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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
...
If I was to do it again, I'd make the front-most cabinet on both sides of the van out of 80/20 for crach worthiness and straight wood for the rest of the cabinets. That way I'd save cost and weight while providing a mechanism to keep stuff from coming fwd in a head-on crash.

... I have a ton of drawers (8) and doors (5) ...
My curiosity is always up on the "crashworthy" side of this stuff. I've seen the video of the wood shelving collapse in a crash but I'm still skeptical if our bolted aluminum is better... 馃

It's the "ton" part that I thought I was kidding about before getting on a scale. :LOL:
 

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My curiosity is always up on the "crashworthy" side of this stuff. I've seen the video of the wood shelving collapse in a crash but I'm still skeptical if our bolted aluminum is better... 馃
This is one of the big reasons I installed a steel partition first. It means I can't use the front seats while in "camp mode", but it may just save my life some day.
 

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Ya, I needed to be able to flip my seats around or I'd of looked closely at a partition. Most of the heat gain seems to come from the cab so it'd of been nice to block that off. I thru bolted the 80/20 thru the floor, to the side wall structure of the van, and to am 80/20 "beam" bolted to the ceiling ribs (all with appropriate heat barrier, etc.). I'm pretty sure it is better than most commercial built vans..... but don't really want to test it, haha.
 

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I built our removable drawer module out of stackable PE drawer units. PE is easily weldable using a hot glue gun using PE or PP glue sticks. I welded all the frames together and added Aluminum L section around the periphery and the sides. The resulting 9 drawer under-bed unit weighs less than 40lb and is strong enough to act as a crash bulkhead for any loose items in the under-bed "garage" area. I used simple stick on child proof safety straps but you could install marine style push to lock latches.

Here is the module, installed underneath our MOAB bed. Its fixed to the L track I installed with 6 aluminum turn-buckles - 2 at the front and 4 at the back. Its see >15,000 miles and lots of dirt trails.

Injection molded PE drawer modules are available it lots of shapes, sizes and finishes. For sure its not everybody's taste but worth considering for the weight savings.

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
This is one of the big reasons I installed a steel partition first. It means I can't use the front seats while in "camp mode", but it may just save my life some day.
We considered that. The Sprinter was set up that way: cab was isolated - no swivels.

There's part of me that can't believe I'd even /think/ about that sort of safety stuff.

One of my mantras many years ago was, "if I'm not in the hospital at least once a year, I'm not going hard enough," and that version of me can't imagine worrying about these sorts of what-ifs. Now, I only ride XC trails and don't high-ball boulder and won't climb an R/X route and carry a satellite safety unit on multi-hour solo run/hikes. And tell myself that I'm still pretty "young" since I still DO all that stuff. 馃

[email protected] does that mean I'm old? 馃懘
 

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I did 80/20 in all cabinets except where I did custom Al welded stuff. 80/20 will be more expensive than wood alone. And likely heavier, but that depends. If I was to do it again, I'd make the front-most cabinet on both sides of the van out of 80/20 for crach worthiness and straight wood for the rest of the cabinets. That way I'd save cost and weight while providing a mechanism to keep stuff from coming fwd in a head-on crash.

Edit: I used 3/4 ply for cabinet doors and drawer fronts and 1/2" for fixed cabinet panels. I used the 3/4 to accomodate the standard cabinet hinges (blum). Were I to do it again, I'd use 1/2" for doors/drawers and either 1/2 or 1/4 for other cabinet panels and use a diff hinge type. I have a ton of drawers (8) and doors (5) thus the weight savings would add up.
Continuous aluminum hinges the full length of the 1/2" plywood door height worked very well with the 80/20.

Left picture on second row shows the hinged door:


I glued a 3/4" square piece of wood to the plywood to bolt hinge leaf to the door. The other leaf of the hinge bolted to the 15 series 80/20. Due to the tapered legs of the 80/20 extrusion, I put a 5/16" flat washer between the hinge leaf and the 80/20. 2 1/2" hinge with 1/4" pin from McMaster-Carr

1/2" plywood doors did not require any wood stiffeners. Some of the larger 1/4" plywood panels did require a wood stiffener glued to the back of the plywood to make then stiffer.
 

