Here’s my build thread. This thing started life as a dhl cargo van, became a catering van, a moto van, and now a campervan.
It’s a 2006 4.6l v8 e250 with 150k on the clock now. I had a company in Long Beach chop the roof off and drop a fiberglass “super camper” top on. It murdered my gas milage but i have a lot of room for activities inside.
Everyone wants to know “how much did it cost”?
About $14k when i first built it in 2016.
everything else to build an rv out of a rusty van $5.5k
It has a 2000w pure sine wave inverter and yup, I can charge my lacroix in here, although it will eat half my battery capacity.
Watch me rip shit apart and redo my previous work that just wasnt good enough
The van is seeing a significant amount of renovations as I’m moving into full time in 6 weeks. I’ve spent months travelling in this before, but never full time, so im trying to dial everything in to make daily life and working full time as comfy as possible in a 70 sq foot space.
One of the jobs this weekend. Switching large 100w panels with smaller 100w panels, and adding two more. 200w of solar is ok - 400w is great. I wish i had space for more but the starlink dish has gotta go somewhere on back.
Sounds like a blast. I’m just finishing my home projects and should be done by the end of summer. As soon as that’s over I’m going to buy a sprinter and convert it to travel Europe with the family and doge. Looking forward to the build as much as the trip
I have rebuilt the interior of the van several times. The points below get at many things I have redone since I first built the rig, or things I wish I could go back and change.
Get a van with a bigger engine. More payload capacity and power while driving is worth the hit to mpg. My 4.6l is gutless, and only gets worse at altitude and climbing hills. 5.4l minimum, preferably v10. Adding to this - I would get a ford van again, but it would be an e350 instead of e250.
All my friends with Sprinters have spent insane amounts of money on repairs, the parts cost twice as much, and if you break down there might not be a mechanic within hundreds of miles who is willing to work on it. With Ford gas vans - parts are abundant, cheap and everyone works on them.
Queen size bed - no messing around with folding/converting bed bullshit. Side to side sleeping is miserable. Even if you fit, your legs and arms will smack the walls while you’re sleeping.
Get a cassette toilet. They aren’t as bad as you think. Having a bathroom available at all times takes away a lot of stress. I have a thetford 5g, and use “happy campers” chemical powder.
15 gallons of water on board minimum.
Get a Hightop that doesn’t murder the aerodynamics of the van.
400w solar + 200ah lithium ion batteries right off the bat. Also, add a second alternator to charge the battery bank.
Get over the fact that unlimited data costs $100 / month. You are saving enough money on rent that the other expenses you incur are immaterial.
“Stealth campers” are overrated. Nobody gives a shit about the guy sleeping in a campervan. I’ve had the van for 7 years and not once have I been knocked on in the night. Parking lots, side streets, residential, gyms, nobody cares.