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2021 Cargo T350 EL High roof AWD Ecoboost
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!

Yesterday I took delivery of a new 2021 High Roof extended length AWD cargo van, after waiting patiently since placing my order in mid December last year. All in all it seems like I got lucky and everything went according to the expected schedule, and so far it seems like the vehicle works, nothing is missing, broken or unfinished. I will probably learn that this is not the case over the next few weeks based on the stories I have been reading here, but for now I am keeping my fingers crossed that Ford got it right with this one.
It has the ecoboost engine, dual alternators (bleh, unclear if this was a wise decision), as well as all safety-related options (BLIS, front/rear cameras, parking sensors, etc...).

I'm going to be fairly busy over the next couple of weeks so unfortunately won't get to build too much, but I am going to use this thread to post updates for whoever might be interested. The major build components I am planning on are (off the top of my head, I am probably forgetting all sorts of stuff):
  • A queen size bed
  • Narrow slider windows on the rear, above the bed
  • An awning-style window on the sliding door
  • 20 gal over-the-wheel well fresh water tank
  • Under-mounted gray water tank
  • Some form of hot water heater. Currently leaning towards Isotemp mounted under the van. I got the aux heater prep package so I am hoping hooking that up would be easy.
  • An air heater - still on the fence about which one. Espar is nice because I like not having multiple types of fuel, but it seems unreliable. Cheap Chinese diesel heaters are essentially disposable and generally work okay (I used one in my previous Sprinter build and had no issues with it) but it would require a Diesel tank. A propane heater seems like the most pleasant to use (no maintenance and the quietest) but that would require dealing with Propane which I am not excited about. If I do go that route then I will also use it for hot water, I suppose...
  • ~13kWh of LiFePo4. I have ordered 16x272AH cells and will be building a 24v battery pack using those.
  • CuriseNComfort air-conditioner. An annoyingly expensive component, but seems like people who have them like them and the installation does not require dealing with flexible refrigerant lines or giving up roof space
  • A microwave, induction cook and electric kettle
  • An 8020 roof rack with 600-900W of solar
  • The usual Maxxair 7500 fan
  • A 4.2 cu ft (I think?) Vitrifrigo fridge.
  • For insulation I am going to do what I did in the Sprinter - RMax 1" polyiso panels + Thinsulate SM600L in the walls and ceiling, and the pink foam panels under the floor.
  • A shower with a bathroom inside it. I went back and forth on this (and will probably continue to do so until I have to make a decision) but I like the appeal of not having to do any work to take a shower.
  • Probably a bunch of other stuff I am forgetting...

My intended usage for this thing is mostly few day trips, festivals, and the occasional longer road-trip. I tend to prefer hot weather so will probably not spend too much time around freezing temperatures.

Here's the new toy:
151774


This is the current layout plan, still very much a work in progress:
151775


151776


I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to contribute to this forum. It has been in invaluable source of information and inspiration, and I am grateful that it exists.

Cheers!
 

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2021 Cargo T350 EL High roof AWD Ecoboost
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Where do you going to sit to eat dinner when raining?
It might not be clear from the rendering, but half of the bed rests on two benches, and there will be a Lagun table mounted between them. Here is a rendering with the bed folded in, exposing the benches:
151779


Additionally, I will be installing a swivel on the passenger seat with an option to mount a Lagun table in that area as well.

The reason I went with this type of bed is because I am allergic to making the bed and dealing with sheets. I am planning on using this mattress which I used in my previous build and liked. By pushing it backwards it folds in, with the sheet in place (and the blankets/pillows can rest on top, or to the side of it).

Open to other suggestions if anyone has them!
 

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Hi!

Yesterday I took delivery of a new 2021 High Roof extended length AWD cargo van, after waiting patiently since placing my order in mid December last year. All in all it seems like I got lucky and everything went according to the expected schedule, and so far it seems like the vehicle works, nothing is missing, broken or unfinished. I will probably learn that this is not the case over the next few weeks based on the stories I have been reading here, but for now I am keeping my fingers crossed that Ford got it right with this one.
It has the ecoboost engine, dual alternators (bleh, unclear if this was a wise decision), as well as all safety-related options (BLIS, front/rear cameras, parking sensors, etc...).

