Now that I have this big, gray beast home in the driveway I guess it's time to start a proper build thread. Since multiple people have mistaken it for one of Amazon's delivery vans, I've taken to calling the project Optimus Prime. Not that my wife likes that, but the nerd in me does, so it may never have a name outside this thread.
A little background... I'm a retired software engineer and woodworker with a strong DIY bent (on this forum... go figure). The van is a 2021 T250, HR Ext Cargo in Abyss Gray (purchased through @CrewVanMan... Thanks Ed!). Stock engine, tow package, dual batteries and most of the electronics options.
My wife and I live in Hendersonville, NC, in the mountains just outside Asheville. We're big birders, and the van will typically be used as a tour vehicle for one to two-week trips to birding destinations around North America. I'd guess that we'll spend one to two months of the year in the van on average, but certainly not full-time. When we travel, we tend to move each day, at least for daytrips, so I'll be emphasizing B2B charging over solar. While it will generally be my wife and I travelling, there will be occasions when either she or I travels with someone else, so the sleeping arrangements need to accommodate a couple of folks who don't want to share a bed.
Other design goals include:
- Full time bed setup (in either the dual-bunk or queen modes)
- Swivels on both seats and a Lagun table to convert the seats into a dinette area
- Wet bath with composting toilet
- Propane for space heating, water heating, and cooking
* Likely an Excel instant hot water heater for the shower.
* Cooking will be on a portable camp stove so we can move in or out as the weather encourages. I plan to install a couple of propane quick-connects, one at the galley and one at a fold-out table in the slider door, where it'll be easy to connect the stove to the house propane supply. We'll also carry some smaller setup (maybe just 1lb canisters) to use when we're cooking at a distance from the van.
- 12V for almost everything else. I'm calculating that a 200Ah battery bank (likely two 100Ah SOKs) will cover two or three days of our typical needs, so that gives us a bit of flexibility with how often we'll need to drive/recharge. I'll still install an inverter, but I don't expect any large AC loads. Shore power connection for those times we need it.
- We've got fixed glass in the slider and rear doors, but I'll be adding operable bunk windows and an operable window opposite the slider.
- Ventilation using a MaxxAir 7500 with the windows for cross-draft. I'll also be adding a floor vent for passive convective cooling when we're not in the van. Based on where/when we travel, I'm not planning on an A/C unit, although the thought's always in the back of my head in case we find otherwise after getting out a few times. If we do ultimately end up adding A/C, it'll be for use with shore power only.
- Fresh and gray tanks, size TBD.
- Three-season use only.
Thread Table of Contents
1. Initial layout plans
2. Amazing Auto swivel installation (driver and passenger)
3. Vancillary Shelf Brackets... or not...
4. MaxxFan Installation
5. Floor & Ceiling Insulation and the Plywood Subfloor
6. Arctic Tern Windows