Posted by: Steve and Bethany | January 22, 2009



While the cabinets were being clearcoated I finished up the ceiling wiring, applied some veneer around the dog step (the only veneer that isn’t part of the cabinets) & pulled out the soft walls I’ve had sitting for five months! remember, the soft walls gets fastened to the inside of the roof assembly, & on the outside of the wall cap. The way I went about installing them, was to get some double-sided 3M tape, & put it around the perimeter of the roof attachment point. Bethany & I held it up in place, put a few screws in place, to hold it up temporarily, & as Bethany pulled off the tape backer, I pressed the vinyl into place at just the right height. The tape held just fine, & that gave me the time to install the aluminum flat insert moulding, & screw the soft walls permanently to the roof. The next day I did a similar procedure to the bottom connection to the wall cap, but here I pulled the vinyl down over the four corners first, holding them in place with the tape, then pulled the length of soft wall in between down, as Bethany removed the backer again, & again, I installed the flat insert moulding around the perimeter holding the vinyl securely to the walls below.

Bethany, holding the bottom flat insert molding in place

it's important to have a helper that can stay focused on the task at hand!

During this time the first half of the cabinets came back clearcoated & ready to install (soon)

teak is such a beautiful wood,

lastly on the soft walls, I ran the bungee chord around the perimeter, through ‘D’ rings located on the corners, & when having the soft walls made, I had them make the bottom & top window ‘trim’ a hollow channel so I could use this as a bungee guide as well. I got the bungees pulled around, connected together, & the connection hidden in the rear window channels. Then it was time to lower the roof & see.. ..if it worked!, would the bungees suck the soft walls in, as the roof lowered as needed, or would I have to pull them in as the roof lowered, or more likely, devise some additional bungees to help suck it in.

I’m absolutely flabbergasted.. worked perfectly the first & then second times,(I didn’t believe it the first time) now things may change as the cabinets are installed, but right now the soft walls tuck in out-of-the-way as the roof lowers perfectly.



The rest of the cabinets should arrive tomorrow, so I can start re-assembling them the next few nights, & remember, I’ll have to stop multiple times to hook up propane & water lines, so this will go a bit slowly & cautiously.


A thought occurred to me as I typed in the date, I looked back at the first post, & it is officially exactly two years since I began this website (funny how your mind tells you certain things)

I’ve been going through all the cabinets & drawers, installing hardware & pulls, minor touch up, getting everything perfect for this weekend, during this time, the Bullet was off at Quality RV in sprinfield or.

having the rough propane lines run before cabinets get in the way, & I’ve lined up next Tuesday for them to do the final hook-up of the appliances. While the shop was ‘bullet-free’, I laid out all the cabs as I finished them for install, only to see just how much I’ve built since october ’10’.

it's amazing how much can go into a small space

remember, the bullet is 7′-2 3/4″ wide by 14′ long, minus 6′ for the bed, & wall thicknesses =7′ x 7′-6″ !

drawer pulls, glides, & main switch plate installed

it just keeps going! every piece fits perfectly together (or it better)!

I also ordered (months ago) some 3″ brush seal to finish the tops of all the lifting pipe covers, so you didn’t see a big hole, & to help keep dust out, so I finally pulled that out & installed that onto all four covers. I wasn’t sure just how I was going to bend it or fasten it, but as always, I figure it out as I go.

it comes straight, i bent it to match

in place & installed

& on the entry bench lifting pipe cover

Now that I look back, at both the entry bench lifting pipe cover & the dog bed pipe covers, the second way of gluing up the wiggle board is much better, make a mold, & push the two layers into it, as opposed to wrapping & stapling the two layers around a series of ribs. In the first version, the ply wants to push out into the mold making it a perfect circle, on my original try, the ply’s try to pull apart, hence don’t form a perfect circle or radius.

I picked up the bullet from Quality RV, they did a great job, I feel much more comfortable knowing the propane lines are done professionally, & they kept within all my tight clearances, I’d highly recommend them.


