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Discussion Starter #1
OK, here we go. Read on to follow my journey of trials and tribulations as we attempt our first ever van build! I am excited to share the process and finally give back to this community, as I have learned so much from everyone else contributing here.
For continuity's sake, here are the links to my previous threads:
Intro: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=62922&highlight=vanlifedestiny
Phase One Build: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=68714&highlight=vaniel

100% of this build will be performed by yours truly. I consider myself mechanically inclined, but I have never attempted anything like this before. Electrical, plumbing and carpentry are all new disciplines for me. I like to get my hands dirty but coming from a construction PM role, I was more of a desk guy. Hey, it all works on paper, right!? On the plus side, I am blessed to have a sweet shop to work in and a build partner (my girlfriend) to help me out.

The plan is to live in the van full time. A four season adventure machine suitable for stealth boondocking as well as going off the grid for a week at a time. Executing an economical yet quality build is important to me. Fortunately, we are not working right now so all of our time is dedicated to building our new home. Unless I fall on my face (entirely possible), the goal is to complete the build and hit the open road by March 1st, also my birthday :)

The layout:
I like this floorplan because of its open feel. Two of us can get dressed or prep a meal in the kitchen without too much bumping into each other and we can also host a guest or two. I want a mostly "fixed" floorplan. No stashing chairs or folding away beds etc. The only two moving components will be the passenger swivel and a pull out table. Here are a couple photos from insta that get my van build juices flowing:
Photocred to @alpinemargarita on instagram

Not sure who's this is:


Here is a SHAREABLE LINK to my LIVE build spreadsheet in google docs.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hpGVqnyT4-1GENX5KGpX6F1nyMW6EO27vRokD-fW2Rc/edit?usp=sharing
Initially, got this spreadsheet idea from RD (thanks!) over a year ago and started filling it in as I researched various components and developed my budget. If you are viewing this today, you will see it obviously needs some work, but I am continually updating it. Hopefully this "live" spreadsheet works because I have included links to all products purchased and even some forum links to installation steps already described by others. Could prove invaluable to anyone doing a similar build in the future. Let me know what you guys think about this method because I think if it were widely adopted, folks kept it updated and shared it on the forum it might help streamline our vanmobile learnings on these here interwebs! I have to imagine everyone is already doing this to some degree in a notebook or excel or whatever AND posting the same info again on here. Call me lazy but seems like double work.

I have a million questions, but first I'll spend some time updating folks on progress to date!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
First, I gutted everything from the temporary phase one build. I'll be reusing the alum loading ramps and wood for the platform bed, but everything else will be scrapped or repurposed in this final build. Next, I removed the factory floor. The floor itself came out fine with a hammer, this funky prybar that is probably designed for something else, and a long board.



It was difficult to remove the floor without the bottom splintering and delaminating a bit in spots, but it worked out ok. Maybe I wasn't patient enough...
The real challenge ended up being the removal of the factory wood glue from the metal floor. Maybe I was being picky, but I spent the better part of a day on my knees using a flat razor to cut the glue off the top of the metal ribs. I wanted to start with a flush surface for the floor....or as flush as the factory floor comes haha
If you look closely, you can see that the tops of the metal ribs are glue free. Cut myself twice on the factory floor splinters. Lil buggers are SHARP! When cutting the glue off, I also cut some of the paint off. I feel like I should spray it with something before I insulate. I found some old rattlecan Rustoleum laying around from another project. Better than nothing, right?


Anyone have any luck selling their factory wood floor on craigslist? I think I'll try that when I'm finished using it as a template. BTW, that roll is my vinyl flooring I just picked up from HD.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Next was the passenger swivel.
Since I don't have an armrest on the passenger side, I used the Sportscraft driver side swivel on the passenger side as recommended by RD (thanks again!). $284.93 from vanupgrades.com. The instructions that came with it were spot on. Super easy. If only the rest of this build were as easy as this! Like they say, the swivel raises the seat about 1.5". No big deal. Lisa's feet hardly touched the floor before anyways lol.

The swivel lever will be on the door side of the seat (near passenger's right calf). Every so often we inadvertently bump the lever and disengage the swivel when getting in and out or just moving around the cabin. No biggie, just an FYI.

My only pic of this little project:
 

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HA that funky pry bar is a pickle fork it is used to remove steering joints on front ends. Enjoying your build.
 

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Let the bodies hit the floor

Floor will consist of: extra Noico sound deadening between ribs, 3/4" polyiso, 3/4" maple ply w/ two coats polyurethane and finally a vinyl flooring from HD. I decided not to cheap on the plywood because this maple was on sale at Menards and super flat. I went with the 3/4" thickness so I could feel good about screwing things down into it.

