There are lots of holes in the metal van walls that you can use for mounting your wall panels. It’s not always easy to accurately find those holes and mark them on the panel. But, like most things, there’s a tool for that.
The tool is called a hole finder or strap duplicator. Scott, another Sprinter owner who is also a pilot and aviation mechanic, let me know about this marvelous invention. It’s used in the aircraft construction industry, but it doesn’t seem to have made its way into the Sprinter conversion space yet.
You slide the panel in between the two arms/straps of the tool, then you offer up the panel to the wall. Move the tool around until the stud in the arm on the back of the panel slots into the hole, and then the bushing on the front arm tells you exactly where to drill your panel hole. Genius!
This is the Air Capital 5-piece hole finder kit, sold on Amazon. The stud in the end of the strap fits into the existing hole, then the bushing lets you drill straight into the panel mounted over the top of it. The straps are 6″ long, and the bushings/studs are sized for 3/32″ to 1/4″ holes.
If you need a longer reach, Amazon also sells the Aircraft Tool Supply 18″ strap duplicator. The linked one has a #21 (4mm) hole, but there are lots to choose from. Aircraft Tool Supply also make one with an inverted stud so that you can mark holes when the tool is entering from the back of the wall rather than the front.
I wish we’d known about this tool when we built our walls. For the few places where we needed to mark holes, we used some dowel pins or, if the Rivnut was already installed, we used a bolt with its head cut off, with the end filed to a point.
That was good enough to leave a mark on the panel so that we could subsequently drill the hole. But this tool saves you a step by letting you drill the hole in situ, and probably with a greater degree of accuracy.
Credit: x-ray specs picture from Amazon.