2019 Passenger Van Weekender

slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Known for our modular weekender family builds I decided on this next company build to start with a passenger high roof 4WD passenger van. It could seat up to 11 if needed and sleep 4. Its very well equipped with all the goodies...which also meant a very healthy price tag. Having said that I found a rare bird...one without AC. AC in the newer vans are horrible for up-fits, the rear AC is in the way of everything and takes up 30% of your roof. They put it now in back, the worst place possible for a campervan. So I was glad to snag this weird set up with out rear AC as the passenger van has more speakers, rubberized floor cover, and an interior I don't have to modify thereby reducing costs signficantly over a cargo and the seating is DOT approved set up. Tossed the 4 seat in the back right way. Its too big and in the way of a bed. But first things first...lets cut the wheel wells for larger tires! Gotta get the van looking good as most of the 100+ hours in this van you will have no idea of what was done. You have to open up the wheel wells on the VS30's for larger tires, a real pain. I prefer using the Van Compass kit as it opens up the front and the back fender wells and you keep a "stock" factory look without having to paint anything. Its an inexpensive kit, but takes a bit of elbow grease to install. If you are comfortable cutting up your brand new fenders...its not difficult to install, but give yourself a long afternoon to do so to get completed. Measure twice cut once. I have a few things to try in this van I haven't seen...so hopefully they will work out (or I will spend some serious amount of money figuring it out) I personally like all windows...when I camp. I like to see outside thats why I am camping in the first place right? For privacy I use window shades. Also its actually more stealthy...it can look like a aiport shuttle or a family van. Cargo vans with a fan on top or pill windows are not stealthy, its always strange to me when people think they are more so, I can always tell if someone is sleeping in their van when its a cargo van with a fan, solar, or a small window, total give-a-way In this van we are going to put 4 AMA vented screened windows instead of CRL ones as I need to reduce clearance in the back window.. These windows have a euro look. I am personally not really a big fan, I like awning style like CRL so I can open windows up in the rain, but I am going this direction for a technical reason. I am going to attempt to put a MOAB bed in the back with vented windows. I know the CRL ones won't work as the trim ring gets in the way with the bed brace wall kit, we will see if there will be issues with an AMA or if there is less cutting involved to get it to work. Worst case I will notch the rear brace. I install more of the Adwag stuff in passenger and crew trim vans than anyone on the west coast, so I know the stuff pretty well and the problems you have, especially with passenger vans and beds. I don't think its the best bed...its just the right bed for this application.

Getting ready for larger tires- you can see the photo shows how much material is cut from front and back of the wheel wells. You can't be scared to taking a cutting tool to your new 70k van. Other plans of course include the minimum basics: adjustable height bed, aux battery, solar, insulation and sound deadening, speaker upgrade, Lagun table set up, upgraded rear passenger seats, Aluminess Step Bar, swivel seats, L track for storage bags, Bed, Owl Van Bike/Box Carrier, 12v/usb outlets, interior lighting, and maybe a few other things. Just that list alone puts this van into the six figure range for sure. The parts list ads up very quickly and to be honest when done looks like nothing has been done, but that the style of van I am going for - weekender that is simple and keeps everything open, functional, clean, and modular. Part $ add up quickly as anyone will confirm if they have done a build with good quality parts and materials.


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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Few more things done on this van...SOP for a nice build. Put on some Aluminess Tread Steps so that it is easier to get in/out of, these vans are high; especially with larger tires. Speaking of tires and rims those have been put on as well. 275's, the largest size with out messing up the electronics on these vans. You can see this is where the fender kit really helps both front and back to get clearance. Its always fun to put on a little eye candy.

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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Now to the not so cool stuff, but the things that really count in a build. Started adding the sound deadener; I use Raam Mat. Why...its flat out better than most of the stuff out there. Dynamat Extreme is also a nice product as well. Its more expensive no surprise there. Yep that other stuff people use No#$*co and Fa$ M$%^ might be more common and everyone seems to use it, but it's not nearly as good, not even close. You generally pay for what you get. This stuff is 2-3 x more money, but the end result is better. You can see I don't skimp on the coverage either, this is why my vans are very quiet. I will use 3M Thinsulate on top. I have driven vans with other materials used and there is a difference you can hear for sure. I find this is one of the best combinations out there for a nice result. You have to however do your doors...its a huge difference as well. When all said and done the walls, doors, and headliner take me 18 hours...and that is moving very fast, figure to do this correctly most will take 30 hours at least. Its takes time to do the coverage correctly and a kit just isn't going to be the same.

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Also getting the batteries in. I like to keep my interiors fee of clutter for the weekender family vans. Room for gear and stuff. This is no exception being a passenger van. Putting them in the hood keeps the batteries out of the way in the safest possible area, however if you are going to run a large inverter for a blender or microwave this location will not work as its too far of a cable run to inside of the van. To much voltage drop. This van will run, fan, heater, fridge, lights, charge phones and lap tops and this has more than enough power with these batteries and 200w of solar on the roof. This is a weekender passenger van, you don't need to run a microwave or your blender. If you are going to put a high power inverter, you can put the batteries inside the van or I prefer to put them under the van next to the gas tank then run the large cables up into the inside. With all the seats and stuff in this van that is not ideal for this type of build for a family.

