Hola! Been checking out this forum for a while now, great pointers and lots of great ideas so thanks!!
I'm working on a from-scratch build out of a 2005 E350 cargo van. I've had the van two years and have been living in (or out of) it since then (went down the Colorado River/Grand Canyon two years ago and within 9 months I had quit my job & bought a van!).
It was a work/paint van in its previous life so had the steel cage around the passenger area and steel walls in the back. In Version 1 of the van set-up, I took out the cage but left the walls and used them to mount a large platform for sleeping. My idea was to have a high platform for sleeping with plenty of room underneath to slide gear bins and kayaks, etc. This layout was not great for living in or camping for extended periods and the van was always a mess (huge storage bins way under the platform aren't easy to get to--only good for things you need to access rarely, which is not everything).
So I've started to re-build it on my own. I have a place to live right now so I could take everything out but am anxious to get the van done so I can have my own space and start traveling again. I am not what you would consider "handy" although I can figure things out usually and I do have access to tools right now. My budget is pretty tight as I'm trying to do all of this (insulation, convertible bed, "camp kitchen" with a sink) for around $1K.
I've been working on insulation...and working...and working. Sigh. I have covered the bare walls, where I can, with Reflectix, and today I covered all of the little holes in the wall with aluminum tape (as a vapor barrier) and stuffed the holes with polyester filling as much as I could (full info about my progress to date is on my blog if you are interested: https://riverchick.wordpress.com/category/the-van/
I am torn between mounting plywood panels on the walls or gluing carpet directly onto the walls. I don't want to mess with the plywood because it will add considerable time, expense, and weight to my build. Also the walls have so many curves and different levels with nooks and crannies that I have no clue how I'd cover all that up and I'd lose a lot of space on either side.
The high top was installed when I bought the van. It has the inside shell, although I have no idea what is in between the two layers (and have yet to find anyone who will cut a hole in it to install a fantastic fan). The inside shell is mounted via screws and metal plates, but there is a gap--which I might have to cover as I'm doing the insulation or carpeting.
Would I be crazy to go straight to carpet?? I'd love your thoughts or advice. Thanks!!