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Sprinter build thread

  1. #576
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    Shore power can also charge the system. Just plug the intellicharger in to the 110 outlet.
    Yes, we saw a spike in the batteries when plugged in.

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  2. #577
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread-(Pictures are back!)

    Sweet. The system just plain works.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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  3. #578
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    I owe you guys a ton of updates. This has snowballed way larger than I ever expected. I’ve been working 7:30am to midnight just about every night on it and it has taken incredible shape. I’ll revert back with updates but for now, I’ve dumped all my Instagram stories into a highlight reel. Should be open to everyone.

    Instagram

    The clock is ticking now. I need to be in Bozeman by Friday at midnight and SF on the 19th. The quickest I can get new tires and is tuesday and I’m leaving right from Town Fair!

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  4. #579
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Post 7: The Ceiling.

    I racked my brain over and over and over again...what is the order? Cabinets then ceiling, or ceiling then cabinets? Maybe a hybrid: cabinet support, then ceiling, then rest of cabinets? After some trial and error with templates, I decided ceiling then cabinets, which is why Post 7 is the Ceiling and Post 8 will be the Cabinets.

    First step was some supports to attach the ceiling too. I ripped some 1x2 boards a little shorter and attached them with self tappers to the van supports.



    I decided that something flexible, 5mm plywood, would be the best. I went back and forth about vertical or horizontal, and decided horizontal. The lines would be cleaner and easier to maneuver 3 smaller sheets than 2 big ones.



    After mocking up the sheets, I planned out the location of the recessed lighting and pulled them down to cut holes. Also had to add insulation and do all the wiring.




    All done and hardwired for the time being!


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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 12-13-18 at 11:48 AM.
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  5. #580
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Post 8a: Cabinets - Drivers Side.

    I stared at the ceiling, the walls, ikea catalogs and websites galore. There was no playbook here. Its all custom, through and through.

    I decided that I did not want to use standard wood from home depot and then try to get a cabinet finish on it. I came up with a plan: IKEA offers custom kitchen solutions that you can design and build to your liking in all sorts of sizes. One brand of cabinet is EXTRAORDINARILY cheap, like 3-15 bucks a door depending the size. I would buy a mess of giant cabinet doors, with their nice smooth finish and edges, and cut them up custom in the sizes I needed. I am honestly thrilled at how well this worked and how cheap these were.

    I decided I wanted cabinets the full length of the drivers side. The back half would be open for sleeping bags and such. The front half would be split into 2 cabinets with doors. The middle one would be for gear. The front would be to hold all the electronic controls. I eventually painted everything white and it looks great finished up, so don't mind the roughness in some of these photos.

    The first step was to put in a nice smooth piece of quarter inch plywood for the back. This was easy because the wall is smooth the entire way without any crazy lumps or angles. The passenger side was a different story (see next post). Now I had nice smooth areas on the top and back to attach cabinets too.

    The second step was to create the vertical supports. Each individual one was custom. It might look like I could use the same for the whole length of the van, but no angle was identical. I tried using cardboard to make templates as all the youtubers and vanlife bros do, but it was too easy to "cheat." Instead, I would make a template of the edges out of a small piece of quarter inch plywood. This took many many many trial and error cuts with a jig saw. Once I had all the curves right, I would trace it on to another piece of quarter inch ply. This would allow me to get the height/length of the edges perfect. If I tried to do it all in one shot, all the back and forth would mean my edges would be different lengths unless I was unbelievably good at it, which I wasn't. Once I was satisfied, I traced this onto a piece of my finished IKEA cabinet, making sure to have the finished edges showing.

    For some reason, I decided to use L-brackets for the first cabinet I hung (the open one on the drivers side). I honestly can't remember why. Pocket holes worked fine on the rest. I squared off the front and framed/connect just about everything with pocket holes.

    For the doors, I bought hinges from Home Depot and had at em with more of the cabinet wood from IKEA.

    More on that last cabinet door with all the wires later.






