Massive shout out to SergSuppy, and the owner Dimitri, for making this build happen. 100% recommended!
Figuring out the interior body work was seemingly the most critical element of the build. I knew from the get-go that I would not be able to go down the full DIY path. While considerably more cost effective-
- I have no time or intent to learn the craft of carpentry.
- We live in a high rise, and our HOA would probably ban us from using the parking garage ever again if we set up a workshop in there.
- We wanted to start using the van ASAP.
The significant majority of the kits I could find were some combination of extremely expensive, ugly, required upholstery, difficult to install, and/or with infinite wait times. Then, I found SergSupply, which ticked all the boxes.
The owner of SergSupply, Dimitri is an incredibly helpful person, and worked with me directly to get exactly what I wanted. We did a lot of custom work together, which he was incredibly helpful for. My best recommendation if you want to request custom work is to measure, measure, and measure again. Even an 1/4” can mean the difference between a good fit and an awkward fit.
I also did the order in two batches, first the walls and ceiling. Then second, the custom cabinetry. This allowed me to take precise measurements for the custom cabinetry that Dimitri would be cutting for me. This ended up working out extremely well. (Some of the custom work is now available on his website too, enjoy!)
I ended up choosing the Prefinished Maple option, which seemed to be the best combination of ease, aesthetics, and price. In a perfect world I would have gone with bamboo, but being double the cost and double the work (varnish), it was just not the optimal choice.
Hardware & Tools
I used a few additional pieces of hardware and tools that I would highly recommend considering when installing these kits:
- Black machine screws, mostly because we felt the black screws looked cool
- Black washers, slightly oversized to accommodate bored out holes in wood panels
- Mending plates, to join certain ceiling panels
- L Brackets, used to hold in battery and water tanks
- Black corner protectors, used on wood corners with heavy traffic
- Foam pads, used to reduce squeaking on wood-on-wood contact surfaces
- Mechanics Tools Kit, as a comprehensive tool kit for the job
- Drill with bits, cordless is nice if 2 people are working on the van
- Dremel, to bore out holes very quickly and cut random things easily
- Rivet Nut Tool, I promise you will learn to be best friends with this thing
Video how to use the above Rivet Nut Tool:
Wall Panel Kit by SergSupply
[image of wide angle interior, front to back]
[image of wide angle interior from outside sliding door at angle towards rear]
These walls look great, hands down. Going into the build, I was certain that I wanted to go with a wood finish rather than an unholstered finished. In fact, our crew van came with unholstered walls and ceiling panels that we ripped out. These walls also bend to the curvature of the van, that is far sexier in comparison to the builds that square off the walls, making the interior feel a bit more like a shoebox. The prefinished maple looks makes for a very nice light and bright interior finish, which is far less claustrophobic than the stock dark interior.
This was the first of the interior body work I installed. It was very straightforward with the supplied instructions, making for a great intro for getting into the groove of things. The panels are cut to spec and fit extremely well. Just as importantly as going in easy, the walls are also very easy to uninstall. I found myself uninstalling and reinstalling them quite a few times over the course of the build.
I ultimately chose to use the stock Mercedes rear door panels instead of the wood panels. I preferred the look of the wood panels, but Mercedes seemed to cut in quite a few additional holes into my van that what seemed typical. It still makes for a very nice overall finish.
- The finish on these are very nice, and unlike a lot of the pre-cut wood walls, are meant to be used without upholstery
- The panels bend to the curvature of the van, which makes for a very nice look
- Easy to install and uninstall, even as one person.
- Not all the holes will 100% perfectly align between the panels and the wall’s holes, which is to be expected with each van having a few millimeters of variance. We are talking about just a couple millimeters off for a few holes. However, just a few millimeters if the difference between a screw going in easily, a screw being a pain the the ass, or a screw not going in at all. I found myself placing and removing the panels a lot, so getting the holes to fit right was key. Line up the panel and screw it on loosely where it fits. Use a marker to mark on the panels where the holes should line up exactly. Pull the panel and use a circular file to bore out the hole to where you marked.
- There is some drilling required into the pillars of the van where there is no pre-drilled hole. I would recommend to go ahead and skip drilling, as there is a curved structural metal element behind those pillars that is extremely challenging to drill through. In hindsight, I would have used a strip of heavy duty Velcro in these spots instead.
Ceiling Kit by SergSupply
[image of wide angle interior, front to back]
The ceiling really has a “wow factor” when installed. I don’t exactly know what about it does it, but literally every person who has walked into the van has commented on how nice this ceiling is.
It covers up the wool ceiling insulation much better than I anticipated. I originally thought I would have to install some sort of textile over the wool to not appear through these slats, but it’s just fine without it.
