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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,
Been lurking and learning here after purchasing a new 2014 PM 136" HT w/ 3.0 diesel this past Oct.:D


The goal of our build is a stealth mini RV conversion with modular
galley cabinets and bed/couch that will be removable with minimal effort so the van can be used for non RV use as well.


I hope to use this thread for answers and advice from those of you that have gone thru the conversion process to avoid mistakes and make this build easier on this noob.


I have already ordered some components and parts for the build after hours of research here on the fine builds you guys have done.


Here is a list of the components that I have ordered for the build.
Electrical:
Renogy 200 watt solar panel kit with the MPPT controller upgrade.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F865DS0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
2 Vmaxtanks 12v SLR155 amp hour AGM deep cycle batteries.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DDYRRX8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Cole Hersee 200amp Smart battery isolator switch.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LMGPHW2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Norcold 2.7 cf ac/dc frig.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3NW288/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=13
Power Tech On 3000 watt pure sine wave power inverter
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0131PZ9J2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Maxxair 12v vent/fan
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0050EEO94/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
3 Goldstars 12v LED light fixtures
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CZF3YTM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Fuses, Holders and battery disconnect switch
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005EUTLYW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KIR8M0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005DUUL9W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Hitch and wiring kit
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018X8E63M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Hand operated water pump
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BGM2XG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s03?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Most of this stuff has arrived and it's time to ask some questions
I have about installing these components and start planning the build.


Questions:
1. I have seen some here use an industrial strength tape product to mount the solar panels to the roof and not use screws thru the roof.
Can anyone here tell me what that tape is (Eturnabond?) and how well it has worked for them?
2. I plan on running the solar cables thru the back up camera housing, again to avoid holes in roof. Is it possible to run a single solar wire into the van from the 2 panel array and what connectors or Y branch will I need to do so?
3. I want my house batteries on the floor of the cargo area right behind the drivers seat for a short wire run from the van batt. to isolator switch then to house bank. I need ideas to simply secure the house batteries to the floor in that area, what have others here done?


Well that's about all for now,
I'm sure I'll have many more in the future.


Thanks in advance for the answers and suggestions!!!
Tad





 

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Master Overland Custom Vans Tampa
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1. It is 3M VHB (Very High Bond) tape. You can get it in various sizes on Amazon. I chose to use Sikaflex construction adhesive. It's been almost a year with no issues.
2. What's wrong with running two wires through the back up camera housing?
3. I have 16 160ah LiFePO4 cells in a 1/2" wood box that is simply glued and screwed through my sofa sleeper and the floor. So, 1/2" ply, vinyl floor, factory 1/4" wood floor, van sheet metal.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
Congratulations on your van purchase.

It looks like the Renogy MPPT controller will handle either 12 and 24 volt pv panel arrays, so you could hook the two panels in series -- this will result in only two wires (negative and positive) coming from the PV array through the camera housing and down to the controller -- that is the minimum number of wires you can do and should work well. If you hook the two panels up in parallel, you would probably want to make the connection in a junction box on the roof, and then bring two wires down to the controller inside the van.


I'd not be concerned about locating the house battery so close to the van battery. I'd think more about where the battery fits into your layout best and a location that will work well for all of your wire runs -- not just the one between the van and house battery.

I've seen descriptions from people who used just SikaFlex to attach the PV panels to the van. Read about one person who did this and drove the van all around AU with no problems. On mine I used the SikaFlex, but decided to also use one 1/4 inch stainless screw through the roof at each of the 4 mounting pads -- I chickened out on just going with the SikaFlex.
Pictures of my mounting scheme here: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-co...romaster-van-conversion-solar-panel-mounting/

SikaFlex: https://usa.sika.com/en/home-page-features/product-finder/iframe_and_dropdown/sikaflex.html

Gary
 

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"3. I want my house batteries on the floor of the cargo area right behind the drivers seat for a short wire run from the van batt. to isolator switch then to house bank. I need ideas to simply secure the house batteries to the floor in that area, what have others here done?"

See my build thread--I did just that. Wood box fastened to floor and to tie-down mount.
 