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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 12-13-18 at 12:39 PM.
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  6. #581
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Looks good. Have any plans to address the seams between the ceiling boards?

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    I went to MMI I know what Im doing here chief

  7. #582
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Post 8b: Cabinets, passenger side.

    Basically the same story here, except for one massive difference...THE FRAMING AROUND THE SLIDING DOOR. The drivers side was all nice and smooth. No bends or curves, it was relatively "easy" to build a cabinet to extend the whole way across. The passenger side was a complete different story. After staring at it for hours, I realized there was no was I was going to get a quarter inch piece of ply wood to cover everything. Just too many opposing bends and angles. I decided that I would need to do this with planks. There were some good perks to this: 1) I would get a cool shelf out of it over the door, 2) it would hide some ugly seams, and 3) The slats of wood just look cool. Definitely had some difficulties with cuts and making bends, but I was thrilled with the outcome.

    The cabinet building was really the same, not much more to note here on that. I added a light over the kitchen too. This is on a separate switch from the overhead lights.








    And the finished cabinets! This picture is from a bit later in the process. You'll see I added a plank below the drivers side cabinets and about the bed/bench that really helped pull the look together and balance out the planks on the passenger side.


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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 12-13-18 at 12:51 PM.
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  8. #583
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    Looks good. Have any plans to address the seams between the ceiling boards?
    I originally planned to use trim to cover these. However, once I got everything buttoned up and fully attached, the seams basically took care of themselves. I painted the ceiling white (more to come) and the seams actually looked really good so I decided to leave the seams open. They're very consistent and maybe 1/8" wide. See photo directly above this post and you'll see how much better they turned out than the first few photos.

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  9. #584
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Post 10: The Electronics

    I've been pretty excited to make this post. Although simple, this is kind of the pride and joy work here. I chalk it up to my teenage years, working on cars, hacking things up because I didn't have money, time, or EXPERIENCE to do things the right way. I wasn't taking any shortcuts. I was ordering the right parts, using the right connectors, doing it as good as my simple brain can comprehend.

    There were three things I needed to do:

    1) Reorganize the electronics system
    2) Add a power inverter to get 110 volts
    3) Create a "Control Panel" in the front most drivers side cabinet.

    Lets first take a look at the different systems:

    Battery under hood to start car and run engine systems
    2 Batteries in van to run everything else
    Solar panel on roof to charge aux batteries
    Shore power to charge the aux batteries
    Alternator to charge both the aux batteries and the starter battery
    Distributor to send power to both aux and start system
    Brain to tell everything what to do
    Controller for the solar system
    User interface for the solar system
    600 watt power inverter
    Then the fuse box to run everything else in the van off the auxiliary power:
    -Ceiling lights
    -Water pump
    -Kitchen light
    -Fridge
    -Auxiliary outlets
    -Ceiling vent fan

    I decided to go with a 600w inverter. My main concern was being able to charge laptops/cameras and maybe plug in something small here and there. 600w was more than enough. After a lot of consumer reviews I spent the money on a xantrex pure sine inverter. It has minimal draw when not in use and auto turns off if it doesn't sense a load. Holy fucking specs on the wires needed to run this thing. 2 gauge was the minimum and an 80 watt fuse. Both were special orders on Amazon, ended up going with a circuit breaker.

    Anyway. Not much more to say here other than some photos of the finished product. At the end of the day, its just wiring, ideally you shouldn't see it, but I kinda wanted to put it on display.





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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 12-13-18 at 01:17 PM.
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  10. #585
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    ...xantrex...

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  11. #586
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Post 10: Back Doors

    After a lot flipping through hashtag photos, my girlfriend and I each had an idea for one of the doors. Since I was the one that had to implement it, mine was a lot simpler. I wanted a flip down table. She wanted me to attach and plumb the hot water heater while recessing the shower head and hoses in the door. Effing eh cotton. I gave it a go.

    Here is the insulated clean slate. Not really any room to work with here.



