AS I EXPLAINED IN MY PREVIOUS POST Cargo Van Conversion V2.0. BEFORE CONVERTING A NEW VAN, WE CAN REVISIT OUR EXPECTATIONS AND BUILD ON OUR ACQUIRED EXPERIENCES DURING OUR FIRST VAN CONVERSION.
Define Van Use
Intended use may take precedent over other uses. With solar panels on the roof, a roof-top kayak is out-of-the-question. Some uses like a private shower, require a medium-or full-height van and thus rule out the standard low-roof models. We first have to prepare a list of desired features and determine what can be included in the design of the new cargo van. When these requirements are set, their impact on the specifications of the new van will narrow the selection of available models.
Long desired to reduce use of the van, both at home and on trips, battery technology is still in a state of flux with new technologies quickly replacing old. The electric feature would work well with the solar panels on the van.
As it can be added on a rear-rack, it has no real impact on the van model, but adjustment of the solar specs should be explored. Continue reading →
During my previous adventures in a sizable travel trailer, I always struggled with a bucket. Even with the abundance of space available to store it, most locations in the trailer either were not deep enough or were obstructed by drains, shelves, etc.
A bucket is one of these things you can use in a multitude of situations: clean the RV, do a small hand wash, retrieve some drinking water or if you like fishing, hold your catch of blue crabs.
So, my new converted van MUST have a bucket and when I found this Foldable Bucket, I finally knew what I needed as a RV accessory! This will make living in a van a lot easier, without sacrificing on size and weight.
I HAVEN’T WORKED ON THE VAN MUCH LATELY. HAD TO FOCUS ON MY JOB, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE 1992 DODGE B-250 VAN HAS STARTED TO FAIL.
Its age and the increasing number of repairs have redirected my focus on the purchase of a new cargo van and restart the van conversion from the beginning.
Fortunately, the new cargo van models available on the market today have many improvements over the old models and manufacturer support is guaranteed for many years to come. Knowledge and experience gained with the current conversion can be applied to the new cargo van and improvements in materials, such as solar panels, may lead to a better end result.
In the next few weeks/months I will make a wish list of desired features, create new concept layouts, research materials, appliances and finishes and define requirements for the new van. Continue reading →
Zenith Electric has made available an electric version of the Ram ProMaster cargo van.
It has an electric drivetrain, including a 180-hp motor and a 62.5-kWh bank of lithium-ion phosphate batteries and a list price of $89,500, that can be offset by a federal tax credit of $5,500 and perhaps other grants or credits. It removes the powertrains from completely finished vans from Chrysler, and installs the electric equipment. Continue reading →
THIS STRAIGHTFORWARD BRIDGE SERVES AS A FOCAL POINT IN THE LANDSCAPE. IT IS LOCATED AT THE FAR END OF THE GARDEN AND FUNCTIONS AS THE BEGINNING OF A DRY RIVER BED THAT CROSSES THE BACK YARD.
The space underneath can be retrofitted later on, to accommodate a water source which can transform the dry bed into a flowing stream.
This easy weekend project has a price tag of about $75.00, with all of its parts available at your local superstore.
A frame of two 6ft and two 4ft pressure treated lumber forms the base of the bridge. The two long boards are notched at both ends and the two short boards are fitted in between and fastened with a few screws. Continue reading →
The application of the dye to the wood is done with an old cotton rag. To that extend, the wood is sanded, starting with 80-grit paper, followed by 150-grit. As the curl absorbs more of the dye, after another sanding, the curl is visibly enhanced.
The larger bottom panel after a partial application of the dye.
The assembly is discussed in the third and final posting.
Utilizing every available space is a priority; the area to the right of the rear side window is large enough to accommodate a magazine rack and is conveniently close to the bed. This will allow for some late night reading. Back to the workshop for some woodworking!
The main wood choice is again Cherry in combination with some Tiger Maple as a front panel.
After dimensioning and sizing the lumber, everything must be put together, including two extra pieces which are added to the side to act as a pen/pencil holder.
Between the window and the side doors is a narrow strip of wall available to house a small console. It is the future location of the battery monitor and a reading light.
With a narrow piece of wood, the length of the console, placed against the inside wall, the curve of the wall is transferred to the wood. Back in the workshop the form is cut and adjusted to get a perfect fit.
In the meantime, some wood is planed to a 1/2” thickness and the form is temporarily attached to it. With a straight-edge bit, the form is exactly copied to the wood. This and another copy are the two sides of the console.
Before continuing with the other side of the van interior, it’s time to put the wall and window above the bed, back together again. Two issues remain: the battery cables and the solar controller cable need to be installed. The other is the decision I have to make, whether to go ahead with batting as insulation or choose a foam product.
Despite some negative comments about the batting material, it has served me well over the years. On the other hand, spray foam would do a better job in filling all the little air pockets in the walls. Some people, however, have mentioned a squeaking noise while driving. Have you any thoughts about it?
The original wall panel is still around. The covering is removed and the plywood base is what we have to work with. I could copy it to a new, one-piece sheet of plywood, but it is in a condition to be reused.