Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

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Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » March 9th 2018, 9:33pm

Let's start at the beginning. This is before I ever owned a van; I spent my weekends and school breaks climbing which involves sleeping in parking lots, pull-in camp sites, and on the side of dirt roads in deserts (okay, Squamish is not a desert). This was when I was first introduced to camper conversions. There was interesting craftsmanship, but I honestly didn't get the point.

As I got older, I began to care less about fuel economy and less for sleeping in tents. This is when the idea of a camper conversion bit me like a bug. Within a couple months I sold my reliable 1997 Honda Accord and bought a 2000 Chevy Astro.

Justification came quick. I had moved on from climbing to back country skiing. When climbing Hood, Helen's, Mount Adams, ... we could pull up in the parking lot after work, crack a few beers, throw our sleeping bags down in the cargo area, and have a good night sleep. In the morning, we could casually wake up and cook breakfast. Everyone else pulled b/w 2-5 am after driving for several hours. Astro #1 ended too early when the engine lost power (running on 5 cylinders), transmission went out, steering needed replacing...

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After van #1, I played with a 1995 AWD Ford Aerostar for a bit. It is the last Ford I will own. Although it ran well, its construction seemed inferior to Chevy and Honda and the interface was not intuitive. I basically used this vehicle to move from Oregon to New Mexico, then sold it.

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My wife and I settled on being a single car household, but I never stopped checking craigslist. Then a low mileage, fleet-owned 2005 GMC Safari popped up in Colorado around Christmas. It was 3x what I paid for Astro #1 and 8x what I paid for the Aerostar, but the $$ would hopefully be justified by improved reliable compared to van #1. We bought it. It is named Sangria.

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*I will try add installments to this build thread that correspond with the fits and spurts of productivity of actually building out the van. Currently I am on the second iteration, so there is some catching up to do.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » March 9th 2018, 9:58pm

Okay, breathe. Made it through the intro post.

In the first few weeks with Sangria, I:
[list=]
Replaced the shocks.
Fixed the Heater/AC control unit (vent selector knob was cracked).
Fixed the passenger side automatic window control.
Other minor fixes which I am forgetting
[/list]

Soon afterwards was my first road trip so I whipped up a quick sleeping platform from pallets that were laying around my yard. This added a lot of storage room and allowed me to test the layout. I also added some lights (cheap strand of LED lights from amazon: similar to this) and connected my auxiliary batter (rescued from van #1).

Here are a couple shots of van.

(Battery Install: Link to Battery; Link to Isolator)
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(Make shift sleeping platform)
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(Action shot)
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » March 12th 2018, 6:03pm

I apologize about the lack of "build" in the first couple posts. Trialing the bed placement/height/size, storing gear/clothing/food, and trying different approaches to cooking while living out of the van was pretty important to deciding the final layout.

Here is my floor installation:

1) Remove carpeting. The carpeting and underlying insulation were not well adhered in my van and I decided to keep the insulation and remove the carpeting.
2) Cut out sub-floor. For this I used 3/8" AC sanded plywood. I traced the carpet onto the plywood and cut with a jigsaw. Two 4'x8' sheets required.

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4) Floor installation. For the flooring, I chose to use Pergo laminate flooring. This required every board from 2 boxes. Furring strips (slats from dismantled pallet) were installed with sheet metal screws and will be used for cedar paneling. They are REALLY attached.

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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby WimpTech » March 12th 2018, 7:55pm

Outstanding, off to a great start! Floor turned out very nice, can"t wait to see what is next...
WimpTech - Precision Guesswork... Questionable Results.

My Van Build: viewtopic.php?f=127&t=103714
My Other Van: http://www.vcvc.org/showthread.php/3013 ... ersion-Van
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby konybravo » March 12th 2018, 8:21pm

I love your spartan camper layout! :thumbup:
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » March 16th 2018, 3:53am

Thanks for comments. Today is not turning out to be a productive day. So here is the next step of the build:

Cedar Panel install:

1) Install furring strips (as noted in the post on flooring). Didn't come out pretty, but no one will know once they are covered up with paneling.
2) Install cedar tongue-and-groove panels. I used a lot of cardboard making templates.

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I wanted to be able to access behind the panels to install the wiring for electrical outlets. To do this, I put cut the tongue part off of the 3rd to top panel so that the top 2 boards would not be connected to the lower boards. The top 2 boards are attached together and backed by some scrap wood with glue. 2 hinges, which connect to some furring, allow the top boards to pivot open. When closed, the boards are held in place by some pegs mounted into the supports for the top board.

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3) Attach top beam.

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You can see some of the marine ports which I have installed (Link1, Link2, Link3)

(Guest Appearance of the pull-out bed, next post)
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » March 22nd 2018, 5:41pm

Dragging my feet on the pull-out bed build. Turns out sewing cushions takes longer than I expected.

Today, I installed a way to open the dutch doors from the inside. Stole this idea from KennyJ ([url=https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=127&t=12268#p130205
]here[/url]), but due to photobucket...

