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Discussion Starter #181
This area in the step well was also on my list.





I ended up fitting this piece to dress it up a little. It will be sanded down and stained to match the rest.





Hard to see but I have the OEM foot step in place, the vertical wall behind I want to finish in plywood painted black. No idea quite how to attach that yet.



Tomorrow I plan to finish a couple more fiddly spots in the rear. After that I need to source more stain, for some reason I cannot find any trace of the old stuff. I also need to figure out how to fasten the thresholds, I was originally thinking wood screws and plug the holes. I think plus nuts will get a better bite, but I will need to buy some longer machine screws and also see if they will bite into the plywood underlay I have.
 

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I used the OEM screw holes for the rear threshold. They are small and don't take away from the appearance. But, I had to drill for the spare tire winch. I really like how yours works.


Mine sets right on top of the ribs, unlike yours. You might use the OEM screw holes to mount wood strips to attach the threshold to. This could all be done with a mating strip attached underneath the threshold to screw to the other strips and leave the top without hardware or holes.

Really nice job you've done!
 

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Discussion Starter #183
Thanks for the tip Travlin- that's a great idea!


I had never even considered using the OEM holes - to be honest I have never seen them, they are all covered with black circle stickers. I had to go back and check lol.



Since it is such a wide piece I wonder if the front where it meets the floor would be stable enough? If we are talking about the same thing it would be fastened more or less in the center which may allow it to rock. I move some fairly heavy bikes over it.


Hmmmm.
 

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Discussion Starter #184 (Edited)
Well I never got to attaching any thresholds today, and the piece I glued up to trim out the lower right of the step was a fail.







No excuse really, I guess I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing - I should have ripped the rounded edge off before gluing. Not too hard to make another.





Old one on the right, new one clamped up. About this time I noticed it was made of red and white oak but no way was I making 3 of these!


Here it is installed, it needs to be a little lower but I am happy with it none the less.






With this done I turned my attention to the funkiest of trim outs. This is the passenger side rear corner of my van.





It became quickly apparent that I had no idea what I was doing here. Still don't lol. Wish more care was given when the floor went down as it would have been pretty straightforward. Either way, I'll figure something out, but not today.



Instead I focused my attention on the step well.






This is temporary, if you have been following along you will remember it was already trimmed but I hated it so ripped it out. One thing I love about this new one is it has a 12v port on the right face you can't see in this pic. Anyhow, I have always thought this may make a good jack location.






Tight fit for sure but it works! As with all well designed van items it performs two functions - jacks up my van, when not doing this it supports this corner of the floor. I just have to remember not to step there when jacking I guess.



Here's what it looked like in process.





Most of my time was spent cutting the sub floor and getting it right so the jack slid in. This would have been pretty easy with a Sawzall but I don't own one and am also a stubborn SOB. Tough combo. :)





Looks real ugly in the picture but trust me it's not that bad. I have a few more details to figure out like how to secure it in there and how all the plywood trim will be secured. I also plan to finish off the area to the left of the jack with plywood painted black. I also have to cut the OEM threshold and figure how it will merge with the jack area.



Not sure if I will have any time to work on the van this weekend but here's hoping!
 

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Discussion Starter #185 (Edited)
Nothing like spending $ on parts to help motivate to build. These were cheap, I will put one on either side on the rear to make it easier to climb in. They are plastic and seem a little flimsy but I think they will firm up once mounted.








I also bought a dedicated wrench to put in my toolkit for the spare. I like the head angle as it is about flat and will work well under the threshold.





My super genius idea of supporting the floor with the jack failed so I added this piece to help support that corner floor board. Much better.





I was getting pretty frustrated the other day trying to figure out how to trim this area. Finally I broke down and started making templates. Much more time consuming but very satisfying results. Started here.





Had to extend the piece for a better fit which is no problem with cardboard. The lower piece will run all the way across the lower opening.






This is where I stopped today. You can see the right side pieces- upper and lower. For the rear most I think I will have to remove the thinsulate - just no room in there with the size of the nosing.






The grey piece here I need removeable but after looking more at it I may instead run that all the way across, then have the left hand just slide up behind it. The plan is to simply velcro on the panel but I need to do some more figuring.






This will be used for all the panels - it is 7/32 5.5mm. I hope it sands well enough to provide a decent paint finish. It will all be flat black. Tomorrow I will cut and install the OEM step so I can fit everything better and hopefully get some plywood cut.



