"Jackur" 2003 Ford E350 Diesel 4X4 Build.


How she looks in Sept
I plan to use this forum to update my friend Thomas on the completion of the build of his camper van "Jackur" that he intends to take south for a year.
I have built one RV and a few boats and love the use of epoxy/wood for just about everything. Epoxy is expensive, but bought in bulk, I use it for everything from cradles to bathtubs. My last build, "Shachagra" was much bigger, but in many ways less of a challenge than the van. Rated at 52K, I had few weight considerations for that project. My family of 5 lived in her and traveled Europe and Asia for 16 months.
This construction is foam core epoxy and wood, primarily poplar, and ash in areas that need major strength. I mill my own wood, so I'm relieved of much of the expense.
Here is a shot of Shachagra

Thomas and another friend Bill have been here for 10 days working and we have a good start. We had delusions of finishing in 10 days but the heat coupled with the cooler full of cold Mikes Classic Margaritas resulted in two of the musketeers departing with about 3 months work left to do. We have cut and modified the top, built the sliding bed, roofs and hard sides. I guess I should explain what we're planning. A pop top that had a bed that slides out the back with its own roof, and accordion style hard sides. if you are not familiar with the style, its because I made up that phrase. I'll add a video to clear up what I'm talking about.
Here is a drawing of the top open.

How the sides support the top.

The bed that slides out the back

This is the method to build the bed, roof and sides. Foam, poplar spacers with plywood glues to both sides and encased in fiberglass.


Top off the van
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Nothing new, more already done.

The owner Thomas is on a plane to new Hampshire which is the "Live Free or Die" state, if you didn't know that already. I've heard that a lot lately. More background on Jackur. I had an idea burning a hole in the side of my head, but no money burning holes in my pocket. Tom bought arguably the nicest 4X4 van out there, a 2003 Ford F350, 7.4L Diesel with a Quigley suspension. Not the type truck you throw a plywood box on top of. Toms van and my desire to build were a good fit. He foots the bills and pays my son for labor, and I will provide him with hopefully a very sweet conversion 4X4. Lots of thought to COG with that quigley suspension so the topper, as elaborate as it may seem needs to be light. I sail multi-hulls and there is a saying you can get only two of the following three desirables; Great structure, light weight and inexpensive. Pick two. We are going with great structure and light weight. You may think Tom is a lucky guy, but despite paying the bills he isn't a voting member of this design committee, how many guys out there could put up with those conditions?
So here is the idea. A good looking, go almost anywhere van that will be barely livable for stealth camping, but palatial for extended camping once she's allowed to spread her wings. The rear dinette will convert to a bed for stealth camping, but a full size, full time bed will be available along with full standing headroom for 8 feet behind the front seats when she is open. The topper will add 12" of height (undesirable) and a further 2 inches with the 440W solar on the roof.
I think it'll work great, I've built two models already and everything fits, and the construction so far has exceeded my desires for both weight and strength. I could have gone lighter I think. Great idea if all works, pile of scrap if it doesn't. (it'll work)
I'm taking a week off and hope to get the pop top (Q-Top) done within two weeks after that.


New member
That Thomas is one trusting guy but I suspect seeing your Shachagra build made it easier to give you full design authority. And, you are a handsome, strong and virile man...

Oh yea, this is the $$$ guy, Thomas. Stop posting and get back to work!!! I'm rebuilding my house after the fire and you're just throwing a topper on a van...sheesh


That guy Thomas may be a fool......
I actually got some work done today- it stopped raining just long enough pull the tarp off (what a hassle, I should raised the garage door) and get the bed working. I was going to put the main top on over the bed but the rain returned. Bed slides in and out great and the top goes up with ease. I am thinking about making the top lower, less sitting headroom in bed, it seems really high when opened. We had some good winds today and with the sides clamped like they will be when locked, it is very stiff. There is no need for support struts to hold up the bed when open, it is very stiff. Enough words, here are some pictures.IMG_1018.jpgIMG_1017.jpgIMG_1013.jpg
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