Baby's first van

Wermi901

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Good ay' everyone! Thought I'd share my first step to the rubber tramping life! I bought my own van a couple of weeks ago, about to start gutting it and installing a bed, kitchen, and wood-burning stove. I'm super excited to start this journey, it's an I've been thinking about for the past 3 months. if anyone has any tips with installing any of these things, or just on life in general, feel free to leave them below! Oh and here's the baby, a 2000 GMC gulf stream camper. I think I'm gonna name her Earth Worm, but we'll see.
 

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AyeAaron

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My biggest challenge with van dwelling has always been the heat, its easy to adjust to cold weather, and rain is your friend as it covers up noise and keeps most people bogged down.

When you're on foot, its easy to find shade and a breeze, but it can be surprisingly difficult in a vehicle (and they're hot af).

So if you're going to invest a lot of work into the living space, I'd personally prioritize cooling over anything else.
Though my go-to has just been shade, ventilation and fans. Twas living in the PNW where summer is pretty mild and it can stillcbe awful
 

Coywolf

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So awesome to hear about people getting their first van. Some random things I've learned after having mine a few years:

-roof vent fan will change your life. Fantastic fan > MaxxAir

-careful of the woodstove. If you have insurance, don't let them know you have one, no one will ever insure your van again. I would recommend a Chinese diesel element heater instead. Cheap, easy to install, diesel is cheap AF, and they work very well

-insulation is key to warmth in the winter and cool in the summer

-solar is key to electrical freedom. Dont have to go all out. A little goes a long way

-I followed 'outdoors embrace' on YouTube. He has a bunch of videos on installs in a 2000-ish Ford E-150. I would recommend checking out his build

-remember that water freezes...which busts plumbing...just found that out the hard way

Good luck! I love my van. Best decision I've made in a long time
 
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Jerrell

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remember that water freezes...which busts plumbing...just found that out the hard way

I'll double down on that bit. A couple days ago, I watched a friend learn how to change their water pump in their 2001 Chevy Express because their water/coolant ratio was too watery when it dropped into the teens at night.

Definitely insulate, get solar, etc.

With solar, run as much as you can off 12v. I only use my inverter to charge things like my chromebook or cordless tool batteries.

I don't have the roof fan (not really a spot for it) and often times wish I did.

I'd add get a 12v fridge. I went without one for too long. Mine is from BougieRV and I think it's quieter than some Dometic brand fridges I've encountered.

BougieRV might still be having their cyber Monday sale.
 

Jerrell

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Some advise on the foundation of the build....

Use something like Bullseye 123 or similar primer/anti-mold type product on any exposed metal inside the van to avoid rusting.

Put polyurethane on the back side of your wood so it doesn't absorb any moisture.

We put down some strips of sound dampening material in the grooves of the floor while it was exposed, which really helped with road noise.
 

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