 

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Discussion Starter #186
With the polar vortex in town I could only manage a balmy 42 degrees in the garage today. Spent a little time out there anyhow. First up was securing the floor, I will plug the hole later.





I have got a couple more pieces to fit but I got the threshold cut and roughed in the trim.









This is how the left will trim out - it leaves about a 1/2" gap to grab the panel and release it. I think once it is all painted black the shadow line will hide the gap.





I am still planning on velcro to fasten the removable piece, the rest will likely glue in place. I will also refit my 12v port, it will sit in the rear corner of the step, I left a larger overhang there to protect it.
 

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Discussion Starter #187 (Edited)
I was having some trouble getting my 45 cuts nice enough - free hand was not gonna cut it. I don't own a miter saw, having a contractor brother has always made it easy to borrow what I need. He lives an hour away though so instead I decided to make my a DIY version.





Next up was figuring how to affix my 12v port. This took some doing and several prototypes but I now have a proven method to affix the rest of them.






I was originally thinking velcro to fasten the jack panel but I ended up using magnets - works great. Gluing them to the plywood left my 45 joint proud so I recessed them into the surface.






Here you see them in place, I ended up adding another one low near the edge of my 45. I think the top may need one too once I assemble everything.






I added the screw in the bottom so the magnet could pull my joint tight.






With that sorted I moved on and made the rest of the panels. This is lower left, runs behind the jack piece about an inch or so.






The lower most panel proved to be tricky as it straddles two different planes the way I had mocked it up. At some point the templates only get you so far and then the thickness of the actual material comes into play. That was the case here so instead I simply laid it flat all the way across.






Here's where I ended up. I plan to glue in the panel with the 12v port on it - the rest is press fit/ held fast by the step.





Tomorrow I hope to give it all a light sand and paint.






 

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Discussion Starter #188
Last night I had a chance to clean up a little and do some sanding.






Here are the parts after a couple coats. I ended up using 4 super light ones.






I was anxious to see how it would look so I slapped this one up just to get a feel for the black. I like it.





While I was waiting between coats I installed the bung in the screw hole for the floor. I will go back tomorrow and carefully shave it down with a chisel.






The lighting is pretty bad in the following pics but I am super happy with how everything came out.









Next was gluing on the piece that holds the 12v port. I will let this set up over night.






Blurry picture of the 12v installed. It blends in there which makes it a little hard to see but I know where it is.






I had to test it.





Next on my list is to fasten and apply finish to the thresholds. I think I need to rough some wires down to this area too. I am thinking a small strip of leds up under the small lip where the 12v lives. This would help light the step area - I can imagine at night it will look like a black hole. I will power it off the stock cargo light feed so it functions the same way.



I also would like a small gang of switches somewhere within reach of the 60 door. Right now I am thinking three, one to disable the stock interior lighting, one for some future under van lights, and one for some led house lighting. All of these will power from the house battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #189 (Edited)
This is a section of the subfloor in my van. Plus nuts are not going to work.






It simply flared and pulled the two pieces apart. The nut also started to mushroom out the front face. After giving it some thought I have decided on wood screws for the front and hopefully machine screws/nuts for the rear.






To keep busy I pulled out all the stock led lights and the front harness. I have never liked them - too bright and the harshness is just awful. I plan to light the inside with led strip lights using a warmer spectrum of light.





In the spirit of using what I have I tried to think of creative ways to use these. Initially I was thinking one for the step well but nah. I need some outside light but don't want to mount China lights or pay out the big $ for the proper stuff. Why not use what I have?





These are just mocked up, I tried aiming them down a bit and running them straight out - not much of a difference in glare so straight out it is. I think they generate a useful amount of light.





Another shot outside the door, this is with all garage lights turned off.






No issues with clearance when closing the door, high enough to provide a decent range. Pictures don't do a lot but here is one from the side.






Here's a better shot of my hokey test rig.






Here are a few of my prototypes. Third time charms as usual.





Roughly in place - I was not sure what to do up here and I am still not decided. I originally wanted an entire width panel up there but don't want to cut it plus I need more sheet goods - it's more than 60" and I don't have that in house. I am using the left over 1/4 stuff from my step.




Here it is with the light pressed in.






And a little closer. I am not super happy with how it looks but it's tough to get a nice looking piece in there. I would love to just mount the light alone.






That's about where I left off for the day. I am thinking about making one of solid oak and see if I like that better. I was originally going to plus nut them in but hot glue may get the nod in the interest of fewer holes.


