2010 3500 RV build

hein

Van Guru
First, I must compliment you on your clever workmanship and design techniques. (I wish I had a CNC Router when I was building mine).

A little tip... The fresh water tank appears to be made of white Polypropylene. However the action of daylight can cause an algal growth within the tank. Even when mounted under the van. Here in NZ it is a requirement to comply for Certified Containment Certificate to ensure that all fresh water pipes and fixed tanks are opaque to light.
Sooo... We either make the tank out of black polypropylene or paint the tank and any clear plastic hoses under the van with black paint. Problem solved!

Cheers

Ross
Ross,
Thank you for the compliment and doubly for the tip regarding the algae growth. I'll have to check around to see which paints adhere well to polyethylene. I have some thin black ABS which I could put under the tank for added protection. Maybe some undercoat spray will do on the sides and top.

George,
Good idea to reinforce the cross members. I knew that I had seen done that somewhere. Thanks for the reminder.

Dave,
Awesome link/install. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm looking at but will in due time. Amazing documentation as well. I've perused many of your drawings. It's people like you who make working on Sprinters so much fun!


I fiddled around with the tank today and ended up making the outer frame for the tray. I need to add a few cross pieces to tie the long sides together where the hangers will be. Then make 5 more hangers and drill some holes. I'm still trying to grasp the fill. I'll have enough clearance above the tank for an elbow. I could go straight out the side of the van right there. But if I can snake a hose down and fill from underneath that would be cool. If my vent is big enough I should not pressurize the tank. Right?

 
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Oldfartt

Member
Hein,

If you put a piece of plywood under the tray this would stop most rocks and stuff from smashing a hole in the tank.

Black tank is for grey water, White frame is for 200AHr battery.

Cheers

Ross
 

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GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
.................But if I can snake a hose down and fill from underneath that would be cool. If my vent is big enough I should not pressurize the tank. Right?

I would caution about a pressure fill unless you dramatically restrict the inflow by 1 or 2 sizes down from the vent size, meaning long time to fill. So for 3/8" size unrestricted vent outlet I would use at most 1/4" inlet. Even 5 PSI inside the tank pressure build-up by water pressure surge could burst the tank or mount.

I filled polyethylene tank in my Bigfoot Camper by sticking the filler hose (http://www.rvpartsmarket.com/Camco-E-Z-Fill-RV-Hose-with-Shut-Off-Valve-40003_p_2125.html) in the inlet and the damage inside the Camper was extensive even thou water was pouring out from the vent line and the filler hose. Tank did not explode but buckled enough to dislocate inside table and cabinets.

That is why I am using the large diameter 1/2 PSI relief valve and the pressure regulator.

George.
 

hein

Van Guru
Finished welding, grinding, sanding and painting the fresh water tank tray. I need to put fittings on the tank and cut some foam blocks to hold the top of the tank against the van cross members. An ABS enclosure for at least the pump and perhaps the whole tank is on the to-do list. I did order a Kat's heating pad to put on the bottom of the tank near the outlet even though I don't plan to use this tank & water system in freezing conditions. (I'll carry a smaller drinking water container inside the van for that.)

Top of the tank showing L shaped hangers (6 total) that will go inside the van cross members.


Bottom of tank towards the rear showing the pump and support. Pump will get an enclosure. The feet on this pump appear to work best with it mounted horizontally. Still need some nuts on the pump bolts. To the right, the hangers wrap under the frame so the bolts don't carry the shear load. The frame is doubled up at the hangers.



Edit: I'm looking for a 3 tank level monitor with a pump switch and possibly a tank heat switch.
 
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GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
.........I did order a Kat's heating pad to put on the bottom of the tank near the outlet even though I don't plan to use this tank & water system in freezing conditions. (I'll carry a smaller drinking water container inside the van for that.)

Edit: I'm looking for a 3 tank level monitor with a pump switch and possibly a tank heat switch.
The silicon heating pads could damage tank's polyethylene. I believe Kat's or Wolverine heaters pads should be attached directly to metal to conduct heat away otherwise they could runaway toward burnout. If you got the 1" wide 25W Kat’s pad you could attach it to the metal frame to better distribute heat.

I decided to use Wema gauges, high quality and reasonably priced. Inside tanks sensors are not prone to external damage but black tank could cause problems. Wema has a shield on the waste tanks sensors to allow the uninterrupted floater motion. http://www.wemausa.com/index.shtml

My experience with RV style external capacitive sensors was not good in reliability and quality, but this is just my experience. I don’t have personal experience with this company http://www.rvgauge.com/rv.htm but was told that their product is OK.

George.
 

Oldfartt

Member
Seelevel gauges are what I have fitted to my RV. They work extremely well and do not suffer from the contamination problems that probe type units have, as they are attached to the outside of non metal tanks.


Cheers

Ross
 

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hein

Van Guru
I am getting ready to penetrate the roof for an 8 gauge wire pair going to a solar panel (TBD). Ordered this fitting from MMC. There is an O-ring that compresses against the van roof which I thought might squish out. So I made a little ABS plate with a chamferred hole to capture the o-ring. The plate is backed with VHB tape.

 
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hein

Van Guru
Floor heat film from Home Depot showed up and I think this stuff is going to be the cat's meow. Maybe now I can put the floor down for the last time.



160 watt piece taped down with Gorilla tape and wires double covered with electrical tape. 36" wide fits just between the OEM track bolt locations I am using to hold down the floor. (three of the bolts are shown) The element is 5 ft long.


6 mil vapor barrier for added protection. (Per the instructions)


18" x 5ft rear element in process. 80 watts


wires exiting the floor. wrapped, shrink tube, wrapped, shrink tubed again. Bottom edge of floor rounded off.


