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

another_mike

Adventurer
Got my solar panel today. Renogy RNG-300D 300 watt solar panel. Was online shopping other 300 watt panels but kept finding shipping was going to be close to the same price as the unit itself. I found this panel on Home Depot and chose my local store delivery, which is about a mile away. In my hands for $330.

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another_mike

Adventurer
Mocking up the side cabinet to house the Engel fridge on sliders. Very happy with the contour of the left/rear side. After playing with the sliders and fridge I’m thinking I’ll take 2-3 inches off the depth.

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another_mike

Adventurer
While waiting on some pieces for the fridge sliders. I moved on to the bed and window.

Sliding slat bed done. First time making one of these, came out nice with just one issue which wont affect functionality. I forgot I couldve made all the slats the same length. I realized this just after I finished all the cuts. I didnt want to spend another $50 in wood to fix the mistake, so I left it as is. I just used "select pine" from the big box orange store. I love how much more room this is going to give me to access cabinets and general daily living.

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I also installed a CR Laurence AW1033 awning window. This is basically the same size as their other 1033 windows people use in their vans, except in an awning style opening.

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Im also very happy to report I fixed my cruise control. Using the factory service manual pinpoint test for my DTC, I found the switches were bad. New switches and everything works perfect. After taking a few trips over the past few years, some days spending 17 hours driving... im very happy to finally have cruise control and not be required to hold my right leg steady on the throttle for hours on end.
 
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Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
While waiting on some pieces for the fridge sliders. I moved on to the bed and window.

Sliding slat bed done. First time making one of these, came out nice with just one issue which wont affect functionality. I forgot I couldve made all the slats the same length. I realized this just after I finished all the cuts. I didnt want to spend another $50 in wood to fix the mistake, so I left it as is. I just used "select pine" from the big box orange store. I love how much more room this is going to give me to access cabinets and general daily living.

View attachment 519371
View attachment 519372

I also installed a CR Laurence AW1033 awning window. This is basically the same size as their other 1033 windows people use in their vans, except in an awning style opening.

View attachment 519373


Im also very happy to report I fixed my cruise control. Using the factory service manual pinpoint test for my DTC, I found the switches were bad. New switches and everything works perfect. After taking a few trips over the past few years, some days spending 17 hours driving... im very happy to finally have cruise control and not be required to hold my right leg steady on the throttle for hours on end.
Glad you found the CC solution. I struggled with mine for quite a while... changing parts, etc... eventually I realized it was working, but a ‘97 doesn’t have any indicator lights. Sometimes I even use it at 30mph in town so I can focus on more important things and not have to watch the speedometer.

FYI (and others), I found the parking brake switch can be a source of intermittent CC issues. Other things to check (which you’re likely aware of)... rear wheel speed sensor (if it surges), clock spring, switches on wheel (source of your problem), sensor on bottom of Master Cylinder (my ‘97 was replaced free under recall for possible fire hazard).

On the matter of recalls, check your van at Ford’s website. I had a new CPS (Crank Position Sensor) and M/C sensor replaced free of charge because they’d never been addressed in the last +/- 10 years since Ford decided they could potentially cause trouble. It’s a pleasant surprise to be able to get the dealership to do free maintenance on your rig... :D given nothing is free these days... especially at the dealership. They’ve got so it’ll usually cost at least $100 just to walk into the service department... and $500 if you need anything done. ;)
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Glad you found the CC solution. I struggled with mine for quite a while... changing parts, etc... eventually I realized it was working, but a ‘97 doesn’t have any indicator lights. Sometimes I even use it at 30mph in town so I can focus on more important things and not have to watch the speedometer.

FYI (and others), I found the parking brake switch can be a source of intermittent CC issues. Other things to check (which you’re likely aware of)... rear wheel speed sensor (if it surges), clock spring, switches on wheel (source of your problem), sensor on bottom of Master Cylinder (my ‘97 was replaced free under recall for possible fire hazard).

On the matter of recalls, check your van at Ford’s website. I had a new CPS (Crank Position Sensor) and M/C sensor replaced free of charge because they’d never been addressed in the last +/- 10 years since Ford decided they could potentially cause trouble. It’s a pleasant surprise to be able to get the dealership to do free maintenance on your rig... :D given nothing is free these days... especially at the dealership. They’ve got so it’ll usually cost at least $100 just to walk into the service department... and $500 if you need anything done. ;)
My 2006 also doesn’t have any cluster indicator lights for cruise. But having a factory service manual for $100 off eBay was well worth the buy and likely just paid for itself with only this cruise control issue.
 

jgaz

Adventurer
Nice job on the bed!
What do you have in mind to secure the 2.5 gal. MWC?
This simple, cheap holder is what I use in my Jeep.
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another_mike

Adventurer
Nice job on the bed!
What do you have in mind to secure the 2.5 gal. MWC?
This simple, cheap holder is what I use in my Jeep.
View attachment 519598
I haven’t figured out the water jug yet. While mocking up the cabinet I found I really couldn’t go further until I knew the exact height of the fridge with sliders installed. I also installed a drivers seat rotating base, which would also effect that cabinets construction. This week I’ll be working on cabinet.

