Latest Updates... - Sprinter Van Build: Research Plans & Progress

So Looking at the date it's been 3 years sinceI started.  A lot of what I researched below did happen.  Main thing I skipped was the roof rack.  Aluminum pricing spiked.  Anyway, at some point I'll 100% get that update, probably.

Today I'm dropping a link for a product called Duro Them.  DT is the lowest cost interior covering material that Spinter's have on walls and floor. It's similar to Twinwall / Lexan.

Lexan, is a polycarbonate often used for making greenhouses. It's super cool.  You can get a 5/16" X 4' X 8' sheet for $62 at Tap Plastics as of today.  Also available in thicker sizes and longer sizes. Very strong and durable.  My main issue is that the surface is slightly indented at each rib, so if you paint it your end result will be slightly ribbed.  

Duro Therm, can be incredibly strong.  the 5/8" sheet that Sprinters use for flooring is fully up to the task of being a work floor.  The finished surfaces are wide in variety, and are (as far as I have seen) truly flat.  It's only technical drawback is that it does not come in clear.  Pricing varies, white with pebbled surface 1/2" X 4 X 8 about $75.  

Here are some ideas I have for Duro Them.  1 - Looking back I would have made the upper wall panels from DT and then skinned with wood.  Lighter, cheaper, easier, and better insulation than the 1/2' oak skinned plywood I used.  2 - walls and ceiling for a shipping container build. And Lexan for sliding doors, windows, etc...  3 - I bought a clapped out canned ham camper and am planning to use 1/8" DT to resurface the exterior and Lexan for windows and skylights.

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3 months ago ( updated 3 months ago )
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As of now the Van was ordered from Mercedes of Santa Rosa.  They do a great job helping navigate all the various options.  I was able to get everything I wanted done for under $60k.  Looking at a delivery date in July or Aug 2021.  6 months does feel a bit much, but better than paying over sticker for a used Sprinter.

While I'm waiting I'm planning my build.  First thing for me was/is to define my purpose.  Many of the vans I see are converted for #VanLife - which is cool, but I'm planning a different set of uses. 

My purpose is to use the van for extended adventure camping, not so much living in.  Off-grid time will be fairly limited too.  I don't want to cook or clean inside any van, I prefer to cook and be more outside with food things.  I do want two large comfortable beds.  And lots of storage space for larger items like bins, bikes, dive gear, tables, chairs, fire / cooking, aux tent, etc...

I will also want to do more one and two day adventures where I'll need to work out of the van - so office function is a prime consideration.  This means it needs to be comfortable for a long sit with the computer, quite on the inside, look reasonable as a Zoom backdrop, and have some internet signal boosting capability.

Style is also important to me.  I like a slightly macho yet sleek and utilitarian design.  If I can get this van as I'm imagining it, it will look like it was built for the Swedish Military's Adventure & Spa Team :)


Part of the fun for me will be to build some of the parts. Roof rack, ladder, rear seat sleeper (possibly), and most exciting so far are the rear quarter flare windows.  But there is a Yiddish "eyder dos ton dos", meaning "before this that".  So... before I can build anything I need to add a large work table in my garage, and before that I need to make space, and before that I needed to build a set of sheds to hold the crap from the garage.  Thus far we have one of the sheds, 2 to go :)
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