PAV Adventure 4x4 Build

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
The limits for exhaust and intake must be followed. So a shorter intake means the exhaust can be longer. If you have fewer than the max bends, you can extend the tubing some as well.

There are larger exhaust tubing available. Going another 10mm larger is enough to nearly double the length. Switching form a corrugated to a smooth section of pipe also lets you go longer.

Best to be conservative though .
 

ddunaway

Member
Hi Ddunaway! I was wondering if you have had any issues since installing the heater with extended exhaust? I've talked with Heatso about doing this same thing and they were against extending the exhaust saying it would lead to suiting issues in the combustion chamber due to the extra backpressure. Thanks!
Hi zmelms,

In the 3 years that I have been using the Espar I have had really no problems. I use it reasonably heavily in the winter though I'm not living in the van. In all that time, I have had 1 case where it errored out. This was after heavy use in extreme cold. In that case I turned it off then back on, and it started right back up.

As Midwestdriifter said my intake is very short. Increasing the size of the exhaust tube and minimizing the bends helps to allow one to extend the length. I really only have about 135 degrees of total gentle bends. This is basic fluid mechanics / heating venting stuff. However, I was following the recommendation of Shreyas, the tech service rep at Espar of Michigan.
 
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Munmile

Member
Slider door well vent

I have a crew can with a MaxAir fan. My venting options are: front windows, slider door, or rear door. To leave the van in the heat I usually install some metal vents in the front windows. That works OK but is a bit tedious and bugs get in the large screen.

To improve venting I installed a vent in the slider door.

The main opening/closing feature comes from the “Euro Vent” from Fisheries supply.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/heater-craft-h-5401-euro-vent-h5041b

To install, I drilled first with a 4 in hole saw in the plastic of the well, then with a 3 in hole saw. The 3 in hole pilot walked around a bit due to the uneven depths but it worked out.
Hi,

I really like the ease of this approach with a single (or multiple) round hole(s). My approach was using a Beckson port from a sailboat to provide the needed vent. the only size that is even close to fitting is the smallest-the model 310. here is a pic,

cheers
Munmile


https://sprinter-source.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=103890&stc=1&d=1542337679
 

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ddunaway

Member
Add vent to side rear of van

I am continuing to add more venting options to the Crew van. I have plenty of windows and did not want to add any more, so I decided to try out one of the flip vents. They mount in the wall and come with a trim piece. The open area is pretty large but there is no bug net…..I’ll have to add that later….as well as winter insulation.

https://www.sprinterworld.com/ventilation.htm


Good things
  • Installation is easy - comes with nice template, attaches with included black rivets, silicone to seal
  • Open area is large
  • The trip piece fits perfectly…even matching the width of the wall

Some downsides
  • When you open it some drips of water can come in if it is wet.
  • Some water will likely come in if left open in the rain. A shield above might prevent water entry if open and not driving, ie. camping.

PS: not sure why these pictures get rotated....
 

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IPT

Active member
More bed details

  • On the drivers side the panels rest on L-track and angle. The walls are lined with starboard to prevent rubbing.
  • The angle is spaced out to cantilever around the C pillar on the passenger side.
  • I cut out some of the angle in back to access the L-track for other uses. May do more of this.
I like the way you did this. Just got a van and have not torn into it much yet. Still building it out in my head, conceptually.

Can you clarify a little what your supports are on each side and how they are mounted? Seems like maybe there is L track mounted to the wall (Riv nuts?) and then angle iron mounted to the L Track somehow on one side? Then there is more angle on the cabinet side that provides upright support for that side? Then you have the panels that are only essentially 3/4 width of the van's actual width since you have the cabinet essentially making the width less?

Anything you'd change now that you have used it for a while?

My vision is such that the cabinet height is low enough I can put bikes with the front tire on in (bars over cabinet height) bed not deployed. This would be our most common use for around town and day jaunts. Then for longer trips bed spans go in, front wheels come off, and bikes go under. Thoughts?
 

ddunaway

Member
I like the way you did this. Just got a van and have not torn into it much yet. Still building it out in my head, conceptually.

Can you clarify a little what your supports are on each side and how they are mounted? Seems like maybe there is L track mounted to the wall (Riv nuts?) and then angle iron mounted to the L Track somehow on one side? Then there is more angle on the cabinet side that provides upright support for that side? Then you have the panels that are only essentially 3/4 width of the van's actual width since you have the cabinet essentially making the width less?

Anything you'd change now that you have used it for a while?