Yeah, it’s been a couple of weeks, between both Bethany & my birthdays, & a trip up to Portland, the fun got drawn out a bit, but progress has been good. The walls  & cabinets have almost all been re-installed, with large bursts of utilities run during progress as it was easier to install these pipes & wires with more room to work before everything was in place. Plumbing is done, except for hookup of the kitchen faucet,  110 volt wiring (for outlets at the fridge, courtesy, & converter/charger) is done, 12 volt wiring is about half done, to be done by the end of this week. I will admit, my usual habit of designing tight with little clearance (which usually gets me in trouble) has worked out fine so far, albeit sometimes tough to get everything into these small spaces behind the drawers, but it all fit in there.

lots going on behind the smooth face of the drawers

one of the doors hides the water heater & valves

So far the cabinets have fit back together perfectly, every piece fitting exactly & snugly where it’s supposed to go, all the teak veneer grain matches perfectly in line with itself from drawer to drawer all the way across the kitchen cabs. the poplar ribs & accents look great complimenting the teak.

it’s definitely starting to have that yacht look I was aiming for, & Bethany & I have begun picking colors & materials for the interior upholstery, all to go with the ceiling & style already begun. Within a couple of days, the interior lights will be working so I wont need the worklights any more, & I should be picking up the countertop this week as well.


I finished all the 12 volt & 110 volt wiring, now I’m just doing a bunch of small details like providing an air baffle behind the fridge (to improve fridge performance), small trim pieces, coat closet rod, door catches, provide the drain for the pee toilet, & pick up the kitchen faucet. The countertop came in this week, & that will be installed this weekend as well as all the above-the-counter curving shelves. Early next week I’ll have the heater & fridge hooked up & tested, then we’ll be ready for upholstery.

The end happens fast

12 volt wiring

& the 110 volt breaker box

the 110 volt power does three things, a courtesy outlet in the vanity cabinet, an outlet for 110 power to the fridge, & an outlet for the power converter/charger.

all the wires travel from the electric panels below the bench, across the camper just below the dog step, to the toe kick area below the kitchen cabinets, where they can get to anywhere needed. This channel has a teak cover, but remains accessible so I can pull additional wires in the future if needed.

wiring channel


The counter fit in perfectly, I of course did not make the Corian (Hi Macs) countertop, but made a full size template with all dimensions & curves exact, so they just used a flush cut router to trace the exact fit. After the counter went in, I installed all the above-the-counter shelves, as well as the drains & faucet, the cook top, the rear upper shelf, & did a little alteration of the drawer just below the sink, as the sink was deeper than I expected, hence the drain hung lower than I planned, but I still have an 8″ deep drawer there (the front stayed the same, I just cut down the sides & rear, to clear the drain).

using my template to locate some screw holes for the upper shelves

ready for installation

& installed (after setting it in about 14 times getting everything to fit just right) as you can tell, it’s not an easy shape, it doesn’t just slide into place!

Eventually there will be short stainless railings at the upper shelves & on top of the toiletry cabinet, like 2 1/2″ tall, to hold in things stored up there, not for a while though, (I have other priorities)


This past week I’ve been finishing little details inside, such as hooking up & testing all the appliances, installing  the teak panel in the fridge door

I also installed stainless on the backside of this panel, should I ever want to change, but for now, the teak looks warmer. I also installed the wheel wells I had made a couple of months ago. These were made out of ABS plastic, & simply riveted to the underside of the floor boards, as well as the angled side of the wood storage & air tank bins. Installation went fast & flawless.

pre-wheel well

much cleaner

I also cut & riveted 1/4″ rubber mud flaps, to try to reduce spray from the wheels

This will protect the firewood & air tanks, as well as the automatic steps behind the passenger side.