I plan to mount the other two lights out the back. There is no room to mount them on the face but instead I will put them just inside the opening - either in between the door clasp thingies or to either side of them.



 

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Discussion Starter #191
Back at it today for a little while. I made two more light mounts, they hold the lights well and look good enough.






They look a little cocked in this pic but sit fine - I just temporarily mounted them with a dab of hot glue to get a feel for how they look. After the initial idea and excitement of the first day of the idea I slept on it and had another idea - bugs! What happens when you turn on a light in the summer? Van full of moths.






So maybe some magnetic screens should be added to the build. I have not drilled the holes for wiring yet, I still want to think on it some more. They're done for now.



Lately the build seems to always be waiting on one thing to be finished so I can do another. Progress feels slow. With only a rough plan in my head for this van this is to be expected. Next I need to rough in all my wiring. Three 12v ports, 3-4 switches, and three map lights. The switches will go down here in the back of the seat base.






This area of the rear has needed finishing for some time. This is what I came up with - not perfect but good enough for a floor corner.






It will sit/ look a bit better once it is glued down and stained to match. With the rear threshold in this corner really stood out. Now, not so much.





This I will fasten with some wood screws along the leading edge. I will probably use some of the OEM holes as Travlin suggested and run plus nuts in there. Ford doesn't give you any threads if you don't spec the threshold.
 

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Discussion Starter #192 (Edited)
Tenacity and persistence. That's what my van is built from. Not thinsulate, riv nuts and agm batteries. We all have families, work and other things that keep us from our motorized creations, forward progress can sometimes be hard to come by. This is the 4th winter I have devoted to my van.



To that end I try to do a little work whenever I can, no matter how small. This past week I have been working on my headliner. I want to mount 3 reading lights up there and also run led's along the edge - can't do any of that without my headliner. This is my plan.





1/2" plywood, two layers to give me enough clearance to get past the wire bundle on the drivers side. Turns out 1" was close but no cigar. I shimmed another 1/4" on that one side in order to get the clearance I need.






I am giving up a good deal of headroom here for sure, and I have already lost 2 plus inches to my floor but I am OK with that. This is a low roof and hunching is hunching, not much of a difference to bend over another inch. I couldn't think of any other way to have a continuous headliner, aside from some wonky box to hide the wires.



Either way I am happy with the design except for where it meets the front headliner. Here I am about flush already so that anything I add is going to jut out below the OEM height. Not ideal but I think I can live with it. The sides will finish out nicely, right above the window. The current plan is to use as thin a material as I can get away with and maybe bevel the leading edge so it looks nicer.






This is as far as I got, but I did install the riv nuts on the other two roof beams. Riv nuts are approaching zip ties as my favorite fastener, they work so well.






I made these to help locate my holes and have had no issues.





I spent a few $ on some wire, switches, and two 5m strips of led.






The switches are smaller than I thought they would be but should be fine. I got all 18ga wire for my lights and switches, I will use it for all but one of my 12v ports too. I will wire one 12v port with bigger gauge wire so I can have access to more power if needed. Mostly they will charge phones and such.



My lighting plan includes 3 map lights, one over each seat. One strip of leds will run along the roof edge and power off the OEM door circuit. Pretty sure my power source will be this off this first roof rib. You can see where I discovered the limits of the riv nuts holding power - the slotted hole seemed to bite well but spun when tightened.





I will include a switch in the circuit so I can keep them off for camping. I could not wait to test them after they arrived and I am pretty excited by the results. This is about 3 ' worth.






After seeing this the plan is to run 3' on front and back on both sides to come on with the doors. The final 3' will reside over the rear doors and will be house powered and switched on its own. I have always enjoyed making my coffee and cocktails on the 'tailgate' and I think it will be cool.



The other strip of led lights will be house powered and reside somewhere in the beltline, switched with a dimmer for general use. Both led strips will be concealed behind a chase so the light is indirect.



Probably won't get a lot done this weekend, next week is school vacation... Ugh.
 

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Discussion Starter #193
Well I have not posted in a while but have been hard at work.



To give the headliner somewhere to fasten on the edges I made these out of 2x4.





They run all the way around the roofline, including the back. I cut out the relief to make a chase for led strip lights.



Crappy pic but you can get the idea - these run about 6' on each side, switched off the oem door signal. They are not yet wired up but I did wire a switch to disable them for when I am camping.






As soon as I started wiring it became clear that my fuse panel was not going to work. It was too close to the edges, it looked ok but there was no concession for routing wires. Yeah, kind of a problem. It had not been an issue so far as I only had two things hooked up to it. So I first made a new one.






