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Old 05-23-2014, 05:03 PM   #111
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Re: Full-time planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by 100sqft
Finally, some news. My Sprinter has arrived at SMB West. That's just about exactly four months after I placed the order. I have an appointment with Jonathan Feld on May 28th to go over my finalized plans and select materials. The bad news: conversion times have stretched to 10 to 12 weeks rather than the 4 to 8 that the website still lists. Oh, well, can't fault them for a booming business.
Congratulations - that is exciting. Although even 12 may be optimistic. Ours is in SMB West right now and halfway through they now estimate 13 weeks but say it may be longer. They said at the start it would be towards the 12 week mark and not the 10 because it isn't one of the standard designs. Just so you know how to set your expectations!
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Old 05-30-2014, 05:50 PM   #112
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Re: Full-time planning

I made a trip to SMB West to see my van, go over my final plans, and pick out materials with samples in front of me. All in all, everything went well - they can give me nearly everything my plans call for. As with my previous trip, I was very impressed with their customer service. We spent about 4.5 hours going over my plans. Here's a couple schematics and a rendering; the plan has changed a little since I last presented it here:



(Obviously, this last one is pointed the opposite way from the previous two.)

You're welcome to comment on this design all you want, but I've put a lot of thought into it, and this close to production, it's unlikely to change in any significant way. Here's the few issues that were pointed out to me:

* I was planning for an 8.9 gallon LP tank, but only a 4.5 gallon will fit. The larger tank will work if the spare tire is repositioned to the rear door, which I'm trying to avoid. This may also have something to do with the fact that I'm getting 400 A-Hr of batteries mounted under the van.

* I'm getting an LP furnace, LP/electric water heater, and the inverter under the front dinette. There's only certain places the LP appliances can vent through the side, so they'll be spaced out more than I planned, leaving less storage space.

* The indicated position of the shower drain is over a structural brace and will have to be repositioned, possibly to a corner of the shower pan.

* The interior vent for the A/C is a bit further back than I indicated, interfering with the divider curtain. There are several possible solutions we're looking at.

* SMB recommends twice as many ceiling lights as I've shown.

That's it - pretty minor tweaks. I was really obsessive about preparing the plans. Prior to the trip, I emailed a 43 page specification to SMB. I was afraid it might seem like I was trying to micromanage them, but several times my designer commented on how I'd made his job easy.The day after the visit, I got the preliminary price quote for the conversion, and it's right in the ballpark I had estimated.

Other specs for the van include:
20 gal. fresh water tank
10 gal. and 12 gal. gray water tanks
a Thetford Curve electric flush porta-potti
Brilliant Silver Metallic paint

flybikeski: Yes, they quoted 13 weeks as their current conversion time. Thanks for preparing me.

All for now, but I'll be posting regularly as my conversion progresses.
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Old 06-01-2014, 06:54 PM   #113
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Re: Full-time planning

100sqft,

congrats on getting your van and moving forward with your build.
your design looks more refined than earlier, I like it a lot and it seems very functional.
Sorry, I have lots of curious questions since your design is similar to what I want to do.

what van did you end up with, 2500EB?
how is weight estimate compared to what you planned before?

How does the rear platform bed extend from 45" to 57"?

Is the fore/aft curtain between the platform bed and gaucho bed for privacy?
If so, does it have to go from floor to ceiling? Perhaps if it was lower somehow it might help with your AC flow issue.

How big is the shower pan and is that custom?
Where is the shower head going to be?
(is it against that partition wall? I can slightly see a shower head but not sure)
Will you remove the porta-potti to shower?

On the storage under the platform bed, is the side towards the shower walled up or with door or open?
How do you access this area below beside from the back?
Is it fully open or partitioned?

Wasn't aware of a dual source water heater, LP and Electric. Is it on-demand or is there a tank?
Your two hot water uses (galley sink and shower) are pretty far apart. How does that work?

What size fridge?

Thanks
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:32 PM   #114
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Re: Full-time planning

If you're still second-guessing your design, you might want to invest in a couple hundred dollars worth of cardboard boxes and tape, and mock up your entire interior. You are making a large investment in a conversion, so a few hundred dollars might be well spent to make sure everything will be like you want.


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Old 06-02-2014, 12:09 AM   #115
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Re: Full-time planning

BroncoHauler: A mock up is a great suggestion, but there's just too much going on in my life right now (retiring, preparing the home for rent, estate sale to unload furniture I'll never use again) to take on a project like that. Using SketchUp to do 3D renderings has given me fairly high confidence in my design.

windguy: I'm always happy to answer questions. Thanks for your interest. There's a lot more detail on my blog if you care to follow the link in the signature. I'm going to try something different here, and rather than block-quoting, I'll intersperse my answers with your questions.

what van did you end up with, 2500EB?
Yes, 2500EB

how is weight estimate compared to what you planned before?
After my initial review indicated that I was uncomfortably close to the 2500's weight limit, I cut what seemed to be a lot of interior structure. It all amounted to only a 200 lb savings, but that gave me a comfort level. More importantly, I actually ended up with a more functional design.

