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Unhingd PigFeedng Gangstr
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I did it. Picked up the 2007 Chevy Express Cutaway 3500 cube van I was debating. 6.0 liter gas engine, 4.10 gears, towing capacity of 9700 pounds. Picked it up with 18,000 miles so it still has about 6 months of bumper to bumper warranty and 2.5 years of powertrain coverage. Also 2.5 years of roadside assistance!

Planning on making it somewhat comfortable for staying in for wheeling trips. I'll update this thread as it comes along. For now, completely stock with 2 shelves in the back. This is going to be a fairly low budget interior job so it won't be anything overly fancy, just a few basics. Here it is as it sits now:

Property Wood Vehicle Automotive tire Wheel


Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Automotive side marker light Vehicle
 

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good idea man, just throw a couch or small bed in there to sleep on and some sort of table maybe with holder for a camping stove on it? or something along those lines. couple cabinets, could be a nice little area in there.
 

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I would consider partitioning it off with a living area in front and a toolbox/parts bin in back since you can access each area separately. Maybe the last 30" or so for your smelly/messy stuff.

Get to an RV salvage yard and save yourself a lot of time and money by stripping out parts such as inverter, fridge, heater.

Pay attention to weight though. That 9700 lb towing capacity will disappear quickly if you get too enthusiastic with the tools and parts and luxuries.
 

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Unhingd PigFeedng Gangstr
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No new pictures to post yet, but I'm pulling the factory stereo and putting in a navigation system with backup camera and a cb. I'll take a few pictures later today and tomorrow and post them up. Not too exciting, but it's a start!

I had all 3 of these items sitting in my garage from a vehicle I sold a couple years ago so my cost so far is $0. I'll keep a running total of what I put into it cost-wise as I go. Nav system is the Eclipse by Fujitsu 10 and the cb is just a cheap older Uniden.
 

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Unhingd PigFeedng Gangstr
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would consider partitioning it off with a living area in front and a toolbox/parts bin in back since you can access each area separately. Maybe the last 30" or so for your smelly/messy stuff.

Get to an RV salvage yard and save yourself a lot of time and money by stripping out parts such as inverter, fridge, heater.

Pay attention to weight though. That 9700 lb towing capacity will disappear quickly if you get too enthusiastic with the tools and parts and luxuries.
Great input. Thanks! The fridge is going to be an ARB (Engel) one I already have and for now the heater is going to be a portable propane job. Inverter and cabinets from a wrecked RV would be perfect though.

I think the gas, oil, and smelly stuff is going to go in a cargo box on the trailer. If I start sectioning off a few feet here and there I'll be left with a closet to crash in. I like that this thing is small, but space is going to be ultra tight. I have to be really careful.

I'm thinking about something along these lines as far as the seating/beds and cabinets go, although way smaller and way less fancy. Also without all the cools kitchen stuff at the back. Mine's gonna be as basic as it gets. I really like the seats/sofabed that flips up to the wall though.

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Floor Flooring Wood Machine Fixture
 

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Great input. Thanks! The fridge is going to be an ARB (Engel) one I already have and for now the heater is going to be a portable propane job. Inverter and cabinets from a wrecked RV would be perfect though.
Id avoid doing a propane heater in an enclosed space like that so you don't die to the gases. Go for an electric heater they also tend to be smaller for their output just takes awhile for it to get the whole thing heated may want to add a fan if it doesn't have one.

I think the gas, oil, and smelly stuff is going to go in a cargo box on the trailer. If I start sectioning off a few feet here and there I'll be left with a closet to crash in. I like that this thing is small, but space is going to be ultra tight. I have to be really careful.
You would be surprised by how much you can shove into a small cube truck. I would make an area to add tanks and electrical that you can block off from most of the cabin but still get to. It will be neat to see what you come up with though.
 

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RV heaters are mostly propane and mostly safe. Electric heat would be nice but it doesn't work unless you have a generator which, unless it is diesel and runs off of the vehicle fuel tank is a big PITA. Salvage a propane heater from an RV and just be careful with the install.
 

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wilson1010 where do you find a RV salvage yard? Im starting to make plans for doing something like this to a FL70 or similar size truck with a 25ft box. Maybe go for a Uhaul truck with the low decks so I don't need to climb 4 ft to get into it.
 

