More Insulation and Roof Rack Fail

This morning I moved stuff from the front to the back of the van and broke down some boxes to make room to work up front. I cut and installed polyiso insulation in the gap where the front side window would be. But the big news is that my Havelock Wool delivery arrived today. I started filling in gaps, and before I knew it I was finished! This stuff is so easy to work with. I can literally tear it to size with my bare hands. I stuffed it into all the gaps and crevices where polyiso won’t fit well. I also used it, instead of polyiso, for the most forward section of the roof, which starts to curve down toward the windshield. Foam doesn’t bend, but it’s no problem for wool batting. I even stuffed some behind the side and rear door panels. The mechanisms inside are protected by a sheet of plastic, so the wool won’t get in the way.

One box was enough for my needs, which most certainly does not include doing the entire van in wool. Havelock says two to three boxes, each of which contains 100 square feet of wool batting, is enough for a Ford Transit. But it’s not cheap, which is mainly why I covered the big flat areas with polyiso instead. The combination of the two types of insulation optimizes what each of them does best. All that remains is for me to stuff what little wool is left into that curved forward part of the roof (because I can), then cut and attach a single layer of polyiso under it. Then the insulation will be done.

I also started to install my Rhino Rack roof racks today. I’m super impressed by how easily they install, and how durable they are. It was literally as easy as prying off the rubber plugs on the roof that cover the threaded holes meant specifically for roof racks, bolting the arms on, and then bolting the cross bars. Super simple — at least, if all the parts are there, which they weren’t.

One of the three packages had only two bolts for the arms when it should have had four, two for each side. The factory seal was intact, so Rhino Rack packed this incorrectly. I took the motorcycle to Home Depot and got two replacement bolts, but they weren’t long enough, and are the longest they had. I’ll try an Ace Hardware in the next town over tomorrow. The smaller hardware stores tend to have a better selection of metric bolts. So I only got two of the three roof racks installed today.

When I installed the second crossbar, I found plastic end caps inside the box that were missing from the first one I opened. The end of the box had actually been ripped off in shipping. The crossbar was undamaged, but the end caps must have fallen out.

I emailed eTrailer about both of these issues. I can replace the missing bolts faster than they can mail them to me, but they should be aware that it happened. I did ask if they could send me a pair of end caps to replace the missing ones, though. They’re not critical, and certainly not required for the racks to function, but the racks weren’t cheap, and I should have all the bits and pieces they’re supposed to come with. Neither of these issues is eTrailer’s fault.

By early afternoon, I was dripping in the Florida heat and humidity. I gave up and came inside to hide in the air conditioning, as well as rehydrate. I’d just showered less than 24 hours before, but I desperately needed another one. Fortunately, that’s not a problem in a house. I never thought I’d use my Giant Loop Cactus Canteen I reviewed for ADVRider to keep me hydrated during a surprise van build, but here we are. I also didn’t expect to be building a new van during a Florida summer. I know it’s not technically summer yet, but with temperatures in the 90s daily it might as well be. In more reasonable weather, I could’ve had my three solar panels installed on the roof by now, if not wired up and ready to go. This is why I’m only looking to build out the essentials right now, then flee to cooler temperatures. Even with the insulation all but complete, it’s still slow going because of the heat and humidity.

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