TodayVan Life

Presenting my Mercedes 508D – Ruby on Wheels

I’ve been working on and living in my Mercedes 508D for about two and a half years. I documented the building process and all the maintenance work but I’ve never presented the van as a whole, so here we go:

My Mercedes 508D was built in 1986 and equipped with the OM314 3.8 liter diesel truck engine. The former military ambulance truck is 5.1m long, 2.1m wide and 2.9m high. I really like the dimensions because I can stand inside, lay down crossways and park the van in any regular parking lot.

When I bought the van in 2018, I ripped out all the interior and started transforming the ambulance into a wooden camper equipped with 500Wp solar panels, 4G based WiFi, a kitchen, a shower, a warm water system with filters, a wood stove, a seating area with a table, a permanent and extensible bed and a lot of storage.

The kitchen

The kitchen is divided into two areas: a small foldable table right next to the side-door for the electric cooker,

Foldable table with the electric cooker

and a countertop with a sink, cupboards and shelves.

Countertop with a sink, cupboards and shelves

Below the cupboard for the pans, pots and dishes, there is a drawer holding a 46 liter compressor cooler and freezer.

Fridge in my van

The shower

The laminated shower is right in front of the countertop. The shower cabin is equipped with three ventilators and connected to a diesel heater, so it can also be used as a drying room.

Shower in my van

The office, living and bed room

When leaving the shower, you stand right in front of the seating area that consists of a U-shaped bench and a table that comfortably fits five people.

Seating area

The benches on the sides offer a lot of space to relax.

View into the van from the seating area

The part in the very back of the seating area measures 0.8m by 1.9m and serves as a permanent bed that is ideal for short naps during the day. The adjustable table can be lowered to transform the whole seating area into a huge bed that measures 1.65m by 1.9m.

Seating area transformed into a bed

The storage

There’s a lot of space above the driver’s cabin where I store tools, spare parts, outdoor gear and other stuff.

Storage above the driver's cabin

I mounted the table on a raised floor to gain additional storage space for food and the 90l water tank.

Storage below the table in the center of the van

I store all my tools, spare parts and the mountain bike in the space below the seating area.

Storage below the bed

The mountain bike is stored on a pull-out rack which makes it easy to access.

Bike stored in the van on the pull our rack

Nice add-ons

I’ve kept the hooks for the hammock in which I slept during the early days of the building process. I still enjoy lying in the hammock to enjoy the views.

Hammock in my van

The wood stove is my most favorite part of the van – at least during the winter :wink:. The little stove has proven to be very valuable when staying in cold areas like Scandinavia.

Wood stove in my van

I also use the wood stove for cooking when I stay in areas where the sun does not provide enough power for my electric cooker.

The water treatment system is probably my second favorite feature of the van. The filters allow me to treat water from springs, rivers and other sources. I no longer have to buy drinking water in plastic bottles which is fantastic!

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