Month: February 2016

On absorbing bumps, baby

Since my last post I decided to install the new rear shocks for the bus. I bought them a month ago and they’ve just been sitting there. Time to get them on!

Out with the old.



In with the new






Well, these look like they are the same length as the front shocks, so let’s try it out.



Drives like a new car. I can still feel the rear dragging along, but the front no longer porpoises on every speed bump or curb cut. I’ll need to contact Amazon about the listing, as it explicitly says “VW Transporter – Rear” with a separate listing for the front. At least the fasteners are broken free for when I get around to installing new rears.

This job is made possible by power from the Hammerhead ™ Electric Impact Gun, and viewers like you.

On Solar Systems

Went out last night to pick up some final pieces, and came out of the store to see that this beetle had parked right next to me.


Not my jam, but cool I guess.

Battery in:


Panel on :woop:





Used 3M white silicone for sealing.

Cheap Chinese charge controller. Low voltage now because I have spent the past two days bumpin’ some podcasts with the stereo while working on the car.



Now to monitor it and make sure it doesn’t catch fire :ohdear:

On lead

Paint the dragon panel, get the dragon printed on the curtains

I have been contemplating this. Or maybe take the curtains and make three color stencils and paint the dragon on the white side of the curtains, then put the white side out? I dunno. The dragon’s legacy must live on, but the body work means that panel NEEDS to be painted.

I have loved every thing you have done so far, but i HATE that choice of curtain fabric! Everything else is so cool, and then you get unironic granny curtains.

Anyway carry on, your van is amazing.

Yes, YES. Let the hate flow through you!

Anyway, onwards.

I’m deciding to do a small (like, 100 or 200 watt) solar panel with the bus. To that end, I want to add a third battery, specifically for the solar panel. This does two things for me: it gives me more power when I need it, like in an extended power outage at the house or something, and it separates the solar battery from the emergency second battery in the engine bay, in case either system fucks up hard. I needed to build a battery box underneath the bed.




The battery box is 8x13x10. It looks like it is suspended from above, but that would be stupid. It’s actually sitting on that front leg you see by the heater, and the rear is on the “hump” of the floor.


Added a hinged door to secure the battery. Hinge on the left, big metal hook on the right.



Also preparing the roof for the wires in from the solar panel. I’m really digging anything made by Blue Sea Systems. Not a paid endorsement, but everything is made out of UV-resistant plastic and rubber, and is built to be in wet areas and operated with big chunky switches by people sloshing around on the water. I really like it.


Here’s my current plan, once the panel comes in. I already have the top two batteries, and just went to install that third one today. The inverter will be powered completely separately from the rest of the system, and my current house battery will become mainly a stereo and emergency engine backup battery.


On privacy

I found a set of valances I liked. Kept contemplating what fabric to buy to make curtains, then discovered that valances are in the perfect sizes I need.

I cut the valances to length, and glued/stitched (depending) in some weaker ceramic magnets into the corners and along the bottoms.



Most people put a curtain rod inside the track for the door. Instead, I cut the curtain rod down, and mounted it inside the jalousie window. Gives you a lot more interior space with the door shut.


You can see how mounting it on the track would take up a lot of valuable space.



For the front and rears, I ran some thin, but hopefully strong, rope across.



The rear door’s curtain is actually on the door hinges itself, and with the magnets in the bottom, it swings up with the door when it opens.



And finally, mocked up (not glued in yet) the vent for the heater fuel area. Just an extra precaution against fumes during the summer, and gives me an access if I need to install a drain or second vent.


On music

Everything in the pictures is super dirty and dusty because I haven’t gotten around to cleaning yet.

After days of back and forth, finally decided on a speaker placement.




The doors aren’t the best place for them, but at least they’re not on the handle side like people do with beetles. On the hinge side, there isn’t nearly as much force trying to pop the speakers out when you slam the door shut. On the kick panel would have also worked, but then they could have been, of course, kicked. I could also have made a plywood panel to mount them diagonally downwards underneath the dashboard, and this would have also solved my “rat’s nest of wires” visibility problem, but :effort:.

While I had the door panels off (for hopefully the last time, knock on wood) I installed the front reflector lights.




[spoiler]I completely deserve a ban and a report for what I have done here. Spoilered for gore.



That feeling when everything works the first time you power it up.


Trying to fit the goddamned rubber mat in without it crumbling to pieces



Still have to deal with the dragon.


I set it to green. Makes it feel like an 80’s install. Also I did not install the headlight dimmer wire and it is a good neutral night color.



The stereo is also wired up to a button (visible on the bottom right) that lets me turn it on and use the second battery without the key.