I started removing the interior trim right after I bought the van. I sold all of the plastic panels, the carpet, and the headliner for $300.
Removing the plastic interior trim was pretty easy. I cut this piece in half in order to save the trim that was covering the column. I used a rotary tool for that job.
Jef helping me remove the rear A/C. Later on I ended up taking the van to an A/C shop to have it removed by professionals, since there seemed to be an element of danger with high pressure lines, charging the system, etc.
Peeling paint on the roof. I should have noticed this before I bought it.
Me trying to fix the spot on the roof. I wore a respirator because I didn’t want to inhale paint chips. I don’t mind looking like a dork.
My first try at fixing the peeling patch. It didn’t go very well. The rippled edge is where the new paint met the old paint.
The van had this ugly spot on the roof while I researched how to fix the ripple problem. Apparently the ripple was caused by a chemical reaction between the old paint and the new paint.
Jef working on removing seat rails, while I work on the patch of paint on the roof. Sake supervises.
It took a few tries, but I was able to make it the paint look somewhat decent. Fixing the patch on the roof was actually just for practice. There are other spots on the van that I plan to touch up in the future.
The long skinny black rails that go down the length of the van were for anchoring the seats. Since the seats were gone, I decided to remove the rails, too. Here I am using an angle grinder and a cutoff wheel to slice the top half of the rail off so that I can get at the bolts.
The arrow points to one of the many hidden bolts holding the black rail to the floor of the van. This is why removing the rails was so difficult.
This one was easy to get to. I cut through the metal with an angle grinder and a cutoff disc.
One last rail. I removed one rail by cutting the top off and grinding the heads off the bolts. Jef got two rails up by crawling under the van and loosening the nuts under the floor of the van. That left this one final rail. The bolts were inaccessible from under the van, and I didn’t want to spend another 2 days cutting and grinding.
Time to bring out the big guns. I borrowed my uncle’s plasma cutter and rented an air compressor, hoping that the plasma cutter would blaze through the metal like a hot knife through butter. It didn’t work. The metal was too thick.
Me and the plasma cutter.
Jef and I brought the van to a friend of his family to see if he had any advice for removing the last stubborn rail.
Oxyacetylene torch to the rescue. Bernie was able to remove the last rail for us.
I decided to put a fiberglass high top on the van. This is me fixing some rust spots at the edge of the roof the night before the high top is to be installed. Many curious passers-by enjoyed staring.
The new top at the shop. Fiberine let us take a sneak peek at the top before they installed it. This is a 30″ camper top.
This is what the interior of the high top looks like. You can see the outlines of the wood reinforcement.
The hole cut for the high top installation. You can see that they left about 4 inches of the original roof around the edges. That is where the fiberglass high top will sit, and that’s why I needed to fix the rust spots before they were covered by the fiberglass top.
The top is installed! Wow, it looks huge!
The inside of the high top after it was installed on the van.
Here’s where the high top was reinforced with wood.
This view is looking toward the front. This cavernous space is directly over the driver and passenger seats. You only get this kind of space with a camper top. Others tops end where the wood strips end.
This is the side inside edge where the camper top meets the van. Lots of bolts and screws hold the high top to the van.
Covering the A/C hole with aluminum and pop rivets. Don’t mind my sexy footwear.
Wiping away excess Sikaflex.
Me in the camper top area starting to install sound deadening, Jef in the corner trying to remove some old dirt and grime, in preparation for lining the interior with Monstaliner bed liner.
Applying Monstaliner. In hindsight, I could have used a different, cheaper material, but I’m still glad that I coated the floor with something that would keep rust away.
Fully bed lined floor. I didn’t even try to go for the bumpy bed liner look since I knew it would get covered up anyway.
Monstaliner on the walls.
Plugging holes with little white caps. I used Sikaflex sealant to hold the caps down, but it didn’t stick very well …
… so I cut little pieces of FatMat Mega Mat sound deadening material and used it like tape to hold the caps in place. It’s very sticky stuff so it worked quite well.
I used FatMat Mega Mat for sound deadening because of its butyl adhesive. I ended up using 200 square feet, which was definitely overkill.
Starting to apply FatMat to the high top. I covered way more area than necessary.
Applying sound deadening to the ceiling. You can see how tall the high top is. I’m 5′ 5″.
This piece fell off the ceiling. I learned the hard way: 1) A heat gun makes the adhesive grip better. 2) Use smaller pieces on the ceiling.