More room overall - better access to the main switch, this is way better. Wires here still need some cleaning up.


I mounted 3 switches in the passenger seat base - switch one is for outside lights, two is not yet used but wired up, three is to disable the interior lights.






The first version of this panel failed as it interfered with the cutout for the inverter.





Below you will see a couple more 'prototypes'.





I finally found one that made me happy - with the switches there I routed my wires up the B pillar, across the roof and then down the C pillar to get to my fuse panel. Fun!








I did some modifying of this trim cover to allow some room for my wires.






Here it is slowly going back together. Be real nice if I never took this trim off again.





This is some of the carnage involved.





And this...





Oh, and this. This kind of sucked but was my first major oops. Cut one wire, nicked the other and just cut/repaired it to be safe.


I decided to mount the outside lights, this is what I ended up with. They are held on with magnets, now third but climbing on my favorite fastener list.






I put them both behind the first door as I didn't want to have to open both doors to use the lights or deal with another switch.






I have not yet tested them outside but they throw a fair amount of light.





Here is a pic with all 4 map lights on - these should prove to be super useful. Very happy with them.






I made this panel for the right rear - the hole on top will house a switch that lights up led strip over the rear doors, this is one of my favorite places to make coffee or cocktails when camping.






I still have to wire that rear most panel in, also link all my led strip so they power up with the doors. Then finish the headliner. I bought this switch to power another led strip I got - I will run it along the beltline for accent light while driving/camping. Probably not going in before this summer though...





I still have some wiring to clean up and my thresholds need to be secured and stained, not sure what I will do after that.
 

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Be aware that inverters need air to stay cool.

I had a 600 watt Xantrex in the sold Sprinter mounted on back of passenger seat base covered with SS enclosure with holes in the ends for air flow. Inverter overheated in 100 degree weather. I made the air holes larger and added a 120 volt AC 4" square pancake fan to increase air flow. Fan plugged into the second outlet so fan ran when inverter was running. Sold van before I was in hot weather again so do not know if the changes fixed the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #195
Thanks Orton.


No issues in the year or so that I have been using it. I think I have a couple things going for me.


I haven't run in any extreme heat - when I am in hot weather I typically run the AC.
I run light loads - mostly just the battery charger, sometimes 110v ice maker.



I do have a CPU fan under there - it doesn't move a tremendous amount of air but it can't hurt.


BTW I saw your van walk through on Youtube the other day - great to see the details in video format.
 

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Discussion Starter #196
12v electrical supergenius needed!

OK, help me out here. I wired up my led strip light to come on with the doors. Well, sort of.


My plan was to have them come on and function just like the obnoxious led cargo lights they are replacing. I know they are ground switched but I don't know enough about what that means to wire them properly. Clearly.


I ran power and ground from the oem plug to my 3 pole switch. I am using the switch so they can be off when camping. Ran power out of the switch to my strip lights, then ground to the chassis. Works great but they only come on with the switch and never turn off. Not exactly what I was planning on.



Can someone help me figure out how to configure this so that it works as I imagined? Hopefully it is possible. My best guess right now is I run to the oem switch ground instead of chassis.
 

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I can’t exactly follow everything you said about the wiring. If you can sketch it and send a picture it would be great.
 

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Discussion Starter #199 (Edited)
Well I have been away a while I love how the thread allows you to document progress with a clear timeline. Mine has been slow lol.

Photobucket wants $ to host my old photos now, if anyone wants to see something please PM me, I will send the real photo.

Dunno why one of my pics became an attachment, I will figure it out I promise. Thanks to all who replied to my light question - as you can see I figured it out.



C1AC773F-4102-4497-AFEC-14A9272A8CBD.jpeg

The light looks pretty glaring in the pics but it is not bad at all. When the ceiling goes in they will be even more recessed and indirect.

I did manage to get them to come on with the doors. I took power from the existing OEM plug, it is always hot. The reason my setup failed was my ground went to chassis. Instead I moved the ground to the OEM plug ground and I am in business. Very happy with how they work - they come on with the doors/ key fob etc.

Below is a shot of my cocktail light, it's got its own switch. If you look close in the lower left you can see the switch next to a 12v plug. This light is house powered.

132449


Below is simply another shot of my door switched lights - I am new to this format and still struggling lol. I have a switch in line for these so that they can be turned off when camping.

A25F5BE3-F5F8-4ECF-9134-3BB41AF02B63.jpeg
 
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