November 2022 Van Conversion Update

November 2022 Van Conversion Update

November 2022 Van Conversion Update Heading
Updated:

We introduced the Monthly Updates as a way to get back on track with our van conversion. We are indeed behind schedule and writing these updates is a good opportunity to take a step back, check our progress, organize our work, and keep it up! We also want to keep track of the work we do on this website, because we put a ton of work into it and it would be a bit unfair to judge of our productivity by monitoring the van only 😉 That being said, here is the November 2022 Update!

1- Threaded Inserts

(AN EXPERIMENTATION ON SPINOUT RESISTANCE)


Done

We used cross nuts exclusively to build our first van and had great success with them. But lurking on discussion groups, we noticed many people are struggling with “spinners” (that’s when a crossnut spins and it’s then impossible to torque/remove a bolt).

The “crossnut vs rivetnut” debate date from as far back as 2010 (this thread in the Sprinter forum) and is still very much alive (in ALL forums!) with bold claims on both sides. But how can we tell who’s right if those claims are not backed by data?

We decided to take an analytical approach and QUANTIFY spinout resistance torque and test a few “hacks” often mentioned in forums. That was a fun experiment, the results are in, and we learned a few things along the way!

Threaded Inserts Spinout Resistance Experiment
Crossnuts-Rivetnut-Spinout-Torque-Test-Experiment-Result

We COMPLETELY reviewed and updated our guide on Crossnuts to reflect our findings and to make it even better in every way. We added a few wicked tools along the way, such as this “Threaded Insert Finder”:

Find Rivet Nut or Cross Nut by hole diameter:
Threaded-Insert-Finder-Hole-Diameter-Input
mmin
Rivet Nut
Rivet Nut
Click to Buy Hole Min. Hole Max. Grip Min. Grip Max.
M4 x 0.706.006.180.451.52
M5 x 0.807.007.210.451.52
M6 x 1.009.009.270.452.28
M8 x 1.2511.0011.330.453.04
M10 x 1.5013.0013.390.453.04
Click to Buy Hole Min. Hole Max. Grip Min. Grip Max.
#8-320.2360.2430.0180.060
#10-240.2760.2840.0180.060
1/4-200.3540.3650.0180.090
5/16-180.4330.4460.0180.120
3/8-160.5120.5270.0180.120

Yellow-Dot-Circle NOTE: Hole is slightly over the recommended max. diameter. It should work none the less, but adhesive such as CA glue (SuperGlue) or J-B Weld can be used at your convenience to prevent spinout.

Red-Dot-Circle NOTE: Hole is over the recommended max. diameter. Consider installing the insert with adhesive such as CA glue (SuperGlue) or J-B Weld to prevent spinout.

We couldn't find a River Nut for this hole diameter.

We couldn't find any Rivet Nut, because the hole diameter entered is out of range. Consider enlarging (drilling) the hole up to the next available size (mm).

Cross Nut
Cross Nut
Click to Buy Hole Min. Hole Max. Grip Min. Grip Max.
M5 x 0.87.928.050.504.45
M6 x 1.009.809.930.507.10
M8 x 1.2512.2912.420.507.10
M10 x 1.5014.2714.450.507.10
Click to Buy Hole Min. Hole Max. Grip Min. Grip Max.
#10-320.3120.3170.0200.175
1/4-200.3860.3910.0200.280
5/16-180.4840.4890.0200.280
3/8-160.5620.5690.0200.280

Yellow-Dot-Circle NOTE: Hole is slightly over the recommended max. diameter. It should work none the less, but adhesive such as J-B Weld can be used at your convenience to prevent spinout.

Red-Dot-Circle NOTE: Hole is over the recommended max. diameter. Consider installing the insert with adhesive such as J-B Weld to prevent spinout.

We couldn't find a Cross Nut for this hole diameter.

We couldn't find any Cross Nut, because the hole diameter entered is out of range. Consider enlarging (drilling) the hole up to the next available size (mm).

Yellow-Dot-Circle NOTE: Hole is slightly undersized. You will have to tap with a hammer to make it fit (the pre-bulbed portion is slightly larger).

General Note: We recommend using a Tooth Lock Washer at all times with cross nuts to prevent spinout.

* Ensure that material thickness receiving the insert is within Grip Min. / Grip Max values.

We're very proud of how it came out, hope you like it too! Here is the new and updated guide:


2- Builder's Dashboard


Done

Building a new van is an opportunity to learn, improve our skills, and find new and more elegant solutions to the problems we face during the conversion. As such, we think we'll have MUCH MORE stuff to add to the Builder's Package as we progress.

But now that we want to add more stuff in the Builder's Package, we realized there was a limitation with how our digital downloads were managed. Anything NEW that would be added, would not be accessible to the people who got the package in the past. Not cool. So we had no other choice than to implement a new system. We'll spare you all the changes we had to make in the back end, but from now on, all the Builder's Package stuff will be accessible on the Builder's Dashboard:

We tried to make the transition to the new Builder's Dashboard as intuitive as possible, so we don't feel we need to explain anything... but we're open to your feedback/suggestions!


3- Lagun Table


In progress

We noticed people are fabricating B-Pillar brackets to install Lagun tables to the driver/passenger seats of the Ford Transit (see this thread on FordTransitUSAforum.com). We really dig this! We're getting ahead of ourselves, but we thought this would be a fun project to work on :)

All the brackets use the "standard" Lagun mount plate, but we really wanted to take advantage of the new "Sliver" (slim) mount plate that Lagun just released:

Lagun Table Mount Bracket (Standard vs Sliver Slim)
Lagun Mount Plates: Standard (left) vs Sliver (right)

By using the "Sliver" (Slim) mount plate, we can reduce the footprint of the B-Pillar bracket by 2.325" which eliminates any clash with the seat:

Lagun Standard vs Slim
B-Pillar Bracket 3D Printed Prototype
From idea to reality. I'm really loving that 3D printer!
Lagun Bracket 3D Printed Prototype Test Fit
Test-fit passed!

Our goal is to make an aluminum bracket for our van (in the making at the time of writing these lines), but also to offer a DIY Template for people who want to make their own bracket out of hard plywood (3/8" or 1/2") and save a few bucks:

Bracket-Template-Preview

The DIY Template will be added to the Builder's Dashboard next month (sorry it's not ready just yet), and we will consider making more aluminum brackets if there is a demand for it!


4- Electrical System Guide


In progress

We're currently completely reviewing and updating our Electrical System Guide. That is by far our most complex and lengthy material on the website, and we don't want to cut corners. So it's taking some time... But our goal is to publish it next month in December!

Electrical System Guide Preview

5- Work hard, play harder


Winter is late up here in the Pacific Northwest, but there is fun to be had if you're at the right place at the right time...

November 2022 Update Snow (4)
Isabelle and Baby
Meanwhile Isabelle spent most of November in Quebec, to meet her best friend's new little superhuman :)

6- Next Month Priorities


  1. Publish the new & updated Electrical System Guide.
  2. Finish the Lagun Table project:
    • Publish the "How-To" in our Build Journal.
    • Make the DIY Bracket Template (printable) available in the Builder's Dashboard.
    • Receive & test the aluminum bracket.
  3. Spend quality time with Antoine's family visiting us for the Holidays!

- Thanks for reading! -

See you next month for the December 2022 update. Happy Holidays!

All van conversion updates:

2023
  • Wait for it!
2024
  • Wait... what...no! We'll be done by then!!

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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure... We’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

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