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Author Topic: Progress on my conversion  (Read 4401 times)

mr_elijahgardner

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Progress on my conversion
« on: April 05, 2017, 01:06:12 PM »
I have been working the last couple weeks on my van build. Its far from done but I wanted to put a couple pictures up to get suggestions, advice, ideas.

To start with my van is a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500. It started as a Mark III conversion.
My requirements were:
Sink
Shower
Toilet
Stove
Storage
Fixed Bed
Decent Battery Power
Open floor space

It turning out to be kind of like a Swiss army knife. It does everything but is not the best at everything.

Currently my plans are to use the van for weekend trips.











image url upload

Camper_Dan

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 11:46:41 PM »
Very Nice!!!  By far one of nicest looking and more sensible builds I've seen.  Very similar to mine actually, except that my kitchen is only half the length, but a little deeper.  Mine doesn't flip up, I just add my campstove, or dishpan sinks on top to use them, then my toilet/shower sits next to that, and then my ice chest sits on top of my 12v ice chest style A/C next to the bed and doubles as a nightstand.  The only thing I would do differently next time is to have sliding doors on the kitchen cabinet rather than swinging, because I have a swivel rocker/recliner between my kitchen and my side doors, and the swinging doors can be a challenge.

So I'm curious about the bin between the side doors and the bed?  Toilet/shower? Storage or  ???  I have a house style night stand there, and then store my 2x 7 gallon water jugs next to it, just inside the side doors, on a little shelf, and my stove & sinks stow away just under them.

My passenger seat swivels, and then I have a folding wood TV tray to use for a table between the front seat and my recliner if I have company.  When alone, it is just my personal table/desk, that I'm typing this from right now.

I'm here for anything you need, just ask, and I'll do my best.  I've got over 20 years experience now, so I've learned a few things... hehe.

Looking forward to updates as you progress too!

Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 11:50:02 PM by Camper_Dan »
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mr_elijahgardner

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 12:52:00 AM »
The bin you are referring to is going to be for the shower/toliet. It is a bench to sit while not in use. It has just enough room to put a shower curtain up and use a battery operated shower. No plumbing yet but warm water up on the stove your good to go. Portable toliet also fits in there and the shower curtain could be used for privacy. I know many van builds don't worry about showers and toliets. But you never know at 2 am after eating some hot wings might be glad to have it.

I decided to make the galley hidden. I wanted the counter top useable as most the time I don't need a sink or stove. I did not want to have to set something up every time I wanted to cook or use the sink.

I do not have a refigerator yet. Right now at most I'm spending the weekend in it. An ice chest under the bed is fitting the needs for now. I'm also not certain about the power drain on the battery system to run a fridge.

I have the opening doors on the galley just because I found the cabinet cheap at a thrift store and I liked the size. I have clips to keep them closed while driving.

I replaced the nuts on the seats with big wing nuts so that I can configure the seats as a couch. I'm still searching junkyards hoping to find some decent captains chairs. Ideally I'd like them to face each other and a table in-between like a tiny dinette.

Thanks for the positive comments.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 12:57:44 AM by mr_elijahgardner »

Camper_Dan

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 05:44:00 AM »
Having your own toilet & shower is definitely a life changing experience for the better!

I used a hula hoop for my shower curtain rod, along with the curtains and hooks all from a dollar store.  I suspended the hula hoop from a clothes bar that runs the width of the van.  When not in use, I simply unhook it and collapse it onto the toilet, so as not to impede my view.  I use a weed sprayer for my shower, that I switched out the original wand for a kitchen sink sprayer nozzle, plus I lengthened the hose.  I like this because it requires no power, and can also be set up outside hung from a tree.

Most of my interior came from thrift stores, craigslist, and yard sales too...  $5 each for my kitchen cabinet and my nightstand.  $7 for my Lazyboy swivel rocker/recliner.  Low budget building is a favorite hobby of mine.  Doing more with less, is just a thrill for me.

For weekend trips just freeze a couple of 1 gallon milk jugs or water containers, and you should be fine.  I buy my ice in the big blocks, and they'll last me about a week, even in the summer.  In the long run, ice is a LOT cheaper than those 12 volt  powered fridges.  The last several I had only lasted a little over a year, cheap chinese junk, and power hungry too.

Have you figured out your house battery set up yet.  If not, I can post what I've done.  Simple, cheap, and no tools or skills needed, and it works perfectly for me.

