Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Van Report

Bed supports screwed to the floor

Upright for bench bulkhead bolted to ceiling frame (near side doors)

Upright for bed platform bolted to ceiling frame (at back of van in center)

I took last weekend off.
My dreams have been telling me I need to be more present to the here and now, and worry less.
And I'm almost done with the interior.
I got everything framed in (except for 'kitchen' shelves, they may have to wait)
and most of the plywood cut out to close in the cargo areas.
People have been asking for more pics, so....
The interior structure of the van consists of five upright 'wall studs' that are bolted or fiberglassed to the frame of the van, and two horizontal beams in the bed bolted to the frame. Each upright is also attached to the floor with angle brackets.
The bench and bed platform are attached to the bolted down frame members with 2 1/2" coated exterior decking screws.

The bed platform on the port side is 39" wide, 27" tall, and about 8' long. This is enough room to fit my twin air mattress, with a little extra near the head of the bed for bookshelves.
The bed platform is actually 5 pieces of plywood. Two are fixed, and the remaining 3open on a hinge to access cargo areas. The cargo area under the head of the bed (fixed piece toward tail of van) will be accessed by opening the back doors. I spent a good amount of time yesturday sanding and painting the plywood for the bed platform. I don't want any splinters to stab my air mattress. Waking up to a flat bed really sucks.
The bench on the starboard side of the van is about 5' long and 16" wide, by 20" tall. It also has 2 hinged panels that serve as the seat and allow access to storage below. It is wide and tall enough to accomodate 5g. buckets, and leaves a path between the bench and bed that is approximately 15" wide.
Today I finished insulating the ceiling and reinstalled the head liner (which was a major pain in the ass). I also used acetone to clean the remnants of Katrina mold off the trim pieces, repainted them, cut them to fit around my uprights and reinstalled them. Then I ran off to the Big Orange Box store to get piano hinge (AKA continuous hinge) for my storage access panels.
I also purchased a gallon of gloss white Rustoleum enamel for the outside of the van.
I wanted to give the van a cool paint job, but at this point I only care that isn't so ugly I get harassed across Texas. So it will get a half assed, roll on paint job.
Here is what the interior looks like now (before all access panels and cargo panels are installed)

It isn't easy to take good pictures of the inside of a van, but it's really coming together. I may just pull this off yet.
I can work on the van for the next two days, then Friday I need to clean/organize/get ready for a major garage sale this weekend.


  1. Starting to really come together, huh? Don't worry, I'll tell the Highway Patrol boys in Texas to give you a pass...

    Pays to have friends, huh?

  2. This is way cool ma'am - you're doing a great job. Thanks for the pictures.

    Projects like this get my imagination going. Ever since I read William Heat-Moon's book BLUE HIGHWAYS, where he describes the setup of his plain jane plumber's model van he lived, I've wanted to do the same. Well, maybe not van as much as a Suburban - I'm too big to work on van engine in interior compartment. Shoot, barely fit a regular hood when it comes to that, lol.

    Again - well done.

  3. Awesome! Oh, and since you used "port" and "starboard"....

    "Front, BOW, back, STERN! Get it right, or I'll throw you out the little round window on the side!" HA HA!

  4. Thanks Hermit, I've had bad experiences with Johnny Law in the great Republic of Texas.

    Anon, I'm sure you could convert a Suburban. I had one once, I could just about fit my entire body in the engine compartment!

    LOL Mayberry, yeah, sometimes boat talk gets confused with trucker talk due to the times I had to load/unload trucks full of plants.