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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
First I would like to thank everyone who posts on here. I have been reading for weeks and I am still finding new information. I would not have been able to do this project without this forum!
I am starting a build thread on my 2014 159 EXT. I am building something to camp in while I haul my motorcycles and kiteboard gear. I got sick of 9mpg with my Tundra pickup and toyhauler……so I ditched all of that and picked up the Promaster. It is my daily driver for now.


I plan to do an electric bed lift in the rear (over the bikes and cargo area) and a very basic living area up front. Storage for clothes, a bench seat, fridge/freezer, furnace (LP), rooftop AC and convection microwave. No running water and no stove. All of the tracks I go to have running water so there is no need. I may add a solar shower at some point for kiteboard trips. I plan to mount an LP tank under the van near the rear axle to supply the furnace and my camping grill. I plan to make a battery trey and mount 4 Trojan T105s under the van also.


I started the project the other day and put some roll in bed liner on the wheel wells and the floor under the rear doors.....installed side window and seat swivel (got it from discountvantruck...not a fan...I should have done more research..no passage for seat wires...I will have to revisit this at some point).



I decided to go with EZ cool attached directly to the van wall with 3M 90 spray adhesive and lots of aluminum tape. I filled all of the cracks with about 28 cans of Great Stuff...yea, it got out of hand. I goofed a little and filled a couple of the gaps too much….I got a tiny tiny bit of wrinkle on the outside! So be careful! I knew better…..
I decided to go with Thinsulate ( from Hein) for the majority of my insulation. I tacked it up with 3M 90 and will fill in the cracks again with Great Stuff. This should also help keep it attached as time goes on. I also used some Ultra Touch Denim in a few spots (rear doors, sliding door and pillars near tail lights). I used it in spots where there was a ton of room...it was cheaper ad easier than the thinsulate in these areas.


I am waiting on a few logistical details to be worked out before I can go too much further. I am working with a local fab shop to have the LP tank brackets made up and the tank welded on, the support brackets for the rooftop AC and a custom battery box. I will post pictures of the work as soon as I get it done. It sounds like I will get in to the fab shop on 13 August.

I hope to complete the insulation work (minus ceiling near future A/C location) and install the Maxxfan tomorrow....more pics to follow
 

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Looks good!
Which window door window is that?
Did your PM have a window to begin with?
I'm looking for a awning window to replace my original
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I got it from discountvantruck

http://www.discountvantruck.com/Promasterconversionvanwindows/Promasterwindows.htm

They sell C.R. Laurence windows...I think I paid like $550 for it. My van did not come with any windows. I opted out of windows because I wanted an awning window for ventilation. I basically got the absolute cheapest 159 EXT Diesel I could find. The window took about 2 hrs to install...pretty easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Got a good days work in!

Installed more insulation, the Vent van, and two solar panels.


I am trying to finish up the plan on how I am going to put my electrical system together. This is all new to me but I think I am starting to wrap my brain around it. I want to nail down my charging plan. I plan to hook up a solar power, a battery to battery charger and a 30 amp hook up for wall power/a generator for my charging options. The solar will get me through most of my camping. I will use the generator or hookup to wall power just on days when I want to run the A/C (rare) or when I am at the track and want to run my tire warmers all day (~1200watts). I want to be able to charge somewhat quickly going down the road off of the Promaster battery/alternator also. I am not quite sure if all of these components are compatible.
I am concerned about having a situation where two or more chargers are online at once. I believe the solar charger is smart enough to shut off when it senses another power source…but not sure? Also what happens if I am plugged in to wall power and I start the van…not in the plan but Murphy always shows up at some point….will the batt to batt system be smart enough not to come online? I need to figure out how to bring all of this together in a way that makes sense. Has anyone done this yet!? I am guessing all three systems (inverter/charge, solar and batt to batt) all go right to the batter posts?


My Components:
Magnum MS2000 (2000W Pure Sine, 100 AMP Charger w/remote panel and batt monitor). I plan to charge at 45 amps on this.

4 - T105 Trojan Lead Acid Batteries (12v 450Ah Bank)
2 – Renogy 100Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panels (200w Total)
1 – Renogy 30A PWM LCD Display Charge Controller
A/C breaker and DC fuse panel (progressive dynamics 30 AMP)


I am eying a Sterling Battery to Battery charger. Not sure what size to get. Does anyone know which size would be best? 30amp? 60amp? I don’t want to charge faster than .1C (45amps)…but I also don’t want to over work my alternator. Does anyone have any experience on this? Or should I just hook it direct with an isolator and a fuse?

I can't wait to get the walls in and install the Happi Jack Bedlift! I plan to do walls, then floor, then ceiling. I want to use that lip where the floor/van wall meet to secure the walls....if I do the floor first that will get covered up...its only about a 1/2 inch tall. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
More work done this week.

