Rocksea - EarthCruiser CORE Total Composites Build

awheeler

Member
After years of learning from this group I am ready to give back and hopefully help others with their overland build.
My wife and I are about a month out from picking up our EarthCruiser CORE chassis and 14' Total Composites box. We are shooting for a relatively high end DIY build and look forward to sharing it with everyone. We plan to film and document the entire build process.

About us(boring alert) - We've been traveling nearly full-time in our self built Ford Transit van and have had nothing but great times. We are fortunate to be able to work from the road on a fitness brand that we started a few years back. While we have loved our van we are ready for a bit of an upgrade and look forward to pushing our travels a little further off the beaten path. We love mountain biking and that is by far the thing we find ourselves doing the most. During winter you may find us chasing snow if we aren't biking. Our build will be primarily centered around these two sports.

The build is relatively standard with a bed in the back, bike storage underneath, bath/shower, kitchen in the middle and dinette seating upfront along with a pass through to cab. We are going all electric with 14k watts of DIY lithium, 1,000 watts of solar, induction cooktop, mini-split air conditioner, and a gas fired Rixen hydronic heating system. Interior components will be built with Coosa composite panels.

Planning on 50 gallons of fresh water inside the rig with an additional 50 gallons mounted outside along frame rail for summer use. Grey tank and all primary water components will be inside to protect against freezing. Bath will have a recirculating shower and airhead composting toilette.

Electrical will be based on a 24v 14k watt DIY lithium battery system. We will be using Mastervolt components and digital switching technology through cZone. All electrical components can be operated by switches located throughout the camper or through the touch screen display or cell phone app. The rig will have its own dedicated cellular connection and wifi so we can have full control while away from camper.

Currently we are finalizing our layout and design which I have attached a draft sketch you can check out. I also attached a finished picture that will look very similar to ours when finished. The finished truck is from Tony who has done a very similar build, you can read about his here.

We love honest feedback so don't hesitate to let us know what you think and we are more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Next Up: Electrical system and solar design
 

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tkj23qe1387

New member
Sounds amazing! Congratulations with your project.

Could you share more about the subframe that holds the TC box? Does it use a 3-point mount or spring mount? I am also interested in the core chassis, but might pair it with a box from Bliss Mobil instead. The subframe part is most confusing for me at this point.

Thanks!
 

awheeler

Member
Sounds amazing! Congratulations with your project.

Could you share more about the subframe that holds the TC box? Does it use a 3-point mount or spring mount? I am also interested in the core chassis, but might pair it with a box from Bliss Mobil instead. The subframe part is most confusing for me at this point.

Thanks!
So they are using the same subframe mount system that they use on their complete builds. I don't know much in the way of specifics but it does have springs. I'll snap some pictures of it when I get a chance. Probably in a week or so.

Those Bliss Mobils look great. I've been toying with the idea of the middle couch setup like they have on their 15 foot model
 
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awheeler

Member
Starting to lay out all the electrical as about 80% of the stuff has arrived. Just need to figure out wire gauge and lengths to get that ordered. For solar we are going with 6 175 watt panels wired in parallel. I was thinking of going series/parallel but after talking with some folks here on the forum I think just parallel will do.

Excited(and a little nervous) to see how this digital switching from Czone works out. Has anyone had any experience with Czone?
 

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gdaut

Active member
I am also looking forward to seeing this come together. The bike garage seems to be a tricky design issue; making it large enough for bikes, but still having headroom in the bed to sit up comfortably, while not making the total box too tall. Do you plan to have a slide out in the bike garage? That would cost a couple of inches of space, but would make loading the bikes much easier, I would think.
 

awheeler

Member
Agreed! Bike storage is lacking with most commercial builds and with what a good bike costs these days throwing it outside on a rack is out of the question.

I have thought about a slide out tray but that does eat up valuable height. In my current van I have a very similar system to what's in the picture and the fact that you can just roll the bikes in on the rear wheel makes for easy loading and unloading.

The blue tape outline on floor is 54" x 77" and will be the garage area with bed on top. The bottom of bed will sit about 35" high to just clear the handlebars.

The rear wheel racks are from One Up and I will just have to figure a way to fasten the front fork down. I could actually fit two more bikes in that area except I will have a 55 gallon fresh water tank there as well. So i think I can squeeze 3 bikes in with the tank. I also plan to have an outside rack for doing bike shuttles and what not.

