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Old 01-30-2008, 06:33 PM   #40
Gnarly Adventurer
misha's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: north-central PA
Oddometer: 294
Originally Posted by TexasRT
Misha - Would you provide more details on your conversion and specifically how it transforms from cargo van to camper? Nifty Idea. I'm familiar with the sportsmobile conversions (great camper and will run 21-25 MPG on the road) but have the need for a cargo van during the week and a camper occasionally.

I've spent a lot of time over at the Sprinter forum in Yahoo, and I've seen a bunch of DIY camper conversions, but I've not seen any like mine (in that it is pretty darn close to a removable, full class B rv).

Here's what I did (I'll try to keep it brief). Let me preface this by saying that I make my living as a cabinetmaker, so I had a bit of an advantage.

First I put soundproofing material, insulation, ran wiring for lighting and a ceiling fan, and put in wood siding and a curved wooden ceiling. Then I installed I-track at waist height for securing loads (when it's in cargo mode).
Then I installed a European cabinet hanging rail at about 60". All of the above is a permanent install.

Everything that follows is removable: I made the upper cabinets, which hang on the rail. No need to screw them to anything each time. Tricky part here is that the backs of the cabinets are curved, to match the radius of the ceiling.
Base cabinets sit on the floor (and get screwed to the wooden wall). The couch slides out to be a double bed (well a bit narrower than a double). The couch screws to the floor and wall.

I installed an auxilliary 12v power system that runs the ceiling fan, the water pump for the sink, and the lights. I have a 30gal water tank under the sink and a 5gal waste water tank in another cabinet. A 3-burner Coleman stove. We use a cooler for refrigeration and a small rv porta-potty.

My wife made curtains and upholstered the couch.

I put a swivel on the passenger seat. The awning clips onto the rain gutter. Other than the fan, I did not cut any holes in the van.

My gripe with the commercial rv conversions on these Sprinters is that they try to pack so much into them (like a shower and toilet) that there is not much room left for storage. Mine has tons of storage.

When I first got the van I was excited about the possibility of marketing and building these, but I quickly realized that there is way too much liability: I'm not an electrician and my propane set-up doesn't meet code.

But, if any of you guys ever needs some woodworking (only) for one of these, don't hesitate to contact me. Especially if you live anywhere near central PA.
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