    Lets start with the easier one, the table. Just some photos, absolutely nothing special here but incredibly functional.




    Next was the shower and water heater. First step was to figure out a way to securely attach the heater to the door. It would need to stand up to the door opening and closing with some force. I securely fastened a board at the top and a metal support to the bottom. The heater would attach to these.



    Then I needed to build the housing apparatus. It would take the shape of the old door card and attach to the sheet metal. I had to cut holes to get around the handle, and allow access to the nuts and bolts to attach the heater. That's my attempt at "trim" to make it look nice.



    I also needed to box in the area that will hold the shower head and hoses. There was barely any room to do this, and thankfully I measured 12432 times and only had to cut once.
    Eventually I'll attach a mount for the shower head in this box to make it look nicer.Last thing to do was mount it all up! Flexible hosing will be used to hook it up to the water supply. I positioned the heater as close to the door hinge as possible so the distance between the water pump and heater would change as little as possible with the door open or closed.


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  12. #587
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Post 11: Kitchen Counter

    I actually started this almost at the beginning of the build. Once the layout was set, this was an intricate part of everything and everything needed to fit around it. This was really the theme of the entire build. I'm not sure if it comes off well in my documentation here in the forum, but nothing went start to finish in one sitting. Each stream got pushed forward little by little, together; never from start to completion in one sitting. It made documenting difficult and explains why some photos of each project may not have a floor but the ones at the end have a painted ceiling.

    My girlfriend decided the kitchen counter is the piece she really wanted ownership of. Despite everything I've posted, and the fact I did a lot of this stuff on my own using pieces of wood I drew faces on to help me hold things, Whitney was working on the kitchen counter behind the scenes, out of the van, for just about the entire build.

    She crushed it. I mean, of course I had to jump in and mansplain things just about the whole time, but she picked the most intricate, most detailed oriented piece in the van to construct. Just take a look at what went into this.

    First thing we did was frame it. It had to do a lot of things:
    1) Hide the water tank
    2) Hide the rest of the plumbing system
    3) Hide the wheel well
    4) Act as a support for the tri-fold bed.
    5) Store as MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, yet maneuver around all the systems built into it.
    6) Oh, it had to look good too. This is THE DEFINING FEATURE of the van.

    Framing and slight mockup is as follows.





    From right to left:
    The right most section will be a flip up counter top.
    The smaller, middle section is the location of the sink. My girlfriend had a nifty one picked out.
    The left most section (which is lower than the rest) will also be a flip up top for storage. It is lower than the rest because the bed needs to rest on this.



    Once framed, we pulled the counter out of the van and starting working on it inside our tiny home. In general, we covered it with quarter inch plywood but added a few nicer touches afterwards as this progressed.

    Storage was incredibly limited. The water tank meant no drawers on that entire right side. All drawers would need to go on the left under the sink. We were able to design a half-depth drawer at the top. The sink drain limited the depth. The next drawer down was full length. However, we also had to contend with the wheel well. That meant we had to opt for either a half size drawer or a small cabinet at the bottom. We went cabinet for pots and pans.

    Whitney custom built these drawers with a couple youtube videos and a table saw. I was incredibly impressed. Tongue and groove and everything! Installing slides and attaching them proved to be one of the most difficult parts of the build. I made the frame as straight as possible, but I'm just an inexperienced hobbiest. Since it wasn't perfect, we tried to shim and straighten the slides as much as possible. Eventually we had to abandon side mounted slides had to build shelves to mount the slides on the bottom of the drawers. I really wish I had more photos of this, but this was her workstream. I have a lot of the finished product.

    You can kind of see it taking shape here.






    The plumbing got more interesting. Whitney opened up like 5 boxes from Amazon and started walking me through her new and improved system. I fought her the whole way, but will eat my words and admit that it is fucking awesome now.

    The van originally had a pressure sensor pump to run it. Basically, when it sensed low pressure (open the faucet), it turns on. This resulted in some real intense water pressure that was an on/off switch. You open the faucet, pump turns on.

