DIY Promaster Camper Conversion Guide – Part II

best diy promaster campervan conversion guide

In Part I of the DIY Promaster Camper Conversion Guide we covered how to come up with a camper van layout and how to install windows, fan, insulation, and electrical.

In Part II of this conversion guide, we will cover how to do everything that’s actually seen: how to build an awesome bed and kitchen area, storage, finishing the walls and ceiling, and a look at the accessories we added in to make our life on the road a bit more comfortable.

 

how to convert promaster van into a campervan

 

For the van’s interior, we wanted to create a simple, clean look with light colored cabinets and walls and a contrasting dark wood ceiling, countertop, and floor. On the outside, we wanted to make it as capable as possible to take on any road conditions we might encounter during our trip to South America.

 

Promaster Camper Conversion Guide – Part II

1. Ceiling Paneling
2. Floors
3. Bed Frame
4. Kitchen
5. Finishing Touches
6. Van Conversion Cost

 

1. Ceiling Paneling

The first part of our homemade campervan build was to install the ceiling slats. We wanted the slats to be thin to give us as much headspace as possible and in dark walnut color to provide some awesome contrast between the slats and the white insolation behind it.

 

home made camper van ceiling

 

The oak paneling that is typically sold at the stores is thick so we decided to make our own. We used 1/8” 4×8 wood paneling sheets from Home Depot and we cut them into 2” wide strips.

 

diy campervan conversion dark walnut ceiling

 

We stained these strips in this amazing dark walnut stain to give them a finished look.

 

insulation promaster campervan conversion

 

We placed the strips about a half-inch apart and attached them to our Promaster roof’s crossbeams with stainless steel screws.

 

lights and wiring promaster ceiling installation

 

Once the roof paneling was done we put these 12V LED puck lights over the slats and light switches to control them in the walls.

 

2. Floors

We did floors a bit different than most people in their DIY campervan conversions. We wanted a modern wood floor but didn’t want to make it too thick and eliminate our much-needed headspace. Instead of placing plywood down to level everything first, we decided to go with wide plank laminate flooring because it’s very thin and easy to install by snapping the pieces into place.

 

floor insulation promaster campervan conversion

 

To level the floor, we instead cut small strips of ¼” insulation and put them into the floor grooves to keep the laminate flooring from buckling and warping when standing on it.

 

promaster van conversion floor insulation

 

After the insulation was secured down with tape to prevent it from moving around, we used this underlayment noise barrier to provide additional insulation and noise reduction.

 

diy promaster campervan laminate light wood floor

 

We went with a laminate wood flooring that had a natural wood look and only put it in the areas that would be seen, otherwise we would have needed another box of flooring that would have mostly gone to waste.

 

campervan light laminate wood floor

 

After the laminate flooring was done we put an aluminum bar on the doorstep to prevent it from breaking as we step in and out of the van.

All in all, the flooring was by far the easiest and fastest part of the whole build.

 

3. Bed Frame

Creating a custom bed frame was pretty straightforward but we did have a few requirements that needed extra modifications.

We travel with our cat so we needed to create a litter box area in the back as well as a catwalk to access it from the front that would also double as a hiding area. We also wanted a permanent bed with as much storage as possible underneath.

 

promaster campervan bed ideas

 

We planned on using half of the storage area under the bed for clothes, our camera gear, and other essentials, so we wanted it to be accessible from the inside the van.

 

diy promaster campervan storage under bed

 

The back half would be accessible from the rear doors and would be used to store our hiking gear, water tanks, litter box, and house batteries.

 

homemade promaster campervan conversion

 

We started by creating the main frame from 2×3’s. We used a similar setup in our Honda Element conversion project and it held up great so we knew it would definitely be strong enough but not as bulky as 2×4’s.

 

used promaster campervan conversion

 

We used wooden slats to make most of the bed top but used plywood on hinges to make access doors to the catwalk on the left and to our hamper on the back right. We also used 3/8” plywood to create a shelf inside the closet.

The front of the cabinet frame was finished off with smooth 1” pine boards.

 

low cost promaster campervan conversion

 

We created some simple doors for the closet out of ½” birch plywood and used self-closing hinges and heavy duty door magnets to keep everything closed while driving. We painted the frame and the doors white to give it a simple, clean finish.

