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"Humble Beginnings"
#31
Progress has been slow, and I've been getting frustrated. It's very hard for me to try to make significant progress working a couple hours at a time after work. However, I need to remind myself what we've achieved in the month of September: installed roof fan, hooked up battery to alternator and added a second battery, built the bed frame, paneled 75% of the walls and ceiling, installed LED lights and dimmer switches, built a cabinet frame and installed counter top, installed a 12v fridge. The sink is close, and will hopefully be working by this weekend for our trip to Onion Valley in the Sierras.

I'm glad I typed this out. I feel better already, vs last night when I was snapping cedar paneling over my knee after screwing it up!

   

Aaron 

Aspiring full-timer
2004 Extended E-350 SuperDuty build in progress 
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#32
(09-27-2017, 11:53 AM)HumbleBeginnings Wrote: Progress has been slow, and I've been getting frustrated. It's very hard for me to try to make significant progress working a couple hours at a time after work. However, I need to remind myself what we've achieved in the month of September: installed roof fan, hooked up battery to alternator and added a second battery, built the bed frame, paneled 75% of the walls and ceiling, installed LED lights and dimmer switches, built a cabinet frame and installed counter top, installed a 12v fridge. The sink is close, and will hopefully be working by this weekend for our trip to Onion Valley in the Sierras.

I'm glad I typed this out. I feel better already, vs last night when I was snapping cedar paneling over my knee after screwing it up!

Hang in there!  Since starting my build this spring, I have built character and learned things that I didn't know.  One of the things that I've learned is that for every 1/2 hour working, you can spend 3 just trying to figure out what will be happening 10 steps down the line and fearing that if you screw up now, you will be screwed!
I found it's easier just to start doing stuff and then work through or around problems that come up.  My build is very similar to yours (see my thread Stealth Race Van in this forum).

I found the plank walls really needed to have wood screwed as furring strips on the side ribs.  As you found, there are just too many holes, and unless you want to waste a lot of boards or have planks that look like Swiss cheese, the furring strips are a must.  I hated putting them because now I'm loosing another inch on each side.  The upside was I just gained another inch to install more insulation.  Even if you're not worried about temps, the more you have, the quieter your ride will be.
2015 Chevy Express 2500 Stealth Van named, Seneca Lodge Too.  See you at a racetrack near you soon!
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This world isn't home (10-17-2017), HumbleBeginnings (09-27-2017)
#33
That is really beautiful work guys! Guess the time it takes, is the time it takes but you've got a gem* there!
title~ "Deliberate Discharge", 2 'Stinkin' Badges',  1 'Flying Manure Spreader'  1 'Pink Elephant' Big Grin
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HumbleBeginnings (09-28-2017)
#34
Nice looking van !
I like it.

Best to scribe ends to be cut.... but my guess you learned how to do that already... it works for tile, parquet flooring, linoleum tiles...
Ez peasey !
wheels
I am a pathological liar and functional illiterate...  :-)
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HumbleBeginnings (09-28-2017)
#35
(09-27-2017, 02:54 PM)Artsyguy Wrote: I found the plank walls really needed to have wood screwed as furring strips on the side ribs.  As you found, there are just too many holes, and unless you want to waste a lot of boards or have planks that look like Swiss cheese, the furring strips are a must.  I hated putting them because now I'm loosing another inch on each side.  The upside was I just gained another inch to install more insulation.  Even if you're not worried about temps, the more you have, the quieter your ride will be.

I've definitely felt the consequences of my decision to NOT install any wood studs behind my paneling. However, since I'm 73" tall trying to sleep sideways in a 70" wide van, I constantly remind myself what an extra inch or two would have cost me!

Aaron 

Aspiring full-timer
2004 Extended E-350 SuperDuty build in progress 
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#36
My photography skills are a bit lacking, but I finally have all 8 LEDs in the ceiling and we're ready for a two night test run this weekend. Next week we leave for 5 days in Yosemite!

Who needs cabinet doors anyway?  Big Grin
   

(after this picture was taken, we installed the trim piece around the fan)

Aaron 

Aspiring full-timer
2004 Extended E-350 SuperDuty build in progress 
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#37
Looks like you are off to a great start, HB !

...it's possible to use cardboard and to scribe the filler strips where the sides meet the lid. Then trace that onto your stock after trimming on your line.
You can make a simple divider by firmly taping a pencil to another pencil. Important that it remains a fixed distance.

If you are cautious and precise, and bevel one edge, you can do it without a trim piece.

