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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After many months of inactivity, I finally got around to working on the PM interior a little bit. I got sick of looking around for elegant or expensive solutions to put some insulation and walls in this thing, so I just went with general hackery.

Installed you see 2x4s bolted to the wall stringers (supports, bolsters, studs, frame, whatever you wanna call it). I gave up trying to find a blind fastener that would make this easy, though I'm sure something exists. Instead, I used 1/4" 20 bolts and nuts at 1.5", and I used a paddle bit to "countersink" the hole so the bolts wouldn't protrude. Stamped into the stringers are some painfully small access holes on the bottom side that allowed me to finagle the bolt in there, turn it, and stick it through to the front side of the 2x4. It was a pain, but it's strong enough. Holding the bolts from behind for tightening was also a pain, but it's doable.

The next step will be putting up some kind of insulation (probably some form of pink fiberglass) and then the 2x4s will give me something to nail paneling to.

I don't think my work is very elegant, but it is dirt cheap. Some 2x4s and $10 worth of bolts. Party on!
 

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A little too late to help you, but I put a hitch on my ford escape the other day. It came with carriage bolts, a little piece of flat metal with a square to fit the shoulders of the carriage bolt and a piece of wire with coil on the end that fit the threads on the bolt (called a bolt leader). There was a tiny little hole like you described that was way too small for fingers and too far away from the actual bolt hole. I would put the piece of flat steel over the coil and then thread the bolt onto it. Then I'd push the other end through the hole up and out the bolt hole. I'd pull the hole thing with the wire which pulled the bolt right out the hole. Amazingly simple and easy. I'd never seen anything like it. There are link to a video on this page:

http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Ford/Escape/2009/13650.html?vehicleid=20099838

I put a hit on in no more than 20 mintues. Might work to solve problem like this.
 

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A little too late to help you, but I put a hitch on my ford escape the other day. It came with carriage bolts, a little piece of flat metal with a square to fit the shoulders of the carriage bolt and a piece of wire with coil on the end that fit the threads on the bolt (called a bolt leader). There was a tiny little hole like you described that was way too small for fingers and too far away from the actual bolt hole. I would put the piece of flat steel over the coil and then thread the bolt onto it. Then I'd push the other end through the hole up and out the bolt hole. I'd pull the hole thing with the wire which pulled the bolt right out the hole. Amazingly simple and easy. I'd never seen anything like it. There are link to a video on this page:

http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Ford/Escape/2009/13650.html?vehicleid=20099838

I put a hit on in no more than 20 mintues. Might work to solve problem like this.
The method you describe is typical of how almost all aftermarket hitches are installed.
 

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...
Installed you see 2x4s bolted to the wall stringers (supports, bolsters, studs, frame, whatever you wanna call it)....
After some inspection and planning I believe your approach of using stringers is the only way to get a clean looking wall. The engineers who designed the factory panel layout provided recessed areas for several sectional panels with exposed metal between. While the aftermarket panel makers have worked around this to some degree, they all appear to expose metal somewhere which is not necessary if you bump the wall out ever so slightly with stringers.

They only thing that seems a bit funky is that the rear section has less depth in the back than in the front, which makes a continuous wall a bit more challenging using this approach. Do you have any pictures of your finished walls so that I might see how you dealt with this issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry to say that I have made exactly zero progress on the interior since i finished the stringers. None. Zip. Nada.

Gonna hit a slowdown in work sometime soon, and then ill be able to finish it up. Ill post pics then.
 
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...(probably some form of pink fiberglass) ...
Unbelivable! Pink fiberglass? Don't you care about your health. I mean all of those tiny glass particles travelling rapidly through your wall panels seeking out lung tissue with a vengeance. I know that it's hydrophobic, but it's so much less expensive than thinsulate; I'm sure that it cannot do the job. Think about all of those rusted out sportmobiles and 90% of all the other conversions that are totally rusted out.

I would never use pink fiberglass. I prefer yellow!:D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I know nothing about insulation. Not a thing. I was assuming I'd walk down the aisle at Home Depot and find something apropriate. I saw some stuff that had a high R value and wasn't likely to shed. But it appears I know even less than I thought. Suggestions?
 