How does the rear platform bed extend from 45" to 57"?
The platform bed cushion slides out, just like on a dinette. Then a "back" cushion drops in next to the wall. SMB says no problem to do this.

Is the fore/aft curtain between the platform bed and gaucho bed for privacy?
Yes, privacy. I'd like to have ride-alongs on the dinette or cab seats and still use the toilet or even take a shower in the back.

If so, does it have to go from floor to ceiling? Perhaps if it was lower somehow it might help with your AC flow issue.
I like your thinking, but I don't see how to make it lower without the curtain rod being at an inconvenient height. Right now, I'm considering moving the A/C to a position behind the curtain, more over the bed. The issue is not airflow, but the curtain track physically running into the AC unit.

How big is the shower pan and is that custom?
The entire shower pan is 57" long, extending into the 5" exclusion zone at the back of the van. However, the shower curtain will come across in front of the porta-potti, forming a shower stall that is 37" long and 24" wide. I can use the porta-potti where it is without intruding into that space, or pull it forward if I want a sit down shower. The shower pan is custom; wood framing covered in marine vinyl. I'll add an image at the end to clarify.

Where is the shower head going to be?
(is it against that partition wall? I can slightly see a shower head but not sure)

Yes, the shower head is mounted on the partition at the front of the shower stall. Actually, two mounting clips, one upright near the top of the partition and one horizontal just above the corner sink.

Will you remove the porta-potti to shower?
Answered above - I believe.

On the storage under the platform bed, is the side towards the shower walled up or with door or open?
How do you access this area below beside from the back?
Is it fully open or partitioned?

The bed has a fabric curtain all around the storage area, so it can be pulled up at any location. No partitions in that area.

Wasn't aware of a dual source water heater, LP and Electric. Is it on-demand or is there a tank?
You can find the dual power type online, for instance Suburban makes them. Mine has a six-gallon tank. I am not aware of any dual power on-demand product.

Your two hot water uses (galley sink and shower) are pretty far apart. How does that work?
The hot water heater is under the dinette, kind of midway between the two uses. Fairly short run to each.

What size fridge?
7 cu.ft. in a SMB Cabinet S7

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Old 06-03-2014, 02:07 PM   #116
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Re: Full-time planning

100sqft,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I like the Q&A format just fine.
It's great that you spent a lot of time working through these details. It shows in your design.

Re the privacy curtain, if you plan to have regular "house" guests, then I can see having a curtain on a track for easy use. But if you're on your own most of the time, I'd vote for a more temporary/removable design that you can store when not in use. A hook on each side of the van and something that you can string up between might be an idea.

Re the platform bed, I'll have to wait for the video to come out to see that in action.

Re the shower pan, that sounds ideal. Is it okay to walk on that with shoes/boots?
I envisioned something like that for our van but I had planned to make a hard cover to put over since it would be part of the pathway from the back of the van.

Re your blog, that's really nice. good job on that. I enjoyed reading more detail about your design. My only suggestion would be to not disclose specific travel dates since your full name is included. The "evildoers" can't be trusted and have used info like that as a burglary tool.
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:16 PM   #117
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Re: Full-time planning

windguy: Thanks for the feedback.

On the curtain: I do expect to have house guests fairly frequently, but I will keep in mind your idea of hooks.

On the shower: The marine vinyl used there is the same that is used as flooring throughout the van, so there should be no problem walking on it with shoes. Of course, it wouldn't be a good idea to step directly on the perimeter wall of the shower pan. Also, I was glad to hear that SMB can give a slight slope to the floor so it all drains to one point.

On the blog: Thanks for the props. Yeah, I got careless about the vacation dates. With the delays in conversion times though, I'll still be in the house, but it's better not to give anyone ideas in the first place. I do have a question I'd like to throw out to the community, though. Once I hit the road, the house will be rented out, so that shouldn't be an issue. However, I was thinking about announcing a few days in advance where I'd be in my travels in case anyone wanted to meet up. Is that an unreasonable risk?
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:28 AM   #118
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Re: Full-time planning

thanks 100sqft
tell SMB to hurry up, I want to see pics and video of this van build
as long as your house is occupied, I don't see any problems in giving out travel info.
meeting up with other SMBers on the road will add to the fun of your travels.
with your blog updates as your travel, you could end up with some groupies, good or bad
keep us posted on your build
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:50 AM   #119
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Re: Full-time planning

There is a meet up/trip section on the forum. I never heard of anything bad happening. Great to see your progress. I second the simple curtain hook idea.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:28 AM   #120
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Re: Full-time planning

I read some of your blog and I want to recommend another very nice and cheap cooling solution. 12 volt oscillating fans. I'm sure you have 12 volt cigarette style outlets all over your van but one in the bedroom area so you can plug in fan and clamp it (or screw it in)in a good spot and also plug in tablets ,phone etc... The oscillating fans are noisy so you might consider other 12 volt fans. Do an Amazon search.A couple up front could save running the roof ac as well. I give this advice from 20 some years of motor homing. Very great you pre wired for solar. You will get it eventually. It is best to buy solar from someone other than SMB.Their prices are a little high unless you're planning on getting a loan which is a good idea since the interest will be tax deductible as second home . You've probably figured this all out but it's good to right for others.
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