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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
snugging is good

Yup, snugged up the panel mount bolts and all is quiet. I'll recheck in a couple of days for more settling before I loctite the threads:)

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 · (Edited)
Installing the propane tank

Over the last few days, we installed the propane tank.
It's a Manchester 30# unit, about 12" diameter and 32"length.
The tank comes with 2 mounting flanges, adjustable in height.
We are mounting it on the driver's side, roughly working aft from the forward pop-out window.
Of course, the tank doesn't line up with anything particular on Annie, but there are 2 transverse members just forward of the rear wheel's spring mount.
So I made a mounting plate that ties into the transverse members, with a hole located for the tank's rear mounting flange. In this pic, looking left is looking toward the rear




This is where the hole for the forward tank bracket will be drilled


All the holes into Annie are located, drilled and painted. I'm using 1/2" bolts running through existing holes in the transverse members (for the rear mounting plate) and with a new hole for the forward tank bracket.


The mounting plate will also be held by VHB tape.


The mounting plate is primed and painted. I've also located and drilled the tank bracket hole.


Lifting the tank into position


Tank is mounted.


And looks thus.
The actual LPG tank is an inch or so below the ground clearance of the fuel tank, but the skid plate is a couple of inches lower than that. We'll see if clearance is an issue, Clarence.;)


I painted all the bolts and nuts, and took Annie for a drive on some badly rutted/washboarded logging roads. Nothing fell off or came loose.:laugh: This is probably a good thing.
I will be running the LPG plumbing once I have a clearer sense of the inside floor layout.

Next step will be installing the awning. Just getting the awning was an "interesting" :mad:experience, which I'll describe better once the work starts
 

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Over the last few days, we installed the propane tank...
Interesting. And, good-looking work. I'm reserving full kudos, because I'm not sure how seriously we must take the BEMM, which prescribes new holes through the cross-members to be horizontal, through both sides, sleeved and welded... which sort of put a wet blanket on my under-body aspirations.

So, you made holes through the floor in order to drop bolts down through the cross-members... am I grasping that correctly?
 

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This is where the hole for the forward tank bracket will be drilled


Was the gas tank strap twisted like that from the factory, or did you move it temporarily while doing the work?


I'm also curious about the square port on the body panel to the left right behind the pillar and fill tube. Is that open to the floor inside the van wall right behind the pillar? I'm wondering if that might be a good place to open a port to the outside of the van for gas plumbing & such.


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 · (Edited)
Interesting. And, good-looking work. I'm reserving full kudos, because I'm not sure how seriously we must take the BEMM, which prescribes new holes through the cross-members to be horizontal, through both sides, sleeved and welded... which sort of put a wet blanket on my under-body aspirations.

So, you made holes through the floor in order to drop bolts down through the cross-members... am I grasping that correctly?
My reading of the BEMM (I assume you mean the E192371 drawing) is that it is concerned about hanging stuff from the frame member, thus potentially applying a twisting force on the member. I don't think I'm doing that.

I think that both front and rear tank flanges are supported by the floor, not by the frame member. There are no bolt attachments to the frame.
As far as I know, there is no restriction (in this area) for drilling and mounting to the floor itself.

There is one new hole in the forward cross member. The bolt is fed through the floor, the new hole, and tied to the tank bracket. Effectively, the frame member is under a bit of compression here, not a torquing force.

The plate uses existing holes in the rear cross members. No drilling of the frame members was required.. The plate is also bolted to the floor. Again, a compression, not a twisting force.

The tank when full should weight about 60 pound. If half of that is supported by the plate, that is about 7.5 pounds/bolt. The forward bolt must hold 30 pounds. There really isn't a lot of weight involved here (I think), and the force is normal to the floor.

The one thing I'm considering changing is adding some reinforcement at the floor. Right now I've got a fender and standard washer under the bolt heads. I am considering using a short section of steel low profile c-channel running front to back across the floor/transverse welds. It should help keep the thin floor sheet metal from deforming.

