Designing the Van Part 12 – Fitting the Cascade II Water Heater

As mentioned early on in the van buying saga I ended up salvaging a lot of equipment from the big red disaster of a Mercedes that I bought before the Renault. Amongst that wreckage was a Carver Cascade II water heater; a gas powered, electric switched cylinder heater which takes about 15 minutes to heat 10 litres of water.

I had no idea if it worked or not so cutting the van to bits again was a bit of a gamble, but I felt good about it. What could go wrong? Okay let’s not talk about the leaky window.

Once again I had to call on the power of the cardboard to make a template for the hole. To do that I first drew around the outer edge of the outside grill (the Cascade II is almost a rectangle box about 50cm in length that relies on the outside of the body to hold it in place), then measured the inner sleeve of the heater which would sit snugly against the van.

The same hole cutting philosophy was applied to this hole as the one for the window, “start small and chip away if needed”.

And so it went; the first hole too small. Cue expletives. The second attempt still wasn’t right. Further expletives followed. I was missing something so I checked the heater again. The inner sleeve had rounded corners which I wasn’t getting right so instead of using the jigsaw I brought the cone cutter into play and whizzed around the edge making an even job of the corners.

The Cascade II slid in beautifully (conjure your own analogy here) and the expletives promptly ceased.

I made sure to seal it with the boat window seal, that black, tacky wonder stuff which will probably outlive the van and pushed it into place, screwing the grill into the body of the van.

I was yet to build my electrical console so the wiring and control unit would have to it on the shelf above the cabin for now. I connected them to the heater and ran the wires to the proposed leisure battery location, making sure to have an excess of cable in case I needed to change things at a later date with no hassle, before pinning them to the wall panel with those little white U-shaped cable clips.

I propped the heater up on a makeshift shelf to make sure it wasn’t buckling the bodywork and left the scene of the crime, happy with my afternoon’s work even though I still didn’t know if it was going to work or not.

The next appliance that needed fitting was the fridge, a three way Electrolux number which would need connecting to two different electrical sources as well as the gas bottle which also needed a home so before I could do that I had to fit the electricity hook up.

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