My VERY humble Sprinter van build

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by leeinmemphis, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. leeinmemphis

    leeinmemphis Long timer

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    Hey everyone,

    I've been working on a sprinter van set up on and off for about 6 months. The Sprinter started life as a work van for someone in my company. Last year we closed the business and I decided to keep the van for myself. It is an '07 and has around 60k miles. The primary goal of the van is to use for weekend camping trips(hauling a KLR on the back or sometimes carrying a Harley inside the van. As it has worked out I am taking my kids to AK for the summer and we intend to head out in about 2 months time.

    Let me start off by stating that I know there are a lot of people on here and other boards that have taken a great amount of time and detail to make a solid RV conversion. Unfortunately I don't have the skill, funds or time to do a full on RV conversion. I'm wanting to make it somewhat comfortable for weekend camping use and hauling m/c's when/if needed.

    First step last fall was putting horse stall mats in as the floor and lined down both sides and in the center with e-track so I can move things around as needed.

    I started out by putting a pioneer head unit in with iPod connector and some decent speakers in the doors.

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    The next step was to take a mix of foam spray insulation, foam sheeting, and reflectix to insulate the interior of the van. For the most part every nook and cranny is filled with spray foam then a sheet of insulation was used for a second layer. This REALLY made the van a lot quieter going down the road.

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    These two pictures show the first layer of spray foam before the foam board was installed.

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    Here is another pic of the process of insulation installation.

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    Overall view of the van. On the outside it still appears to be a cargo van with the front windows tinted.

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    I tore out the stock headliner and put a shelf above the front cabin space
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    Here is the cab:
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    I had some extra unistrut so I installed a unistrut rack with a plywood decking on top for the platform of the bed. I went to a local futon store and purchased a queen mattress. I over spent what I intended on the futon but considering I'm going to be sleeping in it for the summer I figure it was worth the $$$$
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    Here is a real sorry picture of the rear to show the storage space under the bed. I'll get some better pics as this build keeps going on.
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    All of the wall insulation was covered with some indoor/outdoor carpet(I'll try to get a couple pics of the finished walls)

    Last fall I picked up the heaviest duty hitch carrier I could find. We also put a class 4 hitch on the van.

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    Not that it matters but here is a pic of the KLR that will be on a hitch carrier. Still debating on modifying the carrier I have or what but I need to find a way to transport the generator that I also need to carry on the van.

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    We will also be carrying my hammock tents and a conventional tent for when we need or have to do something outside of the van. I intend on sleeping in my hammock most nights that I can find a place to hang it.
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    Next up is to figure out how to mount a generator on the back of the van with the hitch hauler or actually physically mount it on one of the rear doors(which I am really considering). The generator is a Honda eu2000i quiet suitcase type generator. At this point I am considering the purchase of a small portable a/c unit to put in the van for use in the hot summer evenings(not that there will really be any of these in AK of all places). I have a Mr Heater portable propane powered heater that we can use when needed for heat but I highly doubt it will be needed.

    Other items I still have to work out:

    - some interior wiring for the generator to power some cab items(laptops, chargers etc)

    - set up an inverter and battery set up for 12v functions(inverter is here just haven't done it yet)

    - I have purchased a portable hot water heater and shower kit. I plan on it being used when boondock camping(places with no facilities). Water is going to be transported in a 5 gallon container and it will be the source for our water. We have water filters if needed to get water from a river, creek or lake. I've opted to not install any real plumbing because I am wanting to keep it as simple as possible.
    #1
  2. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Have the same generator, great unit.

    Also have a 2500 CRD-09, great unit too.

    Am going to put a 15-18 gallon solar hot water unit over 60% of the roof, very low profile.

    If your reciever hitch is making noise while carrying your KLR, it may be the looseness of the male part of the hitch.

    I put a couple spots of weld on the male part & it was just enough to take up the rattle room.

    I carry my GS on the hauler. Very solid carrier.

    Looks like you have a lot of fun headed your way.
    #2
  3. bwbeck

    bwbeck Been here awhile

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    Cool set up.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
    #3
  4. zgfiredude

    zgfiredude Old Fart in Training.......

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    Nice, keep 'em coming!
    #4
  5. mark883

    mark883 and the mysterians

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    Don't take this the wrong way.... but did you get a pallet discount on the spray foam?

    Hopefully, you didn't get any in your hair... that's fairly nasty stuff. I may have used as much around my old house.

    I didn't spray any into my van's nooks & crannies, I'm sure it works good for that, but I'm just a bit paranoid about reversibility.

    Looks good... as sealed as that is, make sure you keep some ventilation going while sleeping, etc.

