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Old 09-03-2015, 06:18 AM   #11
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

ill say that i am VERY glad i didnt build out the first layout i came up with. weve been using our rig half built for the last 2 seasons and the design has changed many times. i think ive come up with a layout that will suit us well. just need to stop camping long enough to build it out, lol.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:55 AM   #12
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

.....cutting a giant hole in the roof of your shiny new van to install the PH can be a bit stressful....getting liquored-up first helps quite a bit....

Seriously, a good point is that over time no matter what you build you'll want to change things after using the van for a while. I'm doing that as we speak.....adding more storage.

Also, many sub-projects have minor (or sometimes major) snags where you need to re-think things somewhat, or order parts, etc. Having 4 or 5 sub-projects going at once keeps the momentum going and keeps the project moving forward.

For example, presently I am:

re-working one of the cabinets in the van for additional storage

I have the propane tank mounting half-baked

Ordering speakers for the doors (this will be a somewhat custom deal)

Sizing up a fresh water tank and determining where to mount it

Trying to determine the best place for the propane heater-inside or outside

building a side door galley

etc, etc.....there are a few more small ones as well.

The projects all start and stop but over time they get finished.
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:43 AM   #13
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

I wish there were do-it-your self cabinet kits or patterns available. Has anyone seen anything like that? I have seen some kits but they are European and not for Ford Econoline vans.
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:15 AM   #14
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

Awesome replies. I think most of us are cut from the same jib. That is, we like building and problem solving. A how-to guide for us would be severely deflating. I wonder how many people never attempt a build simply because better resources don't exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDan
I wish there were do-it-your self cabinet kits or patterns available. Has anyone seen anything like that? I have seen some kits but they are European and not for Ford Econoline vans.
We bought a second hand, full-sized bathroom vanity and set of drawers for $50 and then just ripped them to the correct dimensions to fit the curve of the wall. Super easy except cutting and re-making all the slides. Still worth it for just $50 though.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:55 AM   #15
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDan
I wish there were do-it-your self cabinet kits or patterns available. Has anyone seen anything like that? I have seen some kits but they are European and not for Ford Econoline vans.
When the van is done I intend to share measurements for my XL removable cabinets. They fit the ford econoline passenger walls pretty close with lots of back and forth. Not sure they fit in a passenger van with the rear bench removed, but I suspect they do.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:11 PM   #16
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterski02
#2 Pulling the trigger on said van, I bought mine site unseen after a 3rd party inspection. To say I was nervous when it pulled up on the trailer would be an understatement.
Any advice on 3rd party inspection? I'm through step #1 on your list and on this step now. Did you use a local mechanic? Nationwide inspection service?
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:49 PM   #17
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

My biggest item when I was in the starting stages was try to figure out what electrical items to be used and where they would be so I can run all the wiring before insulation and walls / floors went into place.

Still working on that 1.5 years later as my needs change. Ugh!
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:10 PM   #18
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockbender
How did we all live before the internet?..!
For sure!!
Waaaaay back in ~1983 I swapped out the straight six in our FJ40 for a chevy 327. Wowzer what a project. All the research was by visiting the local library, snail mail, and phone inquiries. Took over a year to finally turn the ignition and hear the beast rumble out the short pipes : )

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Old 09-23-2015, 03:26 PM   #19
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Re: Biggest hassle when starting your first build

: ) Now to answer the OP's Q...

1) Like others have said, Research and find the right van for you (the base you can build on).

2) Do any major upfit right out of the gate if possible and include it in the loan if possible (commercial up-fit rebates??). We included the quote from Van Specialties to install the fiberine top, passenger swivel, fiama 45 awning, and roof fan in loan and got a large commercial upfitters year end rebate from GMAC. Ask the fleet manager, ours at the time had so many rebates he was able to add into the mix, very helpful!)

3) Camp in the bare van and dream. Dream a lot. Mark things out with masking tape and cardboard sheets (big box stores will usually give some away.) Build some proposed cabinets, etc out of the cardboard and dream so more : )

4) Go back to your preferred builder (in our case Van Specialties in Portland Oregon) and share your dream with them (Rob is still the go-to dream-builder guy : )

5) Pay as you go if possible after the initial loan deal. We got a zero percent 60 month loan from GMAC, and had a piggy bank set aside for the build and were able to pay cash over the ~3 season build time.

Our rig was perfect for Cari and I when we set out. At just over 33K after five years (loan is paid off next month : ) it has been a real treat to have on driveway and highway. And while we will be putting it up for sale to grab our next rig, we are torn... there really isn't anything out there like it (AWD in a full size van conversion). We really don't need 4x4, but the AWD on our wet roads in the PNW has been great...we just need more room since we are selling the travel trailer that the van towed. Maybe a big Transit? Still pondering that one. Wish they were AWD!

Have fun with the build.
Thom
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