Me and Jef applying sound deadening to the high top. The heat gun melted the butyl slightly and helped it stick. Again, you can see how tall the 30″ camper top is. Jef is 5′ 9″ and I’m pretty sure he’s standing straight in this photo.
The walls and wheel wells covered in sound deadening. I didn’t spend time on making it look pretty since it would all be hidden from view anyway.
Applying sound deadening to the floor. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but I’m pretty sure that the sound deadening helped dampen road noise when driving. Driving seemed a lot more pleasant and a lot less noisy after this was completed.
Oozing. I would undo this if I could. After applying 11 cans of spray foam, I found out that the open cell nature of spray foam can trap moisture and cause rust. Oops, too late.
I decided to use EZ Cool (Low-E) insulation for the interior. Not knowing anything about spray adhesives or insulation, I conducted a test to find out which adhesive would hold up the insulation best.
Test swatches. Conclusion: They all worked well, but I preferred the 3M Hi-Strength 90.
I marked the insulation with the kind of adhesive I used so that if the adhesive failed I’d know what kind of adhesive to avoid in the future. Knock on wood, they’ve all held up just fine almost 2 years later.
EZ Cool insulation went over the sound deadening.
Me spraying the adhesive. I held my breath while I sprayed it, and then ran outside to catch my breath while the adhesive got tacky.
Almost finished with insulation. The ceiling is finished.
This is the rear interior of the high top lined with insulation.
The complete ceiling with insulation. The front of the van is toward the bottom of the photo.
Testing floor insulation to see if it compresses. The verdict: EZ Cool insulation doesn’t compress at all if it’s beneath a wood subfloor, even with a 160 lb. man jumping on it.
Cutting insulation for the floor. It was pretty easy to cut the insulation to fit the van floor because EZ Cool insulation is very flexible. I used two layers of insulation on the floor, as that’s what the manufacturer suggested.
I cut EZ Cool insulation to fit the floor, and then used the insulation as a template for the subfloor. It worked nicely.
I let Jef have some fun with the jig saw. Here he his cutting out the subfloor.
1/3 of the subfloor finished.
This is the only photo I have of the finished subfloor. I’m actually installing curtain track for the shades.
I didn’t bother screwing subfloor down to the metal floor of the van. There’s so much stuff on top of it, and all of that stuff is secured to the ribs of the van so it really didn’t seem necessary. Here I am framing out the under floor storage.
Lining the under-floor storage compartments with vinyl remnants. I wanted to protect the subfloor against spills.
Floor framing complete. The storage compartments were designed specifically for certain things. For example, one compartment fits a camp table, another fits a 12-foot ladder, and another was designed specifically for shoes.
Fitting panels that will cover the under floor storage. This took forever. At this point, I had not yet purchased a table saw, and all of my cuts were done with a circular saw. Nothing was straight, nothing lined up perfectly, and it drove me nuts. Miraculously, everything still fit together.
The foyer after I stuck down some protective vinyl. The segment of the floor where the can sits is where the ladder goes. You can see that I lined the sides of the framing with vinyl so that when I slide the ladder in and out it won’t damage the wood.
Uneven floor framing. There’s only a handful of things that I would do differently if I were to do it all over again, and this is one of them. For the floor framing, I bought 2x6s and asked the lumber yard to rip them down to 4″ wide for me. Not only were the 2x6s not straight to begin with, but the cuts were inconsistent as well. To add to that, I didn’t use a framing square when I assembled the frame. If I were to do this part over again, I’d probably use plywood, I’d cut it myself, and I’d use a framing square.
A visitor. This is the neighbor’s cat. He’s a friendly little bloke.
How I worked on the van while keeping Sake company.
Hinges for the under floor storage compartments. These are invisible spring hinges from Rockler. What’s nice about these hinges is that when you flip the door up, it stays up. And when you flip the door closed, it stays closed.
The hardest part about installing invisible hinges is estimating where to drill holes for the screws. I came up with the idea of putting paint around the holes. After that, simply place the door on top …
… and the paint will leave a nice outline of where the holes should be drilled. Neat, huh?
Fully installed door for one of the under-floor storage compartments.
The string pull for the storage compartment is kept in place with a spring screwed to the under side of the door. The spring pulls the string so that it’s tucked neatly away instead of being a trip hazard.
The string pull that is used to open the floor storage compartment. It’s small and unobtrusive.
Blank grey water tank and the fittings for it. The tank holds 8 gallons.
The ball valve threads don’t really match the fitting on the grey water tank. I tested the fit to see if it was water tight, and it worked just fine.
