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Old 04-12-2018, 08:37 PM   #11
Akatdog
2006 3500 170
 
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Similar situation except 4 people but my solution should be adaptable for 5 if you have one sleep up front. Starting at the back of the van 80" rails mounted to sidewall for Adult bed platform. first 3-4 feet from the back door is bike rack/storage. Above this 3 motorcycle ramp bed planks stack with split mattress. Next 4 feet are a dinette and table drops down to form kids lower bunk bed. Rails run from storage area behind dinette seats and the 3 planks pull out to make a full size queen bunk above the dinette. The next 3-4 feet are a mix of counter and full height cabinets for fridge/sink/storage. 2 passenger stock seat mounted in first row position behind drivers seat. You will need a three seater for front bench but for mine the 2 passenger seat will be unlatched and rotated 90 degrees along drivers side wall when parked/camping to open up floor space in front of slider and facilitate parking along the road and looking out on the ocean. Passenger seat swivels for conversation set with 2 passenger seat.

Last edited by Akatdog; 04-12-2018 at 09:23 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:51 PM   #12
Wirelessness
 
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Thanks for all of the responses. I am reading them and taking it to heart.

My primary use case will be in order of usage:
1) Mobile office
2) Bike hauler / gear hauler short trips
3) Extended long range Camper

My work is 100% online based. Right now I work from home everyday and this gets very boring. I want to be able to go out to some of the local and not so local biking and hiking trails. Setup and work for a few hours, then ride/hike for a few hours...repeat as time allows. Or do an overnight once in awhile on my own. Decent amount of AC time would be a nice to have but not 100% required as I don't HAVE to work outside on the hottest days. That said, I am budgeting for a good sized battery bank and as much solar as I can fit. I will make accommodations to charge while driving, from shore power and maybe from a generator as well. Will likely get outside assistance with this part of the build from someone local.

As for camping, I really don't know how much we will do. I picture using the van more as a 'base camp' for getting to trailheads and or different National Parks. I prefer to hike and camp in the back country. My wife..not so much. My kids are still a bit small to go too far into the back country for very long. So we would probably camp where it would be possible to use tents (hammocks in our case) but not always. So I need to retain the ability to sleep all 5 as needed. The goal is to get outside so hopefully we will only get cooped up inside due to bad weather or when passing through an urban area.

Also, when I do have all 5 of us on a trip I won't be working (much) so a dedicated workspace won't be required during those periods.

It's always been a goal to get my family out into the wilderness and to see our National Parks. I'm sure there are easier ways but a Van just seems to open up the most possibilities.
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:21 PM   #13
sprint2freedom
2008 NCV3 170ext
 
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Have you considered a 144wb crew towing an Airstream or Scamp style trailer? Kids sleep in the van, adults in the trailer (or vice versa).

Put the electrical system, solar and mobile office in the van, and run an umbilical to power the trailer. Leave the trailer behind at the campground during the day as a base camp or at home when working or not camping with the whole family.

Your build effort would be reduced since the bed/water/kitchen systems are (presumably) already in the trailer. You get the flexibility of parking a 144, more privacy, and easier day trips (with van only).
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprint2freedom View Post
Have you considered a 144wb crew towing an Airstream or Scamp style trailer?
I initially started researching travel trailers because I already have a pickup. At that time the goal was just for family travel at that time. Airstream is certainly nice but I would lose the ability to work outside the home on a regular basis. I just can't see myself hooking up and towing it around just to get away from my house. After learning about Van conversions I decided I really want that mobility and flexibility. I could probably afford a low cost travel trailer and a Sprinter but not a Sprinter and an Airstream. Airstreams are freaking expensive. You could do some sweet road trips with a setup like you describe though!
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:50 PM   #15
GeorgeRa
2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
 
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

I just read your first and last posts, big project. Really big. I suggest to find a capable van worldwide which would fulfill your needs and use it as a model.

What helped me tremendously in my conversion was knowing exactly what we want and defined specific models to follow, 2 of our previously owned VW Westfalias and the specific Safari Condo.

Your goals are certainly achievable as long you dont embark on too many bleeding trends.