All the way on the front right, just in front of the wheel well, we created a hard-to-find sliding door where we will hide our drone in case of a break-in.

 

installing deep cycle batteries promaster campervan

 

In the back, we placed the two house batteries against the dividing plywood and used ½” plywood to make an enclosed battery compartment. We vented the batteries to the outside by placing a ½” plastic hose through a hole we drilled right below the tail lights.

At this point, we also installed the fuse block and solar charge controller in the back and finished up hooking up the electrical we ran in Part I.

 

amazing diy promaster campervan conversion guide

 

The finished bed dimensions came out to be 74” across and 54” wide. We used this full size 6” memory foam mattress and it fit perfectly. If we were any taller, we would have installed less insulation on the sides (we used a total of 1.5 inches on each wall) and made the space as much as 77” wide.

 

4. Kitchen

For the campervan kitchen area, we had a few requirements to improve our long-term traveling and encourage us to cook as much as possible. Some of our must-have requirements were a small built-in fridge to store fresh food, a sink with running water, and a permanent propane stove top.

 

promaster campervan diy bed build

 

We bought a pre-built kitchen cabinet from Habitat For Humanity’s Restore for $10 and built everything around that base. The cabinet already came with doors and drawers and just needed a fresh coat of paint along with a few small modifications to fit the fridge.

 

installing beehive backsplash van conversion

 

Before installing any of the kitchen cabinets in our Promaster camper van we created a hexagon pattern backsplash that would go behind the counter. We used 3/8” wood to create the backsplash and covered it with this hexagon backsplash sticker instead of using ceramic tile. The sticker looks just like the real ceramic counterpart but much easier to install and no chances of breaking it when driving over rough roads.

 

campervan kitchen beehive backsplash

 

The backsplash was the perfect place to put a few charging outlets, a voltmeter to keep an eye on the battery voltage, and an on-off switch for the water pump. Once the backsplash was installed, we started working on the kitchen countertop that would go on top of it.

 

kitchen counter installation promaster camper van

 

We bought a beautiful dark wood butcher block countertop from the clearance section at Ikea for $70 to go on top of the cabinets.

 

promaster campervan kitchen conversion

 

A couple of holes later the countertop was ready to be mounted along with the sink and cooktop.

The permanent RV stainless-steel cooktop runs off propane but we didn’t want to keep a large propane tank inside the van for safety and space reasons. Instead, we chose to use the common 1 LB Coleman green propane containers which usually last over a week of cooking breakfast and dinner every day. When empty, we refill them from an 11 LB tank that we keep in a Pelican Case on the outside of the van.

The sink came from Ikea and is the perfect size for a van conversion. Under the sink, we found a couple of adapters to connect simple ¾” clear tubing and drain it out to the outside. We found an existing drain hole at the edge of the floor and just enlarged it to fit the tubing.

 

sink installation promaster campervan conversion

 

We found this simple, cheap faucet on Amazon that only had one water line coming in instead of the usual hot-cold combo. To make sure we don’t waste too much water, we changed out the standard 1.5 gallon-per-minute aerator on the tip to this adjustable aerator with a switchable flow rate between 0.5 gpm and 1.5 gpm.

 

campervan conversion water tanks

 

To store enough water for 1-2 weeks we decided to get two 7 gallon containers for water storage. We needed one container to store filtered drinking water and one container for sink water, a must while traveling through Central and South America unless we simply used filtered water for everything.

 

campervan conversion best water pump

 

To supply the running water on demand, we installed this 2.3 gpm 12v water pump in the back just above the water tanks. We tested just about every water pump under $100 from Amazon and this was by far the quietest pump, barely noticeable when on.

We used a stainless steel braided hose to connect the water pump to the faucet because they can withstand high pressure, are safe for drinking water, and have a threaded connection on each end instead of using barbed fittings that can easily leak.

 

best promaster van conversion kitchen setup

 

We already had the perfect built-in fridge and freezer that we used on our previous Honda Element SUV conversion. We added an inch of insulation all around it to make it more efficient and have it turn on less frequently and drilled 2” holes into the side cabinets to allow fresh air to flow behind the fridge.

 

campervan conversion kitchen accessories

 

We had some leftover countertop that we used to create the backing plate for our magnetic spice rack next to the fridge.

