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.
To conform to the new bed, the bottom part is cut off, just below the window frame.
The bed frame, along the wall, has an indentation, that will hold the wall frame.
After some fitting and adjusting, the panel slides in place. The window frame is next.
While working on the multi-use cabinet, I started with some of the wiring. Before I can continue building new cabinets, the majority of the electrical wiring has to be installed.
The monitor will be located on the wall next to the side doors and connected to the batteries with 4 small wires. A short piece of Cat5 cable will do the job, because the battery compartment is only a few feet away.
monitor and battery compartment
The cable is guided through the door channel to the floor, where it will be connected to the battery bank at a later time.
The cabling is left as is, until the hardware is installed.
Under the bed are two shallow window compartments, which are above the wheel housing. Adjoining is a regular compartment that will contain most electrical devices, such as charger, inverter and controller. It has a removable side-wall for easy access.
Because the wheel housing is in the way, any cabling will have to go through the shallow compartments. A hollow core separation will serve as a divider between the two spaces, while at the same time hiding the wires.
The divider consists of two 1/8” plywood sides, one solid base and a top divided in three, for later access to any cables.
The parts are glued together in several steps and sanded to final dimensions.
The divider easily slides in at one side of the compartment.
After fitting, a few holes are drilled on both sides of the compartment, that will accommodate the wiring.
After a final check, the divider is glued-in and reinforced with two nails.
The actual wiring is just a matter of pulling the Romex wire through the divider and along the wall towards the right rear brake light.
The wire is then connected to a 110V power inlet, that will be installed below the brake light.
An extension cord plugged into the power inlet at the outside rear of the van, will power the battery charger.
The area under the bed is divided in compartments, from front to back: batteries, toilet, inverter & solar controller and bed linens with some extra space available on top of the wheel casing. The battery compartment allows a maximum of 4 batteries with a vent hole to the outside. I put the toilet next to it, to act as a separation between it and the electronics.
The internal divisions consist of regular ¼” plywood attached to the frame.
The front wall of the electronics compartment (here on center/left), is a piece of ½” ply, that will support a inverter, controller and possibly a converter. To make access a little bit easier, I made the right wall (¼” ply) removable.
The area above the rear wheel, received some rigid insulation board at the walls first, and then filled up with house insulation,
As a base for the interior, I decided to put in a ½” thick piece of plywood on top of ½” rigid insulation board. I started to fill in lengthwise indentations of the metal floor with strips of a thin insulation material, to maximize the R-value.
Subsequently the insulation boards were applied. This applied only to the rear half of the van, since the other half still had the original insulation installed. I only had to fill the areas under the former rear chairs, which were left bare.
The rear passenger side wall panel and the narrow panel that covered the brake lights, were easily removed. They were mostly friction fit with a few additional (hidden) plastic plugs. It revealed a substantial amount of regular home insulation material, except for the narrow panel.
First thing I noticed was some water damage to the subfloor, which is to be expected after 20 years of use. It will be replaced with a regular ½ inch plywood panel.
The wood is attached with a couple of metal screws to the metal floor.
The rear 4 feet doesn’t have any insulation at all. That is something I’ll improve on with the new underlayment.
The remainder of the carpet is a snap, because there is no ply involved and the ½ inch insulation remains in place. I’ll leave the carpet in the cabin in place, until I’ve decided on the replacement material.