Go Back   ADVrider > Fluff > Shiny Things
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 324 votes, 4.94 average. Display Modes
Old 08-13-2011, 01:35 PM   #46
Mr. J
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: northeast coast
Oddometer: 9,655
FWIW: skylight over bed = not a good idea.

skylight fail = you sleep on the wet spot.

Mr. J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 02:05 PM   #47
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
Originally Posted by Wolfgang55 View Post
One thing which has made the cargo interior a real pleasure is the making of rotating front seats pedestals, 180 degrees.
Now I just set up lawn chairs inside if raining or snowing, spin around the trucks seats & it becomes a living room.
Buying these addition under the seats would have been 750 USD.
Funny you should mention that.. here's what I did in the last hour:

Passenger Swivel Seat Install

Step 1: Removed 4 bolts. Cheryl cleaned the inside of the seat housing with paint thinner for me.

Step 2: applied a layer of Damplifier to the bottom of the seatwell. Damplifier now comes with black foil

Step 3: applied a layer of Luxury Liner Pro to the bottom of the seatwell.

Step 4: bolt the seat swivel unit (complete with instructions in german.. good thing it is simple ) onto the pan...

Step 6: re-bolt the seat on..


I still have to do the driver's side but it is a bit more involved as you have to re-locate the park brake mounting...

Geek screwed with this post 08-13-2011 at 03:15 PM
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 02:15 PM   #48
just going with it.
dan0's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: 06790
Oddometer: 447
Originally Posted by Geek View Post
The cheapest I've seen Adblue is $9 per half gallon (i.e. $90 per 5 gallons).
Got me thinking about VW/Audi AdBlue if it would be acceptable, since it's German as well.

Since I can't link to my search there go to and search adblue. Here is the text of the first result.

Diesel Emissions Fluid
AdBlue Fluid for the Urea tank.
Refill at 10K. intervals. (10 Liter)
(MBZ Approval:352.0) ALTERNATE
dan0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 02:29 PM   #49
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
Originally Posted by Gunslinger1 View Post
.........This is going to be Nice.

Do you have a general figure of what you plan on spending when complete?
That's a good (and scary) question. Here's a very loose outline:

We're going to do things in phases.
I've already done the stereo and the backup camera.

We're now working on phase one which has the objective of getting it "useable"... and getting a quality foundation in (sound damping, insulation, carpet). We'll be doing a basic bed frame in the back, mosquito nets for the openings, cooler instead of a fridge, etc .. just so we can get out and enjoy the rest of the summer before it is gone. We are hoping to spend 3 days next weekend in it camping above Vail.

Then as time allows:

Phase 2: AT wheels & tires, skylights/fans in roof, overhead cabinets, lower cabinets, 8020 convertable queen size bed frame,

Phase 3: house battery with inverter, wiring, etc., kitchenette with stove & sink. Outside shower at the back. Related items.

Phase 4: Optimization, Trim, Polish. Changing things we don't like, adding solar panels, etc.

I can easily see the project going over $70K .. but I'm going to try and keep it under that. I've already spent $10K more than the cost of the van and it feels like nothing's been accomplished yet

Yes I could have just purchased a finished van for less (although something like an outsidevan conversion can easily be $100K+) .. but for me, actually doing the building is more than half the fun. I saw a full Roadtrek $100,000 conversion with 120,000 miles on it selling for $35K. I could have (should have?) snapped that up and drove the wheels off it.. then put a new engine and tranny in it and kept on going for less than the price of a new empty van... but that would taken a lot of the fun away for me and I never claimed to be smart

The scarier part for me is the time consumption. I talked with a gent who has done a sprinter setup very similar to what I'm striving for and he claimed to have almost 450 hours of labor into his project I can't see this taking that long but I just spent two hours rubbing Damplifier onto the wheel wells (and I would have never guessed that would take that long) so you never know...

I guess it'll keep me out of trouble for a while

Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 02:31 PM   #50
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
Originally Posted by Garthe View Post
Geek, great thread idea.

I've owned a E 150 for the last 9 years. It has served my family well. I've been thinking about buying a Sprinter for a while now.

What can you tow with our van? We have two small children, so...bikes would have to be towed on a trailer. Can it tow a small enclosed trailer or would it have to be a typical three rail motorcycle trailer?