I'm going to be fairly busy over the next couple of weeks so unfortunately won't get to build too much, but I am going to use this thread to post updates for whoever might be interested. The major build components I am planning on are (off the top of my head, I am probably forgetting all sorts of stuff):
  • A queen size bed
  • Narrow slider windows on the rear, above the bed
  • An awning-style window on the sliding door
  • 20 gal over-the-wheel well fresh water tank
  • Under-mounted gray water tank
  • Some form of hot water heater. Currently leaning towards Isotemp mounted under the van. I got the aux heater prep package so I am hoping hooking that up would be easy.
  • An air heater - still on the fence about which one. Espar is nice because I like not having multiple types of fuel, but it seems unreliable. Cheap Chinese diesel heaters are essentially disposable and generally work okay (I used one in my previous Sprinter build and had no issues with it) but it would require a Diesel tank. A propane heater seems like the most pleasant to use (no maintenance and the quietest) but that would require dealing with Propane which I am not excited about. If I do go that route then I will also use it for hot water, I suppose...
  • ~13kWh of LiFePo4. I have ordered 16x272AH cells and will be building a 24v battery pack using those.
  • CuriseNComfort air-conditioner. An annoyingly expensive component, but seems like people who have them like them and the installation does not require dealing with flexible refrigerant lines or giving up roof space
  • A microwave, induction cook and electric kettle
  • An 8020 roof rack with 600-900W of solar
  • The usual Maxxair 7500 fan
  • A 4.2 cu ft (I think?) Vitrifrigo fridge.
  • For insulation I am going to do what I did in the Sprinter - RMax 1" polyiso panels + Thinsulate SM600L in the walls and ceiling, and the pink foam panels under the floor.
  • A shower with a bathroom inside it. I went back and forth on this (and will probably continue to do so until I have to make a decision) but I like the appeal of not having to do any work to take a shower.
  • Probably a bunch of other stuff I am forgetting...

My intended usage for this thing is mostly few day trips, festivals, and the occasional longer road-trip. I tend to prefer hot weather so will probably not spend too much time around freezing temperatures.

Here's the new toy:
View attachment 151774

This is the current layout plan, still very much a work in progress:
View attachment 151775

View attachment 151776

I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to contribute to this forum. It has been in invaluable source of information and inspiration, and I am grateful that it exists.

Cheers!
Looking forward to seeing your build! Document that homegrown battery.

Cheers.
 

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2021 Cargo T350 EL High roof AWD Ecoboost
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And some photos of the empty inside:
151780

151781

151782


That box is the heavy duty scuff plate - apparently that is how it comes, which I actually think is good for me since I would've had to remove it anyway for the floor installation. I haven't opened the box yet but I hope that this would be useful to trim the edges of the floor.

I think the first task I would be starting with is applying some Noico sound deadening material. I recall that made quite the difference in the Sprinter and made the ride more pleasant. I am thinking of then cutting the Thinsulate in big chunks (one for each side wall, one for the ceiling) and trying to temporarily hold it with some magnets. That should make the van more pleasant to work in while I proceed to continue planning, verifying measurements, figuring out what options I have for mounting things under the van, sizing the roof rack, and a million other tasks that involve staring at the empty box and thinking about what to do, how to do it and what is the correct order.
 

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2020 T350 EB SRW AWD HR EL
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Looking forward to seeing your build! Document that homegrown battery.

Cheers.
Wanted to know what BMS will be used.
I have never ordered anything from Alibaba and been spoiled by Amazon for the last 10+ years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wanted to know what BMS will be used.
I have never ordered anything from Alibaba and been spoiled by Amazon for the last 10+ years.
I am going to go with the REC Q BMS. It integrates well with the Victron equipment I'm going to be using, and seems like a reputable brand. Unfortunately it comes at a big premium compared to the generic Alibaba BMSs. I do recommend looking into ordering from Alibaba/Aliexpress especially when you're not in a rush to get your items. Many times the same stuff is available on Amazon but at a higher price.
 

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Thanks for the answer.

