Camper van conversions

When I converted my first van, I decided to start a site to document the process in hopes that I could contribute some knowledge back to the van building community that I relied so heavily upon.

Below, you will find my work-in-progress build log for my 2004 Mercedes Sprinter conversion. Soon, I will begin writing about my second conversion — a 2015 Ford Transit. I will also begin writing some more generic pieces on component selection, product reviews, etc.

Enjoy!



2004 Mercedes Sprinter Conversion Log


About this page (extended edition)

Over the past couple years, I've built two camper van conversions: one Mercedes Sprinter and one Ford Transit. Along the way, I've done a great deal of research and learned a lot. I decided to contribute that knowledge back to the van building community by creating this page.

Initially, this page was going to be a complete build log of my first van — a 2004 Mercedes Sprinter. I completed several posts, but slowed down as life got busy.

After about a year and a half of traveling and part time living in that van, I decided to sell it and build something a little more modern. Thus, in September of 2016, it sold and I immediately purchaced a 2015 Ford Transit.

The next two months were spent completing the second build and juggling my day job. As time has allowed, I've been thinking about a plan for this site.

Alas, the new plan! I will try to finish documenting the first build with the photos and notes I took. However, I don't plan to do a complete build log of the second build. I figure, by now, the internet is full of build logs of all degrees.

Instead, I would like to write a little more specifically about the components I chose, why I chose them and how they've performed. I think this will be a valuable contribution to the community as I found component selection to be one of the more time consuming processes. I may also discuss various building techniques I found to work well. And finally, I would like to put together mini shopping lists for people to use for various parts of the build (eg. X sink, Y faucet, Z fittings).

I think, together, this would be a huge help to some people who find themselves a bit lots (as I did) when starting a build.



Reddit discussion: Newer van options - Front vs Rear wheel drive opinions

Posted on Thu 20 July 2017 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, transit, build, reddit

This is a contribution I made to a reddit.com discussion about front vs rear wheel drive vans


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Reddit discussion: Insulating a camper van

Posted on Thu 20 July 2017 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, transit, build, reddit

This is a contribution I made to a reddit.com discussion about insulating a camper van


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Reddit discussion: Foam mattress options for my Sprinter camper conversion

Posted on Thu 20 July 2017 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, transit, build, reddit

This is a contribution I made to a reddit.com discussion about foam bedding options for camper vans


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Reddit discussion: Mercedes Sprinter vs Ford Transit

Posted on Thu 20 July 2017 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, transit, build, reddit

This is a contribution I made to a reddit.com discussion about the Mercedes Sprinter vs the Ford Transit


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Installing solar panels, CTEK D250S charge controller and Xantrex LinkLite on a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Tue 09 August 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log


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Installing a battery charged by the alternator in a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Fri 05 August 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

The electrical side of a van build is something that should be tailored your power requirements. Some people require little more than a few LED lights and obviously don't spend much time worrying about batteries, solar panels and the like. Others want a mega-system that allows them to plug in laptops, kettles, induction stoves, etc.


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Building cabinets in a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Fri 19 February 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

As my van build progressed, I kept putting off the ceiling cabinets as I knew they were going to be a daunting task. I had no idea how I was going to accommodate the two different roof rib structures all the while keeping things in perfect alignment.


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Building a bed in a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Tue 09 February 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

Prepare yourself, because my bed-building process winds a path through experimentation. I clock in at around 5'9\" tall. If I owned a NCV3 Sprinter van, I would orient my bed cross-ways, no question. However, since I owned an older T1N van, my height is almost exactly the width I have to work with inside the van.


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Building the walls and ceiling in a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Fri 05 February 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

When planning out the walls, I had a couple big decisions stump me for awhile: color & material. I settled on color first, white. I wanted to keep the inside of the van very clean and bright. As for material, I initially thought I would install some sort of plastic-based layer -- I had even purchased some thin plastic sheeting from Home Depot with the intention of glueing it over a wood surface.


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Installing the flooring in a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Mon 01 February 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

The floor was one of the most gratifying parts of the install, going from bare cargo van floor to something I'd expect to see in my home. I had one minor hiccup in the flooring install, but once I realized my mistake, I completed my floor install and am still happy with it 10 months later.


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Insulating a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Thu 28 January 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

The most difficult part of insulating was deciding on the materials to use. Once that was done, it was a matter of measure, cut, glue, repeat.


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Installing a Fantastic Fan roof vent in a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Tue 26 January 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

Back home in Las Vegas with my new van, it was time to get down to business. It was March 22nd and by the 1st of June, I'd be heading to British Columbia. The first task on my list was probably one of the scariest: cut a hole in the roof.


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Cleaning out the Sprinter van and prepping for the camper conversion

Posted on Mon 25 January 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

The van was in great shape when I purchased it. However, it still needed a bit of work to strip it down and ready it for the construction process.


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Purchasing a Sprinter van for a camper van conversion

Posted on Sun 24 January 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

At the beginning of my search for a van, the average price tag on the Craigslist listing I saw left me pretty disenchanted with the idea. I expected the prices to be higher than your average Astro van, but seeing old, rusted out, 300k mileage vans still listed for $20,000 was a shock. Luckily, these price tags only reflects the sellers hopes and dreams, not necessarily reality.


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Planning out a Sprinter camper van conversion

Posted on Wed 06 January 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

In short, there was no plan other than a few requirements. The van went together all at once with a little bit of measuring, a little bit of drawing and a lot of luck.


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Sprinter Van: Introduction

Posted on Tue 05 January 2016 in Van Building • Tagged with sprinter, build, build-log

Over the years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time traveling, camping and living off and on in the back of my 2001 Ford Escape. This has been my dream vehicle for over a decade now: it's four wheel drive, seats four, sleeps two with room to spare and it's beefy enough to tow a trailer. I've traveled in it for months at a time. With two people traveling long term, it's tight and you can't take much gear, but it's doable without much fuss.


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