With the Van Build coming to an end, several important projects need some attention. Today I’ll start working on the battery bank of my solar system. Originally, and that was at the beginning of the van build, I installed two 6V Golf cart batteries. This netted me only ~100Ah at 12V nominal. Sufficient for only the most basic usage. At the time also more than sufficient, with only a minimal number of trips planned.
The main reason however, was that only 3-4 years ago, Lithium battery technology was hardly existent and very expensive. As I look back now, much has changed. We know now, that charging a Lithium battery at below freezing temperatures, is a big No-No, cell balancing must be part of the setup and many more issues are better understood. The development of low priced BMS’s (Battery Management Systems) has also made the DIY setup a possibility.
Still have a small piece of window, next to the storage closet that needs to be finished. I’ll install a window frame/sill made from Hard Maple and add a plywood cover around it. Later I will use an automotive tweed to finish it. The corners of the frame are made differently than those of the window at the Murphy Bed , but give a similar result.
I continue the installation of the Webasto Gas Heater by removing the passenger seat and pedestal. The hydraulic car jack that is stored under the seat will be moved to another location. To achieve a good seal between the heater and the floor, I install a separate base plate and seal it with some silicone. Then drill the holes for the heater. Finally the heater is inserted in the holes of the floor and attached with four bolts.
In the process of finishing up the passenger side of the interior, I need to insulate the walls. Before I do that, I pulled the last wiring through the wall cavities.
The wall insulation consists of rigid Poly-Iso, separated about 0.5 inch from the skin of the vehicle with a few dots of spray foam, with the Poly-Iso pressed into it. This void acts, both as a barrier and a way to drain any condensation, without wetting the insulation.
I fill-in most of the storage boxes in the ‘garage’ of my van. They are all open boxes with inter-locking bottoms, except for the top box, which receives a top lid. This Formica-finished top lid has three functions: as a top lid of course, as an extension of the kitchen countertop and as a worktop placed on a imperfect picnic table.
Installation of the fuel pump, Rheostat and wire run.
After unpacking the Webasto Gas Heater, I continue building the upper cabinet, including the Rheostat installation. Another unfinished job, was the removal of the van’s jack, which is located inside the passenger side seat’s pedestal, to make room for the heater. Finally, the fuel pump is installed close to where the fuel line enters the gas tank. I pull part of the power wire, that runs to the batteries, including the wires for the main light switch.