Introducing O'Billy - our new Type-II Ambulance

epinfRN

New member
-Where did you get the hinge that is used to switch the bottom section of your bed from sleeping platform to futon? I find this design SO ingenious! So much so that I feel compelled to copy it in my own build.
-Through what means do your drawers lock? Are those black latches somehow connected on the inside?
-What sort of solenoid are you using to connect your batteries into the charging circuit? It must not be a simple 60A isolator...
Ok, so, some simple googling answered my question about the drawer brackets (for anyone interested in them for their own build you can find them here: https://www.amazon.com/Dovewill-Replacement-Marine-Accessories-Non-Locking/dp/B071JN6J1W/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1505172392&sr=8-4&keywords=marine+drawer+latch )

But man, I am STUMPED as to what those metal arms and aluminum border are that you're using to convert from bench seat to bed. I find myself frantically searching the internet over for them...I can't even decide what use they might have apart from this application!
Does anyone have any ideas what they are or where to find them?
 

mike.marcacci

Adventurer
Hey epinfRN!

SO sorry to keep you googling for a week (we were back off the grid, except for some very weak service).

Latches
It looks like you found the same kind of latch we used, although I believe ours are made by SouthCo. They come in multiple different depths, so just make sure you have the right one for whatever material you're using for the door.

Bed Brackets
These were quite a project, actually! I designed them in Fusion 360 by Autodesk, which is absolutely spectacular software, and is free for enthusiasts (just like students)!

The biggest challenge was making sure the geometry worked at all positions:

- seat back needed to be at the correct angle when the gas springs were fully extended
- bringing it into bed position obviously couldn't compress the springs past fully-closed
- the springs had to be at their most compressed before the bracket was in its bed position, so that they would help press the extension down, rather than pull it up
- the extension length, seat height, and seat depth all had to be within range for comfortable sitting and sleeping
- the bracket and hardware couldn't completely block or interfere with any of the other storage compartments or panels

Also, I wanted the arm/spring units to be as narrow as possible to minimize the gap between cushions, and be rounded everywhere to reduce snagging and pinching.

Finally, I needed the construction to be simple enough for me (a total novice fabricator) to TIG weld. All the parts were sourced from McMaster-Carr, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, or onlinemetals.com. The fact that McMaster has CAD files for many of their products was absolutely key.

It was a ton of work, but turned out perfect :wings:

You can check out and download the CAD project here if you'd like. If you download it, make sure to move the components, which all stop where they're supposed to.


Battery Isolator
I opted for the diode-based battery isolator as opposed to the solenoid type, and picked up a 240A rated one by Sure Power online. To put it in the battery box, I had to run a 0/3 AWG marine wire from the alternators to the isolator, but took advantage of the 0/2 AWG that Leader had used to run it back to the starter battery. So far it has worked exactly as we had hoped!


Hope that helped! Let me know if you have any more questions, and thanks for all your kind words!!
 

mike.marcacci

Adventurer
Really cool build!

What all are you using the propane for? Outdoor shower?
Right now the propane is only used for the stove, which means it lasts for ever!! Since the water system was designed later in the build, and we were getting tight on time, we didn’t add hot water at all. This might be a really great addition eventually, but hasn’t felt like a big omission so far.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Krazymiked

New member
Mike,
I just want to say that your van build turned out awesome. Good job! I am in the planning stages of my build on a type 2. So far, it is very similar to what you and your wife have built. Question: now that you have been on the road for a while, is there anything different you would do with your build? Are there any changes you would make to the interior or anything you would have done different? And, I just want to say thanks for this thread. There is a lot of info for building out a type 3 but almost nothing for a type 2 build. You have provided a lot of pictures, resources and details that are extremely helpful. Thanks!
 

mike.marcacci

Adventurer
Thanks! I definitely agree – there are surprisingly few Type-II threads out there, and I'm glad mine could help!

As far as things we would have done differently, that's a really good question. Over the past 6+ months of using it full-time, we have made slight modifications here and there as we found things annoying, but nothing major. We've also met many other people living or traveling in their vans, and been able to compare how we use our vehicles.

Things that are a bit frustrating:

- Ventilation is a bit difficult with our designs. We were reluctant to install a roof vent, since the beautifully designed ceiling is quite full of lights/etc and would require some creativity given the gap for the steel roll cage. This means that our window vents are our only source of fresh air, and even though we have a great little fan that we use to draw air out of one of them, our blackout (ie stealth) window covers completely restrict airflow. Because of this, when it's hot we end up having to choose between comfort and privacy. This is perfectly fine in most places we've been (which are totally off the grid), but has lead to a few stifling nights in Walmart parking lots. If I were to do this again, I would try to come up with a way to get better airflow that allows for moderate privacy, and screens to keep out moths when not in "privacy mode."

- Our kitchen severely lacks counter space – the water/sink and stove are on opposite sides, which is great for weight distribution, but isn't ideal for cooking. Additionally, while our fridge is AWESOME and we love the drop-in for its space efficiency, its door is a countertop, which makes it frustrating to use while cooking, since you need to move everything off to access the fridge. We have several good size cutting boards, and tend to do any prep work on those (so the whole thing can be moved as needed). This actually works quite well, but if anyone made drawer-based fridges with the correct dimensions (they don't, btw... we spend hours and hours going through every manufacturer's current and past catalogs) that would probably give you the best of both worlds.