Installing the ceiling was the biggest part of the job of the interior body work, and took about a full day to get it done. The time comes from having to align and attach each row together. Because the rows are so long and cover so many screw-in points, a minor variance in measurement means a lot of finagling. We ended up using a Dremel to bore open quite a few of the holes to allow for the minor variances in the alignment.
One of the major benefits once this is all installed is how easy it is to remove and reinstall single panels to access the wiring in the ceiling.
- This kit puts some serious “wow factor” in the van. It simply looks great.
- The fit is very good along where the ceiling touches the walls, and leaves just enough space to access wiring you may be running, but not enough space to look ugly.
- No squeaking sounds that tongue and groove ceiling builds have issues with.
- Alignment during the process of connecting the panels into rows is a precision job that requires a lot of care.
- Alignment of the rows onto the ceiling is non-trivial. This is not due to a lack of precision in the kit, it is just the nature of the row based design.
- See tip #1 for the wall installation. A Dremel with a sanding bit works a bit more efficiently with the thicker ceiling panels though. Wear a mask for that.
- Connecting the panels into rows can be a one person job. Attaching the rows onto the ceiling is a two person job.
- Be careful to not scratch the ceiling panels when connecting them into rows. I put a few scratches into mine from sliding them around. Dimitri@SergSupply was able to quickly ship me news ones, but it would have been easily avoided in the first place.
- Use removable Loctite on these screws, they will wiggle themselves loose over bumpy roads.
Floor Kit by SergSupply
[far image from outside of sliding door into interior]
[image of garage without gear]
[image of garage with gear]
Fitting and installing a floor was by the far the element of this build that I was the most nervous about. Going into the build, I knew that it was going to be challenging because the fact that I didn’t want to use self-tapping screws. I would have to somehow determine how to drill holes through the floor to fit the factory holes.
It was quite the process, that I will totally gloss over because SergSupply now provides a pre-drilled floor to fit the factory D-ring mounts. This is literally the only floor I have seen on the market that does that, which is a major major time saver.
I also went against Dmitri@SergSupply’s recommendation and did not apply a Lonseal finish. Mostly because I didn’t have the space to do the epoxy work. In hindsight, I really should have done the Lonseal finish and will probably retroactively install it at some point.
- The floor fits perfectly into the Sprinter.
- This kit along with the VANRUG floor insulation makes a typically time consuming job get done in a matter of minutes.
Cons: (none, but certainly go with the Lonseal finish!)
Wheel Well Storage & Bed Kit by SergSupply
[image of ow angle shot into garage from rear]
[image of bed, bed is made]
[image of bed, bed is messy]
The storage boxes get the job done, and they look good while doing it. I asked SergSupply to make them lower than typical height (26″). The reason being, I wanted a bit more head room on the bed, with this being a standard roof van. Also, because Jess and I’s climbing gear storage tends to be fairly minimal compared to most van uses (no bikes, surf boards, etc), we didnt need too much vertical space under the bed for gear storage. If I were to do it again, I would have actually cut down an additional 6” on the storage cabinet height (20″).
The installation of the boxes were pretty easy, but took me a bit of thinking to figure out how to make them easily removable. Check out the installation tips below. I didn’t want to use self tapping screws because I figured these would come on and off a few times, which proved to be the case 100%.
The bed platform installs very easily over the storage boxes. It does not even need to be screwed down with the weight of a mattress over it. I did a small customization to have the bed platform extend a bit longer to accommodate a bit more up and down wiggle room. I paired a super comfortable custom Mattress Insider mattress with this storage and bed system, you can find my Mattress Insider mattress review here.
Overall, these are super nice storage cabinets and it is kind of a shame that they are covered up by the bed. I may flip the opening direction of the doors for easier access in the future, which does require a bit of work. I would be shocked if SergSupply couldn’t do this upon request.
- Sturdy bed platform
- Provides plenty of storage space while covering up the wheel wells
Cons (more like, things to consider requesting upon ordering):
- No actual “cons”.
- The default height is a little high in my opinion for a bed. That is easily customized by SergSupply.
- The direction of the door openings is a little challenging to access with the bed installed. Flipping the doors’ opening direction resolves that. That can likely be easily customized by SergSupply.
Installation tips (step by step):
- I pulled the wood wall panel and found the most structurally sound walls were. I took some general measurements and marked the locations on the metal, knowing that there would be a little bit of play in the mix.
- Without the wood wall panel installed, I lined up the cabinet where I wanted it exactly and placed blue tape on the floors for realignment later one.
- Using the measurements and markings from step #1, I used a small drill bit to drill straight through the storage cabinet and the metal walls. These would be my alignment holes.
