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My wife and I ordered our Transit 01/28/2021, and I have spent months researching and designing what we want our van to be. Sadly, our delivery date has been pushed from 04/22 to 06/03 currently. Fingers crossed.

Some info - this is full live-in. My wife and I want a four-season, capable van. We plan to do some weather chasing as we are not cold-climate people folk. We plan to see CONUS, Canada and Alaska in the next few years. We are outdoor lovers and this van will see dirt, access and fire roads, and extended off-grid camping. For this reason, we chose the standard 148" wheelbase, AWD with the 3.5L ecoboost. We are short people, so we're lucky enough to make the bed sideways to save much space. Longitudinal bed length is 48".

I am an aircraft mechanic by trade, so I will be completing 99% of the conversion myself, less some fabrication.

Here are the specs I've come to:

VAN ORDERED 01/28/2021: 2021 148" Long, AWD, Ecoboost, Abyss Gray
  • Black wheels
  • Body matched front bumper
  • 3.73 LS
  • Black cloth with vinyl floors
  • 8" touch screen
  • 6 speakers
  • Fog lamps
  • Wheel well liners
  • Overhead shelf
  • Maintenance monitor
  • Split front / rear cameras
  • Rear doors and sliding door glass
  • Modified wiring
  • BLIS
  • HD scuff plates
  • Reverse sensing
  • Dual batteries
  • Dual alternators
  • Extended range fuel tank
  • 253 degree doors
  • AUX fuse panel
  • Side sensing
  • Large center console
  • 110V power outlet
  • Upfitter package

EXTERIOR / SUSPENSION / RECOVERY:
  • Custom roof rack and side ladder, very similar to Remora's in Canada, but longer to accommodate 600W of solar as well as a roof tent that is currently on my Tacoma.
  • BFG KO2 (245/75R16)
  • Maxxtrax
  • Van compass winch mount at a later date.
  • Van compass lift with Falcon remote reservoir shocks and some front strut in the future.
  • Eventually I'd like to have a rear tire carrier and lock box, but that will have to come at a later date.


ELECTRICAL:
  • 400 Ah lithium batteries (4x 100Ah from Battle Born)
  • Victron 3000W inverter/charger
  • 600W solar (3x Renogy 200W panels)
  • Victron 150/60 solar charge controller
  • Victron Orion DC-DC charger
  • Shore power
  • Centralized distribution center box
  • Victron Lynx distributor
  • Various AC outlets

STRUCTURE / CABINETS:
  • All 15-series 8020 with wood-faced cabinetry

WATER / AMENITIES:
  • Insulation: undecided
  • Full shower (24" x 36")
  • Nature's Head removable toilet (taken out when we shower)
  • Trying for 40 gallons of fresh water, we'll see
  • Water filtration: undecided
  • Maxxair Fan 6200K
  • Webasto Airtop 2000 STC
  • Cruise N' Comfort VES 12L
  • Isotemp SPA 20L
  • Combo microwave oven


I'm sure that some things are forgotten or left out, but I will continue to update this page as I go.
 

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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Welcome!
 

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2021 AWD 148" HR 3.5L EcoBoost Avalanche Grey
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Welcome! I'm doing a similar build with a similar timeline. Excited to trade tips on 8020. Have you looked at the AirHead toilet? I decided on that over the Nature's Head. By 148" Long do you mean Extended? If not, that looks like a lot to fit on your roof!
 

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on order: 2021, 350 148" cargo van, extended, high roof, AWD, ecoboost, abyss grey
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Welcome!!

I have a similar build, too! 2021 148" Extended, AWD, Ecoboost, Abyss Gray. Also for full-time living.

But I'm looking at BigBattery.com instead of Battle Born, and looking at the trucking 12v air conditioning system instead of Cruise N' Comfort. I'm also just stretched to the limit$ with my build, so if it's no big deal for ya, then well, I'm jealous hahaha.

Also, wondering where your thoughts are with the dual alternators and the lithium battery bank? I got confused by all the threads on here about their output capacity and if the dual alternators could charge them up properly. But if you have that much solar, then the DC-DC charger will charge them in between and ya won't need to worry about anything.
 

