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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 09:55 AM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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Originally Posted by WVVan View Post
More insulation.
All the supplies I used for this posting were already on hand.

After I mounted the first insulated fiberboard panel I noticed the empty space behind it.
From left to right in the picture below is the inside of the van, fiberboard, extruded foam glued to the fiberboard, empty space where the rear windows would have been mounted, Reflectix insulation on van wall.
Click the image to open in full size.

This gap varies from 1-1/2 to 2 inches.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


The amount of space lost there from paneling / rigid foam / fiberglass / bubble foil is sizable.


I went for a much simpler method --- thick poly barrier on inside, then, fiberglass directly on top, then more thick poly --- then paneling.

The one major difference is I "framed" it with furrier strips., and also, with a 4" X 1/2 strip that ran down the middle of the wall.

I looked at commercial vans --- found that is where they attached the "mooring" for equipment on both sides.

The wooden piece mean it can be drilled / etc... and screws put in easily.


In retrospect, if I had used a foil backing (foil alone) or aluminum plastic (not bubble --- too expensive) it would have achieved the goal of a foil bubble.

I didn't do that, opting for the simplicity of fiberglass and some rigid foam.

Rigid foam was used on the side door (window where there is no cutout),

It was also used to build a "trunk" that is separated from the living compartment.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 10:00 AM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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Originally Posted by WVVan View Post
Next up. Flex Tiles with a blue diamond pattern for the floor of the cockpit.
I saw these at Lowe's and really liked the look of them. They are an interlocking tile made for garage floors. Upside is they are tough. Downside - expensive. About $11 a 20"x20" square. Lowes had a 8 square minimum order. I ended up needing six.

First step was to figure out where to place the seams. Put three tiles together and test fit. A rubber mallet is handy for joining tiles.
Click the image to open in full size.



It will look different once all the plastic molding pieces are reinstalled.
Click the image to open in full size.


Looking at that.. I am not sure about the acoustic insulation properties in an area where a huge amount of vehicle noise originates.

I opted for fiberglass (1" compressed) under there, followed by the hard rubber (factory) mat with the felt removed, and then a light exterior carpet installed on top.


On the bins that fit into the dog house --- there is a lot of empty spaces in there ---- I stuffed mine full of fiberglass to further deaden the noise from the engine.

Likewise, on top of the doghouse, heavily insulated with bagged fiberglass, and all the way left and right on the instrument panel.

The anti dive panels also have room for "bagged" insulation.

The more you can get in without screwing something up that needs ventilation (like electronics), the better.


Note: the whole area where the front wheel wells are --- very large source of road noise... add as much insulation in that area as you can fit.


In summer climates --- this area --- engine transmission cat area --- is a major source of heat ingress into the cabin.

So I heavily insulated it --- and am in fact considering adding heat shields on the outside.

Heat shields, if used, will just be aluminum or stainless steel sheets with a shiny finish.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:06 AM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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General observation:

I speced out mine to be a "all weather" vehicle that is intended to be used from -30F to 90F.

That is why the "Sportmobile" top is out --- I wanted to preserve the original van top (though it means no standing up).

Your level of insulation is probably fine --- biggest loss of heat is via the top --- how much insulation does Sportmobile put on?


My vehicle is intended to be operated nearly completely buttoned up --- except for crack in window, or aux. ventilation either via the back window (removed and modded), or via a powered vent cut into the side door rear panel where the window is.

I have concerns that my vehicle do not look like a camper, and can pass for a work truck.


With your camper top, you have far fewer ventilation / moisture concerns.
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 10:38 AM
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Hey Gearloose,
I tried to respond to the message you sent but I get this when I click on the replay link in the email.

Quote:
WVVan, you do not have permission to access this page. This could be due to one of several reasons:
  1. Your user account may not have sufficient privileges to access this page. Are you trying to edit someone else's post, access administrative features or some other privileged system?
  2. If you are trying to post, the administrator may have disabled your account, or it may be awaiting activation.
But to answer your question, I'm not on skype. Just email.