The fittings for the grey water tank. I didn’t need all of them. I only needed the 4″ access plate, and the two 5/8″ thru hull fittings.
Holes for the water tank fittings. The large hole is for the access plate, which was only necessary so that I could put my hand inside the tank to install the other fittings. The small hole at the top left is for the vent. The small hole at the top right is where the water enters the tank. The small hole and the bottom right is where water drains from the tank.
Grey water tank fittings installed. The little black fitting is just a little doohickey I picked up at the hardware store in the sprinkler section. It has 1/2″ male NPT threads on it, and I simply screwed it in to the hole I made in the tank. I covered the opening with a piece of mesh to keep the bugs out.
Jef installing the water heater straps that secure the grey water tank to the underside of the van. Drilling holes in metal upside down requires a lot of arm strength, so Jef did that part.
The finished grey water tank. The black vinyl is there to keep the sharp edges of the straps from cutting into the tank.
The cheapest 30 gallon fresh water tank I could find. I purchased PEX Flair-It fittings for the plumbing at an RV supply store.
Top view of the tank. You get what you pay for. The tank was pretty flimsy. It bulged outward in odd places even when empty.
Testing the fresh water tank to make sure it didn’t have any leaks. It was at this point that I realized how heavy water is. Full of water, the tank was so heavy that I couldn’t tip it over to empty it. And even if I could tip it over, I was afraid that letting it slam to the ground might break it. I ended up having to siphon the water out.
Fill hose and fitting. This isn’t the kind of stuff you can find at chain hardware stores. I got almost all of my plumbing stuff from an RV supply store.
The fresh water tank needed to be supported by a plywood box so that it wouldn’t develop cracks. I routed slits in one side so that the water level is visible. Jef assembled the box for me.
Fresh water tank hoses. The green and white hose is the fill hose. The clear hose is the vent. The braided stainless hose goes to the water pump, which goes to the faucet. The white hose with the valve is the drain. I didn’t like how messy this was, so I eventually redid some of it.
Reorganized hoses. There’s so much room now!
The beginnings of a true plumbing hack. This is a branch tailpiece with a 5/8″ branch, and an air gap cap. The goal: Make a P-trap.
After cutting the extra parts off. Pretty ugly.
I scoured the internet for a cap for 1-1/2″ pipe, and just couldn’t find one, so that’s why I ended up with such a hack. I “glued” the hacked off air gap cap to the tailpiece with copious amounts of silicone, and then wrapped the seam in duct tape.
The grey water hose secured to the underside of the van with scraps of water heater strapping. The hose clamps prevent the hose from sliding around.
The grey water hose going up through the bottom of the van. Jef had to drill the hole for me. Step drill bits are awesome for this kind of work.
View of the grey water hose coming up through the floor. The hose clamp keeps the hose from slipping too far down the hole.
The grey water hose comes up through the floor in the same compartment that the ladder is stored in. To keep the ladder from hitting the hose, I devised a makeshift compartment just for the hose.
The hacked together p-trap connected to the grey water hose. It works! And, surprisingly, it doesn’t leak … yet.
The water pump. I like things to be modular, so I put push-on connectors on the wires coming out of the water pump.
Me sitting inside the sink. Might as well test it out, since the sink is supposed to double as a shower. The sink was from Ikea; they don’t sell this model anymore.
My original plan for the sink/kitchenette. It ended up looking nothing like this.
Preparing to cut the hole for the sink.
The hole for the sink.
The sink came with a piece of particle board glued to the underside. I chose to install the sink in an unconventional way—I wanted as much overlap as possible between the sink and the countertop, and the particle board got in the way of that plan.
Jef chiseling away at the particle board.
Cutting wood for the sink cabinet legs. I used a straight edge and a circular saw since I didn’t have a table saw or a miter saw yet.
Test fitting the sink, countertop, and stand. The sink appears to float a half inch over the countertop because the underside of the sink has “fins” that got in the way.
I used a plunge router to make grooves in the countertop to accommodate the fins.
Test fitting the sink cabinet inside the van.
Here you can see the some of the crazy customizations that I had to do to get the sink to sit flush with the countertop. Everything was done with a plunge router (except for cutting the large hole for the sink).
Me installing the sink inside the van; Jef assembling the box for the fresh water tank.
Jef using a step drill bit to make a hole for the faucet. I hadn’t bought my forstner bits yet; forstner bits would have worked better.
