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So you bought a Van

Bringing home your new van

You are excited and beyond thrilled. Ready to make that dream come true. The van is yours now. Time to start your build. Where do we start. What do we do first. So much to think about.

If you are anything like us you follow hundreds of people that build and live in a van. You watch youtube videos all the time. Stalking #vanlife on instagram is your new hobby. Work countless hours putting together a list of everything you want out of your new home on wheels. Where to start.

Our advice is start a list. Add everything to your list you could ever want in a tiny home. Think from the outside in. Yes you will probably eliminate items from your list after you find out the cost involved. My advice is to be prepared to have as many items on your list as you can. Adding items after you have started can, more times than not, be more expensive than if you had just done it from the start.

You will want to now choose if you will be the do it yourself-er or have a builder, like Wicked Cool Vans, build for you. Do you have the tools needed to do a quality job yourself? Tools can be expensive. Do you have the know how to do it yourself? Do you have the time to do it yourself? Time is money. Lots of questions to answer before you start.

Here at Wicked Cool Vans we encourage our clients to do things themself. We also encourage our clients to have Wicked Cool Vans do the jobs they don’t have the time or tools to tackle the job. We try to provide tips and list of how to do it yourself.

You will find below a list of basic items used in a van build. This is a suggestion list. You will definitely need more items not listed. If you find you need a suggestion send us an email we will try to help out if we can.

Exterior Cuts:

Aftermarket window

Fresair air cooling system- Purchased through Wicked Cool Vans

Max air fan

Max air fan with remote

External ports for 30amp power

Internal Walls:

Sound Deadening

Wiring 4 gauge awg amount of feet depends on plan 10/3 wire for shore power set up, feet depends on plan 14 gauge wire, feet depends on plan 16/3 shore power set up, feet depends on plan


Havelock wool 3-6 batts depending on van model

Wood for framing of walls




¼ inch Plywood for finish walls

¾ inch Birch plywood for cabinets and floors

Ceiling material


Paint or Shellac/polyurethane





Drawer pulls

Drawer slides

Door hinges

Magnetic locks

Lofted Bed – 2×4’s & strapping

Shower pan option 1 option 2 more options are available depends on plan/layout

Water heater 4 gallon 

Plumbing supplies depends on plumbing plan

Fresh water tank 30 gallon

Grey water tank  13 gallon 


Pex pipe

Sink undermount

Sink counter mount 


Shower walls

Shower fixtures


Composting toilet

Refrigerators some choices it depends on layout for size restrictions

Table mounts


Solar Panels 

Solar charger size depends on plan

Inverter size depends on plan

Battery amount of batteries depends on plan

Battery charger depends on battery type and plan

Misc electrical

Amounts and sizes of electrical components depends on plan of system


Swivel Seats

Roof Rack -at Wicked Cool Vans we make a custom rack for your van but some others are available at amazon just make sure it is for your make and model van.

Running Boards tips on running boards is for them to be useful they need to be of a size your foot will fit. I prefer 7 inch ones at least.

Trailer hitch make sure it will fit your make and model

This list is a suggested parts list. Many other items are needed and will depend on layout,plan,make and model of van.

Wicked Cool Vans

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Promaster Van window install

Click the link to watch a fast youtube video of how it its done.

Wicked Cool Vans rear windows install on a Ram Promaster Van. Follow Wicked Cool Vans on facebook at and check out our website at Contact us today to complete your custom van build. Thanks for watching please like us and subscribe for more DIY videos.

Items needed:

Back windows for your make and model van ours were purchased from

Window Weld Urethane

Edge trim

Cleaning solution

Raw edge trim paint

Jig saw

Metal Jig saw blades

Metal files


duct tape

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Solar in your Wicked Cool Van

Solar panels on our Wicked Cool Vans Four 100 watt solar panels provide power for our Wicked Cool Vans.

Solar power gives you power from the sun. Building your solar system for your particular needs is the goal. Here are some tips from Wicked Cool Vans.

