Van Life Build Tour | DIY Stealth Van Conversion Start to Finish (2019)

Hey guys Ryan here and today I’m gonna be showing you how I went from this empty cargo van to my completed van life build van conversion complete with the recording studio entertainment center wood stove refrigerator and much much more here’s a look at the finished van conversion that I’ll be living in for the next two years until I buy my future sailboat this van life build tour will show you the van build from start to finish let’s begin in this van life build tour it’s my goal for you to pick up some ideas for your own van conversion maybe you’ll get an idea for the order you might build yours in like the floor first and then the bed and so on I’ll be showing you many pictures and video clips of this van conversion and give you lots of commentary on what my thoughts were during each part of the build remember this if you want to use any part that I used in my build you can find the link the Amazon link in the description below or you can comment a question below and I’ll definitely get back to you soon so to start out with this is the van as I bought it had a seat belt in the middle and the floor mat and the roof ceiling my first goal after buying the van was to remove all three of these things and cleaned the floor next I removed all the decal stickers from the business before me except for the bubbles which you’ll see later here you can see the ribs in the floor and just how tall they are I needed to find something to fit in between so I used these thin pieces of wood and then covered the whole entire floor with a big piece of plywood you can’t see it but I put a very large area rug down first and then that sound-deadening gray sheet that you see it was all cut to fit to cut these to fit you use the first mat that was laying down in there when you bought the van just use that and trace out the rest here you can actually see the mat below and what you do you put that on top of the final sheeting and trace it out so here you see everything together I actually used that double-sided area tape to hold everything together from the bottom to the top every layer has the tape on it the tape actually works very well to keep it sturdy around every single edge you want to be sure that you put caulking in so there’s no moisture that is allowed to get under the floor and cause issues later I screwed it in this metal band to mesh the front and the back together and it looks really nice too the van has these metal lips that go all the way around the bottom of the van and it just so happens that two by threes fit perfectly in them it was a nice fit so I started to screw the wood into the frame so I could start building the base I took out the plastic staircase that was on the side door then I measured the dimensions of what the wood needed to be cut to I cut the wood and put everything in place to see if it would fit and then I stained them the color that I wanted and also glossed them a few times and it ended up coming out exactly the way I wanted matching the floor inside and I put the metal band on this – I put the metal band everywhere that I would be walking over a lot so the floor didn’t come up after a long period of time this is the frame – the first type of bed that I put in from side to side I ended up scrapping this later I did this just so I can test out the van at night to see exactly what the difference was with the insulation and without the insulation here you see that I start screwing wooden pieces to the van metal itself to have a base to build upon here’s actually a closer look at that make sure you screw it in almost every part because it will rattle outside of the van you can see the miter saw I used to cut almost every piece of wood in here using foam insulation I insulated the windows next then I installed my solar panel I do have a video on this if you go through my videos I’m putting a card link up at the top you can click right now top right here you can see the bubbles on the back that I was talking about before everyone called my fan bubbles and I didn’t like this very much so likewise I did take them off and no one called my van bubbles anymore here I decided that I didn’t like the bed going from side to side because it was too short and I couldn’t have my feet hanging off the side so I took the bed frame outside and shortened it up a little bit so it would fit on the side and there actually was the length of the bed at this point I then put foam insulation on the roof with the shiny part pointed up this made a huge difference you can see here the values of the thickness mine was a 1 inch which gave me r-value of 6 here’s the second form of the bed when I slept inside at night it was so different from before when there was no insulation the insulation really does a lot this is actually me looking up at the solar eclipse this is the day I recorded my reflectix video I’ll put a link in the top right now on a card shortly after it was time to install my max fan deluxe and I have a video on this as well you can see that on the top right corner and another card so that video shows everything from the beginning to the end and I go over everything very well and it also in the very end of this has a amp quantity where I show you what the amperage is are from setting 1 to 10 here I was testing out a full bed spring mattress which you can see more on in my bed tour video but it ended up being too big and just actually wasn’t as comfortable as the foam bed from this picture can you tell why the name of the van is great white tell me in the comments below what the name of your van is or if you don’t have one what would you call your van so here I’m starting to get set up with the electronics to the van first I have the CR 260 flooded lead-acid batteries on the very left they’re both 6 volts I put them together in series making 12 volts next I have my solar charge controller and then up top is the wires then the fuses and then the crimps so I can crimp wires together I started just to test out the batteries underneath my bed this wasn’t the final location I made a quick wiring board just a wire everything together and make sure everything worked everything did work so I started putting the batteries in the place that