Thank, Jim
I believe the 2500 is rated to tow 5000lbs and the 3500 can tow 7500 lbs (although the extended 3500 is 5000 again).

That's off the top of my head but I'm sure if you check you can find the actual specs.

If you buy a 3500, 170, extended... I think you have to watch - you might be over 10K GVW which means you have to register it as a commercial vehicle (or get it declared an RV).
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 02:32 PM   #51
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
Originally Posted by dan0 View Post
Got me thinking about VW/Audi AdBlue if it would be acceptable, since it's German as well.

Since I can't link to my search there go to and search adblue. Here is the text of the first result.
Thanks Dan0

I'm going to pass this along to a friend of mine at Mercedes and ask him if there are any warranty issues/concerns if I do so (use an alternate brand).
I have a 100K, 4 year all inclusive bumper to bumper warranty and I don't want to do anything to jeopardize it.
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 02:56 PM   #52
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
We're waiting for the heat of the day to let up a bit before we get back to work on the van so I'll post some more "catching up".

First Camping Trip

About a month before we bought the van, Cheryl & I were out jeeping and we were heading up Weston Pass (a 12,000 foot pass in Colorado between Fairplay & Leadville). We were tooling up the dirt road and it was just starting to get a bit gnarly as it turns more "jeep road'ish" near the top.

We were debating what size of Sprinter we wanted still at that point...

"You know.. if we get a 170 there is no way we'd be able to get it up here" I said.
"Do you think even a smaller one could get up here? This is pretty rough!" Chery replied.

No sooner had the words come out of her mouth.. than we rounded a bend in the road and saw this:

We caught up with the owner (who was riding a unicycle over the pass )

We talked with him about his Sprinter for about 10 minutes.
He said him and his wife loved the thing. They travel everywhere in it with their child/baby ... have a queen size bed in the back.. wouldn't trade it for anything except maybe a newer one. I believe at one point he stated "it is absolutely the best thing I have ever bought".

After thanking him for his time we continued on.. more excited about buying a Sprinter than ever.

"When we buy our sprinter, I think we should come up here and camp in the exact same spot he's camped in for our first trip.. just for fun"

I bought the Sprinter and the following weekend we found ourselves here:

Mission accomplished

We actually camped about a mile further up the road (it is cooler temperature wise the higher you go).

We used a queen sized air mattress between the wheel wells in the back; which kinda sucked because it was about 6 inches wider than the wheels wells so the sides were all jammed in (that said, the van is 6 inches wider than the mattress so once we have our frame above the wells, it'll be perfect!).
We brought a couple lounge chairs, a mountain bike, a kelty noah tarp, a camp table & a cooler.

We could barely sleep that night laying in the back of the Sprinter... we were like kids the night before Christmas looking at the space around us and imaging just how excellent everything was going to be when we were done. We talked for hours about what we wanted to put where.

Eventually.. we did fall asleep.

About 3am Cheryl woke me up..
"I think I hear a bear!"
I sat up, reached over and slid the sliding door shut. Laid back down and went back to sleep.
Best Bear Encounter Ever.

For this trip we thought about mosquitos at the last minute... on the way out of town we stopped at a hardware store and bought a bunch of rolls of screen - they were about 4 feet wide... you can see them hanging in the door in this photo:

They did not work well. Too many gaps between the screens, etc. (although the ones I made for the front windows using duct tape and magnets worked great

When I got home I ordered two heavy duty mosquito nets 12'x12' each. Got them from (they shipped the same day I ordered them and we got them 2 days later!). Cheryl's going to make new door covers for the side and rear doors with those

20 minutes, some door screen, some duct tape & some rare-earth magnets =

Yeah.. they look a bit ghetto
Cheryl's since made a "pattern" for the window screens for the door and is going to sew up a more attractive solution

Geek screwed with this post 08-13-2011 at 03:15 PM
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 03:07 PM   #53
Beastly Adventurer
VegasKLRider's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Oddometer: 2,952
I was born... I shall die... but the time in between is mine.


What Would John Wayne Do?

Southwest Riders visit
VegasKLRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #54
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
Backup Camera System

The van currently doesn't have back windows (I will be adding some in the future.. same ones as the photo above) which makes it a bit of a challenge to back up... especially in traffic in the city.

