The walls and solar installation were a bit of a joint effort because how we were going to run wiring. This was determined by what we were doing with the walls and vice versa. We definitely took two steps forward and one back throughout this process, which wasn’t helped by the Arizona heat.
The first step was to start laying out all of the wires that I thought would be needed. This helped plan for battery placement, fuse boxes, and where the solar cords would run behind the walls.
We have six 15 watt solar panels; each with their own wire to run. The panels aren’t terribly efficient, but they are the kind that continue to work when it’s cloudy outside. And as an added bonus, they came with the van.
We ended up using 4×8′ sheets of plywood because of their ability to flex to the contour of the van walls. The wood was also lightweight and a decently priced option without chemicals. Kate sanded everything before we knew they’d be covered in carpet.
We used self-tapping sheet metal screws to attach the plywood to the metal support ribs in the van. You can see how much the plywood flexed by the time it was against the wall.
Finally got all of the walls installed.
We passed by the carpet section of Lowes and it clicked for both of us! That material ended up being great to work with and gave a durable but homey feel. We had to hold it up with binder clips and glued it with all purpose carpet glue. It had a bit of an odor but that dissipated in half a day.
Fabricating the wheel wells. We measured them all up, cut the pieces, and glued them together; simple as that!
Turns out the right wheel well is two inches narrower than the left one. Good thing we measured!
Painting on carpet adhesive in the living room because it is way too hot to do it outside or even in the garage.
After the wheel wells were all glued up we waited for them to dry before being installed in the van.
This little relay is connected to the battery bank in the back. It allows the car alternator to charge the cabin batteries in a situation where the solar isn’t enough. It only turns on when the key is in the ignition and a switch is flipped, so there is very little chance that someone could accidentally drain the motor battery. This means that the van should always start, even if the cabin batteries are fully drained. The relay is a Stinger 80A Isolator that is more commonly used in the audiophile world for amps that need to draw a large amount of power.