Rambling man van build.

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Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 21st 2020, 2:52am

This thread is about my recently purchased a 2005 AWD Safari and it's conversion to a camper of some sort. Definitely not worthy of a build thread due to my lack in documenting my progress in any reasonable semblance of one.

Soooooo.....instead I'll just post up some pics with a few comments about things I'm doing/done..or at the least attempting to do. I perused a few other build thread here and stole some ideas, but I'm just shooting from the hip on most things.

My goals were to have a setup done by fall for an extensive road trip, mainly to visit family in FL and CA. I want everything to be semi-permanent and to cover all the basics but without needing to make adjustments for different tasks.

Like I mentioned, I won't be going into much detail about things I've done, but certainly will answer any questions if anyone has them. I figure posting it in this section will give me a little more freedom than keeping things to a strict build thread. More of a Rambling man van build..

Without further ado...Dickie Bretts IMO in one the of the greatest guitar performance of all time...and most likely under the heavy influence of cocaine. Pics of some of my actual build to follow.. 8-)

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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 21st 2020, 11:16am

My van.
IMG_2355.JPG



Went back and forth on insulating/not insulating floor. Ended up putting these outdoor 3x5 rubber mats down (3 needed)
https://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMast ... /202072107

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1/2 AC plywood. full sheet pushed to one side, remaining drivers sided pieced in. More pics later on bed and counter.

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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 22nd 2020, 12:07am

I decided to see how much "conversion" work I could do without drilling any extra holes into the van. To date I haven't made any.

A lot of the pics aren't in chronological order..but some are the only ones I have showing what I did. Here's some pics of the bed framing and sink/counter framing. Counter top is a HD 4 ft prefab. Cut the back splash off and scribed the slab. I had no idea when started doing this the van walls curved toward the back. Reattached the backsplash(had to scribe that too.)

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Sink is one of those vanity top mounted sinks I recessed into the counter.

IMG_2482.JPG
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby sixsix » September 22nd 2020, 2:36am

Nice Build - wood always smells so good - and if you need a campfire...

copperhead wrote:Without further ado...Dickie Bretts IMO in one the of the greatest guitar performance of all time

Never heard of him or do mean the baseball dude... could really care less 'bout him.
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “Everything needs to change except the asshole culture and stupid way of life of the avg. antifa, BLM follower - slobs, cowards, killers w/o any thought that they, IN FACT, are now the Racists.”

.
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby Rod's Trucks » September 22nd 2020, 6:04am

Nice job. It is always interesting to see how others attack such projects, and what their priorities may be.

Most, who attempt their first modifications (including myself), soon find out the roof has quite a hump in it, and the sides bulge in the middle. Measuring things an be a bit of a challenge. I finally did a chalk line down the middle of the floor, then used a permanent marker to make it 'permanent'.
Did you move the rear heater core forward, or is that the original location. I have actually never seen one, but I know on the vans that had rear A/C, the A/C was located in the back rear corner. I assumed the rear heater core would have been in the same location, in the far back corner.
That bed looks very sturdy, and the oak piece under the sink is an interesting choice of wood for that spot. I suspect you just happened to have that handy, rather than buying it for that purpose?
Did you notice a significant improvement with the sound deadening mat installed?
I just finished fixing a small, but persistent and very frustrating, water leak around the tip-out side window, so I have all the interior trim out. I decided while it is in that state, I it is time for modifying my back space. I just ordered a similar noise reduction product.
I am not concerned bout drilling holes. If the original trim panels go back in. all the new holes will be covered. I use NutCerts (0ne style of threaded inserts) that go in like Pop Rivets. That way, everything mounts to threaded spots and should stay tight.
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 22nd 2020, 1:30pm

sixsix wrote:Nice Build - wood always smells so good - and if you need a campfire...

copperhead wrote:Without further ado...Dickie Bretts IMO in one the of the greatest guitar performance of all time

Never heard of him or do mean the baseball dude... could really care less 'bout him.



Thanks..Dang..I must be really old. Allman Brothers? Dickie Betts? Oh well, time marches on. :character-smurfgrandpa:
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 22nd 2020, 2:08pm

Rod's Trucks wrote:Nice job. It is always interesting to see how others attack such projects, and what their priorities may be.

