2010 3500 RV build

hein

Van Guru


Introduction
We purchased this van used in the fall of 2012 with the intention of converting it to an fully equipped RV. Plus we had a business goal of discovering and developing products to offer to fellow DIY van upfitters. I joined and had been reading and learning from this forum for about a year prior.

When we became new owners, the van had already been up-fitted with CR Laurence windows and interior panels. The interior has a thin plywood (luan?) backing. The walls are laminated with thin black rubber sheet about 24" up from the floor. From there up and on the ceiling it's padded and upholstered with interweave fabric. The interior looks nice and is one of the primary reasons we bought this van. The factory floor was covered with a black rubber mat. There is a forward vent fan and rear vent in the roof and some LED ceiling lights. The previous owner had fabricated a two level elevated bed frame out of steel thinwall square tubing with plywood panels. It was self supporting and loosely attached to the walls with sheetmetal screws. I removed all that and cut it up to use as materials in the build.

The interior panels had been done by Van Specialties in Portland. It's nice to have a professionally done interior as a basis for our conversion. All the interior panels and the floor have since been removed to add wiring, upgraded insulation, more accessories, etc. We sealed all exposed plywood on the backs of the panels with 2 coats of odorless water based polyurethane. It took all of a gallon. I don't care for 'plywood' smell and this really helps reduce it. The wall panels are set aside and will be modified and reinstalled later.

Getting Started
One of the first things I wanted to do was paint the seat pedestals. White is great on the outside. But not so much for interior parts, imo.



I removed the pedestals to do some wiring and to put a sub amp under the passenger seat. While they were out, I cleaned them with a Scotch Brite pad and sprayed the outside with Rustoleum multicolor textured paint in the color 'Aged Iron'. This finish will be used through out the interior.

So with that done, the rest of the conversion can begin. The design was completed in 3D CAD as the project progressed.
Pdf document showing the layout and list of major components

Our thanks:
We wish to thank everyone for all the positive and constructive compliments, comments and feedback. And this forum for making that possible. And a huge Thank You to our customers for supporting us. We hope you find some useful information that will allow you to complete and enjoy your van. Feel free to contact us at your convenience.

Thank you,
Hein & Kim
DIYvan.com
https://stores.ebay.com/impactproducts
Impact, Inc.
Bus. location: 1512A Osprey Drive
Hood River, OR 97031
Hein 541 490 5098
Kim 541 490 4292

Notes:

1. This thread contains links to (most) all the supplies and components used, including fasteners and other doo/dads. If you can't find it, PM me.

2. Best way to find something specific is to use the Search Function. Easiest way is to PM me and I'll send you a link.

3. All of the fabricated components are defined by 3D CAD models/drawings/CNC paths so can be produced again. PM me if you are interested in a specific component. Some are already available via the following links:

Ebay Store: https://www.ebay.com/sch/impactproducts/m.html

Ford Transit build: https://www.fordtransitusaforum.com...-130wb-medium-roof-sports-wagon-r-d-work.html

We also own DIYvan.com
 
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mugget

New member
Re: Painted the seat pedestals

Nifty! I think you'er onto something there! It definitely looks good.
 

hein

Van Guru
Re: Painted the seat pedestals

Thanks for the compliments. The color is (inappropriately) called aged iron. This stuff goes on thick so it took almost 4 cans for each pedestal.

I had the floor and the lower portion of the interior skin Rhino Lined. I found that water comes in past the clips that hold the trim on the side of the van so I had the holes for those sealed. Jack's Body Shop did the work.

My plan is to fill the floor channels with rubber strips and then put down a full layer of 1/4" thick rubber mat from Oregon Rubber Mat. Some kind of thin harder floor will go over that. The Rhino Lining is a nice working surface in the mean time.

That's my sub box/work bench and a Coleman camp chair where I sit and think about what all I left to do, lol.





 
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GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
Re: Painted the seat pedestals

Very nice wiring work, I was contemplating about using conduits but windows restrict available room for wiring so there was not much room for conduits.

How were the outer trim fasteners sealed? I should have done it with side panels off but they are reasonably easy to remove.

George.
 

hein

Van Guru
Re: Painted the seat pedestals

They were sprayed over with the Rhino stuff. I don't think that much water gets in under normal conditions but I washed under the trim at the car wash a number of times to remove road grime. I could see stains were the water had run down the inside under the many of the holes.

The conduit is for the AC. DC is automotive grade wire protected by plastic split looms and grommets where appropriate. Many of the boxes and conduit is held in place using VHB.

I suppose I should ask the mods turn this thread into a write up. More details to come.
 

hein

Van Guru
Re: Painted the seat pedestals

I've been working on the audio/video system. There is a Kenwood (AM/FM/CD/DVD/etc) head unit in the dash, back up camera over the rear door, sub woofer amp under the passenger seat, and TV to the right of the passenger side sliding door.