    Whitney bought the following items: trick sink, trick faucet with variable control, water flow adjustable nozzle, and a water pressure regulator.

    You pump up the water pressure regulator with a bike pump to set pressure. The water pump kicks on for a couple seconds and the system is primed. You open the faucet, and the pump doesn't need to run for quite a bit until the pressure in the regulator runs out. The pump then kicks on and refills the regulator. What you get is an incredibly consistent and controlled stream, and the pump only turns off/on for a few seconds at a time instead of off/on like a light switch with the faucet. I'm glad she did her homework, this system kicks ass.



    Whit picked up a nice piece of counter from Lowes. I ripped a 1.5 inch piece to act as a back splash and glued it on. I then cut the hole for the sink and ripped out the flip-up portion of the counter. Perfect width for our stove to go under here. I also used the same style of counter for the flip up storage on the lower section.




    The white cabinet enamel paint worked okay, but we decided to make some dummy faces out of the IKEA cabinet boards (which is also what we used for the fronts of the drawers. Add a bit of color to the counters and I think it came out pretty sharp!






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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 12-13-18 at 02:58 PM.
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  13. #588
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Comin out nice!

    Driven it at all to feel how the weight is?

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  14. #589
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    Comin out nice!

    Driven it at all to feel how the weight is?
    He got a lot of seat time over the last month. Top heavy if I remember correctly, but what sprinter van isnt.

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  15. #590
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by snwbrdr435 View Post
    He got a lot of seat time over the last month. Top heavy if I remember correctly, but what sprinter van isnt.
    Thought that was a van I recognized in the photos.

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  16. #591
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    Comin out nice!

    Driven it at all to feel how the weight is?
    Yeahhh, sorry for the delay. Its been over a month since I finished it. I've put 6k miles on it and its currently in storage in San Francisco. I'll have a pretty epic post about the maiden voyage soon enough.

    I don't notice any difference from before, it already had all of this stuff in it, I just re arranged it!

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  17. #592
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Okay, I think its time I close this out. Here are the finished photos. Still some work to do on the cushions, but they get the job done for now. They're cut up IKEA foam mattresses covered in generic cushion covers from Amazon. I've never slept as good as I do in the van.

    The van is sitting in storage in San Francisco. I move out there on the 8th. Its been a journey. Expect a lot more adventures with this thing.















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    Last edited by JettaJayGLS; 12-28-18 at 11:17 AM.
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  18. #593
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Nice work!


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  19. #594
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Failed California Smog test. Not because anything is wrong with the emissions, the van is 50 state approved. Its because the EGR system hasn't been activated and California will not pass you unless every system passes. This likely stems from the fact I fully cleared the codes when tracing a shorted out brake light switch which was preventing the van from getting out of park.

    Usually, there is a driving pattern you need to complete to re-activate the system. After searching the depths of the internet...this isn't going to happen. I drove across the country, down to LA, then back to SF, encountering every type of traffic pattern possible and it still didn't activate. This is a pretty well known problem with T1Ns. Despite a lot of people contacting Mercedes to do something about it, opening cases with a California Smog Referee, and driving thousands of miles trying to get it to activate, nothing seems to help. Seems that receipts for $650 in attempted repairs will get you a 2 year "pass" and then you will need to do it all again upon the next inspection.

    The fix seems to be getting the "Green Diesel Engineering" engine tune. For $700 they ship you some hardware, you plug it in and download some data from your car, email it to them, they send you back a file, and then you load it up. Apparently this thing is awesome in every way imaginable for these motors: mileage, power, and longevity. I'm usually hesitant over such thing, but the Sprinter Forum swears by this tune.

    Also, after reading through pages and pages of threads, this is also the only fool proof way to reactivate your EGR system. However, it is illegal to modify any emissions systems in California. I'm guessing GDE has been in quite a few law suits and the order is immediately cancelled if you try to get it shipped to CA. For the time being, my car is still registered in MA. I even called and chatted with the guy and no such luck. Not a terrible thing to need to work around, however, I'm stuck moving my car every 2 hours until I can get it registered in CA and get a resident sticker.