Been doing miscellaneous small things for the past week, getting ready for upholstery on Monday. I changed all the storage compartment door locks, as well as the fuel  & outside shower door locks with tubular key locks, getting them all keyed the same. These work MUCH better than the cheap key locks the various doors came with. I got Randy over at Harvest Valley Specialties going on the short railings for the above-the-counter shelves (I made templates of each of the three shelves).  I’m still waiting for the carpet, but I finally figured out how to finish the step into the camper. Up to now, it’s just been powder coated steel as you step into the camper, & I had been putting off just how to have the carpeting meet this stair nose edge. What I ended up doing was getting some 5/4 x 4 IPE, & re-sawing it into 1/2″ thick pieces (as the door threshold is 1/2″ above the metal step-down) then did two different things on the rise & the run of this step; for the rise, I cut the IPE then fastened it through 1/8″ rubber, drilled through the 1/8″ steel step riser, & bolted it permanently to the riser with rubber washers on the backside. This gives me rubber on both sides to help with any moisture, plus a nice edge to have the carpet meet over. On the run of this step I used the same ingredients, IPE & 1/8″ rubber, but bolted the IPE directly to the rubber with flat nuts, & made more or less, a flexible welcome mat that just lays there by gravity,

you can see the flat nuts through the rubber backer

it's actually a trapezoid

literally behaves like a welcome mat

rise & mat done, looks good plus can be taken out to shake-out dirt

This mat will be able to be picked up & shaken-out outside. I also left 1/2″ gaps between the boards for small rocks & dirt to collect between shaking’s. Of course I couldn’t just do it simple, I had to use a little pizzaz, & pick up on some of the interiors curves.

The carpeting will also be put down with Velcro at multiple points, so it too, can be pulled out for shaking-out & cleaning. What I’ll do at the step nose, is glue it to two sides of a 1′ x 1 1/2″ aluminum angle that Velcro’s down to the stair nose,(if you look at the picture above, you can see the angle sitting there right  now) all you’ll see is the carpeting bending over the edge 1″, then stopping, just like home steps, but it can be pulled up when needed.

While at Stans Upholstery, I will have them mount two stainless ‘D’ clips on the inside of the softwalls between the two side windows, half way up, to attach bungee between the sides when dropping the roof, to help pull the material in while the roof drops, but one thing I noticed while raising & lowering it many times to see just how the material behaved as the roof dropped, was to see, first-hand that my over thinking the upper swoop in the lifting pipes actually was working exactly as I hoped, the softwalls were riding right into it, as the roof lowered.

this, with absolutely no helping from me

I’m still trying to figure out an exterior paint scheme, I’m really not a 2D artist, I work better in 3D, so nothing’s really catching my eye yet.


This past weekend I installed the carpeting, to do this, I made a simple paper template inside the bullet, then pulled it out, flipped it over, layed it on the overturned carpeting, & cut it out. The only thing to remember, is to line it up so the grain goes the right way. I did this for all three pieces (the main area, the dog step, & dog bed areas), it always amazes me how installing finished flooring completes a room. I installed all the carpeting with velcro, so it can be pulled out & cleaned when needed.

making the paper templates

simply lay it on & cut it out (line up the grain first)

Velcro keeps it removable

cut out & edges cleaned

& in

the entry step nose trim (aluminum angle)

the finished vanity cab

Tomorrow, off to the upholsterer’s



  1. Ok I’m going to stroke your ego for a minute. I have been lurking around Expedition Portal for a while now and stumbled onto your post and now your site. All I can say is this is hands down the most beautiful vehicle I have ever seen. The fit and finish and craftsmanship and attention to detail are literally amazing. I one day hope to build somthing like this for camping off the beaten path and while I know it could never be as good as this (unless I pay someone to do it) the possibility of creating something so well crafted makes me more excited and determined to build one of my own. Thank you for sharing.

  2. i have been a fan of the turtle expedition since 1979…i am 44….

    by far,,,,,

    well lets just quote Craig campbell!!!!!!!!



    and WOW


    ottawa ontario canada

  3. your build looks awesome… did you consider a build thread on expo? Also since you dint mention details of any framing i assume you built them like a monocoque ( or semi? )… the camper shell only riveted (and bonded) or is it also welded ? the cabover curved edges look extraordinary and the build itself very very professional…a truly wonderful build and thank you so much for sharing…

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