What items will you need power for? How much sun where you will be traveling? Do you have a maximum price you are able to spend on your solar system? Are you going to depend entirely on solar power? Will there be a back up plan for power?

Food for thought. Will you be shopping for food often? If you need to keep food cold or frozen you will need a place to store such items. A refrigerator is most likely an item you want in your van. Refrigerators draw a lot of power. The option of a smaller 12 volt refrigerator is your best choice. The 12v systems can keep your items cold or even frozen. Having a small refrigerator can let you stay away from civilization longer.

This unit is a refrigerator freezer. Available on Amazon

The unit above is calculated at 45 watts of power. The motor only kicks on when the temperature falls below your settings. We find it a perfect unit for our needs and solar system size.

There are other options for cooling your food. We recommend one like this cooler style refrigerator. Cold air sinks. With the units that have a door on the front tend to loose the cold air faster. This makes your unit turn on more often. In turn this uses more power and is less efficient.

Here are some other refrigerators we recommend:

Dometic CRX-65 75500.000.21 12/24 Volt DC Compressor Black Refrigerator and Freezer

Norcold Nr740Bb Dc Refrigerator 1.7 Cu Ft, 20-1/2″ x 18-1/2″ x 21-1/16″, Black

Dometic CD-50 (DC only) Drawer Refrigerator 47-Liter Capacity and Removable Freezer

Other power items we use are water pumps, water heaters, USB ports, lights, heaters, cooling systems and fans. All of these items can be found with 12 volt power options.

The items require a draw off of your batteries. The wattage they use must be added up to find out what amperage you will need for your system. After you come to that number you must choose your batteries. Lithium batteries or sealed gel batteries? What will your budget allow? We personally have sealed gel batteries in our Wicked Cool Van. We suggest to our clients to go with the lithium from the start if your budget allows.

Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery – 100Ah 12v with Built-in BMS – 3000-5000 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery – Perfect for RV/Camper, Marine, Overland/Van, and Off Grid Applications

Three Lithium Battery Bank

After you find your wattage needs you will be able to pick your solar panels. We like the Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, Compact Design 42.2 X 19.6 X 1.38 in, High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications we have four on our van.

Size of the panels and your roof top application can determine how many you can fit. We have four 100w panels on our van. More could fit if we needed extra charging power. The Renogy panels are a good size for multiple configurations.

Renogy Rover 40 Amp 12V/24V DC Input MPPT Solar Charge Controller Auto Parameter Adjustable LCD Display Solar Panel Regulator fit for Gel Sealed Flooded and Lithium Battery is needed to connect your solar panels to your batteries and other equipment.

Renogy 3000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter 3000 Watt Solar Power Battery Converter 12VDC to 120Vac ETL Listed is needed if you intend on using items that require a 120v plug. The inverter allows your solar to power most any lower wattage plug in items. If you intend to charge a computer, plug in a cooktop or run a water heater an inverter is needed.

Multiple breakers and fuses are needed in any system. This allows the proper amount of energy through your cables. If the cable is overloaded the breakers or fuses with break/stop. Helping your system perform in a safe manner.

Blue Sea Systems ST Blade ATO/ATC Fuse Blocks

T Tocas 100 Amp Circuit Breaker with Manual Reset, 12V- 48VDC, Waterproof (100A)

Above are a few we use. The sizes and how many you need depends on your particular system.

