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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
"...mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently...”
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1. Guiding Plan
2. Initial Order and Purchase
3. Overall build - floor, insulation, 8020, templates, etc.
4. Bed - electric raise / lower plus 'couch mode'
5. Galley - oven, hot and cold water, fresh and gray storage, shower, and ESPRESSO!
6. Electrical - 8kWh 24V Victron spend-fest
7. Garage slider - the WHOLE garage slides out
8. Removable recirculating shower
9. Propane locker- 3030 framed enclosure, vented, sealed with tape
10. Roadmaster Active Suspension - decided to try something different from sway bar
11. Air Lift Load Lifter 5000 - raise / lower rear end by remote
12. Espar B4L-M2 Space Heater install - drop the fuel tank.. yikes! locating heater in rear
12b. Enclosing heater output and routing it to van center
13. Electrical - relay control and new UI panel (10/20/2021)
14. Window covers (first batch - from Van Essentials) (11/11/2021)
15. Comments on keeping the missus happy (Happy Wife = Happy Life)
16a. Ceiling install - full-length extrusions, white melamine, and front panel
16b. Ceiling sides and upper-wall panels - hardware-less install and clean look
17. Scopema swivels on power seats - driver and passenger
18. OMAC wheel well liners

Others (TBD):
  • Refrigerator cabinet / mount (over electrical cabinet)
  • 20-gallon under-chassis fresh-water tank (currently functional but still a lot to do)
  • On-board-air system - Viair 400P Automatic with 2.5-gallon tank

  • Wall panels - attaching with Duo Lock velcro connecting - panels pop off, invisible attaching
  • Bug screens for slider and rear - I've bought four but none seem right
  • Cellular amp - in use but not "installed"
  • Exterior lights - flood lights for camping and driving - still in the boxes
  • Sound-bar and sub for music in the rig - ultimately for movies as well

The intro post:

I'm gonna put up a thread since I keep thinking I should. I'm going to try to document (with photos and parts lists) the things we did that aren't the standard stuff. So not as much attention paid to insulation, floor, swivels or solar panels - plenty of that here and elsewhere. Maybe a little bit on the aluminum extrusion model, though that's got plenty of traction as well (aka 8020).

I'll link to each post for the key build topics. Nudge me if I screw up or miss or skip something.

I'll do the "reserved post" for the first few and then just do the others as I get around to it.

If anything looks interesting but I haven't done it yet, nudge me; that's more fun than working off of my own "to do" list.

Planned but not executed at all yet - help me figure these out!
  • Stereo upgrade - speakers and whatever... amps? DSP? don't know yet
  • Finish work to pretty up the walls and doors and window openings - really lost on this
  • Window covers - might just buy them if I can get over the price
  • Bedliner cover on exterior lower plastic panels and rockers
  • Wheel well liners
  • Roof rack fairing
  • Monitor / screen for watching movies in bed
  • Floor-based vent to pull more air - or keep using the windows cracked?
  • Front skid / bash plate
  • Add RPI for remote access / monitoring

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
"Guiding Plan" post

When I start a project, I start with goals / objectives / boundaries, etc. Some BS from business practices, I suspect - being on both sides of the coaching game, it seems the right way to do things. Failure to plan is planning to fail and all that. It reflects the business and athlete model of mission / vision / values as well, though I'm not a fan of those words, really.

Here's what was typed before anything else really happened (formatting odd because it's dumped directly from OneNote):

Project rules
  1. Focus on objectives first
  2. Plan from objectives
  3. Always ready to abandon plan if it's not meeting objectives or a better way to meet objectives is seen
  4. Expect to redo everything 3+ times. Never leave well enough alone; it was just an idea in the first place and only execution determines efficacy
  5. Adapt the plan to reality: any roadblock requires a full rethink
Drivers: Independence, Experiences, Adventure, Action/Activities, Comfort, Security, Challenge / Sense of Accomplishment

Part time home on wheels to enable and encourage travel adventures for our family.

Budget ~90-95K (now likely $100-115K)
Boondock RV / play vehicle / pickup truck
RV off-grid 2 people, 3-5 nights, 4 seasons
Option for 4 people, 2-3 nights, 3+ seasons

• Fuel
• Water
• Electricity
• Food
Capable on mild off-road and snow - Some kind of self-rescue options (store winch, tracks, ?)

Play toys - primary focus, hence major garage focus

• Bikes
• Snowboard / split-board
• Bouldering & Climbing
• Hiking / running / backpacking
• Surfing / SUP (inflatables)
• Computers / movies - internet and movie screen

Retail examples (mostly for use of space):
• Winnebago Revel
• Sportsmobile
• VanDoIt?