 

awesome diy promaster campervan conversion guide

 

One of the hardest things about life on the road is resisting the temptation to eat out instead of cooking whenever possible, saving money and creating healthier meals. Having this permanent kitchen that includes all our requirements makes it easy to stick to the plan.

 

5. Finishing Touches

After creating all the cabinets and interior, we wanted to make a few additional modifications during our van conversion process that would increase our comfort and add décor to the van.

 

swivel seat ram promaster conversion

 

We added a swivel base to the passenger car’s seat which is great for hanging out at night. We didn’t know how much we would use it before installing but it turned out to be one of the best additions to the van and one that we use daily.

 

installing curtains and accessories campervan conversion

 

We also wanted to add some privacy curtains inspired by the campervan rental we had on our previous trip through Iceland. We bought a large orange curtain from Ikea that we cut into smaller individual curtains for the windows and we attached them in place with photo hanging wire.

 

promaster camper van conversion accessories curtains

 

We put in permanent curtains in the side and back windows, and also created removable curtains for the front passenger and driver windows that are held in place by magnets.  The front passenger and drivers windows are already tinted so we use these removable curtains only at night.

 

promaster campervan pelican case

 

In the outside rear of the van, we added a Pelican 1640 case that we use to store extra fuel, our super handy foldable grill that we use to cook outside any chance we get, and the 11 LB propane tank. We drilled some holes through the rear door to attach the case and added a couple of aluminum backing plates behind the door so that it can support all the weight.

 

custom roof rack diy campervan conversion

 

On the roof, we built a custom roof rack out of 80/20 aluminum bars and wooden slats.

 

ram promaster campervan conversion kit

 

The rack is great because it creates the perfect spot to hang out at night or watch the sunset, and it hides the solar panel and ceiling fan when trying to stealth camp.

 

aluminum ladder campervan conversion

 

To access the roof rack we added this universal aluminum van ladder to the other rear door.

 

offroading tires promaster conversion

 

Before heading out on our South America trip we decided to upgrade the tires to better all-terrain tires. The roads in Central and South America are known for being pretty rough and muddy, and many people warned us about the constant flat tires from potholes and nails.

We put in a set of Cooper STT Pro tires that are very aggressive and have reinforced sidewalls. These should be able to get us to more places without getting stuck and should keep us from getting flat tires constantly.

 

6. Van Conversion Cost

Since we left our full-time jobs to travel our conversion budget was pretty tiny. It was very important to us to keep the costs as low as possible while picking out the most durable materials that would last at least a few years on our road trip from the US to Argentina.

 

best diy promaster campervan conversion guide

 

We spent a total of $2900 on our DIY campervan conversion. The highest costs for our Promaster built were $400 for the fridge, $220 for window tint and $200 for a passenger swivel seat. We spent around $500 on materials from Home Depot like wood, insulation, nails etc.

After spending 4 months on the road everything is still working exactly as planned and we couldn’t be happier with how our van turned out.

 

amazing diy promaster campervan conversion guide

 

We hope that by showing you how we did our Promaster campervan conversion we can inspire you to join the awesome van life and travel in a campervan.

One of the best parts of van life is the amazingly supportive community behind it. If you have any questions on how we converted our Ram Promaster van into a camper van, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments below!

 

Ready to dive into van life? Check out these 50 useful van life tips to make living on the road easier!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclosure for more info.

 

Related Articles:

DIY Promaster Campervan Conversion Guide – Part I

How To Convert Your SUV Into A Camper

 

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Shawn B

This is freaking amazing! So impressive, I wish someday I’d be abel to own something even remotely as nicely done as this. You should be so proud.

Holly

Love the van build! We also have a promaster and just starting to create a home on wheels. Looking at the “hook over” ladder…did you paint it black or actually order in black? I can’t seem to find one, only the polished aluminum. Thanks!

Matt

Just bought my Promaster, it is the 136″, low-roof version like yours, and your build is impressive and inspirational! I didn’t want a bigger van to keep costs down, and this size is perfect for solo travel on the weekends or over long distance.
I’m just getting my electrical and bedding options sorted out, but going very minimal to begin with. I’ll wait on insulation, flooring, and proper kitchen building for the fall.
Thank you for the inspiration, and hope your travels have gone as you hoped!
Matt

Thanks Matt!

