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I know... I need to have a build thread and a link... but this is an aluminum build - in fact, using hollow-core 30mm extrusions instead of solid-core and/or 1.5-inch. But each little luxury adds weight. The four 200w panels on the roof aren't all that heavy; but the way we mounted them - with the intent to tilt - added dozens of pounds. And the raise/lower bed added nearly a hundred pounds. Each little luxury: water heater, water storage, oven, slide-out tray, etc. If you look at the interior, it looks downright Spartan.
Not to mention those 36 lb Scopema Swivels - (two in my case plus another 5 lb for flat bar aluminum spacers).
 

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Not to mention those 36 lb Scopema Swivels - (two in my case plus another 5 lb for flat bar aluminum spacers).
Yes! Exactly! See.... that's another 100 pounds there - that I probably would have forgotten. It's crazy how it all adds up. Even though I considered the lightest possible way to do each individual thing, it really adds up when they're all put together. 馃
 

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Seven sheets of 3/4 plywood 350 pounds, These were 2/3 or 3/4 of each sheet used, Everything is bolted together with 2 inch aluminum angle. The entire van is lined with 1/4 inch thick cedar planks, The suff is almost like Balsa wood in weight, Maybe 200 pounds with the stud wall it is mounted on. Agm batteries and inverter 300 pounds. 70 pound boat refrigerator. Well under 1,000 pounds.
Of course if you want a full conversion it may be another story in weight
Wood is warm and inviting, 8020 is cold and sterile.
 

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So.....my take away is that wherever possible we should be watching the weight of the build carefully?
ABSOLUTELY !
OK: I am just getting started into my conversion, and the techie side of me plans to run an Excel spreadsheet, for budgeting in two dimensions:
  • Cost (obviously) Planned vs. reality.
  • And weight: Planned vs. reality.
Right now, I have a very (admittedly naive) goal to stay at "Net Zero": That my initial build will weigh no more than the 500 pounds of seats that I just removed.
... before water & batteries & gear.
I know that sounds bonkers, but it forces me into a mindset of building this more like an aircraft (like using 80/20) - and less like a house (using 2x4's).
I've worked for two aircraft manufacturers (McDoug & Northrop-Grumman), and their design philosophy will be guiding me thru my Transit build.
e.g. - Before buying anything, I am comparing the weights-per-linear-foot of lumber vs. aluminum.
I will build out a simple working prototype in wood first, & use that for 6-12 months. And then if the dimensions work out, I will clone that later using 80/20.
I'll keep ya posted !
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Seven sheets of 3/4 plywood 350 pounds, These were 2/3 or 3/4 of each sheet used, Everything is bolted together with 2 inch aluminum angle. The entire van is lined with 1/4 inch thick cedar planks, The suff is almost like Balsa wood in weight, Maybe 200 pounds with the stud wall it is mounted on. Agm batteries and inverter 300 pounds. 70 pound boat refrigerator. Well under 1,000 pounds.
Of course if you want a full conversion it may be another story in weight
Wood is warm and inviting, 8020 is cold and sterile.
I'd be very curious what it actually weighs. My guess was off by a few hundred pounds. Lots of things I didn't take into account - though I started with a list with weights and all... then stopped tracking it all. :rolleyes:
 

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2020 HR T250 Eco AWD
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Mine is mostly wood and I keep coming up with about 800 lb. I would love to drive on a scale though and bet it is about 1k.
I made it light up high so no wood up there but panels. My shelving is all done with those wire things you can buy anywhere. We only put the lightest stuff in baskets up in them. The heavier stuff like the microwave and power unit is down near the floor. Even with the motorcycle in it sways very little on the twistie roads. My mileage dropped from 18 to 15 with the weight and AC on top.
 

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I'd be very curious what it actually weighs. My guess was off by a few hundred pounds. Lots of things I didn't take into account - though I started with a list with weights and all... then stopped tracking it all. :rolleyes:
Yeah I feel guilty about all of that 3/4 plywood even if they are not whole sheets, Everything is bolted through the floor and I probably could have got by with 1/4 plywood for the floor, Everybody else seemed to be doing 3/4 at the time.
There is a insulated aluminum bulkhead so that is another 100 pounds, For stealth and climate control.
Then the aluminum roof rack for the solar panels that are no longer up there, (50 pounds) Shorepower and a B2B cover my needs. I am thinking about selling the rack, It will be quieter and better on gas.
Extra's are just food, bottled water and clothes along with a few tools.
 