Large garage, optional toilet and shower, optional 4 seats
Can we get 4 or even 5 bikes in the back?
Move bikes or boards to bumper mount to allow 4 person adventure with lower bunk bed?

Is it worth having a non-engine air conditioning unit? We don't want to be sitting in the van in the heat of day; we should be driving to somewhere we can be active. Skip AC and find places cool enough to sleep. Drive away if it's too hot. (Note: rethinking this now with the crazy heat of 2021 summer)

Building on experience and lessons from the 2011 Sprinter 170 Passenger van.

• Bought in 2016 for $22K with 130K miles
• ~190K miles in 2020 - ~15K per year
• Used for camping, climbing, biking, surfing, and touring (and transport)
• Completely self contained (inside cabin)
Likes / keep / repeat
• Modular design - change layout and use
• Front package tray / shelf (no room)
• Legit queen size bed - standard mattress
• Garage slide shelf (much larger this time)
Dislikes / change / eliminate
• Press fit galley 1" aluminum -> 3030
• Smaller 8020 hard to work -> 3030
• Bed height difficult to change > motor driven height
Add / improve
• Storage shelves / cabinets above windows
• Electric raise / lower bed
• Larger garage slide (max size)
• Use 30mm 8020 for everything
• Consider mounting in undercarriage
○ Air compressor
○ Grey water - possible freeze problem?
○ Fresh water second tank?
○ Heater
○ Batteries - not good in cold

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
"Initial Order and Purchase" post

Initially planned to sell the Sprinter in March, 2019. It had some maintenance issue that left my son and daughter waiting for a repair instead of enjoying a trip and the missus said, "just order that new van you've been wanting to do." YUP! I'M IN!

She didn't want another diesel, so Sprinter was out. The Dodge did NOT look viable to me. So Transit. Except then we found out that there was to be an AWD version in 2020. Okay... then wait until I can order that.

When orders opened up, it was still messy as to exactly what /could/ be ordered and when it might be produced. Waited for it to settle. Finally ready to order in December, 2019. Actual order placed in early February, 2020. Then Covid.

Finally got delivery December of 2020. Sold the Sprinter for about $10K /more/ than we'd been offered in 2019. So that was nice.

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
"Overall Build - floor, insulation, 8020, templates, etc" post

Point of note: "we" in all this pretty much refers to me and my 23-year-old son. I was coming off a running injury as we started the van and he was not working due to the C19 situation. So we SERIOUSLY dove in and got it fully functional in a couple months. This is also part of why the photos are spotty: we were both simultaneously working on two different things - often from morning until late at night - and I'd forget to get photos. Heck, I'd forget to eat. :rolleyes:

<Adding notes from a PM discussion regarding parts>

We stuck with metric for everything. Everything in the van is currently metric; so we just stuck with it. And since we're using 30mm aluminum extrusions, these use 6mm bolts for most attachments, so... 6mm is ideal.

We used 6mm Rivnuts in the factory holes (or drilled holes if we needed) that the 1/2 plywood attached to. Using the Astro tool to install (had it already from the Sprinter build).

The "corner brackets" that attach to the plywood are attached to 6mm hammer-in t-nuts on the back. Or if we had a spot we couldn't get one in correctly (cabinet doors, for example -- too shallow), we use these other type of 6mm t-nuts.

All the 3030 connections are using the same corner brackets or the "internal corner brackets" depending what seemed best for making things solid. Prices for those brackets run from $1-2 each and we used many hundreds of them. I'd have to do a count on how many... a LOT. But I'd rather pay that than all the work to cut them up; there's plenty of things we had to make on our own... glad we didn't need to do these as well. Of course, all those standard brackets require t-nuts and bolts - hundreds and hundreds of those.

The side upper and lower panels shown below are a good / simple example - the bolts holding it to the wall are using riv-nuts in whatever holes available. The brackets are connected to those hammer-in t-nuts in the back. Locations for those t-nuts are chosen as locations where there's no metal right behind them to make noise.

<back to the original post>

The floor - simple stuff that's been done many times elsewhere:

1/2" EPS in the valleys
1" Polyiso on top of that
3/4" Baltic birch on top of that.

A bit of 3M 77 to hold the EPS in place and a bit more before the Polyiso but not much. Expecting the aluminum sides to hold most in place and the mounted modules (bed, electrical / fridge, galley, etc) to hold the rest down. Came out great - no noises at all.