Things we like, but others might not:

- It's not quite stand-up height. While we would definitely like the ability to stand up all the way, we're already ~9.5 feet tall with the 4x4 and solar. For our use case, the ability to get down small trails is essential, so this is a fair compromise; for others, this is going to be a dealbreaker.
- The barrier between the cab and living quarters is great, adding storage and a privacy/security/insulation barrier. It does mean, though, that you can't swivel the passenger seat around, and the back "feels" a bit smaller than it otherwise would.
- We can only sleep 2 (or 3 if you really want to snuggle). I know that with a higher roof or a pop-top you can have 2 beds. We don't have a use for this, but it's worth mentioning.


Thats all I can really think of right now, but hopefully that helps! Overall it's been an incredibly comfortable and capable setup, and we've only met one other van that we like even close to as much as ours (it probably cost twice as much, though).

Good luck on yours!
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
- Our kitchen severely lacks counter space – the water/sink and stove are on opposite sides, which is great for weight distribution, but isn't ideal for cooking. Additionally, while our fridge is AWESOME and we love the drop-in for its space efficiency, its door is a countertop, which makes it frustrating to use while cooking, since you need to move everything off to access the fridge. We have several good size cutting boards, and tend to do any prep work on those (so the whole thing can be moved as needed). This actually works quite well, but if anyone made drawer-based fridges with the correct dimensions (they don't, btw... we spend hours and hours going through every manufacturer's current and past catalogs) that would probably give you the best of both worlds.
Only ones I've seen so far, and they're not very big :( ;
https://www.dometic.com/en-us/us/products/food-and-beverage/refrigeration/refrigerators/dometic-crd-50-_-137363 (solar)
https://www.dometic.com/en-us/us/products/food-and-beverage/refrigeration/refrigerators/dometic-coolmatic-cd-20-_-30881
https://www.dometic.com/en-us/us/products/food-and-beverage/refrigeration/refrigerators/dometic-coolmatic-cd-20-_-31250
https://www.dometic.com/en-us/us/products/food-and-beverage/refrigeration/refrigerators/dometic-coolmatic-cd-20-_-137385
https://www.dometic.com/en-us/us/products/food-and-beverage/refrigeration/refrigerators/dometic-coolmatic-cd-30-_-31219
https://www.dometic.com/en-us/us/products/food-and-beverage/refrigeration/refrigerators/dometic-coolmatic-cd-30-_-55611
 

epinfRN

New member
Hey epinfRN!

SO sorry to keep you googling for a week (we were back off the grid, except for some very weak service).


Bed Brackets
These were quite a project, actually! I designed them in Fusion 360 by Autodesk, which is absolutely spectacular software, and is free for enthusiasts (just like students)!

The biggest challenge was making sure the geometry worked at all positions:

- seat back needed to be at the correct angle when the gas springs were fully extended
- bringing it into bed position obviously couldn't compress the springs past fully-closed
- the springs had to be at their most compressed before the bracket was in its bed position, so that they would help press the extension down, rather than pull it up
- the extension length, seat height, and seat depth all had to be within range for comfortable sitting and sleeping
- the bracket and hardware couldn't completely block or interfere with any of the other storage compartments or panels

Also, I wanted the arm/spring units to be as narrow as possible to minimize the gap between cushions, and be rounded everywhere to reduce snagging and pinching.

Finally, I needed the construction to be simple enough for me (a total novice fabricator) to TIG weld. All the parts were sourced from McMaster-Carr, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, or onlinemetals.com. The fact that McMaster has CAD files for many of their products was absolutely key.

It was a ton of work, but turned out perfect :wings:

You can check out and download the CAD project here if you'd like. If you download it, make sure to move the components, which all stop where they're supposed to.


Battery Isolator
I opted for the diode-based battery isolator as opposed to the solenoid type, and picked up a 240A rated one by Sure Power online. To put it in the battery box, I had to run a 0/3 AWG marine wire from the alternators to the isolator, but took advantage of the 0/2 AWG that Leader had used to run it back to the starter battery. So far it has worked exactly as we had hoped!


Hope that helped! Let me know if you have any more questions, and thanks for all your kind words!!
Mike, those brackets are an absolute work of art! Are you an engineer? No way I could have come up with that on my own! My hope was that it was some sort of generic bracket that I would have been able to purchase and recreate a version of your bed. Instead I've moved on to a different design-but I remain envious of that design. It's simply fantastic!

As for the isolator-thank you for the link, instructions, etc. My only remaining question is how you decided how much current you needed your isolator to be rated for? For instance, I know that I have two alternators, but I don't know who makes them and/or how much current they're rated for. It seems like 240 amps might be cutting it close...
 

Jdubucsd

Addicted to Espresso
Thanks for the nice thread here. Im down in San Diego and working on my 1995 E350 type 2 also built by Leader also a 7.3.

Im curious, since you have had the rig a while now. Did you place any inusulation in the walls or ceiling? Mine has 3-3.5" fiberglass behind my panels. Looks solid and nothing is exposed.

Im working on the interior now and will be cutting a roof hole for my Maxxfan.

Thanks in advance on the insulation advice and what you have
 
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