Minke the Van build thread

larssmith

Active member

marklg

Well-known member
I’ve got more like 4 inches clearance.
There is air space, then the heat shield, then airs pace to the muffler. It looks like your heat shield is stuck to the tank.

Yes, there is an air gap on both sides of the shield.

Regards,

Mark
 

larssmith

Active member
Minke is official out and about. A short trip to Joshua Tree as a maiden voyage to work out the kinks.
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Things we’ve already realized:
• We really need something to level us 😅
• The foam tape nor VHB is enough to hold the magnets holding drawers and cabinets.
• The magnets we have aren’t going to be enough for the heavier drawers regardless of how the magnets are attached.

But mostly great and loving it!
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This was an inspirational moment from a few years back when we rented a van to drive Perth to Darwin. We loved throwing the back open and just lounging.

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i think we’ve done ok matching our current van to achieve that feeling. We were able to throw open the back doors to see the stars while lying snug in our bed.

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cheapren

Member
The fill point came with vinyl covered flex tubing that is cut to length. Seems fine but maybe not the sturdiest.



The fill point is definitely the lowest hanging item on my van but what are you going to do 🤷🏼‍♂️

I don't love the dust cover but the other option would be to keep the US-standard ACME adapter attached all the time and put a dust cap over that.



The Propex is going under the passenger seat. Both seats had to come out though because we needed to run power and control wiring. More holes in the van floor 😀



The propane regulator is going underneath though. But tucked up behind the plastic casing for the jack storage so it hopefully doing get too filthy and clog. These lines are all type L copper tube with flare fittings.



The seat base had to come out to cut the holes for the heating output duct and the air return. More jigsaw work.
I wonder what do you cover the step well wall with. thanks,
 

mincai

New member
View attachment 195543

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Like others, I found that I needed to rotate it slightly clockwise to get the best fit. Otherwise the hot water outlet hits the cross member, which would force it to be mounted lower. Even though the manual recommends mounting with the drain valve / pressure relief valve at 6 o'clock, I think it's fine a little rotated. To get full drainage, we can always park sideways on a slope 😁
@larssmith what’s the model / brand of this water heater? Do you use 12v or coolant to heat it up?
 

RVBarry

Well-known member
@larssmith what’s the model / brand of this water heater? Do you use 12v or coolant to heat it up?
Hi, brand is IsoTemp, they all take coolant, and additionally all come with a 120 or 240VAC element; I haven't seen any LV DC models.

 

larssmith

Active member
Ok, I'm a bit stumped on the best place to attach the calorifier to the glycol coolant loop. I've seen lots of people do this, but haven't found anyone with a VS30 gasoline documenting it.

I did some testing and found that the loop going in/out of the cabin only has flow when the cabin heat is on. I can feel the pump (just to the right of this photo) running when the heat is turned on and stops shortly after the cabin heat is turned off. Based on a directional arrow I found upstream, I'm pretty confident that it flows in on the right and out on the left. But I'd very much prefer not to have to heat the cabin in order to get hot water -- so I don't think anywhere along this loop is desirable.
PXL_20210411_160356145.jpg

The cabin heat exchanger loop tees into what looks like the main engine coolant line at the bottom drivers side of the radiator. The smaller line is the return from the cabin heat loop.
IMG_0526.JPG

So I could cut into either of the thicker hoses on that T junction and divert to the calorifier and return. But considering the large diameter of that hose, maybe I'm better off adding two new tees and a new pump to run the calorifier loop in parallel.

Does anyone know the right tool to get those factory hose clamps off?

@RVBarry are you planning or have you already done an Isotemp calorifier?
@timmy527 what did you do for Vanny McVanface?

Thanks in advance
 

99sport

Well-known member
Ok, I'm a bit stumped on the best place to attach the calorifier to the glycol coolant loop. I've seen lots of people do this, but haven't found anyone with a VS30 gasoline documenting it.

I did some testing and found that the loop going in/out of the cabin only has flow when the cabin heat is on. I can feel the pump (just to the right of this photo) running when the heat is turned on and stops shortly after the cabin heat is turned off. Based on a directional arrow I found upstream, I'm pretty confident that it flows in on the right and out on the left. But I'd very much prefer not to have to heat the cabin in order to get hot water -- so I don't think anywhere along this loop is desirable.
View attachment 205733

The cabin heat exchanger loop tees into what looks like the main engine coolant line at the bottom drivers side of the radiator. The smaller line is the return from the cabin heat loop.
View attachment 205734

So I could cut into either of the thicker hoses on that T junction and divert to the calorifier and return. But considering the large diameter of that hose, maybe I'm better off adding two new tees and a new pump to run the calorifier loop in parallel.

