Another Van Build... E350 V10 4x4 & Cargo Trailer

deserteagle56

Adventurer
It does require picking a good line. Since many required backing, I was taking lines that I knew would allow that.



Yea, but the wheelbases are the same, so I dont think the switchbacks really wouldve been any different with the extended. Everytime I was running out of room, it was because my tires reached the end of the road, not because of something like a rock or tree. Now departure angle? that probably wouldve been a different story. While I hadnt had a single case of bottoming out the hitch, Im pressure sure an EB wouldve.


Back in January I mentioned taking a trip with my versahaul motorcycle hitch rack (like 70lbs?) and KTM 690 (330lbs) on the rear. The ride quality was definitely better with more weight back there. So just another reason to build out the interior more.
Departure angle is by far the nemesis with my van. I take it across some fairly deep draws/washes and the receiver hitch has plowed a lot of dirt and dug up some good-sized rocks. I need to move the electrical connecter to a safer location as I'm tired having to bend it back into position. The only thing that's kept it from being ripped off is my really stout rear bumper that acts as a skid.
And yes, weight does help the ride. These are 1-ton rated vans and the ride empty shows it. I generally have my dirt bike or quad inside, that plus the camping gear and big spare tire on the back help a bit.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Slowly been gathering more interior parts for the van.

Been hitting up local salvage yards and out of this van, was able to grab all 4 door popout windows and hardware, along with 2 rear upper door trims that have the integrated shades.



They were some lovely mid 1990's teal color, but in good condition and not cracked. I painted them gray with a plastic paint, have yet to install or test the paints durability. Myself and another member went back a week or so later and removed the rest of the rear conversion van windows and trim for his build.

Before:



Today I was able to get the side doors upper window trim with integrated blinds. One was in perfect shape (grey but yellowed, maybe a smokers van?). Ill clean them good with some Dawn to see if I can remove the yellowing.

Upper trim is the teal trim painted gray, Lower trim is yellowed gray


Unfortunately, the other trim was cracked in two places. It will still work as cracked, but would like to repair so it wont get worse. Its not factory ford trim. It has no markings on the rear except for which door it fits and what appears to be the year of the mold.



Does anyone know what type of plastic it is? I want to repair the cracks so they dont get worse. If plastic welding is the preferred repair, id need to know what type of rod to buy. Its very stiff, not very flexible.
 

mgmetalworks

Explorer
Usually those are ABS plastic. A simple soldering iron and a thin strip of the same color ABS can "weld" up cracks. Practice on a scrap piece for a bit then go to it. I just finished repairing some panels just like this. Turns out great. You can retexture and paint any color you want with the right products. SEM makes a really good flexible epoxy filler if you need to smooth any really rough spots.
 

Justgosurfin

Active member
Slowly been gathering more interior parts for the van.

Been hitting up local salvage yards and out of this van, was able to grab all 4 door popout windows and hardware, along with 2 rear upper door trims that have the integrated shades.



They were some lovely mid 1990's teal color, but in good condition and not cracked. I painted them gray with a plastic paint, have yet to install or test the paints durability. Myself and another member went back a week or so later and removed the rest of the rear conversion van windows and trim for his build.

Before:



Today I was able to get the side doors upper window trim with integrated blinds. One was in perfect shape (grey but yellowed, maybe a smokers van?). Ill clean them good with some Dawn to see if I can remove the yellowing.

Upper trim is the teal trim painted gray, Lower trim is yellowed gray


Unfortunately, the other trim was cracked in two places. It will still work as cracked, but would like to repair so it wont get worse. Its not factory ford trim. It has no markings on the rear except for which door it fits and what appears to be the year of the mold.



Does anyone know what type of plastic it is? I want to repair the cracks so they dont get worse. If plastic welding is the preferred repair, id need to know what type of rod to buy. Its very stiff, not very flexible.
Ah man! Now I want those for my doors! Time for some more digging.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Ah man! Now I want those for my doors! Time for some more digging.
Went to the local salvage yard this morning intending to get a headliner.... forgot my torx socket for the seatbelt. Got some more interior panels instead. Going back for the headliner after lunch. Ill see if any of the other vans have them while im in there.

On another note. To fix the plastic, since I also have other interior pieces that are broken that are a different type of plastic. Im going to get one of these.
 