Most, who attempt their first modifications (including myself), soon find out the roof has quite a hump in it, and the sides bulge in the middle. Measuring things an be a bit of a challenge. I finally did a chalk line down the middle of the floor, then used a permanent marker to make it 'permanent'.
Did you move the rear heater core forward, or is that the original location. I have actually never seen one, but I know on the vans that had rear A/C, the A/C was located in the back rear corner. I assumed the rear heater core would have been in the same location, in the far back corner.
That bed looks very sturdy, and the oak piece under the sink is an interesting choice of wood for that spot. I suspect you just happened to have that handy, rather than buying it for that purpose?
Did you notice a significant improvement with the sound deadening mat installed?
I just finished fixing a small, but persistent and very frustrating, water leak around the tip-out side window, so I have all the interior trim out. I decided while it is in that state, I it is time for modifying my back space. I just ordered a similar noise reduction product.
I am not concerned bout drilling holes. If the original trim panels go back in. all the new holes will be covered. I use NutCerts (0ne style of threaded inserts) that go in like Pop Rivets. That way, everything mounts to threaded spots and should stay tight.
Rod J


Thanks. I was kind of paralyzed by looking at all the build threads and trying to decide how to do things. So I picked the most important issue for me(fridge under sleeping area) and went from there. The shape of the interior was definately an unexpected surprise. Because I just set the plywood floor parallel up against the wheel wheel I used it's edges to measure off of.

I did leave the rear ac and heater in place for now. Yes, ac is in drivers rear corner and rear heater is not far behind the drivers seat on same side.

The wood is actually ash..and yes I had a beautiful futon frame I bought years ago. Figured I wouldn't get crap trying to sell it so decided to dismantle it and use in my build. It's providing almost all my building material. I also have collected lot of fasteners and other parts over the years that I try to incorporate/adapt in the process.

Sound mat does seem to provide some sound reduction. Definitely noticed a difference in the wheel wells. Only did the door panels and main body panels for now, but did add pieces to serve as a cushion barrier on mounted wood. Used Kilmat brand. For the price and results I'm satisfied.

Those NutCerts look interesting. I really don't have any issue with drilling holes, but it just seemed like I could find enough already there and use them. The seat belt attachment locations provide insanely strong attachment points. I worked in the construction field over 20 years, so I'm pretty confident on any of my "framing" being more than strong enough for it's needs.
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby sixsix » September 22nd 2020, 2:15pm

copperhead wrote:Thanks..Dang..I must be really old. Allman Brothers? Dickie Betts? Oh well, time marches on.

meh... "A southern man don't need him around, anyhow..." at least not near Liz Reed's place.

:rockon: :rockon: :rockon: :rockon:
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “Everything needs to change except the asshole culture and stupid way of life of the avg. antifa, BLM follower - slobs, cowards, killers w/o any thought that they, IN FACT, are now the Racists.”

.
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 24th 2020, 12:58am

]Some more pics...As I mentioned I'm doing all this on the fly. I gave up on templates and such and just winging it..for better or worse. :lol: My mixture of speed, functionality and looks doesn't necessarily make for a good cocktail. But it is what it is...and everything I've done could be removed in a couple of hrs max if I decide to change horses in the future. My ex-boss would never approve of my butt joints..but he's not around to be complain.

Shelving, bed/mattress, toilet. Curtains still in design stage, but happy with my rod attachment points. Rear portion of headliner replaced with luan for now, needed to run solar panel wires and maybe a fan if time allows. 4ft piece down the middle to give access to attachment points on the sides. will deal with covering those areas later. Again, used only existing holes and threaded points on the van

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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby AstroWill » September 24th 2020, 1:40am

Looking good!
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 25th 2020, 1:21am

Even with a basic understanding of electricity, was expecting the wiring to be a PITA. Actually probably been the easiest part of this whole thing. Renogy 100 Watt panel, 100ah battery, 140 amp smart battery isolator, charge control, circuit breaker, 6 terminal fuse box. would have picked another controller.

why they make this thing with such small terminal connections is beyond me. Ran 4 awg wire from isolator to battery under van and up through rear seat belt bolt hole. Ran 6 awg from battery , up and across the front edge of plywood floor behind the seats, back down between side of plywood and slider floor trim and back up to fuse panel. 6 awg wire on battery and fuse panel grounds to corresponding wheel well tabs on each side. Controller will be mounted behind front seat near floor so i can take a quick look when entering/exiting. Refrigerator is wired direct to battery with inline fuse.

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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby AstroWill » September 26th 2020, 7:53pm

copperhead wrote:why they make this thing with such small terminal connections is beyond me. Ran 4 awg wire from isolator to battery under van and up through rear seat belt bolt hole. Ran 6 awg from battery , up and across the front edge of plywood floor behind the seats, back down between side of plywood and slider floor trim and back up to fuse panel. 6 awg wire on battery and fuse panel grounds to corresponding wheel well tabs on each side. Controller will be mounted behind front seat near floor so i can take a quick look when entering/exiting. Refrigerator is wired direct to battery with inline fuse.


The terminals are probably small because those chargers are usually limited to 5/10/15/20amp capacities depending on the model. Even with a 20amp version, a short run to the battery could get away with a relatively small wire like 10awg.
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby WoodButcher » September 26th 2020, 10:10pm

:rofl: butt joints,,,
key word is "ex" boss.