I have too much on my plate, I am not in rush.
I have been looking at a few companies in Shenzhen City, like Basen Technology and Mushang Electronics. These companies have been around for more than 5 years which translates to 20 years in American companies. Alternatively, I will just order a pair of 206 AH SOK. but DIY is always my passion.

As for BMS, I was looking at Will Prowse's type BMS. He tends to be on the cheap side. 🙃
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the answer.

I have too much on my plate, I am not in rush.
I have been looking at a few companies in Shenzhen City, like Basen Technology and Mushang Electronics. These companies have been around for more than 5 years which translates to 20 years in American companies. Alternatively, I will just order a pair of 206 AH SOK. but DIY is always my passion.

As for BMS, I was looking at Will Prowse's type BMS. He tends to be on the cheap side. 🙃
Lots of good information on his forum (DIY LiFePO4 Battery Banks). I believe my cells are also coming from Basen or some similar supplier - I went with some group purchase that someone on that forum is organizing. Unfortunately it has moving very slowly so unclear when will anything ship. I think I'll give it a few more weeks and if it hasn't been shipped by then I will order directly from one of the suppliers.
 

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  • Some form of hot water heater. Currently leaning towards Isotemp mounted under the van. I got the aux heater prep package so I am hoping hooking that up would be easy.
  • An air heater - still on the fence about which one. Espar is nice because I like not having multiple types of fuel, but it seems unreliable. Cheap Chinese diesel heaters are essentially disposable and generally work okay (I used one in my previous Sprinter build and had no issues with it) but it would require a Diesel tank. A propane heater seems like the most pleasant to use (no maintenance and the quietest) but that would require dealing with Propane which I am not excited about. If I do go that route then I will also use it for hot water, I suppose...
I'm interested in your under-van isotemp install as I have roughly the same plan. I'm a little nervous about getting one of these units to fit under there, but that would be most ideal. I'm planning to take it a step further and skip the air heater and use a hydronic coil instead (basically like the rixen system). I have a gasoline powered coolant heater as well so it'll be complex unfortunately...
I also rolled my own battery. Bought from Dongguan Lighting New Energy on Alibaba and it went great. I got 8 EVE 280Ah cells. Fedex dropped them off on 3/23 and I placed the alibaba order on 1/28 so it took just under two months for the boat ride, customs, last mile, etc. I did a capacity test and they all exceeded 280 Ah by a decent margin (I shut the test down at about 288-290 Ah and the cells were still at about 3v). I went with the overkill solar BMS.

Congrats! She's a beauty!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm interested in your under-van isotemp install as I have roughly the same plan. I'm a little nervous about getting one of these units to fit under there, but that would be most ideal. I'm planning to take it a step further and skip the air heater and use a hydronic coil instead (basically like the rixen system). I have a gasoline powered coolant heater as well so it'll be complex unfortunately...
I also rolled my own battery. Bought from Dongguan Lighting New Energy on Alibaba and it went great. I got 8 EVE 280Ah cells. Fedex dropped them off on 3/23 and I placed the alibaba order on 1/28 so it took just under two months for the boat ride, customs, last mile, etc. I did a capacity test and they all exceeded 280 Ah by a decent margin (I shut the test down at about 288-290 Ah and the cells were still at about 3v). I went with the overkill solar BMS.

Congrats! She's a beauty!
I've been debating trying to do a Rixen-like system or just go with Rixen. There is a price jump between Isotemp + Espar/Webasto air heater to full-on Rixen but it is in the order of ~$2k I think. Not unreasonable for a well-engineered system that people seem to like.

Nice to hear you had a good experience with Dongguan Lighting New Energy. I've seen the name mentioned on diysolarforum. What made you pick them over the others?
 

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I've been debating trying to do a Rixen-like system or just go with Rixen. There is a price jump between Isotemp + Espar/Webasto air heater to full-on Rixen but it is in the order of ~$2k I think. Not unreasonable for a well-engineered system that people seem to like.
The thing I don't like about Rixen (aside from the cost) is it doesn't seem to have that much storage (the comfort hot expansion/shore power heater looks pretty small). So I think you'd be leaning on the espar more. With the isotemp (I actually will end up using a surecal from heatso, but same thing for the most part) I get several gallons of "free" hot water that the engine heats up for me as well as having the backup option on shore power and then the coolant heater will also be there as a last resort to keep hot water up to temp... but it's complex.

