A Tour of our DiY Camper Sprinter Van
Below are answers to some of my guesses as to your most likely questions...
Where & when did we get her? Hank bought her used on eBay in 2009 for $16k from some dude in Georgia and she already had a camper build out. He lived in it that way almost full time for 2 years until he and Mud met; he and the van moved in with us in 2011. She became Genie, and collectively ours, in 2012. We did this rebuild in 2013. She is currently the only car between the three of us, and has been for almost 2 years. Multi-tasking for the win! Our other mode of transportation is a Suzuki TU250 that we all ride, not at the same time of course.
What's that ceiling? That's hot pink fur on the ceiling.
Tell us more about the rebuild: Hank is our systems & small spaces guy. Which is funny, because he's a big dude. He did most of the work, the design & build out. He did many months of thinking & research before deciding on what to do. Mud & Suze were mostly in charge of paint & decoration. They are responsible for all things colorful & cloth. It took about 2 months from tear out of the old to the 80% functional enough to use point of the rebuild. Cost for the rebuild was about $2,000. A big chunk of which was spent on 2 Yetis (our fridges: one drink, one food) & the front seat swivels. Like any good project, we will forever be finishing, refining and modifying. Just a couple weeks ago, in order to bring home a big fish tank, Hank cut out a wall and made a 3 ft x 3 ft access tunnel from the garage to the front. We're stoked because our bikes and longer boards fit much easier.
What's her mileage? She has about 225,000 miles on her. And, knock on wood, she's been good to us on maintenance.
What are your plans for future upgrades? Like most Sprinters her age, she's got some rust issues. Mud, who's already done a few car painting projects, has ambitiously decided that she can fix Genie's rust problems and hopes to do a bodywork and paint overhaul in the next couple of years. Complete restoration style. Hank has been percolating on a solar power upgrade.
What is your current power situation? Right now we have two batteries with a switch. Main battery in the front starts the engine; house battery in the back runs everything else. She has an upgraded alternator so everything charges better driving down the road. Mainly we use 12 V fans & lights. When we need to use AC (i.e. charge a laptop), we turn on a power inverter in the back. We can easily function 3 or 4 days without driving to recharge and have gone as long as a week. We can also plugin to regular 110 shore power and operate that way.
What's the bathroom situation? It's lovely! She has one. We call it the pooper. The door has a moon cut out for ventilation and light and it says "MAGIC HAPPENS" on the outside. On the inside, for potty entertainment, we write on the door with a sharpie recording where we've been & other random thoughts. Underneath, there's a 12 gallon poo tank, which seems to be big enough for 2 people for about a week if Hank pees outside when possible. There's also a shower head and fold up dishwash station, but ever since we put in the rear dishwash station and sprayer, we haven't used the indoor setup.
The kitchen? The kitchen is mostly Mud's domain, as she is our gourmet roadie chef. She thought she could get away with cooking outside; Hank knew otherwise, and insisted on building indoor cook space. He was right. She was less right. The convenience of the indoor setup is critical. We can cook a meal any where in any weather condition and no one outside can figure out where the delicious smells are coming from. It's a simple set up. A portable propane or alcohol stove set on the counter and the vent fan on to suck out the fumes. For storage, there's a silverware drawer and shelving with plastic bins under the counter. Pantry food is usually in the third level of the closet, cold food in a big Yeti that doubles as a seat in the hang out space, and cold drinks in a smaller Yeti that doubles as the step to the bed.
If you send me some of your questions that I didn't answer here, I might add them to this page. Please send them to us at gear (at) raggededgegear (dot) com. Subject: Genie Question