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Not much conversion yet, just checking in with numbers.
148" MR EB 250 with no windows
- Full of gas and one driver: 5840lbs
- Full of gas, 3 people, and a bunch of household goods: 8280lbs and a 1600lb trailer (three motorcycles). 9880lbs total.

Full felt very comfortable in terms of suspension, power, stopping, etc through the Appalachians. Seems like it could probably do 9k in the van and 11k or 12k total comfortably if loaded right and with trailer brakes. That happens to align exactly with the MFR load rating, like they knew what they were talking about or something!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Not much conversion yet, just checking in with numbers.
148" MR EB 250 with no windows
- Full of gas and one driver: 5840lbs
- Full of gas, 3 people, and a bunch of household goods: 8280lbs and a 1600lb trailer (three motorcycles). 9880lbs total.

Full felt very comfortable in terms of suspension, power, stopping, etc through the Appalachians. Seems like it could probably do 9k in the van and 11k or 12k total comfortably if loaded right and with trailer brakes. That happens to align exactly with the MFR load rating, like they knew what they were talking about or something!
I really wish I'd weighed it when I first got it. :rolleyes:

It handles amazingly well for 4.5 tons. Doesn't feel heavy. Not sure just how much the Air Lift bags help; but I run them at 25-30 pounds full-time now. Seems to keep it more solid.
 

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My 2019 long, tall, 3.7, only rear glass, 250 van was 5538lb with a full tank of gas, no passengers before adding anything.

Near the end of my build I got weighed at approx 5k rear axle, 3k front axle.

My front/rear axle rating is 4130/5515 lb. The 350's rating is 4130/6000 lb. The only diff btwn a 350 long/tall and 250 is the 350 has an extra leaf in the rear and the recommended rear tire press jumps from 71 to 80 lb.

So I had a spring shop add 2 rear leafs and I run 80 lb in the rear tires. The rear ride height went back up just above stock w/ the added springs.

I think the takeaway is to watch your weight as it really adds up. If you have a large batt bank, Li really saves weight (200lb for 200AH usable power, 8% of a typical 2500 lb build). And be extra careful in a long/tall build as the weight behind the rear axle actually takes weight off the front axle and transfers it to the rear axle.

The biggest negative of being near/over an axle limit is on the tires. So I plan to be attentive to tire press and swap earlier than I'd do otherwise. Finally, if you are near/at an axle's rating, consider that the weight is prob not even between the wheels. That is, you might be over the rating of one tire on that axle.
 

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Seven sheets of 3/4 plywood 350 pounds, These were 2/3 or 3/4 of each sheet used, Everything is bolted together with 2 inch aluminum angle. The entire van is lined with 1/4 inch thick cedar planks, The suff is almost like Balsa wood in weight, Maybe 200 pounds with the stud wall it is mounted on. Agm batteries and inverter 300 pounds. 70 pound boat refrigerator. Well under 1,000 pounds.
Of course if you want a full conversion it may be another story in weight
Wood is warm and inviting, 8020 is cold and sterile.
80/20 does not have to be cold and sterile:

154367
 

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2019 Transit cargo, HR, 3.5 Eco, Quigley 4X4, 鈥淰andemic鈥
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After our Sportsmobile build, I stopped on my drive home from the factory and had the van weighed.

CAT Scales certified weight 9/28/2020 (2019 350 HR Eco 148鈥 WB, full H2O 23 g, full gas tank, 1/2 propane tank
Front axle 3829 lbs
Rear axle. 4940 lbs
Total. 8760 lbs
GVWR. 9500 lbs
CCC. 740 lbs
Equipment: platform bed, 360 AH Lithium batteries (90 lbs), Dometic rooftop AC (100 lbs)
ISOtherm refrigerator 4.5 cu ft, shower/cassette toilet, galley sink, cabinets, Lagun table, 2-115w Zamp solar panels, rear Aluminess bumper, rear spare and deluxe box.