Immediately moved to test-building galley and bed. Resulted in changing shape of both after seeing the mock-ups in the rig.

Engineering Wood Machine Technology Flooring

Vehicle Building Gas Engineering Machine

Ended up removing the 1" Polyiso in the back when we mounted the garage slider - wouldn't have bolted in solid otherwise. Wasted time and money there. 😄

Carved out portions of the Polyiso to route the plumbing and electrical later. Anticipated doing that. It worked out great.

Insulation - 1" Polyiso on all large surfaces (roof), Reflectix (because we had a roll left over from the Sprinter) and 1" Thinsulate on everything. You can see the Polyiso behind the 1/2" ply on the roof here - as well as the layer under the floor.

Automotive design Building Lighting Interior design Floor

The plan was to frame the lower section of the van (to the "belt-line" below the windows) with 30mm extruded aluminum so that later modules would all bolt to it. The aluminum framing would be isolated from the metal body with 1/2" baltic birch plywood.

Part of the thinking on this (aside from any other method of isolating for thermal transfer) was that we found the convenient locations for bolting / riv-nuts on the Sprinter weren't always ideal for whatever we bolted them to. This model would attach the ply where convenient, then attach the aluminum where we wanted it.

In (my head) theory, the bolting to the wall should be strong in the way that a very small nail can hold up a heavy painting when pulled on the side - not straight out. That's my theory and I built around it. Might be totally wrong. I have zero qualifications for most things I do.

Similar on the upper section - knowing that we planned to mount cabinets up there.

Automotive tire Building Tire Motor vehicle Engineering

Property Building Light Wheel Window

The plywood in this early setup got trimmed WAY down as we decided how to use it. Lots of theory got tested and thrown out. We reminded ourselves that everything would be done 3+ times and we'd unbolt it all and go back to the table-saw.

Motor vehicle Interior design Building Wood Vehicle

The roof came out great (by our standards). Simple white panels, very little visible mounting bits.

Light Fixture Lighting Car Motor vehicle

Here's a shot of what's up in there. The Thinsulate sits on top of the 1/4" melamine MDF and creates pressure - no noises / squeaks.
Hood Aircraft Gesture Automotive tire Aerospace manufacturer

Upper wall and ceiling rails extend to the front of the rig.

Photograph Hood Wood Automotive exterior Bumper

Finally got the front weird-shape panel worked out. Still need to fix those blobs somehow.

Hood Motor vehicle Vehicle Wood Bumper

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
"Bed - electric raise / lower plus 'couch mode'" post

Parts list is pretty simple:
Four Leg Standing Desk Lift from Firgelli - ~$850
30 mm Square Hollow T-slot aluminum from McMasterCarr - $42 per 10' - ~10 sticks = ~$420
30 x 60 mm Square Hollow T-slot aluminum from McMasterCarr - $51 per 6' - ~4 sticks = ~$200
Bunches of connectors and nuts and bolts - $200?

Straight to videos and photos.

The raise / lower function

Couch mode

Up high
Motor vehicle Vehicle Fixture Truck Engineering

Down low
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A bit of build details

The four legs are only connected at the floor. They have beefy bases with a single bolt up the middle of them (M12, IIRC), which comes through the 1/4" aluminum mount plates.

We cut aluminum plates to the largest size we could without getting in the way of the slider and the rest of the garage. That meant only two bolts on the front legs and three on the rear. They are M8s bolted all the way through the floor (with 3/4" ply on top of the floor) to plates on the bottom and nylon lock nuts.

Front mounts
Wood Urban design Composite material Flooring Engineering

Rear mounts
Wood Flooring Floor Wood stain Door

This photo is a little busy (taken while installing the slider) but you can see the four legs installed without the top on them.
Composite material Engineering Gas Wood Machine

Here's looking at the top (bed surface) from below (facing the front of the van / foot of the bed)
Wood Beam Architecture Building Line

And here's looking the other way (rear of the van / head of the bed) before the actuators were installed
Wood Line Building material Beam Composite material

The top with no mattress. The rail is essential to hold the mattress on when doing "couch mode" - the rail at the foot is split because climbing down into the middle /over/ said rail was not good. But if no couch mode, no need for the head / back rails.