Installing the faucet was easy compared to everything else leading up to it. Finally, running water!
Showing off the extra long aerator for the faucet. The long aerator makes it easy to hook up a sawyer water filter. It looks a little dorky, but it works.
This is the Sawyer water filter. The white part pushes on the aerator and makes even pond water drinkable. I don’t plan to put pond water in my water tank, but it’s nice to know that I have a filter just in case I need to.
The original impetus for installing a 30″ camper top on my van was so that I could put in a lofted bed. However, I didn’t want to commit to the idea without trying it out first. I built this makeshift loft so that Jef and I could see if we liked it before building the entire thing.
The night of the lofted bed experiment. Conclusion: A lofted bed was not going to work for us at all. It was way too cramped. I hit the walls and ceiling with my elbows and knees. After this experiment I had to rethink my entire plan for the interior.
I decided to put the bed in the back of the van, on the main level. This is the diagram for that design. I generally only get about halfway through planning my designs, and then I just go ahead and start building it. This method does have its downfalls.
Cutting the slats for the bed.
Applying water based polyurethane.
Dry fitting the pieces to make sure everything will work.
The bed was hinged so that the head area could be raised and form a chaise. Jef had to chisel some of the wood away so that the clevis pins I bought would fit. At this point, I wasn’t aware of any tool that could make this job easier. Several months later I purchased some forstner bits.
The finished bed.
The deck that held the bed up was designed with notches. To make those notches, I made several small cuts with a table saw, and then knocked out the wafers.
Notches in the wood for the deck.
The fully assembled deck.
The fully assembled bed.
Front view of the bed.
Notches and a small piece of wood kept the bed frame from sliding forward and back.
I installed folding legs to support the foot end of the bed. The hinges are from Rockler.
I finally decided that I didn’t like the wooden bed that Jef and I made. It was too thick, it didn’t fold up into a chaise like I thought it would, it was heavy, and it creaked and squeaked like crazy. Back to the drawing board. These were my plans for a new bed. New materials, new design.
I decided to build the new bed out of T-slotted extruded aluminum. Here I am cutting the aluminum on a miter saw.
Closeup photo of the T-slotted aluminum, cut with an Oshlun 100 tooth blade. I used 1.5″ x 1.5″ hollow aluminum T-slotted framing from McMaster-Carr.
Assembling the pieces of the deck that support the bed frame.
The legs of the bed anchored to the floor.
The new bed frame, made from extruded aluminum.
The bags and bags of fittings I used to assemble the bed.
The deck that the bed frame sits on is installed. I installed a few additional support pieces later on. The beauty of working with extruded aluminum framing is that it is forever changeable and adjustable.
Sliding the bed frame into place.
The bed frame. All it needs now is something to support the mattress.
The bed secured to the frame of the van. The wood is screwed into the metal van frame. The aluminum bed is attached to the wood.
I had this brilliant idea of using welded mesh fence material to support the mattress. It turned out to be one of my worst ideas ever. It sagged like a hammock.
Then I realized that I could use the slats from the first bed that Jef and I made. I used 3M Dual Lock Recloseable Fasteners (it’s like Velcro on steroids) to attach the bed slats to the frame.
Closeup shot of the 3M Dual Lock stuff.
Laying the slats down.
I had to use a thinner slat of wood for the slat at the very foot of the bed, to accommodate the thick aluminum plates. The plates provide an attachment point for the folding legs.
The underside of the bed frame, showing the aluminum plate and my favorite kind of corner fastener for this kind of framing system.
How I attached the folding legs to the bed frame. I attached the hinge to a piece of wood, then I used VHB tape to attach the wood to the underside of the aluminum plate.
I had a hard time figuring out which configuration I wanted for my solar panels. I ended up going with B, but without the 2 inch gaps.
I decided to use a Thule rack as the base for my solar panel mount. Unfortunately, when I had the high top made, I had requested that they leave the side area without wood reinforcement. (At the time, I had very different plans for the conversion.) After consulting with Rack Solid in Berkeley, I was told that all they needed was some kind of wood behind the fiberglass, and that should be good enough. So this is the plywood that backs the frontmost Thule bar. You can see the bolts from the artificial gutter mounts coming in at the top on both sides.
The Thule roof rack, installed by Rack Solid. They did a really great job. They used artificial gutter mounts on the sides of the high top, and super high 11″ towers to support the crossbars.
