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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I reckon the hosts of the forum would prefer everything here but it just isn't feasible for me to do that... so, I will give the link to where I am keeping track of things. I am converting a 2014 ProMaster 2500 159" Wheelbase, High Roof, Gas model to a handicap accessible camper van. I will make a post here each time I have new information to share.

http://rvroadtrip.us/library/van_index.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, the first step is done... we got the windows tinted. We tinted the 2 sliding doors and the rear swing out doors with 5% film and did the cab doors with 32% film. The film not only blocks light but also blocks heat and UV rays. It is the high grade SunTek film with a lifetime warranty and it looks really good. The cargo area of the van is much darker now and that is what we wanted. The cab is only slightly darker but we like how it turned out. I asked the tint guy if he would mind if I videoed and he said "no problem". So here are a handful of short clips edited together and a final walk-around at the end. Sorry, I could not figure out how to display the video here, only a link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh2C0oOtEzQ
 

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Window Tint

Well, the first step is done... we got the windows tinted. We tinted the 2 sliding doors and the rear swing out doors with 5% film and did the cab doors with 32% film. The film not only blocks light but also blocks heat and UV rays. It is the high grade SunTek film with a lifetime warranty and it looks really good. The cargo area of the van is much darker now and that is what we wanted. The cab is only slightly darker but we like how it turned out. I asked the tint guy if he would mind if I videoed and he said "no problem". So here are a handful of short clips edited together and a final walk-around at the end. Sorry, I could not figure out how to display the video here, only a link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh2C0oOtEzQ
sonicsix,

Thanks for the post, super informative!

Dave
 

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Did you put the tint on yourself? If so, how difficult was it to do a good job?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Insulation

I started the insulation process. I am using Ultratouch Radiant Barrier from Home Depot (sold online only). It is shiny on one side sort of like Reflectix but has a denim backing on the other side for sound deadening and insulation. I bought a gigantic 48" x 75' roll to make sure I would have enough to do all the doors, walls, floor and ceiling.

First step was to remove the black panels on the doors... easy job as they just pry off. I used 3M 90 spray adhesive ($13 a can, OUCH!) to hold the radiant barrier in place. Measure twice, cut once. In the places where I could not reach to install the radiant barrier, I stuffed R-13 fiberglass insulation. All those little nooks and crannies will be stuffed with it. I bought one roll from Lowes and made sure it was formaldehyde free.

Once the job is complete (some time next week), I will update this post and my blog site. Here are a few "in progress" pics.

Box containing the radiant barrier. Miniature Schnauzer for scale.




Panels removed from the van and the insulation ready to be cut to size. You cannot cut it with a razor as the denim wants to snag. I used tin snips and they work great.




Radiant barrier installed in the rear doors.




Radiant barrier installed in the sliding doors.




Radiant barrier being installed on the walls. This is where I left off this morning. I can only work on it in the early morning hours as it gets very hot about 9am and on. Too hot to be working outside for this old man.



And finally, the R-13 "stuffing".

 

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Diesel PM, 2015, 2500 hi-top
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Interesting, I'm in the midst of insulation installation also, and decided against the shiny radiant barrier insulation glued on the metal walls. Although I was initially going with the radiant idea (reflectix, etc.) the instructions always required an air space next to the shiny part to be effective. I looked into UltraTouch and it too requires an air space to be effective. One of the reviewers at Home Depot website had this to comment:
Automotive installation - radiant barrier orientation is foil side towards air gap not foil side glued to the metal panels.
Think about it, if the foil is glued to the metal body panels it does nothing to reflect radiant heat, rather it simply conducts the heat as it the foil is touching the hot metal surface.
To function as designed, the foil side of this product requires an air gap and should be installed with the insulating layer toward the body panel and the shiny side separated from the metal body panels by the insulating layer. Gotta love it when someone proudly suggests (with pictures no less) that the correct way to install it, is in fact the wrong way.
Make sure to use foil tape on the seams to assure a good heat reflecting install
.

