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Insulating a van


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#1 BrianBM

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Posted December 15 2008 - 8:33 PM

My fantasy vehicle is a Quigley van. I have no idea if either Quigley, GMC or Ford will be around by the time I finally retire, or if I'll have the cash for one when I do. (That includes a used one.) However, let's assume they are and I do.
An ideal surfcaster's van would be well insulated, to keep cool in summer and warm in winter with as little amperage expended as possible. Are any vans made that are more-then-normally insulated? And if not, has anyone here goofed around with insulating a van body?
Just curious. It's a lot easier to wrap yourself in a blanket in winter, if you're stretched out in the back of a van, then to keep yourself cool in midsummer while waiting for the right tide, or something. For summer, I guess screen windows or vents with a fan pushing air around may be as good as you can do. Guys?



#2 mericanwit

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Posted December 15 2008 - 8:43 PM

B, take a look at versi-pak's url. I just sprayed my house's exterior walls with it. sticky stuff but works well...



#3 BrianBM

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Posted December 15 2008 - 8:43 PM

As a further thought, I am not running an engine all night, either to keep warm or cool. A roof's worth of solar cells, or a windmill power generator to provide a trickle of current to a couple of deep-cycle batteries, yes, I'd go for that.
No combustion process acceptable when the Mulmobile isn't in motion.



#4 BrianBM

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Posted December 15 2008 - 8:44 PM

Versa-pak? OK, I'll go look.



#5 Fishtale7

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Posted December 15 2008 - 9:16 PM

I've insulated a van a few years ago. Used the insulating wrap that is used in commercial ductwork. Placed between the ribs in the cargo area then placed masonite over it.


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#6 Duane S

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Posted December 16 2008 - 9:14 PM

I've used sheet styrofoam with good results. It comes in 4'x8' sheets in various thicknesses. You want to use the thickest that your roof and wall's reinforcing ribs will allow. It's easy to cut to fit, and glue into place with contact cement or RTV.

After insulating the spaces between the ribs, you can attach cheap paneling, luan, or whatever you like over it. There are companies that sell vehicle specific patterns to make that easier.

In the summer, it helps a lot if the van is a light color (white is probably best). And, if you can park in the shade, that's a big help. The problem is that there is not much shade to be found on the beach.

I once saw a guy who'd rigged up a homemade canopy / awning from a cheap blue tarp, bungee cords, and some pvc pipe that he'd whip out and attach with standoffs so that it sat about a foot above the van. He'd made his own shade.

He had screen netting with velcro to cover the windows and doors. I think that his wife made those.

There's almost always a breeze on the beach. With shade, and a breeze, who needs fans?

His rig was not especially beautiful, but it worked great.

He also had the first 4 wheel drive van that I'd ever seen. He'd taken the running gear from a Dodge 4x4 pickup and installed it under his van. And it worked great too.


Duane S, Wilson, NC
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A bad day on the Outer Banks beats a good day at work.

#7 BrianBM

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Posted December 16 2008 - 9:56 PM

Good thoughts. I had no idea that there are firms that will deal in masonite or luan (? luan is new to me) cut to fit specific vehicles, that's great to know.
I got my 4runner in white precisely to keep summer temperatures down low. White is good. And the van can be ugly outside so long as it's adequately comfortable and functional inside. Some of what I'd like to do, like separating the front seats from the larger part of the vehicle with a welded steel cage, for security and to protect the driver from being squashed by flying materials in the event of a head on crash, won't be pretty.



#8 Large John

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Posted December 17 2008 - 10:08 AM

luan...dont think thats the right spelling but to lazy to check....1/4 inch plywood material....used to put numerous splinters in your fingers when cut and generally annoy the crap out of you when using it so I dont


Think about it .....

#9 CHUCK BRYAN

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Posted December 17 2008 - 12:26 PM

You will be able to get the van insulated and interior walls to cover the foam/or spray.
As for heat you get a small inverter and a cerimac heater will keep the back tostay in the fall winter. Cooling is a more expensive project as it requires the engine to run the condenser and pump. There could be a roof mount unit that will run off the same inverter,but thats something Ammo or derf can answer I can't


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#10 aweiss4428

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Posted December 17 2008 - 12:32 PM

take this as a bit of warning.

we had a company that sold pond plants and fish. brought their van in because the door latches on the side broke.

well in their genius they took spray foam, and filled all the doors and body panels, and then attach plywood over that.

took a LONG time to cut out enough foam to get access to the parts and change them.

if you do this, just take fiberglass insulation and stuff it in the doors or panels that might later need access to.



#11 longcaster

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Posted December 17 2008 - 3:41 PM

Orange/brown shag carpet and port-hole windows, hot dog. If you see this van rocking don't be knocking.

Ya gonna put a waterbed in the back?



#12 Duane S

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Posted December 17 2008 - 7:21 PM

Good thoughts. I had no idea that there are firms that will deal in masonite or luan (? luan is new to me) cut to fit specific vehicles, that's great to know.


I said "patterns".


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#13 stresst

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Posted December 19 2008 - 9:02 AM

take this as a bit of warning.

we had a company that sold pond plants and fish. brought their van in because the door latches on the side broke.

well in their genius they took spray foam, and filled all the doors and body panels, and then attach plywood over that.

took a LONG time to cut out enough foam to get access to the parts and change them.

if you do this, just take fiberglass insulation and stuff it in the doors or panels that might later need access to.



WOW that would be my luck after spending 2 weeks insulating my van, I run into an electrical issue and have to rip it all down LOL



#14 Steve Yoder

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Posted December 19 2008 - 11:32 AM

As mentioned earlier, 3/4" dow sheet insulation, covered with plywood and then a 1/4 inch carpet. I been to Hatteras during December and January and once vehicle is warmed (heater or small propanre heater)sleeping bag on blow up bed, dog next to me good to go til morning.

Gray GMC with MD plates RFSHNVN (our fishin van) Stop bye to take a look



#15 fishtrek

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Posted December 19 2008 - 1:22 PM

To insulate the van go withthe fiberglass that is double faced (moisture barrier). 3M sold an adhesive that can be used to tack the insulation in place. After that use the standard wood paneling one would get from Home Depot & attach to the post using either sheet metal screws or dry wall screws (Remember to pre-drill the holes into the metal) and use washers so that paneling does not pull down easy. This also allows for easy attaching of pole hangers as you need them. As for ventilation if you are will to use the windows. There is a fan kit that fits into the roof (Van roofs are usually already marked for the cut out) and this can be wired to a solar pannel. Also JC Whitney has the fan and insulation kits if you want to go that route.

Just speaking from experience. Miss that old van as it was the family vechile for 8 years. Metal & engine started to go and made it too expensive to repair. Hope this helps. Doug