The clearance for the front bar is about 1″. I had done some pretty thorough research and measuring before consulting Rack Solid, so I was pretty sure that they’d need to use the tallest feet available (the 11″ ones). The Rack Solid dude, however, was so sure that the 8″ feet were high enough, he probably would’ve put money on it. I was right. And I get to gloat because this is my blog. But seriously, Rack Solid did an amazing job on the installation and I would definitely give them two thumbs up.
Painting the support bars for the solar panel roof rack. These bars are to be bolted to the Thule crossbars, and they will run down the length of the van.
Laying the solar panels on top of the angle iron so that I can mark where to pre-drill holes for the bolts. This was actually a much larger ordeal than it sounds. Jef and I planned the installation very carefully so that we could pre-drill all the holes accurately, and without having to bring the panels up and down from the roof multiple times … which we ended up doing anyway.
The angle iron installed. The two lengths of angle iron are bolted to the Thule crossbars.
Closeup of the angle iron. You can see the pre-drilled holes and attachment to the Thule bars.
Installing the solar panels. Jef was my knight in shining armor who hoisted the panels up for me. He would get up on his ladder, I’d hand a panel to him, and then while he got the panel up onto the rack, I’d run around to the other side of the van, scurry up my ladder, and help pull the panel into place. It was definitely a two-person job, and it was incredibly tiring.
The solar panels installed.
Hooking up the MC4 extension cables to the solar panels
The hacked combiner box. This is where the 12 cables coming from the solar panels will be consolidated down to 2 cables. I made my combiner box from a pelican case. I had to counter bore these holes because the cable glands that I bought were meant to be installed on very thin-walled boxes.
The box with the cable glands attached.
When I tried to insert the cables into the glands I realized that some of the MC4 extension cables were thicker than others. I had to replace some of the cable glands with larger ones, and unfortunately the larger glands didn’t fit well with the previously counterbored holes. I ended up with some odd gaps that I tried to fill with silicone. It didn’t work. The box leaked like crazy when it rained.
The bus bars with fuse holders attached. These bus bars were taken from an off-the-shelf combiner box that I had purchased from a crappy vendor. They had pre-installed cable glands that were totally the wrong size for MC4 cables, rendering the entire box useless … except for these bus bars.
The combiner box with everything wired up. Each solar panel has it’s own fuse.
Lots of wires. I plan to redo this soon.
This is what the interior looks like with the two wires coming down through the roof from the combiner box.
Gathering all my supplies for the photovoltaic system. Laying everything out on the table next to my wiring diagram helped me figure out what size cable and lugs to buy.
The Class T fuse for the 2000 watt inverter. It’s giant. Don’t mind my Jack Skellington fingers.
The box that I built for the electrical components. The batteries go in the compartment on the right. You can see the tie-down straps that I installed, along with some perforated angle iron that should help keep the batteries from slamming into the sides of the box.
Making cables was pretty fun. I used a hammer crimper, and for the thicker wires I had Jef do the hammering. For the really difficult crimps we put the hammer crimper in a vise.
Figuring out where everything should go.
Starting to hook things up. I had never wired anything like this up before, so I was more than a little apprehensive about it.
Wiring the 6 volt batteries in series to make a 12 volt system. I was pretty excited that it worked. Small successes like that were confidence-building.
Front view of the electrical box. I built the box around the measurements for each of the components, so everything fit perfectly.
The tray for the charge controller. I built this to help keep the charge controller in place.
The charge controller tray, shunt, and inverters in place.
Jef removing the knockouts for the charge controller. I stuck blue painters tape to each of the electrical components with the following information: what size and type of fuse it needed, what size wires I planned to attach to it, and the stud size for the terminal lug. It helped a lot.
The inside of the Tristar Morningstar charge controller.
The inside of the charge controller after all the wires were connected. It was a huge pain getting the wires to fit.
The switch and fuse holder between the solar panels and the charge controller. I love having switches everywhere. It makes disconnecting things really easy.
What not to do. Do not place a positive terminal less than an inch away from a negative terminal. While trying to insert a fuse in the fuse holder, my hand slipped, and I shorted my batteries. Lots of sparks. Later on, I moved the fuse holder away from the offending bus bar, and installed a main cutoff switch for the entire system.
The fuse that I shorted my batteries with. You can see the scorch marks.
What a 1/0 cable looks like next to a 4/0 cable. I replaced my 1/0 battery cables with 4/0 cables after I discovered that the 1/0 cables would get hot when I used the 2000 watt inverter.
