The Blue Boxer Build! - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 11:45:PM Thread Starter
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The Blue Boxer Build!

Ok so here we are! Just brought her home off a lot in CT! I had ordered a van earlier this year that wasn’t built, they told me they didn’t have all the parts required and just didn’t make it. Got upset but ended up searching around, made some compromises (which saved me some money) and came home happy! Blue Jean color, Medium roof, 148” WB, EcoBoost engine, Sync radio, Vinyl seats, rear and sliding door windows and heated side mirrors with turn signals. Ironically I wanted the 130WB but I really think I’m going to be happy with those extra 18 inches!

She is totally naked inside but tons of fun to drive already! Under 100 miles on her when I got home! I do have to say I love the “carbon fiber” looking panels inside the back that came with it and may utilize them in my build after insulating and wiring takes place. The vinyl floor though seems really “wobbly” with the ridges in the floor underneath. I may end up with a thin ply floor or may go with a cool heavy duty flooring I found that is cut to size for the vehicle with foam laminated on the bottom to fill the gaps in the flooring. Vanrug I think was the company name.

I am considering getting three things added to the vehicle by ford: A Tow Package, A drivers door keyless entry code panel, running boards. I also plan on making it a dual battery system, but I’m just going to order a matching battery to the stock one for now and parallel them myself. I’ll talk more about this below.

I’m hesitant to start, it’s so clean and pretty and I’m definitely going to make it messy before it’s done! so this is my first thought... start with electrical. I’d like a vent fan in ASAP. So I’m thinking my first shopping cart is:
*Fantastic Vent Fan (I am getting a thermostat but no automatic elevation)
*Fuse panel
*AC inverter 1500w
*3 100w solar panels (mounting with heavy duty earth magnets) and connectors
*solar charge controller
*sealant
*wire

I know it’s really frowned upon in general in builds, but my plan is to double the van batteries and use them directly as my power source, no separate house battery. solar wired to batteries and powering house lights and light power loads, fuse panel to batteries for ventilation and heavier draws. Inverter will Be Set up for a possible television eventually, however I don’t think I’ll have much use for it until then, I’d like to get it installed in the first wave.

I’m still thinking on lights, uncertain if I want to completely remove the cargo lights or keep them and still add my own interior lights. I’m also considering installing a matching louvered window behind the drivers side but I’m unsure if it’s necessary.

Happy to take any suggestions or input. Going to take my time and live with a blow up mattress for a while, but I thought ventilation was key to making her livable!
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 01:01:AM
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Congratulations with your new van.

You will want one of our adapters for your vent install. You might also consider some Thinsulate automotive grade insulation but that could come later.

There are a lot of opinions regarding solar panels but rigid panels seem to be preferred over the flexible ones. The magnets will probably hold them OK but those will likely mar the paint on your roof and heat generated by the panels will transfer into the interior.

If you use your chassis battery for house loads you may want to consider a low voltage cutoff. The chassis batteries are not deep cycle so they won't last as long if you draw them down frequently.

There is a way to replace the bulbs in the existing cargo light fixtures. Here's how: https://www.fordtransitusaforum.com/...tml#post986012

Please call or write if you have further questions or want to discuss your build plans. Its what I do everyday.

All the best,
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 11:53:PM Thread Starter
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Wise words! Thank you

Thanks Hein, I was considering one of your adaptors already, I have followed your work for a while, ever since I started to plan.

I will insulate top to bottom eventually but Iíd like to plan and start installing my wiring and cutting any needed holes first! I figure the vent fan will do for now to keep it cooler until I can insulate. I also have a buddy who offered to spray foam the interior, he does it professionally and that may be ideal.

As for batteries, Iíve already ordered a set of deep cycle/cranking batteries with quite a bit more power, the stock battery will be replaced for now and if I find in the future that I really need a separate starting battery Iíll add a separate one.

I did get three 100w rigid solar panels, as for the mounting method, the magnets I got are quite strong, they will have rubber on their bases to protect the paint, though Iíve also considered getting the top covered with white van wrap to keep it cooler and that would also protect the paint. The magnets will mount into the corner holes of the panels and keep them high just enough that there will be enough air flow under them to prevent heat build up.

Thanks for your input! Iím sure we will talk more!
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 02:51:AM
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Interesting idea mounting solar panels with magnets. Please take photo and tell how it works out. Why three 100W panels and not one 300W panel for a cleaner look and less wiring? I mounted a 300W panel with brackets and VHB tapes, and 3 screws just to make sure. It works fine, but if I have a chance to do it again I would use a roof rack and mount it on the roof rack, for a cleaner look. Congrats on your new van and have fun!!!

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 10:26:AM Thread Starter
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Interesting idea mounting solar panels with magnets. Please take photo and tell how it works out. Why three 100W panels and not one 300W panel for a cleaner look and less wiring? I mounted a 300W panel with brackets and VHB tapes, and 3 screws just to make sure. It works fine, but if I have a chance to do it again I would use a roof rack and mount it on the roof rack, for a cleaner look. Congrats on your new van and have fun!!!
Hi Bez and thanks for your comments! I will of course post photos as I proceed. I didnít go for one 300w for three reasons. One is simply that Iíd like to cover more of the roof with solar to absorb and reflect heat, I think it will help, even if only minimally. The second was simply price as the three 100s were less expensive than the single 300. Lastly I really want them to be low profile and conform to the shape of the curved roof. The single 300 is just so large and flat! I donít really like the look of the raised rack much and want the van to be a little incognito and I think keeping the panels low and contoured will help that.

As a side note part of the magnetic concept came from wanting to be able to move the panels if Iím stationary for a longer period of time to maximize sun absorption, I also think three will work better to contour around the vent fan Iím installing as well.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 11:01:PM
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Those must be some heavy duty magnets. What kind and size. I have some that are about the size of a half dollar and they are very strong, but not hold a solar panel on strong.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 09:05:AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bez View Post
Interesting idea mounting solar panels with magnets. Please take photo and tell how it works out. Why three 100W panels and not one 300W panel for a cleaner look and less wiring? I mounted a 300W panel with brackets and VHB tapes, and 3 screws just to make sure. It works fine, but if I have a chance to do it again I would use a roof rack and mount it on the roof rack, for a cleaner look. Congrats on your new van and have fun!!!
No need for a outside rack with a single panel. Think inside the box. I glued wood stringers between the roof ribs under the roof. Four mounting bolts for the legs go through the steel and wood.

https://www.ortontransit.info/solar-system

I agree with you about using one large panel instead of three small ones. One panel eliminates the rack, combiner box and a bunch of wiring on the roof. A single panel will be less obvious due to the lack of a rack. Panel height location would be the same and is governed by the need for 1" or so clearance between the panel and roof at the center of the roof. I am 98% sure the OP will never move the panels to get more sun. Just too much effort for a marginal gain. I would be afraid to use only magnets. A strong enough magnet would be too strong to retain the ability to move the panels.

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

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 10:41:PM
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I really recommend a battery isolator to make sure you can start up in the morning.


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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-28-2019, 01:32:PM
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With your planned battery setup, a compact lithium jump start battery pack would be cheap insurance in case of a dead starter battery.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 03:17:AM Thread Starter
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Those must be some heavy duty magnets. What kind and size. I have some that are about the size of a half dollar and they are very strong, but not hold a solar panel on strong.
They are each rated at 35 pounds and I plan on using five on each panel as well as clamping all the panels together. They are about 1.5Ē across and over 1/4Ē thick. We will see how it goes!
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