Retired engineer builds transforming, self build camper new Mercedes 2 days ago   31:04

Kirsten Dirksen
With two years and $20,000, retired winery engineer Dave Orton turned a Ford Transit into a completely off-grid van home that sleeps two, seats four, and includes a toilet, kitchen and indoor shower.

Adding 80/20 aluminum extrusions to a stripped down transit van, Orton built up a kitchen unit with two fold-out tables (one indoor, one outdoor) and bedroom/living room where all furniture can be removed to haul cargo. The toilet room converts into a shower.

Orton designed an electrical system that provides adequate power without the need for shore power or a generator to keep the house battery charged.

Comments 1376 Comments

Pat Orton
Do not live full time in the van. We have a nice house on 5 acres. Van is for traveling. Video was taken on the property.

Find it interesting that most of the negative comments are about the multipurpose shower enclosure. When you want a short van that can be parked in a normal city parking place then you have to make some compromises. That eliminates a normal shower. Hard to call what I built a shower but you can use it to get clean in an odd way. Much better than staying dirty but certainly not like a shower at home. Many concerned about the electrical on the side walls in the shower. Water simply does not get that high on the walls. The reason for washing hair when on knees and using a full flow (not spray) nozzle are to control the overspray. Almost no water gets out of the shower and onto the towel I place in front of the shower. Not for everyone but it works well for us.
Paul Greenlee
This is what engineers are like
Dor Bue
Hi beautiful van, but me too has to complain about the shower area. First thing I saw was the electricity hook up in combination with water and secondly who wants to store food over a toilet??? I have seen this with several videos and get goosebumps. I had 3 motorhomes myself, 1 with its own bathroom and closed door and the other ones with porta potty. First thing I did threw those bacterial pottys out of the van. Dave has done something nice with his time and money but honestly 20.000 plus cost of the van he could have bought a complete motorhome for this. But I guess it was a hobby for him to use his time on something he enjoyed. Good job done !!!
Dave Kimbler
I’m wondering why he didn’t mount the bed on a raise and lowering system to optimize his floor space ?
Daniel Caserta
Its a little too gobble-dee- gooble-dee for me. But I think its hobbyish and he just gets a kick out of DIY.
Paul Müller
Wow, the bed on the wall that resting on the table for sleep is brilliant!
It is perfect, when you fold it to the side, unscrew the table and you have a lot of space to transport things.
The hole in the bottom for ventilation as well as the heating system is awesome.
And hanging the curtain far back into the van make it more stealth.

Absolutely nice ideas.
I thought he said he was using "AV 20" lol; actually, it's 80/20 T-slot aluminum bars, that have channels used to connect other bars and parts. This is so helpful to know. I'm modifying an old travel trailer for use as my man-cave; now that I'm aware of this product, my project has become easier. Kristen, thanks for all your posts. I look forward to each video.
Brian Walker
Your fan is a dead giveaway, if you put a low rack around it or some rails you couldn't see it was a fan and you would be more stealth
Leighton Samms
PAT, you are a wonderful mind everything in a real purpose driven way, STEALTH for real, NOTHING EXTERNALLY TO GIVE ITS PURPOSE AWAY, Good luck,,God Bless you ,,and CHEERS from NJ, USA
Hailey Mew
Stick your head next to the toilet to clean it and shower in the same area as the electrical?
Building a van interior out of 8020 (or rather its proper name, t-slot aluminium extrusion) is a no-brainer, it's better than wood in every way.
Turtle Days
Great job. As I listen to this video I was thinking about when marshall law hits, this is something that could be taken from you and others. I've seen so many nice vans people are living in because of the cost of living and keep thinking about the nicer the van the more desirable it will be to take away from the owner during marshall law. The one way they may not be able to take the van from you is if it didn't run, or you factored in the ability to disable it quickly if someone tried to take it by force. Hopefully I am wrong. 🐢
But you still have a house to fall back on so maybe this isn't a issues for you.
Moore Wagner
It's very impressive.

I wonder what's brand of the water pump.
Being Here
I have to say this is a beauty! But these are not 'stealth' vans really, IMHO. I see one and know exactly what's up. Nobody just drives them to and from work. These big vans are meant to be business or camping. And without ladders and business names plastered on the sides, we all know what they are! Right? Stealth would require it to look like a business van. I have seen people add ladders and names on the sides so it really is stealth and can be lived in without much attention from the authorities or passers-by.
Tanah Merah
No air conditioning?
stephen b
Very nice, awesome work excellent video! & thank you for sharing!
Love engineers design so pragmatic
Cherrie Mckinstry
Im impressed with how its uniquely his and its easy to understand, though i like that he used all space very well, the shower is nice if the toilet either came out or could be covered or to sit on while showering sometimes.
Misty Spring
I saw your food storage up at the top where do you get your dehydrated food from? I want to stock my van with that and not have to rely on a fridge except for a small amount.
Misty Spring
I sort of got a chuckle with your shower set up. Kind of a pain to take it a part like that but then the stealth part of the vehicle it makes sense. I would have to make sure that potty is available to me in the middle of the night. I like your van set up very ingenious.
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self build camper new Mercedes Retired engineer builds transforming, 2 days ago   13:46

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