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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After purchasing my 2016 new last year I'm FINALLY getting around to doing the conversion I wanted. The goal is to strike a sensible balance between daily driver, work/production van (Video production), and camper.
I early on considered doing a full 'Youtube' style van build 'documentary' but that just takes too much time so I settled on photos with some videos here and there. I'll try to answer anyone's questions about why I chose a particular product or install choice and update as regularly as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I was eager to start with the service batteries/inverter/converter storage area so I began with making the 'top' of the enclosure that will attach to the rear seat/partition support. My van has the factory cargo partition option and the structural that comes with this option works great for what I want to achieve. I really like the partition for work and daily driving so this build will have the option of the partition in or taken out without effecting the service power enclosure area. Since the top of the enclosure has to mate up perfectly to the factory structure bolt holes, I started with making the top first. I went out and bought longer M6 machine bolts. The top will be fastened down to avoid any rattling/vibration that might occur with a lifting top. Once all the batteries and electronics are in there I will rarely need to go inside.
I would classify myself as a beginner woodworker, so don't hold me to any woodworking skills standards. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Side Panel Insulation Arrived!

Since we were going to be camping in the van along with the need to produce live video events and everything in between, I wanted to make sure to insulate the van well. There's many ways to go about this but I want to go with a build that is over 95% reversible if and when we go to sell the van OR use products that would be appealing to a future buyer if they wanted to continue to use it AS IS. After much research I see why so many DIY'ers are following the 'professional' campervan builders and using 3M Thinsulate SM600L Acoustic Thermal Automotive Insulation. I was absolutely set on NOT using any spray foam type materials and Thinsulate easy to work with to get into those odd body panel locations.

3M 90 adhesive is the most popular glue to use but after talking to a couple fabricators and hearing about 3M 90 is not great in holding up in high heat, I went with what the pro's recommended, DAP Weldwood Landau Top HHR contact adhesive. After reading about the 'dangers' and other requirements, such as safety gear and air sprayer, I was a little reluctant to go this route but this is hopefully going to be my one big build and I know I don't want to have and go back to fix things because I cut a corner using an inferior product. I read so many online posts about guys doing their doors/panels with 3M 90 only to have the material starting to fall off a year later after a hot summer. I couldn't find one person online post about bad results from Weldwood HHR, and after using it a couple times so far, as you'll see later in this thread, I see why it's still #1

I ordered 30 linear feet of Thinsulate for the side panels and portions of the roof that will fill in between the rigid foam insulation. Not cheap, but hopefully I won't need any more than that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Front Enclosure

Here's a dry fit of the enclosure I constructed. I started with replacing the factory floor with 1/2" Baltic Birch and used the same material for the enclosure while I waited for some other supplies to be shipped to the office. I wanted to get a visual of the extension and really happy with the little bit of space that it protrudes into the cargo area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sound Deading

As many Cargo Van owners know, the Metris rear area can definitely use some reinforcement to get noise levels down to a comfortable level. I ordered 36 sq ft of Noico 80 mil 36 sqft car Sound deadening mat from Amazon http://amzn.to/2zDZrmN. After installing a good majority the first night, I drove around the parking lot and could tell an immediate difference. Im glad it lived up to it promises and what many reviewers have said. Not only was the rear of the van more quieter, the van just felt more 'solid' driving around. I just couldn't keep it to myself and went and got my wife who said she could tell a difference. I would go out on a limb and say that if there is one thing any Cargo Van owner can do...the very least they should buy some sound deadening mats and enjoy a better ride sonically and sensationally.

I used a heat gun and it really helps to mold the mat better around curvatures and rolling out the surface as the instructions direct. I was tempted to just get a cheapo heat gun at Harbor Freight, but wanted more quality with some attachments and a decent warranty. After some research I purchased this TR Industrial 89200 1500W Heat Gun Kit with Variable Temperature Control from Amazon http://amzn.to/2i99yZx It was cool that it had a variable temp and two fan speeds. I heard a lot of heat guns get ruined by users just turning them off after blasting them on High... with no air circulation, the elements and internals get baked from the heat build up. When I use this heat gun I turn the temp to just what I need and then turn the temp as low as possible and fan speed on low to help cool it off some before turning it off. So far so good. Later on I'll post how I used the attachment that comes with it to make the battery cables.

As I said before, I'm by far no pro at any of this. I'm only encouraged because a couple years ago I tackled building a shower at my office when I couldn't realize paying a contractor to do it. I finally just sat down, read, watched, and bought the parts and tools and got it done. So I'm basically taking the same approach here knowing I can take my time and do the build correctly and the just the way I want vs paying an upfitter to do it their way. If you feel the items/tools I list that I bought from Amazon would work for you I'll get something for it. I don't know how much but I read other people helped others out that way as I got a few things by using other DIYers Amazon links. 'Pay it Forward' I always say! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@MOWO
Just finding this thread. Do you have additional photos?
Even if just of the van as completed?
Funny, I still haven't got around to finishing the van walls. I did stuff the cavities with Thinsulate 600 and the whole battery system and chargers are in.
 

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Welcome back.
Would love to see & read about the electrical upgrades.
Did your van come with the battery under the driver‘s seat?
( mine does not have anything there )
 
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