Best, wheels
I am a pathological liar and functional illiterate...  :-)
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This world isn't home (10-17-2017), HumbleBeginnings (10-12-2017)
#38
SUCCESS!!!

My big objective since starting this build Labor Day weekend was to have the van ready for a trip to Yosemite on October 6th. Well, I just got back and the van worked great. We still have a lot to do for storage and cosmetics, but the electrical, fridge, ventilation, and sink all worked great. The best news is that I parked on Friday morning with my two 100Ah batteries charged from the alternator on the drive up, and we ran off of those until we drove away on Tuesday with charge to spare! Our voltage was 12.5 when we left (I don't have a fancy meter yet).

I'm very happy with this test run. I was worried we'd have to go drive around the valley after a couple days to keep our food from spoiling. Now I'm questioning whether we will even need the solar system I was planning on getting. However, I think we probably will because 1) if we want to stay in place longer than 5 days or 2) when the weather is warmer we'll consume more power for the fridge and roof fan we'll need to be able to charge in place. But for now we can do a week in place no problem without any additional charging. That feels great!

Aaron 

Aspiring full-timer
2004 Extended E-350 SuperDuty build in progress 
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mayble (10-18-2017), John61CT (10-12-2017), highdesertranger (10-12-2017)
#39
Hi and great job so far!

You’ve shown others that buying a finished class B isn’t necessary, just do what you did, get a good base vehicle and move forward. Help from others is usually available somewhere if the person isn’t as capable, brave or has a gf father with tools.

You made choices for yourself that others should accept (firring the walls) and then they can make their own.  Later give us more details about the plumbing, as that’s an area not many actually seem to put into their builds. How you will refill and drain out the fresh and grey water specifically...

You didn’t discuss how you wired your house batteries to the alternator, again while it’s been done hundreds of times in the forum (electrical), seeing what you chose would be interesting.
As to your comment about perhaps not needing solar, don’t fail to add it in, you won’t always be driving and the alternator won’t usually recharge your batteries to 100%.  See the many discussions about that or just add 200w of solar through a good quality 20 amp or higher controller.  (I’ll let you read up on the PWM vs MPPT controller wars.). Same with battery choices, though you’ve already bought your first set, just be aware of the trade offs between marine batteries, FLA and AGM. No criticism, just good to know info.

Thanks again for your posts, documentation and descriptions. You’ve done well!  I presume your gf helped too, so thank her as well.

Enjoy your life in the van!

TWIH
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HumbleBeginnings (10-17-2017)
#40
Thanks for the feedback! Yes, I owe some updates. I've been slow getting my pictures over. Also, some of my work on the sink install was a bit... rough. So I haven't been in a rush to share details on that! lol

I'll post more on that later, but the basic setup is a 15 gallon RV tank, 12v pump, pressure accumulator, sink. I thought about installing an external fill port, but for now it's inside. At home we refill with a hose and an in-line RV freshwater filter. On the road we could refill with a jug. My gray tank is a removable 5 gallon jug. My thinking in the tank sizing is that it's easier to find a place to dump than it is to find a place to fill.

Running the wire from the main battery was a big pain for me, mostly because of the decisions I had to make. Every option was either risking contact with something hot, something that moves, or didn't work with the length of the pre-made cables I bought. I could have saved my self some effort if I had just made my own cables, but by the time I realized that I had already bought them. Each vehicle is different, so each person will ultimately need to choose their own route for the wire. The main points were that I put a 100 amp fuse on each end of the run so if my wire ever grounds out (because I made a poor decision and it ends up rubbing through the sheath) it will kill the link. At least that's the idea. Another issue I need to work out is the individual termination points on the batteries. I've got a bit of a mess right now. I'm debating whether I want to install bus bars or just try to clean it up. I did make sure to cross-connect the batteries (alternator positive goes to one battery, vehicle ground comes off the other; positive to fuse block runs from one battery, negative to the other). The idea is to equalize the battery charging and usage; I read somewhere that if everything is connected to one battery their usage may not be equal.

For solar I'm leaning towards a 200W Renogy kit with a 40A MPPT. That works with the roof space I have in front of my RV fan, and gives me an easy upgrade in the future if I decide to add more. I think I could fit three panels up front I if squeeze. I'm planning to put a rack on the rear eventually, but I could potentially put panels there too if necessary.

Aaron 

Aspiring full-timer
2004 Extended E-350 SuperDuty build in progress 
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The following 1 user says Thank You to HumbleBeginnings for this post:
This world isn't home (10-17-2017)


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