Cummins Canoe (A Stepvan Story)

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Winter is the worst. Why? Because I can't drive with the doors open! And when it's nice out, don't want things falling out of the cab...

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The side doors flip flop and make terrible noises. Made some door bushings out of some nylon pieces laying around that were supposed to be sliding door bushing. I couldn't figure out how they were supposed to work, so they got cut up and drilled and tapped some holes and this is what I came up with. Instantly silences the door while driving and in the wind!

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Also found a sweet spot to store a camp chair and shower platform.

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The tires are really old and going bald. Don't want to risk getting stuck. Buy six new tires? No way! Just get these traction boards when they're on sale instead!

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Found these tow hooks that off a 1990's Chevy pickup or suv. Just simply needed to drill holes in the chassis. They fit great on the step van! Now I sleep better at some of the backroad BLM campsites and know that in a pinch, the van can get pulled out.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Winter is the worst. Why? Because I can't drive with the doors open! And when it's nice out, don't want things falling out of the cab...

View attachment 710430
The side doors flip flop and make terrible noises. Made some door bushings out of some nylon pieces laying around that were supposed to be sliding door bushing. I couldn't figure out how they were supposed to work, so they got cut up and drilled and tapped some holes and this is what I came up with. Instantly silences the door while driving and in the wind!

View attachment 710435
Also found a sweet spot to store a camp chair and shower platform.

View attachment 710436
The tires are really old and going bald. Don't want to risk getting stuck. Buy six new tires? No way! Just get these traction boards when they're on sale instead!

View attachment 710437
Found these tow hooks that off a 1990's Chevy pickup or suv. Just simply needed to drill holes in the chassis. They fit great on the step van! Now I sleep better at some of the backroad BLM campsites and know that in a pinch, the van can get pulled out.
Makes me want to look at the E350 front end and see if I can mount up something similar without too much headache. On the rear the 16,000 lb hitch and Pintle hitch will work for dragging things out, but there’s nothing on the front.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Maybe yank the from tow hooks off of a Ford pickup and bolt them onto your chassis. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just strong.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Ok, so the tires were really bad. Like even for my standards, and JB Weld wasn't going to help! They had to go. Some other electrical odds and ends.

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Unfortunate that I had to buy 6 of these, but if the tires are too old or worn out, you really need to get new tires. Hopefully these will treat us well over the next few years with minimal plugs.

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Sometimes when the van has been sitting for awhile, you can tell the starter battery isn't fully charged when you go to start the engine. It always started, but the hesitation on some of those colder days is unnerving. So I thought about getting a small solargizer and mounting to the hood to always keep the starter battery topped off. But those are quite expensive and there is already a sizable solar setup on the van, so why not just use that? So I picked up an Amp L Start. This little device charges the starter battery off of the house batteries once the house batteries are charged and the voltage is high enough to activate the Amp L Start and start charging the starter batteries up to 15 amps, depending on how much the starter battery needs charging.

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The Amp L Start is all automatic, but I like control of things, so it's now on a switch. Got a whole bank of switches now just outside the electrical cabinet. These switches are on the side of the kitchen table seat, so initially people were sometimes accidentally hitting the switches on and off with their legs. to solve that, found these switch guards at an old school electronics store. The switches control the fridge, air compressor, battery heater, and Amp L Start. One of these days we'll label them, but for now the colors make sense to me.
 

iggi

Ian
Nice find on the Amp L start. That seems a better option than the DIY version I was probably never going to get around to building.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Oh gee willy! So glad I got an Amp L Start because I thought about doing my own DIY thing too! Maybe you should spend the $70 too! Haha, love it.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Roadtrips are good for the soul and bonds between friends! But in order to play, there is always work to get done! Also glad the van has six belt seats.

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"Business business business..."

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The good thing about having other people travel with you is that when you need a break from driving, you can switch drivers and sit in the back and play some Mario Kart! Super extra convenient when everyone can drive manual too!

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Ran the hot tub. One night it got down to about 12 degrees F. I had my doubts if the hot tub would work. Filled with some 55 degree well water and in about 5 hours had 100 degree hot tub water. To help achieve this we added a tarp and moving blanket on top. It was very cool watching all the steam come off this mess.

