We made some window shades for our van a while back using Low-E. They work great but they are a pain to store. We decided to make them fold so they’d take up less space.
We tried stitching them with a sewing machine, melting them with a soldering iron, just smooshing them together, but the best overall technique was to use a hot iron on the fold lines. This is how we made it work.
Continue reading “Making foldable window shades from Low-E foil-faced foam”
We were concerned that every composting toilet reviewer had somehow lost their sense of smell at the same time they started using the unit. How could a bucket full of poo NOT smell bad? Well, either we both lost our nose function too, or the composting toilet we installed really doesn’t produce any nasty fumes.
Continue reading “Do composting toilets smell bad?”
We bought five different types of LED lantern to test out which worked best in the van.
We found that we needed a couple of small lanterns for when we want to get up in the middle of the night rather than switching on the main lights inside the van. Because they are portable, we also use them outside the van when we’re hanging out after dark.
Here’s a list of what we tried, and which worked best for our needs…
Continue reading “LED lantern comparison – we did so you don’t have to”
Our axe and shovel had been rattling around inside the rear storage compartment for over a year before we worked up the courage to mount them on the wall.
We thought that the Quick Fist clamps we’d bought would easily rip out of the 1/4″ plywood walls but they seem to be holding pretty firmly.
Continue reading “Quick Fist clamps for mounting items to the van”
The Sprinter’s “Audio 15” stereo system has an interface from the mid-90s, and speakers that sound like they are made from wet toilet paper. Sane people would just replace the whole lot, but we experimented with keeping the head unit and seeing what a difference good speakers would make.
When that didn’t give us quite enough improvement, we swapped out the head unit for something that produces clearer sound and connects better with our phones.
This is an overview of the different articles we’ve written about our attempts to get good sounds inside the van. If you’re trying to do the same thing, start here.
Continue reading “Upgrading the stock Sprinter stereo – overview”
Our bed is 42″ off the ground. We used to have the factory bench seat right in front of it, but now we’ve just got a blank space. We needed some way to get up and down from the bed platform.
Continue reading “Step ladder for our platform bed”
No matter how much you insulate the rest of the vehicle, The glass in a Sprinter van is a massive heat gain/loss area. We bought a sun shade made specially for the windshield and made ones for all the other windows from Low-E foil faced foam with magnets around the edges.
Continue reading “Window covers – insulation where it’s most needed”
The front end of our bed platform is right above the passenger bench seat. We added foam pipe insulation to the platform to protect our noggins from getting whacked.
To make it look fancy, we covered the pipe insulation in black vinyl. It’s not exactly the same color as the seat upholstery, but it looks just fine.
Continue reading “Foam pipe insulation for bed-to-head protection”
pro·to·type (ˈprōdəˌtīp/) noun:
(1) A first, typical or preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied.
(2) A DIY conversion or adventure van, from which new layouts are continually developed or evolved.
We “finished” our conversion about a year after we got the van. By that point we had all the systems in. Either to our original design or to the design that we made up as we went along that reflected our real-world usage better. We didn’t necessarily have everything tidied up (we still don’t!) but all the components worked.
Now though, after using the van for a while, we want to make some changes. We don’t know quite what we want to change, or how we’ll do it, but we feel there’s potentially a better layout, a better storage setup, a better way of stopping water tanks from freezing over the winter, and a better way of freeing up cargo/bike space in the rear of the van.
Continue reading “DIY Conversion vans are always a prototype”
Its easy to get carried away with a van conversion and add all sorts of stuff. But the weight can add up much faster than you think, and soon you could be pushing up against the maximum vehicle weight.
If you’re using a long wheelbase 2500 crew van with a V6 engine and 4×4 transmission like we did, your payload weight isn’t very high at all.
Although 1-1/4 tons sounds like a lot, it soon disappears as you build out cabinets, a bed platform, a fridge, electrical system and some water tanks.
Add in a couple of people, a couple of mountain bikes, and some food, clothes, and water for a week’s getaway and things can get out of hand.
Continue reading “Keeping conversion van weight under control”