Happie's Van Build - Ramses

  • There he is! This is Ramses, my recently purchased 2014 Ram Promaster - 2500 with 159 inch wheelbase.

    Next Tuesday, I take it to a local Ram dealer for the fixes on 2 open recalls. One is a programming update, and the other is the Shifter Cable, which may detach from the shifter and...well, you can imagine....

    Next Thursday I take it to my local mechanic to give it a check up.

    I have 2 months to get the work done needed to make for cozy living over the traveling season. First step is/was getting the divider and contractors shelving sold. I am keeping 2 units, and will show those as I convert from industrial gray storage to a kitchen/desk on one, and a clothes storage unit for the other. They'll also serve as a visual divider between sleep and living area. I'm hoping to face them with wood to camo the metal, but if I end up not having the money for that, it will wait until next year.

    I'm researching the insulation and surfaces coverings now - a bit overwhelming.... I'll do the work I can, and hire someone to do things like cutting the shape of plywood subfloor. I think I will go with the pre-cut black floor mat as floor surface, unless the cost of vinyl flooring is so much less that it is worth going that way and having someone do the cutting/installation.

    Hoping I can move my old bed platform over and adjust to fit as needed. I would like to raise the platform level, as this rig is much taller than Penny, but depending on what's involved, we'll see if that's feasible.

    Windows are going to have to wait until next year. Same with electrical. I would like to have a fridge, but can do without because of the system needed to power it. I have a coworker, an ex-Navy electrical engineer, who can put in some wiring so that when the time comes it will be ready.

    For now I'm just trying to learn things like how the hell to navigate the radio set-up, and figure out what's going on with the sticky sliding door(sometimes will open, others not).

    But - what a difference, from having a "just keep her rolling" vehicle. Taking this van up the last hill over the Shawangunk Ridge, and remembering Penny's last time up that one....!


  • I got one of my windows from these guys. good quality and price. liked the fact that the screen pops out so its super easy to get it repaired if it gets torn.

  • The other two windows that I got on amazon were a little cheaper but will be impossible to fix the screen if it ever needs it. My repair plan when it becomes nessicary is involved and requires advanced woodworking skillz but will be pretty cool looking.

  • Installing a window is not that hard. certainly not as skillfull as the sewing that you do and it shares some of the same skills.

    Tools needed.:

    1. Cheap ryobi jig saw. $49.00
    2. Cordless ryobi drill. $69.00
    3. Calking gun less than $10.00
    4. Tube of Geocel or other silicon based window sealer. $8.00
    5. Phillips head screwdriver.

    Step 1. trace the window insert that goes on the inside of the van. this should be similar to making a pattern for sewing. use a black sharpie. Make sure that the opening you are marking is not too big!

    Step 2. Drill a starter hole to put the jig saw blade into. 3/8ths in drill bit is good. Get brave, cut the hole.


    Next step is much easier with two people! goop the flange of the window with Geocel or whatever silicon based product your googling skillz decide is best for car windows. push the window into the hole. The tricky part may be that the window is made for a 1" thick RV wall so you need a slightly less than 1 inch wooden spacer behind the interior flange.


    One person pushes the window in from the outside while the other person screws the interior flange to the window. Done.


    Try not to get the sticky shit all over the place.

  • So i missed some tools. You do need a step ladder to do pretty much anything on the outside of these high top vans. pretty tall one to get on your roof. You absolutely need the powered roof vent. Also dead easy to install . Get up on the roof with a ladder, trace a hole. There is most likely a flat spot on your roof intended for a roof vent or sky light. Cut the hole, goop the flange and drop the unit in. nN need for a spacer as the roof vents screw directly into the metal roof.

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    I'm still trying to figure out how to attach the damned spray foam cannister to the sprayer....

    I bought the pro gun and cannot get it to even attach. Since the can was now started, I attached(or tried to attach) the sprayer that comes with it. Doesn't seem to lock on, and if I let go it begins to unscrew. The it broke the seam where sprayer and trigger attach and..foam came out there. Hence, the mess, as I then slathered it on with my hands.

  • yuk! if you can give up on the high R board and do the rest in Roxul it will be much easier and cleaner! just stuff it in. probobly cheaper than insulation board and spray foam.

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    My friends gave me a VanWarming party and Jeannie made a Ram Promaster facsimile cookie!

    Getting time to get on the road again.... Going to be where in Covid, for sure.

