Self-building the Adventure Mobile, pt. 2 - An Isolated Affair

Go here for pt. 1. 

Damn, it's been close to 4 weeks since I wrote part 1. I intended to make this a sort of weekly thing, but things've been busy so I never got around to it.

Enfin, here's part 2:

I guess I spend around 3 days removing and cleaning up all the shit from the previous owner, gradually working my way to a clean van (as pictured below).

But as I was cleaning up the van I started noticing a pattern, explained in haiku form:

Much Tiny Rust Spots .
Floor. Ceiling. Roof. No Good, Man.
No Can Have That.

So the next few days were spent grinding down all the paint around the rust spots, and apply rust treatment. The entire first day I hacked away with a tiny chisel (Dutch: beitel), like an idiot, until I learned about a neat invention called a sander. It went quite a bit smoother thereafter (bad pun totally intended). All in all, I spent a day or 3/4 removing rust, fixing holes with fiberglass resin, and applying new paint on the barren sheet metal to prevent future rust formation. 

That slimy stuff right there is the rust removal jelly called Rustyco. It works amazingly well. You can combine it with a wire brush for deeper rust spots as well.


I'm gonna be straightforward about my feelings of this process:  
It was a mo-ther-fu-cker to remove it all. 

And what was even worse was thinking you're all done and then rediscovering some more rust spots in some unexpected spot (e.g. under the hood). This cycle repeated itself a bunch of times.

When it was all done it was time to put in the floor, which turned into quite the issue as well. I'd bought 9 smaller plywood boards for the floor, which made it quite difficult to make the floor level as the plywood was laid on top of soft, spongy isolation material. This created a sort of pontoon effect, which would cut into the vinyl over time. So every board had to be exactly level with the other. 

I first made a template of the floor with some plastic which I'd used to cut the isolation material and jig saw the plywood into their correct shapes. A neighbour of mine, Kasper ten Hoven - a contractor by trade, helped me make the floor level by installing a wooden frame beneath the plywood. This way all the insulation material fit into the wooden frame, and the plywood was screwed into the frame and through the bottom of the van, creating a very solid flooring.

Below some photos of the flooring process:

Templates for everything!

Kasper's help was much appreciated, because I didn't yet have the necessary skills, the patience nor the knowledge to do it properly. As a Generation Y kid, I'm perennially impatient and want to do things fast. It's ridiculous, and a cancer outgrowth of our productivity-driven society, which my generation is bearing the brunt of.

We lack the patience and the diligence to do things properly, we have massive FOMO and we lack the understanding that good things are hard, and hard things take time to master. (This will actually be a common thread in this blog, and a big driver behind the name of this project, The Slow Lanes. But more on that later..)

Anyway, Kasper's help is just an example of people spending their free-time to help me with the build. It's great to see this build turn into a community project, with people chiming in with suggestions, coming over to talk and have a look, or offering tools and tips. Apparently blocking half the street and building a camper is great for social cohesion. I probably should get some kind of government subsidy for it. 

Next up, isolation.

Books can (and should) be written about isolating a van. There's so much BS out there. Vapor barriers, glass wool, using Reflectix without any air barrier around it, pU foam, people buying a black-colored van and assuming they can get it isolated, and so forth. I'm not gonna bore you with it, but if you have specific questions just ask and I'll tell you what to do in detail. 

I used 15mm and 20mm X-Trem Isolation foam, which is a closed-cell foam that helps with all types of insulation. Nothing else. Wood will covered it all, and between there'll be an air barrier, which should provide plenty of isolation. Applying the foam is a straightforward but arduous process: cut it into pieces and glue it on.

It did give the van an interesting look:

Next up will be the roof vent, installing the solar and laying down the vinyl. This already happened about 3 weeks ago, so I'll try to play catch up with these updates, because we're already building the kitchen as of this moment!

On to the next.