Our van build | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Our van build

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loper

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Nampa, Idaho
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Carl
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So we finally started making some progress on our van project, building a 2000 E350. Started out as a plain jane cargo van.

The plan is a 20" Fiberine top, 4X4 conversion, light camper build (bed, counter, sink/stove, fridge, electrical system).

So far I've done some fix-it stuff, added flip out windows, and some sound deadening and wood work.

We have an appointment with Fiberine for the top in August.

Anyway, pics or it didn't happen:
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20200524_164208.jpg20200601_170347.jpg20200601_170331.jpg
 

loper

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Nampa, Idaho
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Carl
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Hendricks
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An explanation of what we've done so far:

Bringing the van home from Idaho Falls (about 300 miles) the road noise was deafening. I checked it with a db app on my phone after I got home, and got an average of 91 db at 55mph, with peaks of 101 db. This will not do.

Got on Amazon and bought a bunch of Noico and Kilmat 80 mil, and some 1/4" closed cell/foil insulation. First I covered the places where windows would be, the back panel of the roof, some of the side walls, and inside the cargo doors. Good start, but not enough.

Next I started on the floor. First there were two small rust holes over the axle, so I cut that out and put in some new metal. Then stripped the interior and sanded the whole thing. Sprayed Bully liner on the floor, wheel wells, step wells, and fuel hump. All the online advice I've read calls for 50% coverage with butyl rubber (Kilmat, Noico, etc.), but I went full wall to wall coverage from the firewall to the back doors. I followed that up with one layer of the 1/4 insulation all over, two layers in the front. From the seats back I covered the floor with 5/8" MDF. After I got the seats, front mat and trim panels back in I did another db check. Averaged about 81 this time.

Finally I covered the fenders with 3/8" plywood, cut some 1/4" plywood door cards, and ran another rubber seal under the back doors. Checked dbs again, averaged 71 db at 55mph. I can live with that.

Now on to other parts of the project...
 

loper

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Nampa, Idaho
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Carl
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Hendricks
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More work! Dealt with the rusty bumper and some electrical projects.

Installed a Redarc brake controller and a pair of KC lights I had on hand, and changed out the headlights and tail lights with halogens.
 

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TahoePPV

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I've been wanting to ask someone doing one of these conversions. For the 4x4 components, is it as simple as finding the front end, transfer case and drive shafts from a donor F350 pickup?
 
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loper

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The front suspension brackets are tricky. All the conversion companies pretty much make their own brackets. The conversion I'm doing uses coil springs and a late model coil spring front axle/swing arms. Done incorrectly, death wobble will cause you grief, so I'm going with someone who already has it figured out. Agile does TTB conversions, but they are pretty expensive and use the Dana 50 TTB axle. Timberline does a 4-link coil set-up that works pretty good. Quigley and Sportsmobile won't do old vans anymore. U Joint off road does a leaf spring kit, but the articulation is reduced (compared to coil springs). There are some IFS options for Chevy, Nissan, Transit, and Sprinter vans, but I'm concentrating on the E350 that I have.

You have to deal with the lug pattern difference, 8 on 6.5 stock vs 8 on 170 for the new axle. You can either change out the rear axle or use adapter/spacers. The pick-up axle spring pads are different from the van, so that needs to addressed if you change the back axle.

The fuel tank needs bobbed (about 3 to 5 gallons worth) to make room for the transfer case. While you're at it, the transmission needs to be reworked with a 4x4 tail shaft. There is another way to do this, with an extended adapter, but that really cuts the fuel capacity.

You're committed to a 4" to 6" lift, to give the front diff room to move.

Shops are required to maintain all factory safety equipment (RSC, TPMS, 3 or 4 channel ABS, etc.) that the van comes in with. This can get tricky switching axles between years. U Joint has a problem with the RSC. If you use the (correct) dropped pitman arm, you get a warning light. The stock arm doesn't give you a light, but the steering is reduced.

