Passenger Wagon Build Thread - KiteVan - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 05:50:AM Thread Starter
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Passenger Wagon Build Thread - KiteVan

First, thanks to everyone on the forum for taking the time to post and share. Y'all were a massive help and inspiration in my build.

The Van
2015 XLT LWB, medium length, high roof, Wagon
3.5 Ecobost
LSD
upfitter switches

Goal
mobile office that I can work remotely from during kiteboarding season and take the family on adventures during the off-season. This is also my daily driver/kid hauler so it had to have a spot for at least 2 car seats. much of my inspiration came from https://saraandalexjames.com/ first van build. I wanted to have windows all around so we can see the scenery when camping/eating/sleeping and a soft water resistant floor that would feel good underfoot and not get ruined by many wetsuit changes.

After much searching on https://www.cargurus.com/ I bought the van used last winter in Colorado and drove it back to California. Car Gurus was one of the only used car sites I found with filter options for the transit that let me narrow my search to the exact options I wanted.

1st step was to take all the seats, factory floor and ceiling. I then covered the entire cargo floor space with Butyl Automotive Sound Deadener. I found the easiest way was to stand on a wooden dowl or metal pipe to roll the product out. The little hand roller would have taken forever.

(Product i used https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

using 3m 90 spray adhesive (save yourself some trips and buy an entire case at home depot/lowes) I put a layer of thinsulate (bought from hein's web site) between all of the roof ribs.

then I put closed cell wood floor underlayerment layer ontop of the Butyl Automotive Sound Deadener (home depot). This was meant to decouple the first floor layer with the next layer, mass loaded vinyl. I put the mass loaded vinyl on next making sure to cut holes for all of the factory seat rail bolts.

I used the factory floor as a template to trace the floor patern onto plywood and then marked, drilled, and countersunk the holes for the factory seat rails. I used the factory seat rail bolts to hold the first layer of plywood down. I put another layer of plywood down so I could use more robuts screws attaching items to the floor and because 2 layers of plywood, soft foam gym floor tiles, and a vinyl floor would end up being the perfect height for the factory trim pieces. I also installed a Swivelsrus Seat Swivel on the passenger seat.
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Last edited by vandownbytheriver; 04-09-2019 at 06:03:AM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:28:AM Thread Starter
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next i installed about 100 1/4 20 plus nuts into the pefect sized holes in the van walls. These will be used to attach the walls of my build. i then started adding my radiant heat barrier. I went with this really cool product that we used in our house that we bought from Atticfoil.com. we had leftover from insulating our attic (made a huge differnce in the summer time) It's supposed to perform better than reflectix and was much more affordable. like all radiant barriers they are supposed to have an air gap. I used 3m90 and the same closed cell foam underlayment as a first layer against the van walls. The hope is the closed cell foam will reduce conductive heating of the foil. Sprayed 3m 90 on the walls, attached the foam, then 3m 90 again, and attached the foil. For interior trim pieces that I kept I sprayed 3m 90 on the inside of these and cut atticfoil to match them. These all have excellent air gaps because the trim pieces don't touch the metal body except where the clips are.

Next I attached my plywood walls with 1/4 20 bolts and the previously installed plus nuts. I installed the supporting 80/20 rails for the back of my bench seat/bed before attaching the walls to the van. I snapped a center line down the van and built out the rest of my bench seats, and then test fit the foam floor tiles.

I drilled holes in the B pillar for the larger plus nuts (10mm i think?) and installed a Lagun table leg using them. It was the thread size of the bolts that came with the lagun table system. I then installed the table top I made. This serves as a desk for my passenger seat workstation and an outdoor cooking counter.

next I insulated the upper walls of the van using the same technique, and installed the upper plywood walls.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:40:AM
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:42:AM Thread Starter
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after insulating and installing the upper walls I added another layer of thinsulate to the roof, running the entire length of the van, covering the ceiling ribs. This was held in place with 3m 90 and furring strips screwed into the ceiling ribs with self tapping sheet metal screws.

I then began installing my upper storage shelf locker. This is about 6 feet long and can fit my kites and boards. I chose to put this up high, instead of a pull out drawer under the floor, because I wanted to be able to look out the windows while eating / lying in bed. A raised floor would have almost entirely covered my windows with the bench seats.

I installed my dometic fridge on a slide out mount and bolted down my East Marine - 3-STAGE Table Pedestal. The dinner table sits on top of this pedestal and lowers onto cleats on the front of the bench seats to form the platform for my bed. The table pedestal has a gas strut in it like an office chair such that when the clamps are released the table rises to maximum height. The table can be adjusted up and down and swiveled 360 degrees.

