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Timbo

My 2010 minimalist TC camper build

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Here's a quick glimpse of my minimalist TC camper build. 

 

Yes, the leg to my folding table is resting on the inverter, but unless I stack 50 bowling balls or a couple of anvils on it, I don't think it's going to dent the case.  (the table went in years before the inverter).

The internal fan keeps the inverter from getting hot, if I even use it at all, and the crutch leg / foot is impervious to heat.  But then, again, there isn't any heat to worry about.  

 

The kitchen counter stows under the bed when not in use.  I used coat hooks, bolted to the underside of the bed to hold it in place, and used a piece of carpet to keep the fit tight and act as a friction source to keep the table from sliding out / off the hooks.  It works great.  The coat hooks have rubber tubing on them for added friction and slip resistance.  

The angled, wooden trim under the table eliminates bowing / drooping of the 1/4" plywood counter top.  

I use similar wooden angled trim, fastened to the insides of the rear doors, to mount the kitchen counter to.  Metal pins through the counter and into the trim, hold it in place.  

 

Since the cargo area of the 2010 TC is just 6' and I am 6' 4.5", I installed a 10" folding leaf to make the bed 6' 10" long if/when needed.  To be honest, though, I never use the leaf.  

If I fold the passenger seat forward and push it back, the worst that can happen is I wake up with my feet resting in a very comfortable position against the back of the seat.  

 

I'm seriously considering removing the existing leaf and replacing it with a 6' X 10" folding leaf, mounted on the side of the bed, that will work exactly the same as the current design.  

The only difference being that the leaf wouldn't fold all the way under the bed, but hang on the side.  

Since removing my bulky, Camco, flushing camp toilet and replacing it with a bucket-potty, there is now a lot more room to work with on the side of the bed. 

 

As you can see, I do not have a sink, but just a 3 gallon bottle with an attached pump.  It works great.  I really like it.  

1st Gen. TC's come with so little extra horsepower, the less you can weigh them down, the better off you and your fuel economy will be.  

 

The last picture is of my driver and passenger side window coverings.  I use Reflectix on the other windows, backed up with black curtains for when I want privacy but still a little light.  

The front windows, however, get indoor / outdoor carpet, cut to perfectly fit the windows.  

They attach using the "hook" half of adhesive-backed Velcro that I have stuck to the window frames.  The carpet, being fibrous, acts as the "loop" side of the Velcro, completing the two halves.  

 

I like the carpet because I can roll the windows down to let fresh air in, without also letting flying insects in.  

 

The windshield has a custom fit, reflective sun shade to keep things cool inside.  

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Edited by Timbo

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On the roof I have a solar shower, DIY awning bar, 190W solar panel, and a set of kayak saddles (rack).  

 

I was fortunate that the previous owner, the original owner of the van, had installed tinted, glass, sliding windows in the doors.  He also installed large convex mirrors, just below the factory mirrors on the doors.  Being a commercial driver, I found this a very appealing addition to the van.  

 

The aluminum, aftermarket wheels I just added last Friday. :)

 

 

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Edited by Timbo

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I like what you've done here. The minimalist approach is how I think I want to approach mine once I get started. Been looking at the different things people have done for inspiration and ideas. I like to see the different approaches to solve similar problems. My time is limited right now but I am approaching retirement (but not soon enough).

 

That looks like a six? inch single pipe on the solar shower? How does that work out in adequacy? Is it enough volume for long enough time?

 

Like those new wheels too. I see what you mean about the extra holes.

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16 minutes ago, OLDSCHOOLFOOL said:

I like what you've done here. The minimalist approach is how I think I want to approach mine once I get started. 

 

That looks like a six? inch single pipe on the solar shower? How does that work out in adequacy? Is it enough volume for long enough time?

 

Like those new wheels too. I see what you mean about the extra holes.

 

 

Thanks, I went the minimalist route because eventually, if Chevy ever comes out with their promised, full-sized Express high-top, I plan to upgrade to a larger space.  

By not making the mods TC-specific, I can more easily move them to whatever vehicle / platform I like.  

 

I was against the idea of cabinets, shelving and modular kitchen slide-outs, because they tend to add a lot of unwanted weight, and the puny engine can't handle it without a huge loss of MPG.  

Imo, once the fuel economy drops down into the 16 - 19 MPG range, I might as well just buy a full sized van.  If I'm going only going to get 19 MPG, I want power! 

 

Speaking of better fuel economy...  I went with a narrower, lighter, bed because, 1) I camp alone, and 2) I wanted room to swing my legs off the bunk and onto the floor so I could more easily get dressed and eat at my table.  