Raul

Adventurer
I fixed motorcycle fairing with plumbing ABS cement and nylon fabric (actually backpack straps). It worked quite well and I was even able to rebuild material in areas with missing pieces. Full story here Un-totalling a CBR
 

another_mike

Adventurer
I fixed motorcycle fairing with plumbing ABS cement and nylon fabric (actually backpack straps). It worked quite well and I was even able to rebuild material in areas with missing pieces. Full story here Un-totalling a CBR
thats fine for ABS, but like I said, I also have other interior plastics to repair. Specifically polypropylene panels that have tabs and mounting bosses broken or cracked. One PP panel is cracked where it had to be removed with the door still on because of those damn broken door cable ferules.
 

TrevorK

New member
Polypropylene and polyethylene are a real pain to bond. Recently I had a 3M rep demonstrate some structural acrylics that do a pretty good job (DP 8010 I think), but they were very pricey even in bulk and they require special applicators as they mix at some less-common ratios. That option might cost more than you want to spend here. Same with methacrylates... pricey but they would probably do the trick. There are specialty primers to use in conjunction with cyanoacrylates (super glues) for polypropylene but that might not work well on a panel crack unless you backed it up on the inside with another strip of plastic.

There are a few epoxies out there that should work ok. With an epoxy you could use some chopped-strand fiberglass to reinforce those tabs and mounting boss repairs. I think reinforcement will be critical for these features because of the stresses of removing/installing the panels. If you’re like me, you’ll probably pull the interior panels off a few more times while you work on various parts of your conversion.

I think you'll find that surface prep will count even more than normal with these difficult substrates. Solvent-wipe, sand, and solvent wipe again all bond areas and drill a small hole at the end of any partial cracks to stop them from propagating further after your repair.

On the topic of solvents, one quick way to check if you are really dealing with ABS is to wipe a little acetone on it in an inconspicuous area. Acetone will dissolve ABS.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Anyone have any experience with inoperative cruise control?

Mine only occasionally will work and when it does, almost immediately goes off.

Clock spring is a year old and switches are a month old. I jumped the harness of the sensor on the master cylinder and nothing changes. Cruise buttons light up fine. Horn works fine. No weird noises when turning.

Pulled DTC's and there is only two.
P0581 - Cruise Control Multi-Function Input A Circuit High
B1352 - Ignition key in circuit fault

Next step is checking the wiring in the column, any other suggestions?
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Its time to update this thread!

I ended up getting the polyvance welder. It worked well repairing the cracked plastic. I have about 6,000 miles on the van since the repairs. They havent cracked any worse and the repairs are holding. Its not pretty, but it works.

I also havent fixed the cruise control yet.. Yes, I did another 5000 mile trip without cruise control. Im a glutton for punishment.
Although, I did get factory service manuals off ebay for $100.

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I got a headliner from the salvage yard. $25. Better than the $700 Ford wants for brand new!

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I also went the route of getting Ujoints rear skid system. This required cutting out the factory crossmember and its bastard rivets. Horrible experience with a cuttoff wheel! The factory Evap canister system was also not going to work for me. I had the idea to place the cannister further back, but it was just too big, so I went back to the salvage yard to find something which will work. I found the canisters from 2001ish Navigators/expeditions to be a good size, and they had a bracket which makes mounting easy. I found one, shook it to make sure nothing would come out of the holes, and gave a quick breath through the fittings and found it wasnt plugged, so I got it.

Comparison between the old and new evap (after I painted the bracket of course):
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I took some small 1" square tube, a 90 degree 1.5" piece of angle, painted them, bolted them to the existing holes from where the rivets previous were.The new system is just to the front of the rear bumper, at the very back of the skid. I didnt want to bolt them to the rear skid in the event it ever had to be dropped. The purge valve from my canister fit directly into the navigator one. 6,000 miles later, no DTC's thrown.

Fully installed and hooked up:
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another_mike

Adventurer
With the wiring project approaching, I really needed to know exactly where to run things to insde, which means having furniture built... and I cant really build furniture/storage inside until some desperately needed sound barriers are done....

With a call to sound deadener showdown, I ordered closed cell foam, mass loaded vinyl, some glue, and some CLD tiles. I pulled the headliner and began the CLD tile installation along with cutting the MLV and CCF. Wheel wells are definitely tricky, since MLV doesnt like to bend two different ways at a time. So keeping in mind the ability to possibly disassemble for repair, I decided to keep the walls separate from the floor and the wheel wells their own piece.

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I went with Ujoint's rear skid because I want a decent sized battery bank. I decided on two 105ah AGM's. Besides powering the fantastic fan, and charging miscellaneous 12v items like phone, tablet, camera batteries.. I wanted to power a 12v refrigerator. I was sick of having to get ice for my cooler every few days, my food getting wet, and just half the cooler being filled with ice instead of food. I decided on an Engel MT45. The Engel runs on 12v DC and when it senses AC current from shore power, it disregards the 12v DC power source. This means shore power was also planned.

