Building an Adventure Van

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Geek, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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  2. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    Hey dude, with such a large roof you are going to hate loading and unloading the roof. I don't even use mine on the Vanagon... PITA!!!!
  3. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Yeah we've been thinking about that...
    the right side of the roof rack would have an awning mounted to it and then two 135watt solar panels in series.

    The left side I'm thinking of maybe installing a roller at the back to help loading/unloading of a kayak/canoe?

    :dunno
  4. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    Yes on the solar panels, no on everything else. Keep it low profile up there.

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  5. CodyY

    CodyY ADVenture Capitalist

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    there's a pink plumbing van that runs around here with a pretty sweet one
  6. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    slightly out of context -- which or what pretty sweet one? rack?
  7. CodyY

    CodyY ADVenture Capitalist

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    Yeah the rack. This one I thinks
    [​IMG]
  8. Sutherngintelmen

    Sutherngintelmen around the bend

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    I like the idea of a stout rack on top of advan. Solar panels, expedition size dry bags for when you need even more storage, and a couple of small deck chairs for sunset activities.

    We spent most of the 90's living weekends in Trooper / Pathfinder / 4Runner. Kayaks were used as storage pods with cockpit covers (not sure this would be as effective with newer shoe sized boats - we finished that tour in Dagger RPM's.)

    No boat trips used dry bags instead of car toppers for better load / unload and no wind blocker when empty. This system worked very well for us.

    Advan canoe / kayak load assist:

    [​IMG]

    Dismount:

    [​IMG]
  9. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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    Geek's next build?
    [​IMG]
    Link

    M
  10. dirtinthevillage

    dirtinthevillage Adventurer

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    This is two blocks from my office. There's no end of asshats who pull in there and ignore the flashing lights. Always funny when it happens.
    :rofl

  11. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Lots of stuff to figure out today!

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  12. bobfab

    bobfab Long timer

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  13. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Espar Airtronic D2 Heater Installation.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to be spending several hours today installing the diesel heater in the van.
    After freezing our butts off a couple of nights in the desert last week.. the priority of this has become higher :D
    I'm going to try and document this extensively in the hopes that it will help someone down the line doing a similar install because it is a fairly complicated system and it'll save you several hundred bucks if you do it yourself (not to mention the piece of mind of really knowing your setup incase you have troubles down the line) :thumb

    Disclaimer: don't do it yourself if you might screw it up :D
    I take no responsability for when you burn your vehicle to the ground (I hope I didn't just jinx myself)
    :hide


    What is the Airtronic D2?

    Essentially it is a diesel "bunk heater". It is used in 18 wheelers to keep the drivers warm when they are sleeping in their bunks without the need for the engine to be running. It is also often used in boats. It runs off of your existing diesel fuel supply (obviously not something you'd want if your vehicle is gasoline).


    Why I chose the D2:

    -We need heat. :vardy
    -It runs off of our existing diesel fuel tank (yay!) so we don't have to carry any extra fuel source (and since I'm trying to build the entire van to run off electric (no propane) when boondocking - this is a big plus).
    -In Colorado we have a "puffer law" meaning you are not allowed to let your vehicle idle to warm up. This will also give me a way to warm up the van without risking a puffer ticket as my van is a daily driver :thumb

    The D2 is VERY efficient:
    on low it burns 0.1 litres per hour using 8 watts for the glow plug
    on medium it burns 0.15 liters per hour using 12 watts
    on high it burns 0.23 litres per hour using 22 watts

    Converting that to American ... running on low (which is likely most of the time in a small van) it will burn 0.025 gallons per hour on low - times 24 hours = 0.6 gallons. So if you ran it non-stop for 24 hours it would burn just over 1/2 gallon of diesel and chances are unless it is subfreezing outside you'd never run it 24 hours.

    The glow plug is 8 watts / 12 volts =0.667 = 16 amps per day running non-stop. Even a small solar panel would easily offset this.

