New Member, Seeking advice on Van Conversion - Thanks!

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New Member, Seeking advice on Van Conversion - Thanks!

Post by Urban_Jackal »

I'm sure it's fairly uncommon for folks to modify a mini-van into any sort of RV or Motorhome, but unfortunately that van (A 1995 Windstar) is all we have to work with. It's what we own, we both lost our jobs some time ago and have been unable to find work again just yet, and will be losing the place we've been living in about a month and a half, so until we can get back on our feet, we have to find a way to make this work as best we can. We don't intend on installing a bathroom, and a sink is unlikely unless there's SOME way to manage it without making it absolutely impossible to move around inside, but some things are obviously necessary, and we know we have to be very careful about how space is used, but neither of us have done this before, though both of us are very good at building things from the ground up. That doesn't mean we don't need as much advice on the subject as possible, to try and make this more bearable. I think it goes without saying that we have already removed all of the seats in the better part of this van, and a family member is allowing us to store those and most of our belongings with them, but there are still many, many hurdles, and we have little time to at least get it livable on a very basic level, though we do at least have a lot of time to work on it at the moment.

My question(s) - The ones I have at the front of my mind;

- Does anyone have experience in modifying a mini-van in this way?

- Even if no one has experience with this type of van modification, are there any suggestions you could/would be willing to make, in order for us to utilize the small space we have as best we can?

- As far as a bed goes, since there's two of us that does make it a bit more difficult, so for now we've landed on "Futon Matress" as a bedding solution, as we can't just put blankets on the floor and sleep there with the medical issues we have, because we would be nearly non functional most of the day from sleeping on a surface quite that hard and unpadded. If there are other bedding options that provide even somewhat reasonable padding, what might those be?

- Since we would obviously like privacy, and aren't keen on folks looking through the windows while we're sleeping, do you have any suggestions on blocking the back windows? They are currently tinted, but not much, and I was thinking of something (If possible) that not only blocked the back windows, but also provided a bit of insulation to keep cold from seeping in through them so much.

- I was thinking of creating a barrier of some sort between the front seats, but I'm not sure if say.. wooden panels behind each seat, and a curtain between those seats so that we can get from front to back easily but still maintain privacy by closing said curtain, would work well, so anyones thoughts or suggestions on that would be appreciated.

- Currently, the only things we know we will absolutely NEED are; A bed, a cooking surface, a heater of some variety, storage space (I was personally thinking that building our own 'bed frame' with storage underneath would work for that) and a De-humidifier (we live in Texas, and even with adding more insulation where we can and/or where is necessary, humidity inside the van is undoubtedly going to quickly reach the point of unbearable, especially at night when we're inside for longer periods of time. If we can't sleep, then daily functionality is going to become more and more of a problem as time goes on.) If there are things I haven't thought of that anyone feels would be necessary, it would be great to hear about them. Also, if anyone knows or has a good idea of what types of bed frames, cooking surfaces, heaters, etc. would work best, I would be grateful for suggestions.

The reason we're not even attempting to install a bathroom or worrying overtly about a sink (Unless it's a reasonable possibility, since it would make some things easier) is that a really great friend of ours, though he doesn't have the space to let us stay with him inside his house, is more than willing to let us park on his property as well as use his washer and drier, and bathroom facilities, including shower, since he understands that we'll be job hunting extensively (Perhaps it could be even called obsessively) while living out of our van, and we need to make the best impression possible at ANY interview.

Any advice, or links to sites, forums or other groups that might be of some help with our current project/situation would be greatly appreciated.

A huge Thank You to anyone who's willing to offer advice on this.


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Re: New Member, Seeking advice on Van Conversion - Thanks!

Post by jamundsen »

Check your private message.
John Amundsen
Monte Carlo

Work tends to get in the way of boat building


Re: New Member, Seeking advice on Van Conversion - Thanks!

Post by upspirate »

You might try Craigslist for a mattress once you figure out what will fit.....people GIVE a lot of stuff away on there just to get rid of it.

I would use a propane camp can use it inside or outside(be careful inside ....ventilation is a must)

You can get a port-a-potti for about $69.....makes it handy if you need to go in the night....can be slid into an area under the mattress.

I would make the bed across the rear wheel wells if it will fit...maybe a couple of feet forward of the back doors with a wall up to the roof with storage behind this wall accessible from the back door or through doors in the wall

Good luck,wish you guys well,you'll make it! :)

fergal butler
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Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:55 am
Location: Co.Dublin, Ireland.

Re: New Member, Seeking advice on Van Conversion - Thanks!

Post by fergal butler »

I don't know what type of van you have, but here is a link to a Transit conversion that may be of some help but with only a month and a half you will have your work cut out.
Best of Irish luck to you and I hope things pick for you soon, I lived in a van for 3 months when I was younger and it was the best time of my life, the thing is you have to get along with the person your with nothing else matters. :)

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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:30 am

Re: New Member, Seeking advice on Van Conversion - Thanks!

Post by Urban_Jackal »

Thank you all very much for your responses, encouragement and well wishing, it means a lot, and has given me some idea. Thankfully, the oddest thing happened yesterday when I stopped by my last work place (a job I left over a year ago, because hours had been cut to the point where I was paying (in gas) to get to work, because he had over hired - Privately owned) and the owner was there, so I chanced pesting him.. and got my job back! I'm in shock.. Especially since he now has the right number of employees, so I'll get decent hours. He apparently learned how he made a mistake on that front and corrected it.. and I'm not about to be picky atm. ;)

So I'll still have to make the van livable, but won't have to worry about living in it for nearly as long.

Also, my van is a 1995 ford windstar (Minivan, whee XD) for those who didn't see it muddled within my original post ;)

With that said, I'm trying to find ways to insulate it as best I can for the time we are living in it. I was thinking of taking a bunch of those survival blankets (the silver 'survival' ones that you can get for pretty cheap at walmart and sports stores) and stapling them to the interior (being thorough of course), and then putting 1 or 2 layers of fleece over that. Thoughts on that, or other suggestions? I wouldn't worry about it, but the job is still minimum wage, so money will take time, and I want to make us as cozy as I can, and keep humidity out as best as possible.. Live in a VERY humid place, especially this time of year. So it's that cold humidity that sticks to you like glue right now..


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