Does all this sound reasonable, or do you think I'm missing something?

BTW, thanks for the questions/comments. I do appreciate 'em. Makes me think.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 · (Edited)
Was the gas tank strap twisted like that from the factory, or did you move it temporarily while doing the work?


I'm also curious about the square port on the body panel to the left right behind the pillar and fill tube. Is that open to the floor inside the van wall right behind the pillar? I'm wondering if that might be a good place to open a port to the outside of the van for gas plumbing & such.


Mike
I haven't touched anything around the gas tank strap. That's the way the tank is mounted by Ford. The tank is molded to that shape. I think you can see it where the strap touches the bottom corner of the gas tank.

I don't offhand know what that square port is. I will probably take a look tomorrow. It might be a nice access for the propane level gauge sensor.

Stan
 

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My reading of the BEMM (I assume you mean the E192371 drawing) is that it is concerned about hanging stuff from the frame member, thus potentially applying a twisting force on the member. I don't think I'm doing that.

I think that both front and rear tank flanges are supported by the floor, not by the frame member. There are no bolt attachments to the frame.
As far as I know, there is no restriction (in this area) for drilling and mounting to the floor itself.

There is one new hole in the forward cross member. The bolt is fed through the floor, the new hole, and tied to the tank bracket. Effectively, the frame member is under a bit of compression here, not a torquing force.

The plate uses existing holes in the rear cross members. No drilling of the frame members was required.. The plate is also bolted to the floor. Again, a compression, not a twisting force.

The tank when full should weight about 60 pound. If half of that is supported by the plate, that is about 7.5 pounds/bolt. The forward bolt must hold 30 pounds. There really isn't a lot of weight involved here (I think), and the force is normal to the floor.

The one thing I'm considering changing is adding some reinforcement at the floor. Right now I've got a fender and standard washer under the bolt heads. I am considering using a short section of steel low profile c-channel running front to back across the floor/transverse welds. It should help keep the thin floor sheet metal from deforming.

Does all this sound reasonable, or do you think I'm missing something?

BTW, thanks for the questions/comments. I do appreciate 'em. Makes me think.

Stan
Bolting through the floor, wow, that is really outside the box thinking. I like it. I also like the idea of putting some shallow cchannel there just to make sure you don't have any deformation. I imagine the right C channel could be hard to find. You might wind up taking some square tubing and slicing off one side plus a little bit of the curves to get what you need. I'll have to revisit my own underbody potentials, with this all in mind.
 

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My reading of the BEMM (I assume you mean the E192371 drawing) is that it is concerned about hanging stuff from the frame member, thus potentially applying a twisting force on the member. I don't think I'm doing that.

I think that both front and rear tank flanges are supported by the floor, not by the frame member. There are no bolt attachments to the frame.
As far as I know, there is no restriction (in this area) for drilling and mounting to the floor itself.

There is one new hole in the forward cross member. The bolt is fed through the floor, the new hole, and tied to the tank bracket. Effectively, the frame member is under a bit of compression here, not a torquing force.

The plate uses existing holes in the rear cross members. No drilling of the frame members was required.. The plate is also bolted to the floor. Again, a compression, not a twisting force.

The tank when full should weight about 60 pound. If half of that is supported by the plate, that is about 7.5 pounds/bolt. The forward bolt must hold 30 pounds. There really isn't a lot of weight involved here (I think), and the force is normal to the floor.

The one thing I'm considering changing is adding some reinforcement at the floor. Right now I've got a fender and standard washer under the bolt heads. I am considering using a short section of steel low profile c-channel running front to back across the floor/transverse welds. It should help keep the thin floor sheet metal from deforming.

Does all this sound reasonable, or do you think I'm missing something?

BTW, thanks for the questions/comments. I do appreciate 'em. Makes me think.

Stan
I would not be concerned. Suspect your installation is fine. I would put a flat plate between the bolt head and the floor to distribute the load.

