11Van Build Guide

Sprinter Van Budget Breakdown

Step by Step Guide to the DIY approach to building your Sprinter Van

Summary

Introduction

Two of the absolute most-asked questions I get about living in the van… “How much does it cost?”.

Asking how much a buildout costs is a loaded question, and every build will be different. For example, my van has a lot of “extras” that some people wouldn’t bother doing. Items like the ladder, rack, rack lightning, suspension upgrade, Espar heater and router system increased the price by ~$9,000.

If you’re thinking of doing a van build, my first piece of advice would be to sit down and really evaluate your budget. Think about what items are essential to you and what items you could live without but would be nice to have. Maybe you can consider adding those items at a later date.

Personally, I found the planning and budgeting aspect of the build to be a very educational part of the entire experience. It really opened my eyes to all of the different options that were available for different aspects of the build. I recommend to anyone considering a build to first open up a Google Sheet and create a simple budget that will highlight your needs. This will give you a great idea of all the costs associated. Speaking from experience, I know that my build came in very close to my original cost breakdown, excluding items that I decided to add about half way through the build.

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Budget Breakdown

Breaking It Down

I discovered an awesome online tool called Expensify, which I definitely recommend using once you’ve broken down the different sections of the build into a spreadsheet. Expensify is an app to help you track your receipts and keep all of your costs organized. Inside my Expensify account, I created a category called “Van Build” and then created different tags for each aspect of the build such as; flooring, insulation, cabinets, etc. By doing this, it gave me the ability to quickly and easily filter all of my receipts and compare the category totals against my spreadsheet budget.

I broke my project into 7 different categories.

Once I had my 7 categories created, I started to tag all receipts with one of the categories and it made keeping my expenses organized throughout the process a very simple task.

The Budget
Insulation

Included Items

Cost = $800

Interior

Included Items

  • Fasteners
  • Bungee Cords
  • Flooring
  • Curtain Divider and Track
  • Seat Cushions Foam and Fabric
  • Veclro
  • Roller Blind
  • PL Glue
  • Shims
  • Copper Pipe for Towel Rack
  • Table Pedestal and Slider
  • Stair Nosing
  • Ceiling Pine
  • Paint / Stain / Varethane
  • ACP For the Wall Panels
  • Automotive Trim for Wall Panels
  • Wall Strapping
  • Wood for Table Top

Cost = $2700

Electrical

Included Items

  • Wire (Various Gauges)
  • Wire Terminals, Lugs, and Crimp Ends
  • USB Outlets
  • Junction Boxes
  • Marettes
  • LED Strip Lighting
  • Strip Lightning Track
  • LED Pot Lighting
  • Switch Panel
  • Magnetic Switches
  • 12v Outlets
  • 110v Breakers (4 of them)
  • 12v Busbars
  • 12v Terminal Bars
  • Heat Shrink

Cost = $1500

Solar

Included Items

  • Solar Wire
  • Welding Cable
  • (2) Solar Panels
  • AGM Batteries
  • SSR Relay for Hot Water Tank
  • Charge Controller
  • Temperature Sensor
  • DC Breaker Box and Breakers
  • AC Panel for 110v
  • 12v Fuse Panel
  • 400A Fuse and Fuse Block
  • Automatic Charge Relay (ACR)
  • Battery Monitor
  • Bluetooth BMV Dongle
  • 3000W Inverter / Charger

Cost = $6600

Plumbing

Included Items

  • ABS Pipe and Fittings 1.5 and 3 inch
  • Pex Pipe and Fittings
  • Valves
  • Hot Water Tank
  • Grey Water Tank
  • New Grey Water Tank
  • Fresh Water Tank
  • Black Water Tank
  • Interior Water Tanks
  • Water Pumps (2)
  • Pump Strainer
  • Accumulator Tank for Pump
  • Shower Pan
  • High Sierra Shower Head
  • Valterra Dump Valves
  • i Series Tank Monitors
  • Dometic RV Toilet
  • Faucet
  • Pressure Gauge
  • Spinflo Kitchen Center Sink
  • RV Dump Hose and Under Vehicle Mount

Cost = $4000

Cabinets / Appliances

Included Items

  • Baltic Birch Cabinet Plywood
  • Latches, Hinges, Drawer Slides, Gas Struts
  • Cabinet Handles
  • Sand Paper
  • Cabinet Mounting Hardware
  • Paint
  • Stain
  • Kreg Jig
  • Cabinet Vents
  • Ikea Countertop
  • Induction Cooktop
  • Dual Zone 12v Fridge

Cost = $4500

Extras

Included Items

  • Swivel Seat
  • Router / Antenna
  • All Terrain Tires
  • Van Compass Lift Kit / Suspension Upgrade
  • Plasti Dip
  • Roof Vent
  • Paint Bank Door Panels
  • Espar Heater
  • Roof Rack and Ladder
  • Rack Lighting
  • Rack Lighting Mount
  • Spare Tire Mount
  • CR Laurence Window
  • Thule Rooftop Carrier
  • Sliding Door Half Way Stop
  • Hi-Lift Jack

Cost = $9600