My vision is such that the cabinet height is low enough I can put bikes with the front tire on in (bars over cabinet height) bed not deployed. This would be our most common use for around town and day jaunts. Then for longer trips bed spans go in, front wheels come off, and bikes go under. Thoughts?
Hello IPT,

On the passenger side, L track is bolted to the wall…..just thru holes and ¼-20 bolts with locking nuts and washers. The bed is mounted at 31” height, so bolting the Ltrack to the wall is straightforward. Going much higher then you need to mount to the walls at the front and back with a significant beam between. Bolted to the Ltrack is a piece of angle aluminum that supports the cross members under the bed panels. Washers are used to space it out from the wall especially near the door where there is a bump out. The end closest to the door is just cantilevered out but it is fine.

On the drivers side, the angle is just bolted to a wall 1/3 of the way out into the van. I really like the way this wall and storage space turned out….especially the ski slot. The panels are 48”, so the supporting members can be much thinner 1x1” Stainless. The stainless was kind of a pain to machine and work with. Al is easier. Another friend of mine used MLV and a steel sheet/strip underneath to stiffer…..that seemed to work out nicely and was easier to work with. He is a structural engineer.

If I were to do it again, I would raise the deck about 2 in to 33”
. Originally I wanted to keep the rear window clear but in the end I think rear window vision is of limited utility. For bikes the higher deck would make storage much better with the front tire off. I do not do so much mountain biking anymore but if I did I might go to the trouble to make it higher. It could be made higher on the passenger side with a taller piece of angle Aluminum.

Let me know if you want any more pictures….or have more questions
 

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IPT

Active member
Hello IPT,

Another friend of mine used MLV and a steel sheet/strip underneath to stiffer…..that seemed to work out nicely and was easier to work with. He is a structural engineer.

If I were to do it again, I would raise the deck about 2 in to 33”
.
Good info, thanks. Yeah, I still need to get my bikes out and take some measurements. I'm tall, so all bikes are large frames. Mtn bikes and also Fatbikes. That will determine my bed height for sure. The plan would be high enough to get bikes under without a battle, but low enough so with the front wheel on a bike could roll in with the bars over the lateral cabinet/support (without the bed panels in place).

Can you clarify about what your buddy did? By MVL, you mean mass loaded vinyl? I'm picturing a span of ply with some strips steel running lengthwise to limit deflection over that 48" span. Is that what he did? Where did the MLV fit in?
 

ddunaway

Member
Can you clarify about what your buddy did? By MVL, you mean mass loaded vinyl? I'm picturing a span of ply with some strips steel running lengthwise to limit deflection over that 48" span. Is that what he did? Where did the MLV fit in?
Sorry, my mistake! It is LVL. Laminated veneer lumber. Like high tech plywood.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminated_veneer_lumber

So you have your deck layer of 1/2 in plywood, a 1.5in thick x 1.75deep x 75 in LVL beam/strip across the edge (glued and screwed to ply), then add a steel strip (1/8in) to the bottom to stiffen. That is what my friend did on a promaster with a longer span. Pretty straightforward fabrication (especially if you have more wood than metal skills), looked professional, no noticeable flex. Some people go crazy on welding aluminum frames but this is easy and looks fine especially if already using wood/ply for deck. 1/2in thicker than my crossmembers is only negative.
 

hein

Van Guru
Add vent to side rear of van

I am continuing to add more venting options to the Crew van. I have plenty of windows and did not want to add any more, so I decided to try out one of the flip vents. They mount in the wall and come with a trim piece. The open area is pretty large but there is no bug net…..I’ll have to add that later….as well as winter insulation.
Those are nice solid vents (model 622062). I bought one for our Transit but haven't installed it. I got ours on Amazon and ran across a good price at dogboxparts.com

I'm thinking about mounting it upside down in the floor but just need to find a good spot.

All the best,
Hein
 

ddunaway

Member
Those are nice solid vents (model 622062). I bought one for our Transit but haven't installed it. I got ours on Amazon and ran across a good price at dogboxparts.com

I'm thinking about mounting it upside down in the floor but just need to find a good spot.

All the best,
Hein
Installing it in the floor is a great idea! I was looking at deck plates but screwing them in and out seemed tedious. These flip vents have a nice mechanism of opening and closing that would go great in the floor ...…….. and you already have the small holes to block the critters!
 

przemo

New member
Hi, great van!

i will copy probably your bed design, couse it fits my needs as well. Just what i will change are the panels - i will weld structure from small steel profiles on long side and angle on short side which will be sitting on square support beams.
another improvment i took from beartooth van works. - the first and second panel will switch into couch mode. This fits my needs of heaving big storage, permament one person sleeping option with place to sit for jobtime on projects, and quite simple double-bed mode for travelling with a girl.

i am not an specialist, but what i'm wandering about electrical system, and what i saw in many conversions on blogs out there is battery main switch. I'm planning to improve my electrical system of solar panels soon, and also planning to install some safety switches, but... as far as i know, every mppt manual says, that you are connecting solar panel as last. it is like that because you will burn your mppt without connection with battery, when panel is charging.

