Our Van Build Deets.

Read below to check out our build photos, process, and the products we use.

We bought a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter Van and did the conversion ourselves with no prior experience.  

Our van is a New 2016 Crew Van with a 144' wheel base. We bought our van from a Mercedes Dealership in Salem, Oregon. We've lived in our van since October 2016. We recently did some major upgrades to our van after living in it for a full year. You can read our blog post and watch the video here.


THE BUILD PROCESS

It took us 5 months to convert our sprinter van and It was not easy! There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into it. The process was challenging to figure out, but we used google. blogs, and youtube to help us along the way.

Reflectix used as first layer of insulation.

Reflectix used as first layer of insulation.

Denim insulation - fire and mold resistant. Eco friendly.

Denim insulation - fire and mold resistant. Eco friendly.

Vapor barrier on top. Furring strips for framing

Vapor barrier on top. Furring strips for framing

We started with our electrical and insulation first. We used Reflectix, Denim Insulation, A Vapor Barrier, Gorilla Tape. We also installed our Fantastic fan before adding in our insulation. We had a family member cut a hole in our roof for us because we were too scared to do it ourselves. ;) Once that was all done, we added furring strips to the ceiling and sides of our van so that it would be easy to screw in our flexible plywood walls.

Installing solar panels before adding walls on inside.

Installing solar panels before adding walls on inside.

Using Z brackets to attach panels to roof rails.

Using Z brackets to attach panels to roof rails.

Car battery and AGM battery using CTEK

Car battery and AGM battery using CTEK

We then added our two 160W Grape Solar panels to the roof. They were pretty easy to install to our factory roof rails. We used z brackets to attach them. We drilled a hole in the roof and fed the solar line in and sealed it. Next we connected everything to our battery. If you want more details on our electrical and solar click here.

Battery monitor to check our solar charge. It works!

Battery monitor to check our solar charge. It works!

Solar, battery, and electrical installed. Added floors next!

Solar, battery, and electrical installed. Added floors next!

Adding upper cabinets first.

Adding upper cabinets first.

Once we finished installing our electrical and solar we added all of our wiring for lights, fridge and fan. After we were sure everything worked correctly, we added our floors. We used a laminate floor that looks like hardwood. Next, we started adding our walls and ceiling. We used a flexible sustainable friendly plywood like this one here. The flexibility of the wood made it really easy to install to our furring strips we added. After that we added our upper cabinets. We get asked a ton of questions how we did them. Unfortunately we didn't take many photos. We basically cut a cardboard template to cut the divider pieces into the shape of the weird angles of the wall. Then we used 2x4 and L brackets to attach everything to the furring strips we put in prior for extra support.

Sanded a lot, painted, added cabinet doors.

Sanded a lot, painted, added cabinet doors.

We finished painting and our cabinet door hinges.

We finished painting and our cabinet door hinges.

Once we had a base, we started our benches.

Once we had a base, we started our benches.

After we finished the upper cabinets, which was difficult..we sanded all of the wood and prepped it for painting. We used these hinges for our cabinets, but we recently updated them to these which are a game changer. Highly recommend getting these ones! After we finished the base of our van we started building out our interior. The first step was the two benches on each side which would serve as our bed, storage, and our table.

We got our Nova Kool and started building the kitchen.

We got our Nova Kool and started building the kitchen.

Benches finished!

Benches finished!

Painted everything, added the closet.

Painted everything, added the closet.

We picked up our Nova Kool refrigerator and then started building our kitchen around it. We wanted to make sure we had enough room for the fridge, and enough room to build a small utensils drawer above it. We sanded everything and painted it. To break up the white we decided to paint our kitchen black. We installed a black galaxy granite countertop on our kitchen and our refrigerator was also black. We didn't take any photos of our closet build, but that doesn't matter because one year later we took it out. You can watch the video on that here. 

Painted the back doors and added window covers.

Painted the back doors and added window covers.

Added our sink and hardware to our countertop.

Added our sink and hardware to our countertop.

The best investment for our van!

The best investment for our van!

