Building my Adventure Van (2011 NCV3)


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Your pictures of your curtains got me thinking. I am in the process of figuring out how to plug the holes on the sides of the headliner where I removed the two plastic styrofoam blocks.
The EXACT same thought occurred to me last night:

"I've been trying to figure out what to do with these holes on the edge of the headliner.. I guess that problem just got solved!" :cheers:

Great idea with the paint rollers Dave.. I've been trying to figure out what to use as a "rod". As they are now, I've just clamped them to the van. I don't think I need to add insulation to these.. they are double layered and a very thick material. They worked great at holding the heat in the cab this morning.
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Making some progress on the floor...

It is like putting your own giant wooden jigsaw puzzle together :rofl
The miter saw and the table saw are both getting a workout...

Things are going to look much better when I finally get rid of the grey walls.... but that won't be before this trip.


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I dunno that the iphone reproduces colors very well (it doesn't have much of a dynamic range) so here's a few photos with the NEX5.

Of course some day the walls will be a matching earth tone and the drapes will all be properly framed with rollers, etc... which leads to the over head bins.. which.. yada yada yada :laughing:

..but for now I'm seeking function over form. :thumbup:

Here is what the colors really look like:

The loose rail of 80/20 laying on the floor is the startings of a "cooler holder" for the coming trip :deal

er.. assuming I don't run out of time... I still haven't finished the bed (I hate carpeting) :smirk:
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Floor edging:

I'm not sure exactly what to do about edging.

I like how the step aluminum turned out in the foreground... but I'm not too sure I like the stuff I tried on the back wall

I tried the same thing down each side of the isle...

I think I might try and come up with something aluminum all the way around instead.



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Where do you hide the weed?

Oh wait, its Colorado. You can get high with the law enforcement professionals.

Never mind.


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I'm not a weed smoker.. but Colorado is definitely the "wild west" in that context at the moment.
A little town near here named Nederland has voted weed is legal in every context... sales, distribution, posession etc.

Nederland sits on a state highway (we call peak to peak highway).

So in theory..

If you got caught with a pound of weed in your car on peak to peak highway (which is a speed trap town.. I've been pulled over there twice in there 25mph zone) by one of the 3 nederland cops, you'd not get in any trouble at all.. but if you got caught by state trooper or a federal ranger in the same place you'd go to prison.

Sooner or later they're going to have to figure all this out. :smirk:


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I'm going to be installing the maxxair fan tomorrow.
Dave's orton diy PDF file has made the job much easier :cheers:

Ready for tomorrows chopping :rad:

Cheryl ran out and got some butyl sealant for me (home depot didn't have any) and while she was there she got her version of a guy's "nalogene in the sleeping bag" :smirk:

While she was gone I got some more carpeting done...

and I mounted the platforms with hardware so they can't go flying in an accident. I need to figure out what I'm going to put where and build an 80/20 frame to lock the forward stuff down.
In the future a kitchen will go here.
For now I need to put a cooler, a porta potty and a Mr. Heater in this space.



Active member
We replaced our portapotti with a Luggable Loo about two years ago. Pee bottles get most of the use anyway and the wife finds the feminine device quite acceptable.

We prefer the odorless solution of bagging the solids and disposing. Used the Loo twice on a 10 week trip. (Certainly appreciated having it when needed.)

Just a mention since the Loo is slightly taller than the squatty potty and you might want to keep the Loo option if you're building a storage area.




How did you mount the carpeted ply to the 80/20? What thickness ply did you use?

Looking good, I plan on working on my van tomorrow and updating my thread with photos.

f. :cheers:


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How did you mount the carpeted ply to the 80/20? What thickness ply did you use?

Looking good, I plan on working on my van tomorrow and updating my thread with photos.

f. :cheers:

With a bolt and washer on top bolting through into an 80/20 t-nut in the rail it is sitting on.
The ply is 1/2" birch. Saved quite a bit of weight (and I ran an 80/20 rail across the middle of each for strength because I was concerned about rail flex with my boxes being so large).



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"Industrial Erector Set".


So I wanted to secure things but I didn't want to make any cuts on any of my existing 80/20 because it is all "spoken for" when I build the kitchen...

So literally using leftovers (and 2 four foot rails which I didn't cut).. I started bolting things together and voila...

literally 10 seconds and one screw adjustment:

...this was one of the main reasons I chose to build the van like I am. I can literally reconfigure things as needed on the fly with an allen wrench.

When we get home and I want to remove everything it is literally two bolts holding the entire structure to the main rail :thumbup:
In theory, I might make the entire kitchen a module that bolts in/out (haven't decided yet...)?


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So I had to go for a "squeak test".

We have a washboard dirt road about a mile from us that leads to a lake.

