What is your warranty policy?
If something breaks on my van, call me or send me an email. I will make it right for you and your bottom line. In most cases, we can come to a resolution right over the phone. Wherever you are in the world. That takes 5 minutes for me. That’s how easy that is. That’s my guarantee.
I am available by email or phone; 7 days a week, from 9am to Midnight.
I will make you whole if something I built breaks or fails. I’m not going to put a time or mileage limit on it. I care about my reputation; I care about your investment. I’ll warranty my stuff for what I consider to be “normal service life” for mechanical or functional failure.
How do you handle delivery if I purchase a vehicle?
I’ll do it… FREE PERSONAL DELIVERY IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE. I’ve driven across the country to deliver customer vehicles/equipment countless times with great success. It gives me a great sense of pride to see things done right.
You can do it… you can fly into Missoula, Montana and drive your vehicle home. Flights are usually pretty cheap up here. We don’t have sales tax either. Observant buyers will find a substantial financial advantage in registering their vehicles with a Montana based LLC… and avoiding their home-state sales tax.
A third option… would be to hire a vehicle transportation service a.k.a. “car hauler”. I would reserve this option as a last resort. It introduces an uncontrolled element, and conditions that are completely out of my control. This is a high-cost option, with a high probability of vehicle damage, service failures, and communication problems.
(2015) – “A previous van I sold was loaded onto a 3rd party trailer that was ordered by the buyer. I warned against it. The driver that showed up was nice guy, but scheduling and travel delays caused a stressful, anxious experience for my buyer. There wasn’t anything I could do to make the situation better at that point.”
What are your thoughts on wheelbase length (Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 144″ vs. 170″)?
I think the 144″ is too short inside for a comfortable camping situation. It was designed for urban use, tighter turning radius, small parking spaces, etc… This short wheelbase drastically reduces your sleeping area and livable space.
I think the 170″ has the perfect interior dimensions for a camper van. Perfect. It’s the size I dreamed about when I was living in my low-roof Ford E-Series. I also like long wheelbases for their inherent trait of straight-line stability. Long wheelbase vehicles ride straight and smooth down the interstate. They handle broken pavement better and are less likely to spin (oversteer) or become unstable at speed.
Most new Ambulances – designed for predictable high-speed operation, and cargo capability for 3 people plus equipment – are being built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 170″ chassis.
What are your thoughts on using wood as a construction material ?
I like wood. It is easy to work with and is low cost. It’s warm, and non-toxic. It has excellent sound and vibration dampening qualities. It’s visually appealing.
The downside to wood in a camper van is moisture absorption. Wood will absorb humidity from your breath and body during the night. It will take on a smell. It literally stinks. Wood can swell, split, grow mold, and rot. Let’s face it, you don’t want your van to smell like an old sailboat. Wood is also heavy.
Wood is susceptible to deterioration, especially around the fastening hardware, or joints that flex. Wood can come loose and rattle or squeak if not properly designed.
End of the Earth Vans will be using decorative chunks of wood in a few strategic areas that don’t trap moisture and don’t make noise. We will not be using wood as a structural or wall paneling material. Wood paneling is neither a high-performance or durable choice for the walls of a truck.
What do you think about carpet?
I don’t like it.
A lot of builders use it because it’s cheap and easy. It holds odor and is hard to clean. I like smooth sterile surfaces. Stone, metal, tile, glass, etc…
Can you build a custom van for me?
What options do you offer for air conditioning?
Running an air-conditioner requires a lot of energy. They are huge power consumers. You will either need to idle the Mercedes diesel engine and run the factory A/C, or run a separately fueled generator and an aftermarket A/C.
I’m not going to install any type of aftermarket A/C. Again, it just presents too many maintenance, performance, and reliability issues. Just because other people are installing these things, does not mean that they will actually be working 2 years later, or even a few months after purchase. They will fail, they will leak water, and they will drain your batteries. Even Mercedes-Benz had problems with factory installed air conditioners leaking water. I have no reason to assume I can do any better.
If it’s 110 degrees, my suggestion would be to just idle the Mercedes diesel engine and run the factory A/C. Or, drive somewhere where it’s not 110 degrees. If you need a vehicle to keep you ice cold in Las Vegas, in July, for extended periods of time… a van is just not the tool you are looking for. The beauty of a van is that you can leave those conditions behind and head for better weather.
What are your thoughts on warm weather ventilation?
I think vans do a great job of cooling via convection. Heat rises. As long as you give the warm air sufficient area to exit through the roof vents, cool air will be pulled in through the intake vents.
I don’t think it’s necessary to use any type of fan to force air out of a roof vent. Rather, roof ventilation fans introduce electrical maintenance and reliability issues that make them more of a headache than a benefit. Mixing wet/corrosion prone areas with electrical components has never worked well either; and never for long.
What options do you offer for heating?
In temperatures down to 50 degrees, I think layered blankets are more than adequate. Something like a “Mr. Heater” indoor-safe ceramic propane heater is a real good cheap option for these conditions too.
Between 50 and 20 degrees, the use of a diesel-electric heater makes a lot of sense. I can install a Webasto or Espar heater with a thermostat. These heaters will turn on when the Mercedes diesel engine is turned off. They use a small amount of electrical current, and a small amount of diesel fuel from the main tank, to create a substantial amount of forced air heat. I highly recommend this option. I have a substantial amount of experience living with these systems from both manufacturers.
