In June of 2017 I ordered a Sprinter (Mercedes Benz) 4x4 Cargo van. The van was built in the Sprinter plant in Dusseldorf Germany on July 25th and shipped to the eastern seaboard (NC). The vehicle arrived in late October, was reassembled (thank NAFTA) and shipped to the left coast. I took delivery of the rig just before Christmas.
Our objective in the purchase of the new MB was to do a DIY van conversion. Recently retired and feeling the "effects" of long distance motorcycle travel, it was my goal to create a vehicle that could support our lifestyle including the four season endeavors.
This rig, when completed would offer all the amenities of home, albeit - tiny house - in comfort and style much unlike that which we had been used to in our previous long distance and "exposed" motorcycle adventure travels. Of course we continue to ride the "GS" and enjoy the open air environment, but our needs now require support and comfort for four seasons.
This page will encompass the build with photos, timelines and brief narrative on processes and decisions on construction. If by chance you have comment or questions, by all means don't hesitate to email me.
Below you will find a rough outline of build components and timeline. You will also find a myriad of photos of the build below the outline.
Sprinter Build Component Timelines
Black Rhino Wheels x 5
BFG AT KO2 Tires
Side door window tint
Engine hood black out wrap
PIAA bulbs in all front lights
12’ x 12” ply table @ center console w/ Plasti coat spray coating
Assist handle @ sliding door
CR Lawrance glass in side sliding door
CR Lawrance windows rear both sides
Max Aire fan roof
Blue Skies 12vdc Fuse box
Start pulling 12vdc wiring 14 and 16ga wire
Start insulation of walls and ceiling
Noico sound deadening matt
1/2” closed cell foam glued in w/ 3M spray glue
Thinsulate 1’ blanket insulation
Reflectix insulation (cut X into reflectix sheeting to allow venting of
condensation on interior of steel walls of van.
LED 12vdc lights into 2@ ceiling panels (wired) 8@ of 3” diam
bolted into ceiling w/ “L” track single point mounts
Exterior 12” LED light on passenger side rear of van (night light)
Interior panels (finished surfaces) all 3mm 4ply w/ ¼ open cell foam covered with auto
grade upholstry (glued w/3M 90).
“L” track mounting system 2@ on each side wall of van – for mounting larger
½ closed cell foam in low sections of bare steel floor w/ 3M spray glue
Bed Rug matt (1” thick poly hydrophobic) on floor
1/2” Wirsbo pecs flex pipe (routed) in ¾ maple floor w/ aluminum conducting plate
tubing inlaid under floor later to be connected to Espar Hydronic system giving
heated floor circuit. Separate manifold system that can be turned off for summer
The flooring is through bolted with 5/8” bolts. Heads of bolts countersunk and
epoxy poured over bolt heads later sanded flush.
Floor sealed with marine varnish all sides / waterproofing
Loncoin vinyl floor glued onto ply floor
Start work on install of Espar D5 Hydronic heating system. Would need to build all under chassis mounts and pecs pipe hangers as well as electrical harnesses
Manifolds designed to accommodate:
4 gallon Isotherm AC/DC water heater (under chassis)
Heat exchangers (air) 2 fans for circ. 19K btu output
tanks warmers: 25 gal fresh water tank (interior)
20 gal gray water tank (below chassis mount)
Bed mounting system using 2” “L” track and other structural steel and plywood
mattress / queen size 4” foam w/2” memory foam top cut to length
Sewn storage pockets for panels on rear doors. Upholstered panels
Upholstered wall panels @ bed location
Upholstered panels over insulated doors and wall pockets
25 gallon fresh water tank secured to floor and wall
20 gallon gray water tank (under carriage) drained to from sink and shower.
Shower spray unit into plumbing box providing hot and cold access from rear (garage)
Build framing for galley to accommodate:
isotherm 65 (4cu ft) SS Drawer type frig / freezer
12x12x6” SS sink w/ faucet and water filter faucet
Cabinets / drawers for galley
mount electrical controls for heat exchanger fans
ducting for 4” venting into living area from heat exchanger
4” venting into garage area (below bed)
Counter tops – w/cutouts for sink and stove
Aluminum tile plates in galley – above counters @ stove and sink
Secure stove and sink with fixtures into countertops
LED light bars 1@ above stove and sink
“L” track into garage floor to accommodate QR mounts for bikes
Plywood cabinets / cubbys for storage above and at sides of bed
Side lights under cabinets at head of head 2@
Light controls into cabinet
for house lights (8x3’ LEDs)
exterior LED light
12vdc USB outlets
120vac GFI outlet x2 (wired into Inverter and Shore power)
Work station for drivers seat ¾ ply w/ drop down wall mount
Work station for passenger side / floor mount pedestal
LED flex stem lights (red and warm white light) mounted over and near both
Wall mount control panel for Espar controls behind drivers seat
Shore power through wall connection 30 amp service
Go Power solar package (Elite)
2@ 175 watt solar panels
1@ 100 watt solar panel
2000 watt pure sine inverter with charge controller for solar
4@ 6vdc deep cycle AGM 110amp hour batteries 440amp hr bank
2@ 30 amp breaker boxes
1@ 200 amp vdc fuse w/quick disconnect switch.
Interior remote readout and control panels mounted near galley area
battery temperature sensor and sending unit
front and rear bumpers w/ dual swingout for spare and other mount
Side steps with full length rock rails
under engine skid plate
Clearwater 6000 lumen variable control driving lights
Baja Designs 12” light bar (amber and white).
Wood / fiberglass / epoxy shower base with 1” drain connections to gray water
Wood / fiberglass / epoxy shower stall mounted to “L” track and installed cabinet
Skanvic marine grade SS shower control w/ 6’ SS flex hose and shower head.
SS coat hooks @ shower and galley
“L” track single point “O” rings for towels
Aluminum heat deflector plate in ceiling area above stove
Pullout drawer @ center / bottom bed bulkhead w/250lb drawer slide (storage)
10” LED light on inside passenger door
for lighting area outside garage when doors are open
6@ LED lights on ceiling of garage (under bed) for illuminating garage area
1 LED light mounted on water tank to illuminate to see water level
Shut off switch in garage area for water pump
Dragonfly tarp mount to accommodate fly 11’ x 11’ along length of passenger side
Insulate all pecs tubing under carriage w/ rubberized pipe wrap
BOSS airbags for rear suspension support
DUDMD performance engine tune
Just off the transport truck and on the back lot of the Mercedes dealer.
Tinting done and hood wrapped
Going to largest all terrain 10 ply tire. Black Rhino wheels.
Blank canvas, just need to pull the stock floor and get windows installed.
Installing Noico sound deadening, 1/2 closed cell foam and 1" Thinsulate blanket covered by Reflectix and lastly wall panel.
House lights working !!!
installing 3" LED house lights Will be 4 in each of two ceiling panels
Finishing prototype front bumper
cutting to size in the living room!
installing 1/2 pecs tubing and radiating plates for heated floor circuit. To be connected to Espar D5 Hydronic diesel heater