Also no need for the side-rails to be so sturdy - that's mostly because it has to stick out the back to carry the couch-mode setup.
Car Hood Vehicle Motor vehicle Fixture

Actuators actuated
Wood Building Floor Composite material Beam

Hood Motor vehicle Automotive tire Wood Automotive exterior

Some notes:

Overall project notes:
  • Queen-sized bed that raises and lowers - ideally with multiple positions
  • Goal to increase garage height while easily returning to low bed / good visibility
  • Ideally little-to-no blocking of windows or visible mechanical systems
  • Also add an inclining "couch-back" mode to the bed for sitting up

• Considered purchasing a pre-made unit
• MOAB - ~$4K for manual raise/lower​
• Happijac lifting frame - ~$2300 for the lifting - still need platform​
• Both need rails up the walls on both sides - not good with windows​
• Considered linear actuators
• Stroke length is slightly less than base - 3' base = < 6' extended​
• Requires a path for the bed to slide on - not inherently stable - lots of work​
• Need Hall-effect actuators to have accurate positioning​
• Four Hall-effect lifters and a 4-way controller is more expensive than expected​
• Linear motion slides looked good - as much distance as the slide with no limits
• But then there's "rails" across the windows or something like that​
• And most seem to target horizontal, not vertical orientation​
• Same Hall-effect / controller / cost issues​
• Considered raise-lower straps (like Winnebago Revel)
• Still need controller rails like the linear slides - and some solid stop points​
• 4-leg "conference room table" lifter setup - with hall-effect lifters and controller
• If we can make it sturdy enough, that'll work great​
• Love the 4-memory-settings option​
• Only ~$800 for the lifters and controller together​

• The legs are HEAVY and the mounts that came with them were heavy as well
• Good and bad - seem really, really solid; but add an extra 100 pounds​
• Got rid of all the other mounts, used just the legs and made aluminum mounts
• Initially made angle-aluminum cross-bars for each pair then re-mounted to meet space•
• Head of our bed has angle-aluminum cross-members - un-necessary if no "couch mode"

Bed frame and surface
• 30mm extruded aluminum frame​
○ 3060 around all 4 sides for strength and minor mattress-holding​
○ 3030 cross-bars every ~9" or so - still bend but not much (good for bed)​
• 1/4" plywood surface bolted to the cross-bars with MANY bolts​
Head of bed
• The head has to be narrower to fit the queen-sized mattress into the doorway​
• No 3060 side-mounts in the head section - no sides for the mattress, basically​
Leg mounting
• 1/4" aluminum plates bolted to the bottom of each leg​
• Bolts through aluminum plates, 3/4" ply, and van floor with nylock nuts under van​
• Plastic spacers / washers for thermal isolation​

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Reserved for "Galley - removable propane and electric cooking including oven, hot and cold water, fresh and gray storage, shower, and ESPRESSO!" post

Galley is currently "not complete" but here's a couple photos of the current state.

The panels are all mounted with Duo-Lock Velcro. Just pop them off to service / maintain everything. The frame, of course, carries everything and the panels are just finishing.

To do list:
  • replace the top (this was a 1/2" ply test cut that's been in place for months now)
  • get a door on the espresso / sliders opening
  • decide whether to keep the current switches or make nice ones

Inside view - propane stove and oven, induction cooktop, sink, espresso, storage drawer:
Bumper Gas Kitchen appliance Automotive exterior Machine

Back - 18-gallon fresh water fill, shower, 13-gallon gray water drain, electrical:
Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive design

Lift up the induction cooktop to service the water-heater and some plumbing:
(I really need to get that final countertop cut - this thing is ugly)
Electrical wiring Gas Computer hardware Cable Technology

Pop a panel off to service more plumbing (stuck on with DuoLock Velcro):
Electrical wiring Gas Major appliance Machine Electronic device

First mock-up of bed and galley with 1x2 structures. Realized the originally planned galley size - 56x24 - was too large. Redesigned down to 51x21.
Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire Hood Automotive exterior

Another early shot. Galley is in the garage being built. Bed has it's first take at upper frame in place (final version was three iterations later) and fridge box is built. Note there is no electronics installed yet - which later fill the space under the fridge. One of the benefits of the modular approach. Also note the blue tape on the floor to mark planned locations for the slider and electronics and the galley. Building as we got parts in whatever order suited.
Building Engineering Machine Room City

Basic frame of the galley built. Just enough to hold the key parts to assure they're generally going to work. The sink hadn't arrived, so part of the fan was serving as a place-holder for the sink. This layout worked. So back to the garage to flesh it out further. Notable is that the electrical was being started at the same time / day this went in. And the roof rack came next. Then back to the galley. Just working on whatever made sense at the time - and however the distribution of duties fit best.
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First temporary countertop cut, stove mounted on sides, sink installed. Layout didn't quite work - induction location not good and not enough room for the faucet. Chucked the top and cut another one.
Engineering Gas Machine Composite material Metal

