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Discussion Starter · #183 · (Edited)
Made a few additions today.

First off, I had noticed when taking temperature measurements in the fridge that the items stored in the door were always a few degrees warmer. The door being the only side of the fridge I didn't add extra insulation around pretty much explained it. What to do about it was something I pondered upon, then, eventually let the CPU keep that task running in the background until an answer popped out some unknown number of days/weeks later.

Looking on Amazon I found 1/2" thick sheet cork in a size that would cover the door. I cut it to fit and used Weldwood Gel Adhesive to attach it to the door. This ought to put a damper on heat gain from this side. I also sealed the exposed sides of the cork with Polyshades polyurethane stain. Plus, I have a handy message board I may find use for. Now, where did I leave that box of thumbtacks?

Plywood Technology Wood Furniture Electronic device

Another thing about the fridge, particularly the door style, is how things inside behave like they are in a game of Pong. Bouncing here and there constantly while underway, banging up the interior and anything else that shares the space. This exuberant behavior, and how things inevitably end up poised where upon opening the door something falls out, demanded a solution.

Between Amazon and the Container Store I have found and now installed a Fridge Active Restraint System (FARS) to protect those frisky items that occupy the fridge. The darker containers are genuine Scandinavian (made in China) felt baskets. The larger container is partially pulled out in the photo. It will hold the bigger items securely, is collapsible, and a few more of them can now be found fitting perfectly on the shelves in my storage module as well as the fridge. These were from Container Store.

Room Refrigerator Major appliance Home appliance Kitchen appliance

Now on to the Solo bed conversion system. The bench has a thick backrest matching the seat, and it will eventually be used in an optional Full bed configuration. Because most of my use will be solo, I needed to get all that out of the way when using the bench as a bed. I constructed a backrest behind the cushion from two sheets of Luan sandwiching a sheet of 3/4 R-Max poly insulation board. Glued on with Weldwood Gel adhesive (I'm getting my money's worth from the can), with 3/4" lumber framing the foam at edges. Light and strong.

Once that was done I installed a couple of bungees on this back board to hold the cushion at the top corners, and installed Nylon webbing straps with connectors to attach the backrest to a strip of 2" x 2" glued and screwed to the wall paneling at just the right height to define the backrest angle.

I can now rotate the backrest up on those straps as a hinge point and hold it there while I sleep using a Nite Ize Cam Jam and cord set from Lowes. Easy-peasy. The Cam Jam set also can double as a clothes line, or perform any of a number of handy attachment duties.

Here it is in backrest mode.

Room Furniture Vehicle Cabin Bed

Here it is in sleep mode.
With beefier attachment I could easily convert this to provide a horizontal shelf for additional storage.
As it is, I plan to leave it in the backrest mode while driving.

Room Bed Furniture Bedroom Vehicle

Lastly, recent threads on bike storage prompted me to snap an updated photo including the storage module behind the back wheel.

Land vehicle Motor vehicle Vehicle Van Car
 

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Discussion Starter · #184 · (Edited)
Finished the storage area, adding trim panel, lights, and bungee restraints.

Wood Hardwood Plywood Floor Flooring

The photo above shows the LED strips on the bottom front edge of each shelf. The LEDs can be cut to length and attach with adhesive backing. After cutting on the designated line the strip is attached to an accessory connector with flying leads. This set is controlled by a rocker switch. There was 16 ft on the roll, so plenty more to add in various places. Also have a remote that offers dimming which will be handy, and a disco flashing mode that I'll never use. Anyway, more lighting work ahead.

Room Bed Furniture Vehicle Bunk bed

This shot is of the mostly complete module. I'll be adding some toolbox drawer liner to the top of the shelves to wrap it up.

Room Footwear Shoe

Lastly, I closed up the van and turned on the lights in the storage module to see how well it worked. It should be fine as frog hair for my needs.

The bungees were assembled from parts sourced on Amazon. They are hard fixed at the ends and hung over three hooks to make the zig-zag across. A bungee can be removed from any one or all hooks for access to the contents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #185 · (Edited)
Installed the drawer liner on the shelves today. This will serve several purposes as it is: non-skid to prevent things sliding around; it provides a quieting layer to knock back cargo rattles; and, it dresses the shelves up nicely as well.

The shelf liner is Husky brand, available by the roll at HomeDepot.

Technology Room Electronic device Games
 

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Discussion Starter · #186 · (Edited)
I've been staring at the unfinished area between the roof panel and the shelf over the bench for a while. Running the processes in the background trying to figure out just how I wanted to tackle it. Last weekend while working on the Storage module I used some leftover flexible plastic panel to finish out that transition from the stained roof to the shelf. (shown in the earlier photo with a view of the top shelf)

Room Furniture Vehicle Cabin Bed

Cutting out just what I needed to slide up under the edge of the roof panel and wrap down to the shelf, it was then only a matter of loosening a few screws to drop the roof panel enough to slide the plastic in. It turned out looking wonderful. A significant improvement over the exposed metal. I slid a little more 3/4 R-Max into the remaining spaces between the ribs for good measure.