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The pump and heater ran non stop full power in order to keep up, but the temperature was going down about a degree per hour once we removed the tarp and blanket. We think we were losing heat through evaporation so we tossed in some soap to make some bubbles and that actually worked. Could also use some type of insulation under the tub. Right now it just sits on a tarp. Need a better way to regulate temperature other than manually opening and closing valve on inlet hose in hot tub. Would also like a system to regulate temperature during the day when not in use so when we need to use it, no need to wait hours for it to come up to temperature.
 
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Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Ok, so the tires were really bad. Like even for my standards, and JB Weld wasn't going to help! They had to go. Some other electrical odds and ends.

View attachment 711194
Unfortunate that I had to buy 6 of these, but if the tires are too old or worn out, you really need to get new tires. Hopefully these will treat us well over the next few years with minimal plugs.

View attachment 711195
Sometimes when the van has been sitting for awhile, you can tell the starter battery isn't fully charged when you go to start the engine. It always started, but the hesitation on some of those colder days is unnerving. So I thought about getting a small solargizer and mounting to the hood to always keep the starter battery topped off. But those are quite expensive and there is already a sizable solar setup on the van, so why not just use that? So I picked up an Amp L Start. This little device charges the starter battery off of the house batteries once the house batteries are charged and the voltage is high enough to activate the Amp L Start and start charging the starter batteries up to 15 amps, depending on how much the starter battery needs charging.

View attachment 711196
The Amp L Start is all automatic, but I like control of things, so it's now on a switch. Got a whole bank of switches now just outside the electrical cabinet. These switches are on the side of the kitchen table seat, so initially people were sometimes accidentally hitting the switches on and off with their legs. to solve that, found these switch guards at an old school electronics store. The switches control the fridge, air compressor, battery heater, and Amp L Start. One of these days we'll label them, but for now the colors make sense to me.
Now all you need to add is a “Sure Start” switch like the Ambos have. A momentary on switch, a pair of relays in parallel (for redundancy), and ____ feet of 00 wire and you’re set.

Slow cranking? Reach over and hit the Sure Start, and you’re house batteries are momentarily combined with your starting batteries. Slow cranking no more.
 

PlethoraOfGuns

Adventurer
Ok, c'mon guys, lets focus on the important things here like R values and Btu's! The hot tub is pretty freaking cool, but we gotta make it more user friendly. Ground insulation? Automatic temperature control? Air bubbles?

Everyone should have a hot tub. Mine a little small I know, but size doesn't matter when you're the only hot tub in camp ready to rock and roll.

Now all you need to add is a “Sure Start” switch like the Ambos have. A momentary on switch, a pair of relays in parallel (for redundancy), and ____ feet of 00 wire and you’re set.

Slow cranking? Reach over and hit the Sure Start, and you’re house batteries are momentarily combined with your starting batteries. Slow cranking no more.
When I used to work as an EMT, some of our ambulances had that switch, but it was never used since we left the engines running all the time. Boy, we beat the piss out of those Fords. I've seen some Mercedes/Winnebego RV's with that "boost" switch too.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Ok, c'mon guys, lets focus on the important things here like R values and Btu's! The hot tub is pretty freaking cool, but we gotta make it more user friendly. Ground insulation? Automatic temperature control? Air bubbles?

Everyone should have a hot tub. Mine a little small I know, but size doesn't matter when you're the only hot tub in camp ready to rock and roll.


When I used to work as an EMT, some of our ambulances had that switch, but it was never used since we left the engines running all the time. Boy, we beat the piss out of those Fords. I've seen some Mercedes/Winnebego RV's with that "boost" switch too.
My Ford 7.3 has about 17k hours on it. I used to be somewhat concerned about it until a friend told me one of the tow trucks he used to drive had its hour gauge pinned at 99,999 hours. When he was driving it, it had been there for several years without needing major work. And he said it would still blow the doors off the 6.0 rigs across an intersection. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t babied.

In contrast, the 6.0 rigs needed head gaskets replaced every year or so… constantly needing work.
 
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