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My 250 extended high roof
Tare Weight 5450 lbs
Conversion weight 7341 lbs
Conversion added 1891 lbs (full gas)
Fully loaded 8245 lbs (2 people, full gas/water and all items ready for trip)
Total added 2795 lbs

Gear weight 904 lbs (incl 2 people/water, 2 bikes, BBQ, Inflatable Kayak, tools and all clothing and personal items, food, drinks)

I was conscious of weight being added through out the build, but within reason for costs, and the fact that I'm a wood worker and did most of my building with wood, and wanted everything to be nice and finished on the inside. Sure could have done a much more minimal build if i was necessary, but my goal was to make it as nice as possible.
 

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I built our removable drawer module out of stackable PE drawer units. PE is easily weldable using a hot glue gun using PE or PP glue sticks. I welded all the frames together and added Aluminum L section around the periphery and the sides. The resulting 9 drawer under-bed unit weighs less than 40lb and is strong enough to act as a crash bulkhead for any loose items in the under-bed "garage" area. I used simple stick on child proof safety straps but you could install marine style push to lock latches.

Here is the module, installed underneath our MOAB bed. Its fixed to the L track I installed with 6 aluminum turn-buckles - 2 at the front and 4 at the back. Its see >15,000 miles and lots of dirt trails.

Injection molded PE drawer modules are available it lots of shapes, sizes and finishes. For sure its not everybody's taste but worth considering for the weight savings.

View attachment 154462

I observed a similar design concept in airplane galleys and serving carts, where they keep things simple and very light by using plastic drawers that slide in pockets. These usually have no slides (which saves cost and weight) and also leads to greater storage. And plastic drawers don鈥檛 rattle as much 鈥 a real bonus.

I built mine in a similar manner years ago because at the time I cared more about function than appearance. We also love that containers that serve as drawers can be removed and taken into house to load, unload, and clean. I would do the same again although I鈥檇 keep them out of sight behind some type of partition.
 

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One other general comment on weight: It is not unusual to find camping trailers much larger than a van that weigh between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds. And that weight includes the chassis, axle, wheels/tires, brakes, and entire body structure that we don鈥檛 have to add to a van because they are already included in base vehicle weight. For a van that is smaller, the potential to keep weight below 2,000 to 3,000 pounds is significant. I鈥檓 not saying that we should build light, just that it is possible if required.
 

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What kind of gas mileage are you guys getting? I'm getting near the end of my build so I won't be adding much more weight and I'm getting 18 mpg but i just added an AC unit on the roof so I'm guessing it'll go down. I have a 2020 AWD medium roof.
I'm getting about 17.6 if I don't think about fuel economy. If I try to conserve fuel (lighter accelerations, coast, etc.) then I can get close about 18.5 to 20 depending on elevation changes. These are highway numbers - looking at the city fuel economy is depressing (about 14 for me).
 

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The base weight of my PM is irrelevant to you guys, but we measured almost exactly 2,000 lb added as we headed out for a four-month trip. This ton included 160lb driver, 15 gallons of water, and every storage area, including 18 drawers, stuffed with food, clothing and supplies.

Except for a steel cage around the fridge, all construction is plywood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
The base weight of my PM is irrelevant to you guys, but we measured almost exactly 2,000 lb added as we headed out for a four-month trip. This ton included 160lb driver, 15 gallons of water, and every storage area, including 18 drawers, stuffed with food, clothing and supplies.

Except for a steel cage around the fridge, all construction is plywood.
I'm guessing that 1-ton thing is probably a close estimate for a lot of the "full build" scenarios. I'm not convinced that aluminum ends up being less weight than plywood. I wouldn't be surprised if plywood weighs less.
 

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Some of the lightest airplanes are built out of wood.

"Simplicate and add more lightness." -- William Bushnell Stout
Especially in laminate/conjunction with other materials.
Like in boats too. If you sprung for the Z06 in a C5 Vette, you got balsa in the floor laminate to add lightness.
BTW - I always credited Colin Chapmen with that phrase . You learn something new every day.
Stout Scarab one of the coolest cars ever.

Wood Handbook Wood as an Engineering Material Info on plywood starts in chapter 11. 馃
 
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