After a lot of measuring and making a template for the window frame behind the Murphy bed, the actual work started on the frame. I chose hard maple as the whitish color of the wood, complements the white Formica on the walls. The frame has no 90 degree corners and is hand-made according to the template. Ultimately, it will be firmly attached to the van’s metal wall and will support the large wall panel around it.
Adding a bed to the van is the second, larger interior project that I’m working on and probably the most important addition to the RV.
While the van conversion process should follow a specific order, so-far I’ve deviated from that, to create a (very) basic setup, that will sustain me on short trips, until the conversion has completed. Access to 12V, privacy, flooring, vents and a bed are all I need for the moment to be reasonably comfortable on short road trips.
The bed has a simple design, with many complicated requirements added to the construction. I decided a long time ago, that living space is crucial for a well-designed recreational vehicle. Continue reading Murphy Bed Design
While these cooling tips are valid for all RV’s, I’ll be focusing on off-grid camping and boondocking. Those of us that frequent regular campgrounds with all their amenities have it much easier.
It is always difficult to stay cool in the Heat of Summer or warm when the temperature drops. The best we can strive for is a comfortable experience anytime we’re in our RV. But what do you do in a small van or Class B RV?
Before we talk about lifestyle changes, we have to discuss the structural composition of the vehicle. Unfortunately, many factory-built RV’s are still manufactured with little insulation, but with a custom van conversion we can add as much as we feel is necessary. The transfer of heat is a major concern, yet can be addressed with a variety of thermal insulation products. Continue reading 10 Cool Ideas To Lower Temperatures In Your RV
Buying a new cargo van brings with it a complete new design of the interior of the van. During the last few months, I have been working on some ideas that make it stand out from the standard van conversions. One such idea is incorporating a Murphy bed, that creates more living space during the daytime, while avoiding the fold of a sleeper sofa.
In addition to the bed, I have been playing around with a rear storage area and a desk design with a built-in wall picture. The rear kitchen fascinates me and the bathroom still poses problems to the design. Continue reading How To Design Your Conversion Van Layout
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.
Continue reading Cargo Van Conversion v2.0
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.
For weeks I could not figure out how the ceiling panels were attached to the ceiling. After a lot of prying around, I succeeded in removing one long, narrow side panel, but only after removing the cabin ceiling panel first. It was friction fit and capped by the cabin panel.
I wonder how the interior held it out for 20 years; most of the work I’ve seen sofar is minimal at least. This panel is held up by 3 open clips and 2 screws. In the left rear, you can see the other long, narrow side ceiling panel.
Continued today with the side door window frames.
First I removed the door lock pin.
Followed by the window hinge lock.
And finally the screws.
The door looks quite bare without its frame.
Now I still have to dismantle the frame. The blinds were first.
Followed by its connectors.
Now I had a clean frame to paint.
An hour or two later everything looks brand new. On the second side door I included the vertical center panel.
Before and after. As you can see I also painted the door handle frame as well as a cup holder.
If I had bought a new van, I would have made new wooden window frames, but since the existing frames are still in good order, I have decided to paint them. Last week I bought a spray paint specifically for plastic.
Unsure whether it would hold on the frames, I tried it out and the results were great.
I sprayed a large side frame, the rear door center console panel and both rear door frames and almost did it with one bottle. The dark green was replaced with a light tan color that will fit well with the three color scheme (tan, red cherry and dark gray).
The bottom of one frame has to wait until I have a fresh supply of paint. I calculated that I needed 2 or 3 more bottles to finish the job.