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I know nothing about insulation. Not a thing. I was assuming I'd walk down the aisle at Home Depot and find something apropriate. I saw some stuff that had a high R value and wasn't likely to shed. But it appears I know even less than I thought. Suggestions?
Well luckily we have beat the subject to death on this forum. Do a search and read all about it. I personally have read everything I could find regarding insulation in a van. I ended up going with polyiso foam board from Home Depot (it's called R-Max). I cut the boards to a decent fit in the wall spaces and then filled the gaps with Great Stuff Pro.
 

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I know nothing about insulation. Not a thing. I was assuming I'd walk down the aisle at Home Depot and find something apropriate. I saw some stuff that had a high R value and wasn't likely to shed. But it appears I know even less than I thought. Suggestions?
I hope you understood that I was joking.

I think that too much is made about insulation for conversions because perfection is the enemy of good enough, but here's a quick summary.

There is little doubt in my mind that spray foam is the best option in terms of getting the best insulation value in combination with protecting your sheetmetal from corrosion. It comes with risks of rippling your panels if not done carefully and is a fairly costly option. I would spray foam my vehicle except that I am doing an incremental build and spray foaming at this point will make some modifications more difficult in the future than it would be using most other methods.

Another popular and fairly costly route in thinsulate, which is available in a form targeted at the automotive market. Its much easier to successfully apply than spray foam (just glue it to the van skin) and has a strong R value. It's fairly expensive.

A less expensive method is to use polyiso insulation board from your local home improvement store. There is a lot of debate about how it should be installed, but it offers strong R value at a reasoanble cost.

Some are using minicell, cross-linked polyethalene, foam, which is similar in many ways to polyiso, but costs signifcantly more.

Traditionally a lot of RV conversions were done with fiberglass, but it has fallen out of favor due to better options. I wouldn't use it because installation of fiberglass is nasty and I don't want to have to deal with it every time I remove my wall panel to add wiring or whatever.

Some have even used polyester fiberfill products, which are actually very similar to thinsulate in their hydrophobic properties. This stuff is cheap and readily available, but has a lower R value than thinsulate. I say, so what if you need to use a bit more. The thinsulate does seem like a great option for the more narrow ceiling space.

There are many other options that you will find perusing the site, but these seem like some of the most reasonable options. It really comes down to your budget and if you want closer to perfect or good enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Right now, i have some 3/4" foam board taped to the ceiling. Its got foil on one side. That actually works ok, but doesnt do much for noise. I seem to recall that there was some kind of something at home depot that was backed with paper on both sides, thus preventing shedding.

I also considered just filling behind the paneling with packing peanuts. Or trash bags filled with peanuts. We'll see.
 

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Right now, i have some 3/4" foam board taped to the ceiling. Its got foil on one side. That actually works ok, but doesnt do much for noise. I seem to recall that there was some kind of something at home depot that was backed with paper on both sides, thus preventing shedding.

I also considered just filling behind the paneling with packing peanuts. Or trash bags filled with peanuts. We'll see.
Home Depot carries polyiso foam board with foil on both sides called R-Max. That's what is best.

Once I finished the foam board and Great Stuff it was like a cave inside and I couldn't hear anything outside. Now all I hear is all the squeaks and rattles inside the van.
 

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Home Depot carries polyiso foam board with foil on both sides called R-Max. That's what is best...
Remind me jostalli, what camp were you in with the polyiso? Did you attach directly to the outer skin with greatstuff or to the ribs leaving an airspace.
 

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Home Depot carries polyiso foam board with foil on both sides called R-Max. That's what is best...
Remind me jostalli, what camp were you in with the polyiso? Did you attach directly to the outer skin with greatstuff or to the ribs leaving an airspace.
The verdict is still out on whether Great Stuff will cause panel warping but I chose not to risk it by spraying it directly to the larger areas of thin sheet metal on the van side walls. I made very rough cuts of the foam board and used 3M 90 to attach to the space. Then I sprayed Great Stuff around it and in all remaining gaps. So, the foam board is not pressed against the van skin. You couldn't bend it enough even if you wanted to. So, there is an air space.
 
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