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 > 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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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

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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 *

Black'95

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Posted: 01/02/20 07:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is a shot of the side frame with the door open so you can see the frame a little better.
[image]

Here are two more views from the outside looking in.
[image]

I added sticky-back rubber molding to the right side of the frame to seal tightly with the door when it is closed to keep bugs out.
[image]

* This post was last edited 01/27/20 05:40pm by Black'95 *   View edit history

Black'95

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Posted: 01/09/20 02:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another improvement I made to the bed area when I upgraded to a 2018 Chevy Express was the addition of a shelf on the right side of the bed. Previously this was, kind of, wasted space. I built a shelf to follow the contour of the side of the van and screwed it to the right side of the bed. All the edges that come in contact with the side molding of the van are covered with sticky-back felt.
[image]

I added a cut out in front of the wheel well bump and behind it also. I added hinges and holes to use for opening the little doors. This way I could utilize the space below the wooden shelf. I use this space for storing items I don't use very often and the back one for our dirty clothes hamper. You can see the edges of wood wall restrainer box I added for my folding picnic table mentioned in the last picture caption.
[image]

My wife found several cloth boxes that fit the shelf space to load in other item she wanted to store for handy retrieval.
[image]

The back section of my newly added wood shelf is much narrower because of the back door opening. It was big enough for me to add a wooden side wall and end piece so that I could store our small fold-up picnic table (wrapped in an extra purple colored blanket which you can see in the picture above with the red and blue cloth boxes). It also helps me so that I don't lose my book or glasses down the side when I fall asleep.
[image]

I made a much smaller and narrower version of this wooden shelf on the left side of the bed. It is not used for storage yet because I mainly wanted it there to stop things from falling down the side of the bed to the floor, a fairly unreachable location to retrieve it from.

* This post was edited 01/09/20 02:58pm by Black'95 *

Black'95

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Posted: 02/01/20 05:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is about time for another upgrade to my van camper conversion. I have always wanted a swivel seat in the van, but my old 2001 van was an LT with dual electric seats and I could not find a swivel to fit those. The new 2018 van does not have electric seats so I bit the bullet and ordered a swivel seat adapter for it. It took a little modification because I had to drill some new holes as they did match up with my seat but the placement was too close to the door after swiveling it, so I could not swivel it a full 180. Now I can and it works beautifully. I am pleasantly surprised at the extra room it gives us in the van. Iam now thinking maybe I should get one for the drivers seat. I would not be able to swivel it 180 because of my kitchen unit, but I could still swivel it enough to make it usable.
[image]

J herb

So. Oregon

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Posted: 02/01/20 08:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Black'95 wrote:

It is about time for another upgrade to my van camper conversion. I have always wanted a swivel seat in the van, but my old 2001 van was an LT with dual electric seats and I could not find a swivel to fit those. The new 2018 van does not have electric seats so I bit the bullet and ordered a swivel seat adapter for it. It took a little modification because I had to drill some new holes as they did match up with my seat but the placement was too close to the door after swiveling it, so I could not swivel it a full 180. Now I can and it works beautifully. I am pleasantly surprised at the extra room it gives us in the van. Iam now thinking maybe I should get one for the drivers seat. I would not be able to swivel it 180 because of my kitchen unit, but I could still swivel it enough to make it usable.
[image]


HI Mike,
I'm Jay and I have a 2017 GMC Savana van that I converted and was wandering were did you get your swivel for the Rt.seat as that was what I have been looking for and how did you work the wiring for the seat air bag censer.
You have done a nice job on your van! looks great.

* This post was edited 02/02/20 08:21am by J herb *


J herb


Black'95

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Posted: 02/02/20 08:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Jay,
Here is the link for where I purchased my swivel seat. If you search the internet, I am sure there are several other places to get them also.

https://shop4seats.com/rv-furniture/rv-b........-chevy-aftermarket-seat-adapter-440.html

In answer to your next question about the wiring, I cut the wires and soldered in a new six wire connector after feeding the wires through the seat swivel hole in the center because no connector would fit through the center bolt hole on the seat swivel. I would suggest disconnecting the battery before you do the cutting and soldering. Here is a picture of the 6 wire connector I used. I had to buy them in a pack of five, so if you want one for the cost of mailing I will send you one. Send me your mailing address to me at [email protected]

[image]

I forgot to take pictures of the wiring before I mounted the seat and swivel, so here is a picture taken after the mount was installed. A is the connector wired in after the wires were cut and B is where the wires were threaded through the seat swivel hole before I soldered them to the 6-wire connector.
[image]

I will post more info on my GPS holder in my next update.

* This post was edited 02/02/20 09:29am by Black'95 *

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