    On high the math turns out to be: 1.38 gallons for 24 hours non/stop and 44 amps (I've been told there is no way you'd be able to stay in a sprinter long with it on high as it'll be way too hot inside).


    Sprinter Tip:

    If you are ordering a Sprinter - make sure you get option KL1 on your order sheet... here is how it is listed on mine:
    [​IMG]

    ...and here is what it actually is:
    [​IMG]

    A built in Diesel fuel tap!
    Without the KL1 option you would have to drop your fuel tank, drill a hole in it and install your own fuel tap.

    If you are looking at a used Sprinter and want to see if it has this option
    Lay on the ground right beside the fuel door (which is at the back edge of the driver's door)
    [​IMG]

    and then looking underneath you will see the fuel tank and the filler hose going up to the nosel above...
    Right in front of that fuel filler hose is the KL1 tap. :thumb
    [​IMG]

    If the Sprinter you are looking at doesn't have this tap.. keep in mind you'll have extra work to do if you pursue any diesel powered devices (installing your own tank tap).


    This should make today's installation MUCH easier :wings
  14. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    I appreciate your input Bob :freaky

    We used a propane catalyst heater this past week in Moab and unfortunately it didn't work well for us.

    I have a very sensitive nose (probably the only of my 5 senses that still works well :dunno ) and the entire time it is on I can smell/taste its exhaust. Even with our ceiling fan on non-stop circulating fresh air the exhaust of the propane makes me sick to my stomach. We ended up deciding it was better to be cold than run the catalyst.

    Hence another reason I spent so much on this D2... its combustion air (intake and exhaust) are external on the vehicle.

    I wish I were not so sensitive to the fumes as it would have saved me $1000 :eek1

    :freaky
  15. tweetie

    tweetie Long timer

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    Can't wait! :wings

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  16. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    :photog

    no doubt :freaky
  17. ian408

    ian408 Oh? Administrator

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    I think you'll be happy with the D2. I have some friends that recently installed this on a 37' sailboat. Prior to that, they had a different (and I think less efficient) heater. They're very happy with the result plus it's lower fuel consumption and better heating.

    How will you mitigate the possibility of plugging or flooding the intake/exhaust for it (I'm guessing off-roading in wet or muddy conditions or ice buildup would the most likely to cause this)?
  18. tommu56

    tommu56 Long timer

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    did you conciser the Hydronic heaters that would heat the engine and provide heat with a heat exchanger hot air?

    The Hydronic 5 from Espar

    [​IMG]
  19. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Ian: tbd - but I have some ideas.

    At the moment I'm trying to figure out how to translate this:

    [​IMG]

    to this:

    [​IMG]


    ...and then cut a 4.5" hole in the right place :eek1

    This is almost as stressful as the roof vent installation :rofl


    Then I have to cut a hole in the *interior* floor for this:

    [​IMG]

    which is going to be a PITA. If I wasn't building things arse-backwards, I would have cut this hole out MONTHS ago because I need the plate to go down on the metal floor. Removing the floor at this point is NOT an option so instead I'll try and cut through the wood/fiberwood/massloaded vinyl/ccf foam/butyl rubber ( :rofl ) layers with a dremel so that I have a full plate mounting area then on the metal.

    ...but of course the metal is corrugated so I have to come up with some sort of a filler to make the surface flat for the mounting gasket.

    I did get ONE thing done today. I installed this sticker. :deal
    I think I'll run a highlighter over the english text to draw attention to it :D

    [​IMG]


    Off to Home Depot.. turns out with all of my hole saws that none of them are 4.5". :norton
  20. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    I did.. and I've read lots of good things about them!

    Personally.. I'm trying to keep the "mercedes parts" and the "geek parts" completely independent of each other. It wasn't worth the extra expense/complexity/warranty impact/etc to me when the D2 will meet all of our goals.

    If I still lived in Northern Ontario where -40 happens... I would have given it much more consideration.

    :freaky