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2021 AWD HR Avalanche Grey
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Looks like miracles do indeed happen and my van has arrived at the dealership in Reno! I'll be picking her up this week. She's named Miracle Whip because after all the delays and questions about microchip shortages and so on, it's a miracle she even made it to me.

When I placed the order and started planning, I thought I'd be building in the summer and then using the van while on sabbatical from my job as a math professor, snowboarding in the mornings and working on research in the afternoons. But a lot happened in the months between when I placed my order (2/4/21) and now (8/21/21). I thought I'd have more time than money, but I am now taking a leave of absence rather than a sabbatical and taking a new job that is much more demanding than being on sabbatical. So, I find myself in the opposite situation with more money than time. This means I'm making some adjustments to how I do the build, hiring out jobs that I had planned to do myself, mostly the ones involving cutting big holes in the van (Flarespace, Arctic Tern window), and the ones that are tedious time-sinks (electrical, templating floor and walls).

Van Purpose and Planned Use: A four season van for chasing powder, sleeping at trailheads between backpacking trips, and sometimes working remotely.

Basic stats
  • 2021 148" LB HR 350 CARGO AWD (W2X body code)
  • Avalanche Grey
  • 3.5L EcoBoost V6
Design Principles
  • Minimize complexity of systems to increase reliability and ease maintenance.
  • Balance beauty and practicality.
  • Minimize permanence and maximize accessibility.
  • Reduce weight wherever possible.
Must Have Features
  • Van can sit unused in freezing temperatures without damage.
  • Ability to function well in snow.
  • Heat.
  • Very good insulation.
  • Very good ventilation.
  • Easily accessible composting toilet.
  • A place to sit with legs propped up.
  • Storage for snowboards and skis.
Layout & Materials Summary
  • AVC Rig roof rack
  • MaxxAir fan(s?)
  • Arctic Tern window in passenger slider
  • Fixed crosswise bed in the rear with Flarespace
  • Galley behind driver
  • L-shaped counter-height bench with footrest and Lagun table in corner
  • 8020 construction
  • No propane and no paint.
  • WilsonArt HPL on cabinetry
    • Upper cabs: Snow Geo Y0676-60 Matte Finish
    • Lower cabs: Blackbird 5024K-19 Leno Weave Finish
    • Inside cabs: Designer White D354-60 Matte Finish
    • Countertop: Birch Plywood Y0684-60 Matte Finish
  • Thinsulate insulation
  • Floor and wall kit from AVC Rig
  • LONSEAL Lonwood Natural with Topseal in Whisper 7461
  • Upholstered walls in grey marathon tweed
  • TinyWatts 5 electrical system with solar panel, low-temp batteries, and alternator upgrade
  • Induction cooking
  • Simple jerry can water system with foot pump, Yeti Silo for drinking water
  • AirHead toilet under bench near passenger door
  • Espar heater in front of rear driver wheel well
  • Dometic CFX 75 on slider in center of van under bench and into garage
  • Passenger seat swivel with Lagun mount

I'll update with more once I have the van, but for now here are some screen shots of my plans!

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2021 AWD HR Avalanche Grey
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wondering if you are using a program to design your 80/20? Looking for something that's user friendly...
Google Sketchup. Just import the 8020 and then you can resize and move around however you want. Seven-o-Savage on YouTube has a good video about using Sketchup for van planning in 8020.
 

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Nice sketch of the layout. My only suggestion would be to think about the location of the refrigerator chest. It sure is nice to be able to load groceries directly out of the cart into the chest without having to climb into the van. You might switch the toilet for the chest and have it slide out in front of the slider. Just a thought from past experience. I have my ARB fridge and compostable toilet on sliders against the drivers side wall. Fridge slides out to the door and works as a table/leg rest, when passenger seat is turned around
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice sketch of the layout. My only suggestion would be to think about the location of the refrigerator chest. It sure is nice to be able to load groceries directly out of the cart into the chest without having to climb into the van. You might switch the toilet for the chest and have it slide out in front of the slider. Just a thought from past experience. I have my ARB fridge and compostable toilet on sliders against the drivers side wall. Fridge slides out to the door and works as a table/leg rest, when passenger seat is turned around
Thanks for your input. I already considered this and in fact I had originally planned to have the fridge and toilet the other way around. I switched it because:
  • The 75DZ lids hinge along the long side. If the fridge is in front of the passenger slider, either it's impossible to access the inside of the fridge from inside the van or it's impossible to access the inside of the fridge from outside the van.
  • The unibody support nub near the passenger door would push the fridge out and decrease the aisle space by a significant amount.
  • There is not enough room for the fridge to slide all the way out forward given the size and location of the Tiny Watts electrical housing.
  • Current location makes use of difficult to access (and often dead) space in garage. The back end of the fridge sticks under the bed about a foot.
  • Weight distribution is better this way. The Tiny Watts system already weighs down the passenger side. Since I don't have a huge water system, having the heavy big fridge centered is better than having the light toilet centered.
 

