Why I’m Converting a New Sprinter Van

By: Scott Adamson
/ May 25, 2020
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why I’m converting a second van…

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been living in my self-converted 2016 2WD 170 Sprinter Van for the past few years. Now I’m building out a new 2019 4×4 144 Sprinter Van!

I put together a video to break down exactly why I’m tackling this project again and what the main differences are between my first and second build.


Looking for an even more detailed break down of my van build? Be sure to check out my Van Build Guide where I’ve documented everything from my first van (170 Sprinter Van) and will be updating with my second van.


I encourage you to watch the full video for details, but in the meantime, here are the main highlights of what I’m changing in my second van build:

144 Wheelbase

My first Van Conversion was a 170 wheelbase. This time around I’ll be living in the 144, meaning my new home-on-wheels will be 3.5 ft shorter than my last one.

4×4 instead of 2WD

For the majority of people, 2WD is amazing and doesn’t limit them from their type of vanlife. I’ve personally had no issues getting anywhere.

But, for some added peace of mind and the ability to push things even further, I decided to go with the 4×4 this time around.

Lightweight build

My main goal for this new van is to keep the weight down as much as possible. I was hovering very close to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Restriction) in my last van so I am keeping the materials in the van as lightweight as possible.

Building out of  Extruded Aluminum (AKA 8020)

In order to implement even more weight savings, I’m building out of extruded aluminum.

What I’m learning about this material is that it allows you to build a skeleton without having to put a floor and back on a lot of your cabinets. I anticipate saving up to 250-300 pounds by using this material over the traditional Baltic Birch cabinets I used in my last build.

Lithium Batteries

I’m going to be using 3 x 100AH Battle Born Lithium Batteries instead of AGM Batteries. The weight savings with Lithium is amazing and they are a lot more affordable now than they were when I was building my first van. I’ll be getting way more usable battery at less than half the weight in batteries.

Radiant In-Floor Heating System

And finally, in this new van, I’ll be changing up my heating and hot water system. In my last van, I used an Airtronic system (Espar D2) along with an electric hot water tank.

While the Espar D2 is a great unit and I highly recommend it, I decided to go with the luxury heating unit by Vanlife Tech which is the In-Floor Radiant Heating system. I’ll be diving into this system some more in the future, but what’s important to know now is that instead of just heating the air (which is what the Airtronic Espar unit does), everything in the van will be warm from the floor up.

I’m very excited about this second build and happy to answer any questions along the way! Just meet me in the comments on YouTube.


For more DIY Van Build Tips, stories, and guides, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you don’t miss any videos.

Scott Adamson
Wanderful Idea Guy
Coffee drinker, adventure seeker, below average photographer.
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