1. Introduction

This will be a step by step guide showing you how to build your van.   I have organized each step I have taken to build my van.  Video’s will appear at the bottom of each page with affiliate links to the needed tools and supplies.  When possible I will also include product number so you … Read more

2. Van selection

Meet Arvin the van.   We call it Arvin because it’s “Our-Van”.    There are three vans that are commonly used for conversions into tiny homes.  Those are Mercedes Sprinter, Ram Promaster, and the Ford Transit.   The information that follows can be used to build out any van.  But we selected a RAM Promaster for a few … Read more

3. Van Tour

Now before viewing all the details of our van build you might want to take a look at the end result.   Then you can look through this guide and find those items that you want to know how to do for yourself.   Below are various tours of our van.     For a few items like … Read more

4. Floor + Carpet

The floor of our van is not hardwood, or laminated flooring.    I see many people building out their vans putting in hardwood laminate flooring, and I just don’t understand why?    You will see and walk on very little of this floor.  Most of it will be under the cabinets and in the garage area. I … Read more

5. Walls – Insulation – Headliner

All of the wall panels are made from 5mm plywood called project board.  These were purchased from Lowes  Item #518477  Model #518477  RevolutionPly 5Mm x 4-ft x 8-ft Poplar Sanded Plywood. This 5mm plywood is flexible enough to form to the contours of the walls.   This was covered in Duramax (Also, called marathon) tweed material.  … Read more

6. Ceiling + Skylight

For the ceiling and some of the wall panels we applied Marine Vinyl to the 5mm Plywood.  These panels were sealed just like the wall panels.  Using 50/50 mix of polyurethane, and then mold killing primer on one side. Then using the Landau top contact adhesive the marine vinyl is applied.  There is a definite … Read more

7. Roof Deck – Solar Panels

Mounting something on the Promaster roof can be challenging.  The van has these strange little numbs protruding out of the roof.   You can purchase commercially made brackets but they are $30 or more each.  If you have an extended van you need 10 brackets.   That’s over $300 in brackets.  That’s not Frugal. So, I designed … Read more

8. Kitchen

Refrigerator – There is a story about our refrigerator.   We decided to take a  protype trip before the van was complete.  Which I highly recommend, so you can make adjustments.    The floorplan was set, everything installed.  Just the walls and ceiling were not in.  Everything worked, it just did not look very good. The plan was … Read more

9. Plumbing

Water Supply – For the plumbing of the van we have the three 16 gallon water tanks that are all connected together.  Two under the sink, and one is on the other side of the van, next to the water heater.  The reason for this is weight distribution.   You want to weight evenly distributed across … Read more

10. Shower system, Toilet

The Toilet – So, I decided to design my own “Composting Toilet”.   That decision was quickly made after seeing the cost was over $1000 dollars for these things.   These “Composting toilet” videos are my first postings to YouTube.  So the video, sound and editing isn’t very good.   But it works.  The plans are on our … Read more

11. Cabinets

Building the cabinets for the van took a lot of planning.  Each needed to be purpose build for exactly for what it would hold.  There are three upper cabinets. One above the bed to hold our clothes.  A cabinet dedicated to charging all of our electronics and a small pantry cabinet. Size considerations: The clothing … Read more

12. Bed + Garage Area

Bed – When designing your van layout you will need to decide if you want a fixed bed, benches that convert to a bed, or a murphy style bed that folds down.  It was an easy decision for me.  I wanted a van that was less work and more fun.    So, assembling my bed each … Read more

13. Electrical

This is a big part of the build and my favorite.  Teaching electronics for over 30 years, this is kinda my thing.  The advances that have taken place in the past 20 years are amazing.  LED light and LiFePO4 batteries are prime examples.   Be sure to scroll down to see the videos for each section.  … Read more

14. Swivel Seats, Wall Partition, Bug Screen

Bug Screen – Something you just can’t survive without is a Bug Screen for the sliding door and the back doors.  There are some that sell these screens for over a thousand dollars, which is crazy.   It takes a little customizing, but you can do it yourself with standard screens from Amazon.  That’s what you … Read more

15. Build Tips and Tool

This post will have a list of all the tools you need to build your van.  These will be practical tools.  Not high prices tools as if your going into full van production.   The tools you need, and at the bottom of the page the videos on how to use them! Safety Glasses  – These … Read more

16. Maintenance

Here you will find detailed instructions on changing the oil, servicing the transmission, changing air filters and other maintenance and safety items for the RAM Promaster Van.  All have detailed videos at the bottom of this page. Oil Change:  The RAM Promaster has a 5.9 Quart Oil capacity.  I recommend Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic … Read more

17. Accessories

So, after the van is completed there are many things that make travel and life much easier.  Things like a digital rear view mirror, a quick easy awning or a simple way to modify cookware to make it easy to store.  That type of information is found in this post. Screens for your Van – … Read more

18. Van Life Travels

In this post you will find all of our adventures.  The longest so far has been a 10,945 mile trip around the USA. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. So, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. This does not increase the prices to you.

Installing Drawer Slides

An easy method to accurately install your drawer slides.  Plus, two hints to make them slide smoothly.