After 6 months on the road, the van has been great. The size is perfect because it fits just about anywhere but still has tons of room inside. One thing we did that wasn’t mentioned was to remove the smallest leaf spring in the rear to level out the van since they come so stiff and high in the rear from the factory. Since you’re going to be minimal and probably pretty light, this might be something you’re interested in.

Justin Hole

Beautiful build! I’m just curious on how you guys secure things like the bed-frame, for example, to the floor/walls. Do you screw into the metal walls of the van or? Thanks!

Hi Justin,

We attached the bed frame to the pillars around the rear door with bolts and also to the wheel wells with bolts that go through the sheet metal. On the front of the bed frame we used brackets and screws drilled through the floors. For the kitchen cabinets, we also drilled screws into the wall, floors, and the bed frame to secure it.

stephanie

Oh I am so doing this. I am a solo female and have had the desire but struggling with my ability to actually do this. Your descriptions are just what I needed. Thank you for sharing!!

Awesome! We’ve met a ton of people along our journey who said they had no clue how to make stuff or operate tools but they’re all skills you pick up quickly once you start doing it. The hardest part is just getting yourself to start.

stephanie

What did you you use to ultimately cover the insulation on the walls?

We went to our local textile store and found some plain, light-colored thick cloth to cover the panels in. We used spray adhesive on the foam then placed the foam firmly on the cloth while it was laid out. It was super simple and looks great so I would definitely recommend it. Just make sure not to spray the adhesive on the cloth because it will soak through to the other side.

If I could do it all over again, I would probably do this on the ceiling panels as well and save us a ton of time.

Good luck!

Michael C

This is truly incredible! I was wondering whether you can speak more about the roof? Specifically, the 80/20 aluminum bars – where you purchased them from, your dimensions, how they were attached to the van and the like. Thanks!

Hey Michael, Thanks for the kind words The roof rack was pretty simple to make. We bought 4 80/20 bars of 20cm x 40cm, each 10 feet in length. Two of those bars run along the sides of the van in full length, and two of the bars were cut in half to make 4 five-foot bars that run across the van. The five foot bars that run across match the width of the Promaster’s mounting studs perfectly. Then we used simple corner bracket plates on each of the four corners, top and bottom, and 8 t-bracket plates to secure… Read more »

Richmond_Bill

Guys, I spend hours and hours every week at work obsessing on these Promaster/Sprinter conversion videos and sites. No kidding…yours is by far the best laid out and most educational of all of the thousands (slight exaggeration). Your space design is really elegant. Love to the lightness and brightens within the small interior. Also, kudos for the Amazon links to certain key materials. I’m 6’1” and worried that the bed design may not work, but, otherwise, if I were to pull the trigger on one, your design would STRONGLY dictate my approach. Happy and safe travels! Thanks again for a… Read more »

Kyle

Hello, great work. I like the idea of just using 1/8″ plywood for the ceiling slats. How did you mount the 80/20 beams to the roof? What brackets did you use?

We made our own brackets using aluminum square tubing with holes on the bottom so they fit over the factory mounting studs. We then used a smaller aluminum tube inside the larger square tube that pulls on the mounting stud when you bolt both square tubes together.

Hope that helps!

Tony

Just starting to plan for a conversion. I will soundproof with FatMat. Can I insulate with ¾”-1” polyiso or XPS foam boardover it using 3M High Strength 90 adhesive. Will this stick to the FatMat or will it pull the FatMat off?

I used Fatmat on a a classic car I restored years ago and it definitely helped with the sound. It also sticks to the metal like glue and is really hard to pull off once it kind of melts together with the heat so you’ll be fine putting insulation over it without fear of the Fatmat falling off. However, I’m not sure the spray adhesive will work in holding the insulation onto the walls because the walls are all slightly curved and the polyiso insulation doesn’t bend much. We used metallic duct tape to hold it all around the edges… Read more »

Jason Judy

Hey guys, incredible write up! I came across your Honda Element post back in the winter, when I was looking to convert my Element into a micro camper. I got some great tips out of it (the PVC solar shower was a game changer!) and took it on several great kayaking trips this summer throughout CO, WV, NC, PA, and GA. The Element is fairly tight on space as you know and I found myself looking at Promasters to take it to the next stage. I was delighted to see that you guys made the same progression! Two questions for… Read more »

