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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have hesitations over posting this build. I don't want to make people feel bad or inadequate with their vans. My only intent is to show what can be done if time and money are no object, just so that people have some idea of what is possible. So please, don't take offense or feel inferior because of the incredible quality of this build.

The van was purchased 1/31/20 in Fontana, CA and driven home to NorCal the following Sunday. Being incredibly patient we held off on a first expedition until 2/8/20. While it was hard to wait that long, that gave time for the attention to detail that an upfit of this caliber requires.

Due to the complexity of life and gathering all of the various materials required, the actual build didn't start until approximately 11AM on 2/7/20 and wasn't complete until about 4PM. There were a few delays such as lunch and looking for parts that threatened to derail the timeline. Nonetheless, with dogged determination we managed to complete the work.

By noon the sleeping arrangements were complete. A deluxe and finely made frame provided the foundation. On top is a custom mattress of the highest quality. Truly a bed fit for a king.

interior_1.jpg


The galley area took much consideration as to the layout and choice of materials. After much deliberation we chose a beautiful hardwood counter top with a hand rubbed finish. Some might have used an old piece of plywood salvaged from goodness knows where but not us. The cabinet supporting the countertop is made using a brand new, just on the market storage system. They are constructed from plastic and are approximately 12' x 12' x 14". As the price comes down I expect you will start to see these become more common in the upfitting world. These units make accessing the kitchen utensils and what not a breeze. Simply turn off everything on the stove, find a place to put all the hot pots and pans, put the stove somewhere, remove the bungies holding down the counter top and take the top off. Voila! as easy as 1,2,3 you are digging around to find whatever cooking essential you forgot. The simply reverse the process and re-light the stove. What could be easier or more convenient?

galley.jpg


To keep both the bed and the kitchen cabinet in place is another innovation of the upfitting world that you probably haven't seen before. It is a strap with a ratcheting stop to keep it in place and hooks on the end for attaching to a variety of places. If you look closely at the pictures you can see it in action both on the bed and galley. Very handy device and again I would expect to see these become more common as they are adopted by the industry.

Few realize the importance of properly insulating their van. Even fewer know that paint on the inside of a Ford Transit provides R-0.0037. So no further insulation is needed. Also largely unknown is the amazing sound deadening qualities of the factory paint. So the ride is as quiet as it is warm.

As I am the holder of an Extra Class Amateur Radio license, naturally I had to had to have a sophisticated communications system installed. With this system I can talk anywhere in the world, anytime. This gives us the confidence that we can reach out for help if need be.

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As we all know the Ford electrical system is less than ideal. For one thing the cargo bay lights remain on if any of the doors are open. Therefore we had to do extensive modifications to the electrical to get it just the way we like. Luckily, me and Ohms law get along well and we got it done.

electrical.jpg


My knees are shot from a lifetime of stupid self inflicted sports injuries. If they weren't, my van would still be a fifty pound backpack. I am also a safety nut. So, I needed to find a step for the slider door that would provide both safety and a good step up. After much searching I found this and while it wasn't cheap, I'm worth it.

step.jpg


I have seen a few threads recently about soft storage solutions. There are many options out there but we decided upon the best (and most expensive). It holds all you need it to and drums out a happy camping song on the side of the band as you drive along. Really a two-fer!

storage.jpg


Of course, once the build was complete we needed to do a lengthy shake down cruise. We wanted to put in some serious windshield time and make sure that we had all the bugs out of the system. So, we put in a 177 mile round trip cruise and spent one night in the van. It was quite chilly outside on our only night so far sleeping in the van but our insulation meant there was at least a 1.53 degree difference from the outside to inside temperature, truly impressive! There was only about an 1/8" of frost on the inside of the van in the morning. Once we started coffee in the morning we had a test of the fire extinguishing sprinkling system and enjoyed listening to the pitter patter of interior rain drops as we had our coffee.

Overall I just couldn't be happier with the build. I hope you aren't too dejected about your van build. Not everyone can afford to do what we did so don't feel too bad about yourself and and enjoy your inadequate van anyway!

Boondox
 

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Sometimes you see a post that is truly inspired and shows what can be done by imaginative people!

Thanks for sharing. You are an inspiration.

-Mike
 

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Minimalism is the new thing.
All those people who labored over solar and plumbing systems, microwaves and flushing toilets, 4 burner stoves and foyers, well, they look like retro FOOLS now!
Time for a lot of people to try to sell their old fashioned DIY campervans and start over!
 

