Cummins Canoe (A Stepvan Story)


Bulkhead wall is up, time to work on the ceiling. The ceiling is kinda mostly insulated, but since the ceiling gets a lot of direct sunlight, we think we need more R value. We also need some wood framing to mount the ceiling and stuff to.

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Found some foam board insulation in the trash, so we'll insulate the ceiling with that.

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The foam board is 1". I was unable to locate any 16' pieces of lumber that were 1" thick, so we got some 16' 1"x6" and ripped it down to 1".

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The ceiling joists against the walls we cut like this so the wall panelling would have something to sit on since there is a 6" space forwards top of wall that has no all wall stud.

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These are ridiculous.

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To attach the ceiling joists, we needed to drill some pilot holes into the aluminum cross supports to get screws in. Wanted everything super straight, so chalkline to the rescue!

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And to make the foam board super straight and fit super snug between the ceiling joists, we ran them through the radial arm saw! Having vacuum on the saw does wonders on cutting down on foam dust going everywhere. :)
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Today I got bored of interior mumbo jumbo and decided to add in some air conditioning in the cab. You know, since it might get hot in there while driving. To be fair, the cab has "air conditioning", but only on the drivers side. I don't know if it's my annoying OCD or the fact that I might care about any passengers riding shotgun, but we have to have the same thing on both sides.

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The passenger side was looking too bland and empty. Needs a/c.

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Measured 8 times, only plan to cut once. Easy since we had the driver side to copy off of. We're installing the same a/c unit.

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No going back now!

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Sweet! Now we have great a/c! Really wasn't bad. Anybody can install it in their rig.

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Nice easy foot operation!

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These are gonna feel great! Unfortunately, the a/c only works when the vehicle is actually moving. But hey, it was easy to install, maintenance will be pretty low, and the price was right! Thanks Mill Supply!
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Expedition Leader
I’ve got kick vents in my 40. They work best when moving, but also help to control cab temperature when parked. Unlike modern vehicles that cook when stopped it can be quite tolerable.


Looking around for more things to do now before we do the interior and can no longer access certain things.

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The rear doors had many cracks and stress fractures.

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Things were much more bendy and floppy than they should be.

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Cleaned and clamped everything back to where they should be and welded it all up.

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Not the prettiest, but should hold. Next we can insulate and skin the interior of doors and shouldn't have to get back in here for a long time.


On the way home from work, picked up some goodies.

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This van makes trips to Home Depot so easy! You can really fit everything in there. It's like having two, 8' pickup beds, with a giant cap on top. Unfortunately, it's only 47" between the wheel wells. Someone needs to ********** an engineer. :mad:

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After many trips to the auto store and wrong wipers, we finally got the proper wiper replacements. Needless to say, they just don't stock these industrial wipers anywhere.
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Expedition Leader
On the way home from work, picked up some goodies.

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This van makes trips to Home Depot so easy! You can really fit everything in there. It's like having two, 8' pickup beds, with a giant cap on top. Unfortunately, it's only 47" between the wheel wells. Someone needs to ********** an engineer. :mad:

View attachment 617354
After many trips to the auto store and wrong wipers, we finally got the proper wiper replacements. Needless to saw, they just don't stock these industrial wipers anywhere.
Sometimes you have to be creative. My only truck has very short wipers that are straight (flat windshield). I’m fortunate I can still buy them at the dealership. In your situation I’d check marine shops, the Western Star Dealers or whatever truck shops you have around.


Napa auto got the book out and got me the right stuff. Have the part number now, easy to reorder, will always carry a spare set in van.

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What I really need that I can't locate is the driver side plastic fender well splash guard thing that goes up around tire. Apparently it's a GM part. Maybe a junkyard specializing in commercial vehicles?


Back to interior work...

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Got the partition wall all skinned with plywood. Nothing fancy here, just some cheap 3/8" pine. Plywood will make it very easy to mount things to later.

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We'll pack it full of insulation at some point. The pocket door is great! It will get finished next.

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Some old paint we found laying in the basement. We wanted something grayish, but we're not picky on colors here, especially when it's free.

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Surprise! The fridge we ordered more than 2 months ago finally arrived!

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Oh this will go lovely in here. We could have gotten one of those small ARB chest fridge things. But for the same price, we got almost a full-size 12volt fridge that's 4 times the size and it uses the same amount of power. We got the space, so might as well. Might need many weeks worth of hot pockets and ice cream to live off of. Just need to find a secure way to mount it and keep the doors closed when not in use. Also, ventilation of some sort because fridges need to breathe, which is a problem I notice with many van builds, the lack of fridge ventilation. We'll figure that out as we go.
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This interior building is a lot of fun! today is just installing some interior wall and working on the actual pocket door. It's my first time making a pocket door, so we'll see how that goes.

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Painted bulkhead wall plywood wood up on the cab side. Needs cover trim around door frame. Can't decide if it should be wood or metal framing.

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Time to work on the pocket door.

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Had some packing styrofoam laying around. That should make for decent enough insulation.

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All packed in and spray glued together.

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Both sides of the door were skinned with dry-erase board and glued and clamped. Can never have too many clamps!
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Pocket door work today! The glue should be all dry.

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We ran a router around all the corners with a flush trim bit.

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Going to install a handle latch thing for pocket doors. Used blue tape to protect the surfaces when we run the jigsaw.

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It's like a real door!

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We also decided to trim all the corners of door with aluminum angle. Tried to tack the aluminum in place with the TIG welder. But the wood/paint decided to contaminate things, so we had to fix all that and abandon that idea. Now we have a cool burn mark on the wall!

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The door came out way better than we could ever imagine! So stoked. It even works as advertised!


Picked up some goodies on the way home from work. Say what you will about Facebook and the machine and/or system, but Marketplace is great!

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Scored all this Rockwool for the price of two at Home Depot! We were going to install foam board , but with 3 1/2" studs to fill, it was going to cost almost $1000. I think foam board is popular in vans because it's flat, stiff, and can fit into the thin wall space that a normal van has. This van has wall studs like a house! So why not put in regular insulation made for 2x4 walls? We did do some research and got Rockwool and not fiberglass due to possible moisture issues. So for $100 we'll have R15 in all the walls. All that sounds good, I think. Any comments or suggestions?

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We also stopped by Tractor Supply and picked up 2 gallons of International Harvester tractor paint. If it's good enough for your tractor, it's good enough for a van! Or that's my logic. Fall is about here, and we need to get this thing painted before it gets too cold to do so.

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Worked on the fridge framing. These pieces of pressure treated 2x4's will encase the rear of the fridge, which will be an area of the wall that will be absent of insulation and will have a vent to get the heat from behind the fridge to the outside. Thanks to the neighbors dumpster for providing the old lumber. Lots of careful measuring and I think we got it all in the right spot. We'll see what happens when we start building cabinets.


Thanks guys, glad you enjoy! It's kinda disappointing that there is really only one other step van build thread that I have been able to find on here. They are giant and don't come stock with 4wd. You can't fix the giant, but you can fix the 4wd part at least. I don't know, we'll see how capable this thing is and where we can take it. But we do plan to get off the beaten path with this thing! Step vans are the coolest thing, change my mind...

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