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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone, I have been wanting to build an adventure van for a number of years and my wife and I finally pulled the trigger!

Skadi is a 148" WB, high roof, extended cargo van that we got for a good deal in excellent shape. 21,000 miles on a 2015 with no rust (other than very minor surface rust underneath). It has the 3.7L gas engine and the 350 package.

The plan for Skadi is to deck her out to sleep four, and handle heavy winter conditions. We are backpack campers by background, so we are not planning for a ton of amenities. We are going to include a small amount of water, and a composting toilet, but no shower, built in oven or cooktop, etc.

Here is the current plan (based partially on http://www.thismovinghouse.co.uk/). The rear partitioned room will have separate ventilation and be used as a drying area for stinky gear (snowboarding boots, outerwear, etc.)



Here she is in all her glory!





 

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As fellow hikers and backpackers, may I suggest you would get good use of a shower system that doesn’t require dedicated space or plumbing. Trailheads don’t come with showers, and it’s grand to get the stink off.

See my build blog for details. msnomersvan.wordpress.com
 

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Looks like a great layout. Be sure to give yourselves plenty of headroom over the bed, especially with an East-West oriented bed, it can get a bit claustrophobic.

I also strongly recommend a N-S bed because if one of you gets up in the middle of the night, you won’t have to climb over each other. Not a big deal on a weekend trip, but on longer trips it gets real old.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
36" bench seat install on ford transit extended

First project was to put in the bench seat. I purchased a 36" reclining bench that I purchased from cvcandmore on eBay. I got the seat in the matching color to my intior for $593 shipped to my door. It was in brand new condition and even came with the mounting hardware.

These are the steps I took on the install:

1. Rough position the seat. I wanted enough leg room for adults to comfortably ride, but to also maximize the available cabin space. We ended up just eyeballing it.


2. Marked the rough position on the wall, then pulled up the flooring, and repositioned the becnh on the steel floor.


3. I quick peek under the van and some very rough measuring told me I most definitely needed to drop the gas tank. That is a very easy process which I easily completed on my own in a couple minutes. It is just 6 bolts, and the tank connections have more than enough flexibility for the tank to rest comfortably on the ground. I took the fuel level down to 1-2 gallons in anticipation that I might need to drop the tank. When empty it is quite light and easy to manage.



4. With the tank dropped and the bench positioned, I found some rivnuts that were already installed through the floor and used them for reference points. I measured from the rivnuts top and bottom and used the brackets to find a location I was comfortable with. I ended up having to move the bench an inch forward and about 3/4" into the center of the van from our original rough positioned. In this picture, you can see the rivnut in the lower left (I put a piece of wire through, just to be 100% positive I was referencing from the right spot). In this picture, right is toward the front of the van, and down is toward the driver side.


5. Time to measure, mark, center punch and drill. I drilled pilots, and as you can see below, my brackets did not fit with my initial measurements! Time to move the measurements and try again. I drilled with twist bits in stages, the finished with a step bit to the size of the bolts (no wiggle room).


6. Prime and paint all the holes. I dried the paint with a hairdrier to speed things up. Once dry, I applied a bead of Vulkem caulk. I have been very impressed with this sealant in our Wisconsin weather and it holds up forever in the worst conditions. WIth everything dry and the caulk in place, we popped in the bolts and washers, and installed the bench. I was really happy with the accuracy and tolerance of my holes. The caulk sealed and slightly squeezed out and I believe I have a good sealing situation for rust purposes.


7. Crawl back under the van, install the brackets and tighten the bolts. You can see int he below photo that the rear passenger side bolt have no bracket. The frame member there is wider (above the gas tank) and the positioning was not possible with where we wanted the seat. I opted to forgo the bracket in favor of cutting away the framing. I used red threadlocker and tightened the bejeezus out of the bolts.


8. After the bolts were in, I sprayed everything underneath with rubberized underbody coating (and failed to take a picture).

9. Reinstall the gas tank. This took an extra set of hands to align everything, but was otherwise quite easy.

The project was a success and took me 4 hours total from pulling out tools, to showered and ready to hang out with the family. We put it to use right away!
 