Nice to hear you had a good experience with Dongguan Lighting New Energy. I've seen the name mentioned on diysolarforum. What made you pick them over the others?
I had seen enough good reviews of them that they were one of the companies I contacted and they ended up being really responsive and good to work with so I went for it with them. And it worked out great. I'd probably recommend the Lishen group buy on DIY solar if you're squeamish about buying directly on Alibaba though - that seems like a pretty safe option.
 

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Ordered 12/16/2020 R3U AWD Adventure Pkg. No VIN or any news from Ford ford since..
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And some photos of the empty inside:
View attachment 151780
View attachment 151781
View attachment 151782

That box is the heavy duty scuff plate - apparently that is how it comes, which I actually think is good for me since I would've had to remove it anyway for the floor installation.
I spent the last several months thinking that the scuff played was underneath the van to prevent damage if you're driving on rough terrain... Is it simply an indoor plate for walking on top of? Does anybody have a good picture of that?

Your van looks awesome and I'm definitely envious! Wishing I had ordered black rims. It's a really stylish look.
 

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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Welcome. Sounds like a fun project!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The thing I don't like about Rixen (aside from the cost) is it doesn't seem to have that much storage (the comfort hot expansion/shore power heater looks pretty small). So I think you'd be leaning on the espar more. With the isotemp (I actually will end up using a surecal from heatso, but same thing for the most part) I get several gallons of "free" hot water that the engine heats up for me as well as having the backup option on shore power and then the coolant heater will also be there as a last resort to keep hot water up to temp... but it's complex.
You're right about the tradeoff of a smaller hot water storage tank. I think that if I am able to fit an Isotemp or equivalent under the vehicle then having the extra hot water would be nice. Since I like to go to hot places I have mixed feelings about having a large hot bulb inside the van, and the Rixen allows you to avoid that.

I had seen enough good reviews of them that they were one of the companies I contacted and they ended up being really responsive and good to work with so I went for it with them. And it worked out great. I'd probably recommend the Lishen group buy on DIY solar if you're squeamish about buying directly on Alibaba though - that seems like a pretty safe option.
Thanks for the information! I have placed an order with Michael who's doing that group buy. The thing that is most appealing to me in that arrangement is that it appears he stands behind whatever ends up being delivered, so if I get cells that don't measure to their rated capacity, or that are in poor physical condition, I think he will make it right. Unfortunately I placed the order during the Chinese new year holiday and due to delays caused by that nothing has shipped yet, more than two months since placing the order. I don't need the cells yet so I am going to give it more time but if things don't start moving in the next few weeks then I will have to reconsider and probably order directly from one of the suppliers.

I spent the last several months thinking that the scuff played was underneath the van to prevent damage if you're driving on rough terrain... Is it simply an indoor plate for walking on top of? Does anybody have a good picture of that?

Your van looks awesome and I'm definitely envious! Wishing I had ordered black rims. It's a really stylish look.
Its an indoor trim piece for the sliding door entrance and the rear doors. If I remember next time I am at my workshop I will take a photo of what came inside the box. I took a quick look at it today and was surprised that it appears to be made out of steel. I thought it would be some rugged plastic. It's heavy.

Thank you! The black rims do look nice. I wasn't sure if I was going to like them but I do and I'm happy I got them. Maybe you'll be able to find a forum member that doesn't like theirs and will be willing to sell for a reasonable price.

Welcome. Sounds like a fun project!
Thanks! I will try to remind myself that it should be fun while I chug along the initial not-very-exciting tasks like sound deadening and insulation.

My evening plans got cancelled today so I managed to do some work on the van. After moving all the packages that have accumulated at my house over the last few weeks to the workshop, I mounted some work lights in the van and began applying Noico 80mil sound deadening material. A long and not very pleasant task but it made a huge difference in the Sprinter.

151794


151795
 

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LOL. Initially said, "welcome," on mobile. Now I see who it is... you've already been around a while! :)
 
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