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That’s an ambitious plan in my book. My van is going to look pretty dumb compared to these.
I just picked mine up today in Kansas City. Build will be delayed while I drive to Ohio and then to Seattle. It’s a little intimidating so take your time the first day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That’s an ambitious plan in my book. My van is going to look pretty dumb compared to these.
I just picked mine up today in Kansas City. Build will be delayed while I drive to Ohio and then to Seattle. It’s a little intimidating so take your time the first day.
Everyone has their own standard for what's ambitious! I'm looking at all these people putting in hydronic systems like o_O
 

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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I like the stock 3D people. When doing 3D mockups for a bathroom rebuild last year, had family members ask if I could change the outfits they were wearing in the mockups - they didn't really like those clothes. 😲 🤣
 

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Congratulations on getting the van.
Great layout! I would have something very similar if I didn't haul a full complement of windsurfers and associated kit, inside mine for 5 month of the year.
Depending on your height, you probably don't need to add flares in the window recesses to have an E-W bed. I'm 5'9" and can comfortably sleep E-W on our MOAB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Depending on your height, you probably don't need to add flares in the window recesses to have an E-W bed. I'm 5'9" and can comfortably sleep E-W on our MOAB.
It's true that I'm 5'6" but I do often find myself... uh... "sharing" a bed with revolving cast of over 6' tall ski bums 🙃😏
 

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2021 R2X EcoB Adv prep, Avalanche
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Avalanche grey without the smoke filter seems fine, here's ours finally at home. Corwin in Idaho came through for us, that's all I can say so far. Our only defect so far is a factory chip on the passenger edge of the windshield, which they'll fix or replace. Plus some water leaks from the tray behind the hood onto the top of the engine. Just did a 400 mile shakedown through H3ll's Canyon (twice) and once around the Wallowas with no real squawks. Drives like a good car, very easy to handle but watch the overhead. You've got a great planning outline, thanks for sharing. Our mission is different but environmental challenges are similar at 5000' here also. Right now I'm struggling with AGM vs LiFePO4 because of temperature. Not an easy decision. First of many.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hopefully, your dealership experience was alright. I worked for Corwin for 10 years, and they are a very challenging to deal with. Nearly all of their dealerships have 2 stars for a reason :LOL:
So far it's been super easy. They were honest about allocation, kept me posted when there were updates, are expediting an order for an option I forgot (wheel liners), sending me photos, easy communication by text... we'll see what the final purchase process ends up like but so far I'm happy.
 

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Maybe worth noting that our final purchase process had no surprises, no high pressure sales, but we didn't expect or receive any significant discounts or incentives either. In and out of F & I in 10 minutes or so. High roof transits basically get no perks from Ford. They know what we want and how bad, it's just supply and demand.
 

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. Drives like a good car, very easy to handle but watch the overhead. You've got a great planning outline, thanks for sharing. Our mission is different but environmental challenges are similar at 5000' here also. Right now I'm struggling with AGM vs LiFePO4 because of temperature. Not an easy decision. First of many.
One of my van electrical customers is in ID - up fairly high elevation.

The AGM vs LiFe decision is definitely complicated there.

In some ways, it is more like the PWN when it comes to sunlight availability, so this make LiFe useful.

The winter conditions mean that AGM is a much better solution or you have to commit to doing "something" to keep the battery pack warmish ( ~ > 40 F) all of the time to be really useful.

The customer installed 300 watts, but 400 - 500 of an overcast tolerant panel type would have been better + Lifeline AGMs.

It really takes all three charging methods (solar) + (alternator) + (120 vac plug in) to really make it work year round in ID.
 

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The unibody support nub near the passenger door would push the fridge out and decrease the aisle space by a significant amount.
Nice layout. Now I know what to call that inconvenient "bump out", although nub seem to minimalize the impact. It seems to be in exactly the wrong position in a lot of layouts, including mine. What are the depths of your base cabinets and aisle width? Good luck with the build.
 
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