Could not copy your installation because I have a 4" square inlet air vent located in the same location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 · (Edited)
Mawnings Spent Installing an Awning...Part 1

It's been really toasty here, so we've only been working mawnings:x

The installion almost didn't happen at all. We ordered a Carefree Freedom wall mount awning through an on-line dealer. It was about 10 days between my order placement and the delivery. The unit was drop-shipped from Carefree.
Carefree packaging was inadequate to protect against the shipper they chose. The awning's box arrived in this condition:

Someone evidently tried to stop the box from bleeding out by wrapping the poor thing in shrink wrap. Maybe it was the murderer trying to hide the evidence.
It was too late. The awning was DOA on arrival::crying:


I refused shipment, and the dealer immediately started the process of getting a replacement. Very friendly, cooperative folks at the dealer!:). From this point on out, I dealt with Carefree customer service.

About 10 days after the awning was re-ordered, the replacement showed up (via another carrier and with Fragile stickers on the box). Evidently, the Fragile stickers did their job. The box was damaged very much like the first one, but not so badly that the awning was crunched. We opened the box ends at the loading dock to be sure.

Got the box home, and discovered that whoever packed it cleverly left out the mount brackets, hardware, and crank handle. (This is a manual opening awning). They did generously include a redundant pair of leg support latches (in black...). The awning is silver, and so was the other set of the leg supports.

I called customer support. They said that this problem also just happened to someone else. They also said they'd ship out the missing stuff right away. Actually shipped about 2 or 3 days later, by UPS Ground. So, the awning just sat around for another week.

The package arrived this past Friday. It did have the mounting brackets and HW, but not the crank handle. :eek:
Had to recall customer service, and got the crank handle shipped "overnight". It showed up Tuesday. SO, I am less than whelmed with the competency of Carefree's picking/packaging/shipping decisions. If, as I suspect, this happens regularly, there is a real problem with management in those areas. I should be clear that I have no complaints about the Carefree customer service folks I talked with. They were uniformly friendly, and seemed to want to get this all resolved.

Well, I finally got the awning and parts kit, so now we can talk about the install.

I decided on the Carefree wall mount for a few reasons:

  • My solar panels don't provide enough space for a roof mount unit or brackets.
  • The Fiamma units only seem to be available with vinyl fabric. I wanted acrylic
  • I couldn't find anyone selling manually operated Fiammas.
  • Fiamma had a longer delivery lead time than Carefree. (Although as things turned out, Carefree took about as long to get something functional/installable out here.)

I'll talk about getting the awning mounted here. In Part 2 I'll talk about what I had to do to get the thing to stop rattling. I need to take a few pics for that, and it's too **** $%@%#^&$(&*^* HOT to do that now.


We chose a 4M long awning to cover the passenger side from just forward of the slide to just about aft of the rear window. The problem is that Annie's front slopes down and gets narrower, starting over the sliding door.
The vertical slope was easy to measure with a snap line.



So, it was easy enough, following Carefree's instructions, to locate where the mounting brackets needed to go.


Then hang the awning on the rear 2 brackets.


Each bracket has 2 mounting holes. I made some 3/4" ply backer plates. I made 'em as long as possible to fit into the space between Annie's inner wall frame and her skin. The brackets also are just about as wide as the flat(ish) wall panel area where the brackets mount.. They are VHB'd to the outer wall.

The rear two brackets line up very close to Annie's wall braces (that connect the inner and outer walls). That means there is little to no flex to the outer wall's sheet metal, even when the awning is fully extended.

Not so lucky with the front bracket.

Because the front of Annie narrows, the front bracket needs to be shimmed. Turns out that it needs about 1/2". I used 2 thicknesses of 1/4" aluminum flat stock, cut to size, drilled and VHB'd together and to the bracket.


The front bracket also falls far from any internal wall supports, so I made up an wooden internal brace that sandwiches snugly (unloaded) between the 2 walls. This way the awning torque force is transferred to the very strong interior wall.