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wilson1010 where do you find a RV salvage yard? Im starting to make plans for doing something like this to a FL70 or similar size truck with a 25ft box. Maybe go for a Uhaul truck with the low decks so I don't need to climb 4 ft to get into it.
There are actually a whole lot of them. Where are you located? I would google RV Junk yards or RV salvage and your zipcode. Of course, I am near Elkhart In which has everything RV nearby. But, there are so many RV's wrecked and worn out that there are probably a hundred of these places across the country. Indiana Arizona and Florida are probably the best locations for salvage.

Having said all that, I bought a sleeper from a wrecked semi for my parts not too long ago. It had everything including a heater, microwave, generator, 2000w inverter, etc.
 

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Unhingd PigFeedng Gangstr
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nav unit is installed. Pics tomorrow morning. Backup camera works perfectly! Way better than most aftermarket cams I've used. Bought a cheap 5.00 cord and plugged it into the RCA inputs so I've got an ipod cord now too.

I talked to a couple really good guys at Dave and LJ's RV Interiors in Woodland Washington today. We're looking at costs for cheap tough grey flooring and wall covering, a couple basic cabinets, and the wall-mount beds. I'm a little afraid of the quote they're going to give me tomorrow for the parts, but I'm staying positive. I think they like the idea so I'm hoping they cut me a break.

As I said, pictures of the dash and cam tomorrow and if I get time, a drawing of what I'm thinking now.
 

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Noticed in your original purchase thread you mentioned a "low draw 12v" fridge. Most of the small 12v fridges I've seen will kill a battery in a matter of hours and the performance is less than optimal. Consider finding a used pop-up trailer that looks like crud and can be had for cheap (torn canvas/windows, or siding damage... stuff that really drops the price). Cannibalize the parts needed like the 3-way fridge, water heater, water pump, water tank, sink and grey-water tank, heater and thermostat, propane tanks and rack/fittings, power inverter and cord for shore power (generator), outside shower, beds, cabinets, etc... heck, even an outside canopy (or full screen room if you're lucky).

Could save yourself a bunch of bucks in the details of your build vs. buying all those parts individually at a junkyard.
 

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Why not build it so you can just drive your Jeep up into the truck? Seems like it would be easier than dealing with a trailer.
 

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Unhingd PigFeedng Gangstr
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Noticed in your original purchase thread you mentioned a "low draw 12v" fridge. Most of the small 12v fridges I've seen will kill a battery in a matter of hours and the performance is less than optimal. Consider finding a used pop-up trailer that looks like crud and can be had for cheap (torn canvas/windows, or siding damage... stuff that really drops the price). Cannibalize the parts needed like the 3-way fridge, water heater, water pump, water tank, sink and grey-water tank, heater and thermostat, propane tanks and rack/fittings, power inverter and cord for shore power (generator), outside shower, beds, cabinets, etc... heck, even an outside canopy (or full screen room if you're lucky).

Could save yourself a bunch of bucks in the details of your build vs. buying all those parts individually at a junkyard.
Thanks man.

My 42 quart fridge will run 2 days in my Jeep in 80 degree weather and my Odyssey battery will still fire up the Jeep. The unit has a temperature scale that ranges from 1 to 5 and anything over 2 will freeze. 1.75 keeps things a little above freezing no matter what the temp outside it. In fact, at 100 degree temperature, you can set it low enough to freeze and it still will draw only 2.7 amps. That's about 24 hours with a good battery and you'll be sitting at about 10 volts. I also got the transit bag which insulates it even better. They're spendy fridges, but they work awesome.

With a dual battery setup here I'll be fine. Running for a few minutes once every couple days should do me fine. I'm going to try to keep everything at a really low draw so I can get by without a generator.

I'm not going to do water tanks at this point. I'm going to use this for both a toilet and a place to shower. PETT Toilet System Kit with Shelter
with this for the shower unit: Cabela's -- Zodi Hotman Extreme S/C Shower
 

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Unhingd PigFeedng Gangstr
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Why not build it so you can just drive your Jeep up into the truck? Seems like it would be easier than dealing with a trailer.
That would be cool. I wanted to go pretty small with it though so it is quite a bit too small to be able to do that both length-wise and width-wise.
 

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You might look into a solar charger for the batteries when your not running it. Will keep you from having no power and maybe losing your food. Should have plenty of room to mount it to the roof some where that it wont get damaged.
 

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Unhingd PigFeedng Gangstr
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You might look into a solar charger for the batteries when your not running it. Will keep you from having no power and maybe losing your food. Should have plenty of room to mount it to the roof some where that it wont get damaged.
That's a great idea! I'll check it out.
 
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