Cummins Canoe (A Stepvan Story)

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
I gotta give a shout out to nutserts. If you don't own a nutsert tool, you're missing out. These things are great and we're going to be using them everywhere in this build!

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Used to be all these giant "screws" holding everything around the doghouse together.

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Installed some nutserts to hold it all together.

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All the cross bracing is very thick, structural aluminum. Feel much better with all bolted hardware.

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After getting the doghouse back on, got bored and been looking over at the empty passenger seat area. The original stock jumpseat was terrible. I had some spare Jeep seats laying around so this kinda happened.

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Had some leftover scrap steel from Belgium laying around. Bolted it through the interior metal into some structural aluminum c-channel.

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The old brackets had to go.

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Without brackets, things were very flimsy so some other support was welded in.

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Bam! Passenger seat!

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Mama didn't raise no dummy. The seat we used came out of a 2 door Jeep XJ, so the back folds forward and the whole seat slides forward with a lever and some springs. Now we still have great access to the back through the front! Need to find some plate steel to triangulate the passenger side of the seat bracket. Going to weld a whole piece of that in place and make it very strong and then paint it all. Right now, some flat iron will work as a template while we work on the rest of the buildout.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Had some fun today, "testing" some equipment and ideas. Have others thought about having a hot tub in their van? Not sure, but we sure did.

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So we dragged a kiddie pool into the back of the van, filled it with hose water.

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I had to replace some pic fittings on the hot water/engine coolant heat exchanger on my expedition rig with stainless fittings. The pvc fitting kept cracking/melting. Things were always too hot I guess. But we're going to use the 12v water pump to cycle the water from the pool, through the heat exchanger while engine is running at idle, and back into the pool to gradually heat up the water to hot tub temperatures.

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One hose takes the water out, the other pumps it back in. A cycled loop if you would call it.

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Water starts at 78 degrees F and comes out at 121 degrees F. At 3gpm, that's 64,500btu, or 18900watts. Not bad. Very doable to heat up water for hot tub in your van.

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After about 35 minutes, the kiddie pool was now a hot tub! Maybe a little too warm. Had to add cold water to bring the temperature down a few degrees. It's a standard size kiddie pool, unknown how many gallons. I could measure the dimensions and do the calculations and get a rough estimate of how many gallons it is, but ain't nobody got time fo dat, we got a hot tub to enjoy!

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Might be the coolest thing ever...

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This will have to be included into the van build. Every van should have a hot tub.

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Only one problem was driving with the hot tub. Going around corners proved problematic. Not sure how to remedy this. good thing we can drive without doors so all the leaked water can get out of the interior. Will need more testing.
 

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Pntyrmvr

Adventurer
Run your hot water supply and a portion of your cold return water through an adjustable domestic tempering valve. Should be able to keep output of hot water within 1° of target temperature.

Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Run your hot water supply and a portion of your cold return water through an adjustable domestic tempering valve. Should be able to keep output of hot water within 1° of target temperature.

Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
We have ideas to utilize an Espar hydronic heater and an auxiliary heat exchanger to run a loop for hot tub. Figured we could just put a valve on the end of the hot water hose into the pool. Less or no flow will cool the temperature down and open all the way will increase temperature. A simple 12volt RV water pump will turn on and off automatically depending on valve position.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
We have ideas to utilize an Espar hydronic heater and an auxiliary heat exchanger to run a loop for hot tub. Figured we could just put a valve on the end of the hot water hose into the pool. Less or no flow will cool the temperature down and open all the way will increase temperature. A simple 12volt RV water pump will turn on and off automatically depending on valve position.
If you make a lid over your tub that seals with no air in there, it’ll prevent the water sloshing side to side and prevent leaks.

A friend made a hot tub in a pickup truck by closing the tailgate and lining it with a tarp. The water weighed so much he had to use sections of log to distribute the weight to the ground and keep the rear bumper off the. He used stream water to fill it and heated the water using a hot-tub wood stove.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
If you make a lid over your tub that seals with no air in there, it’ll prevent the water sloshing side to side and prevent leaks.

A friend made a hot tub in a pickup truck by closing the tailgate and lining it with a tarp. The water weighed so much he had to use sections of log to distribute the weight to the ground and keep the rear bumper off the. He used stream water to fill it and heated the water using a hot-tub wood stove.
We've been second guessing having the hot tub actually inside the van. It just takes up too much room. Making a kiddie pool air tight sounds like too much work. Maybe we'll put it on the roof. We'll see.
 

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PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Good things, and bad things.

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The good, this thing is awesome for drive thru!

