Here goes! My build thread to sleep a family of 9 (!!!) in a 2020 170" 4x4


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"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
Got the AdvWagon bed kit installed, and putting bracers up for the L-track. Thanks to another member (can’t remember the members name!) for the tip on bolting angle bracers to the ribs for the ceiling L-track.

Tip on the angle bracers: hammer them in a bit to accommodate a slight angle on the ribs.

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Cool build!

Since I don’t have one I got to live vicariously through other’s builds.
Consider glue on cork tiles somewhere in your build. I used the stuff for my floor in my house. Has held up well, but color isn’t too UV stable. A buddy of mine has an old split window VW that has 50+ year old cork in it. It is light and offers a tiny bit of sound and heat insulation. Globus is a cork supplier if it is something that catches your eye.


"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
Got the L-track installed.

I got this Astro Pneumatic Tool ADN14 Rivet Nut Drill Adapter Kit, which is great (and much better than this rivnut tool, which broke after one use).

But: I had a helluva time lining the rivnuts up with perfect tolerances. I ended up trying twice on one side and still had to drill out a few of the bolts because they were off by a hair.

I ended up just riveting the L-track into place using some flanged rivets I bought from McMaster Carr. They have 510 lbs tensile strength per rivet, so the L-track should be plenty strong, but LMK if anyone thinks that was a bad idea!

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2 questions for you.
1. Do you feel that the AdVan adds substantial strength to the L-Track on the ceiling? The reason I ask is that I like the look of the build quality, but they won't sell the track kit without wall panels, which I don't want.
2. Since you have the AdVan kit, why did you feel the need to add angle brackets? Is the kit inadequate in some areas?

Sorry if the questions sound dumb, but I am hopefully finalizing the deal on my van today (been saying that for a week) and want to research all of the options. The first year or two, the van will live its life as a cargo van utilizing the various tie downs, while I slowly add the systems, insulation, etc to turn this into a modular RV/Cargo beast.


Eric B

Well-known member
@drodio Hey Daniel I would suggest stainless steel rivets instead of aluminum... if you are going to go that route... but a rivnut + bolt is always going to be stronger than just a rivet by itself, and gives you the flexibility to remove things if need be...

Are you using a punch after you marked your hole location on the wall ?
Makes it easier to keep drill bit from walking when you first start the hole for the rivnut...
Are you using a stepper drill bit to enlarge to the right for the rivnut? that helps to ease the hole in one direction or another as you are enlarging it, especially if you feel like you might not be dead on when you check with the L track...

Is your L track from AdWagon?
It has those two extra grooves on the front side - looks like the ones I got from USCargoControl - I thought the AdWagon ones were totally smooth ?

Did you relieve the back of the L track to account for the head of the rivnuts, such that the L track sits flush against the van walls?
I used a 5/8" or 3/4" end mill on my drill press to relieve the back of the L track on mine.

I also didn't use EVERY hole in the L track - that might be overkill for our purposes...
Every other hole on my verticals - the ones that hold the bed
Every 2 holes on my horizontals - the ones I use to strap cargo to walls
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"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
@Eric B the rivers I used are rated to 510lb each; should be enough (also I’m riveting each hole).

@hilld I don’t have the advwagon kit other than the bed supports. I’m going to fabricate my own ceiling supports.


"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
Daniel of Mad Vans in Santa Barbara is getting the SmartFloor installed as we speak!

Also got the sides up -- 1/4" baltic birch. And putting the kids to work cleaning the floor to prep it for Daniel :)

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"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
@45Kevin yep just installed sound damping on the wheel wells this wknd!

Also got the fan installed and getting the water tanks positioned.

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2008 NCV3 170ext
Did you treat both sides of that 1/4" birch with anything (e.g. polyurethane) to make it water resistant? Condensation will make it an attractive food for black mold.


"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
Costco is offering $70 off the Massimo line of coolers right now.

Wasn't sure what size I'd want, so I bought all three.

In my last Sprinter, I had this Alpicool 55 liter, which fits *perfectly* between the front seats.

I tried plugging the Massimos in, and they threw an error code. The battery was at 12.4v, but the start-up cycle drew the battery down to 10 volts, which caused a shutoff failure. Interestingly that never happened on the Alpicool unit.

I've got the Inergy power unit coming in Jan, so I'll probably wait to see how that one does. It's supposed to stay at 13.4v. But I can confirm the Massimos definitely don't work on house batteries with the van turned off!

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"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
@Christian- yeah I’ll likely be returning them. Trying to find something in the sub $500 range which is decent. I could always spring for an Engel, ARB or Dometic but I figure one of the many off brands must be decent. The Alpicool I had previously was actually pretty impressive; might go for that, or a Whynter, which has rated well generally.


"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
Opted to install steel rails on the ceiling for the L-track, instead of the aluminum L brackets, since I’ll likely be hanging kids cots from the ceiling and wanted to ensure strength. I fabricated & welded angled steel L beams. Very happy with the result!

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