Quote:
In my opinion, you are setting yourself up for that to become soaked with moisture as warm (moist) air seeps into the space,
I'll be sure to check it later to see what kind of shape it's in.

Quote:
The foil bubble wrap have virtually zero insulation value in and of itself except as a radiant barrier.
I'll have to disagree. When I was working in the van when it was 20 degrees outside you could actually feel the difference several inches from the wall between where it had the foil bubble wrap as to where it was a bare wall.

Quote:
I wanted an operating temperature range to -30F up to +90
You're a hardier soul than me. I not going camping if it's -30F. Hell, I wouldn't even leave the house!

Quote:
Looking at that.. I am not sure about the acoustic insulation properties in an area where a huge amount of vehicle noise originates.
From what I've read I think this is more of a problem for diesel engines. Seen a lot of posts where diesel owners complain about the noise level. My engine isn't noisy at all. It's a 4.2 6-cyl and even going up the steep grades on the mountain roads around here I don't notice a noise problem. Of course with this engine I won't be towing any boats. But that's OK, don't own one.

I haven't notice a heat problem in the cab either but so far I've only been taking it to the mountains for camping where it's not too hot to begin with. I'll keep an eye on this later in the summer.

Thanks for all the good advice,
Dave
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 11:16 AM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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Insulation is never so simple --- I am also thinking in terms of fuel consumption (heating).

Right now, on the coldest day I tested (-30F), I am burning 1/4 to 1/3 of a 20lb propane cylinder over 24 hours keeping an interior temperature of about 70F and running 2 panels of 3 on the heater (12,000btu).

With the front cab insulation solved and an improved vent, I think I can get it to 25% less fuel.

The question you have is always.. how much will your vehicle cost to "keep" warm? or cold?



If you are not expecting to be in the desert (Phoenix, etc.) or deep south, you might be OK for heat.

What are you doing for air conditioning other than just popping the top up and opening the windows?

One of the reasons I rejected the "top" is because popping it open is an ad that you are "camping", and often, that is no longer allowed in rest stops.

I slap some stickers on my truck (Acme Septic Service.... Roadkill collections..) and nobody would want to go near it.
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
What are you doing for air conditioning other than just popping the top up and opening the windows?
That and a 12v Fantastic Fan I bought. Air conditioning around here isn't as big a deal as it is other places. Even less of an issue in the mountains where I'll be spending most my camping time. This is my first RV so up till now I've always tent camped so A/C was never even a consideration.
I'm lucky in that aspect because I know you can't do air conditioning without a generator or shore power. A whole level of complexity I'll not have to worry about.
Of course if I lived farther south it would be another story.

You're right about the pop-up but if I want to remain stealthy I'll just leave it down. I'm building the insides so I can function with the top down. Just hunched over while moving around.
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 12:42 PM
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My current thinking is a fantastic vent mounted on a 1/4" thick piece of plexiglass that replaces the rear left window. It would pull air out together with moisture.

For heating, I am building in the heater directly in front of (blocking) the 2nd side door --- facing the other wall.

Alternative is to build it directly behind rear seat.

Am still thinking over safest place to put propane cylinder, etc.

You got ideas?
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 02:11 PM
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In the summer for vent issues I'll just open the windows in the pop-up.

In the winter or if I'm in stealth mode with the top down here is the plan, meaning I haven't built it yet. The main cause of condensation is moisture from your breath while you sleep. My sofa-bed will be situated along the wall behind the drivers seat with the head end closest to the front of the van.
With that in mind I bought this pop-out type window at the salvage yard.
Click the image to open in full size.

After I install that window I will build a small mounting for a 12 volt computer fan that will hold the fan on the top of the slightly open passenger side window and block off the rest of the window opening. The window would be rolled up to hold it into place. These little fans can move a good bit of air and are relatively quiet. By adjusting the voltage you can also adjust the speed.