After we had everything in our van and painted, we started working on tiny details like adding our copper hardware, painting our back doors white, and making curtains out of Reflectix for our windows. We also added our plumbing. We have a 15 Gallon Water tank underneath our van. We drilled a hole through the bottom of our van so that we didn't have to store it inside and use up space. We covered the water tank with thick wood to prevent rocks and things from hitting it and breaking a hole in it. We also added a USB wall outlet and a light dimmer switch for our lights.


Insulation & framing

We decided to line the inside of our walls with reflectix, then we used denim insulation to cover our walls and door panels. We used denim because it was eco friendly and fire, mold, and mildew resistant.

 Click here to read more details on this process.

Product's we used

REFLECTIX DOUBLE INSULATION
ULTRA TOUCH DENIM INSULATION
PLASTIC SHEETING VAPOR SHIELD
FURRING STRIPS
FANTASTIC FAN
5 ROLLS OF GORILLA TAPE
LOCTITE SPRAY ADHESIVE
GREAT STUFF SPRAY INSULATION

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OUR SOLAR & ELECTRICAL SET UP

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We wrote an entire blog post about how we did this part. It wasn't too difficult but still takes some time to really understand and figure out.

Click here to read more details on this process.

Product's we used

2 160W GRAPE SOLAR PANELS 320W TOTAL
LIFELINE AGM BATTERY 255AH
NATURE POWER INVERTER 2000W PURE SIGN WAVE
dual usb wall outlet
ctek battery management
TRIMETRIC BATTERY MONITOR
SOLDERING KIT
FUSE BOX
FUSES KIT
ELECTRICAL WIRING
12V LED LIGHTS
DIMMER SWITCH


THE OVERHEAD CABINETS

We decided to line the inside of our walls with reflectix, then we used denim insulation to cover our walls and door panels. Next we covered that with a vapor barrier to prevent mold. 

Product's we used

SCHOOLHOUSE ELECTRIC COPPER KNOBS
BEHR ULTRA PREMIUM WHITE PAINT
PNUEMATIC HINGES
MAGNETIC DOOR CLOSERS
L BRACKETS
 


THE KITCHEN

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We decided to line the inside of our walls with reflectix, then we used denim insulation to cover our walls and door panels. Next we covered that with a vapor barrier to prevent mold. Click here to read more details on this process.

Product's we used

NOVAKOOL MARINE FRIDGE
COPPER BAMBOO FAUCET
BLACK GALAXY GRANITE COUNTERTOPS
JET BOIL STOVE
PROPANE CAMP STOVE
BLACK CERAMIC SINK
SINK DRAIN COVER
15 GAL WATER TANK
SHUR FLO WATER PUMP
SHUR FLO THINGY
PIPING
SEALANT


BED & TABLE

We decided to line the inside of our walls with reflectix, then we used denim insulation to cover our walls and door panels. Next we covered that with a vapor barrier to prevent mold. Click here to read more details on this process.

Product's we used

TABLE TOP
PNUEMATIC MARINE PEDISTAL
MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS
JERSEY SHEET SET BEDDING
PENDLETON WOOL BLANKET
RUMPL BLANKET
DOWN COMFORTER
MEMORY FOAM PILLOWS


Bathroom

We decided to line the inside of our walls with reflectix, then we used denim insulation to cover our walls and door panels. Next we covered that with a vapor barrier to prevent mold. Click here to read more details on this process.

Product's we used

ROADSHOWER 2
PORTABLE TOILET
TRITON PROPANE HEATED SHOWER
SHOWER CADDY


Extras

 

FANTASTIC FAN
EXTRA LONG PHONE CHARGERS
BUG NET
FLOORING
ROAD ATLAS
BLACKOUT CURTAINS
 

YAKIMA BIKE RACK
BONEYARD USB LANTERN
STANLEY COCKTAIL SET

 

TABLE TOP
PNUEMATIC MARINE PEDISTAL
MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS
JERSEY SHEET SET BEDDING
PENDLETON WOOL BLANKET
RUMPL BLANKET