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The bad, the clutch slave cylinder decided to leak all it's fluid out while sitting at the drive thru. Good thing you don't actually need a clutch to shift gears and we got her home in one piece.

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So there is a retaining drift pin that holds the connector in and makes a seal. This old pin on the right wore down and allowed the seal to give way. So we replaced the old pin with a new pin.

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Used a pitman arm puller and a deep socket to simulate the pressure plate from the clutch acting on the slave cylinder.
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And bench bleed the whole thing. The master cylinder is mounted on the firewall in an orientation that allows air pockets during bleeding, so it kind of has to get bench bled, which was really easy to remove and reinstall.

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But all is good and the repair seems to be holding. Took it for test drive to the store and even the dag approves!
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Speaking of caravans, also thanks to someone finally recognizing the "dag" typo, lets get back to the "caravan" build!

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So as we've been driving around, we've been picking up random building supplies, because free is better than actually paying for stuff?

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So, after inspecting the ceiling, we decided to leave it as is. Ignore it like it's not there. There is an inch of insulation already up there, so we're good.

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The main reason we're not messing with ceiling is mostly all this stupid rivets.

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Like, c'mon. Unscrew this shitty little flathead to release the shitty plastic rivet thing? One was horrible enough. But then there are hundreds? Yea, we're just pretend these never existed. Spending the time to remove all that, and then more money on re-insulating all that with something like polyiso, eh, ain't nobody got time or money fo dat. We're on a budget!

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Anyway, the vehicle is loud. Lots of wind noise from the back. We do plan to insulate and have some sort of HVAC setup in the living area. Lots of heat develops from all those windows, like a greenhouse. So having the cab section partitioned off was a no-brainer. Some van people say to utilize the cab area as living area to get more space. But this is a friggin step van, it's already got plenty of room! Also, we can go for more of a stealthy look by leaving the cab looking very commercial like. so here we go, building a bulkhead wall.

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Making everything fit super nice and snug. My neighbor was renovated a house across the street, so we dove in the dumpster and "borrowed" a bunch of old pressure treated wood.

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The whole van is aluminum. These angle pieces are aluminum. I can weld aluminum. So there we go. No more unnecessary holes or screws.

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Fill in the blanks and bam, we got a wall!

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We decided to go with building a pocket door. You might not have the best insulation, but you save a lot of space. Besides, I never built a pocket door before, so this was kinda fun. Plenty of space to walk around.

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And plenty of space to have the seat all the way back. Unfortunately, when you recline the back of the seat all the way, you hit the wall. You need to scoot the whole seat forward 4" to fully recline the seat.
 
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Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Good things, and bad things.

View attachment 616117
The good, this thing is awesome for drive thru!

View attachment 616118
The bad, the clutch slave cylinder decided to leak all it's fluid out while sitting at the drive thru. Good thing you don't actually need a clutch to shift gears and we got her home in one piece.

View attachment 616119
So there is a retaining drift pin that holds the connector in and makes a seal. This old pin on the right wore down and allowed the seal to give way. So we replaced the old pin with a new pin.

View attachment 616120
Used a pitman arm puller and a deep socket to simulate the pressure plate from the clutch acting on the slave cylinder.
View attachment 616121
And bench bleed the whole thing. The master cylinder is mounted on the firewall in an orientation that allows air pockets during bleeding, so it kind of has to get bench bled, which was really easy to remove and reinstall.

View attachment 616122
But all is good and the repair seems to be holding. Took it for test drive to the store and even the dag approves!
I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who can drive an old truck with no clutch. In the 28 years I’ve owned my 40 Landcruiser, I’ve had two or three trips home after the slave failed or a flex line got too close to the exhaust. In 30 years and more miles than I can count I’ve only had my old Triumph towed home (after a U-joint took out the yoke).

I can also appreciate another build with a budget... anyone can build a truck with a black Amex card. I’m more impressed by what can be done without one.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Nice. But I'm kinda cheating with this truck, as the transmission has a granny 1st gear. You can either start it in gear or ease it in/ram it in gear and off you go. Then you just float the rest, which is what I normally do when I'm not in a rush to get somewhere. Saves the clutch over time.

Yes, unless you have those specific spare parts, that would warrant a tow. I carry spare ujoints, but never in a million years would I carry spare yokes. I've only had to call a tow truck twice, and they were both for either crankshafts or connecting rods leaving the engine.

Thanks! Building on a budget is the way to go! Save money for all the actual good stuff that people will never see, like differential lockers, and Espar heaters. :oops:
 
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