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Sleepless update

March 27th, 2017 at 09:29 pm

Ok, so for whatever reason, I just couldn't sleep in my car last night. It's not the bed though. In fact, it feels really grand. Spending last night in it made me realize that this is literally all I need for a bed, and that even my regular twin mattress is bigger than what I actually need.

That being said, because pollen season just kicked up, and because I still don't have a built-in solution to maintain privacy from my neighbors, I decided to keep the car in my garage and sleep that way. Keeping the car in the garage also means having no AC or anything else because I would have to turn on my car, and that would cause Carbon Monoxide to build up inside the garage. So that's definitely not an option there.

Still, there are some interesting insights that is worth noting. For one thing, I am pleased to report that I didn't feel claustrophobic at all. When everything goes dark, it's really hard to tell at all how much space is around you.. that is unless I stretch my arms out. So, when I pull up my blanket, it feels the same as my regular bed does. The only difference is that there is a definite added "bounce" coming from the car itself whenever I toss or turn around.

Both the bed and the foam mattress still exude a strong odor. It's not a terrible smell, but I am not sure how to fix that, so I hope it will subside eventually.

I can also notice the subtle red blinking glow from my dashboard. It's kind of trippy to hold up my hand, and see it intermittently light up from the dashboard light.

Speaking of which, a potentially awesome thing that I can also do now is to be able to stick my arm out the side window whenever it rains, and feel the rain on my arm while still lying in bed. It's a shame my car doesn't have a sunroof, because this could be really extra awesome. I may have to keep this in mind in my future car.

Also, while lying there sleepless, something terribly important and ominous dawned on me last night: This car has to pass state inspections.

My car was due in April anyways, so before I continued any further with my build, I decided to just go ahead and get it inspected, and see what happens.

Because you see, I have done a lot of things to the car by the point, beyond just putting a mattress in there. I've also upgraded my headlights to LED that is suppose to improve safety by providing better lighting at night (while also drawing less power), as well as removing the front passenger seat, which caused my airbag lights to erroneously go off (hence the red blinking light), as well as installing bug screens on the rear windows that are duct taped in place, and last but not least is window tinting. Any one of these things can somehow fail inspection if not done properly, but together? Oooh.

But here's the crazy part: Out of it all, only the window tint did not pass inspection, and that was installed by a professional. In fact, I have one of the lighter tints they have in stock, simply because I insisted that my windows be legal.

Immediately after inspection, I drove straight to my tint guys to have the tint checked out, and if necessary, fixed. Tint guy tells me that they are absolutely legal, and checked it twice using their tint meter. I even took a picture as proof.



Tint guy then got on the phone with the inspection guy, and they kind of got into it, because inspection guy wasn't convinced, and in fact wasn't pleased at all when he saw me come back a second time, asking him to re-check my tint.

The inspection guy threatened to call DMV to have my car flagged and what not, but when he checked it again, lo and behold, it really did pass. Apparently, it was all the pollen on my glass that was skewing the results.

They were apologetic and all, which was nice of them, but I was just glad that this crazy contraction actually passed inspection. In fact, I was kind of surprised that literally not a single one of them even raised any questions asking about the missing seats and having a mattress in its place. I guess either they were used to seeing crazy interiors, or they just didn't want to know on a Monday morning.

Back to the bug screen for a minute, here's a couple of photos of them. It doesn't look like much, but they were a bear to install. It took hours, and at one point, I even cut my own finger with a box cutter. However, the result looked better than expected considering I've never done this before.





I think from now on, I'm just going to keep sleeping in the car and see how it goes.

16 Responses to “Sleepless update”

  1. Laura Says:

    This is an adventure! I'm enjoying it.

  2. Laura S. Says:

    I too, am enjoying reading about this!

  3. Tabs Says:

    Glad you guys are enjoying it!

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Nice work with the screen! And how nice of them not to comment on the bed in your car. I suppose you can't possibly be the first.

  5. snafu Says:

    If you want a sun roof, it can be installed successfully for a reasonable cost as 'after factory. I gave my older Toyota Corolla to DS #2 when he was a student. To make it an acceptable teen 'ride' he used his hard earned money to have a sun roof installed and have it freshly painted You're right, it adds a lot of comfort!

  6. PatientSaver Says:

    The screen looks great.

    I guess one thought that came to me is that maybe you should keep in mind and be aware of all the cost you're putting into these retrofits because your car itself won't last forever. I know you've kept it minimal and I'm sure you're aware of this. Also, what if as the car got older some major repair was needed and they needed to keep it overnight? Maybe then you could sleep at a friend's?

  7. Tabs Says:

    Snafu, it would have been awesome, but I just can't justify that price for myself.... Maybe next time.

    Patient you have a good point there. I don't want to go overboard, but so far, everything that has been done has been deemed "necessary" except for the headlights. I admit that was pushing it as the old headlight bulbs worked just fine. These are indeed an improvement though, but I might skip that next time.

    Also, you have a very good point regarding the need for putting this car in the shop. I hope not though, as Priuses are now considered very reliable; as much as any vehicle on the road can be.

    In the event that I have to take it to a shop, ideally, I will do it in town where my parents live, ask them for a ride, and to stay with them for a day or two. Usually that's not a problem at all for them.

    If not, I can still Uber and AirBnB like a Millennial hahaha.

  8. PatientSaver Says:

    I want to make my next car a Prius, but hesitated when I last bought a car in 2013 becus of how expensive it would be to replace the battery, which does need to be done. Was that a consideration when you bought it and have you had to replace it yet?

  9. Tabs Says:

    Patient, that is such a wonderful question.

