Building my Adventure Van (2011 NCV3)

StanStill

Member
Geek, great work! And on behalf of everyone on the forum thank you very much for posting so much great info. I will be borrowing many of our techniques and ideas for my van when it arrives in April.

Question for you, when you are attaching the finished panels I imagine you have each screw hole pre-punched in the masonite and that hole lines up with a rivnut. Is this right or do you use a different method of attaching the panels to the van? This is something I've wondered when looking at OSV conversions too.

Also, how has the masonite held up compared to a 1/4" plywood and did you pick masonite for any particular reason? I'm sure it's easier to cut straight.

Thanks,
Stan
 

Geek

New member
So a long time ago I broke one of the two latches on the fridge and a friend of mine made me a quick and dirty replacement with his 3D printer :thumbup:



It wasn't perfect but it works great.

The other day I mentioned this cool solution to another friend with a 3D printer... and here's what he hands me today:

16 new fridge latches that are PERFECT copies of the original.

In black.
In grey.
in Yellow
and in Glow in the Dark plastic (incase I need to get a beer in the middle of the night? :lol: ).



Awesome :rad:
If you know anyone who needs latches for their RV fridge let me know :smilewink:

I think I'll swap mine out for some glow in the dark ones :thumbup:
 

Geek

New member
Geek, great work! And on behalf of everyone on the forum thank you very much for posting so much great info. I will be borrowing many of our techniques and ideas for my van when it arrives in April.

Question for you, when you are attaching the finished panels I imagine you have each screw hole pre-punched in the masonite and that hole lines up with a rivnut. Is this right or do you use a different method of attaching the panels to the van? This is something I've wondered when looking at OSV conversions too.

Also, how has the masonite held up compared to a 1/4" plywood and did you pick masonite for any particular reason? I'm sure it's easier to cut straight.

Thanks,
Stan

Which panels do you mean?

My 8020 structure is all done with M8 rivnuts.

The fabric/cloth panelled walls are actually mounted with self-tapping screws (although I pre-drill pilot holes). I managed to source the same screws that OSV uses - I really like the flat black look and the "faux washer" gives it a much larger contact head.

Here are the actual screws:
I think I posted a picture long ago in this thread.. but they look like this:



and I think I ordered them here:

http://bit.ly/1K6Yroi


I worked a bit more on interior panels tonight in fact:


I hope this helps :cheers:
 

Geek

New member
I live on the side of a mountain at 8000ft (as I'm sure you've all figured out due to me bitching about my driveway :lol: ).

To get home, we have to climb 2500 ft in 7 miles up a canyon.
Tight, twisty and steep - even includes a nasty decreasing radius corner that the harley guys seem to crash in every weekend :crazy: )
Ooodles of wildlife - Moose, Elk, Deer, Bear and Mountain Lions being the bigger ones. In fact a neighbor ran off the road the other morning dodging 3 elk in the dark on her morning commute.

The last time I had my Sprinter in for service they gave me a fancy loaner that had the headlights that looked into the corners - WOW what a difference. It made me realize I need more light when traversing the canyon in the dark (which is currently both morning and evening commutes).

I don't exactly have the time to try and engineer or retrofit my own "steering headlights".. but what I can do is put a bunch of light up on the roof aimed in every direction.. turning the night into day :rad:

I'm considering a pair of 32" light bars or perhaps a single 50" light bar along the lines of one of these:


I know the Rigid lights are far superior - but in this case I don't need to go 100mph offroad int he desert - I just want to light up the canyon from wall to wall as I cruise up and down it at 40mph - so one of the cheap chinese knockoffs might fit the bill nicely.

That said.. I need to be able to toggle this sucker off and on INSTANTLY. The last thing I want to do is blind one of my neighbors who is coming the other way. As it is, I'm a very tentative driver and I watch for oncoming lights on the canyon wall and make sure I dim my high beams before the oncoming car rounds the corner.

...which is convenient for the headlights as the stick is on the column.