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177 miles...

Not only have you managed to obtain near perfection in your build, you have also already used your van more than 97.8% of the people with build threads on this forum.


This just shows what can be accomplished when you don’t spend all your time debating the finer points of van insulation, or arguing about how many thousands of amp hours is necessary to have proper fun.

And who needs freshwater tanks when you drive your own weather system. 100% chance of rain overnight, every night.
 

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As a fellow Extra Class Amateur Radio operator, I can truly appreciate your installation efforts of the Baofeng UV-5r radio. While I also have a $26 Baofeng UV-5r, I foolishly wasted time and money installing a Kenwood TM-281A mobile Ham radio in my Transit.
 

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You’re the first person on this entire forum to actually install dampening in a van!!! So many people talk of dampening (to make moist) when they really mean damping (to reduce vibration). Ha!

Thanks for a good laugh. You dampened my eyeballs!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Haha! Dampening indeed! 100% chance of rain overnight! Love it.

Glad y'all had fun with my funning. While we are truly minimalists (poor, lazy) we just needed to get out there in our new van that (to us) cost a metric crapton of money. It is our first van and we want to get to know it and what we want before we do any real work. Eventually there will be some insulation and a bed built to run amidships and a few other things. But we are going to knock around for the summer, have fun and see what happens. However, we are working out a way to not keep all the kitchen stuff below the stove. We really did forget something in there and have to take it all apart to get it as described. Planning to go out again next week and will probably wind up at some bit of elevation. Bet we break the frost thickness record!

Geoff, I do have a FT-2900R that will go in up front. And an IC-7100 that will get in there too. I like being able to send text and emails when well out of cell range. Plus chat with my friends back home in the evenings, we always set up a sched.

Gotta say, while Dream Girl and I love our teardop trailer we are really digging this van thing!
 

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Man! When I started reading, I really expected to see a high dollar build, but was wondering how that was done so quickly when I saw the purchase date. This was one of the funniest posts I've read, especially "... the ride is as quiet as it is warm..."
 

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LOVE the build. I want a "minimal" build too that allows various uses. Sold the 2016 MR, 148 already and working on selling the Aliner. Hoping this big van will replace both so no trailer to drag around the Rockies. Already have camping "stuff" stored in the garage awaiting the "big girl." Youth springs eternal.
 

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It's a lot like the build I did on the same day I flew in and picked up my van in St Louis. A 4 hour build.
Stopped at Ikea and got a $80 folding couch/bed, a comforter set and some pillows.
Stopped at Walmart and got a cooler, ice, a $20 butane stove, an LED lantern and some camp cookware.
Stopped at Trader Joes and got groceries.
Used the cardboard from the Ikea couch to cover the windows at night (full window cargo van).
Spent a week driving back to CA, stopping in Breckenridge CO, Moab, Bryce Canyon, and Zion (I know secret boondocking sites near all).
 

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I suspect that I might be traveling with a similar setup depending upon when my van arrives at Matt Ford in early summer. I'll be driving 2,500 miles out the west coast, so we'll have to see what work I can get done before it's time to leave. We are prioritizing systems: bed, floor, etc. Or, to quote from a former Sec. of Defense:

“You travel with the van you have, not the van you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
 

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@Boondox you set a high bar! Thanks for your creative writing skills and humor. (y)

I used to backpack with just a hammock and rain fly back in the day, not so much now with wifey who prefers to camp at the Hilton
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I miss my days of hiking with a tarp in case it rained and out in the air if it didn't. I just came across some picture of me in my youth with a mighty pack on my back as if it was nothing. How the mighty have fallen...

In van news, Dream Girl found some plastic tubs that will fit under the bed to put all of the kitchen stuff in so we can avoid the stove scoot boogie during mealtimes. We have to remain home bound this week but are going to get out next week. I'm struggling with a way to set up an antenna for the 40 meter band. I don't want to make holes or do anything permanent but I'd like to have HF capabilities next week, mostly so that in the evenings I can contact my friends and brag about how much fun I am having.
 

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You are an inspiration! In no way do I expect to live up to your paradigm but I am glad to know you are out there!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Actually I am a bit disappointing. You did not use these. I did and they are awesome.

Oooh, stacks on the side eh? Think of the possibilities! Too bad I can't find those behind a convenience store! I might have to actually break the rules and buy some of those. The price is right too. Well, not as good as free but what can ya do.
 
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