Other items you will need on hand to make connections

Glarks 300pcs 22-16 16-14 12-10 Gauge Nylon Fully Insulated Male/Female Spade Quick Splice Wire Disconnect Electrical Insulated Crimp Terminals Connectors Assortment Kit

Wire Lugs Ring Terminal Connectors AWG8-2 Ends Heavy Duty for Battery Cable Lug tinned Copper Tubular Wire Electrical Eyelets Terminal 12Size 120PCS with 3:1 Dual Wall Adhesive Heat Shrink

Hammer Battery Lug Crimping Tool for 8, 6, 4, 2, 1/0, 2/0 American Wire Gauge (AWG) Wire and Cable

100FT 14 Gauge 2pin 2 Color Red Black Cable Hookup Electrical Wire LED Strips Extension Wire 12V/24V DC Cable, 14AWG Flexible Wire Extension Cord for LED Ribbon Lamp Tape Lighting

4 Gauge 4 AWG 25 Feet Red + 25 Feet Black (50 Feet Total) Welding Battery Pure Copper Flexible Cable Wire – Car, Inverter, RV, Solar by WindyNation

ALOVECO LED RV Lights, 12V Led Lights Dimmable Camper Interior Lights 3000K Ultra-Thin RV Lights Interior Waterproof 12 Volt LED Ceiling Lights Motorhome Sailboat Yacht Case of 8 Packs

Ulincos Touch Switch UT19T1 Stepless Dimming Switch DC 6V to 24V Blue LED Suitable for 19mm 3/4″ Mounting Hole

HBOX Solar Panel Connector Y Branch Connector 1 to 4 Solar Connector Solar Cable Combiner – 1 Male to 4 Female(M/4F) and 1 Female to 4 Male(F/4M) Solar Panel Cables and Connectors (1 Pair 1Y4)

BEP Battery Switches

Quick Charge 3.0 Cigarette Lighter Outlet Splitter, 12V USB Charger Waterproof Power Socket Adapter DIY Kit with Blue LED Dual USB Ports for Rocker Switch Panel on Car Boat Marine RV, etc

Link Solar Weatherproof ABS Solar Double Cable Entry Gland for All Cable Types 2mm² to 6mm² for Solar Project on Rv, Campervan, Boat

Titan 11477 Ratcheting Wire Terminal Crimper Tool for Insulated Terminals, Fixed Jaw Crimper

If you are going to add a 30amp service to your electrical here are the item we suggest:

3-Bank, 30-Amp (10-Amp Per Bank) Fully-Automatic Smart Marine Charger, 12V Onboard Battery Charger, Battery Maintainer and Battery Desulfator with Temperature Compensation for lithium batteries

ProMariner 44020 ProSportHD Series Battery Charger – 20 Amp for agm batteries

10/3 AWG Triplex AC Marine Wire – Tinned Copper Boat Cable – Made in The USA the size wire will depend on what you will be hooking up

Custom Cable Connection 16/3 SOOW 16 AWG 3 Conductor 600 Volt Portable Power Cable – 50 Foot Roll in a Bag

Leisure RV 125V 30 AMP Power Plug Twist Lock Inlet with 3 Stainless Steel Pins, White

Square D by Schneider Electric QO2L30SCP QO 30 Amp 2-Space 2-Circuit Indoor Main Lug Load Center

15-Amp 1-Pole Plug-On Circuit Breaker

20-Amp 1-Pole Plug Circuit Breaker,

30 amp female locking connector with LED Power Indicator

You can choose a few different sources for back up power. The most popular is a generator. This option can be less convent. Generators tend to be noisy and not always welcome. Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter with Quiet Technology large size one like this. To smaller options – 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator w/Fuel Shut Off, CARB Compliant, Ultra Lightweight

We find staying parked in the sun gives us enough power for our needs. This way we are only drawing excess overnight from our batteries. Recharging again in the morning.

The links provided in this post will help you build your system. Links will bring you to our affiliate program. You many need more or less of our suggestions. If you would like Wicked Cool Vans to build your solar system send us an email

Shop hundreds of options for a solar system on our affiliate link

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Van Plumbing

The thought of doing plumbing can be a scary thing. In a van build it is fairly easy to complete your own van plumbing. I am sure you can find plenty of  youtube videos. We use pex pipe and parts for our Wicked Cool Vans water systems. We plan to have all water components on one side of the van.

Lay out your plumbing supplies and plan for the best placement.

In the photo above we are making our plan. We will have the sink and all plumbing on the right side of this van. The hot water heater, pipes and pump all need a place. In this build we will be placing the diesel heater in a compartment behind the water system.