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Do you have any plans to install a house battery system? Just wondering where it would go.

And what are the "kid beds"? Are they caves?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The utilities are going to go under the passenger side of the bed. I am planning for LiIon batteries. I plan to make the bed platform removable for access to the utilities. So battery, funace, controllers, and that stuff will go under the bed. I am leaning toward a propane system and the locker would be in the kitchen, along with water.

If you check out thismovinghouse.co.uk you will see better views of how the beds work. They are basically boat style sleeping berths. So you can sit up in them, but your legs extend into a reduced height coffin. That is what allows for four beds stacked in that amount of space. They are big enough to sleep an adult. In fact, the driver side kids bed will be the longest sleeping area, so if we have a tall friend come out with us some time they can sleep in there.
 

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Thanks for the pics of the seat install.

I am likely to do a similar install in the coming weeks, at least of the brackets so that I can put the seat in if I want it. Unfortunately I already have my subfloor in place so it is going to be an interesting time finding the location and routing out the boards. I'll likely have to drop the tank and work from the outside in with the brackets... fun.
 

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Thanks for the pics of the seat install.

I am likely to do a similar install in the coming weeks, at least of the brackets so that I can put the seat in if I want it. Unfortunately I already have my subfloor in place so it is going to be an interesting time finding the location and routing out the boards. I'll likely have to drop the tank and work from the outside in with the brackets... fun.
Extremely strong rare earth magnet and a ball bearing on the other side to line stuff up, top and bottom?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
36 sq ft Noico sound deadener installed

The weekends project was installing 36 square feet of 80mil Noico sound deadener. It cost $65 from amazon and I figured it was worth a shot at improving the acoustic quality of the van. Install took about 2 hours to add panels to each panel above the lower framing and the wheel wells.

Initial thoughts are that it does make a noticeable improvement. The "rattle" of the van is pretty much completely gone now. 36 sq ft is definitely not overkill, but I feel like I got out of the project what I hoped to. Rain is very noticeably less loud inside.
 

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Wait till you put thinsulate in... The rattle trap basically had no effect compared to a full layer of thinsulate. My van is like driving a luxury sedan now... Maybe even better than my current daily Audi S5

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well... the van is stuck for the first time. I live out in a rural area on a farm property with a gravel drive. My wife did not want to back the van down our long drive and just figured she would Y-turn it around. We have about 2+ feet of topsoil and it has been raining for a week. Instantly sunk in, and was made worse by her attempts to rev out.

Time to order some MaxxTrax and a tow strap for the van. They get here Sunday...

Oh well, I just received my Tern Overland 550x900 dual pane window. So that is the project to start this weekend!!! And hopefully we get some dry weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
MaxxTrax recovery boards worked, but it was still super stuck. I wore down the spikes pretty bad at one end of the MaxxTrax. Skadi is out, but it was a costly mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I can confirm the stock tires from 2015 are hot garbage in snow. Just ordered a winter set:

BRIDGESTONE - BLIZZAK LT - 245/75R16 - Style: Blackwall - Load Range: E - Serv. Desc: 120/116R

I paid $782.60 at tire rack.

I think they should look pretty close to stock to keep my stealth appearance. I'll post some photos on Monday when they get mounted.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
New tires are looking good!
130509


Not a ton of clearance, but they clear by about 1/2 inch on the front at the closest point when turned...
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Here is a close-up of the front
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And the back
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As you can see, I have already done some snow and ice testing. Night and day difference compared to the stock tires. I am very happy with the purchase so far.
 

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May be just as well getting new tires. Stock 2015 tires are close to 5 years old and my not be safe anymore. They dry rot just sitting in a garage but worse if in sun and weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, I am ready to cut a hole in the van and put this window in, but my timing is awful. The 3M 5200 sealant/adhesive I intend to use for the framing requires 50ºF for 7 days to cure properly... and Wisconsin won't provide that until April. So now my search begins for a heated garage space that I can fit my van into for a week... dang it.
 
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