How I converted a rusty cargo van into an Adventuremobile

How I converted a rusty cargo van into an Adventuremobile

I spent the last 4 months building an adventuremobile on the weekends and evenings after work. Building this van was at times overwhelming, but always exciting. The experience has taught me many things and I am excited for the adventures to come. I hope you enjoy this tour. -Evan
The finished van/tiny home. It weighs in at 6,600 lbs. Well under the GVWR of 8,600 lbs. The total build added 1,300 lbs.
Cleared out and ready to get started. It took a day to rip out all the factory trim and riveted cargo rails. I made a dump run to get rid of it.
The day I bought a 2006 Ford E250 off Craigslist. Blank slate!
Just some surface rust. There were a couple holes in the floor. I used metal reinforced bondo to patch the holes.
Some time with an angle grinder will take care of the rust
I got carried away and totally stripped everything
Primer
Paint
Runners for the floor. Glued down with liquid nails.
Insulation between the runners, and OSB going in.
OSB floor complete. It flexed a lot because the metal floor was uneven had been dented from use as a cargo van. I eventually drilled a bunch of holes in the OSB to fill the underneath with great stuff foam. That took care of the flex.
I installed a backup camera because reversing in a van with no windows is scary.
This is the giant hole cut I cut out of the van to access the propane tank. I'll be honest, this was terrifying. I wasn't 100% sure the propane tank I bought off amazon would fit in the space, with the brackets I had fashioned out of L brackets and sheet metal. I hadn't ever used a jig saw on metal before, and I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I just went for it and it worked out pretty well.
10 gallon propane tank installed! It fits!
Cleaned up nicely.
There was some paint missing from a minor dent so I touched it up… with the wrong color spray paint
And then I did it again with a better color of spray paint. Cub cadet yellow.
I used 30 cans of great stuff foam to fill the cavities. I vastly overestimated the amount of space that one can was useful for, and ended up making like 4 home depot runs by the end of this day. It took a while, but in the end it was a relatively cheap and easy way to insulate the dead space between the inner and outer sheet metal layers.
Insulating the doors
Insulating the walls. For all the window wells, I put up two layers of reflectix with an airtight gap of a few inches between them. Seems to work well enough. The second layer is visible in the later photos. I held it in place with high strength metallic HVAC tape.
Hightop constructed by Fiberine in LA. I've got nothing but good things to say about these guys. They do quality work.
Installed in one day!
6' 5" of room to stand up in the van now
Cutting a hole in the brand new roof to install the maxxfan. A little unnerving, but this was pretty straightforward compared to the propane access panel.
This is what the roof is made out of. Fiberglass and wood. Very sturdy!
Cutting the flooring to size. Lonseal thunderstorm flooring. Very heavy duty
I built an entry way out of wood to replace the plastic trim. I think it makes the van a little homier.
Installing the flooring. I used spraylock 3100 to bond the floor to the OSB.
Flooring and entry step complete!
Luan plywood with a light stain for the walls and doors. I used water based 2 in 1 poly stain on all of the plywood in the van.
Paneling going on the slider door. A jigsaw is a van builders best friend.
Bed frame constructed, and back doors paneled with luan plywood.
Batteries sitting inside the bed frame and secured in place with 3/8" bolts through the van body. The batteries total ~200lbs, so I wanted those very well secured.
Building the electrical system
300 amp hours AGM deep cycle batteries with a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. Powers a blender or microwave without any trouble.
Electrical panel with light switches, usb outlet, MPPT solar controller, inverter switch, and LP/CO detector.
Solar panels being installed.
Carpet and 1/4 plywood walls going in. I bonded lightweight carpet to the hightop with 3M high strength 90 spray glue.
Ceiling and wiring for LED lights
LED lights installed
Much easier to work on the van at night with bright lights
Building the galley from a re-purposed kitchen cabinet, free off craigslist. These are built out of particle board, so I hacked it apart and reinforced it with hard wood.
planning the kitchen and cutouts
Propane lines complete and checked for leaks. One for the stove, and one for a propane heater if it gets cold.
I sanded the counter and gave it a good soaking with butcher block oil.
Speakers installed
This day, I finished building the bed and enjoyed some dinner in the van. The bed is hinged on both sides to make cargo access easier.
Fridge/freezer installed. I bolted it through the floor of the van, so it doesn't move at all. Testing the stove too.
Amp installed for sound system. $13 off amazon. Sounds good enough.
Memory foam mattress. VERY comfy.
A look at the galley with the stove splashguard installed
Reinforcing the cargo area above the cab. Swivel seat in view too.
Testing the freezer, with the bear necessities. The fridge draws 3.1 amps when it cycles on. I estimate is draws around 35 amp hours a day. 200 watts of solar panels fully recharges the batteries by sometime in the afternoon when it is sunny out.
Installed a ladder for easy access to hang out on the roof or clean the solar panels.
Blackout/privacy curtains
Just enough room for my surfboard. 6' channel island pod for small waves 😉
Water jug, and storage held in place with bungee straps. I replaced this cheap water jug with LCI water jugs that are built for military use. They are much beefier, and I am confident that they will never leak. They are 5 gallon and I have two of them. I can drain to the street or into another jug.
First van dinner! Veggie tacos 🙂
Enjoying the view from the porch. If you have any questions or want to chat about vans hit me up on instagram @evanjordan
Source : VAN-Wilder from Reddit