Stone Grey - Into the Fray


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I got the furnace in but cant for life of me find a 3/16 tee locally.
I finally ordered one online and will use a vacuum tee while I wait for it to arrive.
It's below freezing and we got a few inches of snow overnight. I need heat.


I did disconnect both batteries but I didn't see the need to disconnect the seat wires.


I took the power for the furnace from the F150/5 terminal under the driver's seat.
I fished the wires under the tunnel between the seats and then the pump wire went down through the wire boot under the driver's seat.



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I cut the OEM fuel line that goes to the Espar coolant heater.
It is a very hard plastic line that has an ID of less than 1/8". It appears to be heated and slipped over the factory fittings.
I tried that with my heat gun unsuccessfully.
So I used the 3/16" rubber hose that I bought and slipped the factory (about 3/16" OD) line into some short pieces that I put on the tee.
I used the provided clamps and hopefully it holds up.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to get it running.
The furnace didn't come with any instructions.

Once I have it running correctly I will get hose clips for the fuel line and put the exhaust and intake pipes in appropriate locations.20201018_155611.jpg



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It`s been a while, but I've been plugging away.
We had a cold spell but the new cheap Chinese heater has been keeping things toast inside.


Every piece of wood needs many cuts and multiple checks to get the contours correct.
My closet will be covering a portion of the DS crew window and I will be recessing the closet into the window space to get a couple of extra inches of depth. This the beginnings of the full height closet gable end. I have been making the pieces in my shop and gluing them together in the van.


This is a mock up of the shower/head and the closet so my wife can get a sense of the room we will have after the cabinets have been built. I was planning a 20" wide closet but she figured 13" would be enough. It will give a bigger portion of the crew window to let light in and also a longer bench under the window.


My clamps getting a workout.
Keeping everything square was a challenge.



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I got this much of the closet built in the shop.
The rest of the assembly must be done in the van.
See how much extra depth I get by pushing the closet into the window space.
Notice my router got a little out of hand making that groove.


Glued and screwed.


My wife wants the cabinets to be painted.
She is looking for a lacquer quality finish.
I'm a little hesitant to be spraying paint inside the van, especially since we are in winter and I would need to keep doors open for ventilation.
So inside the closet I am trying a roll on melamine paint. It should give a fairly smooth finish and be quite durable.
What are others doing for finishes? There isn't a lot of info here, other than the natural wood look a lot of people use.


The back of the closet is painted black so it doesn't show from the outside.
I used a strip of black foam at the edge where it touches against the glass.
It makes for a sort of factory look on the window.



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The water tank is going under the kitchen counter.
I bent some stainless steel strap I had and slid some old bicycle tube over it.
I have 1/2" foam between the tank and the floor.


Final resting spot for the tank.
I used rivnuts into the wall ribs and t-nuts under the 1/2" wood floor.



Active member
Another shot of the closet.
I made up a steel bracket to secure the bottom of the closet and the shower/head cabinet to the floor and to secure them in case of an accident.
The bracket is secured to the cabinets with t-nuts and bolts and to the floor using one of the d-ring bolt holes.



UK 2004 T1N 313CDi
The water tank is going under the kitchen counter.
I bent some stainless steel strap I had and slid some old bicycle tube over it...
What stops the tank from sliding forwards out of the straps if you had a crash? It could become a very heavy flying object very quickly without further restraint!



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Hi, the charge indicator has to do with the smart alternator system, which uses the alternator and battery for regenerative braking.


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We have been using (building) an AWD Chevy Express for the past 5 years to do local weekend and some longer (week or two) forays into the wilds.
We mostly like off road random camping so the AWD was a must.
The Express had a nice bed platform with front access to our clothes and stuff and rear pullout drawers that contained our kitchen. I also build several overhead cabinets for stuff. You can never have too much storage space. It had a 100 watts on the roof to charge phones etc. and power our portable 12V fridge. It worked well.

This past winter we spent two months in it on the Baja and decided we needed a couple of extra feet to be comfortable for that length of time.

I decided on a Sprinter because of the low range. I am hoping rear lockers become available eventually.
After not finding a reasonably priced used 144, we started looking at new, eventually settling on a 2019 170 that came with lots of fancy features.
Its a lot of moola, but hey, I'm investing in the next 5-10 years of our lives.

I'll do a professional quality build on it complete with hot and cold running water and an indoor kitchen. I have the skills.
I'll have lots of questions and hopefully ideas to share with others.
And please, no one take offence if I steal your ideas to use on our van. Its a compliment.

Here it is with 46KM on it when we picked it up.
We got a good deal as it had suffered some hail damage in a recent storm.

View attachment 147448

Here is what it is replacing. Soon to be up for sale.

View attachment 147449
We have the same color, same 170 WB, but we went with 4x4 capability. We are in the midst of our build, taking longer than we'd hoped but onward and upward, as you said it's an investment in the next 4-10 years for us, too! good luck with your build.


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We have the same color, same 170 WB, but we went with 4x4 capability. We are in the midst of our build, taking longer than we'd hoped but onward and upward, as you said it's an investment in the next 4-10 years for us, too! good luck with your build.
We also have the 4x4.
Last weekend we got to try out the 4x4 system and it performed very well. It will easily get us everywhere the AWD Express got us

My build is taking longer than expected as well. It's all the little concerns of working with curved walls etc. And I am stupid anal about getting as much space usable as possible.
We have a may trip to the East coast planned for May, so I now have a completion deadline.


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We decided to go with aluminum extrustion for our build structure, more $$ but lighter and well, there are sure to be opinions both ways about this stuff! Our problem was that we bought the van and then started our research, on the philosophy of 'how hard could it be?' - :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:. Parallel research and building slowed it down a tad. Our target for leaving home permanently is April 1 - no kidding! fingers crossed.


I would say look at the Flatlinevanco Low profile roof rack it is extremely nice. Unfortunately they are currently out of stock but is well worth the wait. I realize the price is alot more but it has a really clean look and is very sturdy. Here is mine with 3 panels, vent, and deck.

Congrats on the new van! You are going to have a blast building and figuring everything out.
I like that deck! How did you attach it?


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OK, ski season is really messing with my schedule, but hey, it's good exercise.

20210103_115502 (1).jpg

But I digress.

I'm on to the under the counter cabinet.
There will be 4 full size drawers and a narrow cupboard accessible from both sides at the end. The two spots that won't get drawers are under the sink and where the water tank is. They will get tilt out fronts that will give us a little space for stuff.

I tried to keep it as light as possible and will use a couple of 1x1 angle iron brackets to fix it securely to the van. One of the brackets will also fix to the fridge cabinet. That's a pretty heavy piece of equipment to fly around in the vent of a short stop or worse.

I spent days dry fitting pieces to make sure it would fit squarely. My drawer fronts will be full inserts with less that 1/8" reveal around them.

I did the painting in the shop so I wouldn't have to heat the van for a day.

In my lack of foresight, this cabinet will need to be removed if I ever need to change out my water tank. Not a big deal though as it has forced me to provide a more robust connection to the van.



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And the upper cabinets.
My wife would like curved doors.
I am going to try a tilt up style. I worked well in our last van.

But, it's a bit work. I'm just getting started on a test door.
It is 3 layers of 1/8" baltic birch plywood. There will be a 1/4" flat trim added around all four sides to give a flat panel rail and stile type look.


And a stack-o-drawers.
They will slide on full extension Blum-motion undermount slides.


A drawer front getting glued up.
The doors and drawer fronts will be 3/8" thick with a further 1/4" of trim added. I was hoping to get away with 1/2" total thickness but I need 5/8 for the push button drawer pull/locks.


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