- In the cabinet, I drilled 1/4” holes from the alignment holes made in step #3.
- In the metal wall, I bored out holes for rivet nuts (to be installed in a future step).
- I reinstalled the wood walls. I aligned the cabinets to the floor’s blue tape from step #2.
- I drilled a 1/4” hole through the cabinet holes from step #4 into the walls. This should align with the holes from step #5 now.
- I removed the wood wall, and installed rivet nuts in the holes from step #5.
- I reinstalled the walls, aligned the cabinets, and screwed them in! Easily done!
Kitchen Galley, Custom by SergSupply
[image of galley from outside of sliding door]
[image of galley with sink closed and clean counter]
[image of galley with sink open and a few things on counter]
[image of closeup switch panel with phone charging]
This was by far my most customized part of the van’s interior build. I needed to accommodate a few very specific systems, specifically to reduce the complexity of the overall electric and plumbing systems:
- Tecvan Sink and Fold Down Faucet (review here)
- Superior RV Portable Fresh Water and Grey Water system (review here)
- Dometic CFX3 45 Powered Cooler (review here)
- DFG Offroad Fridge Slide Sideways (review here)
Because all of these systems are very specific in sizing, I needed to work with SergSupply to engineer a near-perfect fit, but with enough tolerances to account for any variances in the systems/appliances themselves. The only thing that left some to be desired in this design was that I used the DFG Offroad Fridge Slide to accommodate the Dometic CFX3 cooler. In hindsight, I would have attempted to work with SergSupply to build a custom drawer for the cooler to have a more seamless look to the galley.
Installation was fairly straightforward as it came totally assembled. The biggest challenge was really just lifting it off the pallet into the van. I used the same method of installation as the wheel well storage boxes. Having done it once, it took just a few minutes.
Dimitri provided me with a few different finishing options. He recommended the butcher block top to go with the prefinished maple scheme I had going on for the rest of the build. The butcher block came beautifully finished and sanded, which made varnishing very straightforward. I wanted to go with a really nice varnish finish for the butcher block, and the Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C (Pure, 350ml) did the trick. I had never varnished a piece of wood before, but it was a lot easier than expected.
Behind the drawer is a very convenient shelf for the DC power distributor block. I used the surface right above that to install the DC power switches along with a few USB chargers. The location is extremely convenient for switches and chargers. It felt a little nerve-racking drilling through the beautiful butcher block, but the end product looked really clean. The wiring information about my power system can be found here.
Overall, I am extremely happy with this galley. The fit and finish is fantastic. With the straightforward plumbing, and electric components, I had a functioning galley within a single day. The shorter than typical width accommodates for a longer bed platform while also still giving enough room for the driver seat to comfortable swivel and use the galley as a table or work surface. It also accommodated the electronic wiring and switch panel very well.
- Extremely nice finish work
- Precision measurements to accommodate the drop-in sink of choice and the drop in plumbing system of choice
- Easy and convenient location for power distributor, switches, and chargers
- No actual “cons”
- If I were to do this again, I would not have designed this around using the DFG product I used. I would have worked with SergSupply to make a custom integrated slider.
Follow the same method as the Wheel Well Storage to align holes.
Varnish Instructional Video:
Bench Seating and Storage, Custom by SergSupply
[image of bench w/ OEM seats spun inwards for “dining setup”]
[image cooking outside w/ bench as prep table]
This is a totally custom piece inspired by an older toilet storage unit that SergSupply has since then updated to a much fancier unit. I do have a custom version of this bench on order with SergSupply, with 3 slide out drawers for additional storage. I’ll update this review upon receipt and installation, and also include a spec sheet for anybody who wants a similar unit from SergSupply.
Aside from while driving, this seat get’s the most butt-time. The bench makes for a great place to sit while doing a bit of food preparation, having dinner, or just chilling. It also makes a convenient food prep surface when cooking outside of the van, which we do very frequently. We originally wanted to put a cushion on top of this unit, but we use it so often as a food prep surface while outside that we opted to forgo the cushion.
Store wise, with the galley housing the fresh and grey water tanks and the electric cooler, there really isn’t much storage for larger items. This bench seat is a great place to store a stove, pots and pans, extra propane canisters, and much more. This current version has a “lid top” that is a little hard to use, hence why I have a drawer version on order.
Build wise, it is very well made as all of the other SergSupply products. It is also very easy to install with just a few screws through the bottom panel into the wood floor.
- Super convent seating that is used very frequently
- Provides a lot of extra storage for larger items
- 45 second installation
- No actual “cons”
- As I mentioned in the note above, get the bench, but go with drawers!
To people who want their van the easy way. To the people who don’t want a project.