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#721772 - March 27th 2017 9:00 am interior panel installation, conquering the curves  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 15
chanceafrica Offline
stranger
chanceafrica  Offline
stranger

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 15
philly pa
im having a [censored] up time trying to figure how to mount upholstered panels on the natural curve of the van. i also have huge aftermarket windows, just flattening it out with plywood would be difficult to make it look good because the windows would sit 3-4 inches in from my ply surface. i could just cover the windows with ply. is this what people do to flatten the vans curve? you lose 3-4 inches each side by doing that. also the corner panels and the transition into the flat is driving my crazy. please give me your panel installation tips!

#721773 - March 27th 2017 9:24 am Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,106
OVANNER Offline
OVANNER  Offline


Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,106
Connecticut
Use either thin paneling or thin plywood which you can curved to the shape of the van Thicker plywood for floors only or possible cabinets.


1973 Dodge Shorty B-100

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserve body,
but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and proclaiming

"Wow What a Ride"

Johnny O
"O Vanners" of Connecticut! Since 1982

#721782 - March 27th 2017 2:37 pm Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 15
chanceafrica Offline
stranger
chanceafrica  Offline
stranger

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 15
philly pa
luan isnt thin enough to make those curves

#721785 - March 27th 2017 3:13 pm Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 8,166
CatFish Offline
carpal tunnel
CatFish  Offline
carpal tunnel

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 8,166
Georgia, USA
I'm probably not gonna be much help here. I used T&G pine boards on our GMC.
Ran the boards as far back into the corner as they would comfortably fit and then just used cloth with padding behind it in the corners.
[Linked Image]

The pine is only about 1/4 thick and they curved to fit the van well.

Last edited by CatFish; March 27th 2017 3:15 pm. Reason: kant spel
#721789 - March 27th 2017 5:01 pm Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,367
Reed Offline
Maniac
Reed  Offline
Maniac

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,367
Fircrest, WA
I have had luck conforming plywood up to 3/16 of an inch to the curve. You could use thicker wood and kerf it (google kerfing wood). However, kerfing is pretty labor intensive.

I I were you, I would build a wood frame around the conversion windows so they are held firmly against the body of the van and are watertight. Then I would build the wall to the depth necessary to mate to the frame around the windows.

If necessary, on the roof and walls I also recommend instaling 1/4 inch stringers across the metal reinforcing ribs to create more places to attach the inned skin to.


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
#721985 - April 02nd 2017 5:27 pm Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,339
Ram4ever Offline
Ram4ever  Offline


Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,339
Dundee, Michigan
Here's a few ideas for you.

Many Vanners have made up molded fiberglass panels for the rear corners. This leads itself to molded-in rear speakers.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

The original factory rear corners in the deluxe vans were made of a thin fiberboard, like Masonite, which appeared to have been steamed into the curved shape, then was covered with vinyl. The top corners were sometimes made of molded fiber reinforced plastic:

[Linked Image]

I'd suggest making mockups of cardboard; you can curve, trim, and adjust as necessary.

Try looking through the images of van interiors on the sister site, www.showvans.com for more ideas. Some are pretty brilliant.

Many conversion vans used wooden or molded ABS plastic inserts to take up the space between the walls and the windows. These are some I pulled out of a high-end van:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

I don't recall whose picture this was, but you can see how linear braces can be used to get away from curved walls, while providing you with lots more points for secure attachment:

[Linked Image]

In my old Dodge van I used 1/4" tempered Masonite for its curved walls. It was about as rigid as I could bend without the sort of notching Reed described.

Hope that helps a little!


-It's been such a LONG TIME... BlueShift>> 1981 Dodge Ram B250 Custom Sportsman Maxi Van


[Linked Image]

It's what you learn after you know it all, that counts...

Are you living to work, or working to live?

[Linked Image]

Learning from my own mistakes is good, learning from yours would be much better! [Linked Image]
#722003 - April 03rd 2017 10:41 am Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 89
Wyteness Offline
journeyman
Wyteness  Offline
journeyman

Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 89
Colorado
Lots of good info here! I will be tackling this very soon myself

#722087 - April 04th 2017 8:40 pm Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 134
33films Offline
member
33films  Offline
member

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 134
Birmingham, AL
good idea. i think im gonna go take the back corners out of a custom van at pull a part. i've been trying to figure that out myself


Check out my Americana band Motel Ice Machine http://www.facebook.com/motelicemachine
#722093 - April 05th 2017 4:49 am Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,339
Ram4ever Offline
Ram4ever  Offline


Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,339
Dundee, Michigan
I'll be looking forward to seeing what you settle on! Please be sure to keep us up to date on your progress.


-It's been such a LONG TIME... BlueShift>> 1981 Dodge Ram B250 Custom Sportsman Maxi Van


[Linked Image]

It's what you learn after you know it all, that counts...

Are you living to work, or working to live?

[Linked Image]

Learning from my own mistakes is good, learning from yours would be much better! [Linked Image]
#724266 - June 02nd 2017 2:37 pm Re: interior panel installation, conquering the curves [Re: chanceafrica]  
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,039
Bullet Offline
old hand
Bullet  Offline
old hand

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,039
Bristol, TN
You can use aluminum sheet. I've used it many times in cab corners of older trucks. Use a big rosebud style tip on a propane torch and go over the aluminum moving fairly quickly. You'll notice it blush and look a little dull. You are annealing it, making it easier to bend without kinks. Once you fit it and trim it, you can use 3M trim adhesive to attach your interior to the aluminum. This strengthens the whole panel and it will hold its shape very well. Be sure to use the cone shaped trim washers under your screws you use to mount the panel. Easy peasy. No fiberglass mess, no frustration trying to bend wood or glue plastic. If you have a metal roofing supplier nearby, you may be able to buy some aluminum coil remnants up to 30 inches wide. I've also used sheeting for door panels. No worries about moisture since it won't rot. Be aware of places it can vibrate against though or you'll get rattle gremlins. Don't buy junk snips to cut thin aluminum, you'll hate it.


'85 GMC Shorty
'99 AWD Astro
'98 Suburban K2500
'77 Pontiac Astre (future Big Chief)
'95 Jeep Wrangler
"I thought you weren't allowed to talk to guys with vans??"
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