AT IT AGAIN: Paul and Mike Convert a Mid/Tall T1N Sprinter Cargo

mhiscox

Expedition Leader
Not sure this is them exactly, these look cheaper, but I can't find them otherwise. Can you post exactly which model yours are? They are really nice!

http://www.blinds.com/control/product/productID,101043
You are clever, sir, and a master of e-commerce. I believe these are ours. The sizing and features seem right. And if you can get that deal, they would end up about half of what we paid, though ours were installed by a guy who knew what he was doing, and it did seem a little tricky to get all the strings tensioned up right.

I'd say go for it. We're very pleased with ours, with one of the best things being that once we put a half-dozen small stick-on rubber bumpers along the window frames where they might touch, they are nice and quiet. (Not totally silent perhaps, but way more than good enough for a diesel Class B.)
 

Paddy

Adventurer
Awesome build! You convinced me to move my plans for bed from the rear to forward and sideways so we can do the "out the slider stare". Now I don't know where my paramotor will live though :/
 

mhiscox

Expedition Leader
Awesome build! You convinced me to move my plans for bed from the rear to forward and sideways so we can do the "out the slider stare".
Thanks for the kind words. Let me know if you need to come over to see it or take measurements of some such.
 

mhiscox

Expedition Leader
Beautiful work! An inspiration to us all!
Paul put it together with some very clever touches, and it's proving even more and more livable as time goes on. Probably the easiest to live out of of all the half-dozen campers I've had.


What is the height from the outside ground to the floor at the back of the vehicle?
It's 26.5 inches. That might be about 3/4" higher than a dead stock on because my tires are a bit bigger. We've got it made for walking up into the back, as we have the factory step bumper and a HitchMate step in the 2" receiver, which together make it about like walking up a set of well-spaced steps.
 

mhiscox

Expedition Leader
Thanks! Another question: Then from the floor to the bottom of the window on the rear door is how much?
The answer is complicated by the fact that the window (or sheet metal in place of the window) is set back into a considerable recess. It's a thick as three inches front to back (a bit less toward the top) and, more to the point, about two inches vertically all the way around.

So the distance from the floor to the bottom of the window glass is 33 inches, but there's 31 inches from the floor to the point at which the door sheet metal starts its change from vertical to horizontal for the window frame.
 

mhiscox

Expedition Leader
OK, thanks. I am just pondering putting the galley in the back if I were to get a Sprinter, because I prefer cooking outside (see http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/145788-Camper-Interior-87-Toyota-van) and then there is more room inside for living and other stuff.
Sprinters floors are pretty high off the ground, but I think it would work to have your kitchen pull out from the floor through the rear doors. If you built a full-width pull-out unit about 10" high, then set the fridge down into it and had, say, an 8" drawer and set the stove on top of that, everything would work out to be about countertop height. FWIW.
 

mhiscox

Expedition Leader
Few things are as pitiful as a build thread after the build is completed. It sits around as a lonely and uninteresting couch potato, so boring as to be forgotten even by those closest to it. :)

Humor aside, I've have indeed been negligent in not having updated this thread lately, especially given that there are changes to report. Nothing earth-shaking, mind you, but at least one is significant.

This is how the curbside cabinet was set up for the first 96% of the conversion's life. It came all the way to the rear door, which made particular sense since it left the entire width of the slider door unobstructed, which was one of the original design goals.




And it proved to be a pretty nice setup. But it did necessitate picking up the (borderline undersized) potti and moving it from its storage space under the small seat to use it. It was not used during the day, and at night it was easy enough to move to the aisle just in front of the rear doors. Not a bad solution, but perhaps not as good as it could be.

I'd also figured out a couple of options for a shower, something that it seemed like we should have given that we had plenty of hot water available for the purpose. The store-bought solution is the Nemo Helio shower, and I also kludged together a spray head on a tube that can pump warm water out of the sink to make a quick and dirty (and easy-to-store) shower. There's no problem stowing the fabric shower curtain, but I couldn't see an obvious place to store the "shower pan" (aka, a rigid Rubbermaid plastic tub of appropriate dimensions, which is easy to both stand in and empty once the shower was over) when not in use.

Anyway, one thing led to another and I decided to move the curbside cabinet assembly forward about two feet. This opened up space to use my bigger-and-more-comfy Thetford Curve potti. And then I saw that it worked to set the potti into shower pan, which solved the problem of storing the tub.

P1010016.jpg

This location is also very good for enclosing the area as a sort of "toilet room." Exactly how to do that,and whether it should be a permanent setup or something temporary that you set up when the privacy matters, are still under discussion. (BTW, to save a question, the blue circle wedged next to the potti is a handy collapsible 2-gallon pail and the grey triangle is a battery LED light.)

The downside to this move was, of course, that the goal of having the whole slider open to get a fantastic view went away. Turns out, though, that there is still plenty of room to enter and leave, and if you're sitting on the sofa bench, the low back of the small seat doesn't really block the view much.

P1010030.jpg

So, a good enough change, but as we used the new arrangement more, there turned out to be several advantages we hadn't expected. An obvious one was that the area under the small seat where the potti had been stored now made a dandy general-purpose storage compartment. Since it is so easy to access from the outside through the slider, I use it to store the electrical cord and adapters, and there's also room for the tire chains I carry in the winter.

And now that the small seat is straight across from more of the sofa, it makes an even better footrest if you're sitting on the sofa and want to stick your feet out, or vice-versa.

P1010022.jpg

Additionally, if you use the small seat to transport a second passenger, said passenger is now a couple feet closer to the front of truck, nearer the other occupants and with an improved view.

Totally unexpected was an even further improvement to the already-amazing Paul Jensen Magic Rotating Table. In the original position, the table worked perfectly for two people, one on the small seat and one at the rear end of the sofa. It turns out that after the cabinet move, the table now serves just fine for three people.

P1010025.jpg

Also, whereas it previously took a bit of attention and a little fiddling to rotate the table while clearing the streetside cabinets, there's now nothing obstructing the process.

And now that the small seat is two feet closer to the rotated passenger seat, the board that bridges the two to make the second berth could be cut down by two feet. It still stores under the bench as before, but its shorter length makes it easier to maneuver when pulling it out or putting it back. The shorter board also now doesn't need any support under it to keep from flexing in the middle.

All in all, it seems like moving the cabinet was a good thing. And if we later decide that the old setup was better, it'll be easy to move everything back. The only destructive change was to cut away a bit of the aft end at the bottom to clear the rear edge of the wheel well, and that would be easy enough to repair.
 
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