Taylor and I recently bought a 2015 Mercedes 170” Cargo Sprinter Van, with plans to convert it into a home on wheels. Our goal is to take this van all over North America eventually reaching Alaska. To help inspire others, we are documenting our van build showcasing how we built our van. Once our van is complete, we plan on sharing our journey across North America with you as well. We are creating video tutorials on youtube in addition to the blog posts to help share what we are creating with you. Here’s our post on how we applied truck bed liner to our sprinter van.
Why Truck Bed Liner?
We got the idea to add truck bed liner to our sprinter van from our brother in law. One day he asked, “are you going to put truck bed liner on your van?” I had no idea what he meant, but then after talking to him, it sounded like a great idea. The more I looked into it the more and more I wanted to do it.
First, we want to use truck bed liner on our sprinter van to help protect it from the road. Rocks, dirt, debris, salt, and other particles from the road spin up from your tires and can damage your van. If your paint gets chipped it can expose the raw metal of the van leading to rust. Truck bed liner, adds one layer of protection to prevent this from happening.
Second, it looks really cool! Adding truck bed liner to our van helped make it look cleaner and newer! We love it!
Types of Truck Bed Liner
If you decide to use truck bed liner on your van, you need to decide which type works best for you. There are different types of truck bed liners that you can use for your van.
- A spray can – cheapest and easy to apply
- Roll-on truck bed-liner – hard to apply and get an even application
- Air-compressor spray gun – most expensive and requires additional equipment like an air compressor
We chose to use a spray can option for our van since it’s the easiest to apply as well as the cheapest. We did, however, use a roll-on clear truck bed liner for the roof which I will cover in a later blog post.
Tools Needed to Apply Truck Bed Liner
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Before we get into each step of the truck bed liner, below are the tools used during the installation on our Sprinter van.
- Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Liner: https://amzn.to/2MRBgdb
- Trim Remover (used to pry open plugs): https://amzn.to/2VSMNLP
Before you start applying the truck bed liner, you need to do some preparation.
1. Determine the type of truck bed liner
First, determine the type of truck bed liner applicator you want to use. From the 3 different types listed above, choose the best option for you. I suggest, if you want to try something in addition to what we used (Rust-Oleum spray can truck bed liner), then purchase a small amount and use it on a window cut out or sheet metal to test how it looks.
Even though the Rust-Oleum is one of the cheapest spray cans you can purchase. We were confident in how it will turn out since we were able to test without any risk of damaging the van on a piece of sheet metal (window cut out of the van).
2. Protect your van’s paint
Second, you want to cover the area of the van where you’re not going to apply truck bed liner. We used a mix of painters plastic, cardboard and masking tape to cover the areas of the van we want to keep as is. This took some time and you may want to cover more than you think is needed, we learned this the hard way.
Applying Truck Bed Liner
Once you decided on the type of truck bed liner you want to use and you covered the areas of your van you want to protect, it’s time to start applying the truck bed liner to your van.
Since Taylor sprayed the entire van, I asked her for some tips and we can provide tips on applying truck bed liner in the form of a spray can but here are our thoughts.
- Read the directions on the back of the spray can! Rust-Oleum, suggests spraying 12-16 inches from the van which we thought worked well.
- Sand down the vehicles paint to buff off any grease, oil, etc to get the best adhesion.
- Apply multiple light coats, instead of one heavy coat of truck bed liner. This will help prevent “runs” or drips of paint which you do not want!!!
- Use a paper towel or rag to prevent runs. If you do apply too much in one spot and the truck bed liner starts to run, use a paper towel or rag to wipe the entire spot where the truck bed liner is running. You want to ensure you wipe all of it all, then simply reapply.
- Buy more cans than you think you will need. Some of the cans we purchased didn’t spray well at all and the last thing you want to do is have a half-finished job!
Overall we really like how the truck bed liner turned out. We think it made our van look newer and cleaner, but also gives up more confidence in the strength of our vehicle. Like I mentioned above, the goal of applying the truck bed liner is to protect the van from the rough roads ahead with all of the rocks, dirt, snow salt, etc that gets kicked up from the tires and potentially damages the vehicle’s paint.
We did go with the cheapest option, however not because we were trying to save money, it was the fastest option as well and easiest to use (in our opinion). Also, after testing it on a piece of sheet metal from the window cutout we really liked how it turned out!
Anyway, I hope you found this van build blog post helpful, and if you’re interested in other van build blog posts, check out the following:
Other Van Build Posts:
- Window Installations:
- Roof Installations:
- Van Plumbing
Before we decided to buy our own van we rented one to test the waters! This helped us realize it’s something we want to do, before spending all the money buying a van and converting it! We rented a van in Portugal and absolutely fell in love with van life!
A heads up: This blog post is a review of the van we rented, not really a van life video.
If you have any questions or suggestions about how to apply truck bed liner to your van please drop a comment below! Also, check out our youtube channel where we document every step of the build process with videos!
As always, thank you for reading/watching our content!