The thing we dislike the most is to start a project and not have all the parts on hand. Missing one part holds up the entire production. It is good to have a drawing of your plan. Nothing fancy, just a drawing of how you plan to place everything.

Nothing fancy just your vision in black and white.

We work as a team and it is easier to visualize this way. By the time we are done with the drawing we both have scribbled all over it. After we have a plan that will work we bring it to scale. One key to an entire build is proper planning.

Now build the cabinet. Here are a list of supplies we have on hand for plumbing. 1/2 Inch PEX PIPE, Fitting ,Clamp Tool, Clamps Cutter Combo Kit 2 PIECES XFITTING HOT (RED) AND COLD (BLUE) OF 1/2″ PEX BRASS FULL PORT SHUT OFF BALL VALVE – 1/4″ TURN.  We have at least 4 sets of these on hand. It is a good idea to have shut offs if there is ever a leak you are able to keep it under control while you repair it. 5 Plastic Poly Alloy 90 Degree Swivel Elbow Pex x FPT Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2″ x 1/2″ 5 pack. You will need two packs at least 5 Plastic PEX Poly Alloy Tee Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2”, White, 5 Pack you will need at least two 5 packs of these. 5 Plastic PEX Poly Alloy Straight Coupling Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2”, White, 5 Pack 5 Plastic PEX Poly Alloy 90 Degree Elbow Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2”, White, 5 Pack, you will want a lot of these on hand. it helps you have a clean look to your plumbing. I would say have five or six 5 packs on hand. 5 Plastic Poly Alloy 90 Degree Elbow Pex x MPT Barb Pipe Fitting, 1/2” x 1/2”, White, 5 Pack

Pick the size of your tanks. We try to get the same size for both if it will fit into the plans of the build. Lead Free White Poly Alloy Elbow with Pex to Female Threaded Fittings, 1/2 x 1/2 40 Gallon Fresh Water Tank & Plumbing Kit RV Concession 13 Gallon Water Tank & Plumbing Kit 7 Gallon Water Tank & Plumbing Kit 20 Gallon Fresh Water Tank & Plumbing Kit RV Concession Fresh Water Pump, 12 Volts, 3.5 Gallons Per Minute, 45 Psi 1/2″ Twist-On Pipe Strainer White City Water Flange with 1/2″ MPT RV Outside Shower Valve Kit – 4 Inch Quick Connect Valve and RV Outdoor Shower Faucet in Black Quick Connect Hose Adapt Duty Coiled Water Hose RV Extension Coiled Hose Extender for Disconnect Valve, 15ft Spiral Hose Theard Flex Seal Tape Waterproof Plumbers Plumbing White 1/2″ x 520 Inch Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Tronic 3000 T 4 gallon – Eliminate Time for Hot Water – Shelf, Wall or Floor Mounted

Water pump with the tank under.

Now you have a list of items you will need. Find us on facebook at

We post pictures often. Send us an email at if you have questions. Make sure to check out other pages or our current blogs at

Fresh water intake, outdoor shower and diesel heater tank.

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Holes in Your Van

You just brought your new van home. The first thing in a build is to put holes in your new van for windows, vents, air conditioners, heaters any outer device you are planing in your build. This requires cutting a big ole hole in your new van. A scary thing. No turning back now.

Hole in a new van for our clients Fresair cooling machine.

Most items you will be installing will have a template. The key is to make sue where you are cutting does not have any structural beams in the place you would like your new product. At times you may have to place the new item in a different place. Research is important. Reading the description and measure for placement ahead of time to make sure your vision can be accomplished. The reason why these items must be installed first.

No template with this window.

You have to be prepared for the item to come without a template. The cardboard box it came in will work. Read the instructions and watch a video on installation. This way you can get tips on what not to do. A lot of videos will share their mistakes. That way you don’t make the same ones. One thing we always do is make a practice cut from our template. We will take a piece of scrap wood. Trace out our template on it. Make the cut. Fit the item in the cut hole to make sure your template is spot on.