    In general, every car owner-- Hybrid and EVs in this case-- need to factor in replacement batteries into their total ownership cost calcuations.

    There are two basic types of Hybrids out there, ones that run gas and use electricity as a back-up, and ones that run on electricity, and use gas as a back-up.

    The Prius belongs to the former. Roughly speaking, as a gas car with electric back-up, it means that even if your hybrid battery completely fails, your car will keep on running. You just won't get the extra high MPG that the electric batteries can give you until you replace them.

    This is actually one of the main reasons why cardwellers almost exclusively use cars like this, rather than the other way around.

    Another benefit with this is arrangement is that, with electric batteries being a secondary means of power, it also means that they generally do not have to be anywhere as big as the other hybrids and EVs. That is why, for example, the battery pack can fit underneath my small Prius's rear seats, with room to spare for the starter battery as well as the battery fan.

    On top of all this, Priuses that were built before 2015 all used Nickel Metal Hydride. (NiMH for short.) That's basically the same stuff as your regular starter battery. Fancy Lithium Ions don't enter the picture until 2015. The result is that 2014 and older Priuses are not quite as energy efficient due to NiMH's extra weight, but the trade-off is that replacing them would be super cheap. Instead of thousands, we could be looking at a mere few hundred.

    Due to this fact, 2014 and older Priuses may also be available a bit cheaper in general... as knowledgeable shoppers would likely avoid anything before 2015.... But that might also mean extra savings for you. Who knows?

    Finally, gas cars with battery backs are more ideal for VDers as they don't need a home base to plug in, and ranges are still quite limited for traveling longish distances.

    Anyway, hope all this helps.

  10. Tabs Says:

    To clarify at the end there, I mean electric cars have a range limit. Even with gas back-ups, like Chevy Volt for example, while they can drive like gas cars, their gas generators are only as efficient as a regular sedan.

    That is why Priuses make much more sense for VanDwellers, because they don't have a home base to plug in and charge every night, generally travel much further than the limited ranges that EVs provide, and when they travel, Prius is much more efficient in MPG than the other type of hybrid.

  11. Kiki Says:

    Tabs I have a 2013 Prius and have been clearly told that I cannot drive the car with out the hybrid battery as the hybrid battery (functional traction battery) you won't be able to start the engine. What year is your Prius C?

    PS I love my Prius 3 hybrid and am very happy I bough it. It cut my gas costs by more than half and I drive around 2k miles a month on busy house sitting months and 800-1000 on slow months.

    I know that replacing that hybrid battery at the dealer is about 3k with parts and labor and about 1200 as a Prius shop for a new battery. The batteries on average last between 250k and 300k. I know several Prii owners who have more than 250K and still have not had to replace the battery. And the prices for the batteries keep coming down.

  12. Tabs Says:

    Hey Kiki, I thought you could run without the hybrid battery, but I was wrong. Thanks for the correction.

    As for the battery pack, some might be salvageable by merely replacing a defective cell. I think they call it reconditioning. That assumes that only a few cells have gone bad and that most are still good. Conversely, some have tried to replace the battery themselves.

    I don't know if I am up for either one of these options yet. For now, my 2014 Prius C is fairly brand new, with only about 24k miles. So these things are still into the future for me.

    Anyways, very nice to hear from another happy Prius owner.

  13. PatientSaver Says:

    Tabs, I hear what you're saying about the prius being able to run on gas without the battery if needed, but by reading between the lines, does that mean you intend to not replace the battery when it dies? If that's the case, why buy a prius to begin with? I realize you are focused on van dwelling and maybe don't plan to drive it much, but i was just trying to understand the added costs of battery replacement.

    Kiki, thanks for chiming in. In hindsight, I definitely should have bought a prius when i was car shopping in 2013, as i mostly drive on secondary roads and not so often on the highways. That's one reason why the car i did buy, a 2013 Honda Civic, only averages 34.6 mpg, which is greatly disappointing to me since I'm an environmentalist and my general philosophy was that each new car i bought was going to be better on gas mileage.

    I'm not sure i understand what you said about costs. Is it $3k or $1200? What's the difference between a dealer and "a Prius shop?" Or is it $4200?

    Good to hear the batteries can last for 250K; for me that would be nearly 20 years!

    I'm thinking this would be a good time to buy a prius becus gas prices are fairly low and american consumers have very short memories, so they don't tend to buy fuel-efficient cars until gas prices are skyrocketing

  14. PatientSaver Says:

    Rereading what Kiki wrote and i think you're saying for just the battery alone you could buy it for $1200...can a consumer do the install themselves?

  15. Tabs Says:

    I intend to run this car for as long as I can, and yes, that includes battery replacements when the time comes. I think that's something that is still far into my future, so to be honest, I haven't given it too much of a thought. For now though, I enjoy getting MPGs as high as 70 on a semi-regular basis, for both cost and environmental reasons.

  16. Kiki Says:

    What I meant was that you can take it to the dealership or to a specialized shop that will do the replacement for you. The dealer of course is a much higher cost for the replacement but that specialize Prius shop is much cheaper. Sometimes it's a reconditioned battery which is correct about just replacing a cell or two sometimes it's a salvage the battery out of a Prius that was in an accident as they are very well insulated in the center of the car and can survive accidents without any damage. So the replacement to a battery can cost between 12 and $1500 for a reconditioned battery or 3500 from a dealer. I currently have 69,000 miles on my 2013 and I'm hopeful that the car will last another 10 years or so just for me. In California the battery is guaranteed up to 150,000 miles. There are about eight other states that follow California mission and car standards that also get The same protections.

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