A slightly different approach to Sprinter Conversions

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Like the idea of a prefab kit. Much more difficult to make it removable. The utility connections would be an issue. Suspect the size and weight of the modules would also be an issue for removal/install. Module sizes would be restricted by door opening sizes.

There is much more to a conversion than just the cabinets.

The cross the van bed version shown at that elevation would only work for short person.

Believe there is a market for modular components for DIY installations. Would think the installed modules would need to be a permanent installation.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
.. Would think the installed modules would need to be a permanent installation.
Mounting the stuff is quite a concern.
Since I make my conversion partly as limo - I have to make cabinets secured and add belts.
My bus has some anchors in the floor and couple on the sides, but when putting additional fasteners I notice very mild steel the body was build with.
Wood screw go into inside sheet metal and roof without much resistance.
Wood hole saw cuts hole whenever you need it.
So making sure the heavy cabinets will not make a missile during accident should be concern.
Than when I am installing shower in my conversion, I see lot of pictures where all owners have is porta-potty.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Mounting the stuff is quite a concern.
Since I make my conversion partly as limo - I have to make cabinets secured and add belts.
My bus has some anchors in the floor and couple on the sides, but when putting additional fasteners I notice very mild steel the body was build with.
Wood screw go into inside sheet metal and roof without much resistance.
Wood hole saw cuts hole whenever you need it.
So making sure the heavy cabinets will not make a missile during accident should be concern.
Than when I am installing shower in my conversion, I see lot of pictures where all owners have is porta-potty.
My conversion uses 80/20. All the cabinets are bolted together so structure becomes one large single structure. The large structure is bolted to the floor, walls and roof ribs.

Some pictures of the partially completed structure:

https://www.ortontransit.info/using-80-20-1

Some thoughts on a space efficient shower enclosure:

https://www.ortontransit.info/shower

The negative comments from the u-tube video (ortontransit) are 90% related to the "ridiculous" shower design. Most people want a shower just like the one at home. This "Rube Goldberg" design is not a home shower but you do get clean.
 

marky

New member
I have thought about what might happen in a serious collision. It is not practical to test this. But you can consider the SS 18-8 1/4x20 bolt has a shear strength of 5400lbs. So say 3000lbs for a safety factor. My modules are fastened in with 4 to 10 bolts. I think it would take a lot to break those bolts. I bet the rivnuts in the sheet metal would would tear out before the bolts broke. The cabinets above the galley and above the booth are bolted to the sides and to the roof hat beams. One advantage of the 1/2" Applyply is it is very strong and relatively light weight.

The bathroom module was trick because it cannot be stood up once inside the van. To get around this the bathroom was built and then the top three inches cut off and then put back on once it was in the van and standing up. The inside of the bathroom has three coats of West System epoxy specifically formulated for multiple clear coats. The corners of the bathroom have a fillet of epoxy/fiber applied prior to the epoxy finish coats.

The modules in our vans can be remove fairly quickly. But wiring and plumbing will have to be disconnected. I don't really think of the modules as removable, but they could be. Not sure why you would want to. Two people can move even our biggest modules in and out of the van. You are so right there is a lot more to it than just cabinets. A LOT of design work.

Our beds are 76" inches long with fitted sheets. It only takes a few minutes to make up the beds and to put them away. One of design goals was to have the beds go away. Why would you settle for having your bed constantly there obstructing movement through and use of the van. We want room for two people walk around in the van. We want to be able to open up the slider and rear doors and walk through.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
Our beds are 76" inches long with fitted sheets. It only takes a few minutes to make up the beds and to put them away. One of design goals was to have the beds go away. Why would you settle for having your bed constantly there obstructing movement through and use of the van. We want room for two people walk around in the van. We want to be able to open up the slider and rear doors and walk through.
I am making convertible dinette, that can sit 6-8 and center seat is removable, so you can walk thru it to rear door. Actually the idea for sunny days is to sit at the dinette with rear door open.
But again, the screws put into sheet metal have pretty low pulling strengths.
I have 2 rivet nuts installed in the past by wheelchair lift installer, but I am VERY skeptic about their strength. I installed seat belts to them and when I pull the belt, I see the van wall moving.
So what I did, I build dinette frame over those mounts, so the wood will hold the bolt/rivet nut from pulling.
Same my dinette floor, beside screws holding it to the walls is strong, square frame, wedged between the walls.
So the wedged frame will not fly in case of accident.
Lot of factors to consider and it ain't easy.
 

marky

New member
I think I get your description of wood over the rivnuts. On the back of our modules are 3/4 by 2.5 inch oak stringers built into the module. These oak stringers run fore and aft and bolts into the rivnuts go through the oak stringers so the load is spread though the oak to multiple rivnuts. Two of us have pulled on a module and we could not budge them. I have hung on the overhead cabinets. The oak stringers really spread the load.

