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Old 03-14-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
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The right order

Ok... I need some advice on what order to move through my build. While this is mostly an interior question, some of it falls into the electrical world too.

I just brought home my 2011 E250, completely bare. My end goal is rather basic. Looking for some interior storage, a bed, some cabinetry and a few places to "plug-in" basic electronics (phone charger, lap top).

So, I have sound deadener and insulation on the way, but I want to make sure I do things in the right order and reduce the amount of time and money I spend re-doing. If I want to run a little electrical, some speaker wire and plan to build a bench/bed I am safe putting down the sound deadener and insulation first, right? And then laying everything else over the top or do I need to have more definitive plans in place before I start? Then finish walls and headliner?

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:00 PM   #2
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Re: The right order

My idea for a space saver bed is something along this...

2001 E350 PSD w/ a bunch of stuff.
And had three other E350s...
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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Re: The right order

underfloor storage and battery racks then wiring! run wire to everywhere you could possibly need 12 volts.the sound and heat insulation. then go camping bare bones in it and figure out where you want to cook,sleep, store all you crap and so forth. after you camp for a while you kind of get a feel for where all your stuff fits. then you build in the cabinets and storage and berth.
I've done it this wagon a couple of vans and sailboats.(underfloor didn't work out on the boats)
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:02 AM   #4
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Re: The right order

Perfect. That is what I needed to know.... step 2 for me, figure out wiring.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:34 AM   #5
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Re: The right order


In my home built Sprinter conversion, I wired and insulated and then paneled the van. For wire, google "Greg's Marine Wire." Very fair prices for stranded, tinned marine grade wire. Perfect for vehicle conversions. The site also sells any connectors you might need. Good luck!
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
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Re: The right order

I have a few words of advise for you based on mistakes I made.

If possible try and put a plan together and put it on paper before you even start. Having drawings and itemized lists of the steps necessary will not only get you more organized it will let you keep track of the changes you make in your head before and during each step.

Try and write a wiring diagram that includes every possible bell and whistle you want, both now and in the future. If you are on a budget and need to take things step by step plan ahead for everything you want and put all the wiring in for future needs.

Before you even start working on the van spend some time looking at the pictures other forum members posted to their gallery. I was way into my build before I found this forum and I would have done things differently if I had seen what other people had already built. Clicking on the random photo icon is a great way to jump around and check out pictures. If you find something that interest you click on that members name and go to their gallery and check out all their pictures.

DO NOT hesitate to ask questions. Chances are if you are having issues or problems with something, someone else on the forum has already dealt with that specific item.

This forum is a great resourse for someone doing a ground up/homegrown build.

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Old 03-15-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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Re: The right order

Gnarvan... Thanks. I am going to try and put together a compressive note book of notes, ideas, drawings and photos. I am sure that at some point down the road I will need to fix something and want to be able to reference what I did originally. I have some decent ideas of what I want, but my experience with wiring is very limited, so be on the lookout for posts in that forum location.

Again, thanks for the advice. I am eager to get moving, but will tread lightly.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:34 AM   #8
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Re: The right order

Have a look here:
Might be of use
New ride: 2000 Chevy Suburban 1500 4WD
1998 Chevy Express 2500 past project
+ 1990 Mitsubishi Pajero V6 3.0l
+ 2001 Saab 9-5 Aero Hirsch
+ 1972 Saab 96 V4 (not running)
+ fixed house (Argh)
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:19 AM   #9
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Re: The right order

I haven't built a van, but in doing cabins, I've found it really helpful to take photographs of "behind the walls" before the finished walls go on. Then, a year later, when I wanted to drill a hole or whatever, I could look at the photos and see/remember where the wires and structural bits were behind the finished walls. Might be useful for a van build?

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Old 03-20-2012, 02:51 PM   #10
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Re: The right order

Not sure what kind of insulation is planned, but it may be better to hold off on insulation until just before installing the wall panels. That way all the wiring and plumbing will be in place, and the insulation can be installed once, and only one cleanup! has a handy floor plan tool that is really good for designing the interior layout.

2009 E250 RB 5.4L "SilVan"
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