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Old 03-20-2015, 10:49 PM   #41
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
I don't understand. Are you saying you will have no coach batteries but instead will run the engine for power generation? AGM batteries are better than nothing and can be used and stored indoors to prevent freezing and no off gassing. Solar panels are awesome if you're staying for long periods. If travelling a lot solar is not necessary. I will be very interested in how your DIY shakes out.
I will have coach batteries, about 400-500 AH worth of AGMs. I'm hoping to avoid engine use while I'm camped in the boonies (which may be for days->week at a time). I'll also have about 500W solar, but up here in the great Northwet, I may not get anywhere close to that output. We're as likely as not to be under heavy tree cover in a deep, narrow valley with lots of cloud cover. We are fans of pasty pale skin.

We generally prefer to find someplace nice and stay for a while...fish, hike,hang out, tempt bears, etc. Traveling for itself is not so much of a goal.

I am not a fan of catalytic heaters precisely because of the potential safety issues. It gets cold and damp enough around here for me to not want to worry about CO poisoning because someone forgot to open a vent window.

Stan
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:04 AM   #42
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

I have not heard of CO2 poisoning(google search) regarding catalytic heater , but you could burn up the oxygen. Venting is a must for oxygen and getting rid of moisture produced by the process.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:16 AM   #43
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Not CO2, just CO (carbon monoxide)..the bad result of insufficient oxygen for complete combustion. (Technically, the catalyst enhanced reaction, as opposed to open flame combustion. But it still results in one of the two carbon-oxygen reactions until there is no available oxy left ). I'm less concerned about the additional moisture, but a touch further reading also raises just oxygen depletion as a concern I'd have:
http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/103972/CO03.pdf
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:56 AM   #44
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

There are lp gas detectors and there are carbon monoxide detectors but there are no low oxygen sensors for motorhomes so I guess it's a no go for some.
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Old 04-05-2015, 06:25 PM   #45
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

I've been making preliminary designs in Sketchup. For example,

I'm not starting an official build thread until Annie the Van arrives,but if anyone's at all curious, or wants to make observations on how bad the early design ideas are, I figured I'd post links starting in this intro thread.

As I mentioned someplace above, I've set up a public Google drive folder with copies of the design documents ...so far mainly a (hard to read) spreadsheet , the sketchup file, and perhaps some .jpgs.
The folder is at: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing

I 'm pretty sure that I haven't allowed enough space between the driver seat and the john. Therefore, the john will probably be shrink about 6", and/or the space above the MS2012 will be less than the ~18" I've provided.

I don't yet have locations of the external stuff, like the 2 fantastic fans, solar panels, propane, gray water, awning. Locations I guess at now are likely to be way off from reality.
For example, the solar panels will almost certainly be on a rack, not directly mounted on the roof. The rack crosspieces will depend on where the mounting holes in the roof channels are. The fan locations will depend on where I can fit the solar.

Similar arguments apply to the awning support locations, and gray/propane tank locations.
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Old 04-05-2015, 07:25 PM   #46
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

I could see 3 images the first time I looked now I don't see any.
(EDIT: I see them again. They're under "Recent".

I like what you're able to do with the design program.

We all have our preferences so my comments on the design reflect my preferences. A front lounge area - two seats that swivel - can be nice. If something is too large or too close to the drivers seat it might compromise that area. If the bed in the rear is permanent then the front lounge area could be more important.

re: the bed - you could mock up the bed layout at home to test what effort it takes to exit the bed. The exit shouldn't be too high for example and the exit area needs to be wide enough. Getting into the bed in my van for example is easy enough. Getting out of it takes some effort.
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Old 04-05-2015, 07:52 PM   #47
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Thanks for the observations.

We looked at the Plateau TS, which has a similar bath/driver seat layout. In order to swivel the driver seat, you first move it all the way forward...awkward, but doable.
Unfortunately, swivel front seats aren't an option on the Transit, so clearance for swiveling is moot at this point.
To drown our disappointment, we splurged on power leather instead.
Someday, I may retrofit swivels, if I can find something reasonable in price, construction, and compatible with the existing seats.