I took Annie out for a spin, and the mounting seemed stable. However, there was a heck of a lot of rattling coming from the awning itself, especially as I drove on rutted dirt roads. I think I've got that mostly handled now, and that'll be the topic of part 2.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
Mawnings Spent Installing an Awning...Part 2

I tracked the awning clanks and rattles down. The problem is one of generally loose/sloppy clearances in the awning design. :(

There were 2 main issues.
1. The awning mounts are not tightly contoured to snugly fit the awning. The awning is fastened to its mounts by two small sheet metal screws at the base of each mount. Even with those screws, the awning can wiggle around quite a bit. This allowed the awning to loudly bounce against the mounts on a rough road. I added a bunch of silicon seal to the wiggly space. This largely eliminated the clanking.


2. The awning has two light weight, fairly flexible support legs that are stowed in the awning's lead rail. Even when stored per instructions, they are free to rattle around in the rail. I added a bunch of pads (cut from the furry side of some industrial adhesive mount velcro). This really helps stop movement, and if the legs do shake against the lead rail surfaces, the pads damp the noise.
Some pics of the padding:



cushion added where stored arms butt

I was also a bit surprised that the fabric has a seam down the middle.

This seam does not show up on any of the Carefree site's awning pictures that I found. Also, we had a larger acrylic awning on a Class C that we had some years back. It had no seam. Hopefully, this will not become a maintenance/wear problem down the road.

Generally speaking, I'm a bit disappointed in the quality of the awning. It should be serviceable, but it's definitely flimsier than I'd like to see on an item subject to constant shaking.

Since I found no other viable product, given Annie's restrictions on mount locations, I'd still buy this again. But if someone doesn't have the same solar panel or awning material driven constraint, I would suggest looking at other brands.

This pretty much concludes installing the major externally mounted items, with the possible exception of the gray water tank (location TBD). The next steps will be to identify exactly where all the internal stuff will go, in order to plan out plumbing, gas, and electric runs, then to start insulation (along with installing any runs embedded in insulated areas).

So, there will probably be a bit of silence here until I've got some pretty pictures ;)of new stuff ready post.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 · (Edited)
Begin floor

Starting on the forward-most section.
First layout where the bathroom will go.

Next we insulate the floor in between the joists. A layer of 1" rigid foam (the pink stuff) and 1/2" of aluminum backed rigid foam. There is expanding foam filling any gaps. Each foam board is glued down with 3m 90 spray contact cement.


then cover it with Reflectix
The floor is screwed down on top of the Reflectix
Here's the bathless bathroom's layout

We've taken a closer look, and we think we can move the left-hand (aft) wall to the right (forward) about 3" and still have enough floor space to maneuver. That will give us a bit more clothes closet/storage space aft of the fridge.

Next we'll finalize the layout, bring the propane line up, and continue installing the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
Tweaking the layout

We've decided to change some of the layout in order to provide better mounting and exhaust locations for the furnace and water heater. We also decided to put the gray water tank inside, instead of below the floor. We are moving the gray and fresh H2O tanks in between the wheel wells, almost directly above the axle. We'll lose a bit of hard-to-reach space by putting the gray H2O above the floor, but it improves the weight distribution, and centralizes/simplifies the plumbing and propane runs. We're moving the battery slide to have access via the rear doors. The solar controller, MS2012, and breaker/fuse box will actually have a shorter run to the batteries. This should also be at an easier location to run power lines around Annie, and opens up a better place to feed the propane line up through the floor and into the driver side appliances.
 

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I would be concerned with the overhead cabinets above the sliding door. Looks like it will be easy to bang your head when getting in and exiting.

How much of the door opening to you plan on taking up with your galley?
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
The cabinets won't extend past the counter at the slider opening, probably not even as long as that. The perspective I grabbed doesn't show that clearly.