    Such fun stuff.

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  20. #595
    Posting Freak caddydaddy's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post

    The fix seems to be getting the "Green Diesel Engineering" engine tune. For $700 they ship you some hardware, you plug it in and download some data from your car, email it to them, they send you back a file, and then you load it up. Apparently this thing is awesome in every way imaginable for these motors: mileage, power, and longevity. I'm usually hesitant over such thing, but the Sprinter Forum swears by this tune.

    Also, after reading through pages and pages of threads, this is also the only fool proof way to reactivate your EGR system. However, it is illegal to modify any emissions systems in California. I'm guessing GDE has been in quite a few law suits and the order is immediately cancelled if you try to get it shipped to CA. For the time being, my car is still registered in MA. I even called and chatted with the guy and no such luck. Not a terrible thing to need to work around, however, I'm stuck moving my car every 2 hours until I can get it registered in CA and get a resident sticker.

    Such fun stuff.
    I've had the GDE tune in my Mercedes powered Jeep for about 4 years with no issues. I haven't heard of any owners disliking the tunes. That does suck that it can't be shipped to Cali. Know any friends in any other state that'll mail the tuner to you?

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  21. #596

    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by caddydaddy View Post
    I've had the GDE tune in my Mercedes powered Jeep for about 4 years with no issues. I haven't heard of any owners disliking the tunes. That does suck that it can't be shipped to Cali. Know any friends in any other state that'll mail the tuner to you?
    With how recently he moved, maybe mail forwarding is still active on his old address?

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  22. #597
    Lifer snwbrdr435's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    Failed California Smog test. Not because anything is wrong with the emissions, the van is 50 state approved. Its because the EGR system hasn't been activated and California will not pass you unless every system passes. This likely stems from the fact I fully cleared the codes when tracing a shorted out brake light switch which was preventing the van from getting out of park.

    Usually, there is a driving pattern you need to complete to re-activate the system. After searching the depths of the internet...this isn't going to happen. I drove across the country, down to LA, then back to SF, encountering every type of traffic pattern possible and it still didn't activate. This is a pretty well known problem with T1Ns. Despite a lot of people contacting Mercedes to do something about it, opening cases with a California Smog Referee, and driving thousands of miles trying to get it to activate, nothing seems to help. Seems that receipts for $650 in attempted repairs will get you a 2 year "pass" and then you will need to do it all again upon the next inspection.

    The fix seems to be getting the "Green Diesel Engineering" engine tune. For $700 they ship you some hardware, you plug it in and download some data from your car, email it to them, they send you back a file, and then you load it up. Apparently this thing is awesome in every way imaginable for these motors: mileage, power, and longevity. I'm usually hesitant over such thing, but the Sprinter Forum swears by this tune.

    Also, after reading through pages and pages of threads, this is also the only fool proof way to reactivate your EGR system. However, it is illegal to modify any emissions systems in California. I'm guessing GDE has been in quite a few law suits and the order is immediately cancelled if you try to get it shipped to CA. For the time being, my car is still registered in MA. I even called and chatted with the guy and no such luck. Not a terrible thing to need to work around, however, I'm stuck moving my car every 2 hours until I can get it registered in CA and get a resident sticker.

    Such fun stuff.
    Mail it to me and I'll send it to ya

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  23. #598
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread-(Pictures are back!)

    Dang. I came so close to doing the tune, but the van ran so well, i never bothered.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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  24. #599
    Senior Member OneCheekRider's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    I had GDE in my diesel Jeep. It really transformed the motor and I never had an issue with MA smog. I sold it before I left the state so can't comment on CA unfortunately.

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  25. #600
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: Sprinter build thread

    Haven’t peeked at this thread in a while, and... DAMN! Epic project, looks amazing.

    0 Not allowed!
    05GSXR75005SV65090DR350

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