Road Read – April Progress Update 4/4/17

It has been a long time since I have done a progress update on the van. Primarily because I have desperately trying to make some progress!

So here is a list of where some of the individual projects. I’ll try to put this is some sort of logical order.

Insulation – The insulation on the wall is about 80% done. The biggest areas have been filled in with several layers of comfort giving goodness. So, in addition to the Lizardskin that is applied to the walls, the areas that allow the most insulation have been covered with a layer of Thinsulate, then a layer of Reflectix, then a layer of the Owens-Corning R-8 fiberglass insulation, followed by a layer of FOAMULAR 1/2-inch insulation. In some of the areas between the ribs, I was able to use an additional section of the FOAMULAR rigid insulation. This leaves the insulation roughly flush with the top of the ribs. Other areas have similar layers except for the rigid foam.

Electrical – Wires have been run from the area where the DC Distribution Panel will be located to where the lights will be. Everything has been color coded since there are 6 individual over head lights. The lights will be LED and on a small goose neck fitting so they will be adjustable enough to be able to illuminate where you need it. Another DC run has been allocated from the same distribution panel to the roof vent. The DC run for the fridge and to the 2 12V DC outlets have not been completed.

A huge accomplishment was getting the electrical panel done. Except for adding a few vents, the panel is completed. This was much more complicated than I thought it would be (like everything else) and was second only to the sliding bed frame in difficulty….. So far. There will be a lot of time spent here on the wiring. While I have a pretty good idea of what need to be done and think I have all the components necessary to do it, other tasks have kept me from progress on this project. It is intimidating and I might, maybe, probably, almost certainly be procrastinating on it, I will get it done. In fact, taking a break from it has provided me with some time to think about some things and even come up with a few epiphanies about how to do the next steps.

The Invertor is ready to be installed but will be part of the overall wiring day that I will dedicate to getting the wiring run. I still need to finish up the Shore Power connection before so I can get the lower wall installed.

AC power outlets locations need to be determined. I have one installed on the main panel, another will probably be located on the galley near the rear doors. I have room on the panel for one more but just may not need it. I could always wait till I determine where I might need another and then install it.

 

 

 

The Galley – I made some progress on this recently, I determined the hinges I wanted to use. The door lay out and how wide the doors could be and not interfere with the bed on the other side. The doors need to be installed but that should happen soon. I will get them stained and magnets installed to hold them closed. I still need to locate, chose, purchase, cut and install the countertop. I have a couple of ideas but need to visit some local places to find what I want.

 

Walls – With the substructure of the walls is mostly done, I need to modify a few of the sections for some of the electrical components. Mainly, the Shore Power cable will need to be run through a section of the wall substructure behand the area of the galley that holds the invertor. When that is done, I should be ready to start installing the wall planking. I have decided that I want the walls to be an antiqued white. Varathane makes a nice oil based stain that I have purchased and tested on the pine slats that will make up the interior walls. I am going to spend some time just staining as many as I can in one afternoon. Most of the wall installation will be straight forward. The substructure will insure that there are several mounting point and boards of various, staggered lengths can be put together. As with everything else, there is a caveat. The area just behind the seat is very curved due to the high roof of the van. The original idea was to curve the boards down to meet the headliner that is over the seats. Unfortunately, the boards are too thin to make such a curve. Original testing showed that some boards could handle the curve and some couldn’t. Some cracked after a few days. The next idea was to wet and curve the boards. This seemed to work but since the area would be comprised of many boards and all of the boards wanted to curve differently, this idea didn’t work out either. I threw around the idea of building a storage area in the space but it eliminated the headroom area where I get in and out of the side of the van. It might have worked but at this time, I am going to make a transition point and cut all the boards to stop at the last substructure rib and then cut shorter boards to make the final angle up the headliner. I built a template / prototype for the headliner area. Fingers are crossed that it will work out.

If it doesn’t, I will figure out something that will.

Shelves – Overhead shelves will be started soon. At least designed so I can prepare for any gotchas that may come along. I plan on using the shelves for most of my daily clothing storage, daily food stuff and anything else that I might need quick access to. I want them sturdy and I want them green. More on those after I get some time to think about them this weekend.

Flooring – So there is a temporary floor in the van now. It is awful and it is cheap. It was put in for the sole purpose of providing me with the 7mm of thickness that the final floor was estimated to be. It is a dark reddish and the color has taught me an important lesson. The sun heats up things. And considering I plan on having the doors open as much as possible, this is kinda a big deal. I walk around and work on the van in bare feet. A lot. And the darker floor has heated up enough to force me to pay attention to the fact that not only does it heat up, when you close the van doors, it heats up the van as well. So I have found a waterproof EVP (Enhanced Vinyl Plank) flooring that I like. It is 7mm think and in a light gray. I think the waterproof will be a bonus in the event of moisture or even rain since the doors are big and the floor goes right up to them and the light gray will hopefully not heat up as fast as a darker color.

The Bed. – It is done. Stained. Finished. Concluded. Ready to be installed and slept on. Oh, I am sure there will be details to fix later on when the install happens but for right now, I am calling it done. Just so I can say something is finished.  Oh, and I still need to order new cushions for it. The first ones I ordered were nice but I think the layer of Dacron that was added to it made them larger that I wanted. I like the way they look and want the Dacron but will need to get them smaller. About an inch smaller for the seat cushion and the back rest and about an inch shorter for both. And I am going to get them 4 inches thick instead of 6 inches. Mainly because they are heavy. If I can get them thinner and immediately shave off 33% of the overall weight, I think it will help. I also might get the seat cushion split. Just make it the size of the two individual compartments that make up the frame of the bed. That way, I could get to a compartment without removing the whole seat cushion. Just a thought. And now that I think about it, I guess this means the bed isn’t finished. Shit.

 

 

Solar – The solar wiring has been run. I got the roof Cable Entry Plate installed and bolted down. The wires are also run behind the wall and to the area that will lead to the Battery Box. The roof rack has been drilled but the solar panels have not been installed just yet. No real reason to not install them but no real reason to get them on till I have more of the electrical done. I have other fish to fry before I get to them.

 

 

 

Battery Box – The battery box is mostly complete. The fridge has been bolted to the lid of the box and so far, the testing by daily driving has worked out well. I installed some vents for some convection air flow and installed a propane alarm that will be hardwired to the batteries for safety.

 

 

 

So, that’s long enough and there ya have it. An update. Lots of cogs in motion and a lot left to be done. I am enjoying the process more. Especially since I can see some real progress. I still find myself getting hung up on the details and minutia that slows me down but I am having more fun. I still get addicted to progress and accomplishments. And I still need 4 hands instead of just two. But I am pleased with the results. As with all major undertakings, there are many things I would do very differently but I have learned and continue to learn a lot. Hopefully, I will be able to use some of these skills down the road.

Cause the road does call. And it calls louder today than it did yesterday. Tomorrow…

Well, I should get busy.

Till next time, keep the course.

Johnny