Does anyone know the right tool to get those factory hose clamps off?

@RVBarry are you planning or have you already done an Isotemp calorifier?
@timmy527 what did you do for Vanny McVanface?

Thanks in advance
I bet those hose clamps are not meant to be removed - at least that is how the T1N is. If you look up the MB parts diagram you will see all 3 of those hoses are one part number. If needed, you could very carefully slice through them with a Dremel in 2 places and replace with a worm drive hose clamp. Be careful not to cut into the hose
 

blutow

Well-known member
So I could cut into either of the thicker hoses on that T junction and divert to the calorifier and return. But considering the large diameter of that hose, maybe I'm better off adding two new tees and a new pump to run the calorifier loop in parallel.
If you are going to run a circulation pump to the water heater, you might consider just doing a dedicated glycol loop for the isotemp and put a heat exchanger in to move heat from the engine system to your water heater system. This leaves the engine loop basically in tact besides flowing through the heat exchanger.

I have an isotemp that I have not plumbed yet and the heat exchanger and circulation pump is the direction I'm leaning. I figured I can put a thermostatically controlled switch on the circulation pump. I like this approach for a couple of reasons - It solves the problem of overheating the water heater and tripping the overheat protection circuit (preventing electric heating until it is reset). This is a real problem that has been reported by multiple folks using the engine loop. Some have disabled the safety circuit by pulling the temp sensor out, but I'm personally not a fan of that approach and I can't think of another good way to throttle down the heat from the engine. A thermostatically controlled circulation pump can shut down circulation when a certain temp is reached at the water heater. I also like the idea of not relying on the engine loop for circulation. It's probably fine if you tap into the right spot, but I'm not an expert on the hydrodynamics of the MB cooling system and I like to keep the chassis systems as untouched as possible. Putting the heat exchanger into the loop is still a modification, but I'd argue it's less intrusive and less likely to cause an issue. I'd welcome any feedback if someone knows otherwise. The only downsides I see with the heat exchanger and temp controlled pump is the added cost and also the need to add an expansion tank for the water heater loop.
 

gltrimble

2017 170 4x4
Does anyone know the right tool to get those factory hose clamps off?
To remove the permanent factory bands I wedged a screwdriver partially under the band before gently using a cutoff wheel. The screwdriver will protect the rubber. Once the band is mostly cut you can pry it off. I removed a number of the bands cleanly.

You can intercept the coolant either upstream or downstream of the heater core, whatever is most convenient. I believe Tim intercepted his downstream of the heater core. A connection upstream of the heater core will provide slightly more potential heat for your Isotemp.

I believe connecting the engine coolant directly to the Isotemp is the simplest and most reliable setup.
 

larssmith

Active member
To remove the permanent factory bands I wedged a screwdriver partially under the band before gently using a cutoff wheel. The screwdriver will protect the rubber. Once the band is mostly cut you can pry it off. I removed a number of the bands cleanly.

You can intercept the coolant either upstream or downstream of the heater core, whatever is most convenient. I believe Tim intercepted his downstream of the heater core. A connection upstream of the heater core will provide slightly more potential heat for your Isotemp.

I believe connecting the engine coolant directly to the Isotemp is the simplest and most reliable setup.
Thanks for the removing tip.

For folks intercepting the cabin heater core, you guys turn on your cabin heat to get hot water? That could be inconvenient in a hot local...
 

gltrimble

2017 170 4x4
For folks intercepting the cabin heater core, you guys turn on your cabin heat to get hot water? That could be inconvenient in a hot local...
If the engine is running then the hot coolant is circulating through the heater core and Isotemp regardless. Turning the HVAC temperature dial to heat will kick on the electric coolant pump which increases the coolant flow volume through the heater core and Isotemp. You can always turn the fan speed down and close the vents to minimize any heat in the van on hot days. But if you are driving then the engine mechanical coolant pump alone is sufficient to heat your Isotemp in under an hour without the electric pump. The electric circulation pump just speeds up the process.
 