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2021 cargo 350awd 148WB, HR, LB ordered!
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Similar builds as well! I’ve ordered a 2021 350awd long. Curious as to what you could need fabricated out? My fathers an AME as well and besides wielding I’m making him help me with all other technical aspects.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Welcome! I'm doing a similar build with a similar timeline. Excited to trade tips on 8020. Have you looked at the AirHead toilet? I decided on that over the Nature's Head. By 148" Long do you mean Extended? If not, that looks like a lot to fit on your roof!
I haven't heard of it, but I'll look into it. We are using the regular 148". It's a lot, but my math shows it'll fit! With the amount of off-roading we want to do, we just don't see the extended suiting our needs. We'd love the extra space, but it would really take away from some things we want to do.

Welcome!!

I have a similar build, too! 2021 148" Extended, AWD, Ecoboost, Abyss Gray. Also for full-time living.

But I'm looking at BigBattery.com instead of Battle Born, and looking at the trucking 12v air conditioning system instead of Cruise N' Comfort. I'm also just stretched to the limit$ with my build, so if it's no big deal for ya, then well, I'm jealous hahaha.

Also, wondering where your thoughts are with the dual alternators and the lithium battery bank? I got confused by all the threads on here about their output capacity and if the dual alternators could charge them up properly. But if you have that much solar, then the DC-DC charger will charge them in between and ya won't need to worry about anything.
We were able to score a good deal on some Battle Borns by taking advantage of some discounts and we've already got our batteries in. It was our first purchase for the van.

As for the dual alternators and batteries, I haven't seen the discussions you're speaking of. I'll have to do some more research. The dual AGM starting batteries will remain isolated from the house lithium batteries. Is there an issue with DC-DC charging with the dual alternator setup? I'm not looking for DC-DC charging to be our main source of charging our lithium batteries, more of an added bonus as well as a backup.

Similar builds as well! I’ve ordered a 2021 350awd long. Curious as to what you could need fabricated out? My fathers an AME as well and besides wielding I’m making him help me with all other technical aspects.
Ah so you don't have the extended either? Seems rare to have a regular 148" for full time, but it'll suit our priorities the best. The only fabrication will be some cradles for the water tanks and the roof rack. There are some racks out there like the one from Remora in Canada, but it's not quite long enough and definitely not tall enough to clear our Maxxair fan and allow for our solar and roof tent. I could probably do these projects on my own, but the tooling is expensive and I'm not quite the professional when it comes to fabrication, I have little experience in that sector. I'm very much a perfectionist, so I'm gunning for a very high quality build. I'd rather trust a professional for those projects.
 

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Welcome to the madness :) Looks like a pretty solid plan for the intended use. My only comment would be on adding a winch. My plan was to do so, because we go off road extensively and often push the envelope. I never got round to adding one and came to the conclusion that you really need to be travelling with other vehicles to get the most out of a winch or to attempt stuff where a winch is a prerequisite. To date I have never got stuck. Decent tires 4WD and/or AWD (with TC off) seems to be more than enough. We do carry max track knock-offs, a big shovel, a farm jack, straps etc but fingers crossed - in 20,000 miles they have remained unused apart from training drills (yes I'm that anal lol).

Apart form cost, the big potential downsides of a winch kit are - lots of additional weight out in front of the axle, reduced approach angle and blockage of airflow to the stupidly located intercooler. The latter is a big concern for me as the IC location and size is a bit marginal in high heat conditions (as in crawling 4,000ft up Saline Valley Rd. at 25MPH in 4x4 on a 105F day).
 
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2021 cargo 350awd 148WB, HR, LB ordered!
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Ah so you don't have the extended either? Seems rare to have a regular 148" for full time, but it'll suit our priorities the best. The only fabrication will be some cradles for the water tanks and the roof rack. There are some racks out there like the one from Remora in Canada, but it's not quite long enough and definitely not tall enough to clear our Maxxair fan and allow for our solar and roof tent. I could probably do these projects on my own, but the tooling is expensive and I'm not quite the professional when it comes to fabrication, I have little experience in that sector. I'm very much a perfectionist, so I'm gunning for a very high quality build. I'd rather trust a professional for those projects.
I’ll be building my own roof rack out of 80/20 which I find is the best option if you’re looking to maximize rooftop size. All my inside framing will be out of 80/20 as well to keep it professional. Pro tip for high quality builds is to always have a cooler full of beer handy so that electrician friend or wielder friend hangs out long enough to get into the project too haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I’ll be building my own roof rack out of 80/20 which I find is the best option if you’re looking to maximize rooftop size. All my inside framing will be out of 80/20 as well to keep it professional. Pro tip for high quality builds is to always have a cooler full of beer handy so that electrician friend or wielder friend hangs out long enough to get into the project too haha.
We explored the 8020 route, but we love the look of the Prinsu roof rack on my truck and essentially want to recreate that look for the Transit. I second that on the beer, I've build several hot rods drinking Yuengling - I ought to be sponsored by now!
 

