Most of our stuff has been very functional and experimental.
First thing in Jan 2004 was the Quadvan 4WD conversion with sport suspension package, correct tracks, 46 gal Transfer Flow, etc. Wheels and tires - 265's. Tried 285's for a while but they rubbed just a bit too much since we do not have a lift on this 4wd conversion. We needed a flexible configuration for passenger, hauling, and comfortable/ enjoyable camping. Now we are moving towards more dedicated camping, with some flexibility for carrying some loads. Not so much for passengers. There are just two of us when we are camping.
Next, not in any particular order: Added a 1000 watt inverter under the drivers seat running off the engine battery and have since installed (Blue Sea manual selector switch) two Deka 105Ah AGM's on passenger frame rail. Made a removable sleeping platform across the back 3" firm, 1" medium foam with storage under platform. Relocated a set of seat hold downs so I could run the 4 wide seat in third row bench position (never felt we would need seating for 15 but would need storage space at back). We experimented with one of the shorter stock bench seats and found we liked it best running fore / aft on the drivers side interior wall. Added swivel base to front passenger seat (A top three item!). Made up reflective shade inserts for all the windows, installed tilt out windows in rear doors, screens on on tilt outs. Window Vent Visors on two front windows. Added a Norcold Chest 60 qt Fridge/Freezer (A top three item!) on a removable platform behind Driver seat and ahead of the bench seat, two 6" high large storage bins for food go under fridge. Installed a tall multi shelf unit on passenger side wall between barn door and the sleeping platform. Porta Potti (a top three item!) added, stows below shelving unit when traveling, between the front seats when camping (plug for Happy Bowl Liners here!). Shelving wide enough to accommodate microwave oven and smaller storage bins. LED light bulbs in all the stock light reading lights which use for night lighting really small draw off the engine battery. Disabled all door activated lights by removing those bulbs because we like to leave the barn doors open. Insulation behind all the interior panels and doors. Heating is via Wave 3 catalytic propane heater ad small propane camping bottles, one bottle will lasts us a long weekend and keeps thing toasty while we are awake. Made up a fold up table to mount on smaller barn door. Installed the towing style mirrors and bought the front windshield cover. Up top added four Thule rack bars to which Fiamma 10ft awning and Yakima Mega Warrior are mounted. The factory rear air and heat work fantastic while driving. And I have a Honda EU2000i I can throw in if I think I will need it. That covers most of it to date.
Next week: Aluminess side ladder and Rear Door Tire Carrier.
On the horizon: Solar Panels 250 to 300 watts mounted on the thule bars, maybe an XL under floor box, 1750 to 2000 watt inverter to replace the 1000w unit (1000 w is not enough to run the m-wave without it sounding like it is struggling). 110v Electrical outlet circuits off the inverter. We would not install a built in charger/shore power. We just do not go to RV type hook up campgrounds and our primary electrical needs are relatively small. A built in charger/inverter/converter is just one more complex system. We can charge the batteries with a portable charger if shore power is available or marine style two bank. The only heavy draw item we can think of would be an electric heater (or AC unit) which we have used, we can run an extension cord to the RV electric post for the few times we would use that Solar will be the primary battery charge maintainer. CCV top (some custom touches) and an upgraded interior build out based on what we have found works best for us. we have hacked together cabinets that are totally functional but not aesthetically pleasing, but we did it to find out what we really liked before committing to an interior build.
Our thinking on some other stuff at this current point is: two interior mounted water tanks (10 gal + 15 gal), water pump, sink, grey water tank, outside shower, aluminess bumpers with in-bumper storage and rear storage box. Have not yet figured out water heater solutions but we really like the idea of a small diesel fuel tank (we are gas) to run that and possibly one of the stove heater combo's that are available. Do not think we would actually install propane although we would carry a smaller size refillable tank for bbq and camp stove.
Lots of little things but lots of thinking
Have to ask yourself what are you going to use the van for? How many people? what flexibilty in use? If camping, I would first focus on the necessities of making that use and experience comfortable, convenient, quick, and satisfying for you and your SO / family such that you ALL WANT to do it again and soon!
Worse thing imho is to not establish that first, second and third good/ great impression and it results in "not really interested in doing that again"
Maybe bumpers and bling are for later on after you have established what works for you and if you need winches, storage, boxes, lights, etc.
Mushy Philosophical Share Follows
: These vans can be mechanisms for creating life long memories that can be cherished and shared for a lifetime between many people in your life. Done / used right you have, again imho, created a sociologically beneficial way of creating deep family values for respecting each other, awareness of our impact on other people and nature, and an appreciation of why we should be humble/thankful for the opportunity to own and time to use a vehicle like this to experience the wonders of nature/life. (Just look at the pictures posted by Brent Haywood and Pschitt
) and ask 86Scotty about his recent cross country trip with his family.
On the other hand, maybe you just want something that looks and makes you feel good which is a good thing as well :
Best of luck and experiences in your build