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KevinRollin

FOR SALE: Silver 2018 Cargo road trip adventure van

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For Sale!  

 

Less than 7,000 miles! 

 

Moving abroad and have to sell.  PM me and check the sale sub-forum.  Located near Washington, DC.  

 

Since the forums have been so helpful to me, I’ll continue documenting the build below, and edit the title and this post once sold.  

 
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I’ve been reading here for a few weeks, and gleaned quite a bit of information from members and posts, so I thought I’d post the start of my build.  
 
I decided several years ago that a van of some sort was the best vehicle for my outdoor and hobby pursuits:  cycling, camping, trail running, camping, surfing, triathlon, hiking, etc.   I really wanted (and still kinda want) a full-sized van like the Promaster, Sprinter, or Transit, but as an urban dweller with an office job, I can’t really swing one of those.  I test drove the FTC, Promaster City, and rented an NV200 for a long weekend trip.  While I liked the taller interior of the NV200, there are twice as many FTCs on the road so I decided on that for parts availability, aftermarket, etc.  after hunting for a month, new and used, I stumbled onto a used silver 2018 cargo with only 600 miles on it.  It had, according to the dealer, been ordered by a customer for use as a work van, who after fitting it with rear and quarter aftermarket windows, decided it was too small and traded it for a larger Transit.  His loss!  
 
So while this will be my only vehicle, it’s not a daily driver because I take mass transit to work every day, and either walk, bicycle, or Uber everywhere else.  I park in a tiny garage space, big enough to open the driver door but not the passenger door, or rear doors unless I open the garage.  This is going to affect how much work I can get done if I’m not finished before it gets cold!  
 
I won’t be living in the van, and at 6’2”, sitting inside and cooking, etc., isn’t happening a lot either.  So most mods will be focused on hauling sporting equipment, and providing a dry place to sleep. 
 
I went back and forth on the color, white being super common, and most resistant to heat/sunlight, but silver looking less like a work truck and more a regular personal vehicle.  Finding the barely used 2018 in silver that already had some windows put into it made the decision for me.  I traded in my tiny hatchback plus a couple grand and drove off with a nearly-new FTC.   
 
Edited by KevinRollin

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Some van build planning considerations: 
  1. Nothing permanently installed- I might need to remove everything to haul something random. 
  2. I don’t have the skills to weld, or do complex woodworking. 
  3. Needs to fit in a garage.  
  4.  
 

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First mod I want to do is windows in the sliding doors.  

 

I know there are tons of work vans prowling the city streets, but I hate not being able to see other vehicles and pedestrians.  And cyclists, and the tiny electric scooters that we still haven’t decided if they belong on the sidewalk or the road!  

 

So I made a template to see if a Vintage Technologies WD2415 window will fit:

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Edited by KevinRollin
Added photos

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My first trip out with the van was a hasty one.  A triathlon for which I had not trained fell into my lap on short notice, so I decided to drive there the night before, stealth camp nearby, and then finish the drive to the race site early.  

 

I put a folding camp camp bed and my road bike in the back, and a couple milk crates and duffle bags held my stuff.  Some reflectix-like packing materials blocked out the rear and side windows, and a cheap WalMart blackout curtain hung on a rod just forward of the sliding doors blacked everything out.  

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I made some Reflectix covers for the windshield and front windows.  

 

Just reflectix for now, eventually I’d like to cover one side of each with black fabric so I can pick (by swapping left/right) reflective for daytime heat or blackout at night.  

4B91293E-1178-45D3-A6F0-9619C8252AD6.jpeg

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I envision a semi-fixed half-width bed for one that will be installed the majority of the time.  The other half will be internal space for one or two bicycles.  

 

But, I also want the option for a full-width bed sometimes, at the expense of full-height storage.  I like the idea of the pull-out slatted bed that I’ve seen in van builds and youtube videos, but that may be beyond my construction abilities.  

 

Near-term will likely be a plywood platform bed, half-width, that’s installed and tied down with turnbuckles or cargo straps.  Tonight I mocked up a platform with milk crates and two 2’x4’ Masonite project panels.  Half of the width above the wheel wells is 25.25”, but close enough.  I slid one panel on top of the other and adjusted until I got the max length, with the driver’s seat in my preferred driving position (all the way back, slight recline).  

 

(Sorry for the weird angle, the other photos came out underexposed!). 