I recently had Agile Offroad install new front and rear suspension ( B6 struts, Fox 2.0 shocks), Aluminess front bumper, Warn V12 winch and intercooler and rear differential skid plates.
Stopped at the CAT scales on my way back to Phoenix.

CAT Scales certified weight 5/14/2021 (full H2O 23 g, full gas tank, full propane tank)
Front axle: 4020 lbs
Rear axle: 4940 lbs
Total: 8960 lbs
GVWR: 9500 lbs
CCC: 540 lbs

Overall, we added 200 lbs to the van for the new equipment (all on the front end). We will have to be frugal on what additional gear we take along on our travels in the future.
I must say, the suspension upgrade made a huge difference in handling of the van at highway speeds, especially with tracking and wind forces. Very pleased with the result. We primarily upgraded for off road purposes, but can鈥檛 argue about the overall benefits.
FWIW (14.6-15.6 mpg (calculated) at 65 mph (cruise control) on recent cross-country trip, Phoenix =>Brooklyn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
My 2019 long, tall, 3.7, only rear glass, 250 van was 5538lb with a full tank of gas, no passengers before adding anything.

Near the end of my build I got weighed at approx 5k rear axle, 3k front axle.

My front/rear axle rating is 4130/5515 lb. The 350's rating is 4130/6000 lb. The only diff btwn a 350 long/tall and 250 is the 350 has an extra leaf in the rear and the recommended rear tire press jumps from 71 to 80 lb.

So I had a spring shop add 2 rear leafs and I run 80 lb in the rear tires. The rear ride height went back up just above stock w/ the added springs.

I think the takeaway is to watch your weight as it really adds up. If you have a large batt bank, Li really saves weight (200lb for 200AH usable power, 8% of a typical 2500 lb build). And be extra careful in a long/tall build as the weight behind the rear axle actually takes weight off the front axle and transfers it to the rear axle.

The biggest negative of being near/over an axle limit is on the tires. So I plan to be attentive to tire press and swap earlier than I'd do otherwise. Finally, if you are near/at an axle's rating, consider that the weight is prob not even between the wheels. That is, you might be over the rating of one tire on that axle.
Great input, @RVing . Super good to hear from someone else who's actually hit a scale. My theoretical would have been much lower before weighing - much as I suspect with others.

I like the idea of the extra leaf if I feel like that might be useful. I suspect the Air Lift is serving some of that purpose right now - it cleaned up the ride a bit and the ride-height a lot. And, oddly, I've been running 80 pounds and thinking I should drop it... didn't realize the 350 recommends 80. 馃槒

Also occurred to me (after reading all this) that I've got nearly the heaviest "cargo" possible from the start - AWD, power seats, large fuel tank, glass, all the goodies, etc. I really wish I'd weighed it stock / empty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
...

CAT Scales certified weight 5/14/2021 (full H2O 23 g, full gas tank, full propane tank)
Front axle: 4020 lbs
Rear axle: 4940 lbs
Total: 8960 lbs
GVWR: 9500 lbs
CCC: 540 lbs

Overall, we added 200 lbs to the van for the new equipment (all on the front end). We will have to be frugal on what additional gear we take along on our travels in the future.
I must say, the suspension upgrade made a huge difference in handling of the van at highway speeds, especially with tracking and wind forces. Very pleased with the result. We primarily upgraded for off road purposes, but can鈥檛 argue about the overall benefits.
FWIW (14.6-15.6 mpg (calculated) at 65 mph (cruise control) on recent cross-country trip, Phoenix =>Brooklyn.
@Scotty49 , thanks for sharing the actual weights. Again, sounds like the real-world ends up in this range.

You're getting slightly better fuel efficiency than we are (saw ~14.5 @ 72mph before getting back to heavy-footing it and going ~13.2 this last week) but that's probably AWD and the roof mess.

I wonder how the 2020 HD front axle compares to the upgrades you did. 馃
 

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2020 T350 EB AWD SRW HR EL
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80/20 does not have to be cold and sterile:

View attachment 154367
What are your panels though? Serious question: If they鈥檙e actual wood, what would this accomplish? So far I鈥檝e built almost everything out of 1/2 birch, frameless construction. walls and ceiling are 1/4鈥, and only used where visible. I think people definitely overuse the 3/4, i probably could have used none at all and been fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Let's argue over the best color instead. Or ice-cream flavor. :rolleyes:

Discussing it as a weight factor is one thing. Now it's the aesthetics. Next, we'll be talking theoretically about their crash-worthiness (again).

