Building a moto hauler and camper - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 08:54:AM Thread Starter
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Building a moto hauler and camper

Hello, I am a newb here. I used this forum to help make my decision to buy a Transit as the bad for my moto hauler/camper project. My wife and I do a lot of traveling and camping with our motorcycles. My original vehicle was a 10’ Uhaul box truck, until it rusted out. Then we got a short school bus. I found myself making decisions on it based on that it might die in a few years. So I started shopping for a vehicle that I could make a 20 year plan with. I wanted to buy a lightly used Transit but after searching for 3 weeks, I determined that a new one could be had for slightly more. So we bought our first brand new vehicle.

With about 150 miles on it, I chopped a hole in the roof!

Then I tore the interior apart to run the wires for the upfitter switches.

I will post up more detailed posts soon.
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 08:02:AM Thread Starter
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So the upfitter switches were proving to be a bit of a project. I want the switches to power the fan and some charging ports in the back.


I found the bag full of wiring harness in my van and asked the dealer for details. They had no idea.
I did a little searching on here and found a few more details but no conclusive write up.
The Ford Upfitter manual was a little helpful too.

I am working on making a video to accompany this.

I ended up pulling both the drivers and passengers seats, the passenger seat base, and the center console. If you plan on this project, you many not have to remove as much.

I am using SO Cord for my wiring, it is a very flexible power cord that is heavily armored with a rubber sheath. All of the power is going into the drivers side rear wall. I had to pull the passenger seat base so O could lift the rubber floor liner up and cut a channel in the foam to run the cord through that area.

On to the upfitter switches: switch 1 and 2 are capable of 20 amps. Switch 3 and 4 are capable of 40 amps. Switch 1-3 have power when the key is in the accessory position. Switch 4 only has power when the engine is running. In the wire harness bag, there is a white block that looks like a relay, it is actually a jumper. It is designed to make switches 1-3 live all of the time.

How to make switches 1-3 live all of the time, under the drivers seat, on the rear left is the auxiliary fuse panel. Remove the cover. The relay that is in the center, closest to the fuses, gets pulled and replaced with the white jumper. Now those switches can be turned on at any time, without the need for keys in the ignition.

Next was making switches 3-4 active. From the factory, there is no power for these, but the factory makes it easy if you know where to look. The key to making this easy is to do it before adding anything to the van. You need decent access to the floor mat behind the drivers seat. You’ll see a bulge in it. If you lift it up, you’ll see 2 wires that are taped up. Cut the tape and free the wires from that bundle. Then poke a hole in the left side of the mat to pass the wires through, they are going to the left rear of the drivers seat base. There is a small plastic cover that just pulls off. You’ll find 3 posts there. Connect the wires, use caution because those posts are live. Cut the plastic cover to allow it to be put back on and clear the wires. The last post can be used at another power source and I believe it is rated for 60 amps.

At this point, I had my wire pulled up to the dashboard area, and the 40 amp circuits were live. Now to use the wire harnesses. You need the one with something like 40 wires in it and the one with 4 wires. The 4 wires are for switches 3-4. The other harness contains the wires for switches 1-2. I don’t have permission to post links yet and I will update this when that changes, there is a ford service bulletin that contains the description of what wires to use. It also specifies that certain grounds need to be used for these circuits, so individual grounds need to be run for each circuit. Search for the Upfitter Switch service bulletin until I am allowed to post links.

The wire harnesses just plug in behind the passenger dash cup holder. There are dummy plugs in each socket, just remove them and plug the wire harnesses in.

I don’t have an use for the 40 amp circuits yet but while everything was apart, I wanted to run the wire to somewhere convenient to get to. One thing that I did not like is that Ford had 12ga wire for the 2 40amp circuits, I trimmed that back, almost to the wire harness plug and used 8ga wire for those circuits.
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Last edited by YinzerMoto; 07-09-2019 at 08:05:AM.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:57:PM
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SO Cord is ok for the short term but when exposed to heat after about 5 years the insulation dry-rots and falls off of the wire. (Exposed to heat would be inside a wall touching bare metal heated by the sun)

Then Bemm will tell you almost anything you want to know, But you have to be an Engineer to understand it.

https://madocumentupload.marketingas...adc8d&v5=False

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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:11:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranxerox View Post
SO Cord is ok for the short term but when exposed to heat after about 5 years the insulation dry-rots and falls off of the wire. (Exposed to heat would be inside a wall touching bare metal heated by the sun)

Then Bemm will tell you almost anything you want to know, But you have to be an Engineer to understand it.

https://madocumentupload.marketingas...adc8d&v5=False
Used SO cords in Sprinter build and no problem after 8 years. Do not think there is enough heat to cause a problem. In my case the cords are inside cabinets and not in the walls. Did have several in the ceiling but there is insulation between cords and the steel roof.