New top re-cut. Everything installed. Water working (gotta find or take photos of that). And working on how to do panels. These just didn't look very good. Meanwhile, electrical is installed - you can see wires just under the bed going over to the galley.
Composite material Gas Engineering Machine Metal

Thought I'd throw one in showing how the table acts as a counter-top extension. Good for extra cooking / prep space.
Plant Table Motor vehicle Automotive tire Outdoor furniture

The changes after this were mostly just getting panels that worked. After dropping a bolt on the induction stove and breaking the glass, replaced it with a new one that fits and looks better. Then adding the outdoor shower off the back of the galley and getting valves set to connect to the upcoming shower - which will be fed from the pump and fresh and hot water in the galley.

The finished photos are the first ones in this post. The velcro attached method for the panels worked out beautifully - aesthetics are good and function is great. Function first, form second for us, so... nailed it.

I'll pull all the panels and get some photos of the plumbing and electrical setup.

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Electrical - 8kWh 24V Victron spend-fest
(broken links fixed 2021/12/13)
(diagram added 2022/07/07)

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A recent-ish photo of the whole kit-and-caboodle with the fridge and seat/shower modules removed. Clearly some cable re-route cleanup needed. I swear it WAS clean for a while... then more things got installed. :rolleyes:
Wood Gas Automotive exterior Asphalt Machine

Initial install was just the truck-side power. We used it for a couple short trips. CCP2 2/0 cable to 150A circuit breaker (was 120A in this photo); CCP1 1/0 (or #2?) to 50A circuit breaker; 4/0 ground bar to B-pillar D-ring hole. Then from 150A breaker back to 2.2kW inverter with #2. In this photo, we were using the inverter as our sole AC and CCP1 / 50A as our "house" 12V setup - hence the fuse block where it is. As in the above photo, the fuse block moved later to the back with primary feed off house batteries and secondary (through A/B switch) to this 50A / CCP1 source.
Electrical wiring Bumper Gas Engineering Machine

Automotive tire Bumper Gas Hood Automotive wheel system

Hood Automotive tire Automotive exterior Bumper Vehicle door

Initial layout of the house electrical system. Still a bit of the tape left that marked were we /thought/ things would go. In this shot, the anchor for the batteries is built - but not nearly as secure or complete as it will get. Cool feature on these batteries: 300A fuse and an on/off switch built into the batteries. Two less things for me to do. One plus/minus is that they use Anderson 175A connectors for the wiring. That's why the batteries have to be off-set - that hole in the bottom of the back battery is where the wiring goes. It worked out great, but seemed a bit annoying at first. You can see two photos down how the wires on the near battery wrapped /around/ the rail - and that's why the rail is off the deck - has to be to allow clearance for the connector and wires.
Urban design Gas Machine Composite material Stadium

Meanwhile... while I'm building the house electrical in the van, my son has built the frame for the solar panels and it's ready for mounting. So we use all our rock-climbing / rigging skills and figure out how to get this stupid thing up on the roof - on top of our rack we'd built. Once it's up there, he's busy cabling and mounting it and I'm back to the internals.
Sky Cloud Plant Vehicle Car

By the end of the day, it looks like this. It's all up and running but not all the 12V loads are set up. The AC is just a cut-off extension cord hanging out the back - half for the out-bound (inverting) side, and the other half as the in-bound (charging) side, which is connected by a short extension cord to the Giandel inverter. Not pictured... well, I'll use a different photo for that.
Water Circuit component Electrical wiring Hardware programmer Electricity

This photo is a bit later - wiring is cleaned up a bit. If you look closely down in that hole of wires, there's a fuse/bus-bar on the left side (info later in post) and on the right, a ground bus-bar. The narrow blue box is the 24VDC>12VDC converter - which then goes to the 12V fuse panel. There's the two fuses for the solar feed in the middle, MPPT controller, then the Cerbo unit all the way in top-right.