I'm kind of against plumbing, just something else to maintain or freeze.  Grey water is pretty easy to dispose of almost anywhere.  I go to city parks and park in the end spot, where there are bushes right outside my side doors, and I water the bushes with it.  My bushes are lush and green while the surrounding grass is brown and dry. A win/win for both me and the bushes...

Cheers!
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mr_elijahgardner

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 12:57:11 PM »
Hula Hoop may be a good idea for shower rod. I have not come up with a good option yet for easily hanging the shower curtain.

I'm all about doing things cheap and re using existing stuff. My sink is a Roasting pan from goodwill. Painted white and a drain installed in the bottom. My stove is a disassembled butane camping stove mounted into a dollar tree cookie sheet.

I use a weed sprayer and a kitchen sprayer for the sink. I have a bucket under the sink for the grey water. I agree that dumping it out is much easier than emptying a traditional grey water tank. The reasoning for the battery operated shower is because I dont have a drain in the tub. I figured if I needed a pump to pump out the tub I might as well have one to take a shower with.

My battery system is 2 of the best looking Junk Yard batteries I could find. I am currently running a 400 Watt inverter. Its one I had lying around in the work shop. I have debated a higher inverter but I haven't over loaded this one yet. I dont really run that much power 1 Lamp, laptop, cell phone charger, and a fan. I have lasted over 24 hours non stop full usage with my current setup.

Right now my batteries only get charged when connected to a Battery Charger. I have not integrated it into the vans charging system yet. I'm still debating on the best way to do this. My current plan is to use some old jumper cables. Cut the ends off and add them to the battery terminals. Then put battery shutoff switch inline somewhere. This way I can charge the batterys during normal driving and easily disconnect the house system from the starting battery while camping.

Id be curious to see your battery setup. I try to keep things simple but sometimes I mentally overbuild.










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kryten

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 07:52:02 PM »
Some good work there mr_elijahgardner

Camper_Dan

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 01:45:55 AM »
To hang my shower curtain hula hoop from a clothes bar that runs the width of my van, I was lucky enough to already have clothes hooks on each side in just the right places.  Short of that, perhaps a spring tension shower curtain rod could do the same thing, or maybe insert a couple of S hooks where the headliner meets the walls.  An upside down L made of conduit or PVC could come up from the base too.

I only have a single house battery, also from a junkyard.  I don't use an inverter, because everything I need I have the car cords for.  I've just been charging my house batttery with a jumper cable that has ciggy lighter plugs on both ends.  Here's some pictures to give you an idea of what I'm doing.  It's been working good for me for 5+ years now, I also have a generator but rarely use it.



I keep a variety of hand powered pumps and siphon pumps, they come in handy for so many things.



I do use a few battery powered items though, even though I try to keep mostly manually powered stuff, so I got a solar battery charger that I can simply sit in a window and always have fresh battteries when I need them. Then I also have solar lanterns, a solar radio, and a solar bug zapper.  I LOVE my solar bug zapper!



Another item that I use regularly is a water bandit:



It allows you to hook up a hose to virtually any faucet, threaded or not.

Your rig looks like it's coming along nicely!

Cheers!





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RebelQueen

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2017, 07:02:01 PM »
Your van is looking good Elijah. Any more progress?

There are some great ideas here I'm going to incorporate.. The shower curtain hoop idea is getting nabbed as is the solar power battery recharger!!

Power supply is something I still need to consider in more detail, was thinking of having two leisure batteries.. but I guess I'd better figure out everything that needs power 1st!!

RQ

mr_elijahgardner

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 03:07:54 AM »
Latest update. I have installed cabneit doors for access under the bed.

image url upload

I have a total of three batteries. I used a set of heavy duty jumper cables for semi trucks to wire them all up. 1 battery under the hood 2 mounted to the frame. I plan to add a disconnect switch to separate the 2 from the starter battery.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 03:12:58 AM by mr_elijahgardner »

Camper_Dan

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2017, 05:48:24 AM »
Very interesting picture...  Reminded me of a guy I know who has a single bunk set up underneath his regular bunk, and behind similar doors, that he uses when he wants to park in places that don't allow camping.

I saw him parked directly under a no camping sign one time at the beach. hehe
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mr_elijahgardner

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Re: Progress on my conversion
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2017, 12:16:43 PM »
I guess that would work. I couldn't imagine it being comfortable under there.

I put the doors in because before I just had a curtain that you could move out of the way to access the under bed storage. If I hit the brakes to hard stuff would start sliding into the living area. I covered everything with the cloth because my wood working skills were going bad fast on this project. I think it ended up looking pretty good.