expensive but there is a lot of it and some of the panels require entire sheets unfortunately. Batteries, controller, fuses, wire, upholstery materials, and windows alone are a big chunk of change. All said and done its a lot less than what you could pay for a finished interior and a bed from some builders for sure, a fraction of the cost with the same function and done in two weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Finished the final rough panel and bed fit. Ready to take it all apart and begin upholstery to make it look nice. Got to installing the fan also. Electrical and upholstery and it will be very close to be done.



I used the fan roof adapter from Impact Products for the first time...made the installation so much easier and cleaner. Sure you could save yourself a $55 bucks, but why not insure you get a superior seal and because its all grooved its a great template to cut from. Impact Products have some really nice stuff to make your life easier for sure for installs. They ship really quick and super responsive. Savings just in time pays for it easily on top of a cleaner install. Next time I think I will also use the inside adapter plate to make it even cleaner next time. The roofs are so thin that I think that would make an even more perfect seal.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Walls getting done finally, its taken 80+ hours just to get to this point so far.. I am actually tracking the build hours. This time doesn't take into account getting all the materials and stuff. By the time I am done I think I will be in the build about 90 hours. All of this done in 14 days, outside of my "day" job.



Electrical finally done



Lights! On the home stretch, can start buttoning things up soon and adding final trim panels and finish work for this simple build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Officially completed. 90 hours total build time, not including sourcing materials. Calling this van Kona...post pics later to show why, first have to have clients pic it up. They are super excited to get their van. They only had it 5 days then dropped it off to get it converted for phase 1.

Mini cubby 3 panel bed.




Interior all done and cleaned up. I paneled the sections individually instead of one panel all the way up. It was easier to source the size needed as well as if they want to add a window removal of the panel section is easy and a window can be added without doing any more work outside of the window section. This makes it easy for upgrading rather than redoing an entire wall panel section. Its more work this way for sure, but gives more flexibility for modifications.





Basic build, the front of the removable bed space is empty for future add on. Kitchenette, table, or simple seating area will go here since no extra seating is needed. They are going to use the van, then figure out best what to do in the open area for phase 2. Likely a bench seat with the ARB chest freezer and a place for a porta potty and a pedestal table is all that is needed for this phase. Keeping it simple and cost effective for basic camping.

 

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Nice build. I am pleased to see a a contractor coming forward to meet the need of owners who don’t have the skills or time to get the conversion done themselves and who do not want a complete class B conversion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just doing this as a hobby part time helping those who don't have tools or skills and want someone locally to help them out. Not everyone can do a build or you have a 12 month wait time to get it done and all you want is something simple, not a full blown build out. Also for the DIYers it shows you for about 100+ hours and 4-6 grand in materials you can have yourself a camper if motivated. You don't need much to have a simple camper. Owners really stoked about how it turned out and it did not cost them a fortune nor 6 months to get it done. If interested send me a PM to contact me. Located in San Diego.

 

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I like this setup and am thinking this will be the basic layout of the van we are planning on and had a few questions.

Why is the bed in 3 panels? Does it fold into a seat?

What is the height to the bottom of the bed platform?

How did you attach the wall panels? I do not see any fasteners on the finished walls.

What did you use for a floor?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bed is 3 panels, does not fold into seat; there are fit issues with the cushions to make this work if you wanted a seat along with much more involved design, but it could be done. The bed is high enough to clear coolers...you can make them any height you want, all depends on use. These are 22 inches high. Wall panels are attached by screws, they blend in nicely with the felt. A lot of different ways to do this however. The floor is stock; however the plastic and even hard rubber floors are supper slick so things slide around on them like crazy. I prefer Bed Rug liner myself and a rubber mat when needed on top of that. Its cheaper and easier to do if you don't have a "stock" floor.
 

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I like the looks of the Bed Rug - it has a foam backing that conforms to the ribbing in the floor. $200+ and it installs in minutes. I have emailed them to see if they have an thermal R-value for it.

22" is about the height I would expect to use for the bed platform. We are taking a fair amount of stuff with us and that would allow us a double height of our storage boxes underneath. We are thinking of a full size Sealy foam mattress that is about 7" thick. With that height it looks like we might overlap the window if we install them in the back.
 

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On another note, if we lived closer, I would probably be looking to have you do a basic upfit like this. Sadly I am too far away for that. I have contacted a few local shops here in Mass to do the things I am unlikely to do myself such as install windows and the roof fan and insulate it.
 

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More questions

Is the driver side window from CRL? Is that enough ventilation?

We do not have any experience with ventilation in a camping van so were thinking of using the Motion Windows all around for the most open area. I am concerned though of pushing out a screen or a window while I sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My opinion is you need as much ventilation as possible...but I live in So Cal and its hot. Put in two...and if you need more add another. I would at least have three if not 4. CRL windows are excellent and have a high quality look. I am not a big fan of the 80's conversion van style windows unless you want something small, I prefer a stock look and the CRL have excellent ventilation. The higher end look ads value. Look at older conversion vans with the typical windows; they look super dated, but maybe that's just me. Hope they eventually come out with some for the Transits...that then would make that van a nice alternative.
 

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Very elegant work!
 

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On another note, if we lived closer, I would probably be looking to have you do a basic upfit like this. Sadly I am too far away for that. I have contacted a few local shops here in Mass to do the things I am unlikely to do myself such as install windows and the roof fan and insulate it.
All those things you mention are very simple projects that anyone with a few tools and weekends can do for cheap! This ain't rocket science, believe me! If you need any help send me a PM before you waste your valuable time and money. I'm probably 1.5 hrs away from you, if that.
 
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