Room Wood Shelf Plywood Furniture

HomeDepot has this in 4' x 8' sheets, and I picked up a fresh one to knock out that eight foot long section. Here's the remainder of the panel to give some idea of what it looks like. There's plenty more to do up there to make it a more useful storage space. For now it at least looks much nicer than before.

Cup Tableware Cup Drinkware Coffee cup
 

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Discussion Starter · #187 · (Edited)
Finally put in a drawer and some cabinet doors below the fridge.

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This is where the potty hides, ready for those special moments. Cable retention device installed to prevent inadvertent deployment. Used some of the same plastic sheet mentioned earlier to provide a surface that covers the hinges and makes it easier to slide the unit in and out.

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Also purchased a motorcycle hitch carrier. Worked great on a Moto/MTB trip to Eureka Springs, AR. Rated for 600 lbs. Hitch Tongue rating 900 lbs. Triumph Tiger 800XC ~500 lbs.

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Other things ...

The 2DIN Head Unit's touchscreen failed. This was an Android OS device purchased on the cheap from Amazon. It never really worked out as a practical application. It was too far away for the driver to easily reach, the glare and reflections on the screen made it almost useless as a Navigation device, and, the interface was clumsy to use (more so once the touchscreen went on the fritz).

It has been replaced with a 1DIN basic AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth for calls and music from the phone. A BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB bundled with BOSS Audio Systems CH6530 Car Speakers for about $45 from Amazon. Installation was easy and I chose one with the primary controls on the left side which makes it easy to operate. Added bonus, the 2DIN conversion kit had included a storage pocket to fill the leftover 1DIN space, so I have a spot for the new radio's remote and a few USB cables in a handy place. (though the contents will launch onto the floor should the ECOBEAST be unleashed from a stop)

For the speaker install I remembered reading of how others modified the OEM speakers to be used as adapters to mount aftermarket speakers by removing the OEM speaker cone, magnet, and plastic support arms, then trimming the facing edge flat and screwing the replacements into that plastic. Worked like a charm. Sorry, didn't get any pics, but I think there is a thread on here somewhere where someone detailed the surgery.

While in the doors, I put a layer of garment grade Thinsulate in before buttoning it all back together. Between the new speakers and the sound deadening the new system is absolutely wonderful.

Now, I just use a phone mount for navigation, and may consider a tablet at some time in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #188 · (Edited)
Time to simplify. Two things were becoming more of a hassle for me, the bed and the awning.

The bed was something I cobbled together that worked, but it was a workout as well. Each time I had to screw legs onto the expansion panel that rested on the floor in front of the bench. The backrest would go on that and make a Full size bed. It was a comfy bed, but wasn't very comfortable in bench seat mode and this was a lot of work to convert to and from a bed. As a bed, it blocked some storage access and the walk-through aisle space. Once it dawned upon me how I was converting it evening and morning each day I knew there had to be a better way.

I found the RecPro Charles 72" RV Jackknife Sleeper Sofa with Drop-Down Cupholders in Cloth on eBay. Installation was straight forward and I was able to use the bench box with minor modifications, rather than the included legs. Someone planning from the get-go have several options.

Notes:
A) Mine arrived missing the frame cross pieces. A call to RecPro had the parts in my hands in a few days. Great support!
B) I read that there needed to be 3 inches of space behind the seat back for folding clearance. After testing I have it at about 1/2" and it works fine.

The package has a matching kick panel that includes hanger hardware to attach it to the frame rails. Instead, I attached it to a tilt-open storage built into the bench box.

It is super easy to fold and unfold. Almost as easy as an actual Jack Knife. Next, I'll figure out how to trim this out to cover up seeing the mechanism, but it is functional!

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It isn't a Full bed width, but more than enough width for me. This allows access to storage when deployed, so win-win in my book. Looking forward to the next overnight trip to try it out.


Now for the awning.

It was mounted on the roof rails using L-brackets. This placed it waaaaaaay up in the sky and too tall and far back to reach easily without bringing a step ladder along.

After coming up with a grand scheme to relocate it, I went down to the local fabricator and had them cut aluminum 1/4"x3" flat stock into 3ea. 14" lengths. Then, bent them on a brake at 3.5" from the end to roughly 85 degrees to offset the 5 degree angle of the roof. I brought a jig made of scrap wood to reference. The guy nailed it with that massive brake they have. $40 well spent!

