Van building – Week 2

We started week two by finishing with the necessary ‘bits and bobs’ of the insulation in places where it still needed to be done. Once the insulation was in place we could start putting up the plywood walls and that’s exactly what we did. We used 4mm plywood plates to cover the whole left wall and the end and bottom part of the right wall. For covering the roof and the top part of the right wall we will use decorative wooden planks but those will come in later.

We also built cover boxes around the wheel hubs and put in place the support wall for the bed. While things were coming in place we were already painting surfaces that could be painted. Because we wanted to paint everything at least a few times , we did it in parts.

The order of the things might seem a bit weird but we had it all planned out. Well, as planned out as it gets – we basically wanted to create the main layout in the van by placing the strategic components such as the bed support in place, as all the rest will sort of be built around it. It would allow us to see and plan further: where the bed ends and where can we place the cabinet walls and so on. And the plywood walls that we placed and painted were the back walls of the cabinets and shelves, so mainly not visible.

Next we had to make the bed plate and this is where Peep came up with a pretty fancy structure. Instead of simply using an 18mm plywood plate as we originally planned, he offered to build a custom bed panel which is called a ‘sandwich panel’. It was the same foam we used for the insulation on the wall sandwiched inbetween two thin plastic plates with plastic pipes running through it inbetween the foam. The main idea was that because our bed is right above the storage room, which would be much colder than the inside of the van, the insulated bed panel would offer more warmth. But what about ventilating the bed mattress, you ask? That’s where the plastic pipes come in: we drilled holes through the top of the panel, piercing the pipes inside, so that the air could travel through the tube ends and into the mattress.

We fixed an aluminum profile and a support beam under it on the right wall of the van. After that the bed panel could be put in place.

Next we cut out and screwed in place the plywood plates for covering the back doors. Besides making the custom cuts for the lock & handle, it turned out that the doors’ shape weren’t exactly symmetrical either!

Sometimes it’s hard to plan something as you don’t know whether your idea will work or not, therefore you have to test it before. So we did a little “how will it look” test with white lacquer that we planned to use for the wood panelling of the visible surfaces – ceiling and the right wall. Well, perhaps.

We also received our Eberspächer 2.2kW diesel heater, which is going to be the necessary alternative heater in order to pass the compliance for a van rebuilt into camper. This, however, required another hole to be drilled through the side of the van – a cold air intake for the heater.

Additionally we were browsing for the right batteries and solar panels to order for our van. We found the right stuff but didn’t order anything yet as we are still waiting for answers from the suppliers regarding some technical questions as well as placing a very small order as many suppliers sell solar panels in bulk.

Another great van building week behind us! While we were in the process, a cool car passed through the workshop – BMW 2002 built into a rally car (for the FIA Historic Rally Championship).

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