The stereo I put in (report to come) has a backup camera input on it so I didn't need an additional screen.

I decided I wanted a wide angle camera up high so that I can see the back hitch to hookup a trailer easily, monitor the bikes when towing a trailer (or a hitch mount), and also have peace of mind that I'm not about to back over a Prius when I have to move the thing backwards in the city.

I ended up going with a solution. It is a bit more expensive but I have no doubt it is the most robust system out there (which in the winter matters.. as well as when I bushwacking with the ceiling (which is a real problem with a vehicle nearly 10 feet tall).

The price difference between their low end camera and their high end one isn't much so it makes sense just to get the best one they have.

It is 130 degree viewing angle, ultra low light, night vision, anti-bloom, etc.. but the two features I really like are:
1) double pane of glass guaranteed forever against water intrusion. If it ever fogs up they'll give you a new one.
2) heated outer pane of glass. In the winter it will defrost itself... and since I live in Colorado this thing will get lots of chances to use that feature

The second cool thing is the way the mount these guys makes is designed. It is designed to deflect tree branches, etc up and over the camera without damage. Solid steal, very robust and gives you a very flexible mounting location.

I had to go buy an 8 foot ladder to install the thing but here's how it looks mounted on my van

...and here are some screen shots of its image while I was playing with it in the parking lot of Home Depot

Note: The camera is a 4 pin RCA connector (because it has audio if you want.. and needs power to the camera for the IRs and the defroster). I bought a 33 foot 4pin extension cord and then the convertor cable to drop it from 4 pin to standard composite connection. I thought 33 feet was super long but I used pretty much every foot of it after routing. You definitely do not want a cord shorter than 33 feet! 33 was the perfect length (assuming you are going to route it like I did.. inside the B-pillar, under the floor, up inside the back of the dash, etc so that it is completely hidden).

Geek screwed with this post 08-13-2011 at 03:21 PM
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 03:29 PM   #55
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058

The thing is deceivingly large. I'm amazed they can make something this big get 20mpg.

I find myself ducking when I approach overpasses and when I pass an 18 wheeler I can actually look inside their cab. This thing will not be going into any underground parking lots or through any drive thrus.. height clearance is definitely an issue.

It is kind of nice like when you ride a motorcycle because you can see over all of the vehicles in front of you and see traffic situations developing. You know long before the tailgating kid in the Honda in front of you knows that he's going to jam his brakes.

I didn't realize exactly how big it was until my first fuel stop in Arizona during the drive home. I went to wash the windshield with a regular car sized squeegie and I couldn't reach half way across the windscreen! I'm 6 feet tall. I washed from both sides and left an unclean stripe down the middle

Here is my van parked beside a client's full size van (I don't remember if it is a ford or chevy.. it is a standard full size work van):

... then on Thursday I was reminded again how big it is when I tried to wash it...
It is like washing a friggin' house.

I spent $16 and never got the entire thing clean. The foam sprayer thingie couldn't even reach over to the other side of the van. To wash it proper will require an 8 foot ladder and several hours of hard work. I predict mine will remain forever dirty
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 05:50 PM   #56
Garthe's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2004
Location: Arizona
Oddometer: 4,357

I have the a ford van that is newer than that......dam...that is waaaay bigger...
2007 XR650R
2001 Montessa 315R
Garthe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 06:02 PM   #57
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
Sound Damping

All luxury vehicles have something in common... extensive sound damping that make them quiet & comfortable at any speed. It is one of the biggest differences between a Toyota and a Lexus - the amount of damping material onboard. Why does a high end luxury automobile's door close with a solid thud? Sound damping and mass loading.

As I am getting older my hearing is definitely declining. All those miles on a motorcycle I guess. Because of this, I find I am becoming more and more susceptible to noise (and also more fussy when it comes to "quality of sound" i.e. listening to music/audio). The Sprinter has a lot of surface area to resonate & vibrate and it is a pretty loud vehicle compared to many of the other vehicles I've owned (although maybe not loud as far as vans go).

I'm going to try and minimize it.

I'm going with a 3 prong attack on noise (before the interior.. which in itself will add more sound damping).

