2013 Ford E250 STD CargoMost Current Picture & Video:
Van Name: Vandit
Van Name: Vandit
Picture from 10/2021 (Up to date for thread)
Video from 7/2021 (Not up to date for thread)
***This build thread was started and mostly documented on another forum starting in the fall of 2020. I decided to transfer it to here just in case anyone is interested in it.***
***This may lead to some things referencing other posts that do not exist here***
So it begins again! This is our 3rd/4th vehicle build but first van so should be interesting. This thread will be used to help document our process, as well as hopefully get some collective knowledge working through any issues we come across. I figured I would start by giving some background, and then diving into the actual plan and build.Background:
We have officially caught the van bug and decided to really jump headfirst into it! It started about 2-3 years ago, but here's some background for how we got here.
About 7 years ago I had built out a 2003 Land Rover Discovery II (Build Link). I basically did everything you could to it including 35” Nitto Trail Grapplers, front and rear air lockers, custom axles, custom suspension, custom bumpers, and the list goes on. It was a very off-road capable vehicle and got us to lots of cool places, but the reliability of it especially as it got more and more miles on it started to worry us. So we made the jump and sold it and bought a 2013 Toyota Tacoma. That started a pretty quick build process including lift, tires, racks, interior, and camping mods, etc.. Then we took it on our maiden voyage to Bend, OR. Long story short we fell in love with Bend and transitioned all our efforts into finding a way to move. Camping and traveling were put on hold for a while. We were eventually able to make the move and get established in Bend but had sacrificed most of our travel time to this endeavor. So flash forward to the end of 2019 and early 2020 where we decided it was time to start our next project and get back what we had been missing.
So we spent the next 6 months doing research and test driving every option out there. We tried a 4x4 sprinter, which was nice, but the initial cost, cost of repairs, and the limited 4 wheel drive, and the limited availability kicked it off our list. We had a similar experience with the Ford Transit, especially since their AWD system seemed like it would be a big limiting factor. During this test drive period, I happened across an ad for a Sportsmobile at a local used car dealership. All though out of our price range it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do a quick test drive to see if it really would be right. Well after driving it and getting to see how the Penthouse top worked in person we were officially hooked! So we began our search for a Sportsmobile. After lots of searching, we kept coming across the same issues either it was out of our price range, or we would be paying for lots of things we felt needed to be changed immediately. So we shifted again and started looking for some good starting platforms.
After months of searching and numerous deals failing we finally found a low miles 2013 Ford E250 Cargo in California. Unfortunately for us with a global pandemic (July of 2020), it wasn’t the easiest thing to actually get it, but we finally got it with only a few surprises considering we bought it sight unseen! So we found ourselves happy new owners of a van with potential!
Our goal is to build a van that is capable, reliable, and very sturdy for years to come. Something we can feel comfortable in exploring forest roads of the pacific northwest while also making it possible to sleep in friends and families' driveways while we are visiting. To have sleeping for two and our dog with the future option of sleeping/driving for 4 (just in case we have any friends or family coming). This will be our go-to rig for multi-week excursions as well as day trips to the lakes and mountains.
Given my field of work, I figured it would be a good idea to try to sort through some of the problems and ideas I had by laying them out on the computer first. I may have gone a little overboard especially since I had my modeling pretty well done before we even had a van! Now, these were more for basic ideas, and not perfectly to scale, but I tried to get it relatively accurate using the Ford builder book and some basic knowledge I had gathered from my hours of research. The renderings below are meant for basic concepts and to show some of the form and finish.
Exterior Front Render
Exterior Rear Render
Interior ISO with Van Body