Installed ply side paneling, foam/ply flooring, under-mount propane tank, battery box in floor, roll-on bedline on floor (duplicolor), roof top AC support bracket.
 

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Literally got a boner when I saw your fridge. Ok not literally, but how big is it. Is it 12 volt? Very clever floor plan. Great spot for a Thetford Curve portapotti right behind driver seat. Put a cover and use as an ottoman. Why propane tank. A Coleman Black Cat would heat that small of a space easily and cheaply.
 

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Crewnf16 what was the Harbor Freight master key on the floor used for? Was it doubling as a cable cutter?
 

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Van looks great! Super impressed with the bed and like how you hid the batteries and propane under the van. What did the back seat come out of?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
The fridge is a Norcold DE-0061. It is a 12/120v with a sealed compressor. I didn't want to have to worry about being level all the time. The manual says its good on up to a 30 degree angle. I have it wired on 12v...I have not had a chance to really see how much power it uses. The manual says something like 3.2 volts.

I just added another cabinet behind the drivers seat tonight. I installed a Suburban NT16-SEQ in the bottom of it for my heat source....hence the propane tank. I am going to run a line to hook my grill up to outside also. I plan to use the vehicle mainly for motorcycle racing but plan to take it on other adventures....I am thinking it will work awesome for ski trips....lodging always drains the ski budget. I will post more pics tomorrow. The details of this project are starting to add up....its the standard 90% done and 90% to go.

Yes, I used the bolt cutters to cut cable. I got those a harbor freight a long time ago to cut off a padlock......one of the best $30 I have spent! haha

I haven't put up any pictures of the MagnaSine MS 2000 inverter. I bought a referb off of ebay a few months back. It is tucked away under the seat frame. I wanted to be able to run the microwave or whatever I need off grid if I wanted to. I installed the battery monitor kit with it....so I am excited to see how all of the solar input and amp usages work out. I only have 200w of solar but plan to add more in the spring. My favorite piece so far (besides the sidebar liquor dipenser) is the battery to battery changer I installed. I put it under the drivers seat and it tops off my batteries every time I drive with a quality 4 stage charge up to 45amps. I could go from 50% discharged (as far as I would ever take the batteries) to 100% in about 3-4 hours of driving. I am able to hook up my generator to the inverter/charger when parked...but some trips it will be nice to just start the van for a little bit and top off on cloudy days when I don't take my generator with me. Alan at Bay Marine Supply is awesome. He spent 2 hours on the phone with me happily explaining every option I had for charging off of my alternator. I am not associated in any way....you just don't see customer service like this much anymore. http://baymarinesupply.com/store/ Great place to grab cables and other random electrical supplies.

I wish I could re-do the whole seat thing. I still like the concept that I went with....but the seat I ordered may look nice in the pictures but its kind of a hunk of ****...especially for what I paid for it. It is not overly comfortable. I ordered it from Discount Van and truck....listed as a direct replacement for third row seat for a 2000 Yukon. I should have went on eBay and got a nice OEM one from a junkyard. That all being said it will work just fine....I just think I could have done better. too late now! That **** thing was $$$$.

I went with the electric bed-lift for a few reasons. The biggest being that I wanted to be able to lower the bed down super close to the bikes when they are loaded and be able to sleep with them under the bed while traveling long distance.....and still be able to move the bed to a much more sensible height when the bikes are pulled out at the track or left at home while on some other type of adventure. With the bikes in the van I still get almost 24" of room between the roof and mattress. Plenty of room for random nights but not ideal for every day use. I also wanted to be able to raise it all the way up and easily get the bikes (its built around hauling to 600cc sport bikes) in and out or haul whatever random stuff I might need to haul. Last time I loaded the bikes I was in a big hurry and didn't snap any photos...I will try to take some soon. I did get 24mpg going 70mph on my 24 hour round trip to Barber motorsports park and back last month.....loaded with two bikes and all of out racing gear....I was super pumped about that....and not trailer! I love not taking a **** trailer with me.

Racing is the main purpose....but I still daily drive this for now and need to kind of use it as a pickup truck from time to time. I can still easily haul 4x8 sheets of ply wood back there. I just took 4 home the other day.

Thanks for the comments!
 

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Curious about your propane tank mount.

What sized tank is it?
Are you running a remote filler?
If not have you had any grief when getting it filled about crawling under the van?
How does it clear the rear axel? Maybe something to do with yours being an Ext van?

Nice work so far. Love the bed lift.
 

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I also would appreciate info about the bed lift sourcing (and cost), and did you consider the European version from the same manufacturer (Project 2000 model 12600) that doesn't require the side rails and just attaches to the ceiling and drops down?

Awesome idea for the batteries, did you also do bracing or just drop in the flanged box?

How is the placement of the fan working with the bed?

Any idea on how much you have into the parts on this so far?

Thanks for sharing.
 
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