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

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
I use a blue 20L water jug as a grey tank. It’s good for stealth dumping. I use a flexible drain hose from the sink right into the tank. The sink gets used a lot. Mostly for washing hands since I use leaded race gas but I do use it a lot. The sink is plumbed to a 20 gallon tank. A laundry sink faucet has the same threads as a garden hose so thats my shower. If I want a hot shower I run the sink water thru a $99 zodi water heater then right back into the fill fitting. Once the whole tank is warm I shower. In a pinch like a rainy cold night in a parking lot I can piss down the sink drain and rinse it. Most of the time I warm a pot of water on the stove to sponge bath and then just blast my head clean with the cold water hose. I’m with you on tools as well. I use an old metal craftsman box. It’s just easier to work out of. The tool bag holds crap like extra wire, RTV and odd spares.
I prioritize in this order. The bed is the most important. I use the best mattress, sheets and down because usually if I’m on the road I need good sleep. The fridge and trouble free power is second so I have a big solar panel on the roof. That panel also shades the roof. The sink is next. A fold up crap in a bag toliet works but usually that is done elsewhere. When you do need it you need it and they don’t take up much room. I use a tiny backpack stove more than the partner steel stove but I don’t do much more than heating food up. The stove knocks the chill off in the morning as well but if it’s really cold a Coleman black cat works. A real propane heater install would be worth it I think but expensive. An outside windsheild cover thats wraps over the door windows is awsome to keep the heat from the sun out. Get those at camping world. It’s a must have in the summer. I carry a honda 2000 generator to power a cheap tiny AC unit. It does not cool like a big rooftop RV unit but since I live in AZ it either that or stay home sometimes. See how fast all that crap adds weight? It sucks so keep every single items weight in mind.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
Came home from lunch to find a broken bolt on the ground near my right front tire...

Found the other half still hanging in there. Not happy to have this happen (11 days before vacation), but am thankful it happened in my driveway and that I already have the replacement on the shelf in the garage.

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another_mike

Adventurer
Trying to stay home to avoid the 'rona.... maybe its time to update this thread. So lets go back to July..

I fixed the suspension by replacing the bolt, since I had other things to do.

I finished the cabinet with 2-3 layers of oil based lacquer and bolted it to the floor, walls and 1 bolt in the ceiling to one of the supports with a rivet nut. The thing is solid!
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I put my Engel fridge on accuride slides. Because there is so little room, I had to remove the handles and I must make sure I latch the lid before I close it otherwise Im sure it will be broken off if I try to slide it in.
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I used thin Plexiglas that I lightly sanded and attached it to the inside of the top piece to keep items from falling out and give it a little privacy too. The 10L water containers actually stay in place (when they're full/ no sloshing) by only using non skid shelf liners.
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I made brackets and ran the wiring for the charge controller and a breaker behind the fridge
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another_mike

Adventurer
I removed the roof rack and mocked up the solar panel and road shower.
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I made a thread to figure out setting up the solar charge controller: https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/charging-duracell-agm-with-victron-smartsolar.206904/

The First day I hooked up the controller/solar panel (July 19th) the batteries were low. Probably 40% discharged. The sun brought them back up quick!
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You see almost no power on July 31st/August 1st. I was staying at a friends home and had no drain on the batteries with the fridge off, so the batteries didn't need it.
 
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another_mike

Adventurer
a couple of last projects before leaving.

made a chuck box to keep the cooking stuff organized. Constructed using 1/2 ply, except for the very top and bottom which is 3/4. I used dado/rabbet joints for everything, then glued and air nailed. I made some basic 1/2 ply doors and a basic latch (not pictures) and just strapped it down in the van. My goal was to take my single burner butane stove from the top shelf and place it on top, and have the ability to cook. It worked very well!
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I also was bringing my 2018 KTM 250 EXCF out with me this year, so I wanted to add brake/tail lights and tag relocation to the hitch rack. I bought a trailer LED light kit from amazon and shortened the wires to fit the rack. No one was going to say they never saw my brake lights!
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another_mike

Adventurer
So I loaded up the van and began my 2000 mile trek toward the Taylor Park, Colorado area. I hadn't taken a dirt bike with me out there in years, and never in this van. There are a lot of extra crap you bring when dirt biking. Extra tools, a work stand, air filter cleaner/lube, chain cleaner/lube, dirt bike clothing, boots, pads, 5 gallon fuel tank... While I wouldn't say I ran out of room, it was definitely hard to move around the van while I was fully packed. From South Florida, I made it to the Colorado Border in 2 days. Eager to get into the mountains, I started by drive early. Made it through Colorado Springs before rush hour and pulled over for breakfast on US50.

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Got into Taylor Park by about noon.
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I was meeting up with a friend that had driven out the week before.

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another_mike

Adventurer
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I learned cows like to munch on charcoal....
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I also learned the Road Shower isn't for dirt bike trips where you're camping for 3 weeks. The water got warm enough to take the chill out, but being 10 gallons at the most, 7 gallons with air space... it just was no where near enough water to shower after almost daily dirt biking. I probably got 3 showers before having to refill. Because the van is so high, refilling the RoadShower from jugs of water was extremely hard. Having to get out my Vlair air pump every time I wanted to put more air in was also a pain.

