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Old 03-17-2009, 12:43 PM   #1
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Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Just purchased an 06 2500 140WB high top Sprinter cargo van (good fuel efficiency)! We are a couple (Canadian) with two dogs and hope to add a baby to the equation. For the conversion we are researching Sportsmoblie west, gtrv (BC Canada), do it ourselves/hire custom, or combo. One of us is 6'3'', so we are thinking big bed (couch (with seatbelts)/ottoman) with floor space for dogs, overhead compartments and small side counter kitchen.(Similar to RB 150S plan but with bigger bed less closets). Ideally want quality, more natural rather than synthetic.
Suggestions anyone?!
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:20 PM   #2
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Try to determine all your systems first. For example: Design your on board power system with part numbers, etc, and give that to whoever does the work. Every builder over time develops cheaper and cheaper versions of whatever feature is installed during manufacturing.

So you want bed, bath, shower? Toilet? Stove, microwave, fridge, tv, other electronics. Generator, awning? Research the best in each category and lay them out in a useful way for you and build sturdy cabinets around your layout.

Go to SMB and download the build-it-yourself Sprinter templates and print them. Then you can cut them out and do mock layouts.
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Old 03-17-2009, 03:37 PM   #3
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Very cool! Some things to consider re: natural vs synthetic:

- foam insulation off-gasses. Look at jute or cotton, fiberglass probably ok too, as long as it's contained
- plywood glue can contain formaldehyde. Look for something formaldehyde free. I think formaldehyde-free MDF is more readily available than the plywood
- bedding foam can be nasty stuff. Cotton futon, or (much more expensive) latex rubber is healthier

Be prepared for all of these to cost more than their synthetic equivalents! You can choose your own trade-offs.

These are all things I'm going over for my own build. Good things to keep in mind when buying crib mattresses and other baby stuff, too

There's a GTRV owner's group on Yahoo (low traffic): gtrvwesty

Cheers!
Mike (a Canuck in the US)
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:53 PM   #4
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Salem Kroger has a successful track record at converting Sprinters to 4X4. Also, regarding the glues in plywood, there is a harmful fermaldyhide and a non harmful. I believe all plywoods made in North America only contain the non harmful. oclv
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oclv
Also, regarding the glues in plywood, there is a harmful fermaldyhide and a non harmful. I believe all plywoods made in North America only contain the non harmful. oclv
Hey oclv! You're right that there are two grades of plywood - that using urea-formaldehyde resin in the adhesive, and that using phenol-formaldehyde resin. The formaldehyde is equally toxic to the system in either type of adhesive, it's just that the urea-formaldehyde outgases at a higher rate. Funnily enough, it appears that most 'interior grade' wood uses urea-f (the one that gases lots) while 'exterior grade' uses the slower-gassing type! Could be due to the phenol-f resin being darker in color - you can see it in the cross-section, which could be undesirable for cabinets.

'Formaldehyde-free' plywood usually means no urea-formaldehyde - it can still contain the phenol-f, but can also use alternatives. I know of a soy alternative that's used for the Europly available locally, but don't know about the others. Even Europly has different specifications for different products - it gets confusing.

Anyway, probably more info than you were looking for, but these days, you have to do your chemical research yourself, and not rely on standards or product safety agencies to look after your best interests

Cheers!
Mike.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:26 PM   #6
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Thanks! We've got a floor plan down, that's not the problem. Rather trying to figure out the best way to build it (who, where, when, how). We live far away from everything.

Hadn't thought about the chemicals in the material as much (what material are the Sportsmobile cupboards made of anyway?) but maybe should pay more attention, having personally lost several years to a lead/pesticide toxicity poisoning (bad, very bad).

Is it true that Sportsmoble doesn't insulate under the floor? With the "cherry wood" veneer in the Sportsmobile, are people happy with the way it looks? What about the leather or ultra-leather? We are 20 hours drive to the nearest Sportsmobile and so cannot see for ourselves.

If we do it ourselves, are we reinventing the wheel? Any good "how to"s available? Would it be a problem in terms of borders, road checks, rear seating while driving if self built with eg. Sportsmobile couch?

Mike are you planning a self-build and what have you found?
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:51 PM   #7
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Take a look at this.

gallery/album.php?album_id=142

Any good cabinet maker can do it to your specs. There is a very competent RV industry in Canada.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:06 AM   #8
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

To get a view of the fabrics, you can send off to SMB and have them send you samples of the fabrics, carpets and flooring. We did this because we are also quite a distance from Sportsmobile West. I don't recall if I needed to provide a deposit.

We were also fortunate to catch them at an autoshow. You may want to keep an eye on this link to see if they are going to exhibit any time around you.

http://www.sportsmobile.com/5_shows.html
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:29 PM   #9
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Here's a thread from the Expo forums from Mike Hiscox
http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ad.php?t=20079
Mike lives in Portland OR and did a very nice job converting his sprinter. He has owned and does own a plethora of different expedition vehicles. He's a great guy with a wealth of infomation. I don't have an email but I'm sure you can get ahold of him thru the expo site.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:28 PM   #10
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Re: Got the Sprinter, now for conversion! suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peaceful
We are 20 hours drive to the nearest Sportsmobile and so cannot see for ourselves.
Once you narrow your options down, it might be a long drive or a long flight, but considering how much money you might spend on the conversion, it's probably money well spent to pay a visit.


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