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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions  >  DIY

 > Step one. Bought the van.

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billyboy46

Ontario

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Posted: 12/15/11 06:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Dave, any progress on HAL lately? or have you been too busy camping?

I've really enjoyed following your work so far.

WVvan

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Posted: 12/15/11 08:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did manage a weekend trip in November.

Solar Power. There's something both neat and creepy about having a whole campground to yourself. Especially at night.

I've not posted much lately but have still been making improvements to the van. Some odds and ends but mostly working on the house batteries. Just got this part working in the past few days. It's a fan enclosure that power vents the lead-acid batteries to the outside.

It uses two small 12 volt muffin fans.

They produce enough of a draft to almost blow out a match.




Planning for the fans to only run while the battery is charging since that's when the hydrogen gas is produced. Want to use a programmed microcontroller for this task. Problem is I've never messed with microcontrollers before so will have to learn how first. Full write-up when I (hopefully) get it all figured out.


Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Once I exit Hal, this is what I do.
WWW.WVBIKE.ORG


MAU MAU

New Hampshire and Maine

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Posted: 01/17/12 06:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You are an amazingly gifted craftsman.

I unfortunately read the entire thread in one sitting, and now have permanent brain damage.


Roadtrek 170 Popular

WVvan

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Posted: 01/17/12 09:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

now have permanent brain damage

Don't worry, it's temporary. The dizziness will fade in a couple of days. The numbness in your mouse hand will take longer. And yes, your cats are now speaking, and giving orders, in English.

WVvan

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Posted: 01/19/12 08:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Side Window Framing

Next up is the wall panel for around the side window. This is one of those jobs that I've been putting off since I wasn't sure how to proceed. Sportsmobile installed the side window at the same time as the penthouse top. I took the following photo while the van was still in their shop.



During the installation they cut the inner metal shell from around the window area. This inner shell is what I use to anchor the wall panels. I could attach the panel above and below the window but it wouldn't match the curve of the wall.

I started on the panel with a couple of ideas. First measure and mark off an area around the window.



Measure and cut a section of fiberboard for the wall panel. Need to cutout the space for the window on the fiberboard. To mark out the window I had a little help. After Sportsmobile as done working the pieces they removed from the van where placed outside behind the shop.



At the time I retrieved the window cutout figuring it would come in handy sometime. That time would be now. Use the metal cutout as my guide.



Do a test fit. I'm using my foot to hold it in place for this picture.



Use non-flammable contact cement to glue styrofoam to the back side of the panel.



Smooth out the edges with a rasp.



To anchor the panel to the wall I'm going to try epoxy and see how it works out. First peel back the Reflectix foil warp from the wall and measure the window frame



The window frame sticks out about 1". Since it was an inch I thought the 1" square metal tube I had on hand would be perfect for an anchor point.



Wire brush off the rust and cut off a 2" long section. Use a pieces of tape to mark the center of the window frame then use 5 minute epoxy to attach the square tube to the van wall.



Do both sides.



The label on the epoxy reads that it works down to 39 degrees but I used a heat gun to warm things up a bit.



Let the epoxy set up for 24 hours. The next day I could pull on the square tubing hard enough to feel the metal wall of the van deforming but it held tight.

Hold the wall panel in place then drilled through the panel onto the square tube long enough to mark it. Then removed the panel and finish drilling a hole in each tube.



The hole is just a starter for #10 x 2-1/2" sheet metal screws. use the screws to hold the panel in place.



It fit snug against the frame at both sides but I thought the bottom could be brought in.



I tried to add a third anchor point at the bottom of the window but as you can see from this picture the weather took a turn for the worse.



With the now colder weather I didn't have the same success with the epoxy on the third anchor point. It just won't hold like the other two. Even tried using a space heater to blow on it but no luck.



The third anchor point isn't as critical as the first two so I'll just wait till there is warmer weather and try again.

continued -

MAU MAU

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Posted: 01/19/12 05:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you noticed a marked difference/improvement in the way your van handles in snow with your newly installed Dana Trak Loc?

If so, I may have the same upgrade done on my Roadtrek 170 which handles quite poorly in the snow.

Thank you in advance..............Rob

WVvan

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Posted: 01/19/12 05:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Have you noticed a marked difference/improvement in the way your van handles in snow with your newly installed Dana Trak Loc?

I had that done a little over 2 years ago. I think it's been worth every penny.

MAU MAU

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Posted: 01/20/12 07:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am glad to hear that you are pleased with the results, and coming from a man with your mechanical aptitude, that truly means something.

Keep up the outstanding work and thank you again for your timely response.

Best regards................Rob

WVvan

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Posted: 01/23/12 08:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Rob but I think you're giving me too much credit. I'm just making it up as I go.

Side Window Framing continued:

Next job is to cover the panel with the blue velour fabric I bought from Sportsmobile. This one will be more difficult from the other panels because of the window opening. I sacrificed a section of fabric working out how to do the opening.


Probably the best way to do this would involve a sewing machine and some skills I don't have. Instead I did it this way. Cover each of the inside corners with cloth and glue down.


To get the cloth to lie flat on the inside corner there has to be several radial cuts.


Glue down the fabric making sure there are no wrinkles.


Cut around the window opening leaving 2" - 3" of border. Make three cuts at each corner. Don't cut too far in.


Glue and tape the straight sections of the window opening. Use the tape to pull the cloth so there are no wrinkles.


Carefully glue and tape each of the inside corner wedges. Don't get any contact cement on the visible parts. Again use the tape to pull cloth tight.


Wait a day for the contact cement to dry then remove all tape. Everything was secure. I'm not 100% happy with this method but it does work. The cuts in the corners blend in with the previously attached cloth to where you don't see them unless you look for them.


Looking ahead a bit, I've used cut out panels of Reflectix as window shades before want to try something different. To attach my new style shades to this window I'm going to use magnets embedded in the panel. For this to work very strong magnets are needed. I happen to have a source close at hand.

If you're like me, and I'm sure you are, there are a bunch of old computer hard drives just laying around.


If you disassemble those drives, among the various parts you'll find metal platters and very strong rare earth magnets.


Each drive will have a pair of magnets mounted within brackets like these. Size and shape will depend upon the drive model and manufacturer.


Carefully pry the magnets from the brackets. Here is an example of how strong they are.
The only thing holding them in place on each side of my fingers is magnetic attraction.


Don't let your fingers get in the way if a pair start to snap together. It will hurt.
Take four of the magnets. One for each corner. If the magnets in this picture weren't attached to the metal table they would flying towards each other.


On the back of the panel cut away a small square of foam insulation to expose the back of the fiberboard. Glue the magnet to the fiberboard then plug the hole with the trimmed down piece of foam that was removed.


That's the end of the prep work for the window panel. Screw it into place in the van.


To cover up the screw heads I ordered some sample colored caps from a company called Pro-Dec Products.


Color #146 seems to be the closest.


Here's how it looks with the colored caps installed.


That finishes the work on the window panel. I still have to re-epoxy the anchor square tube when warm weather arrives. Like I wrote before I'm not 100% happy with the panel and may redo it sometime. It will do for now.

MAU MAU

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Posted: 01/24/12 04:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Parts of hard-drives hidden in the walls?

Looks like you are building a van for the NSA!

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