We used the factory floor as a template for the polyiso and ply. Three sheets each. All three polyiso joints run the width of the van. In the living space toward the front of the van, I ran the plywood joint in the opposite direction (front to back). This way they are perfectly flush when I lay them down. At the joint towards the rear of the van I did not offset the joints and they are not perfectly flush, but not in a visible location so whatever.

I found that the factory floor was good enough to use as a template for the shape. Not perfect but the edges of my floor will be covered by molding or cabinets, so never exposed to view. The factory floor was NOT good for perfectly locating the factory threaded holes in the metal. I want to use these factory tiedown locations to bolt the plywood down. So here is what I did: There are eight tie down locations so I found eight long M8 bolts and cut them down to 2" and tapered the non-threaded side. Then I hand screwed them into the floor and laid the maple ply down on top exactly where I wanted it, leaving 3/16" or so joints between. Then I went to each bolt location and tapped the top of plywood with a mallet. Then I flipped each piece of ply over and drilled holes at each indentation. Dead nuts :) I then flipped the ply again, face up, and used a 2" diameter forstner bit to recess at each bolt location. I used M8-1.25 hex head bolts at 50mm long with large fender washers to bolt er down. After I was satisfied with how the floor was temped in, I took it all out to sand and polyurethane the plywood. And that's about where I left it!

BTW I did not shim between the ribs. Thanks for the forum tips here saving me that step. Also, I am not using any adhesive between any of the layers.


FYI - here is the plywood type @ Menards




I'll post some more pics when I get the finished product put down. Lol Lisa. I asked her to label each piece of ply. Please don't ban us.

I am concerned about what would happen if any water leaks in the van and gets under the flooring. Maybe I fail at plumbing or maybe a camelbak leaks in the back and we don't notice. Caulking the perimeter doesn't sound like a good solution. Maybe instead of cutting the vinyl to fit the top of plywood, we upturn it an inch or so at the perimeter to act as a "bathtub"? This would be effective except at the doors where I'll have molding. Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
HA that funky pry bar is a pickle fork it is used to remove steering joints on front ends. Enjoying your build.
Never would have guessed that in a million years. Funny name too, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Insulation and Sound Deadening

I'll try to make this brief as this has been covered in great detail elsewhere.

We used 1" polyiso on the walls and ceiling. Great stuff gaps and cracks. Get the pro gun and cleaner. When applying the Great Stuff to the back side of the polyiso wall panels, use vertical lines. Then apply foam to perimeter top and sides only. This way any condensation that forms on the cold surface of the van's interior sheet metal can weep out the bottom. Maybe it doesn't matter because I don't know how to weep the ceiling panels haha. Whatever. This is what we did.

At the wall panels at the head and foot of our platform bed, I used 3/4" polyiso instead. Pic #2 in my first post has recessed panels at head/foot of bed. This is what I want to do so I'll take that extra 1/2". I'll need it if I get taller.

I got 25lf of the Thinsulate SM400L. I opted for the thinner stuff because I thought maybe the SM600L might be too thick to put above the headliner above the cab. Maybe someone can tell me I screwed up or not? I'm also using the Thinsulate for the wheel wells, rear doors, sliding door and all other misc ribs, nooks and crannies. I know I bought plenty so I'm using more than one layer where it fits like in the doors. Get some quality scissors and some 3M90 spray adhesive.

I haven't done the ribs yet because I'm still scratching my head about where/how exactly to run wires.
 

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What are the round holes in the factory floor for?

That's an awesome workshop you've got there; rather jealous of all that space! Keenly following your progression. I'm still debating on whether to have an open aisle front to back or a fixed bed in the back as you're doing. I do like the bench seating in front of the bed in the inspirational photos at the start of this thread. Thanks for the all the detail you're offering.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What are the round holes in the factory floor for?

That's an awesome workshop you've got there; rather jealous of all that space! Keenly following your progression. I'm still debating on whether to have an open aisle front to back or a fixed bed in the back as you're doing. I do like the bench seating in front of the bed in the inspirational photos at the start of this thread. Thanks for the all the detail you're offering.
Those round holes are the factory tie down locations or whatever they are called. You know, places to to hook bungees and ratchet straps. The shop is pretty much any van builder’s wet dream. CNC machines, welders, saws, brake press, shear you name it. I can’t say I know how to operate this stuff, but hey maybe by the end of this build I’ll be a halfway respectable fabricator. My fixed bed is mandatory for storage of adventure gear. The garage I call it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Free

We are done applying the Noico sound deadening.
I'll ship my roller to the first person who PMs me their address. 48 states only.
Thanks for reading my thread! Take good care of her and pass it on :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
More war on the floor core

Here is one of the studs I made as described above to locate the floor bolts accurately

Here is the actual bolt location vs. where the factory wood floor hole was located

Here is the type of polyurethane we used. This is probably not the best type to use but I found some extra laying around the shop. It might be ten years old. But free.

