Blog post 7

Floor, Ceiling, 120V Electrical

Kelvin Smith

12/28/20204 min read

I've been working on a lot of things at once. Some supplies I purchased were big and getting in the way, so they went in first. The ceiling is pre-finished beaded wainscoting, I bought two 4x8 sheets and that turned out to be the perfect amount. I had very little left over.  I bought the mdf kind, it was more rigid than the plastic version and as a result it will be a flatter surface.  The seam will be covered with some white pvc trim (later), along with some round white vinyl stickers to cover the screw heads.  My plan is to trim everything out once the main stuff is done.  The ceiling fan fit nicely with the included cover. I also added 2x3 on top of the old roof around the edges on the "lip".  I attached with wood to metal screws and some construction adhesive. This will serve to enclose all the van wiring below it in a channel, and allow for a clean line above it for the shiplap (later).

For the floor, I used some 1" furring strips and 2x3 on the ends to raise the height passed the seat rails for a level floor.  I did not want to screw into the floor (inviting future rust and leaks), so these were glued with construction adhesive and nailed in select places. I watched some people try to remove the seat mount rails before on the chevy express, and it looked difficult, so I decided to avoid that.  I needed to keep the front most passenger seat mounts intact anyway and I will, (much later), modify one of the stock express bench seats to use.  I plan to narrow the passenger seat to fit two people (left side shoulder belt and center lap seat belt only).  In the end there will be 4 belted seats total for the camper.  I will modify the seat to fold forward, and also modify the mounts to fit into the new boxed area (smaller than stock seat base to limit the size of the holes). I will still be able to remove the seat if I want for space once complete, and will probably make covers from aluminum that drop in.

  The floor is 7/16 or so plywood, and I decided to use locking vinyl plank flooring.  I bought the cheapest, nicest looking stuff Home depot had.  I think it was $1.59 per sqft, I could have spent more but I didn't see the need.  I'm pretty sure I spent more on the 1 1/2" 1/16th inch aluminum for the floor trim.  I definitely spent too much time on the seat mount holes and trim.  I think the end result is ok.  I was careful not to screw into the vinyl plank so it can expand/contract.  In the places where I need to screw into it for the bathroom, bed etc.. later, I plan to enlarge the holes through the vinyl so it can move a little if it does expand.  The size of the "room" is so small that I don't know if it even matters.  On the aluminum angle for the edges, to secure it I used stainless screws and washers, and used a small amount of construction adhesive on the wood edge (not on the vinyl).

I also finished the 120V "shore power".  This seems like an accomplishment, but in reality it is a small part.  I have a large amount of 12v wiring yet, and have some big plans for that. It involves, a 120v to 12v converter, solar, aux battery, and 120v inverter.  When plugged into shore power I will be able to run the 120v AND 12v off the 30 amp connection and completely isolate the 12v system from the aux battery of the van with a DPDT switch.  This will allow me to have an unlimited 12v supply when plugged in to shore power.

The 120V system uses a 30amp RV plug on the exterior to 10 ga wire to a 30amp panel with two 20amp breakers.  I have 5 outlets in total ran from the panel throughout the van, 4 are GFCI plugs. The one nearest the panel is not GFCI and will be used for appliances. I used 12 ga wire for each outlet from the breaker box.

This last picture is of the shiplap I bought for the top and sides of the interior.  I really like the color and I think it will help tie in the grays with the browns of the van. Lowes had this shiplap for $8.97 per 8ft board which is a great price for the look of the board. It come pre-stained/finished with a cool look.