they would be I started making the frame around the batteries and then it led to more of a box around the batteries then I put the electronics board on the top to put everything together I turned the bed into a storage chest by adding hinges right here notice I keep a space on the other side of the hinges so when it’s up the mattress doesn’t bunch up up top I started putting the base of the ceiling in so I can mount everything to this one plywood you can’t actually see it but the reflectix is glued to the top of this board which makes a 1/4 inch space watch my reflectix video for more information on why I did that naturally I wanted to get some lighting in there quickly so I cut the holes and started wiring up and there was light this was my first picture of the light from the van it was very exciting I didn’t just have a working fan now but now I have light my next goal was to finish the ceiling I chose cedar for this keep in mind I had to cut holes for the lights and the fan cedar repels bugs that’s why I used it so I have not had any issues since I went full-time about maybe eight or nine months ago in the beginning I kept that Blue Chair back there so we can drink you know with friends and family next I added the white frame around the fan which made it look more complete even can you tell it was getting a little cold outside the van at this point I started working in colder weather the van probably stayed like this more than other parts of the bill just because I was building up money so here I am sitting thinking and planning which probably consisted of 75% of the entire build I would just be sitting around and thinking no one touched the build with me but I would often consult my dad who’s an engineer and he would help me think things through visually and we had our vision so here’s the countertop I cut it to fit the van mold and then the and the stove next I put it inside to see how we would fit loosely and it did fit notice how I cut it right up next to the van metal to keep it as close as possible to the wall and it’s right next to that wood piece so I can attach it to the wall easily so here I built the side of the counter and then I put the light switch on the side down below and then I just put the stove and a sink in this was my first time testing the LED light system I put them up in back of the angled wooden pieces because they’re really ugly to look out otherwise not the light but the strip itself notice I wired in the new battery controller on the wall right here it was time to upgrade the battery compartment because the battery the flooded lead-acid battery is known to release toxic gases which can be deadly to humans so I put this vent in place so then they would have an airflow and then I put the batteries back in then I used silicone and plywood to seal in the batteries then I just covered the top and notice how all the wires are coming out the side the water levels in each cell need to be maintained monthly because these are flooded lead-acid batteries so notice the black tube that goes to every cell of the battery all I have to do is pump water through the tube and each cell is filled to the correct level look down at the wheel well I made a frame around it this would later hold the water jugs for the water for the sink and it would also house where the wiring would go above it was also time to pick the color for the countertop so I took out the countertop if you look over at the left side of the wall you can see the ribs that I started putting in place to secure the plywood to the wall you can see the foam insulation between the ribs I put in and the reflective Skloot on the plywood itself so I went ahead and stained the countertop and then I glossed it with three coats of polyurethane you can really see that in this picture the Cheyenne kind of stands out of course I was eager to put it back in and see what it would look like also on the wall you can see the plywood I put the back there and on the opposite wall as well plus I put in the angled wooden pieces for the ceiling up top you can see the mounts I mounted on for the angled pieces there’s three of them on each side this picture brings back memories of standing in Home Depot for about four hours straight just trying to figure out how to fit all these pipe parts together on the bottom right you can see my water tanks there seven gallons each I started fitting them in place and they actually fit pretty nicely which of course was planned next I started putting the hardware in and you can see the pump down below and me getting ready to wire it this is the pump up close with the two hoses connected to each side of it and then I have my garden hoses connected I’ll show you where those go in a second if you see down to at the bottom left you can see where the hoses go out to the wall and so you connect a water hose to fill up the tanks inside I put my propane tank inside hooked it up and cook my first meal inside the van while playing video games off the solar power every single electronic in the back by the way is solar-powered I later added a propane leak detector please don’t flood the comments with propane is dangerous I have done my research back here in the back if I put that event to the outside so here from here it’ll you know float over here and I’ll bring all the cooking smells and everything out easily the next thing I did was take out the black door mats so I can cover the door with plywood if you look towards the back of the van you can see the plywood on the door and if you look closely you can see where I cut the hole for the latch and the handle and then I just repeated the same steps for the front doors next I took the leftover cedar that I used for the ceiling and put them on the angled pieces here’s a close-up view of that with a mood light on behind it the most challenging part of the build was definitely the wall I definitely had to sit down for a long time and brainstorm how I was going to do this so I made the frame first to create the odd shape of the transitioning wall you capture the shape of the side of the van with some cardboard pieces taped together and then trace this onto the plywood I went ahead and put the plywood in to see if it fit and it did here’s a look at me trying to get the shape