Every time I see a huge, plywood-framed bed that takes up 100% of the usable interior, I wonder how they stand it.  

 

The shower holds 6 gallons, but in truth, much like the leaf on the bed, I rarely use it.  I have a low volume shower head, so it lasts quite a while.

Still, you're taking "Navy Showers", not long, lavish baths while whistling a tune; not a care in the world. 

Ultimately I want to attach a 12V compressor with a pressure regulator on it so I can better control it.   Right now I use a compact bicycle tire pump, and while very quiet, it's somewhat less than perfectly suited for the job.  

 

If I had a little more height on the garage door, I'd get the "Road Shower" with its aluminum body ($300 - $400, depending on capacity).  It's much more efficient at heating water than ABS, and it won't explode if you put too much air in it, like mine will.  

My shower was really just an experiment to see if I could make something decent.  It's OK, but besides blowing up in my face, I worry about the pipe glue (dope) leaching into the stagnant water in the tube.  

I don't drink or clean dishes with the water in the shower.  

 

I've also read that ABS pipe, which is designed for sewage, not drinking water like PVC is, has a tendency to insulate the water from outside heat, even though it's black (it's usually buried). 

Still, it's what most people use when they build their own systems.  

PVC tends to crack if left in the sun.  Then it becomes a real danger to its users.  

 

I completely forgot to look at Lowe's / Home Depot / OSH today for those black, rubber plugs.  

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

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The temporary table is a really neat idea.

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Ease of removal is also a key feature for me since I don't plan on it being dedicated to one use. I agree with Mrtn on the table. That's a great use of space and I am a huge fan of the low tech approach. I believe I will use some version of that myself. Since weight is an issue, an alternative for the support ribbing could be angle aluminum.

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10 hours ago, OLDSCHOOLFOOL said:

Ease of removal is also a key feature for me since I don't plan on it being dedicated to one use. I agree with Mrtn on the table. That's a great use of space and I am a huge fan of the low tech approach. I believe I will use some version of that myself. Since weight is an issue, an alternative for the support ribbing could be angle aluminum.

 

A friend bought a house in Pebble Beach recently, I hauled pretty much all the furniture that went into it.  So yeah, being able to remove the interior was a consideration for me too. ;)  

 

I thought about using aluminum for the table supports, but getting it would have required driving several miles further than the Home Depot, where I was buying the table top material from anyway.  (It was a much shorter trip from the plywood to the trim department).  

The kitchen counter / table weighs nothing at all, but supports anything I place on it.......  which is typically food and my stove.  

I'm not going to try sitting on it, though. =/

 

 

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Edited by Timbo

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Cool. Looks like you got the necessary stuff you need during long travel.

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On 2/6/2018 at 11:36 PM, mdarren said:

Cool. Looks like you got the necessary stuff you need during long travel.

 

 

And with a minimum of weight added.  

 

That was key for this wimpy and painfully underpowered little van. 

Edited by Timbo

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The foil that you appear to have over the window. Is that just what you would find at Lowe's or Home Depot kind of place? Or is it more something special use?

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On 2/8/2018 at 9:27 AM, OLDSCHOOLFOOL said:

The foil that you appear to have over the window. Is that just what you would find at Lowe's or Home Depot kind of place? Or is it more something special use?

 

It's called Reflectix, and yes, you can find it at your local home improvement store.  I picked it up at Home Depot.  

 

It's foil on both sides with bubble-wrap material in the middle.  Very easy to cut into any shape you need.  

 

It's also very affordable.  

 

We don't get super cold temps in this part of California, so I don't have a lot of personal experience with cold weather insulation, but I have used it in very hot weather.

It works great at keeping out the heat.  The moment I pull it off the window, I feel the heat radiating off the glass that it was blocking.  

 

 

 

(If you look closely, or zoom in, you can see the little, white conduit clamps I use to support the curtain rods).  

 

(At the bottom of the picture you can see the hardwood trim I use to hang the kitchen counter / table between the rear doors).  

 

 

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Edited by Timbo

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That what I thought it was. I'm bouncing around a plan in my head to do a partial insulation utilizing already existing recesses. Combine this with a material similar to the cover panels on the back doors to clean things up. Maybe something paintable. I really haven't worked out all the details by any means but the goal is to keep it simple and preferably low cost. One thing I don't want to do is to block the drain holes at the bottom of the body for condensation. We refer to them as "weep" holes.

 

More about blocking some of the heat in summer, provide some sound dampening and to clean up the surfaces.

 

I like your idea with the pull pins to align the table top. Nice and easy to remove.

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Nice job on your camper van. Thanks for sharing.

Great to see you customize the van for your particular needs.

Hope to see more in the future.

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