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My build - Sliver touring class-B light

14287 Views 20 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  86scotty
I thought I would catch you folks up on my Transit conversion project.

I took delivery of my van in April and worked on the conversion from May through August. My son and I then took the van on a maiden voyage trip from SE Michigan to Yellowstone NP with stops along the way at Badlands NP, Wind Cave NP, Devil's Tower, Grand Teton NP, and the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. I also took a short trip to Michigan’s upper peninsula. All told I put almost 6000 miles on the van. It was a pleasure to drive and gave me no trouble at all. It averaged about 18mpg. It had no problem cruising at 85MPH although at that speed the fuel economy suffered a bit, that and the wind pushes it around quite a bit which is more of a problem the faster you are going. I'd bet it could get close to 20mpg if you cruised at 65mph. It also did pretty well climbing up those mountains passes. In Yellowstone I made the mistake of driving up the wash-board gravel road to Mount Washburn, it nearly shook our teeth out not to mention all of the contents, I’ll avoid gravel roads in the future unless they are nice and smooth.

The van: 2015 Ford Transit 150, 3.7 Liter V6, 148 wheelbase, medium roof. Optional equipment is cruise control, back up sensors, 3.73 axle, fixed side and rear door glass, cargo area LED and Load protection, ingot silver. I bought the van from dealer stock so I couldnt pick and choose options. With rebates and Ford A-plan it was about 31K out the door.

The conversion: (see photos)

Walls and Insulation – I applied Ez-cool Car Insulation using 3m spray adhesive to the inside of the skin where ever I could access it. In the large open areas on the walls and ceiling between the ribs I cut panels of ½ inch foil faced poly-isocyanurate. To prevent squeaks I taped (banded) the iso panel edges in blue masking tape and cut them to fit tightly. I used foil tape to help hold the panels in place. I next screwed (with backing nuts) three horizontal rows of airline track (L-track) to the wall ribs; one row near the ceiling, one row about 2 feet off the floor, and one row at the floor. All the cabinets anchor to these using stud fittings. To cover the walls and ceilings I cut panels of 5mm Luan plywood and glued a medium pile plush carpet to them, I then used self-drilling screws to attach the panels to the ribs (the screws pretty much disappear into the carpet). The carpet panels butt up against the L-track leaving a flush wall. I left the factory installed padded mat for the cargo floor and just put a carpet runner over this. The van stays nice and cool even in the sun and seemed plenty warm at night, on our trips we did not use any additional heat source. With the carpet on the walls and ceilings it is as quiet as a Rolls Royce, also no problems with condensation.

Ventilation – Maxxair 00-06200K Ventilation Fan installed about 20 inches forward of the rear doors. One thing I may modify is to glue a flat HD TV antenna under the plastic dome of the Maxxair and run the cable behind the panels to the TV. The antenna does not work worth beans inside the metal van body, when we wanted to use it we opened a door and threw it up on the roof. I figure taped or glued up under the plastic maxair dome it ought to work well and be safe and sheltered.

Electrical – I followed Orton's advice and used the dual inverter approach. I used a 600 Xantrex pure sign wave inverter powered off the 60amp accessory feed on the driver’s seat pedestal. This is used to run the refrigerator and battery charger while driving. I bought a VMAXtanks 155 amp hour AGM battery and a VMAX 12 Volt 7 Amp Smart Battery Charger. I went with this smallish inverter and charger combo because I did not want to risk overtaxing the alternator or electrical system on the Transit (I fused the inverter DC input at 50 amps). I used a Krieger 1500 watt modified sign wave inverter as a house inverter, this runs off the 155 AGM battery while camped or parked for long periods of time. I use all this to power a small 80 watt 110 VAC dorm refrigerator, a small microwave, the maxair vent fan, a blower for the porta-potti cabinet, and a few LED lights. I also added a 24 inch flat screen TV and a blue ray player.

So far the 155 amp hour battery has no problems keeping up with the electrical needs. I have gone as long as 30 hours running on the battery alone. We do not use the microwave unless we were connected to shore power. All of the electrical components are mounted in a cabinet behind the driver’s seat. As long as we drove at least a few hours each day (which we usually did) there was no problem recharging the AGM battery. If we stayed parked without driving for a couple of days the battery would get a bit low. On one such occasion I idled the engine for about an hour, it didn't seem to use very much fuel and was certainly quieter than a generator. The 600 watt inverter had no problem running the battery charger and the refrigerator while driving, but a couple of times when my son plugged in his laptop charger it overloaded and we had to reset it.

Furnishings – I built a fully enclosed floor to ceiling cabinet with a door for the porta potti, it’s a little cramp but you can get fully inside (and close the door) to do your business. I vented this with a 3 inch 12 volt bilge blower for a boat using a flex hose out the bottom rear of the van. I built a bunk bed behind the driver’s seat with storage underneath the bottom bunk. I made a simple cabinet for the fridge and microwave with the flat screen TV on a backboard up top, and another for the pump sink and storage, these are on the passenger side behind the sliding door. My design using the L-track to secure the cabinets allows me to remove the cabinets fairly easily should I ever need to use the van for cargo purposes.

I did not fit any water tanks, I am just using the porta-potti and a simple pump sink with a three gallon feed and a seven gallon waste bottle under the cabinet. All the cabinets are made of ½ Oak plywood with a bit of solid oak here and there. Cabinets and bed are glued, screwed, and biscuit jointed as appropriate. They are fairly light yet sturdy. I finished them in black cherry stain topped with satin polyurethane. I did not plan to do any serious cooking inside so I used a propane camping stove and a small propane barbecue for cooking outside.

Niggles – The side door is difficult to close properly, you really have to slam it. We found we preferred using the passenger side rear door when camped. The cab floor area is cramped, it’s not very easy to get from the front into the rear, I wish they had put the parking brake lever someplace else. The factory cargo LED lights seem to have a mind of their own and are blinding when you are sleeping late at night and someone opens a door. In heavy winds the van gets blown around, you have to keep a steady hand on the tiller. Otherwise I am very pleased with the van. If I were ordering one new I would definitely add the dual battery and heavy duty alternator, this would permit a larger inverter while driving. I also went with aftermarket window tint for the side door and rear door glass, it is OK but I am sure the factory tint is better. The huge windshield also makes a great target, I suffered one stone chip, also while driving across southern Minnesota and South Dakota the windshield and the whole front of the van was repeatedly plastered with bugs, it was not so easy for a short fellow like me to scrub them off with a squeegee at the fueling stops, I started using a little step stool!

Planned changes – When I get a little time later this year I want to re-do the electrical and maybe add a second 155hour AGM battery. I think I’ll stick with the components I have but try to come up with a better design of switches and plugs to make changing configurations easier. I think I’ll re-design the electrical cabinet so things have a little more room and are easier to access. I’d like to add a roof rack, possibly an awning, and maybe some solar panels (I have lots of questions about this but that’s another thread). I may even go with a swivel for the passenger seat. I also will definitely add a keyless entry pad.

I read this forum regularly and I really appreciate all the shared ideas and insight. I am planning to retire in a year or two so I plan to travel in my Transit extensively. I will gladly share my experiences and provide details of my build if anyone wants more info.


- Beridian, SE Michigan.


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Beridian, I'm new here and just found your build. Very nice! I've built many camper vans and rehabbed already built ones and you've still given me a couple of neat ideas.

Did you fab the L-track mount above or is that a photo from somewhere online? I might like to go this route myself.

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