How I planned my electrical:
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I used ideas from this thread: https://www.expeditionportal.com/fo...eap-isolated-dual-battery-setup-for-50.77503/ and used a solid state relay mounted to the frame about under the passenger side rear door.; wired to automatically connect with the key on. Ill run 2 gauge from the starting battery terminals all the way to the rear batteries along the right side frame rail. Ill use Blue sea systems terminal fuse blocks on both ends of the long run of wire and once more where the rear battery bank will enter the passenger compartment. With future solar in mind and easy charging access, Ill use Fastronix distribution blocks inside.


Engel:
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After playing around with battery placement, I just didnt like how having the batteries upright would locate the cables. I placed the batteries on their sides with the terminals facing forward for easy access. I cut 1" angle steel for a tray and had a friend weld them up. I bolted it to the skid plate.

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another_mike

Adventurer
Using 3/4 big box store plywood, I built a "bench" on the drivers side which would hold all the electronics. Its just slightly higher than the wheel well and about 6 feet long. The top of it will be part of my bed platform. Ill also bring the shore power, 30amp AC into this area along with AC outlets.
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I also built a storage cabinet for the passenger side. I used a piece of cardboard to make a template for the contour of the walls and then cut a piece of ply to match.
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The cabinet was built using a mixture of 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4 ply. I decided to use 1/4 ply for sliding doors, which meant dadoing channels for the doors to slide into. I the dado depth was about 3/8 and in some cases had to add another piece of ply on another side for additional door channels.

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I found in another thread https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/kitchen-kit-chuck-box.21268/page-58#post-2489258 where someone built a chuck box out of 1/4 ply and used epoxy and fiberglass tape and thought this was a great idea. Since I was attaching 1/4 ply to the back of this cabinet and in no way was it structural, and was at a weird angle, I decided to try this method at the seams. If I messed up bad enough it was at the back anyway. It worked well.

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Almost finished project:
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another_mike

Adventurer
With the interior furniture ready for install, It was time to bring the electrical in. I wanted the crimps done right, so I bought a FTZ heavy duty crimper and used the heavy duty lugs on the longer run cables. Since I was running out of time and all I had on hand were bare copper lugs, I used those on the short runs since theyd be easy to replace if corrosion got to them. All cables had glue lined heat shrink at the ends.

I installed and wired up the batteries:

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Installed a 30amp RV plug on the exterior:
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For the 30a RV plug I went to my local marine store and wired it to the interior 20a outlets using marine 10g tinned copper stranded wire. https://www.westmarine.com/buy/ancor--flat-triplex-cable-by-the-foot--P009_274_004_502?recordNum=1

I brought all the wiring into that bench, installed the outlets, a Blue Sea Systems fuse box, Fastronix distribution blocks, and a couple of 12V outlets.
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The front area:
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another_mike

Adventurer
I needed lighting in the van, and disliked how the factory headliner dipped down in the center for the HVAC vents. I saw another member here cut that out and placed wood in the center. I did that using 1/4 ply. I then installed two "Obeaming" lights in the center. Theyre LED, dimmable, small yet bright. I like them alot and Ive gotten a lot of comments from people how much they like them too. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZZDM19W/

It was getting very close to the departure date for my summer vacation (this was July 2018) and I had to quickly fab up a bed platform. Using some pine wood along with 1/2 ply I made a quick platform and bolted it to the "bench".

I threw the mattress on top and my van was ready to use for the trip.

This is how the interior was for the vacation (although the engel was in that area behind the drivers seat, the same area the cooler was in the past trip.

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*and dont let my 14mm lens fool you, there isnt as much room in this van as my lens makes you think.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
By this time its the 1st week of August and I start my 2000 mile drive from Southern Florida to the Rockies. The first night I slept in some random rest stop.

The 2nd night I was in Kansas at Wilson State Park. Ive stopped at this park before. Its quite photogenic. I talked to some other campers before selecting a campsite, found mosquitoes were bad at this time, and decided on a site farther away from the water.

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The next morning, just as the sun was rising, I left and began my final leg into the Mountains.
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Since I was out there a month, and not every aspect of my trip is the most exciting, Ill just hit the highlights.

One of my goals going out there was to get a good shot of the Milky Way. I spent one night in the Mosquito range and got this with my poor attempt at foreground lighting....
colo2018-4.jpg

Not bad, but I knew I could do better. This was a single exposure photo.
 

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