With the side cargo window open and the passenger window fan running I'm hoping that would provide enough air flow to combat the moisture build up.

For colder temperatures I've bought a Webasto heater off of ebay (about $400 Canadian).
Click the image to open in full size.
I've not yet met a forced air heater that didn't dry out the air to a certain extent. Then using either one or both of the open windows it will just be trial and error till I find what combination works.

Anyway, that's the plan.

The Webasto is diesel and the van is gasoline so I'll be adding a second gas tank just for the heater. It's extra work but it's a lot cheaper than buying a new gasoline Webasto heater ($1500).
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  #54 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 03:28 PM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVVan View Post
In the summer for vent issues I'll just open the windows in the pop-up.

In the winter or if I'm in stealth mode with the top down here is the plan, meaning I haven't built it yet. The main cause of condensation is moisture from your breath while you sleep. My sofa-bed will be situated along the wall behind the drivers seat with the head end closest to the front of the van.
With that in mind I bought this pop-out type window at the salvage yard.
Click the image to open in full size.

After I install that window I will build a small mounting for a 12 volt computer fan that will hold the fan on the top of the slightly open passenger side window and block off the rest of the window opening. The window would be rolled up to hold it into place. These little fans can move a good bit of air and are relatively quiet. By adjusting the voltage you can also adjust the speed.

With the side cargo window open and the passenger window fan running I'm hoping that would provide enough air flow to combat the moisture build up.

My concern is that a whirling fan on the passenger side gives it away that the vehicle is occupied.

Hence, the fantastic fan on a rear window mounting may be less obvious especially if it --- if this matter to you.

My experience is you want to pull cool, dry air in past the front windows, and exhaust it as hot moist air in the rear, rather than the other way around that gives it a chance to form condensation.

One possibility is a roof vent --- for me anyways ---- and that would also be largely invisible if it is situated "center" enough and do not rise up much.

There is a concern with snow buildup blocking it where I am. Hence, I am back to using either rear window or side door.


I am with you for the 12V DC computer fan for a good combination of power economy and yet get the job done.

The revs can be raised by voltage, and also by using fan banks in parallel.
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  #55 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 03:38 PM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVVan View Post

For colder temperatures I've bought a Webasto heater off of ebay (about $400 Canadian).
Click the image to open in full size.
I've not yet met a forced air heater that didn't dry out the air to a certain extent. Then using either one or both of the open windows it will just be trial and error till I find what combination works.

Anyway, that's the plan.

The Webasto is diesel and the van is gasoline so I'll be adding a second gas tank just for the heater. It's extra work but it's a lot cheaper than buying a new gasoline Webasto heater ($1500).


OK, you went the "truck heater" route --- with an externally vented heater that is powered off diesel.

By the time that subsystem is done, you are looking at $500 or more once you plumb in a diesel tank, etc.

Plus you have the issue of 2 different fuels (2 fuel stops, logistics, etc.).


I want to do mine on the cheap, so what I did was got a propane heater.

Now, they are NOT certified as "ventless" but are in fact, very clean and nearly odor free --- if propane in your area is not contaminated.

What I will do --- having extensively tested it this winter ---- is to mount it around the side doors, possibly facing inward or backward behind the rear pass seat.

There will be no venting of the heater, it does have a built in oxygen sensor that cuts off heat if it dipped too low, but I will install an additional oxygen / propane sensor and alarm at the lowest point of the door.

My plan is to run with 25lb propane tanks carried inboard, but with a vent (under floor) directly to the outside so if any propane escapes, it goes right down the floor.

Alternative is to cut open the side, and have a wire meshed area that is completely exposed to the outside --- which is "code".

The key for me is to get a short length of tubing to connect the OPD valve vent straight to the outside --- so if it did vent.. the gas goes straight outside.

