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Old 11-20-2019, 11:07 PM   #1
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Step 2 : insulate the van

Hello. I am getting ready to start stripping my van interior and insulating it. I have been reading and reading, but I feel like the more I read the more questions I have. I feel like every place and everyone has their own answer and/or disproves the others. I was just wanting help to dig through all the info and get to the bottom of formulating a plan for insulating the van. I live in Texas and plan to be traveling mostly in the cooler months. I eventually will probably add a roof top a/c to the van to expand the time of year we are able to travel. Please help me get to the bottom of all of this info.

Thank you!
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Old 11-21-2019, 05:30 AM   #2
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Thinsulate is commonly used in walls and ceilings. If I do any further insulating it is what I'll use. Rigid foam is often used under the floor/between ribs.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:41 AM   #3
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Thinsulate is clean, compact, stays dry, and is easy to use. It’s going in my van this winter. No discussion of it would be complete without referencing Hein (a member here) and his website. He lives near me, really nice guy, and knows what he’s talking about. He’s got an EBay store and tons of videos:

https://diyvan.com/

.
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:20 PM   #4
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FREE INSULATION how to!

For my camping and road trip E350 96 Ford van my insulation is FREE polyfil and polyfil/dacron wrap batting.
it's very stable safe stuff, does Not absorb moisture, so no mildew, it's made from recycled plastic bottles.
I got mine for FREE from 2 discarded pillow back sofas that were by the dumpster behind our thrift store after hours. There are often sofas at apartments complex dumpsters as well free for the slashing before they get taken and trash is legal free.
A box knife opens up the fabric very easily and the fill comes out like a pressed easy to carry large clumps and light weight.
It's usually in like new condition as it's protected by the fabric.
Recycle reuse when you can is one of my mottos

That's what worked Very well for me.
My doors close with a solid meat locker thud is great!

I'll do a post on it with pic.

Take care!
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:13 PM   #5
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Just don’t make the ‘favorite’ Mistake of applying Reflectix directly to metal. It Defies any thermal barrier logic, and the specific installation guidelines from the manufacturer. People don’t seem to bother learning Convect vs. Conduct. YouTube ‘Experts’ proliferating INCORRECT info.

My advice, go by MANUFACTURER’s Recommendations.... and always include a Thermal Break.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:21 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I have seen lots of different recommendations in my online searching. A few items I have seen mentioned a lot were:

Thinsulate
Reflectix
Rigid Foam Boards
Or some combination of the three.

Those who have mentioned Thinsulate, are you recommending just using Thinsulate as a stand alone insulation?

I had read about leaving a gap between the metal and Reflectix. If Reflectix is used, how much of a gap is necessary?

Thank you.
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yippee View Post
Those who have mentioned Thinsulate, are you recommending just using Thinsulate as a stand alone insulation?

Thank you.
Yes, Thinsulate adheres directly to the metal and also can be tucked into nooks and crannies. It can also be applied over sound/vibration dampening materials like Dynamat.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:08 PM   #8
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Insulation for temperature - Three factors to deal with Convection, Conduction and Radiation.

Materials tightly stuffed into the cavities are less effective than loosely stuffed materials. Anything that absorbs and retains moisture will lose its effectiveness quickly and will promote rust on the surfaces.

Thinsulate is expensive but there is not really a better alternative. Using it strategically is the best way to stretch your insulating $$.

My approach to our rig was to use the Mineral wool type product that is 1/2' thick. There are some that are 1/4' so beware. I affixed the mineral wool to the inside faces of the outer skin with 3M spray glue wherever I could get the pieces in. This was to create the primary thermal break between the outer skin and the interior of the van. I put two more layers on the inside face of the inner wall and tripled up in the areas where there is no inside wall. This created a nice mostkly sealed air gap between the walls. All seams were taped. Over this goes the 1/8" Luan type paneling with a thin foam backed material.

The floors are also insulated similarly with two layers of mineral wool but this will be changed in the final build because the risk of a spill and the water being absorbed is not desirable long term. I have not finalized what to do yet but Thinsulate is higg on the list.

Wndows are covered with a multi layered foam/cardboard/reflectix panels. Those work well.

I have found there is lots of cold air that comes down from under the dash into the foot wells I will make some thick drapes to attach below the dash to close off the foot wells. Similarly the door foot wells seem to have cold air even though those are all well insulated. I have for now just layered a piece of carpet over the side door foot well to help mitigate the cold air in that area. I also made a material roll to run along the bottom of the rear doors since we have a walk through layout.

This set up has worked really well to make the interior comfortable with the Espar D4 even with the top up. I am installing a couple of low current draw computer fans to help with air movement around the penthouse area when the top is up. To help with heat circulation we leave a 3 inch opening at the rear of the bed platform so heat can rise from below.
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