Using the OEM L-bracket as a hole template I drilled the new brackets, then painted them. Re-mounting the awning was a wrestling match, but I won, eventually. Tolerance was close, but in the end the fit now has the bottom of the awning at just above the slider.

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The longer moment arm was allowing for a lot of flex. I knew that over time the aluminum would fatigue and something would break. So, I rummaged around my stockpile and found some closed cell foam that was very dense. It originally was purchased for going in a dirt bike skid plate to prevent mud building up between the plate and engine. Worked a treat once I folded the end under to fill the gap. I zip-tied each one on so they don't blow out should a bounce while driving unweight them. These should damp the flexing significantly and make for a long lasting installation.

Long-term, I want to put something in place that will perform two functions, supporting the brackets and filling the gap between the awning and the roof that will prevent rain coming through, and that will drain it into the roof's gutter. The wheels are turning on this and I'll add that in once a solution is devised.

One other adjustment I made was putting aluminum 1/8" shims under the outside half of the bracket on the roof rail as my measurements didn't account for sag when weighted and there was a little contact with the sliding door.

Now there is ample slider clearance, and I can easily reach the awning from the step. Yay!

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Discussion Starter · #189 · (Edited)
Installed Lagun with two mounting points fore (passenger swivel seat) and aft (bench/rear door).

Built a tabletop for it (~15" x 20"), trimmed with teak wood that was once part of the deck of the Battleship Texas. (every Pirate Lagun should have a Battleship, right?)
Used Danish Oil (Natural) to finish the wood.

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Top view

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Was able to retain the tie-down point, and built it on the tall side so the curtain can easily stow behind as It tends to get pulled out the door on windy days.

The table can also be swung out the slider or rear doorway as needed.

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Next came the task of figuring out where to store all the bits when not in use.
During the process I noticed on the aluminum table mount that there is the same extrusion there as found on the mounting plate.
Genius design! The table top slides into the top of the vertical bar. (also a good reason to offset the part under the table top)
Instantly, built-in fore and aft storage options. Carrying a passenger will require aft storage as seat adjustments can interfere.

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Discussion Starter · #190 · (Edited)
Had an opportunity to do a test run on the awning while volunteering to help out at a local mountain bike race.

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The new mounting location worked splendidly. It is now easy reach the Velcro straps, and both the deployment and getting everything back into storage mode no longer resembles a circus act.

Not visible in the photo are tie-down accessory cords that run from the outermost top corners back to the holes in the wheels front and rear. This makes a nice triangle that will hopefully brace the structure adequately without creating additional trip hazards, require stakes, etc.

The cord I found for this task has reflective bands laced in, so, if you are using a light at night they show up nicely to prevent running into them inadvertently. (I was able to prove that without a light they are as easy as any similar tie-down to run into at night, but by the end of the weekend I was getting better at remembering them.) Next on the list for the awning will be some LED lighting and an external USB port to connect them to.

The weather over three days there provided both light wind and rain tests which the unit passed with flying colors. Looking forward to the next trip.
 

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Installed Lagun with two mounting points fore (passenger swivel seat) and aft (bench/rear door).

Built a tabletop for it (~15" x 20"), trimmed with teak wood that was once part of the deck of the Battleship Texas. (every Pirate Lagun should have a Battleship, right?)
Used Danish Oil (Natural) to finish the wood.
Was able to retain the tie-down point, and built it on the tall side so the curtain can easily stow behind as It tends to get pulled out the door on windy days.

The table can also be swung out the slider or rear doorway as needed.
Next came the task of figuring out where to store all the bits when not in use.
During the process I noticed on the aluminum table mount that there is the same extrusion there as found on the mounting plate.
Genius design! The table top slides into the top of the vertical bar. (also a good reason to offset the part under the table top)
Instantly, built-in fore and aft storage options. Carrying a passenger will require aft storage as seat adjustments can interfere.
Viewing this, I'm having trouble getting up into the van so please install the door mounted handle (higher or lower you can install) so my mind can work. Since we're on the topic, I want know if the following suggestion has been noted previously: I don't have step on my 130MR so to 'step up' is a hike, so......, right foot on the step, bend the left leg and
JUMP up off the left leg followed by the stepping-up on the right. Have I found something here or five decades old?
 

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Discussion Starter · #192 · (Edited)
Viewing this, I'm having trouble getting up into the van so please install the door mounted handle (higher or lower you can install) so my mind can work. Since we're on the topic, I want know if the following suggestion has been noted previously: I don't have step on my 130MR so to 'step up' is a hike, so......, right foot on the step, bend the left leg and
JUMP up off the left leg followed by the stepping-up on the right. Have I found something here or five decades old?
One of the first things I did was install a set of Steelcraft running boards for this very reason. It is one of the best things I've done and I'm glad that I did it early on as it makes getting in and out so much easier during the build process. There are photos earlier in the thread showing how it provides a handy step for front and side doors.