It will likely be something similar to what you’ve done with wood and a strap, but since it will be in a cabinet, be removed from the front instead of out the top.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Drivers side cabinet is coming along.

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With the exception of the very top piece, the entire cabinet supports itself with the dado construction. There isnt nail, screw or drop of glue yet.

Ive decided the upper portion will be split in two, adding one shelf. I still havent decided on doors. I know I want sliding doors like my other cabinet. But im not sure if Ill do two sets of sliding doors (one for each shelf) or just one set for the entire upper opening. Currently leaning toward the latter.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
A little more progress. Decided on just two doors and 1 shelf.

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Still need to add panels at the rear. I need something to give it strength in shear (or is it torsion?). Im also going give it a bit of a diet once I get everything in place. I plan on cutting out the centers in some areas, like the areas in blue I drew with MS paint (and a few more).

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Still havent used a single glue, screw or nail yet. Once I have everything in place ill take it all apart and do some sanding, then final assembly, then finish with a few coats of lacquer.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Assembled.... mostly. Will start finishing once the glue dries..

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I was curious how much weight I lost removing the centers of those panels so I weighed each one and added them up.. 21.7 lbs removed! Ill weigh it before installation to find out what percentage of weight that is. But its noticeably lighter!
 

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
I put my 02 E350 together about 12 years ago with mods all along the way. It’s neat seeing you go thru the stuff I did but at least you have all the experience of others. Like you, I started as a dirt biker and even had a Montesa 315R trials bike so that pic made me smile. You have a great start but are also at a point that you can change direction so I’ll weigh in....
A van like yours will wind up being 10,000 pounds. Thats common. Drop it to 8000 and you have 20% better suspension, handling, power and fuel economy. Tires hold up better and you will be able to drive it deeper off road. A lighter rig is easier to drive the speed of traffic and you can put more miles a day on it due to less fatigue. That would be like going from an XR 600 to a KTM 250.
As time went on for me I smiled more at what I could get rid of than what I added. I was able to get down to one house battery, duffle luggage bags screewed to a shelf replace heavy cabinets, a military canvas tool bag holds all cooking utensils instead of a draw and cabinet. My pipe wrench got swapped for an aluminum one. Every ounce helps. Even consider mounting hardware so build and mod it like you do your bike with every ounce considered.
If you want another bling build for pics or wow factor from friends then I understand but as a fellow rider I can tell you the performance and reliability of a simple light setup is way more useful. All the van is for is to sleep and make a sandwich. The rest of the time your outsides with your buds or in the drivers seat. Be carful adding weight my freind.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
I put my 02 E350 together about 12 years ago with mods all along the way. It’s neat seeing you go thru the stuff I did but at least you have all the experience of others. Like you, I started as a dirt biker and even had a Montesa 315R trials bike so that pic made me smile. You have a great start but are also at a point that you can change direction so I’ll weigh in....
A van like yours will wind up being 10,000 pounds. Thats common. Drop it to 8000 and you have 20% better suspension, handling, power and fuel economy. Tires hold up better and you will be able to drive it deeper off road. A lighter rig is easier to drive the speed of traffic and you can put more miles a day on it due to less fatigue. That would be like going from an XR 600 to a KTM 250.
As time went on for me I smiled more at what I could get rid of than what I added. I was able to get down to one house battery, duffle luggage bags screewed to a shelf replace heavy cabinets, a military canvas tool bag holds all cooking utensils instead of a draw and cabinet. My pipe wrench got swapped for an aluminum one. Every ounce helps. Even consider mounting hardware so build and mod it like you do your bike with every ounce considered.
If you want another bling build for pics or wow factor from friends then I understand but as a fellow rider I can tell you the performance and reliability of a simple light setup is way more useful. All the van is for is to sleep and make a sandwich. The rest of the time your outsides with your buds or in the drivers seat. Be carful adding weight my freind.
Weight is definitely on my mind when building things, which is why I took out areas of this current cabinet. I decided to weigh it after your post since the glue is likely dry. Came out to 66 lbs. While I wish I couldve made it out of aluminum, welding just isnt a skillset which I current possess. Maybe in the future. Ive tried to stay in the van for extended periods using bags and bins.. and I honestly found it annoying having to move 3 things to get to 1 thing. I liken it to using the Klein tool bags I use for my tools while traveling, ok to use in an emergency but id come to loathe digging for sockets on a daily basis. If I dont enjoy staying in the van, the less likely I am to want to use it. But this van wont be getting stuff like gray water tanks, propane tanks, microwave, etc

Ill definitely be weighing the van during this next trip. Ill be carrying more than I ever have before since ill also have my versahaul rack and KTM 250excf on the back.
 
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