When discussions began about this van conversion we quickly formed the idea of a low maintenance build that will meet basic needs. The ceiling was to be a unique feature that could also serve structural purposes later. Darin and I had some leftover sheets of black PVC that worked great for the background. We used solid 12-foot pine slats spaced across the ceiling to create the special effect. The stain is a semi-transparent outdoor stain and sealer. This step took a few days to complete, the PVC was thin and floppy but once we got it up things moved along pretty quickly. The key was using the factory gator-board as a guide and to attach the edge of the PVC with the factory clips.
We ended the last post, which seems like only yesterday but was about two weeks ago, as we were starting the custom roof rack. The rack was a new challenge but we pulled it off without a hitch. I think it came out pretty good and will serve its purpose nicely. This photo is terrible but the rack is up there and the solar panels are secured.
Next up was starting the bed and bench boxes. The idea here is to have ample storage and walk-through access to the back door. Since this build is for my mom we want safety and convenience at the top of the list. She plans to do solo travel and wanted room for a travel buddy along with floor space for her old dog Rusty. The best way to accomplish this was for the bed to be convertible from sofa and bench to a wall to wall platform bed. The sofa side is large enough for Mom to use as a twin bed so she won't have to fully convert into the wall to wall platform.
The best part about this build? My little brother! Well, "little" may be a bit of a stretch. But anyway, Frank flew in on the 13th and jumped right in with this build. Once the bed was built we moved on to install the toilet and Iceco 12v fridge. The bed and bench boxes are attached to the wall of the van by large bolts. Strangely enough, metric M8 bolts, this is a Ford Transit, why metric? The unit we built to mount the toilet and fridge was also bolted to the wall and to the bed box.
The privacy wall provides separation between the toilet and fridge, for obvious reasons, as well as a shield from the large window in the slider. Across the "hall" from the toilet we planned the power station box built to hold the Flex Solar generator and the Jackery. This unit will be part of the kitchen which consists of a sink, countertop and storage.
Mom lives in the southeast and doesn't plan on spending much time is cool climates so an AC is required. It will store nicely behind the driver's seat and vent through the window.
Since my brother was in town we decided we needed some sightseeing. Downtown San Diego here we come. The USS Midway Aircraft Carrier is an amazing museum. When you make your way to San Diego be sure to check it out.
When we got home from our day of being tourists we found out that Darin had been busy. He was wearing a new boot. Yes, a boot. He had been climbing up and down on our converted Sprinter van and lost his footing, not sure of the extent of the damage to his ankle just yet. More on that later.
My brother Frank and I finished the kitchen and Mom picked out the foam for her bed. We ordered it from a really nice gentleman in San Diego at Hoffman Canvas & Upholstery.
I'm no seamstress but I'll attempt to sew almost anything. So now it's time to cover that foam. As luck would have it I only had to cover one of the five cushions! Who knew my little brother could sew?!?!? Not to mention the fact that he is a goofball!
Since my brother will be traveling back to Georgia in the van with my mom - we decided a privy curtain was in order. Check this out!
So that about does it for The Black Beauty Makeover. She is ready to roll, but wait, there's more. Here is a video of the completed ford transit van conversion. Before they head east my brother and I have a few things to wrap up to set the stage for future endeavors. There will be more about that later as well. As for Darin's ankle - no detached ligaments or tendons so that's a relief.
This van conversion was a labor of love. My mom is very excited to start her travels, first destination...HOME! She's been away from home longer than ever before and is ready to get back so she can make plans on where to go next. Our hope is to see her during the Fall Colors in the northeast.
I hope to get regular updates on her travels and then share them here with you. Maybe we can get some photos of her or Frank relaxing in their new K.I.S.S. Airflow Hammocks