My specific recommendations:
1. Get a 3-seater rock and roll sofa bed from EU. https://www.campervan-hq.com/blogs/n...bench-seat-bed
2. Get solar and batteries from AM Solar.
3. Heating space / water
a. LPG Truma
b. Diesel Webasto Dual Top / Espar D2 / Espar D4/5 + Isotemp
4. Fridge compressor
5. A-B pillars hammock/bed with steel bars for one child a la VW Westfalia
6. Garage - reconsider, it could be a contradiction with 5 people accommodations.
7. Reconsider a van-based C in lieu of a B.

Good luck.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:16 PM   #16
ranchworld
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Here is an idea from England to stack two kids up front.

http://www.cabbunk.co.uk/
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:46 PM   #17
Wirelessness
 
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Thanks for the reply George. I've followed your build with great appreciation.

It's not clear to me how the rock and roll bed would work. I guess that would eliminate the raised bed/garage like you suggest doing.

Really don't want a class C. This won't be a full stealth build but I like the ideas of being able to park/camp where you for sure could not with a C.

It might not work out being very functional for 5 people on any kind of extended trips. If it could work for short term 'emergency' sleeping enroute to various national parks that would still be good.

If I end up with my first priority of a mobile office/bike hauler that can comfortably camp 2 or 3 and 5 in a pinch that would be OK too. When I take my boys camping I often just bring one or two because it's much easier to organize a camping trip with just one or two boys. Then we get more quality time too.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:50 PM   #18
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranchworld View Post
Here is an idea from England to stack two kids up front.

http://www.cabbunk.co.uk/

Hi, Thanks for this post. I have seen these and it confirmed my own idea of making some custom kids hammocks for the van like this or similar to the ones George mentioned that go across the front seats. I already make my own lightweight camping hammocks and could probably come up with something functional. That is in fact my plan A. That or bunks like the ones done by Outsidevan and sold by Adventurewagon. I think something with minimal cabinetry using a raised bed with a combination of bunks/hammocks like above could work. My boys love sleeping in hammocks and bunks :)
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Old 04-13-2018, 03:46 AM   #19
Wirelessness
 
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphite Dave View Post

If interested I can spend time with you to answer some of your questions and show you a completed conversion using 80/20. PM if you want to visit. We live close to Santa Rosa.


Hi Dave,

Ive been reading about your build and the 80/20 thread since probably the first day I started researching conversions. I will absolutely take you up the offer to check out you van and pick your brain. Sonoma county is my old stomping ground. Thanks!!!
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:21 AM   #20
HarryN
 
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Default Re: Trying to find the courage to do a 170WB build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wirelessness View Post
Thanks for all of the responses. I am reading them and taking it to heart.

My primary use case will be in order of usage:
1) Mobile office
2) Bike hauler / gear hauler short trips
3) Extended long range Camper

My work is 100% online based. Right now I work from home everyday and this gets very boring. I want to be able to go out to some of the local and not so local biking and hiking trails. Setup and work for a few hours, then ride/hike for a few hours...repeat as time allows. Or do an overnight once in awhile on my own. Decent amount of AC time would be a nice to have but not 100% required as I don't HAVE to work outside on the hottest days. That said, I am budgeting for a good sized battery bank and as much solar as I can fit. I will make accommodations to charge while driving, from shore power and maybe from a generator as well. Will likely get outside assistance with this part of the build from someone local.

As for camping, I really don't know how much we will do. I picture using the van more as a 'base camp' for getting to trailheads and or different National Parks. I prefer to hike and camp in the back country. My wife..not so much. My kids are still a bit small to go too far into the back country for very long. So we would probably camp where it would be possible to use tents (hammocks in our case) but not always. So I need to retain the ability to sleep all 5 as needed. The goal is to get outside so hopefully we will only get cooped up inside due to bad weather or when passing through an urban area.

Also, when I do have all 5 of us on a trip I won't be working (much) so a dedicated workspace won't be required during those periods.

It's always been a goal to get my family out into the wilderness and to see our National Parks. I'm sure there are easier ways but a Van just seems to open up the most possibilities.
It is relatively straight forward to have 3+ hrs of A/C this way, even with AGM batteries and not using the generator. Going beyond 4 hrs of A/C use per day tends to take you either to LiFe batteries or using a generator in eco mode to supplement the system.
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