Hey Jason, funny we have the same way of thinking. We loved our Element – it was unstoppable in the snow, we had plenty of room for short trips, and it did handle great, but it was just too small for longer trips. In comparison, the Promaster is HUGE so long term travel is so much more comfortable and easier. Being FWD and low to the ground, it handles pretty well for a van of its size and when paired with a good set of tires is also pretty capable, albeit much less so than the Element in soft snow… Read more »

Sid

So a couple of questions…

What size Promaster van is this? Looks to be the 159 inch wheelbase?
I don’t understand how the walls were finished, there’s a passing mention of some cloth material? Looks far more smooth and wood like then that (in the pics)?
Lastly…how wide is the bed? Is it a double or a real queen size?

We have the 136″ version, which is a great size because it still allows you to park in normal parking spots.

The walls are finished in 1/2″ polyiso foam insulation board. We attached cloth to one side of the foam with spray adhesive, then glued the foam to the walls with a strong adhesive. The finished walls look really smooth and have a nice texture when seen up close, and the van stays cooler because it’s all insulation.

The bed is a full-size bed (I think the same as a double), so 74″ x 54″

Weston

What swivel seat or bracket did you get? I am about to start a build on a Promaster.
Thanks!
Awesome van btw – thanks for all the links!

Thanks! We used a swivel seat bracket that I found on Craigslist that had already been altered to fit the Promaster. Depending on where you live, you can often find used Sprinter swivel seat brackets that fit the Promaster after drilling a couple of extra holes

Wes

Perfect! Appreciate it! If I am ever out in your neck of the woods – Ill say hey!

Mary

This is a superb van build out and wonderfully detailed instructional site. Well done! I am bearing down on making a “fantasy” decision on a Pro master just like yours. I do wish you would have addressed the other aspects of van camping — potties and showers. Would love to hear your creative solutions to those items in your design.

You can check out this article we wrote recently about van life tips, especially tips #23-27. For showers, when we’re on the road we’ll use a solar shower that we hang on a hook on the back of the roof rack. If we need privacy while showering, we open the rear doors and hang a shower curtain between the two doors, and the shower curtain is attached with velcro to the edge of the doors. Otherwise, we’ll use any shower we find at campgrounds, beaches, gyms, etc. The bathroom has never been an issue since there’s always bathrooms around everywhere.… Read more »

Becci Medhurst

Such incredible teamwork!! Please reach out if you decide to sell it 🙂

Thanks! We’re currently putting it through a two-year test drive down South America but maybe when we get back we’ll sell it to start working on version 2.0

Becci Medhurst

Awesome!!! Please reach out when you do!!

Gretchen

How was it doing the electrical? It freaks me out. I have a Sprinter that I have started…windows, vents and bunks for kids. Now we need to insulate, electrical and wiring….and of course walls and floors. Also, how is the sound…I have thought of putting sound proofing in van around wheel wells.

Wiring is actually really simple. One negative(ground) wire from each accessory gets connected to a bolt on the van’s body, and one wire goes to a fuse box. The fuse box gets connected to the battery’s positive, and the battery’s negative is connected to another ground bolt on the van’s body. If you’ve already cut holes in the van to put in windows and vents then you’ve already done the hardest part. Once you finish putting everything in, all the extra stuff inside the van will absorb most of the noise so it’s actually pretty quiet. And as long as… Read more »

Sherry E

Hi Joel & Laura, we just got a Promaster, higher & longer but almost the same otherwise. We’re just gathering information & pieces for our build at this point. Your blog is really helpful, great ideas with beautiful results. I have a few questions…what kind of fridge did you get & where from? Is it DC? What is the tool you are using in the first pic where you’re cutting out the hole for the window? (Seems like I read something about a tool that runs on compressed air but now I can’t find that). Also, did you put strips… Read more »

You can click on the fridge link in the kitchen section and it takes you to the Amazon listing where you can get it. It runs off 12V DC so it’s perfect for any conversion.

In the picture I’m using an air punch but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped and would just use an electric jigsaw next time, which I used for the roof fan and it worked great.

