Hodakaguy's 4x4 Sprinter Build

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Since selling our Tacoma we have missed having something to camp in and have been contemplating what to build out next and what would best fit our needs. After quite a bit of thought we came up with the following requirements:

  • No canvas/pop top, must have a hard top this time around.
  • More room than the 4 Wheel Camper (Wife was claustrophobic in the 4WC)
  • 4WD
  • Can travel at modern freeway speeds (That eliminated the VW Syncro).

After looking at a lot of vehicles we decided a 4WD Sprinter would best fit our needs, now to find one! After talking to many dealers most were saying at least 1+ year wait to get a new sprinter, that's not going to work so I started keeping a close eye for a decent priced used one. Most of the used ones that were coming up were far over priced due to availability but after a month or so of constant looking I was lucky enough to make a deal on a low mile (14K) 2017 4WD 144" Sprinter passenger model....Oh Yeah! It was even in my favorite color and well equipped!

The van was located in CO so my father and I set out from WA state in his Tacoma to pick it up. Here we are getting ready to head out from the sellers house with the Sprinter....soooo hyped!






Fueling up and getting ready for the 1200 mile trip back to WA. This baby is a beast!




Evening near Green River






One of the many fuel stops along the way, we decided to stop whenever the Tacoma was at half tank. This gave us a chance to stretch and also make sure we have enough fuel for the long stretches.




On HWY 50 in Utah you'll find the remains of the Frisco Mine.






I geek out on old mine relics so we headed up the dirt road to check out the remains.








A ways up the road you come to a closed gate with lots of No Trespassing signs...bummer! Time to send up the drone and get a look at the mine from the air :)

Heading up to the hills.




Lots of really cool relics at this mine site! The massive head frame is still standing along with the huge ore bins. So wish I could go up and check it out in person!










One of the many remaining structures in the valley below the main adit.




Back on the road again. Heading down HWY 50 in UT, man I love these wide open spaces!






Dad taking a rest on HWY 50 :)




Continued Below....
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Continued from above....

Getting fuel in Baker NV.




We stopped at the Lehman Cave visitor center just outside of Baker, we didn't have time for the cave tour on this trip but the visitor center was cool!

Dad checking out all the Monarch Butterfly's the rigs were picking up out on the highway.






Inside the visitor center was a real surprise, the "Forgotten Winchester" was on display here! It was really cool getting to see it in person, if you haven't seen the story on this gun check it out here: CLICK HERE

Dad next to the Forgotten Winchester




Back on the road again






And back home! The sprinter drove amazingly well, the more I drove it the more I love this rig!



Can't wait to start building it out as time and money permit :) The plan is to keep the build very basic, we don't want a kitchen or water system in the camper. The setup needs to be easily convertible from camper to utility so I can haul a dirt bike etc inside when I want. More to come :)

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
First mod...install a heater! I'm a wuss when it comes to sleeping in the cold so a heater is a must! I have a brand new Espar D2 diesel fired heater that I had purchased when we had the Unimog and never used. The heater is a new "take out" from a semi truck. I almost sold the heater when we sold the Mog, now I'm glad I kept it!

Here's the D2 heater waiting to be installed in the Sprinter.




The heater will be mounted in the open space beneath the passenger seat.











Here's the bottom side of the heater, I will remove the rubber gasket and use it for a template to drill the required holes.




This is the location the heater will be mounted, gasket is in place and holes marked.






Drilling the holes was a quick process thanks to a spring loaded center punch, a couple drill bits and a Step Bit.




Edges of the holes were smoothed out with a reamer, these tools are handy. Available on Amazon here: CLICK HERE






Bare edges were painted with cold galv then a coating of black RTV gasket maker for rust prevention. Heater was then bolted into place.








Next up route the wiring for the fuel pump out from the seat base, through the frame and out under the van. There is a factory rubber plug right next to the heater that you can remove and thread the wiring down through the frame channel and out under the van. Here the rubber plug is removed in preparation for pulling the wires through.




The factory D2 connector on the fuel pump wiring needs to be removed to allow the wire to pass through the openings. This is the connector that needs to be removed.




Once the blue retainer clip has been removed with a screw driver you can use a pin release tool to release the wiring terminals and slide the wires out of the connector. Here's the release tool,
Available on Amazon Here: CLICK HERE
https://amzn.to/2y6KzkA









Continued Below....
 