The handle at the slider is a great help and it might be possible to lower it using the nuts that mount in a drilled hole for installing bulkheads and shelves for commercial vans.

In the back I installed tie-down anchors I had removed from the interior into a higher bolt-hole at both sides of the rear door to use as a handle for help getting in. There are aftermarket handles available for the rear as well. There's a photo in the thread that shows the tie-downs installed higher up on the D-pillars. I'll put a couple of fingers in for stability during ingress at the rear doors.

I hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #193 · (Edited)
There is this space below the sink that I've been pondering on for a very long time. I wanted to avoid just putting a door on it and watch it turn into a messy clutter of a catch-all.

Here's what I came up with to store Induction cooktop, pan, pot, plates, bowls, two sizes of Moka pots, and a coffee grinder.

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Rather unassuming.

Let's take a peek inside ...

Edit: After some consideration I've removed the shown screw-attachment for the door-end of the bungee that limits travel when opened. I've replaced that bungee fitting with a hook (like on the cooktop's bungee) that clips to an eye-screw on the door panel. This way I don't need a #2 Square bit to remove a Kreg screw if I want to swing the storage to the floor for access to electric and plumbing items inside.
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Here's a shot of the inside, before being stuffed with, well, stuff.

Note the bungies for the cooktop and pan, and the dowels with felt pads in the base to help stabilize the pan and pot.
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Here's a view of it on the bench test fitting everything.
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The top of the door panel is trimmed in teak from the deck of the Battleship Texas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #194 · (Edited)
A couple more Kitchen Module additions, finished with Danish Oil.

Added a place for Battery monitoring and Inverter control panels, along with a door that covers a storage area and access to the Water Heater controls.

Yeah, I know, the monitoring panel's grain goes counter to the doors. If it gets to me I may paint it or make another. I'm feeling tolerant about this, for now.

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Here's everything opened up.

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Those with a keen eye will notice I've also replaced five Brushed Nickel pulls that were tearing at my eyeballs. (shown in previous posts)
My tolerance for this ran short and the five new Oiled Bronze pulls better match darker features like the faucet, fridge, switch panels, and Teak trim.
 

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I’m missing the gorgeous upholstery of your previous bed. :cry: Maybe cover the wall behind the new bed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #197 ·
I’m missing the gorgeous upholstery of your previous bed. :cry: Maybe cover the wall behind the new bed?
Yeah, that was the one drawback. However the convenience was a boon.

That's a good idea!

The missus recently bought herself a Class C for wrangling her grandcritters and is considering putting those cushions on the bunk beds for them.

If she doesn't do something soon I may just dissect the covers from the foam and do a little inferior decorating! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #198 · (Edited)
The result of several days of measure once cut thrice is always an illuminating experience.

More so, with the wall above Kitchen area trimmed and LED light strips added.

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Update:

Added a paper towel holder (+ small chain w/ MTB bottle opener to prevent unrolling), a towel ring, and some baskets lined with toolbox drawer liner. I spaced the top basket off the wall about 1/2" to allow light to get behind it and down to the bottom basket. I may try this on the bottom basket as well to get some light into that dark space beneath it.


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Discussion Starter · #199 · (Edited)
This area over the fridge and bench/bed has needed finishing for a loooooong time.
Between the Fridge and the wall is the "Chimney" that carries air flowing from the Inverter and Floor Vent up behind the Fridge and out into the cabin, to eventually exit via the roof vent by convection or fan. The heavy aluminum bracket that anchors the module to the wall at the top, along with the exposed wiring, was kinda ugly.

Here's an older "Before" shot for reference.

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Today I added the Black hardware cloth screen, White plastic from ceiling panel to wall, two Black pieces of wood providing some "soot" in the Chimney, and the Yellow trim board at the back of the compartment. Also, the excess length was cut off the bolts in the process of making it all purdy. Take a looksie!

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Here is the upper storage recently added to the left of the above. Bungees still to be added to the right-most compartment.
Hung an onboard blanket to add a little pop and make up for the removal of the cushions with Southwestern styled slipcovers. This was inspired by a suggestion from @MsNomer.
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The bedding, towels, and other lightweight stuff go here.


 

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Discussion Starter · #200 ·
Added some trim to the door-facing side of the Kitchen module.
  • Two pieces for corner protection (was considering painting them, but the white at those corners is growing on me),
  • A square of that white plastic sheet inserted to fill the space at the left of the Water Fill,
  • A piece of hardwood trim on the facing edge of the cutting board countertop to establish a small reveal over the side panel.

Spiffy!

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