Like the picture of sitting at the dinette with the back doors wide open, we do that,

The DIY kits really interest me. I can see a kit that is very complete with all materials, fasteners, electrical and plumbing. It would have to have a very through instruction manual and include consultation time. Is there market for such a thing?
 

Attachments

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
Hi All,
A while back I had a vision for "cargo van" conversions that diverged a bit from the builds I was seeing at my local climbing gym and online. This vision actually started as an Airstream renovation. I wanted to design a "kit" interior that was essentially free standing, with a means of anchoring it into the van chassis with minimal impact to the vehicle.
I think if IKEA made a quality conversion kit, this would, aesthetically and functionally, be pretty close to that. I have a good description of the concept here





Ideally the interior would integrate wiring, home "systems" automation, and other utilities into a modular design that would allow for future modification and upgrade. Solid "knock down" construction techniques would make installation and removal quite simple with a small tool kit.
The vernacular of the design is pretty well established, but any thoughts or comments are welcome.
Next step will be to integrate other systems (power generation and storage, water supply, etc.) I know there has been a ton of experimentation here and would appreciate any recommendations.
Feel free to email me directly if you like to speak directly.

Kind Regards,
Sean
Good looking and simple cabinetry.

I think the trend is openness and folks are adding windows, see some new conversions coming from Thor, Winnebago, Pleasureway or Rapido/Roadtrek. The key objective for our conversion was openness so we have windows 360, in fact we started with passenger van.

I am sure you can incorporate more windows but trimming with cabinetry work could be tricky.

Good luck,
 

SeanHeadrick

New member
To clarify, in describing the structure as being "removable", I am more speaking of leveraging the surface mounting points on the floors, walls, and ceilings instead of any permanent type of installation that would leave lasting damage to van or interior structure.

@marky
Your response has provoked more consideration around how the whole system is held together and fastened into the van. Off the shelf "knock down" hardware may not be durable enough for this application. I was thinking of a solution that would use 1/2" threaded rod that runs the length of the interior that you would effectively stack the bulkheads from front to back. This would allow for the use of much more durable hardware. Additionally by adding a 1-2 mm rubber gasket between mating parts would allow the fasteners to be "torqued" down without compressing the wood fibers causing damage. I have this "rumbling" concern of the whole thing beginning to "creak" like an old boat if ant fasteners became loose. This gasket would solve those issues as well and may help to dampen vibrations

I think I have some more work to do and will post updates as the design evolves.
 

harris414

New member
My conversion uses 80/20. All the cabinets are bolted together so structure becomes one large single structure. The large structure is bolted to the floor, walls and roof ribs.

Some pictures of the partially completed structure:

https://www.ortontransit.info/using-80-20-1

Some thoughts on a space efficient shower enclosure:

https://www.ortontransit.info/shower

The negative comments from the u-tube video (ortontransit) are 90% related to the "ridiculous" shower design. Most people want a shower just like the one at home. This "Rube Goldberg" design is not a home shower but you do get clean.
How heavy is building all that out of extrusion vs having welded up with structural alum. tubing?
I built a cnc table out of 80/20 and it was solid! but dang it was heavy also..
 

Bobnoxious

A&P Mechanic (RET)
Every consumers needs and wants vary greatly. Module design allows for customization.

The key is identifying target market, and price point.

High price point, higher margin but low sales volume.

Low price point, lower margin but higher sales volume.
 

Oldtownryan

New member
I think its a great idea, if designed well theres no reason someone couldn't put it together on their own. I looked at your site btw, beautiful work. By the way the intercom system is something I've thought about a million times (living in a sprinter in Manhattan part time). Haven't come up with anything but I'm hoping some cb radio sort of frankensteining will get me there. Put a folding shower in mine btw, works great and takes up almost no space. The basin which is about four inches tall is on hinges and just folds up against rear door, shower curtain enclosure folds down into same door. Look forward to seeing where this goes, good luck!
 

marky

New member
I agree there are I bet a lot of people out there who would have a lot of fun putting a modular kit together. An earlier poster mentions modules and customization. My idea is to have standard modules and van design. If you want custom I can do that but I will charge design fee and it would be done in my shop.
 

Top Bottom