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Author Topic: building with off-the-shelf components?  (Read 3380 times)


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building with off-the-shelf components?
« on: October 25, 2015, 10:48:45 AM »
I guess my needs aren't typical.  Most RV's are set up for camping.  While I may occasionally want to sleep in my van, that is not it's intended purpose.  I live pretty far away from my family and I visit them frequently.  I want an RV so that I can make long trips without having to stop so often.  Basically this means I need comfortable seats, a place for passengers to nap, a toilet, cold drinks, and snacks.  As I search (and search and search) the internet, classifieds, and RV lots I am finding that most RV's are expensive because they have things that I don't need.

I have begun to wonder about buying off the shelf components and building my own van.  Is it possible to buy, for example, a complete, ready to install, toilet enclosure?  How about a complete, ready to install, "kitchen" cabinets?   Where do I look to find suppliers?  Is there a reference guide for "weight and balance" in van modification?  I am willing to spend the money for top quality parts because this needs to be a high quality traveling vehicle.  I feel that I have the skills and the tools to install anything that comes with good instructions. 

If anyone has experience in building their own van I would appreciate any advice you can offer. 


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Re: building with off-the-shelf components?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2015, 03:43:11 PM »
Let me put it this way.. If you buy one custom made.... It was made with "off the shelf" components for the most part, in fact likely for the entire part.  Though some cabinets and trim may be custom made (A good cabinet shop can do that for you) most everything in an RV is 3rd party off the shelf.. This includes plumbing, Fridge, Microwave, Sink. What I'm sitting on. Seats, Antenna (TV) Lights (yes 12 volt DC lights) Tables and more. All off the shelf.
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Re: building with off-the-shelf components?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2015, 07:10:37 PM »
For cabinets IKEA is a good place to start, they are modular and made with limited space in mind.
Will and Jane
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Bo Walker

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Re: building with off-the-shelf components?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 08:37:40 AM »
Find an RV salvage yard.  They will let you remove the things from their supply you need or they will remove them for you.  Truck them away to your place and have the pleasure of installing them in your van.


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Re: building with off-the-shelf components?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 11:06:10 AM »
I have recently started to convert my new Ford Transit HD350 Wagon, high roof, extended length to a full RV. I got lucky and found a body shop with a set of ceiling-wall cabinets that were taken from a wreaked Sprinter RV.  I received shipments this week of: Denver Mattresses 2 34"x 75" which fit nicely in 68" wide Transit, Toilet, and Carefree awning from Camping World.  Purchased black, gray & clean water tanks 30 gal each from Plastic-Mart.Com, Purchased Coleman 13,500 BTU AC/Heat pump, Norcold 6cuft Refer, Suburban 6 gal H2O heater, Macerator pump, water pump from PPL Motorhomes. Complete 33x 48" Shower stall from HomeDepot. I can provide any additional details upon request.  I will be installing these items over the next couple of months. Hope this give you some idea of where I found the items I need.


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Re: building with off-the-shelf components?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2017, 04:25:44 PM »
I was wondering how your builds went and if you ever posted pics of them?

My spouse and I are looking to do something similar because we both have health issues that most 'off-the-shelf' vans don't accommodate well.