    Keep showing the work, and good luck! We can't all be Geek :lol3
    #5
  6. leeinmemphis

    leeinmemphis Long timer

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    Mark.....almost all of the items used on the interior were left over items from other projects. I used somewhere around 250-260 cans of foam. The only thing I actually had to buy specifically for the van was the bench seat, e track, and futon mattress. The rest was leftover materials.
    #6
  7. JamesG

    JamesG Rabid Poster

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    Its also corrosive. He has about 5 years before the rust starts to show thru the paint on the outside...
    #7
  8. mark883

    mark883 and the mysterians

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    I don't know. Are you sure that isn't just the Sprinter rust?

    Sprinter Rust = BMW Final Drives

    I haz both. :bluduh
    #8
  9. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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    250 cans of foam??? :eek1:eek1:eek1:eek1:eek1 Holy crap!!!
    #9
  10. leeinmemphis

    leeinmemphis Long timer

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    I did quite a bit of reading on the spray foam and there seems to be people saying it's corrosive and others saying it isn't. Guess time will tell.
    #10
  11. Badger DR

    Badger DR n00b

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    Could you buy a small awning that would strap to the outside like a trailer and then you would have an automatic rain cover? Roll up going down the road and unroll as needed.

    Throwing ideas out... did catch your plan, but sounds fun.

    Badge
    #11
  12. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Will the generator fit under the floor behind one of the back tires?

    You might have been able to get an insulation place to spray your interior with commercial AB foam, rather than using a metric shit-ton of cans.
    #12
  13. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Don't count on open camping from the Dakotas to Alaska and back. The mosquitoes will drain you dry overnight. Without a full tent with fine-mesh windows and zippered doors, you'll all be sleeping in the van.
    #13
  14. spagthorpe

    spagthorpe Long timer

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    I've never heard the spray foam was corrosive, but I do know that water vapor gets trapped behind it in places, and that will rust like crazy on a Sprinter.

    As for the amount, it's about the same as I've read other people doing. You can find insulation places that will do spray foam on your Sprinter, but it isn't cheaper.
    #14
  15. MikeFromMT

    MikeFromMT Past Tense

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    I'd love a Sprinter, my wife hated my E350, I can only imagine her reaction to a bigger van.

    For future reference you can buy bulk tanks of spray foam, I used to use it for special effects/set design. The tanks are about the size of a BBQ grill propane tank and have different nozzles for different spray patterns. Price varies but the time spent might be less.

    I wonder what an insulation place would charge to spray a van. :hmmmmm I've got that very same thought for my cargo trailer.
    #15
  16. Mr. J

    Mr. J Banned

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    i have to side with the "irreversibility" front on this one. once the foam is there, it's there for keeps. i will use sheet foam, adhesive sealants, and sound dampeners. jury is still out on moisture barrier. it will depend on how the panelling is installed, but i think breathability & elimination of cold bridges will win.

    it's not as if i'm going to build a bathyoscaphe!

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    http://blog.modernmechanix.com/publication/?pubname=ModernMechanix
    #16
  17. JamesG

    JamesG Rabid Poster

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    The solvents in it attacks the paint where it sticks to it and eats into it. Then any condensation that forms in the pores of the foam can get at the metal. That's how it was explained to me anyway.

    An epoxy coating would probably block it, but that's expensive. How's going to keep a vehicle longer than 5 years anyway? :1drink
    #17
  18. leeinmemphis

    leeinmemphis Long timer

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    took the Sprinter today to pick up a new to me Big Ruckus scooter. This was the second time I've used the versa haul and I must say that it is a well built platform. I also got the chance to use some power tye tie downs that I got for Christmas. As of now I plan to haul the Ruckus with us to Alaska.


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    #18
  19. deerslayR

    deerslayR Spodely Adventurer

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    Guilty as charged. My 2002 with just 100K miles. Owned since new.
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    Great economy (10K service intervals/ 23+ MPG) . Crappy door hinges/ latches and window regulators.
    Had a few mechanical issues, but nothing that would prevent the purchase of another one.

    A bit beat up because it's a business vehicle as well and had some trauma over the years. :eek1

    I put the sheet foam in the recesses, covered the low walls with ABS boulder textured sheet plastic and used
    indoor/outdoor carpeting (thin and light) as a head liner. Quiet on the road and no squeaks or rattles.
    #19
  20. mark883

    mark883 and the mysterians

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    Low miles like that, there are some dispatch haulers that would like to buy. There's some folks that are sick of the drama on the newer version Sprinter.

    There's an excellent deal on craigslist in SE michigan for a long / tall with low miles, right now.
    #20