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Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Continued from above...

Next up take a piece of stiff copper wire and fish the wire from under the van up through the frame and into the seat base. Note that the frame tubing is double stacked and you need to pull the wire through 3 holes total. You can see the copper pull wire sticking up next to the heater in this shot. Also note that already installed on the factory heater wiring harness is a rubber grommet that will fit perfectly in the open hole.




The wire will exit a ways back from the heater, near the front of the slider.




Wire coming out the frame channel.




Factory connector re-installed.




More to come....

Hodakaguy
 

Travoski

New member
Continued from above....

Getting fuel in Baker NV.




We stopped at the Lehman Cave visitor center just outside of Baker, we didn't have time for the cave tour on this trip but the visitor center was cool!

Dad checking out all the Monarch Butterfly's the rigs were picking up out on the highway.






Inside the visitor center was a real surprise, the "Forgotten Winchester" was on display here! It was really cool getting to see it in person, if you haven't seen the story on this gun check it out here: CLICK HERE

Dad next to the Forgotten Winchester




Back on the road again






And back home! The sprinter drove amazingly well, the more I drove it the more I love this rig!



Can't wait to start building it out as time and money permit :) The plan is to keep the build very basic, we don't want a kitchen or water system in the camper. The setup needs to be easily convertible from camper to utility so I can haul a dirt bike etc inside when I want. More to come :)

Hodakaguy
Nice Van and a great road trip with your Dad too
 

ricardo

Observer
Oh mi Amigo..

Ricky Kuhn here...

Sprinter now...??

What happen to that incredible Unimog....???

Now i'm forced to be into Cars because I broke my back (I can still walk) but two wheels are No, No for now on..

I will follow your dad and your self on every step of the build...

ricky
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Looking good. That will possibly be my next rig.

What kind of mileage did you get on the trip home?
I never did calculate mileage but the computer said 16.5 - 17 mpg. Also the speedo is reading a little low (about 3 mph low at 70mph). Overall I've very happy with the mileage for a vehicle this size, it's also great on power (I was able to pull hills at any speed I wanted and it cruised at 75+in comfort!).

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Oh mi Amigo..

Ricky Kuhn here...

Sprinter now...??

What happen to that incredible Unimog....???

Now i'm forced to be into Cars because I broke my back (I can still walk) but two wheels are No, No for now on..

I will follow your dad and your self on every step of the build...

ricky
I sold the Unimog to a guy in Maine, it was a fun rig for sure but was just to much of a toy to be practical for us. That said I don't regret building it as my father and I had a great time in the process.

Hodakaguy
 

Hodakaguy

Adventurer
Some more progress on the heater install today. I started working early this morning and started taking pictures as I went....that is until I realized that I didn't have the memory card in the camera lol. Well won't be any pictures of the first part of the morning :)

Drilled the 3" hole for the heater vent in the seat base and attached the heater hose from the heater to the vent.




Removed the trim pieces and the flooring to gain access to the wiring tray. You can lift the white cover and there is black cable tray with factory wiring inside, I used the tray to route the heater power wire as well as the control wires.




This picture was taken going back together, had to remove the plastic trim along side the drivers seat and drill holes for the heater thermostat. I chose this location since it's out of the way and easy to access. You need to really watch the install location here as space is very limited since the seat belt slide takes up most of the space in this area. I also had to extend the control wires so they were long enough to reach from the heater to the controller, the wires run down behind the trim piece, under the drivers seat then into the cable tray and over to the passenger seat.




And a shot of the controller mounted.






Wiring running into the battery area, nothing has been connected yet. The wire used is pre-tinned marine wire, eventually I will install an aux battery system and re-route the heater power wires over to the aux system.




Going back together with the trim and flooring. The heater vent is adjustable so you can direct the air flow where you need it.






I added a switch on the side of the passenger seat for control power to the heater. I chose this location since it's tucked out of the way and easy to access from the drivers seat. This location also won't annoy me when the switch is on and the switch is lit up red.






More to come. I still need to order a few parts (muffler, intake tubing, hose barb for the fuel pump). Hope to finish the heater install up soon!

Hodakaguy
 
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