Step 1:
First is a vibration damper or constraint layer damper (CLD). In my case "Damplifier" is the product I'm using though there are lots of others out there (Dynamat probably being the most well known).

I am starting with 160 square feet of it.

This is a self adhesive product that is made of butyl rubber and has a 6.5 mil hard foil on it. It is about 1 mm total thickness and weighs about .35 lbs per square foot. It doesn't need contiguous coverage.. you basically put it on anything that might vibrate or buzz. Mercedes has already stuck some sound damping on various panels.. I'm augmenting that.

One note: some of the cheaper CLD products are asphault based instead of butyl based. Personally I'd shy away from them due to 1) fumes and 2) they have been known to "run" when they get hot.. making a mess.

In this photo you can see some of the adhesive damper MB applied. The mass of the damper stops the large square panel it is stuck on from vibrating.

Step 2:
A noise barrier. In my mind, this is the most important part. The CLD sound deadener stops panels from vibrating but this stuff stops noise. The product I chose to use is called "Luxury Liner Pro". It is a high quality Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) barrier. The "Pro" version comes with a closed cell foam (CCF) decoupler already bonded to the MLV (and it is fused together - not glued) which basically does two types of sound barrier at once: MLV & CCF.

This stuff is seriously heavy. It is 1lb per square foot and stops all airborne sound waves.
I have 30 sheets of it (270 square feet) and they weigh just under 300 lbs

This stuff is not adhesive and requires a contact spray glue to adhere. It is too heavy to stick on the ceiling.

Step 3:
Heat insulation.
The goal obviously is to stop the transfer of heat from the outside in or the inside out. Because the Luxury Liner Pro is too heavy to stick on the ceiling, I'm going to do a layer of CLD and then a product called "Heat Wave Pro" which is a light weight, foil faced heat and noise insulation mat. It is a thermal-acoustic barrier so it does a bit of both..

Then I'm going to insulate the walls with something like Reflectex .. depending on how much space I have available.

Do I have enough material? Do I have too much? I dunno. I picked the numbers outta my ass while I was driving and on the phone... so we'll see how it all turns out

Certain parts of the vehicle that are excessively noisy like the wheel wells I may double or triple some of the layers.

On top of these 3 steps will go the interior panels which will have carpet, various fabrics, etc on them.. adding further sound proofing.

Geek screwed with this post 08-13-2011 at 06:11 PM
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 06:19 PM   #58
Geek OP
oot & aboot
Geek's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 32,058
Sound Damping.. continued: Passenger footwell.

I spent about an hour tonight sound damping the passenger footwell.

The passenger footwell in the Sprinter is already fairly impressively insulated. The firewall has a very thick (3/4"?) rubber matt on it, the floor has CLD put on any big areas, and then the floormat itself is over an inch thick with a soft foam/rubber insulator on bottom.

So I went a bit overboard...

First I cut out some pieces of Damplifier and stuck them everywhere that went "tink tink tink" instead of "thud thud thud" when I tapped on it

When I got rid of all the "tink tink tinks" I started in with the Luxury Liner Pro
I pulled the wiring channel off and ran a contiguous piece under the wiring and out the other side.

I then started adding more pieces.. cutting and joining them with foil tape. I ran foam all the way up until I joined it with the firewall rubber.

Then I put the stock mat/insulator back in. As you can see, it ends before the tool kit/jack (there are body panels that cover all of that up) so actually insulated a large area that had no insulation at all - being right behind the engine I think it should help a bit

Woohoo... 2 square feet done. Only ... 398 or so square feet to go?
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2011, 08:28 PM   #59
That's MR. Toothless
Gummee!'s Avatar
Joined: May 2004
Location: NoVA for now...
Oddometer: 28,821

I'm a cyclist that rides motos, not a moto rider that rides bicycles.
Gummee! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2011, 06:39 AM   #60
Air cooled runnin' mon
vtwin's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: NorCal
Oddometer: 7,727
Geek, let us know how the insulation works. I have a Willys pickup I'd like to quiet down. This is the site I was going to get my stuff from. Lot's of good information.
"Alles hat ein Ende--nur die Wurst, sie hat zwei"

"You only have too much fuel if you're on fire"
vtwin is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:17 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015