But, in a nutshell, I have no idea if your insulation project will be more or less effective than my insulation project. So when you're done with you insulation, could you post some indoor/outdoor temps and weather conditions? I promise to do the same when I'm done.
 

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Here is a thought, from insulating homes, which may need to be addressed when these radiant products are used in a vehicle:

It's pretty common these days for insulation (foam panels) to be added to the outside of homes as an easy way to add insulation. The issue is this layer has to be a high enough "R" rating to keep condensation from forming in the wall, behind the foam. If enough is added there is no problem with condensation forming on the back of the foam and essentially being trapped in the wall. If not enough is added then condesation can and will form on the back and when trapped can cause mildew, mold and rot with in the wall.

I think it would be a sort of similar problem to put the soft side of something like the Ultratouch Radiant Barrier towards the metal wall, especially if it isn't a continuous/completely sealed surface. If not enough addition insulation was added after installation of the radiant barrier, you would almost guarantee that condensation that formed on the inside of the metal could be pretty well trapped there. That moisture would be absorbed by the cotton material and cause some serious mold issues?

In some posts about insulation on here, the use of any radiant barrier at all, has be discussed. They do have a use but I think you have to look seriously how and where they are placed...
 
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What She Said

Interesting, I'm in the midst of insulation installation also, and decided against the shiny radiant barrier insulation glued on the metal walls. Although I was initially going with the radiant idea (reflectix, etc.) the instructions always required an air space next to the shiny part to be effective. I looked into UltraTouch and it too requires an air space to be effective. One of the reviewers at Home Depot website had this to comment:
Automotive installation - radiant barrier orientation is foil side towards air gap not foil side glued to the metal panels.
Think about it, if the foil is glued to the metal body panels it does nothing to reflect radiant heat, rather it simply conducts the heat as it the foil is touching the hot metal surface.
To function as designed, the foil side of this product requires an air gap and should be installed with the insulating layer toward the body panel and the shiny side separated from the metal body panels by the insulating layer. Gotta love it when someone proudly suggests (with pictures no less) that the correct way to install it, is in fact the wrong way.
Make sure to use foil tape on the seams to assure a good heat reflecting install
.

But, in a nutshell, I have no idea if your insulation project will be more or less effective than my insulation project. So when you're done with you insulation, could you post some indoor/outdoor temps and weather conditions? I promise to do the same when I'm done.
sonicsix

Thanks for progress report, looking good!

I would have to agree with Trecilla; and the Home Depot guys post was on the money for installing this product and any other radiant barrier.

I've used the Ultratouch in my home reno, although not the Radiant Barrier type and I really liked it a lot for home use. It was a joy not to have to handle the standard toxic insulation materials.

I originally considered using Ultratouch for my conversion but tossed the Idea after educating myself on the three basic forms of energy transfer: convection, conduction and radiation and then spending probably way to much time reading and cross referencing the subject.

My advice for what thats worth (self taught, not an expert) is at the very least reverse the the installation direction as stated above, but make sure your wall panels don't touch the radiant barrier.

If I had to guess I'd say that the ultra touch with radiant barrier is a bit of a marketing gimmick. The reason I say this is that the shredded denim is to dense. It can not be classified as a micro fibber so it will not suffice as an air gap. Ultratouch is a mass load insulation as nearly all construction insulations are. Mass load insulations inhibits energy transfer through convection and thats all; so over time (don't know how to calculate time period, but it will be relatively short) the denim will conduct energy into the foil and if its an aluminum foil it will conduct the energy right through.

I would make sure that you can gain access to the insulation once the conversion is finish so you can check to see if the denim is retaining moisture.

Again I'm no expert!

Thank you for sharing your build progress, its a lot of extra work to add on top of the real tack at hand.