Here is the vinyl flooring I bought from HD. It's called Trafficmaster Scorched Walnut. I bought a 12'x7' roll thinking this would cover the entire floor. Learning here was that I wrongly assumed that the pattern would run in the 12' direction, front of van to back of van. That's the way I want it so here is my solution: I'll put one section in the front portion of the van and leave the back "garage" as bare wood because garages are rugged AF anyways. I'll have enough vinyl leftover to cover the step that is going behind the cabin seats and I'll save the rest to replace the living area if it ever gets trashed.
 

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Next was the passenger swivel.
Since I don't have an armrest on the passenger side, I used the Sportscraft driver side swivel on the passenger side as recommended by RD (thanks again!). $284.93 from vanupgrades.com. The instructions that came with it were spot on. Super easy. If only the rest of this build were as easy as this! Like they say, the swivel raises the seat about 1.5". No big deal. Lisa's feet hardly touched the floor before anyways lol.

The swivel lever will be on the door side of the seat (near passenger's right calf). Every so often we inadvertently bump the lever and disengage the swivel when getting in and out or just moving around the cabin. No biggie, just an FYI.
The swivel lever has a right angle bend on the end. I considered cutting it off and using the straight remaining portion to release it thus avoiding the inadvertent release. Ms. RD said she didn’t think it would be a problem for her to leave it and it hasn’t. If it continues to be released look at the lever for this simple modification to make it less likely.
BTW the lowered bases, though expensive, bring the seat down more than the swivel raises them so Ms. RD can now place her feet on the floor for the first time since we bought the van.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
The swivel lever has a right angle bend on the end. I considered cutting it off and using the straight remaining portion to release it thus avoiding the inadvertent release.
That's a really simple solution. I'm going to pull the seat again anyways now that I've decided the Webasto is going under there. Good time to cut the lever.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wheel Well Boxes & Fan Prep

Had a BIG day today. Here it goes.

Learned how to use a Kreg jig. Ordered the R3 after RD provided a link somewhere else.
[ame]https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000J43A7W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1[/ame]
I bought Kreg screws too, but I used my own clamp. No need to spend $20 from them. Tried both fine and coarse thread screws, but I like the coarse better. We made wheel well boxes with 3/4" ply cutoffs. The boxes will be screwed to the plywood floor using the Kreg jig.


Lisa is a really quick learner too!


Then I climbed up top and prepped the opening for the Maxxfan 6200k. I used Hein's adaptor to outline the 14"x14" cutout, drilled holes at the corners, then went to town with a jigsaw. Not gonna lie, I was sweating so I had to take off my hoodie. But like it says, this is my destiny. Lisa primed the exposed metal edge. I'm following the instructions that came with the adaptor. It recommends 3M Window Weld between van metal and adaptor, then a 1 1/4" strip of butyl tape between the fan's flange and the top of Hein's adaptor. Prepped the van's surface for the window weld with a scotch bite pad and some isopropyl alchy. Then I made a wood frame for the inside using some 2x4 I ripped down. The frame is 1 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide. I think this should flush out with my fourthcoming 1/4" roof rib furring strips for ceiling attachment later.


I'm going to fab something up to secure the 25gal fresh water tank. Not sure what yet. Steel, aluminum, wood screws and grade 8 bolts should do in some configuration! I got a lot of info for my plumbing setup here: http://faroutride.com/pressurized-water-system/


Here is where we left it at the end of the day!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Free

3M window weld.
Anyone installing a fan soon? I only used half the tube and it was $20.
Should keep for at least a couple weeks before it gets hard I would think?
Just send me a couple bucks for shipping if you want it.
 

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Note about your water tank location and floor plan.

I setup mine with access to the garage area, which just has a curtain on it. I'm noticing that in the winter, I have to keep the curtain open in order to heat the garage, as the water lines back there will freeze up if you don't do that. The two floor plans you posted have a solid divider between the garage and house. If you do go that route, I would suggest putting a Y into your heater outlets and directing some heat over into the garage.
 

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Note about your water tank location and floor plan.

I setup mine with access to the garage area, which just has a curtain on it. I'm noticing that in the winter, I have to keep the curtain open in order to heat the garage, as the water lines back there will freeze up if you don't do that. The two floor plans you posted have a solid divider between the garage and house. If you do go that route, I would suggest putting a Y into your heater outlets and directing some heat over into the garage.
Thanks for the tip on the metal strips for tank mounting. I think I have some very similar material lying around the shop.... as far as getting heat into the garage, I need to scratch my head a bit. seems like a long run of ducting to get hot air from under the passenger seat through the galley and into the rear. Then again, might be worth it acting as a built in heated mattress pad haha.
 
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