just right notice the sides you can see here how hard it was choosing how far back the wall was but I did end up leaving plenty of space in the front of the van to sit in the next step of course was insulation as you can see this is actually very easy just put a big piece of foam insulation up there and trace it with the knife itself and then you cover it with the other side of the wall making the wall complete and now the door I just made the frame and did the exact same thing while insulating and keeping the reflecting part towards the outside and then added a doorknob now light is still shining through the doorway and over top so what I did was cover it with that strip and then you put a lip on the other side of the doorway to cover all the light from escaping so with the wall inside it gives something to trap the light in making the inside brighter and the outside look as if no one’s home I can even have a rave party when building the wall I also put up my studio speakers and set up a flat panel to later mount the TV I had to wire in an inverter to power the speaker’s because they are not toefl I put the cover back over the wall and just kind of enjoyed this part of the build because it’s now looking like a home I added an interface for my music and a lot of plugs down below it was time to get some food storage in there so I started making my pantry you see it was an awkward shape but I made it like this to fit the curved wall next I made Abel my twin bed to be converted to a full bed if I so wanted to the rails below hold the platform in place effectively making this a full-size bed plus one inch the foam bed I was going to use finally arrived in the mail from Foam factory calm dimensions are 55 by 75 inches and I cut the mattress to make the two different sides of the bed one being the shorter side for the top of the couch I got my bamboo comforter and sheets because they’re naturally antimicrobial meaning they’re great for van life so I was an idiot and drove my van while it was snowing luckily some nice people with big trucks stopped and helped me the first person to stop was actually a nice lady who actually went hiking with me later on really yeah so I had like eight people helping me since she was standing beside me everyone thought she was the one broken down so next it was time to make the cabinet so I started making the first drawers here’s my old music studio table notice the top is gone I’m using the top of the table to make the drawers I wanted to be able to say that are bringing around my old studio with me everywhere I went so I just cut them to shape and gloss them a few times then I put a cover over this part to give it a shape I use the wood for my pantry – here’s a much better view of the treasure chest part of the bed the far sides actually my dresser that I put all my clothes in that I’m not currently using and this side houses the bulk of my storage that I don’t use very often I added a fire extinguisher my fire escape plan was to go out the back of the van and around to the side to get to the fire extinguisher here was the day I said goodbye to go full-time to live in this fan I say goodbye to my friends and family right before I left the wood stove came in so I brought it to the beach with me I assembled it all just to see how tall it was and it was pretty tall it would work so I started to cut the hole all the way through the roof and the ceiling this was probably the scariest thing I did to the build since it was really nice and neat already inside but I needed this because it was getting cold out and I needed some fire inside I added this little metal piece down below so the air could move back and forth and not trap heat up top i preassembled the parts to see wherever they would go and then I installed the heat shield which was pretty simple then the entire wood stove was pretty much assembled I just had to add on the side shields and it was done so the fireplace can take a few blocks of wood I used solid pieces of oak the two by fours it makes an amazing smell in the air you can even hear my buddy smell the wood burning also notice the extremely large drawer below the pantry this is for silverware plates bowls and all other cooking utensils I added some water filters to my storage collection so I could go hiking and never get thirsty cooking with propane again notice the hole in the doorway down below that’s in case I need to stick my hand in while the doorway is closed and I’m in bed mode to turn the propane off here’s me recording some music on my computer here’s me recording some stuff on my computer with lots of coffee I needed a way to charge my power tools so I got this to plug into the inverter and it just stores up underneath the desk this fan life build was really coming together it was a full RV at this point insurance companies acknowledge this as a true RV so I get incredibly reduced insurance prices my CC 40 Dometic refrigerator came in so I started to build a slide out for it since the pre-made ones went for over a hundred dollars I put it up underneath the pantry and the silverware I was actually away from the house so I did have to stop and find spigots to fill up my water tanks I made a latch for the front door to lock it open in case I needed to cool or heat the back with the van AC I took part of the wall out again so I can put up the mount for the TV this is an RV mount that keeps the TV locked in place while moving my goal was to get a TV that was 12 volts at least 24-inch and only used in half an hour link is in the description then I got my folding Schwinn loop bike for the front so I can travel without using gas next I removed the front passenger seat this allows me to have room for my bicycle and four boxes of product from my Amazon FBA business that allows me to travel without a normal draw pretty much the last thing I did was add Danish oil to all the plywood walls this dark in the wood just a little bit and keeps it nice just in case the water splashes on them so remember to share this video with your friends if it resonated with you also thank you guys for watching this fan life built tour video it really means a lot remember last thing subscribe if you haven’t and click that Bell icon if you want more video updates thank you guys