The AC connectors in the Multiplus go to the outer two connectors here. The middle one (as labeled) is from the truck inverter (alternator powered). That's a 1-foot cord connecting the truck inverter to the house charger (right port - AC input plug). We don't do much shore-charging; but if we want to, we unplug that right one and plug in an extension cord (run it through the window) and we're up. Left side is the GFCI off the Multiplus inverter; all other outlets are chained off that GFCI. If something were wrong with the Multiplus inverter, just use the truck plug right there. Didn't bother to put a switch for the rest of the outlets to feed over.
Gas Auto part Font Cable Machine

A little closer view of the fuse panel, battery circuit breaker, and DC source switch. 200A breaker at 24V = 4.8kW (actually more like 5.4kW with lithium ~27V standard full charge) = more than enough power at full pull. The switch decides whether that 12V fuse panel is fed by the Victron 24VDC>12VCD unit or from the truck's CCP1 always-on feed. Considering replacing the fuse panel with a breaker panel (already bought it) but also considering how many loads I'd still /want/ a fuse on for safety reasons. 🤔
Circuit component Electronic component Gas Electrical wiring Electronic device

Truck-side electrical - charges house batteries and is backup for 120VAC and 12VDC:
* Van has dual-alternators - plenty of power at idle for ~2kW output​
* Van has dual batteries - solid backup that we can (and did) operate from​
* 2.2kW Inverter connected to CCP2 via 150A circuit breaker​
* CCP1 feeds backup 12V via 50A circuit breaker (A/B switch for 12V house fuse panel)​

House electrical:
Victron SmartShunt 500A
Victron Cerbo GX with GX Touch 50
Cabling is mostly Windy Nation flexible cable - pretty nice stuff to work with​
Terminal lugs are also mostly Windy Nation - seem pretty good when done right​
4 x Rich Solar 200W 24V panels on the roof​

First rig we built we were more focused on the electrical. It seemed like a big deal. Everyone made it sound like a big deal. We had three HUGE batteries that occupied a lot of the garage space (~4.5kWh usable). And a big "electrical board" like so many do. This time, it wasn't even a priority; it's the electrical - we'll get it done when we get the parts and take the time. It was a day to do the truck side and another day to do the house side. Funny how that goes once you've done it a couple times and it feels comfortable.

This rig, the electrical is all hidden away - except the cool touchscreen control. Eventually, none of the guts will be visible (yes, there's adequate cooling / venting - or I'm pretty sure there is). But - function over form - we haven't gotten to all the cover panels yet.

Central focus for any boondock setup is the batteries (RVs and trailers are sometimes "shore power" focused so batteries are less of an issue). Everything else is optional and dependent on needs. It is possible to function off the stock truck battery (we did for two months) but the battery is central. Everything else is just the "gozintas" and the "gozoutas" for the batteries.​
Battery choice matters: how many, what kind, what layout, what voltage. I see many folks focus on the solar or the DC-DC or whatever... and frequently insist that "I'm staying 12V on everything to keep it simple." Which is hogwash, ultimately. I love the example of the MaxxAir fans dying because they're hooked up to a LiFePO4 "12V" battery. Yeah... 12V isn't 12V. The truck battery is FLA/AGM and their 12V is lower than most LFP "12V." I'm not going into the details (plenty of places to read about that); but it's true. And I say, "most," because there are also some all-in-one (please don't call them "solar generators" 😄) that actually run a lower-voltage setup for their LFP - another long story. So... why does that matter? Because as the power usage / demands / storage goes up, it's "more efficient" to use higher voltage setups. Again... not going into it here - plenty of posts and discussions on that.​
All that to say... battery setup is 24V. Inverter/charger is 24VDC (and 120VAC). Solar is set up 24V and delivers to charge the batteries at 24V(-ish). Fridge is 24VDC. There's a DC-DC unit to drop back to 12V for those things that need it.​

Solar Charging:
800W - all set up for "tilting" but we're not going to do it now - alternator charging is plenty​
(more later)​
Alternator Charging:
CCP1 goes to 50A circuit breaker, then to the A/B 12V switch (see below)​
CCP2 goes to 150A circuit breaker, then to Giandel 2.2kW inverter​
Giandel inverter goes to a wall-outlet that has a short plug directly to the 15A input​

AC Power System(s):
GFCI outlet connected with other outlets around the rig​

DC Power System(s):
24VDC bus-bar with integrated fuses. Terminals connect to:​
2 batteries co-terminate (through main 200A breaker / switch first)​
Inverter / Charger​
Solar Controller​
DC-DC 24V>12V (and 24V connection to refrigerator)​
Output of this goes to the below 12V Fuse Panel​
12V fridge connection (backup to 24V)​
Multiple 12V "power point" outlets​

Cerbo GX:
Man, this thing is super cool. Especially for not having to DO anything to get it to work.​
(more later)​

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
"Garage slider - the WHOLE garage slides out" post

Last rig, we built a slide-out tray with full-extension heavy-duty sliders, a plywood base, and angle aluminum frame and /packed/ three bikes onto it, usually. It worked fine for snow season as well - full load of boards and gear slid right out the back to gear up. Going into the design on this rig, it was, "that was awesome; but what if the WHOLE garage slides out?"