The look is a preference. I, for one, like the aluminum framing look. My son likes it (my co-builder). Our wives are indifferent. So... winning!
 

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What are your panels though? Serious question: If they鈥檙e actual wood, what would this accomplish? So far I鈥檝e built almost everything out of 1/2 birch, frameless construction. walls and ceiling are 1/4鈥, and only used where visible. I think people definitely overuse the 3/4, i probably could have used none at all and been fine.
The panels are 1/4" cherry inset in 1/8". Some are removable for access and others are fixed in place. The doors, table, seats and seat backs are 1/2" cherry.

Wood to me looks good and they serve the purpose. Nice to block the openings. The ceiling is very light 8mm twin wall polycarbonate. Same stuff they use on greenhouses. We all have different views of what looks good or does not look good. Build to your choices as I did. What purpose are the wood cabinets? :)

A major advantage of 80/20 is the ability to provide a strong connection between the cabinet and the floor as well as to the van walls. No structural plywood to shatter. The other major advantage is the ability to easily attach electrical cords and cables to the structure inside the cabinets. Only two cords in the wall or ceiling. 80/20 cabinets are open inside so no drilling holes for utilities.
 

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The panels are 1/4" cherry inset in 1/8". Some are removable for access and others are fixed in place. The doors, table, seats and seat backs are 1/2" cherry.

Wood to me looks good and they serve the purpose. Nice to block the openings. The ceiling is very light 8mm twin wall polycarbonate. Same stuff they use on greenhouses. We allhave different views of what looks good or does not look good. Build to your choices as I did. What purpose are the wood cabinets? :)

A major advantage of 80/20 is the ability to provide a strong connection between the cabinet and the floor as well as to the van walls. No structural plywood to shatter. The other major advantage is the ability to easily attach electrical cords and cables to the structure inside the cabinets. Only two cords in the wall or ceiling. 80/20 cabinets are open inside so no drilling holes for utilities.
I didn鈥檛 mean to be critical, it was a genuine curiosity. I stayed away from 8020 for fear of costs, but with the state of the lumber industry it might make sense today.
 

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I didn鈥檛 mean to be critical, it was a genuine curiosity. I stayed away from 8020 for fear of costs, but with the state of the lumber industry it might make sense today.
I did 80/20 in all cabinets except where I did custom Al welded stuff. 80/20 will be more expensive than wood alone. And likely heavier, but that depends. If I was to do it again, I'd make the front-most cabinet on both sides of the van out of 80/20 for crach worthiness and straight wood for the rest of the cabinets. That way I'd save cost and weight while providing a mechanism to keep stuff from coming fwd in a head-on crash.

Edit: I used 3/4 ply for cabinet doors and drawer fronts and 1/2" for fixed cabinet panels. I used the 3/4 to accomodate the standard cabinet hinges (blum). Were I to do it again, I'd use 1/2" for doors/drawers and either 1/2 or 1/4 for other cabinet panels and use a diff hinge type. I have a ton of drawers (8) and doors (5) thus the weight savings would add up.
 

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I did 80/20 in all cabinets except where I did custom Al welded stuff. 80/20 will be more expensive than wood alone. And likely heavier, but that depends. If I was to do it again, I'd make the front-most cabinet on both sides of the van out of 80/20 for crach worthiness and straight wood for the rest of the cabinets. That way I'd save cost and weight while providing a mechanism to keep stuff from coming fwd in a head-on crash.

Edit: I used 3/4 ply for cabinet doors and drawer fronts and 1/2" for fixed cabinet panels. I used the 3/4 to accomodate the standard cabinet hinges (blum). Were I to do it again, I'd use 1/2" for doors/drawers and either 1/2 or 1/4 for other cabinet panels and use a diff hinge type. I have a ton of drawers (8) and doors (5) thus the weight savings would add up.
That all sounds logical! I did the same for cabinet doors, kind of questioning that now, we shall see.
 
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