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Old 03-20-2014, 02:47 PM   #1
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'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

I just 'inherited' a Sportsmobile Camper. Its a Ford Van 2006 E350. I really don't know anything about it. Ive been living in it for about 4 weeks though and already there are things I'd like to change. I need advice on how I can make this more livable.

1st Issue: Fridge. It didn't come with a fridge, so I've been using a Coleman cooler and adding ice every 5-8 days. I'm over it and want a fridge. But which should I get and where would be the most clean/seamless install? Norcold? Where/how would YOU install one?

2nd Issue: The sink isn't hooked up and there is no fresh water tank/pump. I've been using gallon jugs of water to wash dishes...its a real Pain in the ass. But are there really enough fresh water fill-ups available publicly? How much would it be to get a tank, pump? It is ready to go with a water connection.

Other solutions I've ruminating over:
Solar Panels
Porta Pottie alternative
better usage of space

I was sketched out the first week, but now I'm completely in love with living in this thing. I just want to hash out some of the kinks to make it awesome! Also, anybody have any general tips for living in an SMB? I was sleeping in the pop top but i found that sleeping kitty corner in the bottom is more comfortable (and stealth if I need it to be).






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Old 03-20-2014, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

Can't tell, do you have a rear dinette? Are you sure there isn't a water tank under one if the seats? Odd to have a sink but no tank. The frig normally goes in the drivers side cabinet stack. You could replace one of the bigger cabinet door areas with it. Get a 110/12v frig, not a three way. Consider adding additional batteries and even solar if you are full timing in it.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:04 PM   #3
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

Regarding water, check out this post: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=12336. You could probably use the Coleman 5-gallon containers, keep a spare full one and swap it out when the under-sink one is empty. Most grocery stores will have purified water machines and it costs about $1.50 to fill a 5-gallon container. The only problem I have had with refilling those is that when I am in an area that gets snow, I can never seem to find the machines. Since the outside water lines on the machines probably freeze in winter, stores don't bother. Easy enough to transfer 5 1-gallon bottles into one 5-gallon container.

The fridge is going to eat electricity so you will want an auxiliary battery if you don't already have one and solar too. Mine was pre-wired for solar so I didn't have to mess with wiring up the controller, but I added my own panel. I have a 135W Kyocera and it is attached to the crossbars of my Thule roof rack. Again, solar works best when there is sun, so consider your area's normal weather when making a decision. Another option is a 2000w generator if you can be in one place long enough to use it to charge up.

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Old 03-20-2014, 08:19 PM   #4
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

As people have mentioned above, do you have a "house" battery? I imagine you do since it looks like you have something plugged in on the wall. There are a couple different ways you could go with solar. Fixed panels or portable panels. A lot of people have panels mounted to the rooftop. Others use a portable panel that you plug in each time you want to use solar for charging.

What is your budget for your upgrades? You can get a very efficient 12v refrigerator from Engle or ARB but they're almost $1,000. They look and open like a cooler so you would have to figure out a place to put it, although you could place it where you have your cooler placed up front behind the dog house.

It is weird that you dont have water plumbed in since you already have a sink. Might want to look into that a little more. Post up some more pics of the exterior (both sides) so we can see what "inputs" you have.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:29 PM   #5
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

Welcome to the van life. Maybe if you tell us your location , someone may be nearby to help you out. As stated above. Nobody puts a sink and faucet in without a water tank and pump. Where does you dishwater go? I don't wash my dishes per se but wipe everything off using paper towels then scrub with Tub o Towels wipes then rinse. Lots of different techniques.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:19 PM   #6
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

Hey BDiddy a van and hopefully freedom from a mortgage your living well!

I agree make sure there isn't already a tank and pump hidden from view.

For running water I took a blue 5gal water jug and built a piece of PVC pipe that is threaded into the cap and hangs down into the jug. It has a garden hose quick connect on the top. Then I added a 12v pump from Camping World and ran the pump inlet to the quick connect on the water jug. Ran a water hose behind my cabinet to the faucet. The switch for the pump is near the sink. Works perfectly and the jug is easy to remove and fill-up. For my sink drain there's another 5gal jug with a quick connect that's clear, when it's full I dump it in a public restroom.

I have a 12v ARB fridge that sits between the front seats and is very efficient I'm very happy with it.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:00 PM   #7
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

Any pics of your water tank/pump setuo?
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:16 AM   #8
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

For a fridge, several here have bought from. truckfridge.com. Very competitive prices.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:34 PM   #9
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Can't tell, do you have a rear dinette? Are you sure there isn't a water tank under one if the seats? Odd to have a sink but no tank. The frig normally goes in the drivers side cabinet stack. You could replace one of the bigger cabinet door areas with it. Get a 110/12v frig, not a three way. Consider adding additional batteries and even solar if you are full timing in it.
Here are a few pictures to answer:


I realize it is unusual that there is no fresh water tank/pump but that is for sure the case. A family member didn't really know what she was doing when she set it up. The sink is plumbed to the grey water tank (pictured) and also the exterior 'City Water Connection' is plumbed to the faucet. But yes, in fact there is no fresh water tank or pump.


This is the rear folded down. When up, its basically two 'couches' facing each other.


This is under the driver's side 'couch'. The inverter and a few other electronics are there. Underneath the junk in the top of the picture is a carpeted panel, underneath there is a basin with a battery. Same with the passenger side (easier to see in that pic).


Underneath the passender 'couch'. That carpeted panel at the top is over the other battery basin.

This is under the passenger frame rail. There are an additional 2 batteries here. There are no batteries under the hood.

Just a shot of the drivers side looking to the rear. Propane tank, gas tank, driveshaft, etc.


My number 1 concern right now is hammering out the fridge situation followed by a potential fresh water tank/pump setup. The solar stuff really interests me too.

That cabinet where I have my laundry and gym bag is huge. It seems like even if I put a fridge in there, there would still be a lot of wasted space. I'm really looking for a clean install, which is why I suggested under the range. Its easy to just stick a 12v fridge where it will fit...what I'm really after is finding the best, most optimized place for it. Suggestions? Anybody have a NorCold installed under the range?
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:35 PM   #10
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Re: 'Inherited' a SMB E-350, Now Living in it - Need Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yodavan
Hey BDiddy a van and hopefully freedom from a mortgage your living well!

I agree make sure there isn't already a tank and pump hidden from view.

For running water I took a blue 5gal water jug and built a piece of PVC pipe that is threaded into the cap and hangs down into the jug. It has a garden hose quick connect on the top. Then I added a 12v pump from Camping World and ran the pump inlet to the quick connect on the water jug. Ran a water hose behind my cabinet to the faucet. The switch for the pump is near the sink. Works perfectly and the jug is easy to remove and fill-up. For my sink drain there's another 5gal jug with a quick connect that's clear, when it's full I dump it in a public restroom.

I have a 12v ARB fridge that sits between the front seats and is very efficient I'm very happy with it.
Yeah, I second the request for pics...have any available on your fresh water setup?!
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