The roof has an air gap between the ridges and the insulation, no strips.

Don

Great site and very cool build for not a lot of money. What’s the noise factor like when driving? Do you notice a lot or rattles and squeaks?

The tires are by far the loudest part of the van so be careful when choosing those. Also, the sliding door has some squeaks that can be partly eliminated by adjusting it but I can’t seem to completely get rid of them. The build itself has actually been really solid and doesn’t make any noise, probably since most of the build is screwed pretty tightly into the sheetmetal.

Meg

This may seem like a silly question but how do you guys go to the toilet?

It’s probably the most commonly asked question so you’re in good company. Bathrooms are rarely an issue but you do have to get comfortable with using public restrooms, going in the outdoors, or using doggie bags/funnels/bottles/etc. Check out more of our van life tips here.

Laya

My husband and I really want to convert a sprinter my father in law owns into a campervan. I’ve checked hundreds of options and yours was the most detailed and complete so thanks for that…!
We live in Argentina (Buenos Aires). If you are still in the area, let us know! We’d love to see your campervan! 😀

Brendon

I love the beauty and simplicity of your design! The roof rack was a great touch, and so unique. How much did just the van cost, before the conversion happened?

Thanks! In Part 1 we talked about the costs, it was 20k for the van and 3k for the conversion

Peggy Finston

Your “Can Do” attitude comes across in the simplicity of your description and the beauty of your build. I hope you write about your trip with photos. I loved reading this. I am waiting to recover from some health issues so I can start my van.
Peggy

Julie R

Hello, I’m currently looking to do a low cost conversion as well. I was wondering if you had a amazon list or a list of everything you used and prices? I’m looking for great but affordable stuff and I loved the way you set everything out

We don’t have one single list, but throughout both parts of the build article we placed links to the Amazon or Home Depot product pages of everything we used in our conversion. We didn’t put links to things like wood or screws since those can easily be found at Home Depot, but just about everything else we used has a link. If there’s anything you can’t find just let us know and we’ll give you a link to it!

Andrew L Wehba

Hi there,

Your guys’ van is amazing. Well done. I am currently working on my own Promaster Conversion and I have one question for you guys, how did you make the trim piece which surrounds the rear door dome light. I am currently working on that piece and having a hell of a time. Please let me know. Thank you so much.

Best,
Andrew

Thanks Andrew! For that piece we used 3/8″ plywood and cut it to shape with a jig saw. I also cut a couple of slits going up-down along each side on the back of the wood so that it can bend with the curves on the sheetmetal. I then wet the wood around those slits and placed something heavy on it overnight so that it would bend into shape without splitting.

Andrew L Wehba

Hi Joel,

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I just want to confirm I am understanding this correctly. So you cut the 3/8″ ply to fit around the dome light and then cut slits where the sheet metal starts to round in the corners? And then did you use self tapping sheet metal screws to fasten to the sheet metal where the dome light is fastenend too? Thank you again very much for the help. Best of luck.

-Andrew
P.S. there will most likely be follow up questions regarding your plumbing set up lol. Thanks again.

That’s exactly right. I left out one thing earlier though…since the center section around the dome light is about 1/4″ higher than the rest of the sheetmetal, I placed a few small strips of wood about 1/4″ thick between the wood and the rest of the sheetmetal so that it would sit flat on the entire panel and I could screw it in more easily. I’ll email you some pics shortly.

Molly N

I’ve been poring over this rebuild for the past 2 days…have been thinking about the van life for a few years now, and y’all make it look so easy. But I think I could do it! Thanks for posting all the steps and products and details – SUPER helpful for ideas and things to look for. I love everything about this build!

Jonathan

Nice work. Can you show or go into more detail on how you attached the aluminum bars to the top of the van for the deck? What hardware will I need to do something similar? Thanks-

Mark Burlingame

Awesome job, gave me some great set up ideas and thank for adding links to the products used for ease of finding. Loving it!!

Lauren Pham

I really love everything about your conversion great job! The van looks amazing and shows the hard work put into it. Thank you also for such an in depth build guide best I’ve seen.

shane

That’s a nice set up. my daughter and i are looking at some vans like this now so we can go anytime we want to go. you guys did a great job and thanks for the step by step details. what year and model Promaster do you have. is it the Ram2500 159″ high van and is it 4×4.