We make sure the area is clean and free of any debris. Check you are not placing it where you will interfere with a structural component. Measure many times. You will want to make sure you are placing the hole level and even. Draw your outline. Step away. Make sure it looks right. Take some final measurements. After the outline we always place tape on the outer side of our outline. This helps prevent your tool from making scrapes on outside of your cut.

Make sure you have a new blade for your saw. This will insure a clean cut. After the cut you will need to file the edges and paint with primer. This helps avoid rust from exposed metal.

Metal Primer then paint will help prevent rust.

After the paint dries dry fit your item. If all looks good you can start your placement. Butyl seal tape on the edge of the item before we do the final screw in. Here is a link to some on Amazon the butyl seal tape is a great thing to have on hand for your build. If it is an item on your roof you will want lap sealant on hand as well. Here is the lap sealant we recommend. The final step is to secure your item into place. Make sure you are plumb and level. It wasn’t that bad was it?

Here is a list of item I would have on hand for putting holes in your van:

Jig Saw make sure you have new blades

Butyl Seal Tape

Lap sealant if its on your roof

Paint Tape

Sharp Marker

Metal File

Primer Paint

Metal Paint

Tape Measure

Rubbing Alcohol

Emails are welcome if your have any further questions check out other blogs at you will find more pictures and videos at

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Van For Sale

For over a year we searched multiple listings of “Van For Sale”. We entertained buying new from our local dealership. Russell works for an automotive dealership. He works for Chevrolet GMC his company owns a Dodge and Ford store. Chevrolet/GMC’s were out. They do not make a high roof model. We needed to be able to stand up inside. His Dodge dealership had one in stock it was a gas engine and not the extended model. The Ford shop had high roofs in stock with the shorter wheel base. Ordering new was a possibility, the wait time was long. We decided to continue our journey for a used, new to us Van.

Never ending road

The road seemed never ending. We really wanted a diesel engine. With plans on traveling a lot. We really wanted the diesel. We are getting great miles per gallon.

The high roof was at the top of my list. I wasn’t going to budge on this one. We entertained all manufacturers. Mercedes was my favorite with the longest wheel base. We almost pulled the trigger on a couple of them.

I was going to hold firm on a high roof, extended wheel base with a diesel engine. Thinking a used van with a diesel engine can have higher miles. Buying used is always a risk. Russell is not a mechanic. We did not want something we would spend money to keep it running. All vehicles needs regular maintenance and upkeep. We just wanted to be able to focus on spending on the build.

We ended up with the 2016 3500 Ram Promaster extended. I have to admit I was in love from day one. The drive was three hours to get her. We did our research to get her history. She was not perfect. I mean if you think you will find a used cargo van in perfect condition, think twice. Just a reality.

The day she came home.

This is where it all started.

Our first Wicked Cool Van. It would be great to say done, we are always adding something. It will be that way with most vans.

Our current Wicked Cool Vans client changed things up a bit. Sometimes you just need to see it. Decide if it was what you thought. Change or add to it. Spending time in a small space you need to be comfortable.

Wicked Cool Vans current build

We decided to build Wicked Cool Vans #1 with a loft bed. We have pets and wanted it pet friendly. If we travel without our fur babies or use it for business that area is full of our stuff. I feel it was a good choice for our needs. We spend most of our time outside. Being able to just reach in slide out the fridge, grab a cold one is a game changer.

Slide out fridge easy access from in or out of the van.

These coolers should have lots of breathing room. Circulation is the key to keeping it running for a long time. It can be used as a refrigerator, half refrigerator half freezer or a freezer. These are great options. Here is the link to check it out on amazon

No mater where we go people want to check it out. We are proud to show it off. Now we can just jump in and go, anywhere.

Here she is finished….

Wicked Cool Vans Maine

Thanks again for taking time to read our blog. We are happy to share our journey.