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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions  >  DIY

 > My Chevrolet Express van Class B- camper

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Deb and Ed M

SW MI & Space Coast, FL USA

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Posted: 11/01/19 07:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gizmo has a nice ring to it! My white van is "Gracie Unicorn" - the unicorn part came from trying for MONTHS to find a loaded (XLT) Transit cargo van; Gracie is from "by the Grace of God, we will live long enough to go to all the places this van can take us"....LOL! And yes, we have a little Beanie Baby unicorn who rides along ;-)

drsolo

Milwaukee

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Posted: 11/01/19 08:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Deb and Ed M wrote:

Gizmo has a nice ring to it! My white van is "Gracie Unicorn" - the unicorn part came from trying for MONTHS to find a loaded (XLT) Transit cargo van; Gracie is from "by the Grace of God, we will live long enough to go to all the places this van can take us"....LOL! And yes, we have a little Beanie Baby unicorn who rides along ;-)


What kind of van? My husband is nagging me to upgrade from my 1992 GMC Vandura conversion van to something taller (just cause he is taller LOL), something bigger, newer, better mileage, no rust. Sigh. I just got it the way I want it. But our fabulous mechanic has told us he is always finding cheap vans at some auction place and I know he could find us a really good one.
The van is Papa Bear, the trailer at our campsite is Mama Bear and DH teardrop is Baby Bear.


Ingrid and Dan Retired teachers from Milwaukee, WI
1992 GMC Vandura conversion


Deb and Ed M

SW MI & Space Coast, FL USA

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Joined: 06/07/2004

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Posted: 11/01/19 01:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I converted a 2015 Transit T-250 cargo van to a bare-bones camper (think "tent on wheels"). Mine is the 148" wheelbase, with the mid-roof height (interior is 6' - I can stand upright, Hubby needs to duck a bit). It has the Ecoboost motor - it's FAST/strong when you ask it to be; but still gets 18 mpg at 70+ mph or in the mountains. If we tow a car from FL to Michigan, the mpg drops to 14-ish. If you are looking at used - make sure it has cruise control - an amazing amount of them don't. There has been a recall on the rubber disc that connects the driveshaft to the transmission - was easy to get repaired.

If you want inspiration - go to the www.transitUSAforum.com under camper conversions - there are some truly amazing vans out there. My favorite website for technical info was www.faroutride.com Antoine and Isabelle are Canadian engineers who converted a high-top, extra-long T-350 into their fulltime home for the last 2 years as they chased snow for skiing and mountains for biking in Canada and the USA.

A good source for floorplan ideas is the Sportsmobile website. My "dinette" converts into an almost king-sized bed, and I still have plenty of room for a kitchen cabinet, separate sink, portapotty - and I'm still a hair under 20' in length. Easy to find parking spaces.

I LOVE driving the Transit - it's very car-like in handling. We regularly drive 500-700-miles per day, and feel rested at the end of the trip :-) And you are going to LOVE how the factory tow package works using engine braking when you're towing on a steep downhill!

drsolo

Milwaukee

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Posted: 11/01/19 09:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Deb and Ed M wrote:

I converted a 2015 Transit T-250 cargo van to a bare-bones camper (think "tent on wheels").


I have to keep within the city rules for what can be parked on the street. I have a handicapped sticker, so I may have a bit of leeway, but it has to be registered as a passenger car even so.

I have been inside quite a few Class B and frankly, I feel claustrophobic with all the overhead cabinets. After I gutted my conversion van and started rebuilding it I have been rebuilding it every year, changing things to better suit my comfort cause I live in it for 4 months of the year and travel/camp another 1 month or so. DH wants a newer larger because we want to ship it to Europe and travel/camp there and not take the teardrop (his bedroom) along. I have the boxes for a bed for him built and in my RVan already, but need just a little more width or length to get it configured as a bed for him. I sleep in a recliner. And I have already travel/camped in Europe in 68 with a VW squareback and loved it. We want to spend 3-4 months there. But thanks for the information.

Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 11/02/19 07:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of the major hurdles in the transfer from my old 2001 van to the newer 2018 van was the lack of a side door pocket. I used this for storing our small stools and my camera tripod.
[image]

I solved this problem by building one out of pine and painting it gray. I also added a frame around the second side door opening. This allowed me to mount my light on top, the smoke alarm on the side, and it gave me a place to mount the Velcro for the screen door, along with a place to mount several hooks for hanging things. It may be hard to see because the interior is gray and I painted the wood frame gray too. Another advantage to this wood frame is that I can open the second side door if needed. With the old van I could not open the second side door without removing all of the Velcro screen door on that side. I added some weatherstripping to seal the space between the 2nd side door and my wood frame so bugs could not get in there.
[image]

All is starting to shape up, now I need to move on to installing the seat swivel on the passenger side seat. I could not do that on the old van because it had electric seats, but the new van doesn't have electric seat so I will attempt to install the swivel. More later.

* This post was edited 11/10/19 08:32pm by Black'95 *

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