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larssmith

Active member
If you are going to run a circulation pump to the water heater, you might consider just doing a dedicated glycol loop for the isotemp and put a heat exchanger in to move heat from the engine system to your water heater system. This leaves the engine loop basically in tact besides flowing through the heat exchanger.

I have an isotemp that I have not plumbed yet and the heat exchanger and circulation pump is the direction I'm leaning. I figured I can put a thermostatically controlled switch on the circulation pump. I like this approach for a couple of reasons - It solves the problem of overheating the water heater and tripping the overheat protection circuit (preventing electric heating until it is reset). This is a real problem that has been reported by multiple folks using the engine loop. Some have disabled the safety circuit by pulling the temp sensor out, but I'm personally not a fan of that approach and I can't think of another good way to throttle down the heat from the engine. A thermostatically controlled circulation pump can shut down circulation when a certain temp is reached at the water heater. I also like the idea of not relying on the engine loop for circulation. It's probably fine if you tap into the right spot, but I'm not an expert on the hydrodynamics of the MB cooling system and I like to keep the chassis systems as untouched as possible. Putting the heat exchanger into the loop is still a modification, but I'd argue it's less intrusive and less likely to cause an issue. I'd welcome any feedback if someone knows otherwise. The only downsides I see with the heat exchanger and temp controlled pump is the added cost and also the need to add an expansion tank for the water heater loop.
Thanks @blutow for the detailed thoughts. I can see a lot of benefits with the second dedicated glycol loop. I haven't yet located the primary coolant pump on my engine but it doesn't seem to be very accessible for service. So if I shorten the lifespan of the main pump, that might be a real headache to replace. So a more minimal disruption to the engine loop might be desirable. I'm curious how the costs would add up. Definitely let me know when you've figured out a parts list. I'd be very interested where you might source a two-loop heat exchanger.

The safely cutoff for the Isotemp is really a tertiary safety in my situation. I'm using an Inkbird temperature-controlled relay to only power the Isotemp when it's below my set temperature. So even if the internal primary thermostat in the Isotemp were to fail closed, I wouldn't have a runaway heating situation. So I wouldn't worry too much about pulling the safety cutoff temperature probe out partway to avoid the engine coolant from tripping the safety.
 

blutow

Well-known member
Definitely let me know when you've figured out a parts list. I'd be very interested where you might source a two-loop heat exchanger.
Plumbing my water heater is way down on the priority list right now, but I did some research when deciding on the isotemp water heater and figured it was about $200 for quality heat exchanger and pump. Beyond that, you need some hose and controller. The inkbird is a good inexpensive option. The heat exchangers are pretty common, here is an amazon option:


Same for circulation pumps, lots of options out there and here's one:

 

timmy527

Member
Plumbing into the heater core loop on the Gas engine is pretty straightforward.
Original connections: A short coolant hose runs from the firewall ( heater core return ) ,
connects to ~24" length of aluminum pipe, and finally to another short coolant hose near
the bottom of the radiator.
Plumbing in the Isotemp: The aluminum pipe was completely removed ( see pic ) and the Isotemp
was connected to the firewall ( heater core return ) with a new hose, and another new hose connected
to the existing coolant hose near the bottom of the radiator.
Downside?: In order to shoehorn the Isotemp into the engine compartment, the conduit/duct connecting the
firewall to the underside of the hood was replaced with a flexible hose ( think dryer vent hose ). It works
fine but doesn't look as polished as the original equipment.

Since the connections are roughly the same length of the original hose/pipe ( thanks to Hein's
original post showing that shoehorning an Isotemp in the engine compartment was possible ) ,
nothing else is needed. We get plenty of hot water for the sink and pop up tent shower attached to
the rear ladder when we need it.

Hope that helps.

thx


image1.jpegimage3.jpegimage2.jpegimage0.jpeg20200911_131130.jpg
 

larssmith

Active member
Plumbing into the heater core loop on the Gas engine is pretty straightforward.
Original connections: A short coolant hose runs from the firewall ( heater core return ) ,
connects to ~24" length of aluminum pipe, and finally to another short coolant hose near
the bottom of the radiator.
Plumbing in the Isotemp: The aluminum pipe was completely removed ( see pic ) and the Isotemp
was connected to the firewall ( heater core return ) with a new hose, and another new hose connected
to the existing coolant hose near the bottom of the radiator.
Downside?: In order to shoehorn the Isotemp into the engine compartment, the conduit/duct connecting the
firewall to the underside of the hood was replaced with a flexible hose ( think dryer vent hose ). It works
fine but doesn't look as polished as the original equipment.

