Sunday, July 11, 2010

Let the games begin -- DAY 1

Big week, here.  I received a few goodies in the mail.  First, my stereo speakers. 

Years and years ago, I replaced the factory speakers in my brand new "off the showroom floor" Toyota Tercel with Pioneers, and they sounded pretty fab.  So I'm going with them, again.  Also, it seems as though Pioneer is the only company that makes speaker covers that don't have a "dance club DJ" statement to make.  I really don't need a screen that looks like an alien robot eye bursting through my ceiling.  And, if you've shopped for speakers within the past few years, you'll know what I mean.  It seems as though every manufacturer wants to make a techno-statement with their car speakers, and they accent them with either bright alloy colors or loud architectural styling that seems more appropriate in a Japanese street racer than in the Roving Home.  However, Pioneer still carries the old-school torch.  So, I'm sticking with it.

I stopped by Home Depot for a few accessories.


My favorite is that super slim plastic junction box.  That'll work nicely within my 2 inch walls, especially in plastic, since I'm running two different power sources to the same box.  I also bought some zip ties and parts for my A.C. circuit breaker hub.

After pulling my rig from the storage lot over to the shop, I took my first real look at the interior and surmised the road ahead.  I pulled down a bit of the aluminum drop-ceiling and scoped out the liner -- of course, the old fashioned stuff.  Not very efficient.  How times have changed.

This was the standard in 1997.  Under direct sunlight, the ceiling was scorching hot to the touch!

So, I began by stripping the whole thing down to the framework. 



Grinding off all of the rivets was no special treat.  But, at least it went quick.  How bad could anything be in an 8' x 12' space, right?

So, here's the deal with insulation.  We've all been a bit misinformed as to how the new ultra-thin metallic stuff really works.  I spoke with a company in Houston last week.  They sell this stuff to contractors all over the country who build metal structures, and this is what Gary said:  

You actually need two layers with an air gap in between.  The first layer touches the metal of the wall or ceiling.  The second layer gets pulled taught between the studs, 1 inch away.  Another air gap should exist between the second layer of insulation and your inner wall. 

I told him I'm counting on 2 inch walls which he said were very deep for an RV and that with my design plan, the insulation will be, "everything you could ever hope for."  

Most people slap this stuff right up against the metal, but the radiant heat is still going to bake your interior.  It's the air gap that really slows down the penetration  of heat.  I know RV manufacturers couldn't care less about this stuff, and that's part of the reason I've decided to build my own vehicle.  They could easily design those interiors, minus an extra inch on either side, in an attempt to reduce the need to blast a generator all day long for A.C.    

That, right there, is 500sq. ft.,  $179.00 with shipping.  Not bad at all, and worth every penny.


Now for the fun part -- designing the build.

Two inch painter's tape will serve nicely, considering my walls will be constructed of 1" x 2" lumber. 

To the left is the bathroom with a shower.  Beside it, up onto the wall is the outline of the galley counter.  You can't really tell from the perspective of a point and shoot camera, but the shower space is actually quite comfortably sized.  So, I guess I imagined that, correctly.

Here's where I'll have to reconfigure.

The wheel well sticks up right in the middle of the dinette.  My girl suggested I build the table a bit larger in order to accommodate a chair and a stool.  That way we can sit 90 degrees from one another without banging our knees together.  The stool will tuck under the table in transit, to be pulled out for a meal, and one half of the dinette will remain as a built-in.  The chair will be as high as the stool but will be built on top of the wheel well.  Problem solved! 

 A little homage, once again, to "old school."

How can you not love the brown paper bag from the local hardware store where the old guy who knows where everything is will tell you exactly how to use everything in the store!  And, it's three blocks from the shop -- lots of return visits during the next couple of months.

I also took the opportunity to remove a waste water tank that came with the vehicle.  Too bad it only holds 32 gallons and doesn't fit in with the undercarriage design. 

Pulled that puppy out!

I told my girl that if she has nothing better to do during her time off, then perhaps she could find some entertainment value in placing an ad on Craigslist during the week.  I figure 20 bucks is worth it.  It's in perfect condition.  After she gets no calls for 20, I told her to drop it to "free." 

Must keep the supply line moving!  The trash builds up fast. 


  1. Looks like things are proceeding well! Keep at it Rob, very cool project!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  2. Thanks Mike. I've got a big hill to climb on this one. It's my Tour de France.