Transit AWD build overland style-I'm back in a van


I havent seen anyone post any build logs on expo for the AWD Transit yet so figured i had better start one. I personally think the AWD transit is going to become a very viable option in the near future (and if difficulty in getting one proves anything--already is). I'm back in a van after many year hiatus, even if i did build sprinters and overland stuff professionally, ill explain some.

i got the van buzz a long long time ago before "vanlife" and "overland" was ever a thing. my first van was a 66 VW Kombi split window bus i did a full ground up restoration on over a 5 year period. i got a hair up my *** one day and sold it in 20 minutes on thesamba before i could even rethink my decision to a chap from England who was in CO skiing at the time
During this time i actually really got into VW Vanagon Syncros. I ended up owning/building 6 of them. Basically when i wanted to start redoing something i would just sell it and build another one from scratch. most got converted to Subaru power, 2.2l, 2.5l and my favorite one was the big subaru H6 3.3l from the SVX. i never should have sold that van. i even converted one hard top to westfalia poptop, lots of cutting and welding and bodywork.
anyway, my wife kind of got tired of me always working on these VW's (as anyone who has owned one knows) and i decided to chase after something i always pined after--7.3L diesel ford econoline 4x4!. i found a fairly decent one, had a colorado camper van pop top installed and built out the interior

long story short, i wasnt in love with it and decided to put a Four Wheel Popup camper on my gen 1 Tundra shop truck that i loved and sell the econoline. Talking to the dealer in Colorado (where i lived for 22 years) when i was ordering it, he needed help at the shop. I ended up working with him selling and servicing four wheel campers for 4 years part time since i had my own business. as anyone would know, shop grew from FWC to a full on overland shop now, building so many rigs for people to explore the world in. I still have my four wheel camper, on a RAM 2500 now, but love it. Transit has some big shoes to fill!
fast forward, i move to Quebec Canada, spend over a year building a house and shop. but since no one knows who i am in my new local I eventually start working at a local shop building Sprinter vans into campers, kind of elaborate ones--way to elaborate for me. should have seen the electrical system in the last one i built--crazy and crazy $.

all this time im thinking how much i think i would prefer the transit platform, but AWD or Quigley is a must. When the AWD option finally became available i ordered one almost immediately and finally received it August 28th. o ordered it in early Feb, covid through a wrench in the works
my plan is to build an "overland" style camper, everything you need and nothing you dont. it will definitely have some luxuries as requested by the boss lady, but not over the top. I've accumulated quite a bit of supplies while waiting for the van and ready to get started. this is a terrible time to try and build a van, i only have 1 of 4 windows i ordered in July, struts for the VC lift are back ordered, again since july. im glad i was smart and ordered a lot in advance because its really hard right now.

i own or have owned a shop that is pretty weird (keeps me from being bored) that does automotive upholstery, motorcycle mechanic, metal fabricator, and vintage auto restoration. so this is kind of an experiment for me to test the viability of the Transit and hopefully help others build. ill try to keep a good log going.

Recommended books for Overlanding

The Longest Line on the Map: The United States, the Pan-A...
by Eric Rutkow
From $16.72
Lone Rider: The First British Woman to Motorcycle Around ...
by Elspeth Beard
From $19.95
Tortillas to Totems (Every day an Adventure Book 4)
by Sam Manicom
From $9.99
Motorcycle Messengers: Tales from the Road by Writers who...
by Lois Pryce, Mark Richardson, Carla King, Sam Manic...
From $9.99


Happily following along @coguzzi. I remember your E-series build fondly as I was also doing an early CCV top around then. Wow, so many vehicles ago.

Looking forward to this.


@ Christian P.,it is getting a thetford portapotty, which is a step up since we didnt have one before. i seem to be the one getting older faster and up more during the night- DOH

@ 86scotty, i remember you as well. indeed so many builds ago, i had a FB memory pop up of that van the other day and i barely even remember


Well-known member
I have no interest in this segment but your background definitely has me interested to see what you do with this thing. Subscribed.