The rear TV is connected to the head unit video/audio out for DVD playback. Also, a video+audio source runs the from back to front so the TV sound can be piped through the audio system and a future video source can be seen on the head unit. I also have HDMI wires going to the TV from a future overhead cabinet where a Blueray/DVD and satellite box will be located. There are RF cables for cable and roof top antenna going to an A/B switch and then to the TV RF in. All those wires combined with speakers and power/ground make for quite bundle.

I upgraded to Infinity speakers in the doors and added two more in the headliner in back over the TV. There will be a 10" sub in the back somewhere. I disconnected the OEM center dash speaker and retained the OEM dash tweeters.

I robbed the blocks off the side of the OEM radio and mounted them to the new head unit. Makes it very sturdy.



And machined some adapter rings (which we sell on ebay) for the 6.5" door speakers.



More....

TV install test. The TV will either be removed from the arm or strapped to a cradle for travel.



Head Unit installed with toggle switch (lower left of adapter panel) to transfer the audio/video system from vehicle power to coach power. The head unit, sub amp and 12V TV each have a relay that allows them to be switched between vehicle or coach power. The relays are controlled by the switch.

 
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hein

Van Guru
Re: Painted the seat pedestals

Next up: Replace rear vent with Mach8 9200 BTU rooftop unit:



The squares with the + drawn (sharpie) on the roof are where the foam blocks
on the bottom of the AC pan will be located. This is too plan the layout
of the rear support frame yet to be fabricated.
 
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hein

Van Guru
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

AC support framing weldments:

Cross member weld fixture. Needed to make four identical cross members to go
longitudinally between the OEM roof cross members.



Front Frame welded. It goes around the 14x14 hole and supports the roof opening. The formed metal frame lying on top is used to clamp the unit against the roof with 4 long screws.



Rear Frame test fit. This holds up the 4 supports on the rear of the AC unit where the compressor and condenser fan are located.



Both frames will be bolted in place using 1/4-20 rivet nuts and glued to the skin with 3M urethane window weld adhesive.

P.S. We filled the roof ribs with expanding foam and sealed the holes with Dynamat. (-Which was a bad idea because the expanding foam did not cure and kept running out on sunny days. We now recommend pulling Thinsulate strips into the ribs.)
 
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hein

Van Guru
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

Got the rear AC frame installed. I filled it with expanding foam first. VHB tape is between the frame and the cross members. ABS blocks & shims fill the space between the frame and the inside of the roof where the A/C supports will be on the outside. I used 3M fast set polyurethane adhesive (window weld) to glue the ABS to the roof. I had to run conduit through this frame. I used a section of smaller diameter conduit and slid the smurf tube over the ends held with some PVC glue.


image note: We also injected foam into the van roof cross members and used strips of Dynamat to seal the holes. (-Which was a bad idea because the expanding foam did not cure and kept running out on sunny days. We now recommend pulling Thinsulate strips into the ribs.)



I used the remaining tube of Window Weld to re-attach the exterior body panels to the space frame. There were a number of places that were completely loose. Not sure what causes them to come loose. Maybe the sliding door since most of the failed adhesive was on that side. I think some of the panels were even rattling.



Also painted the A/C inside assembly to match the interior. Rustoleum Aged Iron texture paint again.



The picture below shows the headliner that came in the van. I painted the fan to match it too. I've started insulating from front to back with 3M Thinsulate held in place with 3M 90 spray adhesive. Then a vapor barrier of taped on Reflectix. Not sure I'll follow the same exact scheme on the walls. I will use more Thinsulate but may add some sort of rigid foam first.

I've installed Thinsulate over the cab headliner, behind the door panels, and behind the trim on the A & B pillars. All the doors and every unsupported panel has been damped using a 9 pack of 18x22 sheets of Dynamat Extreme which I got online from Best Buy. We are quite happy with how quiet the front is even though its basically a wall-less cargo van in the back right now.

 
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hein

Van Guru
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

I needed a way to work on the roof and I didn't want to risk denting the sheetmetal with my knees. So I built a platform that rests in the roof rail channels. (my van doesn't have rails yet). I used it to remove the rear vent which will be replaced with the roof AC.

Removing the vent was quite the chore due to it being well sealed. I had already loosened the screws by grabbing them on the inside with needle nose vice grips and then turning them out. Most of the heads popped through the sealant on the outside so they were easy remove the rest of the way with a screwdriver. I used a wire wheel on a drill to scour away sealant around the perimeter of the vent's flange. Then I was able to get under it with a putty knife. I used silicon spray so my putty knife wouldn't stick as I ran it around and under the flange. Once it started coming up, it lifted up and out easily. Some 3M adhesive remover spray removed the remaining adhesive quite easily. I love that stuff.