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I love the Pro-Tip SeaWeed! Good thought and a **** of a good idea. Good luck with the build BigBlue should be great.
 

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Welcome to the madness :) Looks like a pretty solid plan for the intended use. My only comment would be on adding a winch. My plan was to do so, because we go off road extensively and often push the envelope. I never got round to adding one and came to the conclusion that you really need to be travelling with other vehicles to get the most out of a winch or to attempt stuff where a winch is a prerequisite. To date I have never got stuck. Decent tires 4WD and/or AWD (with TC off) seems to be more than enough. We do carry max track knock-offs, a big shovel, a farm jack, straps etc but fingers crossed - in 20,000 miles they have remained unused apart from training drills (yes I'm that anal lol).

Apart form cost, the big potential downsides of a winch kit are - lots of additional weight out in front of the axle, reduced approach angle and blockage of airflow to the stupidly located intercooler. The latter is a big concern for me as the IC location and size is a bit marginal in high heat conditions (as in crawling 4,000ft up Saline Valley Rd. at 25MPH in 4x4 on a 105F day).
You sound a lot like me. I'll be adding the Van Compass bumper winch later on, but for now I will use my better judgement and not take chances.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Welcome!!

I have a similar build, too! 2021 148" Extended, AWD, Ecoboost, Abyss Gray. Also for full-time living.

But I'm looking at BigBattery.com instead of Battle Born, and looking at the trucking 12v air conditioning system instead of Cruise N' Comfort. I'm also just stretched to the limit$ with my build, so if it's no big deal for ya, then well, I'm jealous hahaha.

Also, wondering where your thoughts are with the dual alternators and the lithium battery bank? I got confused by all the threads on here about their output capacity and if the dual alternators could charge them up properly. But if you have that much solar, then the DC-DC charger will charge them in between and ya won't need to worry about anything.
What trucking AC system are you referring to?
 

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2021 Ford Transit AWD High Roof EcoBoost
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Out of curiosity, what magic layout have ya found for 600W (aggregated panel(s)) of solar + a Maxxfan on a 148" Long roof?
 

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We are just a couple months ahead of you. Our suggestion is to start ordering everything ASAP, because a lot of these products are backordered for the same reason the vans are coming out slow - supply chain delays and popularity! We are still waiting for a few items we ordered in January.
 

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2021 cargo 350awd 148WB, HR, LB ordered!
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We are just a couple months ahead of you. Our suggestion is to start ordering everything ASAP, because a lot of these products are backordered for the same reason the vans are coming out slow - supply chain delays and popularity! We are still waiting for a few items we ordered in January.
What items are you still waiting on? Which would be the biggest delay. My only huge lead time that I know of is my 80/20 anodized will take 2-3 months to arrive but I think that’s still going to beat the van
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Out of curiosity, what magic layout have ya found for 600W (aggregated panel(s)) of solar + a Maxxfan on a 148" Long roof?
The tent and the 3 200W panels will fit on top of the rack. I'm kind of designing the rack dimensions around it. The Top 8020 bars of the rack will fit over the MaxxAir fan, so the top bars of the rack will be ~6" above the roof. Imagine a Remora or AVG roof rack, just taller and a tad longer with a larger wind deflector.

We are just a couple months ahead of you. Our suggestion is to start ordering everything ASAP, because a lot of these products are backordered for the same reason the vans are coming out slow - supply chain delays and popularity! We are still waiting for a few items we ordered in January.
We plan on doing that! I'm monitoring wait times for items and trying to plan accordingly. What are you still waiting on and where did you order it?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What items are you still waiting on? Which would be the biggest delay. My only huge lead time that I know of is my 80/20 anodized will take 2-3 months to arrive but I think that’s still going to beat the van
Where are you getting your 8020 from? By anodized do you mean black anodized?
 

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2021 cargo 350awd 148WB, HR, LB ordered!
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Yes anodized black. I’m getting it from Rocky Mountain motion control in Abbotsford Canada, they are close enough I can drive to them and pick it up so I save a few hundred on shipping. Just takes a long time to arrive apparently. They also won’t accept products with imperfections from their distributors which is nice because the black anodized commonly gets scuffed and scratched during transports.
 
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