Another alternative is to build a hitch carrier that holds the propane tanks high up in the rear (so a car like collision would "miss" it.

Other alternatives (expensive) is to use the under frame propane tanks, which are terribly expensive. ($400 for the tank alone).

My heater is $150 at most for 18,000 btu.

If I get away with a regular 20lb propane tank, an additional advantage is that it is readily exchanged or refilled anywhere.

That is a major advantage.

One thought is to place the propane tank in a framed, sealed area with a vent that only allow air to go in but not out, and a screened area opened to the underside ---

Such an opening comes "stock" in my 2005 on the Right rear corner, where a metal plate can be unbolted and just screened over.

It is roughly 4" X 4".

That is a natural place for the propane tank to be located.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
My experience is you want to pull cool, dry air in past the front windows, and exhaust it as hot moist air in the rear, rather than the other way around that gives it a chance to form condensation.
Hadn't thought of that.

Quote:
also by using fan banks in parallel.
My plan exactly if one fan isn't enough.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:28 PM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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The catch is, if you are using a roof vent, it naturally "aspirates" outward an upward as you are driving.

The issue is with snow ice blocking the vent and having to go up and clean it.

If you exhaust from the back window, there must be:

A) positive pressure inside car (fan forced) because there is a vacuum there otherwise exhausts get in car.

B) Or a way to close the vent fairly tight when you are moving

Even shutters / flaps that only flow in one direction, spring or gravity loaded... will do the trick,

C) another possibility is to use a "stack" that catches the air at the top of the van, which then "draws" it as you drive along.

Think of a reverse "scoop" facing backward that is just at or below roof level.




Whatever you do, exhausting forward is bad news because you are condensing the moisture on the cold windows --- and in deep freeze, that means you get thick ice buildup inside the windows.. and have to be manually scraped.



The other alternative is to exhaust through the side -- door or window... or whatever.
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:37 PM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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BTW, your VAN is looking really good!
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:59 PM
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This is a fun thread for me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearloose1 View Post
BTW, your VAN is looking really good!
My first two vans, a 1973 Ford E200 (bought in 1986) and a 1986 GMC (bought in 1988 when we decided we LIKED vans) were Turtle Top camper vans. We slept in them very rarely but they were wonderful bike-tour support vehicles with the tops popped, as a base camp.

The original Ford had a dual battery setup with an AC/DC fridge in it; the GMC had an icebox (still quite handy, maybe more so) but had a small propane heater that dumped out the left side of the van. The propane tank for the heater and the propane cooktop was under the left rocker panel, and was covered by a really crude steel box built by Turtle Top, probably. Lots of carwashes would tell me to go away... The system eventually started leaking, and I just let it go, but when the heater worked, our son was a baby, and it was great to just keep the van warm in super cold temps while at an outlet mall or something. Someone could stay in the van with the kid, everyone else could shop. Or in the infield at a NASCAR race they were way cool.

I've just got a passenger conversion 2002 E150 now; great compromise for what we do--traveling and base camp use. We are going to Columbus this weekend to watch my son race in a couple collegiate bike races both days, and use the van as base camp.

I'll keep watching; even though I may not build a full camper van, I'm always game to steal an idea or two.

George
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:02 PM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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I'll keep watching; even though I may not build a full camper van, I'm always game to steal an idea or two.

George

Thanks for coming by!

What I am trying to do is to find a way around the $80,000 or more motor homes.

I like the van format for 2 or 3 people. The fuel economy of a van without the big top.

I also think we all have to learn to live with less --- smaller spaces, etc.

So I am trying to do this thing on a shoestring.

I also think most RVs are basically built for a very limited temperature range and gas hogs.

That is, both fuel on the road and energy used while sitting still.

I am trying to get near house level insulation (R10) and economies to let me use this thing for nearly all weather camping.. all year.. everywhere from Alaska in winter to Mexico in the midst of summer.

Tall order!
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:02 PM
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