Dodge Caravan RV

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slug
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Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:31 pm

Well, don't know whether this is allowed here under the Glen-L rules, but after (I think) 5 Glen L boats, I decided to put a hold on the Gentry and modify a Dodge Caravan for a trip to the west coast this summer.
It will have a small galley across the front with stove, sink, and cooler, a bunk/seat down each side, with a marine head, holding tank, water tank, hanging locker and various stowage cabinets.

Started with a cheap (maybe too cheap in hindsight!) 2005 unit and cut off the body behind the front doors. I have one bulkhead established on the port side, with the front 1 1/2" of the sliding door acting as a filler strip, as the front doors swing back in their opening arc.
I will be widening the body/floor pan out to a straight side, so some creative body work will take place. Some steel channels will be added to reinforce the floor pan, hopefully to compensate for losing the upper van frame. Wall framing is steel tubing with cladding and ply, so I'm fairly confident in structural integrity. I guess time will tell :shock: :lol: :lol:
Here are some pics so far.
Doug[img]
Attachments
DSCN0844.JPG
A little body modification. I'm an old hotrodder from a way back.
DSCN0846.JPG
The leftovers
DSCN0847.JPG
Port bulkhead tacked in place, an idea of the shape

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Lowka53
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by Lowka53 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:24 pm

8) I think this might be covered under Glen-l camper trailer section :lol:
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Bergy
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by Bergy » Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:05 am

Wow Doug, that's an ambitious undertaking! Are you planning to have standing headroom aft of the bulkhead?

Howard
"It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:47 pm

Howard; Yes. The bulkhead will go about 14" higher across the cab, then will have a raised section about 3 feet wide and 5" deep for full six foot standing down the middle between the two bunks/seats.
I have to add the 5 inches AFTER it's out of the shop.
The galley will be across the front just behind the van seats, and the foot of each bunk will stretch in under the counter on each side to give me room aft to install the head.
Got the other bulkhead on today.

Doug

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:58 am

Latest progress pics. Pleased with the results so far. Back to the metal shop tomorrow for some more pieces.
Doug.
Just a quick aside. No problem removing the rear bumper. The four bolts that would normally hold it in were never installed :shock: .
Good thing the previous owner didn't tow a trailer!
Attachments
DSCN0852.JPG
Rear extension , including centre recess for step to be added tomorrow.
DSCN0851.JPG
Still lots of little patches to weld in.
DSCN0850.JPG
Cleaned up to find some tools!

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Andy Garrett
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by Andy Garrett » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:54 am

Cool! I will enjoy following this thread!
Andy Garrett

Perhaps the slowest Zip build in Glen-L history...

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:40 pm

Went to the metal shop this morning and sheared and formed the inner step and the rear valance.

Got them installed this afternoon. Still having fun, 'tho I had to take yesterday off to clear some of the grinding dust out of my lungs :shock: :lol:

Doug
Attachments
DSCN0853.JPG
Inner step and rear valance installed. Really stiffened up the framework.

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:28 pm

Latest pics. Starting to show some idea of the final shape :shock: :lol: :lol:
Couple pics of the profiles that I'm welding up for the corner beams (longitudinals).
Attachments
DSCN0859.JPG
DSCN0857.JPG
DSCN0856.JPG

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:30 pm

And the profiles for the angled corner beams, 16 and 18 ga mild steel.

Doug
Attachments
DSCN0855.JPG
DSCN0854.JPG

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AusDevil
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by AusDevil » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:38 am

Absolutely love what you're doing Doug, keep the images coming,
I will be following this.
Richard
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slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:48 pm

Richard; Thanks. Little setback this week. A very good (and longtime) friend of mine came over to view progress. He noted that I hadn't left much clearance between the new fenders and the tires ( which were off when I installed). He placed his hand between the fender and tire and when I stepped on the back it squashed his hand!
The choices were to raise the body (already high enough) or re do the fenders.
So, The fenders have been removed and raised and everything is good now.

Formed a bunch of 18ga. channels for wall framing this morning, so will be doing framing next. Should be taking shape quite fast now.

Doug

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:52 pm

Got most of the wall and roof framing done. Just some interior bottom and end plates to finish tomorrow. The middle part of the roof will be extended up about 5" for headroom down the aisle, but will go on after it clears the garage door.

Looking forward to starting the paneling.

Doug
Attachments
DSCN0862.JPG
DSCN0861.JPG

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:11 am

Latest pics on the van, showing the panels pretty well all installed. Had a very good friend come over and help with the panels and it went well. He and I work well together....like an extra pair of your own hands that automatically know what you want to do!
Still the roof to finish and corner trim to go on. Have removed the fuel "hole" from the original and welded it in to the new panel, as the fuel pipe and door "snaps" in to it. Once I have the pipe boxed in to insulate fumes from the cabin I'll start insulating the walls and installing the ply interior.
Still coming along good.

Doug
Attachments
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DSCN0864.JPG
DSCN0865.JPG

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:43 am

Well, I actually have been working fairly steady all along, but not much to show for that time. I have, however, replaced the front strut assemblies and done all the brakes to get it ready for a safety check.
Also built in the fuel filler from the old van and built a box around the pipe to isolate fumes from the cabin.
New fenders are required because I widened the body several inches. They are made from trailer fenders with 3 inches added in the middle.
Have also changed rear wheels to wider offsets to help. May also use spacers.

Feels good to be actually working on the interior now that the actual "conversion" in complete.

Doug
Attachments
DSCN0866.JPG
Old fuel filler assembly cut out of fender and welded in to new side panel.....works perfectly.
DSCN0867.JPG
Inner walls with one inch insulation and fuel pipe isolation box.

slug
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Re: Dodge Caravan RV

Post by slug » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:52 am

Front bulkhead is ready for caulking and paint, then I can start installing the water and holding tanks. Tanks are already built of stainless. I priced fibreglass, and even with me doing the molds it was still cheaper to do stainless, with a better tank! Guy that welded them did a fantastic job. Looks like the weld was painted on. (He actually makes stainless counters with sinks with rolled corners and bottoms formed and welded right in to the counters....even rolled back splashes. Truly an artisan)

Doug
Attachments
DSCN0869.JPG
Forward bulkhead ready for caulking and paint.

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