I had started my update, but then realized i should probably give some background of the project. Hopefully this will help explain some of my decisions and also influence some of the tips and suggestions I hope to receive.
My wife and I are in our late twenties with no kids and love being on the move. This van will mainly be used as a car camping vehicle, a surf wagon and a home base at music festivals. Some goals for the van are as follows:
-Solar powered house battery - I already have a 100 watt panel, 100 amp hour deep cycle and a 1000 watt inverter
-Seating for four (while driving) - driver, passenger and a bench seat in the back with seat belts
-Comfy bed for 2 (short term) - thinking of having this permanently set up to enable a thicker mattress
-Popped top to add sleeping for four total - This is definitely long term and will most likely not happen for a while. When it does, it will definitely be diy.
-4x4 - not as long term as the popped top, but still a ways out. this will be the one thing I take to get done, probably at ujoint.
-integrated stove that slides out of the back of the van in the rear. We are big on cooking, so having a cooking setup slide out the back of the van i think is a good solution.
I will draw up the layout i have in mind and post it tomorrow. Also, I will be trying to keep this low budget in the beginning. Using what I have on hand to get started. Once funds become available, the goodies will roll in.
Now on to the update...
Just got done trying to gut the back of the van. Boy did I underestimate how much work it was going to be to pull out all of the shelves, vice, etc. Here is how it looked to start:
Several things were mounted to the floor with nuts on the underside of the van. So i had the fun experience of having my wife help out getting those loose. One nut was out of reach, so i finally gave up and just angle grinded the bolt head off the top.
Anyways, here is how she sits now:
My short term plan is to get this thing camp-able asap. My wife and I have decided we want to do the following items first
- Mount solar panel to the roof
I want to be able to remove the solar panel, so I think I will mount it with bolts through the roof. any problem with these mounts?
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NEZ ... 19FHI2Z5KL
would it be best to use silicon washers on the outside of the van to make the holes waterproof?
- get the floors down (atleast plywood in the back
Tomorrow I am planning on pulling out the plywood and evaluating the floor of the van. The plywood is screwed down, so I expect it to be in good shape with a fair amount of holes in it. What do you guys recommend for the floor in terms of treating the holes? Is it really important to seal up the holes with something like silicone and then paint? Or should I just go straight to the rattle can to just cover any exposed metal?
If I am not to worried about insulation, is it ok to use standard carpet padding under the new layer of plywood? I have some laying around, so i would like to use it if it isn't such a terrible idea.
- get the bed situated
Thoughts on this mattress?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/8-COOL-Medium-M ... 259aac3ab2
the bed, as the plan is now, will always be down. Is this a terrible idea? obviously it will be elevated to allow storage underneath.
- mount two windows in the rear where the bed will be.
This is mainly to add ventilation. Also, we have a swap cooler that i will expand on later, but i need one window as an inlet and one ope on the otherside for cross flow.
how are these windows?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-BLACK-KINRO ... 9c&vxp=mtr
In a perfect world I would get crl concaved windows. But the budget does not permit those. Would smaller windows conform to the concave of the van better? Also, smaller ones would let me replace them with a bigger hole/window later down the road if I really dont like them.
You may ask, "why the rush, save up for the good ones!"
Well at the end of summer we are headed to burning man in this van, so that is our short term deadline to get some creature comforts in.
Thanks for the help and hopefully I didn't ask too many questions. And I promise there will be more to come.