|The white piece in the doorway is the end of a cabinet on that side. Our Coleman stove (since replaced by a built-in) is open on top of it.|
- ordered/purchased new as:
- a basic 2-seat Mercedes Sprinter cargo van 2500 model, with the 144 inch wheelbase and high roof
- 4 cylinder diesel, 7 speed automatic transmission
- windows in the side slider door and the rear doors
- upgraded seats, rotating seat bases, ceiling liner
- auxiliary coach battery
The conversion floorplan is basically similar to many others. We're fortunate to be short enough to have a bed in the rear where we sleep across the van. The bed is 48 inches wide by a bit under 6 feet long. It's set fairly high, leaving 27 inches clear height underneath for storage of lawn chairs and the like.
Cupboards 36 inches high with countertops run to the front on each side, leaving an opening at the sliding door of course. No upper cabinets at all. I tried to leave 28 inches for the center aisle, and mostly that's the open aisle width.
|Wardrobe above, fridge below|
|2-burner Dometic propane stove|
|Kitchen drawers and10 lb propane storage|
|Fridge rolled out for access|
|From the rear doors, under-bed storage|
|Towards the rear doors, over bed|
- Maxxfan 6200K (was a Fantastic Fan originally), Thetford Porta-potti, ARB 12/110 volt chest-style compressor fridge. Both the Porta-potti and the fridge roll out into the aisle from the side cupboards, at floor level.
- sink is a bar sink and tap package from Home Depot
- 5 gallon fresh water container under the sink, 12v demand pump moving water to the tap. We carry other water containers too, depending on destination and duration.
- grey water is a 7-gal container under the sink.
- stove is 2-burner built into the countertop near the door
Originally we used a Mr Buddy portable propane heater. It produces 4,000 BTU on Low and 9,000 BTU on High. It was nice for quick warm-ups of the van, but too much heat to leave on long, even on Low.
In 2018 we bought a Camco Wave 3 catalytic heater to use in the van. It produces 1600/3000 BTUs. Even the low setting is normally enough to take the chill off (we don't really winter camp).
It has a few drawbacks: it doesn't heat up as fast as the Buddy, is more expensive to buy, and can't run on disposable 1lb propane bottles.
Good points: on Low it uses only 1/8 lb of propane per hour, abut half as much as the Buddy. Reviews say it's more durable than the Buddy over time. We can run the Low setting longer than with the Buddy. There is no thermostat on either heater, just low/high heat settings.
We used the Wave 3 as a portable until 2020. It was cumbersome though. It always seemed to be in the way, especially the attached propane hose. You do have to be careful of clearances around any heater, and we were always afraid of backing into it or knocking it over.
The Wave 3 heater is now mounted to a home-made mount on the end of our kitchen cupboard as shown. Hinges on the aisle side allow it to be swung around as needed, either pointing forward at the van seats as-is or turned up to 180 degrees to point up the aisle to the rear bed area. The brown knob is attached to a magnet which keeps the heater in place as we drive. We used it this way for the first time on a trip in Sept 2020 and it worked well, safe and convenient.
- I mostly used Roxul rockwool insulation in the walls. This seems to be rarely used in vans, but to quote the literature, it's "non-combustible, vapor permeable, water repellent and sound absorbent". If it does get wet it doesn't matte up and settle like fiberglass can. It's heavier than many other insulations, which might matter for some conversions.
- I added a layer of vapour barrier plastic over the insulation.
-The van seems quieter inside overnight to us than our various trailers did.
- ceiling insulation is just a layer of reflexit (?) foil, kind of aluminum-coated bubble wrap common in vans, behind the factory interior roof liner.
- walls are clad by 3mm (1/8 inch) 3-ply Baltic Birch plywood
- mattress is 8 inch latex foam, about the most expensive accessory in the van.
- I used a piece of regular 3/4 plywood from Home Depot under the mattress, and used Baltic Birch plywood in various thicknesses for other construction. I kept the plywood as thin and light as I could for each application.
- for cabinet frames I used Basswood, usually 3/4 inch square strips. Basswood is fine-grained, light and strong, and much more split-resistant than Pine, at least the pine we get in Canada. The cabinet sides are mostly the 1/8 BB plywood.
If you have any questions or would like more info, please let me know in the comments. Or email us, our email is shown on the main blog page.