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RW (Winston) and VJ (VerJean) are pleased to announce the newest addition to the family (name not yet selected), a 2016 ProMaster 159"WB High Top.

There was much consternation concerning gender. With both of us being very pleased owners of VW TDI Jettas, there was a strong initial consensus that a diesel was desired. But, alas, a gasser appeared. Here’s what happened. A more than 4 hour drive put us in the pilot’s seat of a new ProMaster diesel. The test drive went well. We immediately fell in love with the often maligned auto/manual transmission. A little light on the acceleration, maybe - - but in fairness, we were probably comparing this baby to our ‘modified’ TDIs which are, frankly, speedy little cars.

But then we immersed ourselves, here, in these ProMaster Forums. The lurking diesel issues, with some owners literally returning their vehicles, was hard to ignore. Yet curiously, despite all that negativism, the strong enthusiasm of most diesel owners left us with an overall ‘thumbs-up’ attitude.

Then enter our mechanic (son Timothy). Maybe we shouldn’t have listened to him. After all, he’s a ‘Ford Man’ who has nothing good to say about any Dodge product. But here’s where things finally came down to ‘gas’. As we’d previously determined that we were going “all electric” (no LP), we intend to install a large second alternator to serve as our “generator”. Our vehicle may, at times, idle for extended periods of time. We couldn’t ignore the reality that extended idling of modern diesels is strongly discouraged. And, yes, we are aware of comments, elsewhere in this forum, suggesting that gas engines may not be friendly to long idling, either - - but, on balance, the ‘technicals’ favored gas.

We close this thread-opening missive with, we hope, a photo of our utterly nude ProMaster sitting in the driveway of our Little Point Sable, Michigan home. We deliberately angled this photograph to render the ProMaster ‘larger than life’. Once we master ‘photo posting’, we’ll supplement this initial post with a little background/history of ourselves - - as we’ve yet to drill our first hole, history is all we have to offer.

 

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You are going to love that van! Condolences on the non-diesel but it is good to think there are those who listen to their children now that they are getting to a place in their young lives to be useful mechanically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
A Short Look Back before Moving Forward

Our comparatively ‘lesser’ campervan design goals may best be understood from a look to our past . . .



Camping has been central to this family’s travels since the beginning although, during most of those years, we traveled by small plane and dropped the tent under a wing, often at some obscure sod-runway landing strip.



And more by accident than intention (as the airplane was ‘down’ for maintenance), we decided, in 2013, to experiment with car travel and car camping. We kinda ‘took-to-it’ as the following ‘track map’ (totaling some 106,000 miles) will attest.



Our friends thought us crazy for driving so much and, for sure, for camping - - especially in a tent. For most, their idea of camping was the Hyatt.

Last year we took the first step into the world of RV’ing by transforming our Jetta TDI into a CaRV. What’s a CaRV? Well, to legitimately claim RV status, you must have, at the least, a “shore power” receptacle:



Our CaRV conversion included 250AH of AGM battery in the trunk (weighing-in at 160 pounds which, in turn, contributed to the need for a new suspension, set of springs), a smart charger, a Whynter 12v/120v refrigerator. A host of miscellaneous other stuff (voltmeter, ammeter, solenoid and interconnect switches) completed the “conversion”.

But we still didn’t have a bed . . . alas, we still needed the tent. So, last week, we decided to retire the CaRV after one year and purchased the above-pictured 2016 159" WB High Roof ProMaster.

We’re going to keep it simple, at least initially. A bed, that’s numero uno. We love the out-of-doors so windows ‘a-plenty’ is a must. We’re going ‘all electric’ . . .including lots of lithium and a big second alternator, solar panels, a large inverter/charger and fan. No air-conditioning planned, although we hope to reserve enough roof real estate should we change our minds. Probably a new ‘front access’ frig. Haven’t settled on the “plumbing” accept to remember that, these past 106,000 miles, we’ve survived with public ‘facilities’. So, initially, no potty or shower. Beyond that, not certain how complex the plumbing might get . . . possibly just a sink with a simple hand-pump.

Much of the required ‘equipment’ has been ordered and is arriving . . . we hope to commence our first ‘cuts and holes’ soon. In the meantime, we continue to read the many ‘threads’ in this Forum - - there’s so much to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not fair!

We weren't sure whether to post this photo in cutndry's thread with those wondrously warm and scenic sunset shots . . . but elected to keep our bad-luck local. We entitle this "Not Fair" - - we Yankees are definitely disadvantaged in the race-to-convert.

 

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Winston,

Where's that CG in post 6? That's a nice setup with split rail fences between sites.

Man, I'm tired of driving after just looking at that map!

I have found that I get some of my best work done when there's snow on the ground. The PM heater will warm up the whole inside to shirtsleeve temps in about 10 minutes!

Enjoy the build, it's just as much fun as the trips,

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Ed,

That was the Missoula KOA . . . with no electric for the CaRV and practically no internet. One can see the ethernet cable trailing off to the right toward our Ubiquiti high power 'client module'/antenna. This doesn't always help, however - - campgrounds just don't have the bandwidth for all the ensconced 'streamers' (those huge RVs which, we believe, grow roots) - - and virtually no campground knows how to regulate/manage what they do have. Sorry, we'll get off our soapbox. But it remains our pet peeve.

That US map is a screen print from our tablet . . . it's a DeLorme Topo (moving) Map - - the outgrowth of one of our pastimes - - GeoCaching. We have a handheld Garmin GPS that sits on the dash as it provides location data for the DeLorme moving map. But it also 'remembers' exactly where we have been (and when). So we started downloading these files . . . and, well, that map is the result. It's kinda interesting as it has lots more detail than can be seen from the pictured countrywide view. Take a look at this photo, for example, of our trek around Crater Lake (including the campground):



We're certainly glad we stumbled onto this means of recording 'trip memories'. Anyway, FedX just delivered our new Nations second alternator . . . time to corral mechanic son Timothy to formally start the conversion (he, at least, has a heated facility and lifts.