Started out looking to make a large version of the previous tray. Then came across truck-bed slides. Re-evaluated the costs on some LARGE heavy-duty sliders and suddenly paying $1000 for a ready-to-go slide-out tray seemed reasonablle. Purchased from Slide-Master: 76" x 50" aluminum with 70% extension, 1000 pounds weight limit. Just over a grand delivered. Didn't go full-extension because it would have made it another inch-plus taller. 70% extension has been fine.

The slider comes with a bare aluminum frame. We cut and disassembled the previously installed floor in the back, removed the polyiso insulation - leaving just the 1/2" EPS and the 3/4" plywood - and bolted all the way through the floor with 6mm and 8mm bolts with large washers and nylon lock nuts on the bottom. Then put a 3/4" top on the tray. Then (finally got around to it) routed grooves to counter-sink the L-Track and added a sturdy rubber mat.

The left-side rail works well for having something to lash things against. So far, doesn't seem necessary on the right side.

We have loaded it with crap for a dump run. It's done a couple track weekends with the street bike. It's regularly used for 3-4 sport trips with up to four bikes and all other sorts of gear. The slide-out function makes it really nice to load and unload - especially with climbing and snowboarding gear on one side and bikes on the other - you're actually loading/unloading from the side / 3/4 angle.

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Last trip, my son wanted to get more bed height, so we compressed the forks as well. Seemed to work fine.
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Track weekend:
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Two-person, two-sport:
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Three sports (there's snowboards in there as well):
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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looking forward to your build. Sounds fantastic.
Mostly already built. Just gotta get the posting going. Hopefully, some of it proves helpful / inspirational.
I've certainly garnered a LOT of help and inspiration here. 🤗

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
"Removable recirculating shower" module post
Updating the post with progress - shower module is complete, recirculation is still not addressed

The shower module is based on a 21 x 35 shower pan with a lower sump section and a higher section for the toilet to mount. It's tight inside; but we're small people. The module can be removed with some gymnastic difficulty by rotating and tilting then sliding it out the slider. It was a single-person job when it was just a frame; but it's harder to handle with the panels on - a 2-person job now.

Walls are corrugated Lexan panels - very light and seem strong enough... plus they're slightly opaque but keep everything looking light and open. I tried a couple methods but ended up cutting them with a utility knife and a straight edge; then eventually moved back to a jigsaw but with a metal-cutting blade. A bit tedious; but the best result - with just the right blade speed it doesn't melt the plastic.

The upper Lexan panels surround the top of the shower (keep the water in) and are held on with Dual Lock velcro. They need to be removed to move the module in/out, so dual-lock was the best setup there; there's a bit of puzzle-fit as well - using a notch in one to hold the other in place.

Shower head has a quick-release and is shared between the inside removable shower and the outside one (on the back of the galley in the slider area).

Worth noting that adhesives stick VERY well to the Lexan panels. It was a bit rough when I screwed up installing panels and had to re-do the adhesives. Retractable RV Shower Door is held on with double-stick tape as well.

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Lexan panels are held on with clear 1/2" VHB tape. Stuff is amazing. But a beast to work with in some ways.
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In the upper left corner above, you can see the two mixers for water supply. The bottom mixer is for hot and cold water, it then goes into the upper mixer, which can mix the fresh water supply with recirculated water (eventually - when I get that all working). The dual-mixer setup is zip-tied onto the aluminum framing so it's sturdy but not noisy and not putting any strain on the Lexan panel. I'll probably need to add some neoprene cushion as well.

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Underneath the module, the drain goes to an electric 2-way valve. One way goes to the 1" drain line which exits through the bottom of the van. It is joined by the over-flow drain before exit. Hopeful plan is to dial the pumping for recirculating to maintain the level between the bottom and top drains; anticipating the pump will be plenty strong and it'll be an issue of dialing that mixer correctly. 🤞
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I need to move the pump over a bit and connect it to the other side of the drain valve. Originally, I was going to have the filters before the pump... but I don't like the siphon mess that creates. I'll take a chance with the pump, just use the pre-filter, then push the water into two more filters before running up to the recirc mixer. The filters will mount on the side of the shower behind the driver - just above the pump in this photo. That should allow them to be visible and serviceable - significant issues, I think. The pre-filter should be visible and serviceable from the front of the shower.