The milk crates in the picture represent the 44" long dinette seating area that will be raised a bit to house batteries, electrical, and full underneath pass-through compartment for skis. Between the sink and fridge will be the kitchen counter and across from fridge will be the wet bath with dimensions of around 24" x 32"
 

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llamalander

Active member
24" x 32" might be pretty tight if you have elbows or knees.
Make yourself a box that size and see if you fit with your dirt on--
Or ponder a bating area defined by the pan & contained by a curtain?
 

awheeler

Member
24" x 32" might be pretty tight if you have elbows or knees.
Make yourself a box that size and see if you fit with your dirt on--
Or ponder a bating area defined by the pan & contained by a curtain?
It does feel tight, we are looking at some other ideas
 

Howard70

Adventurer
A couple of thoughts:

1. As you mock up space and fittings via tape on the floor of your shop, you might consider getting some large cardboard or thin plywood to mimic walls so you could have a 3D appreciation of moving about within the space. I've done the tape layout in the past and then been surprised at how constraining something could be that looked spacious in 2D.

2. Your parallel solar layout has all panels going to a combiner and then on to a single solar charge controller. You might consider having a couple of controllers so that if one packed up you'd still get 1/2 of your input. Also, I'm not sure how your combiner works, but you might look into a layout and wiring system that protects the complete output of each panel into your controller(s). The idea is that if you get partial shade then the reduction in solar input might not be as great. In some systems if you get 10% partial shade you might get 50% reduction in input.

3. As you are considering a basically all electric setup, you might also consider how you'll clean snow and ice off the solar panels in winter. While you can certainly generate lots of charge for your batteries running the truck's engine, the output at idle might be quite low, requiring a lot of running time and fuel. So far those v8s are proving to have awesome power but may be sorta thirsty as well. It's not an issue if you're driving every couple of days, but if you like to sit snowbound some place then the solar input is critical. Fresh powder sweeps off pretty easy, but once there's a bit of melt and refreeze then ice on the panels gets really difficult to remove.

Your gonna' have a lot of fun!

Howard
 

gdaut

Active member
That is clever mocking up the layout on the garage floor. I agree with the suggestion above about a 3D mockup; esp for the bike bay. If the 2floor-to-under3bed height is just enough to get the handlebars under, and you have a lip at the door (seems like you would have to) then lifting the front of the bike to get the fork legs to clear the lip will raise the handlebars. A cardboard mock up would be a good way to check that.

Very cool project; I envy you and wish I had the skills to do something like this.
 

awheeler

Member
A couple of thoughts:

1. As you mock up space and fittings via tape on the floor of your shop, you might consider getting some large cardboard or thin plywood to mimic walls so you could have a 3D appreciation of moving about within the space. I've done the tape layout in the past and then been surprised at how constraining something could be that looked spacious in 2D.

2. Your parallel solar layout has all panels going to a combiner and then on to a single solar charge controller. You might consider having a couple of controllers so that if one packed up you'd still get 1/2 of your input. Also, I'm not sure how your combiner works, but you might look into a layout and wiring system that protects the complete output of each panel into your controller(s). The idea is that if you get partial shade then the reduction in solar input might not be as great. In some systems if you get 10% partial shade you might get 50% reduction in input.

3. As you are considering a basically all electric setup, you might also consider how you'll clean snow and ice off the solar panels in winter. While you can certainly generate lots of charge for your batteries running the truck's engine, the output at idle might be quite low, requiring a lot of running time and fuel. So far those v8s are proving to have awesome power but may be sorta thirsty as well. It's not an issue if you're driving every couple of days, but if you like to sit snowbound some place then the solar input is critical. Fresh powder sweeps off pretty easy, but once there's a bit of melt and refreeze then ice on the panels gets really difficult to remove.

Your gonna' have a lot of fun!

Howard
Thanks Howard those are some great ideas!

2. I agree 2 controllers would be a good idea and it actually will cost a bit less. The only thing I will lose doing that is the MasterBus integration of the Mastervolt/Czone system. Not really sure what that would mean as the shunt will still show energy flow into the battery but perhaps it won't show as solar input on the display or something. Just bells and whistles and really doesn't matter.

The combiner box I am looking at is this one from AM Solar. Could you explain a touch more on how to protect the output from each panel? Would that be to wire them all individually into the charge controller?

3. The panels we are using are rated for walking on so the plan was to just do our best to keep them clean. The cab of the truck has a side ladder so getting up top shouldn't be too bad. Some sort of heating pad under the panels would be pretty slick.

Thanks again,

August
 
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