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk


Quebec?! I’m in VT. Will be very curious what you think of the van through this winter. I’m thinking an eco boost med roof awd transit may be in my future. Had an awd express but want something a bit more modern, maybe it will even replace the family minivan.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Quebec?! I’m in VT. Will be very curious what you think of the van through this winter. I’m thinking an eco boost med roof awd transit may be in my future. Had an awd express but want something a bit more modern, maybe it will even replace the family minivan.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
she probably wont get out of the shop much this winter honestly--lots to do


ill do a quick recap of what ive done so far. like i said, terrible time to try and build a van in this pandemic. back ordered parts, prices increased from my initial budget spread sheet, me getting used to a new city/country where i cant get everything that was easy for me in CO, etc

so here is revision # who knows how many. i drew it all when i waited for the ordered van, van showed up and real measurement threw me for a loop (stupid driver seat ate up more space than i thought)
drawing 5.jpg

my sister in law suggested i do a time lapse of my build, interesting idea and give it a go. im actually really having fun with it (i was graphic designer in past life--so mac time brings back memories). this is part 1, and shows mostly just prep work before the big stuff starts to happen

but here are some random shots of various stages

shop dog approved

making shelf brackets

i toyed with the idea of buying the tube bender ive wanted forever and making my own rack. dicided i needed to pick my battles on this van and bought a rack from a local company in Montreal, Remora. Im really happy with the quality of the rack and recommend anyone in canada, give them a look. I MAY still buy a tube bender to make a ladder since i want rear door, and what is want isnt really out there right now. also dependent on my tire size i go with and if i need a rear door tire rack

test fitting the floor, it will eventually get minimal insulation and final install. need to run 1 wire under and prefer to do all my metal cutting BEFORE floor is installed

ford put the factory wiring harness in a really poor location for finishing a nice wall, i was able to unplug several things and reroute the wire inside the rear door opening, much cleaner

but had to take apart an aweful lot to achieve. some weird plug/sensor way down in the fender, had to take out the "pressure relief" flaps to get at it

know im caught up, so ill try to do regular updates


The Good Shepherd
Sir, you had my curiosity, now you got my attention.

I am super curious the ways you are going put an insulation in the van and what you are using for it.


Active member
Nice work as always dood!
Auto pimpin'

Here's that Power Stroke towing my Syncro donor across the front range, like it wasn't back there.

Donor tow.jpg

It's been quite a while since the days of rebuilding a Super Beetle in the dirt floored garage.

(Still see the SVX Syncro around town)
Last edited:


Active member
ha - NO. When I do a build thread I'll likely incriminate myself.

Looking forward to seeing more of your build in-process. Then we need to meet with campers somewhere between CO and Quebec, or stop through on your way and we'll caraVAN to Baja.

(Updated photo to something more... topical)
Last edited:

Recommended books for Overlanding

We Will Be Free: Overlanding In Africa and Around South A...
by Mr Graeme Robert Bell
From $17.87
Into Africa
by Sam Manicom
From $26.43
999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
by Dan Grec, Dan Grec
From $19.62
Crossing the Congo: Over Land and Water in a Hard Place
by Mike Martin, Chloe Baker, Charlie Hatch-Barnwell
From $32.5
Overland: A Mercedes-Benz Journey Through the Americas
by ri M. Stroh
From $20


I'll be using a Redarc Manager 30 for my battery management needs, and it calls for 50A fuse/breaker at the main battery side. obviously the best place to hook up is CCP1 which is factory 60 amp fused, so i added a 50 amp in line. i normally prefer breakers, but the ANL fuse is slightly smaller and terminals are more protected since its "exposed" anyway, made a small bracket to mount it.

been wrapping my head around my wall panels and have them mostly fabbed now. didnt want to do my window install until i was definite on finish here (let alone i was missing 3 of my 4 windows due to backorder).

once i was sold on it and my 2nd window showed up, i decided it was time. got slider door and behind driver done. still waiting for my bunk windows.

anyway--it was so nice in Quebec i had to pull one of the bikes out that i already had winterized and go for a ride. be a while til i can take some powder days i think--sigh--i miss CO mountains, but powder day is powder day--right