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Old 03-05-2019, 11:15 PM   #11
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Riverside, CA
Posts: 385
I am a devout DIY'er. Suggesting a consensus sounds good on paper but it would devolve into a convoluted never ending post as we all debate the pro's and con's of what's best. I can tell you without a doubt that I followed every best practice, best products, I could as I built my van. Or I compromised for the best of reasons at the time.

All you can do is read and read some more every thread you can find that is relevant to what you are trying to do. But invariably you will read a thread that has some awesome ideas, right after you have finished that aspect of your van. As my van approaches completion it is obvious to me that I would do a few things different. Different in design and different in materials used. It is a never ending evolution of ideas and products.

There is always someone trying something new or improved over the "accepted" way. Which is what makes us come back even when we are done. To dream about the next build.

I read everything I can, then apply some critical thinking to see if I agree with what I've read. Seeing all the methods and products chosen, good and bad, helps further my understanding of what I ultimately will build. I would find a consensus boring and quickly dated. Enjoy the search. Even the worst conversion might have one really good idea you can improve on.

Tim Potts

2012 Chevrolet Express 3500 6.0
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:51 AM   #12
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Location: Livermore, Ca
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Location, location, location. I live in a mild climate so no insulation for me. I want the van to cool dahn quickly. Nothing worse than being in ~90* ambient and its 120* inside.
Keeping warm isn't the issue in my case.

My point is that you should take in alllllll that info out there and decide how to proceed. There is no reason to not build in stages.
Just some thoughts

Peace, Regis
2011 Express 1500
I'm a camper not a glamper
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:59 AM   #13
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Location: Croydon, PA
Posts: 264
I would agree with the above. Much like choosing a Class B over other types of RVs involves choosing between compromises, how one decides to design and build their own RV involves other choices and compromises.

It's a big advantage of a DIY build - YOU choose those compromises, based on your own needs, wants and budget.

The hard part about a DIY build is the time. I'm sure few of us have the time and resources to match a pro-built van schedule by experienced designers and builders. Those resources are one of the main reasons those vans cost so much.
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:04 AM   #14
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: GTA, Ontario
Posts: 1,046
Best sources of info for DYI camper van conversion?

Hi all,

I’m starting my first ground up build. I have done the pop top install, the modern engine and OD trans swap, and fitted equipment and appliances to an existing rig, but this is my first clean slate build.

I suggest a macro planning approach that allows you to find options for each segment of your build, evaluate them, review how they will integrate with other segments, and then build them.

This is all predicated on choosing your chassis. One best suited to your end use.


Use unit for gravel road situations to get away from the masses in the northeast of the continent. Therefore 2wd is fine. Leggz will not winter camp. No heavy insulation needed. No built in heater. Tall people need headroom. Big husband means big bed. Cook outside preferred. Cube van fits the bill.

From there develop your segments as elements in order of installation. There will be some overlap between elements.

Base chassis catch up on maintenance. Mods as required.
Windows. Doors. Wall penetrations for other systems.
Wall and vapor barrier/insulation rough in.
Pop top if applicable. High top.
HVAC rough in. Ducts. Fuel supply.
Plumbing rough in. Tanks. Drains. Supply lines.
Electrical rough in. Solar. Batteries. Alternator.
Wall finishes.
Appliances with rough ins finished.
Seating and beds.
And of course take hundreds of detailed photos and spend hours maintaining an online record of your build...

So now you can search here and throughout the web for specific advice sources on a much more defined basis. And probably save yourself a good bit of time. Searching van windows is certainly more productive than searching camper van conversion. And design time will be shorter.

Failure to plan is planning to fail. Uggh. I hate that line, but it is painfully accurate.

Good luck.

Be well,

"Talk is cheap. Whiskey costs money."
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:50 PM   #15
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Location: TN
Posts: 9,714
Good thoughts Gavin. I forgot about that cube van you bought. We need an update!
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:35 AM   #16
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Location: Pelham, New Hampshire
Posts: 80
Check "cargo van conversion" on youtube. He's a nice older gentleman converting his Transit. He has many great videos
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:57 PM   #17
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 61
Appreciate everyone's replies and all the comments and suggestions therein.
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:40 PM   #18
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Doug D.,
You are so right that it's time consuming. For me, it was about figuring out what I wanted after my Sportsmobile was stolen in D.C. (By the way, please keep your eye out for a very tall, extra long Ford 2001 E250 with gray pull down screens, a trailer hitch with gray/blue upholstery. If found, call the D.C. police). I ended up buying a 2004 conversion van from an owner in Texas, on Ebay and I plan to minimally convert it. I've read a couple of books like "Convert your minivan into a mini RV camper" by W. Myers and I know there are others on Amazon. I've yet to get to the library and check their books. "Do it yourself RV" and "RV repair club" are online and you can join. I'm a 71yo female without a lot of knowledge about electical stuff so I'm boning up on it all.
Good luck..Linda
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Old 03-11-2019, 10:50 AM   #19
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Fyi. Polyiso is the best rigid insulation.

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