We didn't want to set up the bed every evening, so we opted to keep it fixed. Trying out the bed (when down) in the Plateau, suggests that getting in and out will be doable. Heights and clearance to cabinetry should be roughly equivalent to what we're designing. Other than the bed being fixed, we are borrowing heavily from the Plateau TS layout.

I think I've fixed the link to the google drive folder. Just to repeat it: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing

Stan
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:30 PM   #48
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

A dining table might be nice to have. It can be cold or raining or buggy out sometimes. It's also useful for a laptop, playing cards or spreading out maps and brochures and stuff you get from travel info centers etc.
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:38 PM   #49
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Yes!
I'm working on an idea for a fold-up table with a sliding extension mounted on the kitchen counter door closest to the bed.
We expect to use the front of the bed as our main house seating. At least that's the theory, based on when we lived in our VW Type II bus lo these many years ago on abandoned PNW/B.C. logging roads
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:45 PM   #50
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

I get it. It looks like seating for two there. That's clever.
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Old 04-06-2015, 02:31 AM   #51
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

That is a pretty neat graphics program, may have to look at that. It looks like you have a horizontal, slide out, divider in the underbed storage? What heights will you get in the two layers? I ask because we had about 11.5" in our original Roadtrek setup and got to a little over 13" when we went to the permanent bed, but still barely high enough for some of the stuff we carry in the back under the bed. Front to rear sleeping, I assume? When we were building our bed, we experimented with quite a few different configurations in the area similar to yours. We found having the bed as a full rectangle made it hard to get out of, not as bad getting in (like Marko). We wound up with a notch on the center, aisle width minus a little, that left our upper bodies on the full width area of the bed, but allowed easy egress out the notch for night trips to the facilities. To access the forward section of our underbed storage, to the rear of the notch, we have a hinged panel under the mattress that we can lift up.

I envy the fact that you will be able to get exactly what you want, without winding up with what the manufactures tell you to want!
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Old 04-06-2015, 02:25 PM   #52
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

We may end up with a split like you use, if getting in and out becomes too much of an issue.
It does make the bedding more complicated, and would make it harder for our Malamute to hang out with us.
Our current plan is to sleep crosswise. Fortunately neither of us is very tall.

The slide is a new and not fully researched idea. The bed frame will be about 20" above the floor, so space above the slide should be ~17-18"

Getting exactly what we wanted, and cost, were the main reasons to go this route. We really liked the Plateau TS layout, but in too many areas (like ground clearance reduction from the mostly useless running boards) it seemed that form trumped function.
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:13 PM   #53
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Ah, got it. I thought that the slide was a divider in the middle to make the storage into two short areas, but you do plan in it being on the floor.
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Old 04-06-2015, 07:28 PM   #54
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Your bed is probably the most important part of your RV, at least in my opinion. And making an effort to get it right is worth it.

When I started RVing (almost too many years ago to remember), I was confined to a (slide-out) couch and always ended up where the seat and the back came together. In my last cargo van conversion, I built a permanent bed (approx. 14" above the floor) and that was so much better. Now I'm starting with my new conversion (very likely a Transit LWB Medium Roof) and want to improve by making it a "murphy" bed.

The advice is: keep experimenting till you've found the best solution. And have fun doing it.

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Old 04-06-2015, 07:56 PM   #55
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Quote:
Originally Posted by skagitstan
Getting exactly what we wanted, and cost, were the main reasons to go this route. We really liked the Plateau TS layout, but in too many areas (like ground clearance reduction from the mostly useless running boards) it seemed that form trumped function.
To a certain extent you might get what you want. You can definitely save on cost. We opted to get what we wanted by going to a company willing to work with our desires. It helped they had a base plan that I agreed with 90% and had a progressive philosophy of searching out the best and most advanced features. When you do it yourself you are limited to your singular knowledge and experience. I took advantage of a collective of their expertise. I also presented them with a challenge to install articulated beds in a B. They took on and met the challenge but probably at a great amount of time and development cost they were willing to bare with a few iterations and tries to get it to work. There is nothing like it in any other Class B I am aware of nor any any RV I've ever seen.

I got rid of a Pleasure-way Plateau TS for one of the reasons you said you liked and are repeating. That is the bathroom crammed tight to the back of the driver's seat. It drove me up that wall so to speak as I found it too constraining and even if you could put a rotating seat in you might as well forget it. It won't work well.