2015 high roof 148" WB 3.5 Ecoboost 3.31 LS rear cargo.

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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 08:54:PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsy brewer View Post
This YouTube video shows most of the information needed for the 2017 and 2018 Transit upfitter switch connections. Unfortunately he says that you will have to remove the entire platform including the seat to get to the power supply wires and nuts for the AUX 3 and AUX 4 switches which is not the case as they stowed under the carpet/mat BEHIND the driver’s seat pedestal.

2018 Ford Transit Upfitter Switches 3 & 4 Solved
I found that video at one point during my search. I want to make my video because of his errors about the location of the wires.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 06:32:AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranxerox View Post
SO Cord is ok for the short term but when exposed to heat after about 5 years the insulation dry-rots and falls off of the wire. (Exposed to heat would be inside a wall touching bare metal heated by the sun)

Then Bemm will tell you almost anything you want to know, But you have to be an Engineer to understand it.

https://madocumentupload.marketingas...adc8d&v5=False
That is interesting, SO Cord is some of the most durable wire I have found. Some varieties are coated with natural rubber. Possibly you got a bad batch and it dry rotted.

I will take your advice and try and keep the cord on the insulated side of the van.

https://solutions.borderstates.com/s...he-difference/
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 07:34:AM Thread Starter
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My plan for the interior build is that I want a garage space and a living space, separated by a bulkhead. This van is long and tall but space is still at a premium. My wife and I are kind of minimalist campers, there will be no running water or a toilet. There will definitely be a spot for a small propane stove. Some possibilities are adding a small microwave and a fridge but those details can be worked out at a later date. For now, we need to fit bikes and a place to sleep.

It fits 4 bikes (two are trials bikes, so that is a little cheating).



I had some decision paralysis. I wanted to use 80/20 and make things modular. I did not know what kind of storage we needed and how well this design was going to work for us. So I just bought a few sheets of plywood and a cabinet to make something to start with. I’ll run this for a while and remake it later out of 80/20. The bikes actually sit partially under the bed. I am 5’8” and my wife is 5’4”, so we fit laying across the van.



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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 08:11:AM Thread Starter
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Next up was to start working on the ceiling and insulation.

I cut a 2x8” board into a curved piece of wood to follow the roofline contour at the front.






Then the Thinsulate insulation sowed up. I stuffed a piece in the front headliner area.





Next I drilled 3 holes for the board that I made. Carefully touching up the paint, to prevent rust.



Then stainless 1/4-20 rivnuts were installed and then the board was bolted up.



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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 08:23:AM Thread Starter
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Next was is the ceiling structure.

I ripped some 3/4” plywood on the table saw. I soaked the last few feet in a trash can full of water to get it to bend easily. Then I installed 1/4-20 RivNuts in the ceiling ribs.



I cut another curved board for the back of the van. I did not see a clean way to bolt this one in, so I used the rest of the tube of 3m window weld to glue it in place. I basically hung from that board the next morning, it is secure.



Then insulation goes in the ceiling. It was immediately cooler in the van after this. I think I will do another layer between the plywood strips. The 5’ width of thinsulate fits the ceiling perfectly, I tucked the ends in the joint between the wall and roof.

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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 08:40:AM Thread Starter
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The final piece of bulkhead was the next item on the list. You can see how the motorcycles will tuck under the bed by 18”. With all the wood, I make sure to leave a slight gap between the wood and body in an effort to prevent any squeaking. The only place the wood touches the body is where it is bolted in place.



Where the bulkhead met the ceiling, there are 2 dome lights, I want to relocate one to the rear of the van and one over the bed area. This required the removal of the wiring harness cover and a little surgery on the dome light wiring harness. Of course, I broke 6 clips on that wiring harness cover. Does anyone have the part number for them?



To get the extra length in the dome light wire harness, I had to unclip the black wire with green stripe. It does not appear to do anything. There is no companion to this wire coming out the other side. Using one leg from a pair of tweezers, I was able to release the wire from the plug.



In the first photo, you can see the plug relocated up the wall slightly, to give me the extra length that is needed.

Then to bring me up to where I left off yesterday, I stuffed the cavities with loose Thinsulate insulation.

I tried a variety of techniques, a 3” chimney cleaning brush.



In the end, I tore the insulation up into cotton ball size pieces and fed it through all the openings that I could. Using a blast from the air hose to move them into place. Very tedious work.

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