Week Fourteen

What a week it has been. While everyone else has been out enjoying the spring sunshine I have been flat out on the van and got so much done.

The time has come to do a job I have been dreading – the headlining. The ceiling is basically 3200mm long x 1200mm wide with a slight 20mm curve and I wanted to lose minimal height rather than just level it off and have it as unobstructed as possible. So I didn’t want the roof vent frame protruding and reducing height height or lights set in it. We planned to used 6mm lightweight ply with a headlining material from Kirvans that comes with a scrim backing.

First off I had to finish the toilet ceiling. This is 6mm lightweight ply with 3mm vinyl ply simply glued and screwed into place. I made a recess to go around the roof vent so that the frame doesn’t protrude below the ceiling – good practice for the main ceiling. The ceiling and partitions are designed to let the main ceiling oversail and create a shadow line in which there is a row of Loox LEDs that are controlled by the dimmer module. To be honest I am less than happy with  toilet but will address that in the next week or two. Its a small space and I can hide a few sins.

So on to the main event. The ceiling consists of 2 panels, a smaller one above the kitchen and a larger (full sheet of ply) above the living area. It is 6mm ply covered in a light grey headlining fabric that is backed with a 3mm scrim. We wanted to follow the curve of the ceiling so as to avoid losing any head room. Our plan was to secure the edges and hold the boards up to the roof beams with heavy duty Velcro. We applied the velcro to the roof ribs and boards the day before so that the adhesive would have cured by the time we put the ceiling up.

My original rebate above the lockers failed but the day was saved using a small anodised aluminium channel, tight but it works. The other side above the toilet was easier as I could simple create a shadow gap from black painted wood and have the panel slide over it. Laying the first smaller piece up with contact adhesive was relatively easy. We covered the top side and Velcro with plastic dust sheet held in place with a few tabs of masking tape and slid the panel into place. Once we were happy with it we pulled the dust sheet out and pressed the panel onto the Velcro – now it is going nowhere.

The large panel was a whole another prospect. First off I had to frame the roof vent with an upstanding will letting the panel follow the curve of the roof. All of which I did in 12mm ply. Next came a big hiccup with the material, we rolled it out face down so that the scrim side didn’t pick any dirt and when we turned it over it had to large crayon marks in the middle of it. We had another length which also had marks but fortunately we could get enough clean from it. Words have been had and hopefully we can still get the small panels we wanted from the damaged piece.

After a lot of discussion we eventually decided that we had to lay the material up in 2 halves, i.e. roll back one half and glue it and then do the other. Once done with the edges roller and trimmed and the roof vent trimmed we again covered the top side in plastic dust sheet and up it went. A bit of juggling, easing and persuading and in it went all lined up. Rip out the dust sheet and press on to the velcro and it too is going nowhere. The left hand side was then pressed into place with a batten along which I have stuck the LED strip. It will get a capping between the wall and the ceiling as we go through and finish off.

One useful point was to be able to use the original bulkhead fixings to fit angles onto which we would stick Velcro to support the front edge where it meets the cab head lining. So now the fished article looks great an we are well please with the tight join in the middle and with the cab head lining.

With all that finished and a delivery of plumbing fittings Easter weekend was spent under the van drilling holes in the floor and running pipes. Getting the van up on axle stands is a struggle for my 2 tonne car jack and a 3 or even 5 tonne item might be on its way. I did spend a lot of time contemplating and now I believe I have some tidy routing and minimised holes but only after swearing a lot, working in some tiny spaces at ridiculous angles. Holes have been sealed with underbody spray and where appropriate rubber seals or Sikaflex. Next week it is time to make things happen.

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