On another forum we were talking about this and I mentioned that I wish I could get one of those old foot switches from the 70s - where you have the highbeam on the floor and your left foot toggled it effortlessly - like this flash from the past (pun!)


It would be perfect! I could toggle my "for offroad use only" lightbar off and on in an instant without having to remove my hands from the wheel.

Last night a package arrived.

I opened it and inside this is what I found:




It is the foot-mounted push to talk assembly for a blackhawk helicopter!
Sent to me by a friend on another forum who has access to such things.

I think this is going to be perfect (and badass!) :rad:

Not only do I think it is going to work GREAT but what a cool story too - "yeah my lights are controlled by blackhawk helicopter parts" :smilewink:

Perhaps I'm just easily amused. :smirk:

p.s. And the other bonus of the lightbar is those Friday-night-after-work runs out to Moab (which have me getting there at 10pm) will find it a lot easier to find that back-country desert camping spot with the light bar.
 

Badroadcamper

Precision engineer
Looking forward to hear about your experiences with the led light bar.

I think the front of the Sprinter high roof is perfect for fitting one of those, and I myself am thinking of buying one.

I´m also interested in the quality of the Chinese versions. Normally I don´t like Chinese shi*.

Kim
 

baldbemused

New member
Hello from Connecticut. I just spent three days reading your entire Sprinter build story. Now I have to wait for new posts in real time - hope you keep 'em coming. Thanks so much, you have inspired and educated me - and many others I'm sure. Waiting for my 144 Crew Van, and fretting that I should have gone for the 4x4. We just got 32 inches of snow and more to come! Wishing you safe adventures!
 

StanStill

Member
Which panels do you mean?

My 8020 structure is all done with M8 rivnuts.

The fabric/cloth panelled walls are actually mounted with self-tapping screws (although I pre-drill pilot holes). I managed to source the same screws that OSV uses - I really like the flat black look and the "faux washer" gives it a much larger contact head.
Perfect! That's exactly what I was wondering. Self tapping screws would make installing the panels a lot easier. I'm a big fan of the flat black look too. Thanks for the help!
 

ranchworld

'06 158 2500 Passenger
Last time I had big lights on a van I ran them off a relay tied into the highbeam power. The big lights had a separate on/off switch but power was controlled by the stalk highbeam switch. I could run low lights, high and high with big. Oncoming traffic I just clicked the stalk. Can this be done with CANBUS?
 

raisin

New member
Geek wanted to add my $0.02 and say thanks for such an informative post. gf and i bought a 2005 sprinter interstate rv but it really isn't made to go where i want to go having had a ford quigley4x4 van for the past few decades.
seriously looking at the mb 4x4. lookd like maybe i'll have to wait for 2016 due to production limitations but that's ok, it will take me that long to digest all you have written....

ty

mark
 
You guys in Colorado sure are creative, have great taste, and big-time DIY skills.

Put me on the list of folks interested in this one when you're ready for a 4x4!
 

pfflyer

Well-known member
You guys in Colorado sure are creative, have great taste, and big-time DIY skills.

Put me on the list of folks interested in this one when you're ready for a 4x4!
Could it be because pot is legal?:hmmm: I guess if that was it, there would be a lot of ideas but nothing would get done.
 

Geek

New member
LOL re: pot.

We were in the van down in Texas this winter and every time we mentioned to someone of the younger generation that we were from Colorado all they wanted to talk about was pot.
They were sorely disappointed to learn that, even though we legally can, we don't bother to partake

:lol:
 

Geek

New member
Last time I had big lights on a van I ran them off a relay tied into the highbeam power. The big lights had a separate on/off switch but power was controlled by the stalk highbeam switch. I could run low lights, high and high with big. Oncoming traffic I just clicked the stalk. Can this be done with CANBUS?
I've strictly avoided the canbus entirely.
My light bar and exterior lights will all be running off my internal 330ah of batteries.
I also run my stereo off my house batteries so I can jam out for days on end when camping and the van will still start :rad:

:bounce:

:cheers:
 

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