Since the connections are roughly the same length of the original hose/pipe ( thanks to Hein's
original post showing that shoehorning an Isotemp in the engine compartment was possible ) ,
nothing else is needed. We get plenty of hot water for the sink and pop up tent shower attached to
the rear ladder when we need it.

Hope that helps.

thx


View attachment 206295View attachment 206296View attachment 206297View attachment 206298View attachment 206313
Thanks for the details. And to confirm, on the gasoline engine you get hot water even when the engine cabin heat is off?
 

firebat45

Active member
Plumbing into the heater core loop on the Gas engine is pretty straightforward.
Original connections: A short coolant hose runs from the firewall ( heater core return ) ,
connects to ~24" length of aluminum pipe, and finally to another short coolant hose near
the bottom of the radiator.
Plumbing in the Isotemp: The aluminum pipe was completely removed ( see pic ) and the Isotemp
was connected to the firewall ( heater core return ) with a new hose, and another new hose connected
to the existing coolant hose near the bottom of the radiator.
Downside?: In order to shoehorn the Isotemp into the engine compartment, the conduit/duct connecting the
firewall to the underside of the hood was replaced with a flexible hose ( think dryer vent hose ). It works
fine but doesn't look as polished as the original equipment.

Since the connections are roughly the same length of the original hose/pipe ( thanks to Hein's
original post showing that shoehorning an Isotemp in the engine compartment was possible ) ,
nothing else is needed. We get plenty of hot water for the sink and pop up tent shower attached to
the rear ladder when we need it.

Hope that helps.

thx


View attachment 206295View attachment 206296View attachment 206297View attachment 206298View attachment 206313
What is your plan for the HVAC system? As it sits now it looks like it will just suck air from in the engine bay instead of through the hood vent.
 

timmy527

Member
Regarding the Isotemp, if we're driving more than 20 minutes, we've got hot water. Typically we drive for the day, have hot water whenever
we want it during the day ( during stops ) and that evening, and the next morning we've got all the hot water we need. We're feeding a sink
and outdoor shower with it. We've had 4 people take showers ( quick showers - get wet, lather up rinse, about 3 minutes each ) and still had
hot water ( 2Gpm water pump with a mixing valve box hanging on the rear ladder, and a pop up tent )
We never have to turn on the engine cabin heat, the isotemp is plumbed into the heater core loop, and works whether the cabin heat is on or off.
Regarding the HVAC, there's a cover over the gaping hole in the firewall where the original duct/conduit connected, and a hole in that cover with
a rigid ~5" diameter hose ( think dryer vent hose but beefier ) run from the fw cover to the hood underside. It's a round hose drawing air from the square hood underside so not as nice as the original, but a future project to adjust round to square...
 

larssmith

Active member
So the VHB turned out to be inadequate to hold the magnets to the cabinet and drawer faces. Used epoxy to glue them on. Then the magnets pull off the blocks of wood I had attached to the aluminum extrusion framing. So expoxied those magnets. for the heavier drawers, even 4x the magnets didn't guarantee the drawers wouldn't fly open around sharp turns. Just too much weight in the drawers shifting around. So I installed electric latches at the back. There's a switch inside the top left drawer that turns on the locks.

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These work pretty well. They do draw 100mA each when on, so I do want to remember to unlock them when we're not rolling. I might move the switch to a more visible illuminated one to help with that -- and to help with verification checklist before driving.

If i was doing it all from scratch I might have installed more switches up front and then a control wire junction somewhere in back...

Our electric folding bikes finally arrived. The dimensions of these dictating the slightly-too-high rear bench seating. But we weren't fully certain of the manufactured dimensions so we hedged a bit.

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They both fit in the garage space with plenty of room to spare
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In fact, by smooshing them over a bit, there's space on the side for tools and traction boards and stuff
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But then with even more shuffling -- and after more consideration -- we moved the tools under the bench and used the space in the back for our weight set. I built a hutch to stack them securely.

IMG_0546.jpg

I takes some finesse to get the bikes in there just right, but I'll get good at it after a couple more times.
 

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