Custom van build

Hi there and welcome aboard Mountain Bluebird, my custom self built camper van. I took delivery of a brand new 2016 Mercedes 4x4 170 cargo van and turned it into a custom camper from a bare, all metal walled steel can. Now complete with windows, roof fan, super insulated walls, ceiling and floor, 400ah lithium electrical system, heated water and air with 40 gallons of filtered water supply, rotating two-person bench, fold-down & slide-out tables, large fridge and drawer freezer, microwave, slide out induction stove, slide out toilet, slide out shower, slide out bike drawer, electrically rise and lowering queen bed, roof patio with integrated solar, and many off-road and exterior upgrades. This overland, bike tripping camper was engineering and built over a year by myself and here's its story, plans, ideas and help for your overland camper project. The result of many late nights design, early mornings building, and in-depth research. I decided to share with hope that this will benefit you, as so many others shared van campers benefited mine! Have a look and contact me with questions or comments.

Student in Library
Teacher Writing a Formula on a Blackboard
Typewriter Keys
Adult Students


Tackling this project required breaking it into several phases. The most important stage was outlining my goals and basis of design. Once established, I spent hours researching available parts, methods and solutions, and worked on countless design details in my head and on paper, often in the middle of the night for complex challenges such as plumbing six water tanks at varying levels and connected around frame members, driveshaft, exhaust system, etc. The van has seven temperature sensors--four shown here--also seven 20 amp 120 volt AC circuits over 12 GFI protected outlets. Over 50 12 volt DC circuits separated by three battery systems, which are all automatically and manually interconnected. A hot water system that is heated by the van's engine once hot, by diesel hydronic heater and shore power. The interior is super insulated while minimizing all thermal transfers including very few screws to hold panels together. Except for a few custom drawers and woodblock countertop, there is no wood to absorb moisture or orders. Cabinets are structured in non-rusting, strong and lightweight aluminum and covered in thin yet indestructible marine plastic, with drawers that literally pull out on three sides of one cabinet, two that will support a 250+ pound person. There is even a bench seat that rotates for "camping mode" and "driving mode" so always comfortable and with the right view. And a seamlessly dimming ceiling like the sky with over 20 interior lighting circuits, nearly all dimming, and that's just the inside. There are over eight exterior lighting circuits added, an electric extending and legless awning with integrated wind sensor to auto-retract.


Get out and Explore.




Reno. NV


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