Too many of guys in the trade don't know when a miter, scarf, half lap, dado or homegrown just ain't worth it. Looks like an awesome build you have going on and decent work too. Enjoy it!
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby AstroWill » September 27th 2020, 12:20am

copperhead wrote:This thread is about my recently purchased a 2005 AWD Safari and it's conversion to a camper of some sort. Definitely not worthy of a build thread due to my lack in documenting my progress in any reasonable semblance of one.

Soooooo.....instead I'll just post up some pics with a few comments about things I'm doing/done..or at the least attempting to do. I perused a few other build thread here and stole some ideas, but I'm just shooting from the hip on most things.


Even that is enough for a 'build thread', I will gladly move it to that section if you would like.
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 28th 2020, 1:32pm

WoodButcher wrote::rofl: butt joints,,,
key word is "ex" boss.

Too many of guys in the trade don't know when a miter, scarf, half lap, dado or homegrown just ain't worth it. Looks like an awesome build you have going on and decent work too. Enjoy it!


lol..actually a rare chronic illness derailed my carpentry career....but my ex-boss(we're also good friends) definitely wouldn't have tolerated such "craftsmanship". AAMOF I actually stopped by his house yesterday to show him my progress. Made a point to point out the joints just to irritate him. :lol:

Anyhow so more pictures. Plumbing work is finished except for securing the tubing/wiring. Ran an extra feed to the rear for future shower/whatever hookup. Added the accumulator tank to eliminate the rapid cycling when running faucet at a trickle..well worth it IMO. Valve on floor serves to be able to discretely drain grey water tank.

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Also added some pics of my homemade latrine. I had bought one of those go-toilets but for what it cost and IMO the lack of comfort, I figured I could do better. Made it accept those bags they sell to fit them. Plus didn't need the portability, mine will remain in van. did take a few measurements before I returned it. 8-) An advantage of being short, I can sit totally upright on it. Going to paint it up and enclose the lower portion eventually.

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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 28th 2020, 1:35pm

AstroWill wrote:
Even that is enough for a 'build thread', I will gladly move it to that section if you would like.


Thanks. If you think it's worthy to be placed there I have no objection..as long as my Betts video can go with it.. :rockon:
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » September 30th 2020, 1:13am



Threw myself for a real loop today. After saying I used the location of my fridge as the starting point to dictate my build. Things changed.. :shock: My fridge has now been relocated to the back of the van and no longer under my bed..and just to mix things up even more, my grey water tank has also been relocated and while using the same drain line will now function by siphoning. Fortunately, the moves didn't require any structural changes.

Tony D'Amato said life and football are games of inches. If he ever converted a Safari/Astro, he might have included that as well. I've been lucky, without much foresight, I've managed to make a few fairly major on the fly changes without much disruption in my overall plans. But an inch here or an inch there could have resulted in very different results. Not willing to press my luck any further, I'm now "living" with quick mock ups for a few days to see if I really want them permanent. trying to gain some extra space here.
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On the positive side, both changes are for the better and actually free up more storage space than my original plans. Plus the fridge is now accessible without needing to move it and I can get into it from the outside by just raising the hatch window..
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Couple of things that may be of interest.

Refrigerator is an Aspenora 37-Quart freezer or fridge. Got the online coupon for about 280 Been running it for weeks now quite happy.

Mattress foam is sold by Foamrush around 120. Due to the boat shaped structure of the van, i needed it cut to make it fit the contour and to satisfy my OCD. A skill saw and a strip of luan for the saw to ride on made for a quick and easy trim. They wanted another 100 for a cover. I found a corresponding sized sleeping bag (see previous pic) for 35 bucks and only need to sew a flap to close one end.
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby copperhead [OP] » October 6th 2020, 1:00am

Addressed another want/need today, Was originally going to just stuff some bins under the bed for now and call it a day. But noooooooooooooo. I had to go makes things hard for myself and figure how to adapt some storage bins into drawers and make everything look like some normal person had planned it all out to begin with.

Figured modularizing it..I think that's a word..it would make for easier installation. It kind of did, took a few adjustments and redos to get it all together. The old 'boat" contours came into play again due to the small tolerances I had to deal with. again, I was fighting the tape measure more than anything else.

Anyway I guess it came out alright. Still need to tweak some of the slides, make up some drawer fronts and add some brackets to hold it in place. The bins (approx. 19x15x7) are suppose to be water proof, which I think will keep keep moisture out, but really based my purchase on what I thought I could cram into the space. Here's my days work and one of my favorite retro tunes..and sort of appropriate given the shape of these things..sort of. :roll: And no, I didn't shoot out the chevy van window. 8-)

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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby SoccerMom4x4 » October 6th 2020, 3:23am

YES
:rockon: :rockon: :rockon: :rockon:
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Re: Rambling man van build.

Postby AstroWill » October 6th 2020, 4:20am

Are the slides angled down a little in the back so they stay closed or self close?
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