Bigger cables means bigger lugs. I had to make some customizations to the switches in order for the 4/0 cable lugs to fit. Truth be told, I did stuff like this to some of the fuse holders, and even ground down some of the lugs as well. Shhh, don’t tell the electrical inspector.
The final solar powered system all wired up. Messy.
Closeup of the negative loads coming off of the shunt. This alone was pretty insane. The system worked just fine, but the wiring was a mess, and begged to be fixed.
Better wiring. Several months after I finished wiring up the electrical system, I redid a lot of it so that it looked neater and felt safer. I transferred the negative loads coming off of the shunt to a distribution bar, and moved the 12 volt fuse block to clear up some space inside the main housing. It looks better, doesn’t it?
The new location for the 12 volt fuse block. You can plainly see that I fused my fuse block. Really, the fuse should be located as close to the battery as possible, but seemed like the safest location.
Sugru. I used this stuff to cover the potentially dangerous exposed terminals.
Sugru over the main positive battery terminal.
Sugru over the negative distribution bar.
The switch for the water pump, and a 12 volt outlet were among the first things that I wired up for the van.
The back side of the switch. I’m not a fan of wire nuts, but I used them anyway.
Noticing that Ikea Inreda lights ran on 12 volts, I hacked into a set. They were the cheapest, most stylish LED lights I could find.
I figured that the little box labeled “LED Driver” was only to convert 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC, so I did away with that, cut the barrel connector off the main wire, and hooked the main wire up to my 12 volt system.
Ha! It works! I mean, I had hoped it would work, and the science behind it all indicated that it would work, but I wasn’t really sure it would work until I actually did it.
Taping the lights up to see if 4 lights are sufficient.
Estimating the volume of a small DC fridge to see if it’ll hold everything I need it to.
The Edgestar portable freezer arrives. It has a 43 quart capacity, and it can be plugged in to either 12 volts DC or 120 volts AC.
Building the trolley for the freezer. The freezer is to the right, and the trolley that it sits on is that oddly shaped wooden thing on the ground.
The freezer on its trolley, installed in the van. The toggle clamps raise the front wheels off the ground and help keep the unit from moving around when the van is in motion. The strap anchors the freezer to the side wall of the van.
I purchased a second unit to use as a refrigerator. It happened to fit perfectly between the front seats.
A standard carton of eggs doesn’t fit inside the refrigerator very well.
Frying up some eggs using an induction cooktop and the van’s solar powered electrical system.
Bacon. The cornerstone of a yummy breakfast.
Starting to make the table that goes over the freezer.
Having trouble with pocket holes. These were practice holes made by a cheap Harbor Freight jig.
Better. These were made by a Kreg jig.
Holes for the freezer vent. I did a pretty awful job with the plunge router, but luckily these mistakes will be difficult to spot once the table is installed.
The old “curtains”. They were Hefty blackout trash bags.
The temporary main curtain, held up with clamps. It worked fine for a few nights, but I wanted a better, more permanent solution.
Making a template for the rear curtains. I used magnets to hold plastic sheeting to the door opening, and then traced the shape onto the plastic sheeting with a sharpie.
After cutting out the shape in plastic, I laid the template over the fabric, and then traced the shape onto the fabric.
Pinning two layers together. One layer is ironing board liner, one layer is velvet.
The finished curtain.
The curtains are shaped to the rear door opening.
I cut the curtain track with a PEX pipe cutter. The nice thing about that is that it automatically pinches the ends in a little bit, and prevents the curtain slides from falling out.
Vertical curtain track for shades that slide up and down. I had to get creative with how they attached to the van.
Cutting the fabric for the shades.
Using duct tape to hold the edges down. Luckily, no one will be able to see this hack.
Grommets, elastic, and slides hold the shade to the curtain track. It works surprisingly pretty well.
The back side of the shade. I sprayed on some adhesive and stuck some EZ Cool insulation to the back side. It helps the shade keep its shape and also blocks a lot of heat coming in through the windows.
The finished shade.
Making screens for the side door windows. I glued the screen material to the underside of the plastic trim.
The cutouts for the window latch have velcro around the hole so that I can stick another piece of screen material to it while still accommodating the latch.
How the screen will look from the inside.
Conducting a little experiment to see which adhesive will hold magnets to plastic best.
JB Weld wins. I stuck 10 rare earth magnets to the plastic trim for curtains.
Tracing the outline for the curtains, and the magnets that will be sewn into them.
The curtains. I still have to make the decorative layer that goes over it, but this works fine for now. They block 100% of the light.