A forum for van conversions, van living and travel

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Van Conversion / Amazing Dodge Promaster Conversion Videos
« Last post by Ryan71121 on February 26, 2017, 04:10:46 PM »
Hi, check out these videos of a dodge promaster converted into a tiny home/RV

Some of the best work I've seen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrPKtQGQ6Ms&t

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWxACxs47BE&t
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Common Room / Re: Meet The Brits Turning To Unconventional Housing To Save On Rent
« Last post by Camper_Dan on February 23, 2017, 09:31:34 AM »
Nice article.

For a number of years, I had a combination of a cargo van camper, and a Caraboat, similar to the one that lady had, except mine had windows all the way around it.  It was an unusual boat in that the trailer and the boat were all one.

It was light, bright, cheery, and 100% AWESOME.  It's systems were simple and fool proof.  It had a full kitchen, a wet bath with a toilet and shower, and both heat and air conditioning.  It was the exact opposite of my dark, damp, dreary, and dismal cargo van which was always either too hot, too cold, or without power.

That boat was great, and everything was kerosene/diesel powered.  Very easy to keep a comfortable temperature inside despite all the windows and no insulation.

The combination of the two did pose some problems though.  While I was out in the boat my van would get broken into, and if the boat was left unattended it would get ransacked.  Many boat launches did not allow overnight vehicle parking either.

One day when I returned to my boat after work, it was gone, and I was heartbroken, but that boat taught me so much about what I really wanted out of van life.  Later, I met a number of very experienced van dwellers, and  they all had many things in common.  Mainly that their rigs were almost all nearly identical to that boat, except they were vans.  Everything was simple but efficient.  Lots of windows, but no solar panels, no roof vents, no insulation, no 12v fridges, and absolutely no propane.  A few had kerosene fridges but most just used ice.  Their house batteries were charged while driving or via a generator, just like it was on my boat.

My new van is a window van, and it too is set up very similar to that boat, and the vans of the other very experienced full timers, and I couldn't be happier.

I spent months on the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, and a person could spend their whole life there on a boat.  I caught fish to eat, and the excess to barter or sell for the other supplies I needed.  (Food, fuel, and cash.)   Boat life was great, but the combination of boat life and van dwelling combined, offered the best of both worlds.  If I ever find another Caraboat, I would buy it in a heartbeat, perhaps better yet, a party barge type boat that I could just drive my camper van onto if it would be stable enough.  Then my parking problems would be solved too.




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Van Conversion / Re: Anyone here converted a Luton?
« Last post by acoupleofadventurers on February 23, 2017, 08:38:34 AM »
Hello everyone,

We are a couple currently converting a luton van. We have previously converted a Sprinter LWB and spent a year travelling around Europe in it. We felt the need to 'upgrade' to a Luton and are currently converting it.

We have just cut a 'walk through' between the cab and the box and will be posting details on our blog. All other aspects of the conversion will be covered in detail as well so take a look at our blog (www.acoupleofadventurers.com) if you want to see how we are going about things.

Joe and Heather
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Van Conversion / Re: Have gone full Tom Hanks in Castaway! Help!
« Last post by Camper_Dan on February 23, 2017, 05:20:11 AM »
Anything regarding heating, cooking, hot water, or refrigeration, are best accomplished via a fueled means rather than electrical.  If choosing electrical, then shore power or a generator will be your best bet.

Only a fool has solar without a backup plan, and the backup plan is usually more reliable and cheaper than the solar.  I charge my house battery while driving, and have a backup generator for when I need it, or want shore type power.  Ditched the solar, and will never go back.

I cringe every time I see somebody contemplating putting holes in their roofs.  Sooner or later, they always leak, and roof vents receive a lot of damage from low hanging branches and stuff too.  Roof vents with fans are very expensive, and not as effective as an under $20 12v fan placed in a window, and done right the windows can be left open during the rain as well.

Moisture is  one of the biggest problems in camper vans.  Moisture and insulation really don't play well together unless the entire system is designed to wick all moisture from the skin of the van to the interior where it can then be evaporated out.  The evaporation process requires both heat and ventilation.  Without very careful design, you will wind up back in the same boat as what you just tore out. 