At 20 degrees and below, you will want to idle the Mercedes diesel engine. Don’t shut it off. Diesel fuel will begin to gel at these temperatures and if your fuel lines gel, you won’t be able to get that engine started again. A situation like this can quickly become life-threatening. Plan accordingly.
Can I charge my cell phone or laptop?
You’ll get in the habit of charging devices to 100% while you’re driving or idling, and using your device’s battery when you’re off grid or shut down.
I personally use a small 150W inverter to power my laptop. In 400,000 miles of long-haul trucking I never needed anything larger. If you’re trying to pull more power than 300W for extended periods of time, there are better options than 12V power… like a small fuel-powered generator.
Does your van have 120VAC electrical outlets?
I like keeping trucks running on 12VDC. 120/240VAC systems were designed for residential construction, not for vehicles.
120VAC power demands pull too much current (amperage) from 12VDC systems. Personally, I don’t see the need for it. I recommend powering your 120VAC equipment with a generator. With years on the road and experience, most people come to realize that less power means less maintenance headaches, and less cost.
I was a good electrician. I can install anything. I don’t recommend hardwiring systems with high current draw into your truck’s 12VDC system. It’s not an ideal setup. For high voltage or high current draw needs, a small Honda Generator is more appropriate, and might last a lifetime too. A generator is a relatively low-cost option, that has the added benefit of being portable for multiple applications.
What are your thoughts on solar panels?
I’m not installing solar… or wind generation. It’s a lot of fussing around for a few amps of current. It’s high-cost. It introduces maintenance issues and electrical failure. Solar trickle on a cloud-covered day or dark night holds no comparison to the substantial power output of a fuel-powered generator.
There are a number of widely available portable (flexible) solar options for charging computers or phones. Simply lay them up on the dash or outside and plug in. There is no reason to permanently mount this equipment; you don’t need it at all. Keep it modular, keep it simple.
Vehicles are still running on fossil fuels because fossil fuels are the lowest-cost, most powerful option right now. No solar system currently produced will compete with a Honda generator. Until we have entire trucks running down the road on solar power, solar trickle charging is nothing more than a feel-green half-step. And as soon as we have entire trucks running down the road on solar power, it will be a moot point.
Where is the cooktop?
I recommend people cook outside. Smells, fire-hazard, cleanliness… all contribute to my viewpoint here.
Camp stoves and charcoal grills are the way to go in my opinion.
I like a modular setup. I don’t see any need for a permanently installed unit. A 2-burner Coleman camp stove on the table top is the same as one installed in the table top… is it not? It’s cheaper, and easier to replace too.
Where is the refrigerator?
The truth is refrigeration consumes a ton of energy. It’s hard to keep up with the high electrical demands, unless you are idling the truck often, or running a generator. The reliability of RV refrigeration units is also historically poor. They fail first and they fail often.
ARB makes a nice unit that I recommend for semi-permenant installation.
There are also a number of cheap, portable, plug-in type 12V refrigerators that you can purchase yourself for under $100-$200. Truth is I’ve had refrigerators last for 6 months and I’ve had them short-circuit in 6 days. The vibration kills them; and they kill your batteries.
A simple cooler and a bag of ice from the 7-eleven works really well. A cooler has the functionality, they are low maintenance, low cost, and low mess.
Where is the toilet?
I don’t recommend using the inside of the van as a bathroom.
Thetford makes a line of portable RV toilets if it is an absolute necessity.
It’s a small space. What did Grandpa used to say? “Don’t shit where you eat!” You can get real 1800’s Oregon Trail type diseases like Adenovirus; Campylobacter infection; Coxsackievirus; Enteroviruses; E. Coli; Hepatitis A; Pinworms; Polio, Rotavirus Salmonella; Shigella; Tapeworms; and Toxoplasmosis…
Just get out of the truck and use a proper toilet. If you are around people, there is always a toilet nearby. If there are no toilets available, if you are that far out in the wilderness (not much left these days), dig a hole!
Where is the shower?
I like an outdoor shower, and I’m experimenting with a solar-heated, roof-mounted, fool-proof, gravity fed system.
As far as indoor showering, vans are too small for a comfortable shower IMO. Indoor showering also presents humidity problems. If those two problems aren’t enough, the water pressure of the industry standard RV shower is unsatisfactory. You’re not going to get the good, long, steamy hot shower you’re imagining with any RV shower. You will be cold, and nervously counting remaining gallons…. and then there is the challenge of where to fill up on the road.
Most truck stops and fitness centers charge $10.00 for an unlimited length, steamy hot shower. Swimming in hot springs, lakes, creeks, and oceans works pretty good too. Showers can also be found at Campgrounds and RV Parks.
There are also number of widely available 12V external showers; solar heated shower bags; or battery operated portable camp showers.
Where are your holding tanks?
I don’t use holding tanks.
There are many reasons why I don’t like holding tanks or water jugs. They add weight; they take up space; they freeze; split; leak; stink; grow mold; harbor bacteria; and vibrate loose. You have to empty them at dump stations. Why bother?
I just don’t see any reason to carry fresh, grey, or black water tanks on a small, lightweight truck; and again, the latter of those is a biohazard. People think they “need” these comforts of home out on the road, but in reality, it’s more weight, more cost, more maintenance, and more time than it’s worth to be carrying around waste water.
Where can I find pictures of past vehicles you’ve worked on?
On my… history page.
What is the best way to contact you?
1) Email me. I get instant notifications.
2) Call and leave a voicemail.