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orton DIY

340054 Views 783 Replies 125 Participants Last post by  orton
Bit of introduction: I currently own a 08 144"WB diesel Sprinter that has been converted to a stealth camper. Started with an empty cargo van and two years later and $20,000 spent the van is completed. Has sleeping for two. No exterior water inlet, not exterior shore power plug, no vents, no awning, no outside bike rack etc. Looks like a plumbers van from outside. Only thing that shows is the solar panel if you are some distance from the van.
Conversion includes:
600 watt Xantex pure sine "Vehicle" inverter powered by Sprinter 12 v system
1000 watt Magnum MSS1012 inverter/charger/transfer switch "House" inverter with shunt and Magnum control panel
Retractable shore power electrical reel
205 watt solar panel
15 amp Morningstar MPPT solar controller
600 watt Proctor-Silex (KMart) microwave
255 amp hr. Lifeline 8D AMG house battery
Indoor shower pan
5 gallon beer keg converted to shower water heater with DC pump
80/20 extrusion framed cabinets
LED lighting
Maxxair roof vent/fan
Removable table/sleeping platform
Dometic CR-80 12v/120v refrigerator
24 gallon SS inside fresh water tank
11 gallon SS outside gray water tank
Permanently mounted portapotty
All wiring outside the walls with "SO" rubber cords
"Free floating" house electrical independent of Sprinter. Not grounded to Sprinter.
1 1/2" thick composite floor
Sink with cold water faucet

The Sprinter build is documented in detail on the Sprinter-Source site. Search for "orton DIY". Separate postings for each section of the build.

Plan on buying 3.7 non-turbo gas engine 148" WB high roof Transit. Will do a very similar conversion. Have about 96 items on my things to change/improve.

Will document the build with this posting.
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DIY Build

Interesting idea. Park almost anywhere, less chance of theft.

I'm working on my own DIY build plan, 3.7 MWB, Med top.

We've had a VW Westfalia for the past 20 years, 100K plus miles and smiles. Many customizations have made it very livable and increased storage. Longest trip 5 weeks, 5500 miles through the SW last spring.

Want more space, internal shower, engine power/reliability, better AC, but don't want to lose the visibility, manueverability, parkability (trips often include days in cities, and it has to be a daily driver as well).
We're into gawking mode, so plan for maximum windows, almost 360 degree visibility. Someone once described the Westfalia as like "driving an aquarium." But I'm thinking some stealth features might be worthwhile.

A few questions about your build:

"Retractable shore power electrical reel"
Can you describe this? length, brand, where did you get it?

"Indoor shower pan"
Size, where did you get it? I assume it's not permanently mounted, so where do you store it? How is it connected to the gray water tank? What are you using for a curtain?

"Maxxair roof vent/fan"
Did you also look at Fantastik? What features make the Maxxair better?

"24 gallon SS inside fresh water tank
11 gallon SS outside gray water tank"
I like the idea of SS tanks rather than plastic. Where will you get them? Custom?

"All wiring outside the walls with "SO" rubber cords
"Free floating" house electrical independent of Sprinter. Not grounded to Sprinter."
This sounds interesting. What are the advantages of outside wiring and free-floating electrical. Since it's independent, not charged by the system alternator, you're relying entirely on the solar?

"Sink with cold water faucet"
Since you're heating water, why not a hot/cold mixer?

I'm hoping for a transverse bed in the rear. I need at least 6'. Specs say 5'10", but I've read elsewhere that is at floor level, that it's wider at the beltline a few feet up. Also may be able to use an inch or two into the sidewalls if the structural members are in the right place. Anyone have a photo or diagram of the interior walls?

One of my design benchmarks is the British manufacturer Vantage, Motorhome Van Conversions, Van Conversions | Vantage Motorhomes, esp their MED model.
But they're using Ducato/Promasters and I've moved my target vehicle to Transit for a number of reasons.

Look forward to reading more about your build.

Portland, OR
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Thanks, I'll use this as a base for my list.
Major differences are MWB, Med top. I'll go for the 3.73 axle.

Not sure about 150 vs 250 model. 400lbs rating, what are other differences besides springs? I've ridden in vans with a lot of excess capacity and they are very stiff without a pretty full load.

What are you doing for a display and/or Nav? Doesn't the rear cam require something?

Also not sure about the second battery. With a 150A coach battery bank I'm not sure I need it.

More later when I refine my list.

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Microwaves don't have variable power. Instead they cycle on and off, varying the amount of time "on" to reduce overall power used.
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