Here's the hot and cold water lines routed from the galley over to behind the driver's seat. The third blue line is the output from the under-mounted 20-gallon tank, which feeds to a hose-bib valve near the slider door. Right next to that blue line is the 1" through-hull fitting for the drain from the shower.
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Here's the lines routed up through the wall behind where the galley sits. I'll get a photo of how they're currently terminated shortly - need to remove the galley to repair the power slider door. The one is now terminated at the hose-bib accessible by the slider, the hot and cold are now terminated at inlets that are connected to the galley hot and cold lines.
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Other side of those lines are these two valves to connect the shower.
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The top of those lines feed the dual-mixer manifold for the shower. The open slot you see here is where the recirculated water will be fed / mixed back in. These lines are just kept exposed but they're behind the driver's seat and not very noticeable.
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Next steps - first get it totally functional without recirculation:
1. Get the drain working - I think I need to re-do the lines to get them to line up with the hole in the floor
2. Connect the hot and cold water (attach valves to the feed lines, run lines from mixer to lower part of the module, connect hoses between them)

3. Water-proof all the corners (using knock-off Flex Seal tape)
4. Make the top splash panels and fit them

It's fully functional now but without recirc. Next, back to the recirculation:
1. Move the pump over and connect to the drain diverter valve
2. Mount the two filters on the side of the module and plumb them down to the pump and up to the mixer.
3. Get the valve electronics working - initially with a switch, then with a switch AND notification light

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2017 350 XL HD passenger
805 Posts
Preview of "Removable recirculating shower" module.

The structure is built and it is removable as-is. Only the drain plumbing is complete - including the 2-way valve for redirecting recirc / drain - and the pump. But that leaves a LOT of work. Undecided on the wall material. Leaning toward Lexan panels then cover them with some other interior look. Still unclear how to finish the top. Might need to be removable panels in order to get the module in and out - then install the panels inside and somehow assure water-proof-ness? 😏

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I mean a removable shower is crazy talk :) Do you even need a top/ceiling?

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I mean a removable shower is crazy talk :) Do you even need a top/ceiling?
I don't plan to have a top/ceiling on it... but I think I need the walls to go pretty close to the ceiling - to keep water from getting ALL over the place. And I prefer that it not be a curtain or something like that. This goes in for a 2-person adventure; then it should seem "permanent" for that trip. It's still a work in progress... hard to say... 🤔

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How about a retractable plastic shade or the nautilus shower doors but just for the ceiling. That would make it super removable and keep most of the splash within the shower area
Man... that would be cool... could be... but I haven't even been able to figure out how to do a retractable window covering yet. :LOL:

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2017 350 XL HD passenger
805 Posts
Man... that would be cool... could be... but I haven't even been able to figure out how to do a retractable window covering yet. :LOL:
Yeah I was up that creek a few months ago. I figured I was better off with buttons, velcro and just rolling them up and down manually.

My plan was to use a 12v shade motor and then make a nice housing to store a rolled up shade. I then thought the entire project through, calculated costs and decided to KISS the problem (keep it simple stupid).

But actually, you could easily just make or have made a custom shade at specific width/height and just use the shade clutch to do the shower ceiling. I'm sure you could roll up some sort of waterproof vinyl material...I mean you dont' need very much. You could have it slide into the slots of your 80/20 for use as a guide/track.

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
4,432 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
... You could have it slide into the slots of your 80/20 for use as a guide/track.
This is sort of what I'd like to do. I don't mind manual for the shades; but I have "pockets" below the windows that I had /hoped/ to be able to drop / fold shades down into. Not a great photo, but if you look just below the windows, there's a 2-3 inch wide area that I'm still hoping to find a way to have shades fold down into. It's all along both sides.

I'm open to any ideas. Best I've got so far is a piece of "Warm Window" fabric to see if I can encourage it to fold down into there. But I'm not hopeful on that. Considered that it might need more firm pieces stitched into fabric - like using Reflectix or something like that - and in 2" battens. But that's probably beyond my ability to make it look even half decent.

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What sort of filtration are you planning on for the recirc shower? Seems like a combo of the 5 micron 10" carbon cartridge filter plus a UV light would do the trick but we'll see. And are you going to be running the filtered water back through your hot water heater or how do you plan to keep it warm? I have a surecal calorifier (aka hot water heater that uses engine coolant to heat the hot water) so I'm thinking of running the shower water through a multi-plate heat exchanger that's also hooked into the calorifier's coolant loop to warm the water but the devil's in the details as I'd like to be able to just maintain a certain shower water temp so I'd have to have a couple of temp sensors and some 'smarts' to control the coolant pump to try to maintain that temp. The other option is to just have a 1 or 2 gallon hot water heater dedicated to the shower and just have it set to maintain the temp you want...
Still thinking about this one 🤣
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