Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'll just say it..

.. I'm getting nervous. With the inside of the van finally at a place where I can start building a bed and cabinets and whatnot I'm getting nervous. It's time to really pull it together and pretend I know what I'm doing. I want to start on the bed. I find it to be the most exciting aspect and the one that takes up the most space so I want to get it done and then build out from around it.

Since it would seem I have decided to upgrade to a twin size and get an actual REAL mattress, that's a good chunk of space, and even more space underneath. How am I going to access all of that beautiful space underneath? I don't know. And it seems like at this point I should know. As of right now I want that to be my big goal for the weekend, to build the bed. And build it well. I've been toying with ideas all week. Originally I planned to close the whole area in underneath the bed. I guess I'm still leaning that way. However, I've seen pictures of people who just leave it all open and slide stuff underneath. I kind of appreciate that approach too.

I guess we'll wait and see how it goes.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Yay for Craigslist

Yesterday I put the bench seats from the van on craigslist. Originally for $20 for a few hours and then changed to FREE. Today I met up with a nice guy who has the same van without the high top and he took the seats from me. Finally I have space in the back of the van. After months of working around them and taking them in and out a dozen times.

With the seats out of the back I was finally able to clean up a bit of the mess I've been making and I finished up the floor too.

I'm proud to say today I made all cuts and did all drilling with my solar setup. No grid power at all.
That's all I did today. Got rid of the seats and put down the skinny piece and the big piece in the very rear. It's COLD out there. Wind chill in the 20's.
At this point I really need to sit down and plan out the interior now. Some people might think I should have done that long ago. Haha. I've had a vague idea that has changed over time. I'd like to get things on paper now and really measure things out. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Interior is paneled.

Last week went fine with the solar panels held on to the roof with tape. And so far this week it's been going great too. In fact, I don't even check on them most days any more. I'll probably get out the ladder this weekend (or Thursday) and look everything over but at this point I'm pretty confident that my solar panels are staying put. All with no holes drilled in the roof other than the one hole I made to run the wiring through. Not too shabby.

As for last weekend I managed to get the ceiling done in terms of insulation and paneling. And also the lower section of the driver's side that I still had left to do. There's a small section of the ceiling in front over the front seats that I need to do still. That section will require a different frame/support setup. Just need to sit down and plan it out, but to be honest it's not a big concern to me at this point.

My next step really needs to be craigslist. I need to list those bench seats on CL for free and hopefully get rid of them quickly and easily as they've been taking up far too much space in the back of the van. I'm a bit of a hoarder which doesn't bode well with vandwelling and to tell the truth I'd totally be keeping those bench seats if I had room in my storage unit for them. But I don't need them! The brackets that hold them in the van have long been covered up and I can promise you I'd never put the time and effort into tearing everything out of the van just to put those seats back in.

The radio in the van died last week. I used to have to hit the dashboard every now and then and it'd come back on but it's officially dead. I had been planning to buy a new radio for months now and I've been putting it off because I didn't want to spend the money. Sometimes I get impulsive because I know otherwise I'd NEVER spend the money. I ordered a new radio and installation kit from Amazon tonight. Should be here Friday so I can install it this weekend. The new one has an aux port so I can hook my phone up to it and listen to Pandora while driving. Yay!

You'll see a regular-type chair in  one of the pictures below. I bought that for $10 on CL. I don't know if it'll be staying in the van. It came with a swivel base that costs $169 online. No clue if I'll use any of it, but because I knew how much those swivel bases were, I couldn't pass it up. I would love to rig  up the swivel base to work with my passenger seat I think. And right now I'm kind of toying with the idea of keeping the chair in there basically in the same spot as it is now but I'd have it permanently facing the side door.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Uneventful Sunday

Such a beautiful day. Wind was a bit much, but up into the 60's and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the last of the 60's for a while. With the sun shining brightly up here (weak sun this time of year where I'm at) my charge controller was showing a full charge by 10 or 11. The battery wasn't very low to begin with. I ran my laptop off of it for about a half hour last night and it had been sitting on Walmart's shelf for 2 months. The sun is almost down for the day and I really could get a very small amount done, and I should, but I probably won't be getting out there.

Besides monitoring the charge controller a little today and just taking the van for a 7 mile loop, I didn't get anything done on the van. I topped out at 65mph on my test drive and the panels are still there! Didn't budge a centimeter from what I can tell. I'll leave them there for my 25 mile drive to work tomorrow. Check them during my lunch break. It's supposed to snow tomorrow. Yuck. The van needs new front tires very soon now that snow is threatening.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We Have Solar

Went out this morning and bought a deep cycle battery from Walmart. Stopped by the car wash on the way home and tried to clean off the fiberglass roof. It worked a little but I didn't have many quarters and had to get out the hose and scrub the roof for a while when I got home. It was dirty and fungus-y.

I didn't get any work done on the interior today, other than wiring the battery and the charge controller. None of that is mounted or installed permanently yet.

I got the solar panels put on the roof this afternoon but at this point I'm not sure if they're going to stay put, and if I don't feel comfortable with the setup tomorrow afternoon I'll either be bolting everything down or else taking the panels off so I can drive the van to work on Monday.

I'm using some high bond tape to mount the panels on the roof. I've heard of others out there using the same tape and their panels are still there after miles upon miles of driving but it's a pretty scary way to go and I'm still not confident that it'll work at this point. If it works, I'll only have one hole in the roof where my wires from the panels go through.


Friday, November 9, 2012


If I'm not careful, it will be a whole month since I've last posted here. Oh noes!

Since my last update I've insulated the passenger side, paneled the passenger side with 1/4" plywood, paneled the top two thirds of the driver's side, and got about a quarter of the ceiling in the rear fully insulated and paneled.

An update on the trash bags around the sheet foam covering the windows. I went a couple weeks and in the beginning I thought it looked fine, but as time went on and I had seen plenty of sunlight shining on the windows at different angles and whatnot I decided the wrinkles in the plastic showed up too well. Last weekend I took the insulation back out, took off the trash bags, and used regular old flat black spray paint on the foam. I think it was 'valspar economy' spray paint, from Lowes. The spray paint did very minimal damage to the foam and I was very pleased with the result. I did 4 or 5 coats.

Hopefully I'll update again at the end of the weekend but my goals for this weekend, as of right now, are to finish paneling the bottom section of the driver's side and also finish insulating and paneling the rest of the ceiling. I want to get my solar panels installed before I finish off the ceiling though.

Now here's a few pictures!

Upper part of the passenger side paneled.

Passenger side paneled.

Foam that covers the windows painted flat black.

Upper part of driver's side paneled.

Rear quarter of ceiling fully insulated with wood framing.
Rear quarter of ceiling paneled.