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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)






Solar Combiner Box


Van Works in Fort Collins, Co. installed the window for me.




I think that's it. The only other holes through the van are the sink drain and the 6 bolt holes holding down the bench seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Flooring and more holes. The local Mercedes dealer had a new 3 person bench seat for sale that had just been pulled off a new Sprinter. The hardware took some careful planning to get lined up since I needed room on one side for the battery cabinet, behind the seat for bike storage and bed above, and in front for the "living room and kitchen." Underneath, I was able to bolt to the frame on one side and used a metal plate to span the cross beam on the other.

For flooring I used 3/4" plywood screwed into the 1/2 wood floor that came with the van. On top of that we went with a premium grade vinyl than is held in place with flooring tape. Tried to avoid adhesives since most seem to fail with freezing temps. I am happy with everything related to flooring but wish I had put a layer of foam in there for insulation.









 

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Here is the general layout I decided to go with. One of the things I love most about the Promaster is the nearly vertical walls. That allows us short people to put the bed up high and run it perpendicular to the van. I'm 5'6" and can stretch out with my head and toes barely touching the walls.

After using this layout for the past year, not sure if I would change anything. Pretty happy with the division of spaces. Although it's usually just the two of us, we occasionally convert it to a party van and can safely transport 5, but easily add a few more with camp chairs.

 

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Keep it coming. I was actually disappointed when I logged in this morning and you hadn't posted yet. It's like reading a serial novel. I can hardly wait to see how it ends.

It's amazing what you can do with that extra 23".
 

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jason,

Nice design work! Please post your floorplan in the floorplans thread for future visitors. It's located here: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53962

I would make one suggestion. Consider making a flat plate to act as a very big washer for your seats track bolts. If you got a piece of steel about the width of the floor grooves and 6" or longer, drilled a hole in the center, and then used it as a washer, it would lessen the likelihood of the seat bolts pulling out in an accident. Also, they make different "strengths" of bolts. Hope your using super-strong rated bolts and nuts.

Please don't take my thoughts as criticism... your work looks great! I'm just a safety-as-good-as-possible guy...

ed

ps. I guess I'm not the only one who uses masking tape to remind me where I plan to put things!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Sound dampening, insulation and wall coverings...

I'm really happy with the sound dampening material I covered 100 sq. ft. of the sheetmetal with. Used Noico 80 Mil self adhesive butyl mat. It was fun and easy to install and I tried to cover most everything I could get to. I gives the doors and walls a solid feel and significantly quieted down the van.

Next layer of the wall sandwich was reflectix. Used spray adhesive to hold it in place. After that I cut pieces of 1" polyiso rigid foam to fit and was careful not to fit it too tight to eliminate squeaky spots. Placed another layer of reflectix on top of that and sealed each section as best I could with duct tape.

The what you see layer is 1/4" plywood sheets with indoor/outdoor carpet glued and stapled. Used self taping screws to attach the wall panel.

In larger spaces I used non-fiberglass, recycled synthetic insulation that is treated for mold resistance.

For the ceiling, used the same foam sandwich technique, but topped it off with marine vinyl fabric adhered to plywood sheets with contact cement. Turns out that was one of the biggest adhesive fails of the whole project. The material looks great on the ceiling, but in several places has begun droop down. I have a feeling a ceiling remodel will be the next big project. If I could do it again, I would use a solid panel board and not attempt to glue a fabric to it.














I'll start working on electrical next - sorry a little out of order!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks proeddie! I worried a lot about the seat flying loose in an accident. Incredible forces when you add the mass of three strapped in passengers! I used 1/8' steel plates underneath to straddle the frame beam between bolts. (not shown in that photo) Probably should add another against the sheet metal floor like you said to act as a washer. I did use the strongest grade bolts and nuts I could find.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks MsNomer! I was actually outside this morning filling the new water tank for the first time. Finally above freezing here for the next couple of days. Only one small leak! Fixed and ready for the road. May be heading to Baja California in a couple of weeks. Here's a sneak peek at the new and improved water system.

 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Electrical



I guess the best place to start is with the battery. I'm using a 12v, 210 amp hour AGM battery made by Lifeline (GPL-4DL).

It is charged 3 ways. There is a 300 watt Zamp solar kit on the roof, the van's alternator, and a Noco Genius battery charger.

Powered by the battery are a variety of LED lights (seven 1W in the ceiling, a 10W porch light by the slider, an 18W light bar for the back doors, a 10W for the bike storage area, and two 10 foot red under cabinet LED strips), a Kenwood DVD/Nav entertainment system, a 400W amp for the stereo, 12V TV, a 2.2cu.ft. Dometic CFX-65DZUS Freezer/Refrigerator, water pump, 2 Deluxe Fan-Tastic Fans, a dozen USB charging ports.

All of this is connected and fused using a 12 circuit Blue Sea Systems Fuse Block, several ANL fuse blocks, a WirthCo Battery Doctor, and around 1000 feet of wire.