Bought a push button momentary switch. I used a SPST 3-pin with NO (normally-open), C (common), and NC (normally closed) pins, but you could easily just use a 2-pin.

Soldered pigtails: 2 to the NO pin, 1 to the C (solder 2 if using a 2 pin) , and 1 to the NO.

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Here is the finished product

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Difficulty: 1 (of 5)
Tools required: Soldering iron, 10 mm wrench, wire stripper, 1/4" drill bit
Time: ~30 minutes
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby SportsBoy » March 23rd 2018, 12:50am

That's sweet - I hope to do this eventually. I know nothing about electricals, so I'll just be copying you and Kenny.

Also, if you can't see the photos on Kenny's thread, download "Photobucket Hotlink Fix" for Google Chrome - I can see all the pictures in his thread no problem.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby LitoOutside » March 23rd 2018, 2:44am

Wow, fold-out bed and interior door opening are at the top of my list, too. Thanks for posting the info, excited to see the bed design. Everyone's is a liiiiiitle different.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby WinnieVan » March 23rd 2018, 2:53am

jimi_lee wrote:Dragging my feet on the pull-out bed build. Turns out sewing cushions takes longer than I expected.

Today, I installed a way to open the dutch doors from the inside. Stole this idea from KennyJ ([url=https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=127&t=12268#p130205
]here[/url]), but due to photobucket...

Bought a push button momentary switch. I used a SPST 3-pin with NO (normally-open), C (common), and NC (normally closed) pins, but you could easily just use a 2-pin.

Soldered pigtails: 2 to the NO pin, 1 to the C (solder 2 if using a 2 pin) , and 1 to the NO.

87762

Here is the finished product

87770

Difficulty: 1 (of 5)
Tools required: Soldering iron, 10 mm wrench, wire stripper, 1/4" drill bit
Time: ~30 minutes


Noice Jimi Lee -- LitoOutside and I were legitimately talking about this mod 4 hours ago. Glad you did the legwork. I think I'd prefer something "mechanical" but that is a slick solution.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby WoodButcher » March 23rd 2018, 3:56am

Nice job Jimi.
I dig the name, I'm partial to that color.
You're doing great work and very creative tricks to reach the end goal.
Only one thing I can't figure,,,
you wax those sticks,
strap them on your feet and jump off a great big hill.

nuts... :lol:
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » March 26th 2018, 7:57pm

Thanks Y'all. I really appreciate the compliments, especially since I have spent so much time looking at all of your vans for inspiration.

Here is the Bed Build. You can see the original pallet bed in an earlier post. Again, I started with pallets which I picked up from our pet store. Many of them were brand new, used only to deliver dog/cat food to the store that 1 time.

I picked up some new ones and some that had really nice character to the wood. The later were made from way denser wood which was a pain in a** unless holes were pre-drilled. Lesson 1: pallets are made from different types of wood, choose appropriately.

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Pulling the pallets apart is a bit of a misnomer. I tried with pry bars but just broke the wood. Lesson 2: Better results with a sawzall!!!

No good shots of the build process. Basically, the bed is 2 pieces, the main section + the extending section. The main frame is a table w/4 legs and spaced slats. Long cross supports are 2x4"s, sides are 1x6"s from the pallets. The extending section has 2 legs (front) w/ spaced slats attached to each other by a 1x4" in the front and a 1x2" which sits under the slats of the main frame. Slats are 1x6" from pallets. There are guides on the side of the main frame to keep the extending section from falling through.

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After I discovered that there was insufficient head room, I rethought the design. The main frame lost a leg (rear driver side leg) and is now supported by the tire well. All other legs lost 5". Additionally, I had to move the back cross support forward by 7" to avoid the tire well which shortened how much the bed extends by 7".

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Finally finished the mattress. It is 2 layers of foam (Link to 3" high density upholstery foam + Link to 2" memory foam). The mattress itself is 2 pieces, a 24" x 75" piece which is the seat cushion in "couch-mode"; and a folding piece which consists of two 8.5" x 75" long pieces which are the backrest in "couch-mode". Lesson 3: Cut foam into pieces with a bread knife & successive gentle strokes. Will make a static-y mess.

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Last edited by jimi_lee on March 27th 2018, 6:30pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby TurnNburn » March 26th 2018, 8:54pm

Nice work with the bed there. My wife really wants me to revisit our bed setup and build something like this. Im not what I would call, wood savvy. I made 78.6% of ours with a sawzall... :roll: :oops:


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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby AstroWill » March 27th 2018, 1:54am

Nice work on the platform, and great re-purposing of the pallets!

TurnNburn wrote:Im not what I would call, wood savvy. I made 78.6% of ours with a sawzall... :roll: :oops:

There was a guy that did a freaking awesome one that pulled out like that, but used steel. Pretty sure it was a replacement for the couch/bed in a Tiger. Though I don't have the link handy.