Cheryl & I jumped in the van and headed to the lake. Then we climbed in the back and took a 45 minute nap :hugs:

When we woke up from our nap and I opened the sliding door.. there was a Boulder County Sheriff beside us (yes really!) :wtf:

Note to self: take a look out the window before revealing that you are inside. :lol:

The Sheriff just waved as we drove away. :thumbup:

The good news? No squeaks! :rad:


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Note on the following post:

Graphite Dave put together an install post a while ago here:

In that post he included a PDF file that is extremely helpful, along with his idea of re-enforcing the fan. I'm following Dave's lead completely. This was all his great idea :thumbup:

Thanks Dave! :cheers:

That said, I'll continue with writing in my "way too much details that nobody cares about" fashion :bounce:


How to install a Maxxair Fan:

Episode 1: Preparation

So tomorrow is the big day.. cutting a 14" square hole in the roof :crazy: to install the Maxxfan. I worked for a while this evening getting things ready for tomorrow so that my "exposure" time when the van is cut open is minimal.

Making sure I have all the stuff I need (I'd hate to have to run to home depot with a hole in the roof :laughing: )

Butyl tape, primer (to prime the metal after I cut it - re-sealing the paint), masking tape (to hopefully keep the primer from getting where I don't want it), OSI sealant (for my second layer of waterproofness) and a caulking gun, Dynaflex 230 (for my 3rd layer of waterproofness:

The maxxfan includes a little plastic lip that goes in the hole, and then that lip bolts to the roof and the fan bolts to the lip. You can see that mounting lip in this photo I've posted before:

The issue with a Sprinter is that the roof is a whopping 1/8" thick. Not thick enough to bolt the fan frame to. So the solution is to build a 3/4" wooden frame that'll go inside the van and the fan will bolt to it. I just made this one out of 3/4" by 1.5" pine:

I threw away the woodscrews the fan came with for mounting and got all stainless hardware with nylon lock nuts:

The next potential issue is that over time, the plastic frames of RV vents/fans tend to weaken with age and then crack around all the bolt holes.

I really do want to (in a perfect world, knock wood) keep this thing for 10+ years... and I don't want to have to redo the roof vent (or develop leaks) in that time. Solution? An aluminum reinforcement strip all the way around on top of the stock plastic mount (as per Dave's idea) :thumbup:

First I cut two 17" pieces and two 12" pieces:

Then drill holes 3/8" back to line up with the holes in the plastic.
The four corner holes are 9/16" back (as per Dave's PDF):

and voila!

This is how things will go on the van:
My aluminum on top, then the plastic stock mount, then my layer of butyl/goop/etc, then the roof of the van, then the wooden box on the inside of the van. Then bolt it all together (I hope!).

I still have to around the corners of the aluminum and make it fit/look nice.

The Plan:

So! In the morning, if everything goes to plan I will...
spray the aluminum strips I made with the white primer.
create a 14" square template out of some light masonite.
use the masonite as a template to get the hole exactly where I want it.
Drill each corner with a small drill bit.
Drill each corner with a 7/8" hole saw to give me nice rounded corners that are tangental @ exactly 14".
Cut the square out.
Lightly sand the edges, tape off, and spray with primer inside & out.
Let primer dry.
Go around the edge of the hole with 320.
Go around the 320 with butyl tape.
Put the plastic mounting frame in the hole.
Go around the mounting frame with OSI.
Put my aluminum strips over the mounting frame.
Squirt some 320 in each bolt hole and then insert the 16 bolts.
Bolt the wooden frame up to the 16 bolts from the bottom.
Squirt some 320 on each bolt head to make sure every bolt is completely waterproof
Let it set up for a while.
Insert and mount the maxxair in the hole.

...then I'll try and figure out how to wire it up and make it work :smilewink:

(sorry.. I wrote all of those steps for myself to reference when I'm doing it :professor: ).

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
80/20 is neat stuff! Excellant choice for what we are doing. Looks like you will have what you need done for the trip. One comment on the portapotty: I have not built it yet but will hang the portapotty off the shower wall at the normal toilet height. You might consider that.


New member
The theory behind my sealing "collection":

We are in winter here in Colorado. Most sealants (the 230 included) need 40 degrees minimum. The forecast high tomorrow is 47 degrees meaning it will only be above 40 for a couple of hours.

The OSI Quad on the other hand is usable down to -7 degrees but warns about gassing fumes "Not recommended for use inside occupied structures"...

The 230 is "inside friendly" and has no gassing issues.

So my theory is that I'm doing the OSI quad as the outside bead (no internal exposure) and then the 230 as the internal bead (but it takes longer to set and requires 40 degrees, etc).

So the OSI can protect the 230 while it cures :bounce:


New member
80/20 is neat stuff! Excellant choice for what we are doing. Looks like you will have what you need done for the trip. One comment on the portapotty: I have not built it yet but will hang the portapotty off the shower wall at the normal toilet height. You might consider that.
Thanks for the advice :cheers:

I'm planning a similar approach. When we build the front half of the van's cabinetry I was going to build the potty into a "flip open cabinet" so its completely stealth. I am planning to raise the potty within this cabinet.

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