The solar setup worked phenomenal! One day I it rained from the moment the sun came up til about 3pm. That day, even when it was raining, it was able to provide 3 amps into my batteries. My batteries never came close to getting low.

I also wished I had a cassette toilet. My poopclock goes off right before sunrise every morning. Pooping in a bucket in a bag in the van gets old.

I could be like these people who just crap on the ground and throw their toilet paper where ever they want.
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With the dirt biking.. given how much extra gear and tools I bring, how much more I want to shower... that morning sitting around in the van during the constant rain. I was convinced I needed a trailer to act as a "garage".

Overall I rode the dirt bike out there for 3 weeks. A few front range trails with friends, some in the Taylor Park area. I didn't take as many pictures as I should've, but I took a lot of riding video with my GoPro (which I still haven't edited).
 
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another_mike

Adventurer
After getting back to Florida and making a list of things I take; The things I no longer want to have in the van while traveling, and the things I want to take in the future. I knew I had to get a trailer.

Some of those things include extra water; like 30 gallons total. I want all tools removed from the vans living space. The things I immediately take out of the van when setting up camp like the aluminum gorilla step, outside folding table, outdoor rug, camping chairs. I want that all out. I want the ability to quickly unload the motorcycle to scout rough roads to find an empty dispersed campsite. I want easy access to things. I want a cassette toilet.

I went to a local trailer dealer and expected to get a 5x10 trailer. It would fit inside my standard door garage which is just under 7' tall. A friend of mine told me I should get something bigger, that I could store it at his place so my HOA wouldn't freak out. After looking at the 5x10, it was small. I texted my friend to confirm that offer was still valid, it was. I bought a 6x10.

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6x10 V nose trailer. Single axle without brakes. RV side door, ramp rear. Roof Vent. Weighs 1100 empty, maximum with cargo 2990 lbs.

3/4 ply floor. 3/8 ply walls.
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Bought the cheapest sheet vinyl from Lowes. $75
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Found a mess up gallon of paint on the sale shelf of Home Depot, $10 for the gallon. Was just enough.
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Built some shelving. A place for the motorcycle boots down low, Helmet up top. Bought a Dometic Toilet that will be stored on that shelf out of the way. Got a spare tire and mount for the wall. Put down some Harbor Freight E Track on the floor and bought the Bike Binderz system to hold down the dirt bike.
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Future plans are for another shelf above the toilet, some dividers for the top shelf and some way to secure items so they don't fall off while traveling.
 
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another_mike

Adventurer
Testing the bike fit with the Bike Binderz. (my friends bike) I did a trip shortly after this with two bikes and it worked great. I also used some Thompsons water seal on the rear unfinished ramp wood.
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The trailer was low. Even with an 8" drop hitch, I wasn't happy with the front height of the trailer. I also wanted a little more room in case I was on forest road trying to find a campsite.

Bought a spring perch kit and moved the axle from over the rear leaf springs to under the rear leafs. It gave me a 5" lift.

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another_mike

Adventurer
Ive been noticing my gas mileage dropping. I bought the van with about 139k miles, and it currently has about 163k miles. I don't know when the spark plugs were done, and ive never done them. I don't have any misfires or anything.

Removed the two front seats to gain more access to the dog house.
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I think I did all but the most forward most spark plug from the rear.




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I replaced the plugs with Ford Motorcraft plugs bought straight from Ford. The factory gap spec I think was .052" - .056". The ones that came out were about .075"

I found nothing wrong with the COP boots or anything, so I reused them. Factory torque spec for the plugs was 10ft lbs. While the rate of plugs being blown out of the heads on these modulars are low, people have experimented and found they've torqued up to like 80ft lbs before stripping out the threads. So I torqued to 23ft lbs.

I replaced the PCV valve with a authentic Ford replacement on the passenger side valve cover, and found that the crankcase breather fitting in the drivers side valve cover had been previously broken and glued back in. When I tried to get a replacement from Ford, its only available as an entire valve cover assembly. No way. I glued it back in with some permatex grey. An air leak at this spot could throw a trouble code.

I haven't gone through a full tank of fuel yet but I do notice it idles MUCH smoother. I don't notice much difference in power while driving. Hoping I can see a difference in my miles per gallon.

On a different note, I recently got a new computer and have found an easy way to resize my pictures. So Ill have consistent picture sizes from now on. 👍
 

i bike

Active member
Just read the whole thread, I like your build! I’m gonna borrow some inspiration from your rear storage locker. I ride motos too and always wind up with crap strewn all over the floor of the van. I’ve toyed with the idea of a small trailer too.

I just added pop out windows to my van too, makes a huge difference sleeping in it at night. Looks like you’ve got some screens for yours, what’d you use?

Also, if you’re back in Colorado with the dirtbike again check out Calico trail outside Rico. It’s rowdy! Starts super steep in the trees and then winds up following alpine ridges.


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