Skylight Cover / Gray Water Tank

Skylight Cover / Gray Water Tank

June 19, 2015 Categories Camper Van

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I began this morning by cutting the trim to go around the skylight/ceiling vent, then stained it and nailed it in place. Once it was installed, I added some weather stripping where the actual vent cover will sit; this is to create a light-free seal, as the goal of the cover is to stop light from getting in or out.

Then I built the cover that fits inside the trim and attached it to the ceiling. It folds back on a couple of hinges and locks in place using sliding bolt latches on either side. For the most part, it will remain open. I’ll only shut it at night when I’m trying to be stealthy, like when camped in a store parking lot.

Next I finished the trim around the vent and installed the plastic vent trim on top of it. My skylight is finally complete.

One thing I didn’t think about when adding the vent cover and latch was the clearance I needed to be able to open the above-cab storage compartment door. I lucked out and the door has just barely enough room to open; in fact, it grazes the latch just a hair.

Then I worked on my gray water tank. First thing I did was cut a 2″ hole in the top where my sink drain pipe fits in. I was gonna connect it a different way, but realized I didn’t have enough room and this way was easier. I also drilled out a hole as both a air vent and overflow drain.

I drilled a hole in the bottom of the tank and used some ABS cement to glue on a drain cap. I think this cap will be off most of the time, but again, when I need/want to be stealthy camping in cities, I’ll want the cap on so there isn’t water mysteriously coming from the van when I use the sink.

Once the glue was dry enough, I installed the tank under the van. It’s held in place with two plumbing straps that each can support 80 lbs and are held in place with four bolts. Since this is only a 6 gallon tank, and a gallon of water weighs around 8.3 lbs, the maximum weight of the tank should only reach around 51 lbs (including the weight of the tank itself). Once the tank was installed, I ran some water down the drain to make sure the tank wasn’t leaking and then drained the water out.

While I waited for the cement on the gray water tank to dry, I took care of some small stuff. First I replaced the weather stripping around the rear wall window cover because the original stuff I bought just wasn’t thick enough to keep the cover pressed in tight so light was coming through, which I didn’t want. Then I screwed in some eye hooks on the sides of the fridge and microwave spaces so that when I drive, I can strap them in place to keep them from sliding out and making a mess. I had a couple bungee straps already laying around and they were just the right size.

I ended the day by cutting the foam for the beds. The foam is fairly firm (almost a little too firm) and is 6″ thick. Let me tell you, it took awhile to cut through it. It’s way too thick to cut with scissors so I used a utility knife and had to make several passes to slowly work my way through it. Each bed by itself is 23″ wide, which is a little narrower than the average cot size, but I can fit on one comfortably enough and I’m 6’2″ and about 210 lbs. The “couch” bed is 79″ long and the extra bed is only 73″ long, due to the kitchen cabinet. When the beds are joined together, they form a Queen size bed, at 59″ wide. I assure you that when I’m traveling solo, I will be using the beds in the Queen size form. The couch is also very comfortable to sit on and the extra bed makes for a great foot rest to kick up and relax.

I still have to finish the backrest for the couch and get it secured in place and then I need to create some mattress covers and I’ll be DONE with the construction on the van. I still have some maintenance items to do, but since it’s not building something new, I’m not counting it. I just have to change out some fluids and get the headliner back in.

2 thoughts on “Skylight Cover / Gray Water Tank”

carlos calderon · February 2, 2017

great job bro!

Amanda · September 7, 2018

Just a tip from someone who used to make mascots, which may seem unrelated to van conversions, but both involve cutting foam. We used to use an electric knife for cutting our foam, the extra length of the blades proved to be very helpful cutting through thicker pieces. A little late for your conversion but hopefully will help out someone else doing their research before starting on their own. Happy travels!

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