My Red Cross ERV Build and Adventures

Rebuilder

Observer
Awesome-love aluminum body campers. Insulation looks good. Another thin layer of insulated panel over the frame will make a bridge where cold will stop.
Your workmanship looks good.
Thanks... Yeah I added another 1/2" on the ceiling and ended up adding another 1" to the walls to cover up the aluminum frame for just that reason. The other day I saw how well it worked because I could barely touch the aluminum tubing in the ceiling around the fan (no trim installed yet) because it was so hot but the ceiling was cool to the touch on the inside.
 

eporter

Adventurer
Nice work on that wind deflector area. My old chinook had that area filled with a crappy TV and storage cabinets. It really opened things up without all that junk there. The chinook shell was one piece so water was less of an issue. They kept the van roof intact, like the ERV. Some of the RVs and ambos with a fiberglass cap cab extension will cut out the van roof for more walking room. I think having it there is better for overall strength and some safety. Trade offs...but good of you to access all that unused space.
 

whitenab

New member
That is really cool. I've always wanted to use that space but didn't have a good way to fill the gap.

Can you post a picture from the outside to show how you closed the gap between wind deflector and the box?

Nevermind I see the pieces of aluminum on the inside that you did. Very cool!
 
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Rebuilder

Observer
Continuing on with cutting holes in things it was time to install the fresh water tank. There's a ton of extra space under the floor so I decided to cut a hole and fab up an aluminum box to mount the tank as low as possible. It worked out that there is stock square tubing all the way around the opening so structurally it's still very strong.

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The tank that I found to fit ended up being 46 gallons which should be enough for at least a few days!!

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2" insulation on all sides...

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This open area is where the pump and tank connections will go

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Rebuilder

Observer
That is really cool. I've always wanted to use that space but didn't have a good way to fill the gap.

Can you post a picture from the outside to show how you closed the gap between wind deflector and the box?

Nevermind I see the pieces of aluminum on the inside that you did. Very cool!
I'll add these fancy renderings because I already whipped them up to explain....

The top and bottom are aluminum channel something like this. The sides are similar but different.

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The u channel in the first pic is hidden under another layer of formed aluminum that I added to finish off the opening.

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Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
My vote is for full images :D

looking forward to seeing more. If our climate wasn’t so mild I’d add extra insulation inside the aluminum structure of the ceiling and walls... but at 6’4” every inch counts.
 

Rebuilder

Observer
Here are a couple pics of the divider wall behind the drivers seat. That area behind the seat is where the calorifier (water heater), water filter and other misc items will go (and obviously a bunch of electrical) so I'll enclose the whole area eventually.

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Rebuilder

Observer
I like the idea of being able to use the "garage" area while I'm in the box so I decided to make a lift bed so I can still use the area and still access the rear doors from the inside. I didn't get any pics of making the bed frame but it's made out of 2"x2" alum square tube and I'll use 2" webbing to support the mattress between the frame ribs. More on the bed later when I do the final install. You can also see the shower/toilet mocked up so I can make sure there's room for everything.

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The bed lift channels are regular unistrut from Home Depot with some unistrut "roller trollies" I got from Amazon.

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The ceiling is primed tongue and groove pine from Home Depot.

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eporter

Adventurer
Wow, great work on getting that seat to recline! Also impressive solution to keeping the utility of the back area with the lift bed. How does it lock in place at both positions?
 

Rebuilder

Observer
Wow, great work on getting that seat to recline! Also impressive solution to keeping the utility of the back area with the lift bed. How does it lock in place at both positions?
Thanks. I think the actuators themselves will hold the bed up just fine and I'll have stops and a half wall for the bed to sit on when it's down. The actuators have internal limit switches so the plan is to have it hit the limit switch just as it puts pressure on the down stops which should keep it from moving around while driving. The up limit switches are too high so I'll just have to manually stop when the mattress hits the ceiling. I don't plan on driving with it up but we'll see.