Insulation in vehicles is largely misunderstood.  It won't hold the temperatures either all day or all night, and even with the best insulation job imaginable, you will not get more than a couple of hours difference between that and no insulation at all.  When combined with proper ventilation, the effects usually don't justify the cost or the potential problems arising from it.  The interior scheme of passenger vans is about as good as you can get for year round comfort.  The cost of a little extra heat is negligible compared to the cost and complications of insulation.  (Real world experience: My current uninsulated window van costs less than half as much to heat as my old very insulated cargo van did.)

Propane is a very wet heating/cooking source.  For each pound of propane burned, it will introduce a pound of moisture into your interior.  In my old cargo van, with two fantastic roof vents with high powered fans, and every window I had open, I could not keep ahead of moisture problems.  When I switched to a window van, I no longer have any roof vents, but I do have better ventilation via the windows.  I also switched to kerosene/diesel for my heating and cooking.  I no longer have any moisture problems.  The kerosene appliances will also run on diesel, although not quite as efficiently, between the two they are readily available anywhere, and cheap.  A seven gallon jug of kerosene will last me about nine months even with very cold winters and no insulation.  I keep my van toasty warm when I'm inside.

Inverter generators usually use less gas and provide cleaner power than non inverter types.  My $99 no name 3.5kw inverter generator will run for about 8 hours on a gallon of gas.  It is currently 5+ years old.  I mainly use it to charge my house battery if I'm boondocking.  My house battery will last about a week between charges.  I use a shore power battery charger plugged into my generator, and it takes about half and hour to fully charge my house battery.  One gallon of gas will last for about 8 charges.   Since I normally charge my house battery while driving, that gallon of gas will last me a year or more.  I would suggest that you get a 4 cycle one, so you don't have to mix the gas and oil. 

Many boat yards will have used equipment stores.  The standard for many years on boats were kerosene/diesel appliances.  Fridges/freezers are among these appliances, and they are gimballed so you don't need to worry about whether your van is level or not.  Gimballed, non-pressurized, kerosene/diesel appliances are ideal for camper vans.  I do prefer the portable kerosene/diesel cook tops and heaters though, so I can also use them outdoors.

Done right, camper vans and boats have a lot in common.  Everything should be water/moisture proof, and/or easy and quick to dry out to prevent moisture/mold build up.  The failure of fully understanding the importance of these principles, leads to the failure of most camper van builds.
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Van Conversion / Re: My homemade camper van
« Last post by Camper_Dan on February 23, 2017, 02:51:53 AM »
Very Nice!

Window vans make so much better campers than cargo vans.

Thanks for sharing.

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Common Room / Re: Meet The Brits Turning To Unconventional Housing To Save On Rent
« Last post by kryten on February 21, 2017, 08:55:27 PM »
David, the guy in the middle photo at the top of the article and his dog Billy, have an excellent youtube channel.
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Van Conversion / Re: Have gone full Tom Hanks in Castaway! Help!
« Last post by kryten on February 21, 2017, 08:50:03 PM »
Hello and welcome Kat. It looks like your going for a more luxurious conversion, at least with the electrics. To answer your question(s), if you find you haven't installed enough batteries then you can always add them later, just plan this into your build with maybe a storage box next to your battery bank which you can expand into. You can plug into 240v power if your controller allows this. I would suggest buying Mike's book to go along with extensive internet reading a youtube watching. Everything your trying to do has already been done so you should be able to find instructions online.

All the best with your build.
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Common Room / Meet The Brits Turning To Unconventional Housing To Save On Rent
« Last post by Vanholio ! on February 21, 2017, 08:18:25 PM »
Buzzfeed article: https://www.buzzfeed.com/matthewtucker/meet-the-brits-turning-to-unconventional-housing-to-save-on

'People are living in “tiny houses”, timber woodland structures, and canal boats – and one YouTuber has set up home in a converted ambulance.' Has a van in there, too, of course.
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Van Conversion / Re: Have gone full Tom Hanks in Castaway! Help!
« Last post by bouve on February 21, 2017, 07:23:36 PM »
Aaand the images are tiny because I can't upload images bigger than 128KB. Yah.
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Van Conversion / Re: Have gone full Tom Hanks in Castaway! Help!
« Last post by bouve on February 21, 2017, 07:21:06 PM »
fig. 3
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