My favorite way to fill a bolt hole is with a bolt, if the back side is accessable to tighten the nut. A carriage bolt has a gently rounded head which usually is visually acceptable, but if I need a nearly flush finish I grind it down or use a flat head machine screw. The bolt can, and probably should. be smaller than the hole to keep the head small. In either case, use sealant to waterproof the joint.
J Weld is great. Grind smooth then prime & paint to protect. My van is also about 90% complete. My problem is that I can't stop going back & making modifications. Need to focus. I dream up my projects while driving, my second addiction. Interesting thing is that the more my son's friends marvel at all the******I have done the cooler he thinks it is.
Hal the Van is at the shop tonight getting some welding work done on a couple of places that need more than what I can do with Bondo.
Anyway I have a new question. I'm drawing up my van layout and am leaving the right rear corner (passenger side) of the van free for a possible toilet. I'm not sure if I'll add one but want to leave enough space for a future installation. This would be free standing, not an enclosure. Also not sure of what type I'd go with (Porta, blackwater).
What is the minimum space (width) I should leave free?
On a separate note, here is the wiring scheme:
Since must of my camping is boondocking I have fairly simple shore power set-up. Unplug the two 120 AC outlets from the inverter and plug them into shore power. Since the inverter will be the biggest power draw I should be able to run the 12V DC side from the solar panel. Use the charger for when I get home.
* This post was
edited 08/10/09 08:48pm by WVvan *
For sealing holes, especially when drilling them in the roof, 3M makes a great sealant that is a little expensive but worth it. It's been long enough since I put the two solar panels on my van that I forget the product info. Do a search with 3M for automotive projects and look for the sealant they prescribe for between fenders and body, etc.
GMC Conversion van/Wells Cargo MiniWagon trailer
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Plug the holes with hole plugs. Do a search for "3/4 hole plugs". (no kidding) Example here: hole plugs
You don't need to do much.
I built a bed from 2x8 and 1/2 inch ply. Size to fit available mattress. 1x3 inside 3 inches below the top edge holds plywood in place and leaves a 2 inch lip to hold mattress, too. good storage under.
Everthing else is trim. Cheap "blue tarp makes awning.
Custom toilet seat from Cabela's fits a plastic bucket. (line w/ plastic bag for easy clean up)
Get a hibachi or cheap gril. Keep charcoal dry and fresh in plastic bucket and cap.
The only thing I'd recommend is a higher amperage charger.
I'm running 2 12 volts, but when I do need to plug in and use a charger, my 25 amp charger takes too long, because it only puts out 25 amps in the beginning.
If a 15 amp charger tapered the amps at the same rate, it will take forever to bring your twin 6 volts back up past 85%.
I used to have 3 12 volts and would use the 130 watt solar in the coastal desert to charge all 3. The monitor would say 100% daily, but the day after I'd hit them with 25 amps they'd hold more voltage overnight.
Now I have only the 2 remaining in parallel I can tell that 230 A/his a better match with my 130 watt panel.
I've found I don't need 345 a/h of batteries, and when I can afford it, I'm getting 2 31DC36 Crown 12 volts @ 140 A/h a piece and only charging one at a time with the solar or alternator and solar combo, and keeping the other one isolated, and switching the load/charge battery every other day or 2 via my boat battery 1,2,Both,Off switch.
I have not used a "starting battery" in years, the Everstart dual purpose quasi deep cycles have enough CCA to crank my V8. In fact my engine compartment battery tray has been empty for well over a year now. My house batteries are #2, and I just leave the Perko switch to #2.
I didn't know about the hole plugs. Live and learn. In this case there was also a rust issue so I did the grinder->wire brush->rust preventer->bondo->primer->paint route.
I've seen the toilet seat + plastic combo. That might be a little too basic for me.
I know the 15 amp charger will take a while but since I'm usually a weekend camper it will have most of the week to recharge the batteries. That should be enough time. Also keeping the van as a 15 amp system simplifies things.
The batteries will be stored in a vented box directly behind the drivers seat.
Here's the reason for the welding.
After removing the rear cargo mat and padding found this underneath.
There are four large bolts that secure the van to the under frame.
The rearmost set of bolts, a couple of feet from the back doors, shows bubbling under the paint.
After grinding off the paint and chipping at the rust underneath you have this:
I'd try to make a provision for shore power charging on the road. Redundancy is a good thing. My integrated Prosine inverter/charger will start charging at around 100a. It uses a temp sensor on the battery bank to help max out the charging rate. Useful for quickly feeding a kw-hr into a bank w/o waiting around too long.
Many of us portapotty partisans store it under a shelf and bring it out to an aisle for use. I think my size 14 feet take more floor space than the potty itself.
Not an unreasonable idea to have a dedicated-toilet spot planned for. If you found the potty or equally good lined-bucket not to your preferences you could give up some nonessential space like a storage area. I'd still start with the noninstalled since its cheap and easy to care for.
02 Freightliner Sprinter 2500 long tall home brew conversion