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Max for me looks like about 76” at ~13 high, to clear the wheel well humps (passenger side is higher), and allow standard milk crates and totes to fit underneath.  Fits a 75”x25” three-panel trifold mattress from Amazon.  

Edited by KevinRollin

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Finally got around to working on a sleeping platform.  I’m doing a half-width bed, with about 12” of space underneath.  Should hold four milk crates and three folding totes, or some combination of those. 75” long, but offset to allow for as much bed as possible behind the fully-rearward driver seat, but still use the forward tiedown bolt as an anchor.  

 

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(Rear of van)                                                                                                                             (Front of van)

Edited by KevinRollin

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Realized that if I didn’t offset the top, I could make it reversible in case I wanted to swap it to the passenger side. 

 

Got all all of my Kreg Jig holes drilled, holes for the tiedown bolts, corners quarter-rounded, and the ends installed on the bottom plywood.  Later this week I’ll finish installing the screws. 

 

BEC65938-6C05-4E0B-8E3D-3C3D0591F2F9.jpeg

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Keep up the process posts! I really like your "nothing permanently installed" approach. It's a metal tent! However, I think insulation is really a necessity, and should probably be one of the earlier steps... do you have any plans in that direction?

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On 3/24/2020 at 12:32 PM, QuandAns42 said:

Keep up the process posts! I really like your "nothing permanently installed" approach. It's a metal tent! However, I think insulation is really a necessity, and should probably be one of the earlier steps... do you have any plans in that direction?

Thanks!  I hope some other forum users enjoy it and find it useful. 

 

Mine  is definitely a metal tent!  

 

I did tons of research into van builds, including insulation.  It’s a small space, and windows take up a lot of that.  I now have a window in every panel, which makes it tough to insulate those portions.  Below belt level, there is a lot of plastic trim, which provides some insulating value.  

 

I did order 36sq ft of Noico black butyl noise dampening that is going to go first in the ceiling in the back.  Right now it’s bare steel.  Leftovers from that will go on panels around the windows.  

 

I also have four panels of plastic-encased denim that I got free, and I’ll put those behind the plastic panels in the cargo area.  If it starts to absorb moisture, I’ll toss it. 

 

I have some more photos that I’ll post soon.  

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thanks for the updates. I just bought a 2012 FTC and am planning on doing some similar camping "improvements". Mine is a little taller than yours but shorter. luckily I'm only 5'10". I've heard lots of people putting up Reflectix for insulation on all walls and doors and even windows. would you use the Noico for temperature insulation or just sound dampening? I see its advertised as sound dampening and often used on the floors of the vehicles. Im wondering if I should use it on the floor and use reflectix on walls and roof. Any thoughts on that? I plan on installing a roof fan such as the AirMaxx for better ventilation and will see if I can install some sliding windows or build some bug screens for the front windows to create some air flow. I don't have any windows right now....... purely a cargo van currently. I am also thinking of going with expandable lengthwise bed to leave room for bike(s) on the side or be able to sit and have some floor space to step in and out of the van when the bed is in a seat configuration. bed needs to be close to full width to sleep 2. 

 

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Reflectix is radiant barrier and not actual insulation. Great for using on windows as removable covers, but not worth the time & money as wall insulation - especially when you see people put it directly against the sheet metal body, absolutely worthless! Radiant barrier needs at least about an inch of air gap between it and the outer sheathing (or vehicle body, in our cases). You would be much better off with closed-cell spray foam or - for low price, easy access for future maintenance and ease of use & install - the foam insulation boards at the hardware stores, cut down to fit where you need them. I need to get around to insulation and I'll be going the foam board route, although my van is like a Swiss Army knife for me, so I can't build a permanent camper in mine, lol. 

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I agree with jrm223 about the Reflectix, I've seen many people using it wrong. It works great in an attic where you would lay the sheets over the existing insulation and it reflects heat away from the living space. The foam boards were an option for me but I wanted to avoid the possible noise it would create vibrating against the steel exterior. Plus it's very difficult to get the foam board into the many voids of the body. Spray foam was also an option but I didn't want to risk spraying too much in and bulging out the exterior, I did this on my boat, under the 1/8 aluminum bench seats and it bulged it out. Maybe the window and door foam would be okay. The other option was fiberglass insulation which I wasn't crazy about because I HATE working with that stuff and it puts out fibers into the air. Even though I had plans to completely cover it with panels, I was still concerned about the fibers finding their way out around the edges. Then I discovered 3M makes rolls of Thinsulate. The same stuff that's used in clothing but in 5 foot by however long rolls you want. This stuff was designed for exactly what we wanted to accomplish, excellent r-value, noise reduction, moisture resistance, and no dust fibers. I believe they use this stuff on boats as well. It is a bit pricey but worth it IMO. You can push it into all the voids and for the long runs on the roof and sides, you can use the 3M spray adhesive to help keep it from sagging. It comes in different thicknesses, I used the thickest version, the 600 https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Thinsulate-Acoustic-Insulation-SM600L/?N=5002385+3292659035&rt=rud