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erik.wahlstrom

Active member
Few more things done on this van...SOP for a nice build. Put on some Aluminess Tread Steps so that it is easier to get in/out of, these vans are high; especially with larger tires. Speaking of tires and rims those have been put on as well. 275's, the largest size with out messing up the electronics on these vans. You can see this is where the fender kit really helps both front and back to get clearance. Its always fun to put on a little eye candy.

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Do the nerf bars require drilling?
 

slamit

www.cacampervan.com
The interior is going back together as all of the electrical lines are pre-run now and 12v outlets front and back are put in so lower panel walls can start to go back in. The final insulation on the roof is in as well. This is really important in hot climates, as the roof gets so hot that even a fan won't keep the van cool. Not only will the van be cooler and warmer when needed, the interior noise is reduced as well. It is a must to do and your electrical should be done at the same time unless you want to take your van apart multiple times. Fuse panel, battery isolator, and solar panel lines as well have been run and hooked up. Really doesn't look like much has been done however this represents 25 hours of work later from the previous pics. For the most part almost looks like nothing has been done. Headliner should be going in tomorrow then there will be a pause in this build as windows need to get replaced an an Espar D2 heater needs to arrive before swivels and some more electrical lines can be run at the same time. Decided to put a heater in the van to ad more comfort and extended use for cold weather camping.


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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Here the interior is getting back together, fuse panel is under seat for easy access and to keep it hidden. There is room left for a heater and even a small 5 channel amplifier if needed next to the fuse panel. The aux batteries are in the hood all hidden away. This can be different than most builds as a weekender with family the focus is to keep the interior empty/clean/uncluttered with boxes and electronics. This however means a few sacrifices, no cabinets for lots of electronics or electrical work for large inverters and big water tanks. What you do have is room for the family and gear. You can still run a fridge, charge a laptop, and all your phones and such. No microwaves, blenders, or coffee makers however, that requires a large inverter and batteries located under or inside the van close to the inverter. (if you want to run large power items) You don't see family vans that seat up to 8 in 144" with a bunch of stuff, if you look closely at most builds they are 170's that fit a bunch of stuff in them...cabinets, build in fridges, sinks, stoves, microwaves, toilets... Those 170's don't fit in a regular parking space and can't be used easily as a daily driver. Try getting one out of a Target or Home Depot Parking lot and you quickly find out they are pretty big, let alone park downtown when traveling in a big city. This weekender are kinda like a M3- all the work is hidden that makes it different than just a van with a fan and a bed on it. Lots of thought and work in what seems like an interior that had absolutely nothing done to it. The modular concept and elevating it above just a "regular" van requires a lot of work. There will be well over 130+ hours into this van when done, figure normally this would easily be about 200 or more easy if you had to research and figure out how to do the work for a first timer. Top L track for storage bags are mocked up as well as seat fuse panel is getting final wiring done. Everything is hidden. The seating shows the two seater bolt in captains chairs as well as a factory OEM 3 seater as well. All of these can be removed or switched around depending on need. Pics are all works in progress as a bit more work and detail needs to be done before finished.


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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Got AMA windows in...missing one still due to go in. I am specifically using these windows to clear rear braces for the rear bed. or at least try as I haven't seen anyone do it from what I am aware of. Screens all around are really nice you can adjust the airflow with the fan to get maximum effect. I prefer CRL because I like the awning style windows for when its wet as well as I think they don't have as much wind noise and less rattling but those cannot be used with the bed brace that will be used. Neither CRL or AMA is perfect for sure, both can have issues, but different. I specifically wanted front and rear screens on both sides and haven't seen this much at all if ever with full size windows. I like windows when I am camping, I like to see the view, and if I want privacy I use window coverings. Also from a stealth stand point full window vans don't look nearly as much like a camper than a cargo van with with small windows, fans, solar... It also makes driving around in tight areas much easier due to visibility. I am hoping the bed braces clear the sliding rails, but the mfg is b/o as usual and might be sometime before the rails arrive and they provide little support unless using their wall kit for 12k in regards if things fit or don't fit. I don't need a wall kit...this is a passenger van and there are already walls I don't need to replace and keeps cost way down using what is there rather than replace something that works just fine. It will be the first I have seen rear full window screens and the bed I will use. Also getting the heater in as well so I can finally put swivels in and get the interior finally buttoned up. It helps a lot to do things in sequence, makes less work in the long run. I put the heater under the passenger seat to again keep the floor all clear.
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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
A little detail on wiring as a lot of people don't understand that ideally you don't just run a wire to the back without dropping the headliner and when the headliner is dropped...that's when you do sound deadening, insulation, wiring, fan install, roof rack rails... People ask why? Basically its like taking down drywall in a kitchen remodel...that's when you do your work to set everything up. Yes a typical stereo shop (low end one) will just run a wire anywhere, likely along your floor boards, under your floor or whatever. Not ideal but cheap and fast. You can see in the attached pics the wiring is pre-run then nicely tucked into loom so that its professionally done. If you are just running a single wire not a big deal to tuck it under a headliner for like a fan or such, but not along your floor board. When the headliner is down you can really run the wiring properly so that its out of the way. Its not really needed to wire in loom, the factory doesn't do that, but they do wrap it however its nice to do as its a bit cleaner for sure adn why not if you can do this when everything is down.