I installed a medium sized laptop safe under one of my bench seats by drilling holes through the floor and bolting it in place. the tops of my bench seats are on hinges and open to reveal additional storage underneath.

I also installed a Big Kahuna Portable Shower with heating element in the rear for my outdoor shower.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:59:AM Thread Starter
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I used a large eye bolt in the D pillar to secure one side of my ratchet strap and a 1/4 20 eye bolt in the old jack bracket bolt hole to secure the other side of the strap.

I cut all the foam gym floor tiles to fit and then began gluing them down. once the foam floor was done, I used the factory floor to trace a template on the vinyl floor i purchased. I glued it to the foam tiles using...yup...3m 90.

I made sure to cut out holes in the floor for the 2 row bench seats in each step of the floor making process. I kept the 2 person and 3 person bench seat from the original 12 seats that came with the van. Normally I keep the 2 person seat in the van to give me more room, but put the 3 person in if we bring grandma with us on an adventure.

I bought an electric carving knife and ordered two organic latex matress toppers (because wife hates chemicals), 2 inch firmer one and 3 inch softer one. Wish we could have done 6 inches on the matress but then our feet wouldn't touch the ground when in table mode.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 07:41:AM Thread Starter
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Next I bought some outdoor sunbrella fabric and took the dimensions to my local alterations shop and had them make the cushion covers.

I installed two 64"x80" magnetic screens, one on the back door and one on the sliding door. they come with adhesive velcro tape and required just a little creative folding in the top corners. If you follow the installation instructions they self close and the magnets snap them back together. They work great and were $35 bucks each. keep the bugs out but not the racoons. Ask me how I know :-(
(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

Using another piece of 80/20 and some U bolts I made a bar to hold the doors open in high winds. Can also be used as a shower curtain rod. push into door latches to insert. Open door handle to release.

I also started working on some additional fold out counters for my outdoor kitchen. I used plus nuts in existing holes for most of the supports.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 07:56:AM Thread Starter
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Here's some more shots of the shelves and the sport where I relocated my jack.

I also did a modified version of this post that explains how to group all your Customer Connenction Points (CCPs) together to make a 150 amp tap (technically 180 amps). I added some bus bars to mine and installed a 1,000 watt inverter to power the water heater in my shower. The gidget van build blog is great if you haven't seen it.
https://moreysintransit.com/ford-tra...ection-points/

I used VHB tape to stick the plywood to the van wall for the inveter, and then used wood screws to attached the inverter to the board. The cables are run inside protective tubing through an existing hole in the wall.

I then ran a hardwired 110 volt AC outlet to the back of the van near the shower and also ran a hard wired 12 volt DC lighter plug from the bus bar to the back of the van where I was plugging my refrigerator in. This way it won't shut off after 30 minutes when the van kills the accessrory power.

you can also see the Apline sub i installed with the custom mounting bracket I bought from Hein.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 08:04:AM Thread Starter
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Here are some pictures of my upper gear shelf. Everything is just roughed in at the moment to see how it works. Planning to make it look nice later once I'm sure I won't be changing anything. I made the shelf itself in two sections. each is a rectangle made out of 80/20. I then attached very thin plywood (maybe 1/8th inch?) to the top and bottom and used 3M 90 to attach speaker box carpet to the top and bottom. the shelf is open at the back allowing me to pull smaller items out when the back doors are open. It is 64 inches long and easily holds 4 kites and two boards.

I upgraded the speakers, installed an amplifier, and slapped on some steel craft running boards (not pictured)

Then lastly, I installed a Titan Pistol Vault and fabricated a fake garbage can (cardboard and speaker fabric) to hide it from sight. This is drilled through the floor and bolted from under the van as well as from inside the vault.

Excluding the cost of the van of course, I'm all in at just over $9,000 on this conversion. Some of that was spent on tools I bought to do the conversion and some on mistakes I made (like the $300 butcher block counter i was going to use as the dinning table that was way to heavy. I replaced it with an ikea coffee table top instead)

I think the plan is to use it for a year and evaluate next steps. Would love to do solar/house batteries but the cost and technical challenge are a bit daunting at the moment. Hope my build story inspires someone else.
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Last edited by vandownbytheriver; 04-11-2019 at 11:57:AM.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 09:45:AM
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Nice work!
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 12:27:PM
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Love it, inspires me to get moving on my MR LWB 12 passenger. The warmer weather in the NE will help it along also.

I may have missed something, but are you concerned about killing your battery if you don't turn off the fridge?

I have 3 kids 7,11,12 yrs, so my van is in 5 passenger mode, using the 3rd row (2+1). It gives a ton (too much?) of leg room and living space up front, but feeling I'm sacraficing too much storage room in the back. I'll run like this a while and let the answer come to me. You probably considered the same, would be interested to hear you rationale.
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