Van Compass Ford Transit Build - 1 TON 4x4 conversion

Van Compass

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Van Compass is developing a line of products to make the Transit more capable off road, handle better and attractive to the eyes.

We plan to use this thread to answer questions about our products and show off new stuff as we create it.

VC owns a 2015 Ford Transit high roof, purchased new in May of 2016. 3.5L Ecoboost, 3:31 gears, limited slip, 148” wheelbase. The van was driven for about 10,000 miles before we finished our 2.5” Transit Terrain lift kit. We now have 16,000 miles on the original kit and everything is working great.

We started out on 235/85/16 on the factory wheels after the lift kit was installed.
 

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Van Compass

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Fender modifications

The wheel arches on the the Transit don't give us much room for larger tires. We have to do some trimming to clear the 235s or any larger tire after a VC 2.5" lift kit is installed.

The rear wheel arch will need a small section of front pinch seam cut off.

The front bumper cover and rear portion of the pinch seam and plastic rocker cover will need to be trimmed back.
 

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Van Compass

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We had some fun this past February running around Johnson Valley, CA in the Transit and 4x4 Sprinter pitting for our friend's 4500 car at KOH 2017.

I got stuck in sand easily with the tall skinny 235/85/16 tires aired down to 20psi. They do great in hard pack dirt, but a nice wide tire is great for sand flotation.

The solution was to order up some Ultra "Toil" van wheels, 16 x 6.5 45ET and now run 285/75/16s. More front and rear fender trimming was required and they kiss the frame at full lock, but it has been worth it as far as traction goes. Everyone thinks the van is 4wd now.
 

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Van Compass

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The ecoboost still tows great with the 33" tires and 3.31 gears. I lock the transmission out of 6th gear and go. 3.73s are in the future, but living with the 3.31 has been fine.

Pics of our custom built car trailers from M&S Fabrication in Bakersfield, CA. I wish I got to take the 4500 car home with us.
 

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Van Compass

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Fox Rear shocks

We came up with a solution to mount Fox rear shocks on the Transit. We buy a shock from Fox and custom tune them to your van weight and road conditions you plan to drive on. The mounting width at the top and bottom of the shock is really wide. We have to machine custom spacers to get the shocks to mount correctly.

We can get pretty crazy with the shock tunes. Heavy vans need a bunch more damping than the factory shocks and to light vans can be made to ride smooth.
 

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Van Compass

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Rear Shock Ground Clearance

The rear shock mounts hang below the differential. We have had some requests for mounts that raise the shocks up. We made a set of brackets that still allow for the sway bar to attach to the shock mounts (if equipped) and the factory shocks or Fox shocks can be used with the 2" bump stop spacer supplied in our lift kit. We can do a shorter set of rear shocks for customers who do not plan to lift and run a bump stop spacer.
 

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Van Compass

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Rock Sliders for the Ford Transit

We decided to design a set of rock sliders similar to our Sprinter version. They offer great protection and are a great step for everyday use.

The main rails are constructed from 1/8" steel and have 3/16" frame tie-ins. They have high lift jack pockets at each end, and the van can also be lifted with a standard bottle jack at the front and rear frame tie-ins. The sliders sandwich the pinch seam and bolt to the upper portion of the rocker panel where the plastic covers once clipped in place. The two piece design allows for full powder coat coverage to combat corrosion.
 

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Van Compass

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LED light pod mounts

We get requests to make light bar mounts for the bumper. Most light bars come with mounts and can easily be attached without an additional mount. We personally don't like putting a light bar in the front bumper step location. The front step is convenient for window washing and we have plans for a winch to fill that area. Light bars on the roof typically add extra wind noise and require a rack or drilling into van to mount. We decided a hood mounted LED would be a better option. We attach the mounts into existing fender bolt holes. Quality LED light pods will get you plenty of light and they don't seem to add any wind noise. We are running Baja Designs XL 80-R lights.
 

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Van Compass

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Transit Tow hook

The Transit does not have any recovery points. You can get pretty far in 2wd with an LSD or locker, but sometimes you just need a tug.

We made a recovery point that bolts to the frame where the factory bumper mounts. You have to cut off a section of the bumper to mount this part. We plan to make a winch mount / front hitch that will replace the factory bumper completely that lives under the plastic cover. We plan to keep the plastic cover for aerodynamics and simplicity. The tow hooks will work with the winch mount as a modular system. Prototype pictures are shown. We are including a cover plate if you don't get the bumper cut just right. Our first production run should be done in February, 2018.
 

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Van Compass

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Do you plan on making these for the 130" wheelbase as well?
Yes, we do plan to make them for the 130" Transit. We have been trying to get the correct CAD files from Ford for a few months now. Everything we have done so far designed with a tape measure on our test van. If you are local we could take a look at your 130 to design the parts.
 
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