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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby WinnieVan » March 27th 2018, 2:05am

Noice bed! Love the design.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » April 2nd 2018, 6:31pm

Adding interior lighting.
I wanted a "home" feel in terms of both the form and function of the interior lights; which meant adding additional lights (not reusing the stock dome lights) and being able to turn them on/off from multiple locations within the van. Of course the lights have to run off of 12VDC, be low-wattage, and have a low-profile so as to sit in the headliner.

Components:
-Low-Profile LED recessed Lights (consumes 3W for all 4 lights)(Link) - These turned out to be really nice quality lights.
-SPST rocker switch (x2) (Link)
-DPDT rocker switch (Link)
-Lots and lots of wire - rough estimate of 20' of red + 60' of black 12g stranded.

Here is the wiring Diagram:
90561

The DPDT switch wiring is less complicated than it looks. A DPDT is just 2 SPST switches smashed together. A SPST switch has 3 pins (1, Common, & 2) and the switch controls whether 1 or 2 is connected to the common. The DPDT has 6 pins (Group A: 1A, Common-A, 2A; and Group B: 1B, Common-B, 2B). For this application, you just want to connect pins 1A & 2B together and then pins 2A & 1B together.

Installation:
-Mocking up locations of lights and prepping wire:
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-Lights are .5" thick, about the same thickness as the headliner. To install you cut a 2.4" diameter hole and the springs hold it in place. All lights and switches are connected with spade crimps.
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-Used a large thick gage steel wire to pull the electrical wire through the headliner. Only had to partially remove headliner.
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-3 switches. Any can turn on/off lights. First (SPST) is mounted by rear hatch. Second (DPDT) is behind driver seat next to bed. Third (SPST) is under front passenger seat belt by sliding door.
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Difficulty: 2/5
Tools:
-For wiring: Soldering Iron, Spade Crimps.
-For Installation: Utility knife (or 2.5" hole saw), 8' piece of thick wire + tape.
-For removing headliner Screwdrivers,
Cost: approximately $80
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby multimoto » April 2nd 2018, 10:41pm

hey jimi_lee, looking good so far! how does this circuit work? if any switch is on, will any other switch turn the lights off and visversa?
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » April 2nd 2018, 11:19pm

Yep. Any switch will turn the lights on/off regardless of the position of the other switches.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby multimoto » April 2nd 2018, 11:51pm

jimi_lee wrote:Yep. Any switch will turn the lights on/off regardless of the position of the other switches.

awesome. thats exactly what Ive been trying to do but was thinking I would need some crazy diode configuration. thanks for posting your diagram.
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Re: Sangria - 2005 Safari camper conversion

Postby jimi_lee [OP] » April 25th 2018, 9:54pm

"Things that go bump on the roof"
I have still been (slowly) working on Sangria, and this post will describe 3 projects: painting my roof white, a wind fairing for the roof rack, and an awning.

1) Painting the roof:
The goal was to help keep the rig cool while camped in the desert. To do so, I plasti-dipped the roof white. Thanks Copperfiremist for the tips. Pro-tip, Peel away masking tape while last coat of plasti-dip is still wet.

If any one is interested in this project, Plasti-dipping the roof requires 8 spray cans, masking tape, and lots of cardboard/paper. Cover everything you don't want plasti-dipped, then cover it again, then seal it with tape for a 3rd time. This #$%& gets everywhere.

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2) Wind Fairing:
My roof rack whistled like a banshee. My wife requested that I fix this.

Supplies: 1/8" thick arcrylic sheet (Link), spray paint, aluminum bar stock, plasti-dip, and fittings. I later replaced the fittings with SS.
Cost: $60 (would be less without aesthetic touches)

Jigsaw acrylic sheet
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Cut bar stock to length, drill some holes, and plasti-dip ends
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Here is how it goes together
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Bend bar stock to shape
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Rattle can underside of acrylic sheet
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Drum-roll please...
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3) 8'x8' Awning
Supplies: 1.1 oz Silnylon (5 yards link, shock cord, tarp poles (link, I later had to replace the pins at the top with steal thread stock), 1/2" pvc pipe, 1/2" conduit, 5/8" wood dowel, 3" PVC pipe (5ft), 3" PVC pipe caps, SS fittings.
Cost: ~$120

Split 3" PVC tube in half
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Fashion linkages
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Assemble carrying linkages
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Sew tarp. Center seam is a "felled" seam which is used in tent making because it is strong and keeps the waterproof properties.
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PVC tube is connected to the rack with 2" SS 1/4"-20 screws and some more aluminum bar stock.
92746
After a lot of trial and error and buying supplies I didn't use... here is what I came up with. The front x-bar is 2 pieces of 5' x 1/2" EMT conduit. A 5" piece of 5/8" wood dowel is shoved in the connecting ends of the conduit to hold it together. Side x-bars are 9' of 1/2" PVC pipe split in half. Similar to the conduit, the halves connect together over a 5" piece of 5/8" dowel.

Everything fits inside the 3" PVC
92754
Unfolded
92738
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jimi_lee
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: jimi_lee has been a member for 3 full yearsjimi_lee has been a member for 3 full yearsjimi_lee has been a member for 3 full years
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Van Model Year: 2005
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