I'M BATVAN! ...a 2006 E350 V10 DIY Ujoint Conversion

Hi Brian. I gotta make my first post on ExPo sometime.... been lurking for months now. Figured I'd say hi in your thread here. I'm in Boise and I just bought a 98 E350 with the V10 and intend on doing the Ujoint kit. I would love to check out your rig and chat about what the conversion was like DIY. I've got some mechanical skills, but I've never tackled a mod project like this.
 

Pinnacle Campers

Chateau spotter
Hi Brian. I gotta make my first post on ExPo sometime.... been lurking for months now. Figured I'd say hi in your thread here. I'm in Boise and I just bought a 98 E350 with the V10 and intend on doing the Ujoint kit. I would love to check out your rig and chat about what the conversion was like DIY. I've got some mechanical skills, but I've never tackled a mod project like this.
Do you own the local "exchange" store by the same screen name?
 
Yessir. That's my creation. I take it you've been in?

I still love my tent and all, but as I get in my mid 30s, something a little more comfortable for base camp adventures is in order. Enter the Ford van in my driveway.

So, any chance I could get together with you to check out a ujoint in person? You could swing it by the store sometime if that is convenient.
 
I'm at my Capitol Blvd location downtown on Wednesday and Thursday most every week. I'm there this week but on the Main Salmon the week after that. I'll trade you VIP consignment rate on your gear for info and checking out the ujoint kit in person.👍
 
Thanks again for bringing the van by the other day! I was super stoked to see a UJOR in person. Obieone stopped by today with his Advanced/Agile rig and we chatted for awhile. I'm getting him set up with a few more Yakima rain gutter towers. I know you said it is kind of difficult to get the van folks of Boise together for a meet up cause everybody is gone on the weekends, but if you ever wanna have a beer night in a driveway, I'm totally up for attending/hosting. Super stoked to get this project rolling! Just gotta get the Tundra sold...
 

Eazy

New member
It's weird how many screen names I see on here that I recognize from import forums.

I guess it's the natural evolution of things. Small, fast cars to big, heavy vans.
 

shenrie

^^^ hates cars
^^^ never looked at it like that ian. definitely more than a few of us going this route...


nice build thread brian. your work is always top notch. after seeing your rig yesterday you need to update this thread ;)


was nice meeting some new van geeks like myself yesterday. we need to do it again sometime, but next time around a campfire instead of in a parkinglot.
 

philos

Explorer
Hehe, we bought our first Subaru last year... We're going the other way a bit as I've been a truck guy for life. It's nice to have a zippy daily driver every now and then.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Pinnacle Campers

Chateau spotter
My interior build really starts on the exterior.
I wanted to "stow" my mattress when not in use in front of the rearmost drivers side window. From the drivers seat, while driving, this is the least used window. I also figured, for heating and cooling, the passenger van could use one less window.
While brainstorming a window block off panel I considered many options. Ultimately something I could attach various "rack" accessories/attachments to for SUP boards, snowboards, bike(s)?, or maybe even something to attach Rotopax containers would be a great increase in versatility and much more accessible than on the roof.
So I had a local metal shop cut/roll a piece of 18g steel using an OEM van window as a template.
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To replicate the studs on the back of the panel I used weld studs from here: http://www.weldmountsystem.com/products-fasteners-stainless-studs.php I should note, that I welded these on. These are designed to be "glued" on with an expensive mixing type plunger gun that I didn't want to pay extra for when I have a welder and they are so easy to tack on. I also got the 18-32 thread size which allowed me to use the OEM nuts.
I plasma cut the slots in the steel for the e-track myself. In hindsight I think I would have preferred to use t-slot material but at the same time, regardless, all of the accessories would need to be custom adapted to either.
The SUP racks were on all summer. Its nice to not have to inflate/deflate my deflatable SUP, easy to get on off, I don't travel with it here, just around town, camp to lake, etc. I have also found the hooks useful when using the van to round up firewood.
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I had the final product powder coated satin black. The e-track was anodized black from the supplier.
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In this pic you can see where I cut my drivers side interior panel. This is right behind the 2nd row drivers side passenger seat and roughly straight across from the rear most part of the passenger side doors.
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The interior panel removed was plastic welded on as the interior side of the duct. This is the rear HVAC heat, it comes out of vents at the second row foot area and you can still see a couple fins where I cut through the 3rd row foot area vent.
I later cut this black duct out and installed a hose in its place using modified ABS dust collector parts. In hindsight I wish I would have just covered the section shown here with sheet ABS. In the future I see the rear HVAC being dedicated to the "camper" so this may all not matter at some point.

I had decided to make my bed platform framing out of 1"x1" .083 steel tubing. I had some "used" material, and some new stuff laying around, its easy to weld, etc.
I started by making some wood 1x1's to use as templates. The "flanges" are 1/4" Masonite.
The passenger side,
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Drivers side,
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You can see I set my bed height (horizontal part of the template) about two inches below the separation in the trim materials. This caused more work in the end cutting down those panels as filler but I think it was worth it. The height was a compromise between getting the tallest cooler underneath and have the most height above.
As most know, doing stuff like this in just about any van is tough. The compound curves of the van itself combined with nothing being square, etc. etc. I fooled around with the straight edges and the templates for quite a while....
I used 8mm riv-nuts in the van inner walls and floor to attach the completed "brackets".
drivers side, here you can see the hose I used to feed the front HVAC vents, also in these pics you can see the pieces of perforated angle steel I'm using to support my bed platform panels.
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passenger side,
IMG_6160sm.jpg
 
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Pinnacle Campers

Chateau spotter
Now with the bed platform frames in,
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There are three removable frames. The front is the biggest, it has the ability to be locked in the vertical position (as it is in the pic) or horizontal. When horizontal, this frame cantilevers past the vertical bars it locks into, extending the bed past the vertical posts. Also, in the horizontal position, it can be unlocked from the front vertical posts, hinge from the back, and lift to access the under storage area.
The 2nd and 3rd panel get smaller progressively. The 3rd can also lock into the lower portion of the vertical posts below the front pivoting frame when its in a vertical position. This allows a full bulk head for carrying cargo in the back.
Also in this pic, you can see the cardboard templates I have been cutting for vertical dividers beside and on top of the "brackets".
Further details of the platform panels include 4 locking pins on each all are sleeved with Teflon tubing to prevent metal on metal squeaks. The pins are spring loaded and utilize brushed stainless hardware. These were cabinet drawer/door pulls that didn't get used on a job. I was so fascinated by the fact that their bolt spacing matched my perforated steel angle that I had to use them. :)
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You can see in this pic the details of the front panel. The front and rear locking pins needed to be able to pull independently. These little bent rods work great. I even made them a little guide out of HDPE so they wouldn't spin. The small piece of sheet ABS covers the cover materials fold, cut, staple. The hole has to be there to access the pins from top.
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Here are the panels in the fully upright and locked (cargo) position. :)
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The front panel unlocked in front and hinging on the rear pins to access cargo underneath. I just stick two fingers in the hole and squeeze the bent tabs. In this pic from the 2nd row driver side I can set the panel down to lock, pinch the rear two pins and pull towards me to the vertical position.
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