For power, perhaps some switched cord ends and then plug them into something like this. There is a 15A GFI outlet right above the exit point. Lucked out on that since the floor heat was not something I had really planned for. The outlet was there for a electric space heater.
 
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hein

Van Guru
Cool wet weather has arrived.


Time to finish insulating the lower walls. Thinsulate (background), EZcool (center), & Reflectix (right)


Insulating the hard to reach cavity at the top of the lower wall.


Inserting a roll of EZcool into the cavity. Reflectix would be hard to install this way since it is not a as pliable.


It's in and partially unrolled


Unrolled and in place. It goes up the outside wall, over the top and down the inside wall to form an upside down U section.


Another shot. This area will be filled with Thinsulate. read on...


More EZcool installed against the outer wall. I made vertical slits in some pieces to fit them over the bulkheads between the inner and outer sheet metal. Or I cut strips to fit between them and then joined them top & bottom with foil tape. It's taped down the sides and along the top (to the U shaped pieces) to form a continuous installation. The EZcool is not in direct contact with the van outer skin and it doesn't go all the way down (-1/2") to leave the drain channels unblocked. (All the notorious NCV3 water ingress points have been sealed but just in case one weeps a little.)



Inserting a rolled up piece of Thinsulate into the cavity with the EZcool.


Using a string to pull another rolled up piece through;


works great! Once in, the Thinsulate roll is unfurled to fill the space.


Thinsulate in place. The stuff is beautiful. This shot really shows the cross sectional structure.


 
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hein

Van Guru
Realized I needed to run some wires for the Espar D2 before finishing the insulation. I made a plate out of 1/8 thick ABS and mounted the Espar Digimax control and the A/C thermostat to it. I extended the Digimax wires so the plug wouldn't be hidden in the wall and connected the A/C thermostat to the wires already routed.

(below) Thermostat mounting plate installed. It's VHB taped to the Reflectix. I'll cut a window in the upholstered wall panel and run some screws in from the front to secure it.


Back of the mounting plate. Both thermostats = total of 13 wires, iirc


Back to insulating. Thinsulate glued (3M 90 spray) to the previously installed layer of EZ-cool. With Digimax harness hanging out. Working with Thinsulate is safe and easy. No smell, no loose fibers in the air or on the floor. And it cuts easily with household scissors.


All finished with a layer of Reflectix. The layers are: out side sheet metal / EZ-cool / Thinsulate / Reflectix.


Just three more areas to go and the main insulation will be finished. Still need to do the sliding door and rear doors but those can wait.
 
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hein

Van Guru
Our order for 4 master rolls (180 ft ea) of 3M Thinsulate SM600L has been accepted. Expecting to see them early December. Please PM me if you are interested in using Thinsulate for your van build.

Thank you,
Hein
Impact, Inc.
Hood River, OR
5four1 49O 5O9eight
 
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hein

Van Guru
Package from Clips & Fasteners came today so I was able to re-installed one of the lower panels with push pins instead of sheetmetal screws. Not that I really hate sheet metal screws but if there are factory holes that can be used; why not use them. I am verifying my lower panel CAD files during this step so I can CNC some new lower panels. The current panels came with the van and are fine but I want to design some slightly different ones and offer them as a DIY kit in a variety of materials; push pins included. I am obviously investing some time and money into this build. Part of the project is to develop and offer some products to make the process easier for others and at the same time help pay some bills.

The push pins. It's going to take a bunch but the 18 for this panel were installed in 5 minutes. No guessing where to drill and no sharp screws to penetrate a wire.


Panel installed with the pins. Easy to install, easy to remove and re-install. I like that. That sub thumps, BTW.


Close up of push pins. These will be recessed (countersunk) when I machine new panels. Still looks pretty clean, vehicle-like.
 
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hein

Van Guru
Mounting the thermostats to a plate behind the wall panel worked out nicely. I was able to wire them in advance and they don't stick out from the wall nearly as much. I did so-so on reworking the upholstery but still happy with the result. I'll use the same arrangement on the opposite wall to mount the SeeLevel tank sensor panel and an additional switch or two.

 
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Package from Clips & Fasteners came today so I was able to re-installed one of the lower panels with push pins instead of sheetmetal screws. Not that I really hate sheet metal screws but if there are factory holes that can be used; why not use them. I am verifying my lower panel CAD files during this step so I can CNC some new lower panels. The current panels came with the van and are fine but I want to design some slightly different ones and offer them as a DIY kit in a variety of materials; push pins included. I am obviously investing some time and money into this build. Part of the project is to develop and offer some products to make the process easier for others and at the same time help pay some bills.

The push pins. It's going to take a bunch but the 18 for this panel were installed in 5 minutes. No guessing where to drill and no sharp screws to penetrate a wire.


Panel installed with the pins. Easy to install, easy to remove and re-install. I like that. That sub thumps, BTW.


Close up of push pins. These will be recessed (countersunk) when I machine new panels. Still looks pretty clean, vehicle-like.
Did you install the pins in the old self tapper holes? Did you have to enlarge the holes?
 

hein

Van Guru
Below is a picture with some of the holes circled. I'm not sure if they are used with the factory panels. I did not modify them to work with the push pins. I'll need 86 of the pins for my van.



The lower panels in my van were formerly installed with sheet metal screws. I treated all those screw holes with a rust preventative. Some I sealed with 3M fast set urethane since they were right at the top of the drain channel along the bottom. They would let water in to the floor area before I sealed around the trim rivets. See post #50
 
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dickknapp

dickknapp
Push pins look like nice alternative to sheet metal screws. I just wonder how to locate holes in panel when you don't already have a factory panel with holes drilled?
 

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