I know basic info for most...but I am surprised most people don't understand why just running a few wires here and there in their van that has a complete interior is not that big of a deal...a few minutes of time.

These pics show some rough in wiring. Silver stuff is sound deadening...Raam Mat. These pics are during work in progress and not completed stage. This van color shows a bit better what work was done in the current build, easier to see in this color of van.

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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Front doors- sound deaden and insulated the doors as well as did a coaxial speaker upgrade.
Front speakers stock vs upgrade (must use an adapter ring)
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Front doors had to be done as well. You can see when you get a "factory" insulation its pretty much useless. All of this was throughout the van and has to be taken out so the sound deadener can be applied then insulation over that to get maximum effect. You can see how there is a pretty big difference from stock to modified. The door card/panel as well insulation is put on where it doesn't interfere with re-attachment. A lot of people "insulate" their vans...most forget to do the doors properly; those actually are the hardest areas. The other parts of the van are pretty easy and fast to do. If you want maximum effect do your doors. The fronts in particular you notice a bit when driving of course.

Front doors - stock "insulation" Stock vs Sound deaden/insulated
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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Owl B2 Bike Box Carrier - great Carrier swings with the door, bikes and boxes can mount easily on this carrier. Will show more of this as the build progresses.
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Also photo of inside on these windows. There is a huge challenge to put an adjustable bed in a passenger van with full windows and have the rear windows with ventilation as in a passenger van with rear AC you can't put a fan in back anymore on a VS30. So taking up this challenge this week to figure out how to get this all to work. The problem is windows with vents protrude into the interior and things like the Adventure Wagon supports don't fit...at all, they hit the sliding window frame rails. You can see picture of the problem as I highlighted the rails and where a support brace would go. (rectangular outline, arrows point to where they would interfere) Since I specialize in weekender builds...and work on a lot of passenger vans I decided in this demo van to solve this problem by notching the rear brace of a V1 wall kit. Using these windows you can minimize the notch you have to do vs CRL I think it would be much larger and you can't get vents on both side. You can't use a V2 wall kit; plastic is all in the way and you would have these huge ugly braces coming down. Stay tuned for the end results in a few weeks. I expect to be able to offer this as a service to modify the braces hopefully in future once I get this all figured out. Its something I thought of when I first got this van...to solve this very frustrating problem specifically for passenger vans.

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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
What is this? Solving problems with OEM passenger and Crew vans is my niche...trying to get things to work in them without replacing the entire interior and keeping the inside modular and stock looking is a challenge. Wanted to figure a way to get rear ventilation windows and a bed was a bit of a challenge in a passenger van as most of them now have rear ac. The Adventure Wagon V1 Wall kit interferes with ventilated windows so I figured you could notch the rear brace. Its taken a while to get to having this done, but these pics show a notch I figured out that will clear AMA screened ventilated rear windows. You have to have the top and bottom notched out. This will be a service we will provide if someone has a V1 kit that you have to use for passenger vans. Send in your wall braces and we will notch them. You will have to paint them when you get them back, but they now clear the glass slides. Will have these installed into the van with the bed soon.


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slamit

www.cacampervan.com
Rear vented windows in back with adjustable bed. Allows for the fan to be in front position and flow air over the bed in a passenger van that would have rear AC. Mission accomplished. Specializing in Crew and Passenger vans I was determined to find a solution for passenger vans with rear AC. One of several mods to work around the funky passenger van set ups with rear AC. I haven't seen anyone do this yet, pretty much like putting a notch in a frame of a truck when you are lowering it. All the strength is still there and you get a little more clearance. This just clears the screen by mm's. This is a Adventure Wagon MOAB Bed V1 wall kit in a passenger van modified with a notch. This would not work with CRL windows, I think the frame is just too big, these AMA's are a bit easier to work around for this particular application. It wasn't cheap to do this initially, but now we have templates and can do this in a few hours. I have installed over 60+ beds in crews and passenger vans along with the other beds I build. Not an authorized installer anymore but I have been able to adapt stock OEM interiors to work with their stuff to meet $budgets by not changing the entire interior out. Not as functional as a full ADWAG interior...but that is not the idea, its simply to get mounting points for Mule bags or cabinets and bed...not a full L track frame system like their interior kit...that is totally different than what will be in this van and a much different cost point. The idea here is to keep costs down and work with an OEM interior.

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