Work platform and ladder looks a little sketch but actually quite safe when you take a closer look. I have a helper hold down the platform through the roof opening when I go up the ladder. There are tabs to keep the ladder from sliding off to the sides. The end rails are cedar decking and plywood is from a bed that was in the van when we got it. There are a couple of 2x4 cross members underneath the plywood.



 
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hein

Van Guru
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

Some text & pictures copied/moved from another thread on proposed electrical systems:

I built the electrical system on it's own chassis. This has allowed me to get it all set up on the bench leaving only the battery, shore power and individual circuit connections once installed. One of the reasons I choose the Magnum Inverter is that they provided a 3D CAD file that allowed me to design around their unit.



Earlier picture of a test fit I did after I got the parts from the place that profiled and formed them:



Here are a few notes on the system I have in the works for this van

1. All AC loads go through the Inverter. Switching between shore power and inverter power will use the internal x-fer relays.

2. There is a dedicated 30A Blue Sea breaker between the shore power plug and the inverter.

3. A large Blue sea DC switch is used in reverse to distribute 12V power to the inverter (position 1) and the DC panel (position 2).
This allows isolation of each or all off.

4. There will be a 400 A fuse under the vehicle where the battery cables converge.
I considered terminal fuses on each battery but not going to take it that far. I'm double insulating all my 4/0 cables.

5. There are 2 shunts for current monitoring. A large Magnum shunt monitors the whole system via the Magnum remote.
A smaller shunt is used by the ammeter on the DC panel.

6. Many of the connections are made using solid copper bus bars to save space and reduce voltage drop.
I replaced some of the wiring on the Blue Sea panel with custom bus bars.

More test fitting below. Positive connections are fully insulated in the final assembly.
 
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GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

Impressive,

1. I like the concept of building the electrical system into a unit.
2. Great space saving with copper bars instead of cables, looks good too.

Questions:
1. What is you plan for AC/DC grounds?
2. Are you planning to use alternator as the charging source?
3. How did you connect 2 DC shunts?

Thank you for reporting your progress.

George.
 

mugget

New member
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

:wtf:

That has to be the largest control panel I've ever seen! :bounce:

All aboard Starship Sprinter 3500, travelling to the farthest reaches of the Sprinterverse! :smirk:

Very impressive work - you just set a new standard for me to aspire to!
 

hein

Van Guru
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

1. What is you plan for AC/DC grounds?
AC ground and DC ground will be connected to the chassis. AC neutral is automatically bonded to ground in the inverter when it is running. Otherwise neutral bonding occurs in the system I connect to when plugged in. This is per the MS manual. excerpt below:

http://www.impact3d.com/Magnum_MS_series_nuetral-to-ground_safety_system.jpg

2. Are you planning to use alternator as the charging source?
Yes, my van has a 220A alternator and I have the Magnum battery combiner. I may have an auxiliary alternator installed by Upscale Automotive. Mercedes Info here. The additional alternator will be needed if I want to run the rooftop air conditioner off the inverter. I will probably add a solar panel at some point. I'll just hop over to your build thread to spec that, thank you.

3. How did you connect 2 DC shunts?

diagram created using Digikey Schemeit
 
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hein

Van Guru
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

Finally got the forward support frame for the roof AC done and installed. While test fitting it I decided there was not enough structure carrying the load out to the side walls. So I extended the mounting flanges so they would reinforce the middle roof cross member. The roof is much less flimsy now. Pictures:

The weldment with extended mounting flanges.


Paint removed from cross member for optimum adhesive performance. 3M Window Weld 08609


Installed.
 
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mugget

New member
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

I had to look up the data sheet on that Window Weld, I was surprised that any auto product would recommended to be used on bare metal (aside from etch primer!)

Where did you get the info that it's best to apply on bare metal? Because the 3M data sheet says to prime any bare metal (it actually says to be careful removing any old glass so you don't scratch the metal)...
 

hein

Van Guru
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

I guess I should have read the data sheet so thanks for the heads up. I think it will be fine since it is on the inside of the van. -and there are 12 screws too. I just checked the bond and I can't peel the adhesive off the metal but I can peel it off the paint pretty easily.

I know a common problem with windshields comes from scratches that are created when the windshield is removed that are not later covered with some primer or the adhesive when the new windshield is installed. - leading to rust.

I'll paint over any remaining bare metal with some white spray paint. I'm glad to have the roof reinforced for the AC unit. The roof is pretty flimsy to begin with.
 
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mean_in_green

>2,000,000m in MB vans
Re: 2010 3500 RV build (formerly painted seat pedestals)

Well done - that's not the first solution ever posted to overcome rooftop access without damage but it definitely gets my vote. Love it! I walked on my T1N roof once - never again...
 

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