I'm NOT knocking any of the conversion shops, I just have my own preferences about which one I want to use.

Hope this answers your question!
 

TahoePPV

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Absolutely does. I was wondering if each one was a unique custom installation. Apparently not, and there are options. Thanks for the info!
 
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loper

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Just got back from Fiberine, new 20" aero top installed!

The drive to/around/back from LA was miserable, but the folks at Fiberine really took care of us. Top notch installation, no leaks, trim around the cut out metal (so I don't split my clumsy head open), max air fan installed, and got it done in one day.

Gonzalo and the crew are great to do business with, and pretty nice people to boot.

(Gratuitous picture from the drive home attached)
 

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Spud

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I hate seeing van builds, because I want one! Can't wait to see more!
 

loper

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Just to prove we get out of the driveway once in a while, here's a camping picture before we got the top done.IMG_0409.JPG
 
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64Trvlr

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Nice van and work so far.

I have a 2010 Ford Econoline, I can see in pic #4 the rear windows tip out on you van where did you get the hardware for that?.
 

loper

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Nice van and work so far.

I have a 2010 Ford Econoline, I can see in pic #4 the rear windows tip out on you van where did you get the hardware for that?.
I just got them on eBay. I was able to find the complete set-up, used, for all four windows (back and side doors).

Don't drive with the backs open! You'll get gassed out, and dust will just roll in.

Here is a how-to link from the sportsmobile forum.


Acetone is your friend when you clean up the old sealer, that's the hardest part. Overall the whole job is a breeze, 20-30 minutes per window.
 
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loper

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So we got some more done, with pictures!
Found some super duty style tow mirrors, and with a bit of finagling they fit. Much better than the tripod mirrors I had.
Lots of insulation work in the top and part of the sides (still have more wiring to do, so the sides aren't done yet).
We decided to go with some tongue and groove wood for the sides and top, with painted MDF for cabinet faces.
I should buy stock in Blue Seas, we're using a lot of their electrical stuff. Got some led lights wired in the top and inside the cabinets.
Lots of little stuff like a swivel seat base, later model console box, stereo, Iceco fridge, bed, and a sink/burner combo.
I haven't installed the fridge yet, the slider pan isn't done. Still have to build the counter for the sink.
 

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GLOCKer

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I feel like I need a 4x4 van in my life. But I also feel like my wife would murder my ass! HAHAHA

I love your project and I'm definitely following it now.
 
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loper

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I feel like I need a 4x4 van in my life. But I also feel like my wife would murder my ass! HAHAHA

I love your project and I'm definitely following it now.
Yep, I'm lucky there, this was the wife's idea!
We looked at Sportsmobile, Quigley, etc. and they're uber cool (and uber spendy), but we didn't really want some of the features they have (full winnebago style interior, water tanks, soft top, bathroom, etc.), so she said "Why don't you just build the damn thing?"
And here we are...
 
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GLOCKer

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Marietta, Georgia, USA
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I feel like I need a 4x4 van in my life. But I also feel like my wife would murder my ass! HAHAHA

I love your project and I'm definitely following it now.
Yep, I'm lucky there, this was the wife's idea!
We looked at Sportsmobile, Quigley, etc. and they're uber cool (and uber spendy), but we didn't really want some of the features they have (full winnebago style interior, water tanks, soft top, bathroom, etc.), so she said "Why don't you just build the damn thing?"
And here we are...
I'm jealous! My wife hasn't been very supportive of my Ford Ranger project. It's caused some friction around the house.
 

spazegun2213

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Adventure

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Yep, I'm lucky there, this was the wife's idea!
We looked at Sportsmobile, Quigley, etc. and they're uber cool (and uber spendy), but we didn't really want some of the features they have (full winnebago style interior, water tanks, soft top, bathroom, etc.), so she said "Why don't you just build the damn thing?"
And here we are...
oh man you are doing it right! I bought a prebuilt van, and am redoing a fair amount of it. Building it yourself means you get what you want!
 
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