Winston
 

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Engage the dilithium crystal reformulator and prepare for warp speed! Aye captain we’ll give her all she's got!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sound Deadening Panels/Material

Thanks all, for tolerating our tongue-in-cheek despair . . . actually it wasn't fully tongue-in-cheek as we received our first lesson on "helicoils" and how they're not to be installed . . . part of our education was learning the cost of replacing one string of lithium BMS boards that we managed to install 'upside down' which, it turns out, means reverse polarity, smoke, crackling noises . . . and heat. Notwithstanding, the electrical is progressing slowly and hopefully we'll have a more favorable report to share in the near future.

But onto another topic. We've read a lot about insulating and sound-deadening and assumed that we'd install something like "Rattle Trap" everywhere. But then, this afternoon, while strolling those long empty halls of our still virgin ProMaster, we asked "where" and "why"?

The ceiling and floor are ribbed - - don't see much likelihood that these surfaces will be performing in the steel band. We're going to substitute glass for metal in the upper panels along the entirety of both port and starboard flanks. That leaves the lower side panels each of which, upon further inspection, has a large longitudinal rib - - our mechanical intuition, again, counsels that these surfaces aren't willing to join the timpani.

So, all you contrarians - - share your views.
 

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I would suggest 3M Thinsulate(TM) SM600L(walls) & SM400L(ceiling) as your thermal/acoustic insulation. You won't need any additional noise reduction although the temptation is certainly there. Please PM me for a sample.
 

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70mph sets everything alive with referred vibrations. Reducing the worst sources of 'seashell' roar was my main objective...

One of the noisiest spots in my 159' window-wagon were the outside wheel well tub 'clamshells', the part inside the wall, that injected hiss like an off-station AM radio at full volume or high-pressure water hose into an empty bucket to the rest of the orchestra. The back doors were a different brand of sympathy resonance that added an immense amount to the sound pressure in the cab. Both were hushed nicely with a few hours work.

Adding the 12V feed for trailer brakes meant removing the drivers door trim which avalanched to whole ceiling liner out and the roof slope, above door sides and most framing getting selective sound damper added - the overhead beam support got filled with canned foam (have cheap seat covers on or else) and insulation added. The front seats step-up door pockets got the plastic liners removed and the sheet metal underneath liberally covered with SecondSkin dampifier.

In the wall cavities I went with poly-iso board w/ spray contact cement to hold it in place until canned foam 'gaskets' locked them in place, eventually anything not glass will be covered with built-ins or liners. Had I had more money I would've liked to do the 20-25% coverage on every sheet metal panel to snub more sound out, the 1/2" to 1-1/2" of poly-iso in there now blocks some sound but not much.

I may change brands for the front doors and firewall/dash that I didn't get to, already the difference is a large improvement, think Lexus quiet instead of a migraine-fatigue factory!

My build start thread: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=225401&postcount=5
 

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I’d suggest a review of the several threads on insulation as thermal insulation often accomplishes sound insulation. Hein’s Thinsulate will do both as will some board insulations such a polyisocyanurate which will be less expensive but more work. A combination might work for you too.
 

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Glad to see another fully windowed van in the works. Which are you using?

A bit of tapping will demonstrate where the band members are. The ribbing is not a cure. Wheel wells are highest priority. People have regretted going cheap with resulting stench. Amazon is cheapest place for Dynamat. 25-30% coverage is sufficient.

I don't think anyone questions that Thinsulate is the easiest to work with both initially and if you need to revisit an area, and as effective as any. If the budget allows, don't settle for less. Actually, foam would be the most effective, but some folks have had wrinkling panels and revisiting an area could be a real pain.

This initial part of the process is the least fun. It gets a lot better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Sound Deadening Panels/Material

“Once upon a time, long ago and far away, I stood just under 6' 4" tall ... “ (we extracted this wonderful quote from Zoomyn - - whose unusual prose is both informative and entertaining). Our doctor recently advised, however, that we could no longer boast such lofty altitude, that we should settle for the still not insignificant 75" figure.

“Once upon a time” we thought ‘tall’ was beautiful or, at least, beneficial. But in our new ProMaster World there are two critical dimensions that mimic 75" - - the unadorned floor-to-ceiling’ clearance of the “high top” and the most exaggerated ‘side-to-side’ span (this being the inside dimension between the lower (and lesser) vertical rear braces. In furtherance of our desire to enjoy this vehicle without awaiting the loss of yet another inch of personal extension, we have had to rule-out ‘basements’ (but we remain envious of Proeddie) and to minimize the depth of insulation and sound deadening material.

We appreciate all comments which quickly succeeded in ‘de-possessing’ us of our naive views on sound deadening. But this was, after all, the purpose of our post - - to avoid mistakes by listening to the collective knowledge and experience of this forum.

MsNomer, we wish our CR Laurence windows would arrive soon - - sure would help visualize ‘how much & where’ other stuff will be allowed.

Hein, we are looking at Thinsulate - - there are numerous non-critical areas that thicker products will work.
 

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I would suggest 3M Thinsulate(TM) SM600L(walls) & SM400L(ceiling) as your thermal/acoustic insulation. You won't need any additional noise reduction although the temptation is certainly there. Please PM me for a sample.
One question...

Shouldn't you have more insulation on the top than the side? because the sun beats down on the roof more than the side panels.
 
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