Izzy

You guys did an amazing job! Very well thought out, the insight in how you actually planned and designed the built has given me a lot of inspiration for my own planned conversion. Thanks heaps!

Debbie Young

Great info. We’ve searched McMaster site and haven’t found the assessory to connect the rails to the studs on the van. Any chance you might have a parts number or photo?

Sorry, the pieces that actually hold the rails to the van’s roof rack studs were hand made by me. It’s just a few pieces of square tubing that put pressure against the studs. I’ll have to outline how to do this part soon!

Debbie Young

Thanks for the prompt reply, any photos or drawings along with the outline would be helpful.

Mike

Laura and Joel this is amazing!! My wife and I are already planning how and when we’re going to do this. I am too excited for words right now!!

We’ve heard about people that do it but when you lay out the costs and how you did it like this it makes it very real.

Thanks guys,

From your two new followers

Mike and Sarah

Thanks and good luck on your build!

Bill

This is incredibly helpful! you see so many builds that cost ~$20k, it is nice to see a beautiful conversion for a fraction of that price. One question, what did you use to cover the insulation on the walls? Did you wrap it in cloth like around the window or use plywood sheets or something else?

The walls are covered in 1/2″ polyiso insulation foam which are wrapped in cloth. We just cut the foam to the shape of the wall panels, sprayed adhesive on one side, and placed cloth over them, just like we did on the panels around the windows.

Tom

Hey! Thanks so much for the write up! Super detailed and loved the photos of it out on the road 🙂 I have two questions for ya though! 1.) Do you have any regrets or wish you had bought the “high roof” version? and 2.) With those tires, throughout your journey did you ever get stuck in sand or mud?

Thanks!

The standard roof version was perfect for us since we were traveling in places where there’s a lot of things hanging really low (branches, electric cables, parking structures, etc). We also got a great deal on it and saved around $12k over what a tall roof would have cost us so no regrets. If you find a good deal on a standard roof, go for it, but if you’re buying new and a tall roof is about the same cost, get the tall version since it has better resale value, more storage options, and more headroom. As for the tires,… Read more »

Lonnie shepard

HI
You’re van is AWSOME can you tell me what height you put your bed platform at I’m trying to figure out if I’ll have enough head room by the time I consider the floor ,ceiling and mattress I’m only 5’9 tall and just need enough room so I can sit up in the bed without hitting my head on the ceiling
Thank you

Jason

How did you attatch the roof rack to the van?

Trish Cinqmars

I just bought a 2001 Ford Shuttle Bus, I’m excited and terrified! I came across your van conversion and am very grateful, so much help. Thank-you, I’m sure I’ll have many questions thru my build!!!

Wow, that’s a big project. In some ways doing a bigger build can be easier since you don’t have to plan out the use of the space down to the last inch, but it is a lot more work because of the added space. Good luck and let us know if we can help answer any specific questions!

Matt

So informative & inspiring, thank you! Now, if you were to do another one now, what would you change or add that you didn’t do the first time around? Would you get a high roof, longer cab, change the layout, etc?

Our layout worked pretty well for us. Many times we wished we had setup some form of work station like a bench and pull-out table by the sliding door. Also, we tried to place the ceiling fan towards the back to get airflow through the van but the person sleeping all the way in the back still didn’t get any air flow, so adding some kind of opening in the back would have been nice. But the van size and overall layout was great and we wouldn’t change it if we could do it over.

Catherine A.

Love your van! I have a 2018 Promaster 136″ and am almost finished with my conversion. It’s been a huge learning process! I’ve done it all by myself, starting with no construction skills at all; when I got started I actually had to look on YouTube to find out how to countersink a screw 😉 I’m especially interested in learning more about your roof rack (seems like lots of people are as enamored of it as I am!)

I actually had to look up “how to countersink a screw” on YouTube just now. Interesting. I’ve always just screwed the screws down tight until they became flush. Just goes to show you really don’t need to know a lot about carpentry, electricity, or be all that handy to create your own camper van, you just have to be willing to learn and give it a try. As for the rack, more info is coming on that soon!

Jesse

The thing no one ever talks about are the “edges” and corners of the ceiling and walls in any detail.
great build and blog however.

