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Discussion Starter #1
After months of searching, reading, thinking and planning we decided just buy van and start building.
The ideal van would be Vans DREAMER 2020 - Another idea of freedom . Of cause there is no way I can build to that standard. Just something with the same floor plan. Because of my height I can not sleep crosswise and the bed has to be lengthwise. I do not want to deal with flairs.
136WB drives like a regular car and we can pack all we need. It is for travelling, not camping. The plan is to retire in couple of years and drive across Canada, US and Mexico. Couple of months a year as snow birds. This van should fit in a 20’ seacan and maybe I can convince my wife to go to South America one day.
My plan is to enjoy slow build and learn a lot along the way.
good spot to find window sticker https://www.chrysler.com/hostd/windowsticker/getWindowStickerPdf.do?vin=(YOUR VIN#)
Mine is:
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Bought it used with 104,000km//65,000mi.
Here it is at new home:

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Who knows what is this? :
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Congrats! Your van is configured very nicely as a travel vehicle. Dual-sliders and windows to boot!

I can't tell from your pic from the back but what's doing on in the cab area above the passenger seats? It looks different than mine.
 

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Nice - lots of light! We just bought a 136" LR, and need to have the bed length-wise (for hubby). Thinking we'll get a short queen trifold mattress and have the bottom third of the frame pull out (slats that slide out), to maximize space when not sleeping.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Number One build task is to make second row seat so my daughter can travel with us.

Found a bench seat on a junk yard for $55. Came from 1995 Chevy Mark III:
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Took some time to wash the fabric and foam.

The width is 4’ but I need 3’. Disassembled for cutting out an extra feet:

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$75 and welder cut and weld to my size

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Primed, painted, glued foam with 3M 74. Learned new technic with bull hog rings and plyers.

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Dry fit with 2x6 wood

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Discussion Starter #5
Original fasteners
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View from the underneath.
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Now waiting for swivels in order to finalize floor plan between first and second row. Once that is dome will most probably ask welder to weld a platform.
House batteries will go underneath the bench seat and storage will be under the feet. Probably Webasto heater will go there too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
oh and this bench seat folds.
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it allows to extend bed and make one bed crosswise. We have curtain to separate the beds.
 

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2017 136” HR
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Dual sliders rule! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Testing the layout
Made prototype layout with 1”x1” wood imitating 80/20 serie10. Drove 2K within a week. Everything worked OK. Made couple of minor changes like extended kitchen by 2”, Mrs added folding shelf to put her arm while sleeping.
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Discussion Starter #10
Next step- insulating passenger’s wheel well + fiberglass mold

Wheel well is part of the shower and I need as much space as possible. Building wooden frame around it does not work. I was thinking about buying plastic mold but I was not sure if that is a perfect fit and no insulation can go between wheel well and plastic cove. I decided to do my own fiberglass mold. I had 1974 Bohler and had some minor experience working with fiberglass. So insulation first. I decided go with cork as you can find it in different thickness, it is relatively flexible, has some insulation value and sound deadening , does not absorb water, mold and kind of natural. Thank to this forum I did not bother with Nico or other sound deadening material.
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Used clear poly to make templates
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Made first layer to make level even
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I made template for second layer and I used it for fiberglass cloth as well:
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Second layer and wheel well covered complete
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Now fiberglass.
I know the proper procedure of creating negative mold and then making cast but it would be overkill for one time piece. I took a short cut.
I bought 3M delicate masking tape hoping that it will be easy removed after fiberglass cures:
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I decided to go with the fiberglass cloth vs matt as it is supposed to be more level and require less sanding. Used nail and piece of wood to mix polyurethane resin
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First layer of fiberglass. Cast came easily off but masking tape 1) leaked resin to the cork and it smells 2) stick to the fiberglass. Took some time to remove it.
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Discussion Starter #11
My mistake was that I asked my wife to sew fiberglass cloth. It is almost impossible to make it to fit perfectly and created bubbles at 2 lower corners. I totally applied 3 layers of fiberglass.
Patched with Bondo and sanded.
IMG_5886.JPG IMG_5888.JPG
Painted with gel coat 3 times:
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Most probably will sand and paint next summer when the weather will be hot and gelcoat will be more viscose.

I would give my work 6 out of 10 at the every maximum:) And the cost was close to $200: 2 square yard of fiberglass cloth, gallon of polyurethane resin, wax, hardener, acetone, brushes, rubber gloves, masking tape. Sounds like a failure, eh?
Lessons learned:
  • If you have curved shapes: use fiberglass mat. Fabric may be used but do not sew. In theory resin dissolves bond in fiberglass matt and as a result it allows to move fiberglass mat mass making it more smooth.
  • Should of cover masking tape with tape for plastic. It would not let resin through and will not stick to fiberglass
  • Wasted a lot of time giving a day between layers. Partly due to cold weather. Can lay 3 layers of fiberglass within same day.
  • All sanding can be done within same day if the weather is warm. 15 minutes to dry, sand, new coat/patch.
  • 2 layers of gel coat enough. Third layer just adds weight. 2 layers of fiberglass and 2 layers of gel coat are enough.
  • Polyurethane resin stinks a lot. They say epoxy resin does not stink that much.
  • Roller does not work on gel coat. Brush does.
  • It was interesting how last layer of gel coat mixed with wax differs from previous layers. One has to ad wax to last layer as it let gel coat cure and do not stick.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi MaggieMarty, I did see those but I was not sure if insulation will fit underneath and I have factory floor.
 

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2017 136” HR
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It’s says in the description that they have a little insulation of XPS on the inside. I believe one member here cut a little off the bottom to make up for a previously installed floor.
I would love to see these in person...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I did not read about XPS insulation. Sounds very tempting but the price+shipping is even more then I spent. To see in peson would be ideal.
 

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Interesting! I wonder if there are any legal issues with driving with them in place. I think they're a great idea for boondocking or overnighting when one wants a window open but is also concerned about security and precip.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Would never think of driving with them installed:). You have to stop to remove them in case of rain. You need 2 hands to install/remove
 

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You could achieve the same effect by putting a "sleeve" of netting over the entire window part of the door, shutting the door, and then opening the window.
 
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