  • Hey there, hi there, ho there! o/

    Seems past time for me to fork your Ramses build to a dedicated thread. Was starting to be split 'twixt two others so I rounded 'em on up and consolidated. 😉

    We await further documentation of your progress. Build on! ✌

    P.S.; Maybe revisit the dual golf cart batteries in series option for your solar set up, eh? 🤔

  • I really don't need solar. It would be nice, but the cost outweighs the benefit right now.

    This year is just basics, and I'm not even sure I'll get the ceiling and walls up. Still insulating\foaming. I have to get a move on! My ETD is less than 6 weeks out.....

  • You don't need solar unless you have a fridge and powered roof vent.

  • @NickG

    I will never do it, but I like your instructions.

    I learned VW's from the other John Muir and I have never "diddled with the clevis" even after all these years

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    I got the ceiling insulation up. Just a few momore spots to foam, and then I need to wash the floor so I can lay in the insulation. After that I need help with putting in the wood.....

    Take note of my high tech brace holding the panel in place while the foam cures....

  • Hi Happi, Tad from the old ST days. Congrats on the new van/build.
    Don't know if you followed my Promaster build on ST but can offer some suggestions/ideas along the way if you'd like.
    Don't know your plans for elect. system but now would be the time to
    install roof fan and run wiring for lights, fan, solar, etc. before you put the wall/ceiling up.
    Don't know what your bed platform plans are but here is how I did mine. It makes use of the (8mm?) threaded holes in the side support beams. Happi building, Tad

    IMG_0080.JPG IMG_0088.JPG

  • Happie. hope all is well. seems like your migration time is rapidly approaching!

  • @NickG I suspect Happie's Internet access may be less than stellar between job and her cabin's remoteness.

    @Happiegrrrl All you really need is a sleeping pad, warm bag, water jugs & a stove. Maybe some secure food storage in event some unwelcome marauder gets into your rig. Take your tools with you. Build during your over wintering. Plenty of cool folks around JTree that would let you jack into their 120v AC for stuff you cannot handle via hand tools. Added bonus is that actually living out of the rig will provide insights as to how you want to set things up - sometimes things seem much better in our imagining than in the real. Actually using the rig helps keep it real. 😜 🐕

  • I have all the insulation done, and am stalled on floor, walls and ceiling wood due to $$. All money right now, and then some, going to sales tax/registration at DMV tomorrow.

    Someone gifted me 1 sheet of 3/4 inch plywood(for floor) and 4 sheets BRAND NEW 1/4 inch(for ceiling and walls). So, next payday I can hopefully buy 2 more sheets 3/4 plywood.

    The gifted 3/4"" one is got a little moisture that delaminated one of the plys in a section, and is what I call "Splinter Plywood." That will go in the under bed area and hoping I can cut away the delaminated section. I will buy a better grade for the front section, and am intending to paint with Cabot DeckCorrect in their Cordovan Brown color.

    A local guy has offered to cut the contour end of the floor(butts up against the driver seat raised area) with his jigsaw. I was able to make a reasonable contour shape in the 1 inch insulation foamboard, so that can be used for the template.

    I'm going to have Lowes make cuts on the pieces for the middle section, and the either this guy will fine tune the cuts to fit, or I will buy a hand saw and do it.

    I haven't even thought about getting the ceiling and walls up... But, I hope I can at least get the ceiling in place. Because I bought some pretty faux tin tiling to go atop the bed area and it would be nice to have that done before I leave.

    As for the bed - those images will help me visualize how to frame my bed next year. For this season, I'm taking my old bed and retrofitting it into this van. Next year I hope to remove it, and put in a platform that has more room below. I'm not adding cabinets at ceiling over bed, so if I don't have a higher platform, I'm wasting a good chunk of space.

  • Happi, I can raise my bed platform as high as the horizontal support if needed for more storage underneath. I have it in the lower position so I can fold the back up to make a couch (like a futon), notice the long hinge that divides the bed platform.


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    I got the floor in...


    ...and the bigger shelf bay.

    Ran out of daylight to get the bed platform in. It's set in place(not secured) and HUGE. Tomorrow we are going to trim the queen size down to full.

    Then one more cabinet in and time to start packing. No walls or ceiling until next summer, unfortunately. But that's okay.

    ETD - Thursday, November 19th.

  • YAY! Progress!

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