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3. I want my house batteries on the floor of the cargo area right behind the drivers seat for a short wire run from the van batt. to isolator switch then to house bank. I need ideas to simply secure the house batteries to the floor in that area, what have others here done?
If you're going to bring the solar wiring down at the very back of the van and have the house batteries at the very front, be sure to use properly sized wiring to keep the voltage drop as low as possible; preferably under 2%. With that long run you'll have to use a larger wire, though it also depends on the voltage from the panels to your charge controller.
 

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I used Eternabond to attach my Renogy 100 watt panel to my fiberglass roof on my 96 camper van but it has no paint. Theoretically your paint could peel off under stress. Go with Z mounts and lots of goop is my recommendation.
 

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Another reason to use mounts is the you need some ventilation under the panel to help keep it cooler. Solar panels lose efficiency the hotter they get. My roof has a curve to it so it gets some airflow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all for the answers and tips.


#1
I do want to use the mounting brackets to keep them off the roof but want to adhere them to it with the 3M or other industrial strength adhesive. I was thinking a strip on the bottom of the brackets feet using 2 sided tape then an overlapping layer of single sided tape over the top of the bracket, sandwiching the bracket feet if you will.
Thoughts?
Also I noticed 3M has different types of VHB tape, for those that have used this what type
or product number did you use?


#2
Looks like I'll be running 2 wires thru the BU cam housing, the ones that came with the kit are 20ft. long 12AWG so they should reach the house batteries located behind the seat.


#3
Ms Nomer,
that's one nice batt. box, how did you make the nice curved corner on the box?
Any pics of the inside/layout of your box?


Thanks again all,
more questions coming soon,
Tad
 

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http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/764996O/iatd-product-info.pdf

If going with store-bought mounting brackets remember you can increase the van roof pad size to double or triple the tape surface area.

Also leave some small gap between foam tape and the 'overhanging' edges of the brackets; that space is to be filled with marine grade sealing caulk (not silicone) to prevent water/ice from defeating the tapes bond.

The 4950/59 or 5952/62 would likely be the better choices - thicker would accept a larger foot attaching to a more curved roof mounting point, the thinnest needing nearly flat surfaces or small footprints.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks all for the above answers!


Here are a couple more:
1. How do you guys remove the emblems from the sides and rear?
Goo gone or a heat gun?
2. Getting ready to install my solar panels using 1 1/2" alum. angle stock , each leg 4" long. I'm going to use the 2 sided tape but want 1 screw or bolt on each leg thru the roof.
What size sheet metal screw or bolt?


Thanks all,
Tad n Mo
 

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I used dental floss, a heat gun and lacquer thiner plus a lot of muscle power
 

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I used a fairly large self tapping screw # 12 or 14 but only 3/4" long. It is important to drill the brackets first with a hole big enough for the screw to pass through so the self tapper draws the angle down tight to the roof. I coated the area with Dicor Lap Seal too, no leak! I just didn't trust the VHB tape! 10K miles later..... no problem!
The emblems come off better on a hot sunny day or heat gun, then wood and plastic scrapper and finally pre-paint solvent for removing wax/silicone, etc. & elbow grease!
 

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I used a heat gun to heat the emblems not the paint and then used dental floss to saw off the emblem. Picked the big chunks of adhesive off by hand. Then i used a 3M stripe off wheel ($30 on amazon) to remove the adhesive. Be careful using lacquer thinner, it could remove the top clear coat of the paint. Instead use paint thinner or Goo Off .

I was reluctant to drill holes in my new PM, but it gets easier after the first one! I would attach the aluminum angle with 1/4 or 5/16 stainless steel bolts and stainless steel fender washers and stainless steel nylon lock nuts.. Steel hardware will react with the aluminum over time.
 

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3m wheel is great , but my son tried it on plastic part and that's no good. Keep that in mind.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Thanks all for the above answers!


Here are a couple more:
1. How do you guys remove the emblems from the sides and rear?
Goo gone or a heat gun?
2. Getting ready to install my solar panels using 1 1/2" alum. angle stock , each leg 4" long. I'm going to use the 2 sided tape but want 1 screw or bolt on each leg thru the roof.
What size sheet metal screw or bolt?


Thanks all,
Tad n Mo
I used a #14 (1/4 inch) stainless steel sheet metal screw -- has worked fine so far.

Gary
 

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