There is a simple shore power system with the power inlet in the back upper bumper and 4 GFCI protected outlets. To these outlets I have connected the battery charger, the refrigerator (it auto switches from 12v when AC is present) a tiny microwave, a coffee maker and a portable heater. We have not yet camped anywhere to use all this AC stuff even though we've spent 65 nights in the van last year.

Without going into all the details, since everything I learned and did was based off ideas I found here, I'll just report what worked and what I'd change. On a typical day out in the desert, freezer running at 20 degrees and 35 in the refrigerator, radio running half the day, lights on and off all evening, and maybe a TV show or two, the battery will drain down to 12.5 volts. I think thats around 75% discharge. I've never seen it go below 12.3v. By noon the next day, it's full at 13-14v. The solar system pretty much takes care of all of our charging needs. Driving the van will automatically override the solar controller and charge the battery at about the same rate. The Battery Doctor doesn't quite have the battery friendly circuitry as does the solar controller, but so far the battery hasn't blown up. I've not had to use the Genius charger yet, but it is essentially a trickle charger for a battery of this size. Everything seems to work just fine, despite my serious fears of the van catching fire the first morning the sun rose and current started flowing. Not a single blown fuse, loose wire, spark, smoke or anything.

A few things I might change - should have left a couple open circuits for future upgrades, should have run a few extra wires here and there for adding lights or things that haven't been thought of yet, should have put in a single shut off switch to simply disconnect the battery, and should have put in a bigger amp so I could hook up a subwoofer! Other than that, pretty happy with the system. I did leave room on the roof for a third panel, but no need yet.

Happy day with this came! 120lb Battery!




The hole in the lower right is where I grounded the system






 

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Very nice. I noticed that you brought your solar cables in through a combiner box on the roof. Did you think about coming in through the backup camera housing?

Lex
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Plumbing

I now have a love, hate relationship with plumbing. For the past year, we have been using two 7 gallon water jugs tucked away in the back of the van with a 1/2" pex water line running to the Shurflo pump in the kitchen galley. From there it split to the kitchen sink and outdoor shower. The sink simply drained through the floor straight to the ground.

The outdoor shower consisted of a 6 foot shower hose in a cabinet in the back of the van and was used for a quick spray off after an afternoon ride. The only leak I had to deal with was from putting a screw through the waterline as it passed through the wheel well box. I must have really good aim to hit a 1/2" line dead center through a wall.

This was a simple setup and served us well. Then I got bored last month and decided to purchase a 21 gallon tank and rework the entire system. After 20 trips to the plumbing isle at Lowes, redoing the drain line 4 times, the vent line 2 times, the fill line 4 times and repairing 10 leaks, I think it is finally ready for use. IF it actually works, I will be pretty happy with the upgrade. That much water will last us at least a week and having it all in one enclosed location looks much better.

The first problem I encountered was trying to gravity fill a tank I decided to mount inside on top of the wheel well. I wanted everything inside the van, including the fill and drain lines. The whole gravity thing meant I would need to start well above the tank, which put it in the bedroom loft area. After reworking the fill inlet plumbing, I ended up with a simple "screw a hose in and turn it on" system. The vent line became the next issue since sloshing water will travel quite a ways up a hose. I didn't want water to squirt out, so I routed the vent line 3 feet up into the back wall and all the way back down and out the vent by the rear bumper. I thought I could drain it via the same vent hole and out the bumper, but couldn't get water to drain through all the tight turns. Ended up using the same type of fitting as I did for the fill inlet. Just undo the fill garden hose and connect it to the drain fitting and out the back door it goes.

I also relocated the pump to the tank enclosure which is a nice improvement. No more noise and vibration in the kitchen galley every time I turn on the water. Also relocated the shower to the same side.

Here's the location of the 1/2" pex line where I placed a 7 gallon water jug. The wheel well box had a lid with a small tool storage tray inside.


Removal of the wheel well box and prep for new water tank




1st of 20 trips to Lowes




General fail all around. Actually the only fitting that worked is the lower right connected to the pump.


Top left vent line worked on this try. The top right idea failed (inlet). Bottom left still failed.


This is pretty much what it looks like now. The hose can be used to fill or drain and stores inside the cabinet. The CPVC line from the pump tees to the sink and shower.




 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Everything else!

Upper storage cabinets were finished with laminate surfaces and attached to a 2x3 board screwed and glued into the ceiling and supported by a long piece of angle metal attached to the wall.






Bed platforms were made from 3/4" plywood covered in the same carpet used for the walls with pretty heavy guage steel angle running the length. They rest on a 2x3 board shelf attached to the van frame. They are heavy, but no flex. Bed was positioned to give about 3 feet of headroom which is just enough to sit up and leaves enough room below for bikes.




Kitchen Galley






Parting shots










Tiny magnets are sewn into the curtain. Solid black on the other side. There is also a full length curtain that slides across the cab area. Easy to completely block all light coming from inside or outside.


CB of course. Not sure why.
 

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Very Cool !! Impressive work. (Haven't seen a CB in a long time). (Oh wait, the 1976 Ford Econoline I picked up last year had one !).
 

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Very nice work! Extra neat and well planned. The good thing about plumbing is it won't kill you and it's easily modified.

Would like to see all your photos tho - what happened to them?
 
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