I totally agree! It’s funny because whenever I check out a van build in person or online, that is the first thing I look at because it was the part I struggled with the most and I would argue is the hardest part of the van build. The Promaster has more random edges, corners, and odd shapes than other vans that are really hard to cover smoothly and give it a professional, finished look. If I were to do it again, I would cover up more of the van’s panels and corners in plywood at the expense of losing a… Read more »

RV Roof Sealant

I really love everything about your conversion great job! The van looks amazing and shows the hard work put into it. Thank you also for such an in depth build guide, best I’ve seen.

Thanks Jennifer!

elly rubio

As a ridiculously-excessive-van-life-info consumer, this is definitely one of the best, most practical guides I’ve seen 🙂 Thank you!

Marco

Could you please send me some detailed pictures of the rack mounts? Cheers from the Netherlands!

We’re working on it!

Justyn

This is incredible! I am so obsessed with both of your guides. I have not been able to find something this comprehensive and helpful, anywhere! Thank you for sharing. My partner and I are just beginning this journey and we could not be happier that we stumbled upon your conversion.

Awesome, glad to help in any way!

Jon

Hi there! Would you be able to go into a little detail on how to attach the cabinet section to the van? Can’t quite seem to find any good tutorial videos on that. Thanks!

We just put a few screws into the sheet metal of the van on the top-rear part of the cabinet, and used a few corner brackets to secure the cabinet to the floor with screws. We pre-drilled the holes with a small drill bit, then used sheet metal screws to go right through the floors and walls of the van. Held up great, super solid with no movement or noise of any kind.

Cj

Very impressive! Your creativity, handy skills and well thought out plans have created a beautiful, highly functional camper that should serve your wanderlust for years and be the envy of many. Kudos!

Thanks for the kind words!

Garrett M

Thank you both for sharing all of this. Not just the articles, but your responses too. I’ve been off and on considering a campervan solution for my family of 4 for the past 6 months, but I’m all in now. I couldn’t bring myself to spend 20k+ on ’02/’03 Eurovan with 100k+ miles, and I also don’t have the budget to pay someone to convert a new van to my requirements. After reading your articles, I am now looking for a used 159″ Promaster with the low roof, which I plan to send to Sportsmobile to install a pop-top, but… Read more »

The 159″ Promaster is about 2 feet longer than the 136″, so adding those two chairs will take up all that additional room plus a little more. I think if add swivel bases to the two front seats and add a removable table in between them all, you should have the one thing we wish we had which is a sitting area to eat and work more comfortably. As for finding your perfect van, unfortunately I don’t think they make a 159″ standard roof, just a 159″ high roof. If you’re set on a lower roof, you can get a… Read more »

Garrett M

Thanks Joel. You are right, the 159 Promaster only comes with the high roof. I’m checking with Sportsmobile if they would still convert that version to a pop-top. I’ll start looking at the transit too. As for layout, that’s exactly why I want the extended body…I’d have swivels on all four seats and that would be our little dining room/inside living room! I think that would get my family super motivated for winter/wet/colder weather camping trips than what we’re currently into. Thanks again and I’ll keep you updated. Have a great trip!

David

Inspirational but I note you took care of your cat’s toiletry requirements but not yours! 😉

Ronbow

The roof deck is stellar. I can think of 100 uses for getting “above it all”.
Do you use it often? Or do you talk yourselves out of schlepping the picnic and the cushions up the ladder?

We use it often to take pictures from a higher perspective, to launch the drone, and to clean the solar panels. To just chill… unfortunately, not as much as we had hoped.

SANDRA

Ciao. E il bagno?

No bathroom inside the van but it’s something you get used to quickly

Meg

Thank you so much, this has probably shaved years off my goal of converting a van of my own!

Question..
I’m deciding now between high top vs low top. With the ceiling and floor that you guys put in, what is your standing clearance? I’m pretty short 🙂

Also, for length, do you think if you had the 159 you would run into parking issues in US city life?

We have about 64″ height inside the van since we chose pretty thin materials. If you’re within a few inches of that, you should be fine. As for the length, I really like the 136″ version and while at times I wish we had the longer version to have a bathroom or shower, I think it would be pretty hard to maneuver in most places. The 136″ on the other hand isn’t much longer than a normal car and can fit just about anywhere.