Cheers,

Dave
 

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I too thank you for posting and the pictures. I have posted about some insulating on my build too.
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37177
In the insulation thread I have said a lot and I hope your system works well for you. It does not follow my thinking but Hey we each buy our own vans and we can do what we please as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. I will say I like the polyisocanurate (sp!) rigid foam as it can be placed so it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the outside allowing condensate, if it forms, to get down to the drains and the reflective sides can do what they are supposed to do. I am getting almost perfect coverage and filling the gaps with spray polyurathane foam. 1" is R7 and the foil adds some more, which should be plenty. The cost is $20 for 32 square feet and I will probably use $30 of spray foam as well- $110 for the job. I second the thought you may want to be able to get to the insulation. I can as I bought the full paneling so they can be removed later if needed. I have to say your job is way super neat! Mine has bumps of foam, pieced panels, and smeared glue everywhere. Thankfully it won't show later and beauty is not the same as effective (I hope)
Best- RD
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The options for insulating a van are limited, especially for me as I have limited tools and skills. The spray in foam may be the best, but it not something I was willing to try to do myself. I fully understand the ideal way to install a radiant barrier, but having an air gap would require a significant amount of framing. Looking back, I could have glued some framing to the panels then glues the Ultratouch to the framing to get the air gap. Attaching the Ultratouch directly to the metal is a relatively easy way to get a "decent" amount of sound deadening and insulation. I chose Ultratouch over Reflectix because it offers some sound deadening in addition to the denim insulation. I have not conducted a scientific test of the Ultratouch, but if I hold my hand on a bare panel versus holding my hand against the denim side of an insulated panel... well, the Ultratouch panel is only warm where as the bare panel is too hot to leave my hand on it. Holding my hand 1 or 2 inches away from the bare wall, I still feel a significant amount of heat. Holding my hand 1 or 2 inches away from the Ultratouch, I feel nothing more than room temperature.

Now that the Ultratouch is installed (minus 2 roof panels left open as I will be cutting holes there), I do notice a significant difference in the temperature inside the back of the van. I do not have a portable thermometer at this time so I cannot give exact numbers yet. Since the Ultratouch is only 1/2" thick, I can double up on it if I have any left over. If I run out of Ultratouch, I can either order more, use something like styrofoam panels, or leave it as it is. I am in no rush to close the walls up so I have plenty of time to consider my options. In any case, all things considered, the way I did it is sufficient for my needs. These posts are not to tell anyone to do it like I did, only to show what I did.

Below are 2 pics of the insulation installation thus far.



 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Sonic- thanks for sharing. Can you comment on the sound deadening performance of it yet?
The difference is HUGE! No more tin can sound. It is no noisier than what our Toyota Sienna van sounds like while driving and no echoing when we talk.

UPDATE: Today it is 100 degrees outside and the van is sitting in the sun. If I touch an exposed panel it is EXTREMELY hot and I cannot hold my hand against it for more than a few seconds. If I touch a panel with the Ultratouch on it, it is fairly warm to the touch but not even close to hot. Another thing I have learned today is that the exposed wall framing (the white bars between the insulation) are very hot. This means that I will need to put a layer of insulation between my finished wall and the framing. Not sure how I will do that at this point.
 

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The internal framing between the panels are an issue for sure. I have plastic covers for some and I think I can get a layer of something to break the thermal contact with the internal plastic panel.... perhaps reflexix (sp) or ?????? That heat is carried by conduction which is quite efficient for steel and so they are nearly as hot as the sun heated surface of the van and they represent a fair percentage of the internal area (10 percent?) Lets try to solve this by finding a thin, non compressible and highly conduction resistant material to cover those. I am stumped at this time.
 

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Master Overland Custom Vans Tampa
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The internal framing between the panels are an issue for sure. I have plastic covers for some and I think I can get a layer of something to break the thermal contact with the internal plastic panel.... perhaps reflexix (sp) or ?????? That heat is carried by conduction which is quite efficient for steel and so they are nearly as hot as the sun heated surface of the van and they represent a fair percentage of the internal area (10 percent?) Lets try to solve this by finding a thin, non compressible and highly conduction resistant material to cover those. I am stumped at this time.
I'm using Insul-Bright. Check it out.
 
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