Road trip building a van for SEMA 2019

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
It has been a mad dash across the country but the pleasure of working with great companies has made it worthwhile. The frustrations caused by others is part of the process but still sucks.

This is a quick update with limited wifi so I will hit the highpoints…

The Sportsmobile top is amazing, never doubt the strength of that frame and the guys there actually are happy and enjoy their work. The top is only partway up here, don’t freak out. Also the custom roof “fence/light holder/awning support” caused them some issues but it works for now even with a lube required tight fit. A little bit of tweaking by Dave the Fabricator back in Phoenix and the thing will be perfect.




The last post I wrote was from the Aluminess lounge, little did I know how upset I would be soon. I will provide a more in-depth post once everything is resolved but the lesson to learn is companies change as they grow, they can’t always hire the best people and new designs create new problems. But more on that later.
From Aluminess it was a side trip to drop off David the video dude I had hired in Kansas City. He is the reason the quality went way up on the videos. But I am a hard person to work for and this is a crazy mad dash trip across the southwest. We parted ways and I blasted north to the Bay Area so Owl Van could work their magic.
Like most of the bits on Red Chaser, this is a prototype swingout setup. The hinges are different both in placement and style from the other Transit they have modeled on, but in less than 2 days they had whipped up a tire carrier and a Sherpa mount that I now get to beat the crap out of in the desert.




In another example of killer customer service, Toby of Scheel-Mann let me invade his shop and helped me install a pair of seats that I am really looking forward to trying. By this point, I have put on almost 4000 miles in 9 days. When I lost my leg my pelvis was broken and healed crooked, I have scoliosis (curved spine), lower back pain and more. I have never been comfortable in any seats but I just figured that was the price of life. My hope is the 10-way adjustment in the Vario model, the firm but supportive padding and German engineering will make a big difference in my life. With another 1000 to 1500 miles before I get home the truth should be clear soon.
There will be a full write up on all this soon, but a quick note. I fully accept I no longer have airbags in my seat. I accept that all of these modifications change the vehicle and it’s safety in some way. I am an adult and I choose to do all of this.
The Scopema swivels will get their own notes but needless to say they were not the simple drop on mod I thought. But they are rock solid and work well.




Sunday was a workday with a buddy who has a houseboat north of Portland. More Heatshield paint on Db Skin (it washed off me with warm water and soap) and more L track installation. Also, I mocked up the tires, Oh Boy!




And then it was bright and early to Quadvan Monday morning to start the magic….and to see if they choke on these big ol’ Nitto Ridge Grapplers and the pretty Method 701’s. The front-wheel well has a pinch weld on the back end of it that has to go and on the rear wheel well the pinch welds at the front and back bottom ends will have to go.





These guys are really impressive at the concern for quality, for double and triple-checking work and the willingness to understand the customer’s needs.
Watch for more soon…..
 

shade

Well-known member
Looks like fun so far.

How well is the db Skin working? After removing the nearly useless panels from the rear cab wall of my Tacoma, I need to do something about the noise.

Any Victron surprises?
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Looks like fun so far.

How well is the db Skin working? After removing the nearly useless panels from the rear cab wall of my Tacoma, I need to do something about the noise.

Any Victron surprises?

Db Skin is working really well especially with how easy it paints on. You don't get the heavy "thud" of the stick on stuff like their Db Armor but there is less noise and the freq is deeper vs a tinny sound.
I am doing it in phases to see just how much I have to apply. I think I will still put the aluminum Db Armor on the doors after all as that is where alot of sound seems to come through.

Victron has been great, except I have not gotten time to really understand the Color GX controller. Honestly 99% I would never tell someone to run it has everything works through Bluetooth and you can see each component and look over the function.
It makes more sense to get a used smartphone or little tablet and keep it in the rig all the time as your Victron command center.
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
That front bumper is ugly as flock o_O
So ugly and worse approach angles for someone who actually wants to wheel.
I understand why they wanted to protect/hide the washer bottle but I am so glad I was able to swap to the older bumper.
This pic is before we put on the skid plates which protect the intercooler, diff, t-case & gas tank
 

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1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
And you made the SEMA summary article on the home page:


Too bad Scott didn't mention it was yours....

Todd Z.
No worries Todd, it is more about getting attention for the partner companies than me.
I actually would like to see it featured on Sportsmobile's website as an example of how you can bring them a van for partial work vs a full build.

Last thing I want is someone coming to me to build a Transit :)
 

shade

Well-known member
I actually would like to see it featured on Sportsmobile's website as an example of how you can bring them a van for partial work vs a full build.
Seems like something they'd want to do if they regularly perform that kind of work.
 

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