So now it can be opposite situation, everything installed.. you smell something (for example to thin cable warming up) and you are scared, so first what you do you're switching of the batteries... and now you couse even more damage couse you're solar is burning your mppt.

What is your opinion? Am i right or wrong with this worst-case scenario? For me it looks like the real main safety switch need to disconnect in the same time the solar panels before mppt as well...
 

ddunaway

Member
Hi Przemo,

My MPPT manual did indeed have the same warnings about hooking up the battery first. In general that is what I have done but over time as I have added things and modified the system I have disconnected the battery but not the panel for short periods of time. The controller still works fine. I also hot switch my controller between my two battery banks from time to time.

To address your concern you could just add a fuse between the panel and the controller, so you can pull the fuse before disconnecting the battery. My Manual does recommend this fuse, though I do not remember for sure if I did it. My electrical diagram is a little out of date now.

That Beartooth design does look nice. The fold down 2 panels was my original concept too but it was not as obvious how to implement it once I had my bed system built. Anything is possible with enough engineering effort. I'm pretty happy with my box - to single seat - to bench seat conversion with just a few extra parts. Good luck on the seat / bed....it's a crux for sure
 

ddunaway

Member
Espar D2 errors, exhaust refinements, maintenance, and Kerosene

I had some instances of the D2 erroring out (I have Easy Start Select). In extreme cold conditions, it happened once the day before then 3 times in a row the next day. No heat is a trip ending event in these temperatures. Finally, I got it working that night by closing all vents and running it really low. The next morning, I could hear it cutting out and on in the burner. There was not much smoke though.

I did extensive research (that evening), and concluded that there was a high probability that the exhaust was clogged. There was not much smoke which pointed away from carbon buildup on atomizer or clogged fuel filter. I did however resolve myself to tear the D2 apart and do the maintenance.

To continue the trip I pulled the exhaust off the muffler and skipping both the muffler and the long run of exhaust pipe to the other side of the van. I also noticed that there was black water dripping from a low spot….a big clue. After pulling the exhaust off the muffler, it ran fine for days (see picture).

Maintenance

After getting home, I did a few things. I tore apart the heater (see picture), replaced the atomizer screen, cleaned out the carbon, and replaced the fuel filter. The atomizer screen and vent were not that carboned up, so these were not the problems. I tried to do a maintenance procedure that involved leaving the heater in the van but broke the glow plug (see picture) due to lack of clearance with the battery so close…..$125 mistake. Taking the heater out for the maintenance was a better method for my particular case.

These videos helpful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQSIZMhxKOE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9al0qDxq7o

Exhuast improvements - Likely the real problem/fix

On the exhaust, I went ahead and drilled holes in the obvious low spots. I created a second exaggerated low spot to be sure it drained well. I also turned the muffler to flat instead of vertical (there is a bend inside the muffler so it could fill with water and block, see picture). I think condensation in the long exhaust was the issue but time will tell if it is fixed…..need a string of ~-20C van camping days to test and be sure.

3 way valve for Kerosene

I also added a 3 way valve in front of the pump (see picture), so I can easily plumb in Kerosene every once in a while to help clean out any carbon.

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/ffv3.php?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIscTMr_qx4AIVCh6tBh0NwwPlEAQYAiABEgJ02vD_BwE
 

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Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
Good post. On my D2, I was having unstable flame on high, resulting in flame outs at altitude, and finally even at sea level. I took mine apart and found hard coke carbon covering about 1/3 of the flame holding mesh (not GP mesh) inside the burner. I burned it out with a propane torch, and its been perfect since. I would guess my high start count per hour of operation contributed to this.
 

ddunaway

Member
Water system upgrade

I final decided to upgrade my water system. My whole van is set up for winter activities and backcountry skiing, so there are more stringent requirements. Sometimes it will sit for a week unattended at way below freezing. Most often, I might be gone during the day and back in the evening. I do not leave the Espar/heat on when I am away, not sure why, would be OK for a day. Anyway, have not left heat on.

Thus far, I have made due with 5 gal military water cans. They are indestructible and not damaged by freezing. I have a system with a submersible pump in the water can that can be used to pump water out. The pump (IL200) is in the can, and water flows back into the tank when off thus minimizing freezing in the lines or pump. The pump is not damaged by freezing. Overall, this system works pretty well but does result in a number of water jugs in the van on longer trips. Also, it can be a pain to switch jugs every 5 gallons…..mostly in the summer when you can go through more water.

A larger capacity insulated removable modular system

I decided to get a larger tank and insulate it. I made the whole tank easily removable for circumstances when I would be leaving the van in subfreezing temps for extended periods of time. This is usually a once a year thing when we go for ~ a week on these heli in ski hut trips in Canada. In these cases, I can swap in my 5 gal military water can system, which can plug into the same tubing and electrical. The 5 gallon system can handle freezing no problem.