If you are going with a fixed platform bed you ought to look at the Winnebago ERA 70A bed. It is set high to get maximum storage underneath. It also has a wedge mattress insert so you can use it as a full king bed or as two semi-twin beds one can get in and out of easily. This is an area where I have known people to change their minds on after. You might want to consider your options there. Cross sleeping climb over sleeping and bed scooting to get in and out seem to wear people down. Personally, my observation of anything people start to dread seems to reduce the amount of time people use their Bs or where they are willing to travel.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:36 PM   #56
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

The difficulty in commenting is always that it comes down to mostly your own experiences and every person has its own preferences and means to obtain them.

I'm lucky (or not) to be single, so no climb overs for me, but it shows one of the issues of a great, good or moderate bed.

"Davydd: When you do it yourself you are limited to your singular knowledge and experience."

I have to disagree here. With the internet and forums like this one, you're far from alone and knowledge is almost infinite. Listen, read and read again...

What you (skagitstan) are doing, publishing, asking questions and reading comments will get you there.

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Old 04-06-2015, 08:40 PM   #57
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Thanks for the replies folks.
These sorts of comments are exactly the type of response I'm looking for.

I probably would have enjoyed working with folks like Advanced, except for 3 nagging issues...
1. Cost. It would have been at least double what I expect to spend (even if I blow all my allocated contingency money). This was completely undo-able for us.
2. Location. I did not want to try to do the design collaboration/build process cross country. Also, I've always belonged to the "If you want it done right" school.
3. Lead time. Doing it ourselves means we can use Annie even if it isn't completely done. That also may give us some practical insight on what works and what doesn't.

Of course, being an engineer who likes getting his multidisciplinary hands dirty doesn't hurt either. I am really looking forward to the project.
And, I'm taking advantage of the collective wisdom on this and other forums...just like we're doing in this thread. I hope that as my build proceeds, I will be able to contribute as much as I pull out.

I agree that the bed and john are areas that still need work, experimentation, and negotiation with my wife. Fortunately, the bed is something that can be addressed iteratively.
We certainly will need to settle the john's layout, size, and placement before I start laying plumbing and electrics. So far, spousal unit is pretty adamant on its size and layout, mainly because she want's to be sure it can accommodate her disability.
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:44 PM   #58
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Default Re: Greetings from the great NorthWet...upcoming DIY build

Van Williams,

If I were single I could live with many bed solutions including the Winnebago Travato 59G. When you have two people sharing it can get pretty involved in such confined and odd spaces that cannot accommodate a bed similar to what you may have at home. We have tried just about everything over 10 years in our three Bs. I know a lot of people like to have sheets, blankets and bedding like a conventional bed. We have found that we don't mind (in fact prefer) sleeping in cold weather so have opted for sleeping bags. Conventional bedding made crawling into a queen bed all the more difficult in a B to us if sleeping back to front. Cross sleeping was dismissed immediately because of the crawl over factor even though our heights proved it possible to do it in a Sprinter. Eventually the crab walk to get out of bed got frustrating. I simply wanted a bed I could get in and out of with little effort. With so little real estate in a B I also wanted a more versatile bed for multiple use for two individuals without the "entertainment" factor (dinette seating for four or more) we never used.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:44 PM   #59
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Our van arrived on 21 May.
Annie is home! by stan, on Flickr

I've already started the conversion, but couldn't post here because I was having trouble getting pics to behave. Looks like that's now resolved with the new BB software.

In any case, I was posting on another (Ford Transit based, not camper based) forum.

I do want to keep the discussion alive here as well, so I am starting a thread here called "Building Annie: A Campervan Conversion.

Since I couldn't do a photo loaded thread here until now, I an going to start Annie's build thread with stuff I put on the other board.

Given that the two forums have folks with different interests, I look forward the conversations diverging in interesting ways.

Stan
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:19 PM   #60
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Welcome to the Forum. Looking forward to your build. May I ask what your wifes handicap is ? There may be others here who have experience with the same affliction. There is at least one guy on Sportsmobile forum Sprinter section who has a Sportsmobile built handicap camper which would translate well into a Transit build.
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