The counter will leave about 26" entry space...empirically calibrated so that our dog won't smash her head as she jumps in:nerd:

Stan
 

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Interesting build. Glad you started using some VHB. Did you get some 3M Thinsulate yet? Squirting in expanding foam is no fun and it will ooze out for a few days.Since you are keen to rattles and noises, be aware the rigid foams can develop squeaks over time.


Would highly recommend sealing all wood with polyurethane to reduce the chance of mold growth due to moisture retention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
I hope "interesting build " doesn't mean :eek::crying:.

I purchased about 30LF of Thinsulate from you a few weeks back. It will be the main sidewall insulation, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

I've been using VHB tape pretty much since the beginning of the build. It's pretty amazing stuff. However, the rigid foam is attached to the van floor with 3M 90 spray, not VHB. I sort of got a (I think) reasonable technique that doesn't dissolve the foam too much and leaves a nice strong bond. The foam pieces would break before peeling if I try to remove 'em

I haven't had too much trouble using the expanding foam. So far, it's mainly gone to fill in voids between the joists and the rigid foam. Once it sets, any excess cuts off pretty easily with a utility knife.

Stan
 

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Expanding foam is not that difficult to work with once you get the hang of it. I've used the pro gun as well as the "straw". Also, I've never seen it "ooze out for a few days". I don't know what kind Hein is referring to. Rigid foam won't squeak if you use the spray foam to seal it. I used rigid foam with Great Stuff in the gaps for my entire van and there are no squeaks.
 

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I used rigid insulation in the floor and will use it in the ceiling with spray foam in the gaps and as a adhesive to keep it from moving. I will also have a 1/2" layer of Aerocel between the ceiling material and the ribs. Aerocel will cover whole ceiling area.

Aerocel is a closed cell bendable insulation available in multiple thicknesses with R value of 4/inch. Not quite as good as rigid which is 5/inch but it is flexible so easier to install in the walls. Will use 2 layers of 1" in walls covered by Reflectix. Transit has about 4" deep wall cavities. There will be about 2" void between the Aerocel and the interior wall paneling which gives the Reflectix an R rating of about 3-4. So total R value will be about 11. The aerocel is also a noise dampener.

I tried to upload a link to this product but the data limits of this site prevents that.
 

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I used rigid insulation in the floor and will use it in the ceiling with spray foam in the gaps and as a adhesive to keep it from moving. I will also have a 1/2" layer of Aerocel between the ceiling material and the ribs. Aerocel will cover whole ceiling area.

Aerocel is a closed cell bendable insulation available in multiple thicknesses with R value of 4/inch. Not quite as good as rigid which is 5/inch but it is flexible so easier to install in the walls. Will use 2 layers of 1" in walls covered by Reflectix. Transit has about 4" deep wall cavities. There will be about 2" void between the Aerocel and the interior wall paneling which gives the Reflectix an R rating of about 3-4. So total R value will be about 11. The aerocel is also a noise dampener.

I tried to upload a link to this product but the data limits of this site prevents that.

Polyiso rigid foam board R-Value at 1"=6. 2"=13.1
 

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'"Interesting" because it is appears to be an extensive build with more coming up. And the use of the barn door channels for mounting solar mounts is certainly unique so expect more of that type of resourcefulness.

Be careful about building too much rigidity into your structures and attachments. The van body twists and flexes quite dramatically while you drive. If the structures or attachments are too rigid then that induces stress and motion at the connection points which can work them loose. VHB tape can help but isn't the solution by itself.

Our problems with expanding foam were probably due to conditions, technique and impatience. We filled our roof ribs with it. It was a warm sunny day and the relative humidity might well have been very low. I injected the foam through the holes and my wife went along and put tape over the holes as we moved along the rib. The tape was intended to keep the foam from oozing out as much but may have been a factor in not allowing the foam to cure throughout. (due to lack of available moisture.) It then proceeded to run out as a liquid out for days especially in hot weather. It was a mess.
 
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