Minimize freezing in lines

To minimize/eliminate freezing, the flow is set up to pump fluid up over a high point in the middle of the tubing run. The water will either run out the spout or back into the tank.

Spout above the footwell

The spout is above the footwell in case of spills, which off course do happen. I have not really wanted to use space on a sink that would likely be too small to really wash many dishes. Instead, I use a foldable dual water basin system. It is flexible to allow in large items and easy to move out to the picnic table too.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009PUQVY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I looked around for a bit for the perfect spout. In the end, I just used stuff laying around the garage. The spout is just a bent piece of copper tubing mounted through some clear fir with a hole in it. The plasitic tubing slides into the tubing and can be removed if I want to direct flow differently.

The tank

I got a 13 gallon tank (13TK-FS 13 Gallon Fresh / Gray Water Holding Tank, from Class A Customs, $37.95 including shipping) with all the connections already installed. Amazing how inexpensive this was. I was not setting out to spend so little but my friend got this one and was happy enough with it.

https://www.classacustoms.com/13-Gallon-Fresh-Gray-Water-Holding-Tank_p_31.html

Insulation

I insulated it with ½ in closed cell foam. With multiple wraps adhered with M77 spray adhesive, I have 1 in of insulation on the sides/top and 1.5 in on the bottom. I left a viewing slot in the middle where I can pull out some strips of foam and look at the level. The insulation cost more than the tank.

Attachment

I used some large pieces of angle aluminum attached to L-track on the wall to restrain the tank and prevent forward backward movement. Some straps that go through rings in the L-track hold the tank in. More aluminum angle distributes the load on the insulation at the edge of the tank.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Water system upgrade continued

Pump/fluidic connections

For a pump, I utilized the same submersible IL200 to make it freeze resistant. Holes for tube and wire are drilled in a 1.5 in plastic pipe plug (see picture). That goes into a preinstalled fitting on the tank. There is a vent going vertical a few feet.

For the quick disconnect on the tubing, I used these fittings below, which work great. From usplastic.com

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=36297&clickid=search

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=36299&clickid=search

You can get them with shutoff valves if you so desire too…..

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=37291&trk_msg=8IUSC18OD90KPBT8CSAJOIQSJG&trk_contact=JDEKJEGK2J3Q8TO725VM2GQJO0&trk_module=tra&trk_sid=SAB1JIOQ49D1UB7V6JL5RHBE3K&utm_source=listrak&utm_medium=email&utm_term=https%3a%2f%2fwww.usplastic.com%2fcatalog%2fitem.aspx%3fitemid%3d37291&utm_campaign=transactionals&utm_content=orderconfirmation

On/off flow control

For modulation of flow, I installed a dimmer above the water spout. I really like the functionality of the dimmer to control flow and the placement.

This dimmer does burn out with long pump sessions when I empty the tank. The label on the add for the dimmer is sort of confusing (Aveks LED wholesalers LED Strip Lights PWM Dimming Controller For LED Lights or Ribbon, 12 Volt 8/10 Amp, 3301). Now I wonder if this was meant to indicate it is good for 0.8 amps not 8 amps. Other places I see the same dimmer advertised as simply 8 amps. Perhaps just low quality. Pump maxes out at 2.8 amps. I actually used this system for ~ 4 mos in a temporary test configuration and never had any issues with the dimmer. I have now killed 2 of them. They burn out and stay at max speed.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003L4KKF2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Trying this on next…..rated to 30 amps….

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HN1BJWK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Electrical disconnects

For electrical disconnects, I used these plugs. They are totally bogus……really only good to unplug once or twice. I need to replace them. Suggestions appreciated for alternatives.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076H987BN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Issues

Dimmer and electrical disconnects listed above. I’m sure the new dimmer will work. Need to replace electrical disconnects with something more durable that can actually be interchanged not infrequently.

I have had some white stuff appear on the tubes in the tank. I ended up replacing the tubes, and dosing with clorine. The white film has started to return to the tubes now after about. I have some worry that it is some sort of chenical residue coming out of the tank but mostly I think it may be just be limescale from the Seattle water. Water tastes fine. A previous post on this……..

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=80189&highlight=white+water+tank

Hopefully it works well

We’ll see how all this works in the winter. I spent a good bit of time on the setup but I am sort of in withdrawal now after finishing the conversion. I am always looking for a long complicated project to undertake on the PAV.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Water system upgrade continued

Military Water Can Option

The military water can installs into the same location with quick disconnects on the plumbing and electrical (see picture). I have a military surplus insulation that can be used to minimize freezing (see picture). I also have a separate tube – switch – plug assembly (see picture) that can plug into either tank and then into the 12 volt plugs in the van to pump water too.
 

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