And I should say the bed is not designed to have a person or much weight other that the mattress and bedding on it when it's lifted. The actuators could easily lift a person but there would be way too much leverage on the frame and rails the way I have it built to do that.
 
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Rebuilder

Observer
Next on the build list is the in-floor heating. I was debating whether or not to remove the 3/16" diamond plate aluminum floor but then I came across this in-floor heating system that I thought would benefit from having that thermal mass below it. My thinking was since there is 1" foam insulation below the floor and heat rises that the aluminum floor would help absorb the heat and distribute it throughout the floor through the openings in the plastic grid. It definitely wasn't the cheapest option but it sure was easy to install.

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The thin aluminum plates are part of the system to help hold the PEX in the grooves and also distribute the heat a little more evenly. Initially I wasn't going to put the heated floor under the shower pan but in the end I did because why not.

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I decided to heat the "garage" as well because why not. You might notice the PEX tubing sticks out of the floor behind the water tank.... this is where I plan to put a radiator and a couple computer fans to heat the air in addition to just heating the floor. The plan is to have 2 radiators with fans and the fans will be on a thermostat which in theory should help regulate the air temp.... however, we'll have to wait and see what reality has to say about that. The hydronic diesel heater can also be adjusted to raise and lower the glycol temp which would affect the inside temp as well. More on that later....

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I decide to try a Chinesium hydronic diesel heater right off Alibaba because why not. The Chinese diesel air heaters are all the rage so I figure why not try a hydronic version. If it fails I'll replace it with the real deal. Funny thing is when I asked for the owners manual they sent me the manual from the real German one... can't remember which model or brand it is but this is literally an exact copy of it. I feel a little bad but for a third of the price (shipped to my door) it was worth a try. Side note: The sales contact through Alibaba was absolutely top notch. I ordered this right before the Covid mess started and she was very helpful with keeping me updated on the delays and shipping status. 100% would try again... unless it's crap....

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To go along with the hydronic diesal heater I decided on an 8 gallon calorifier to heat the potable/shower water. If you're not familiar with a calorifier for water heating you should be. This one is from Heatso part number SURJUSTCLR30LTRTC and it has 2 coils running through it as well as an electric immersion heater so I can heat the water using 3 different sources. In my case I can heat it using the for-mentioned diesel heater, I can also use engine coolant which is already plumbed because of the original box heater or as a last resort I can plug it in to 120v (or 240v) electrical if neither of the other options are available. I have bigger problems if the other two options fail :(

The ball valves in the picture below are configured so I can bypass the in-floor heating when it's not needed but I'll always have hot potable water.

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Thank you for sharing and inspiration! I’ve really focused on the outside 1st but love what your doing inside. I also thought about cutting in a door but eventually decided that the space penalty wasn’t worth it. That’s where my bathroom will go. Here are the plans for my interior. The bed (driver’s side) will also be on a lift so I can put motorcycles in the back. Really thought about cutting down the old spare tire box too... and after seeing the DP wheel wells removed I’ll be doing that too.

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I’m kinda surprised you decided to keep the electronics. Lots of circuits but old technology and just a ton of extra wiring. I pulled it all out and am starting over.
if you don’t mind, there is a vacuum hose that comes out of the trans tunnel on the pass side inside the cab. Can you look and see what/ where the other end attaches? Think that’s why my vents are not working!
 

Rebuilder

Observer
I’m kinda surprised you decided to keep the electronics. Lots of circuits but old technology and just a ton of extra wiring. I pulled it all out and am starting over.
if you don’t mind, there is a vacuum hose that comes out of the trans tunnel on the pass side inside the cab. Can you look and see what/ where the other end attaches? Think that’s why my vents are not working!
That sounds like way too much work for me :) The existing wiring is a little overkill but it's all there and easy to tap into for new circuits so I didn't see a need to change it. I'm curious what you're referring to when you say old technology though? Maybe I missed something that should be updated.
 
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