 

On a side note, I also used sound deadening black butyl on the exterior sheet metal. This stuff reduces vibration, not necessarily road noise. The insulation will lessen the road noise, it's two different types of sound deadening and used in conjunction it's brilliant. When you apply the butyl, you only need to cover 25% of the area you are trying to sound deaden. Past the 25-35% coverage results in reduced returns, more weight, more work, and more cost. If you decide to go the 100% coverage route, it will definitely reduce more sound but not by much. My main concern was weight. My initial plan was to put 72 sq ft of that stuff on, so I ordered 2 boxes. When I felt the weight of just 1 box, I realized how much weight I was adding, so I cut it back especially after learning about reduced returns. Most of my research on sound deadening was done on car audio sites. If you start tearing your van apart, you will see the factory butyl sheets. I always wondered why they didn't cover the whole thing, now I know. You are just trying to add mass to the metal panel. More mass requires more energy to vibrate it.

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On 4/11/2020 at 1:24 AM, Klaus said:

I've heard lots of people putting up Reflectix for insulation on all walls and doors and even windows.

 

would you use the Noico for temperature insulation or just sound dampening? I see its advertised as sound dampening and often used on the floors of the vehicles. Im wondering if I should use it on the floor and use reflectix on walls and roof. Any thoughts on that? 

Reflectix for Windows and nothing else in a vehicle!  jrm223 explains why

 

Im going to do a single layer of the black Noico on all exposed roof skin inside the van.  It will be sound dampening, insulation, and ceiling in one; so worth the weight penalty.  

 

Remaining bits of Noico will get slapped on the inside of the exposed body panels, and those readily accessible behind the interior plastic and particleboard.  

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Posted (edited)

There were 5 crudely-done holes in the left-rear cargo area, installed by the original owner to hold down some mystery piece of equipment.  Basically looks like they drilled tiny pilot holes through the rubber mat and the metal floor, then anchored the device with four big lag screws.   

 

I don't need any of the holes, and while I considered installing threaded plus it’s, my bigger concern was rust and water intrusion.  I peeled back the mat and dug all the metal shard from the drilling out of the foam.  Then ground down the bent metal with a Dremel and sanding drum.  

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A little black paint & primer, then some of the caulk leftover from the window project.  FC3724CD-0180-4A4C-B051-9BF39A2997FA.thumb.jpeg.26973e7c947f717237fed226e8196dbd.jpeg

Edited by KevinRollin

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Posted (edited)

Finally going to post some photos of my bed-box project.   Ended up with 5 compartments, each holding either a folding tote or 1-2 milk crates.  

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Edited by KevinRollin

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Especially with larger vans, I see a lot of builds with 2x4 frames, and then plywood on top of that.  We’re not building houses!  

 

I’m using 3/4” (23/32”) plywood.   I may have been able to go slightly thinner, especially if I had more closed-end boxes.  Limiting factor may well be how thin a plywood will accept screws.  I’m using a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes, and 1 1/4” screws.  Probably could have gone with 1” screws.  

 

I added a single 1x5 brace spanning the middle cubby for some stability, to keep the bed from “trapezoiding” for lack of a better term.  Torsional stability.  

 

 

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For Sale!  

 

Less than 7,000 miles! 

 

Moving abroad and have to sell.  PM me and check the sale sub-forum.  Located near Washington, DC.  

 

Since the forums have been so helpful to me, I’ll continue documenting the build to this point.  

Edited by KevinRollin

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Painted the portions of the box that would be visible, to keep with the dark interior.  

 

Top surface will be carpet.  

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Once again using the City Dweller’s Modular Workbench, aka Rolling trash bins, I installed carpet on the bed platform with 3M 77 spray adhesive, and staples.  

 

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