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Very nice.

That is essentially the same setup / color that I have had in mind. Unsure about cargo vs crew but that is a minor difference.

I keep wondering if there is a way to combine the functions of the shower and sink together to save space.
 

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@eranrund Sweet looking van! I really like the layout. If I went with the EL I would definitely go with the extending bed over dinette approach you have taken. If you have not already seen it, Humble Road has a video where he goes over some of the dinette layout issues and considerations that you might find helpful. My plan is to have the bed extend over my galley countertops. The bed will only be as long as needed to fit our bikes as to maximize day use space. The trifold mattress you posted looks promising. Did you sleep N-S, that is perpendicular to the folds, in your last van? If so I would assume that you did not find the seam under your torso uncomfortable? I am wrestling with a lot of the same choices you have. I don't want to hijack your thread any further, so I will DM you about a few things. I get the desire for a permanent shower but I will throw out what I am planning for a shower/toilet/space behind the drives seat.

I keep wondering if there is a way to combine the functions of the shower and sink together to save space.
I have a 148" non EL and with a similar extending N-S rear be planned, so no dinette in day mode, the bed will extend over the galley countertop in sleep mode. Therefore I have installed swivels on both seats (2 travelling in the van) as our only seating. There will be about 2' of clearance between the drivers seat and the galley for legroom. To better utilize that space the toilet will slide out from the side of the galley into that space. I am going to try and fit the sink in the counter above the toilet. I may also try to raise the slide for the toilet a few inches off of the floor so that a shower pan can fit below it. Then that area could also be used as a shower. As an aside, I am also going to see if a three panel cab partition that would fold against the wall in that area is possible within the space constraint (and my skillset :rolleyes:)
 

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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Haha, no worries. You could say I officially joined once I got the van 🙃
I heard that. I never did an intro post. Didn't notice it at first and never got my stuff gathered together... a bit late now. 😏
 

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2021 Cargo T350 EL High roof AWD Ecoboost
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
What size magnets are you using to hold up your insulation in the interim? This is going to be my plan too during my build
I have no idea. I randomly ordered some Neodymium magnets off Amazon that I thought were reasonably sized but I believe they are too small. Will need to try and find bigger ones. I'm not 100% sure this is a practical solution because of the material thickness but maybe there is a reasonably sized magnet that is not too scary or impossible to get off if it attaches directly to the metal but is still strong enough to clamp the Thinsulate.

@eranrund Sweet looking van! I really like the layout. If I went with the EL I would definitely go with the extending bed over dinette approach you have taken. If you have not already seen it, Humble Road has a video where he goes over some of the dinette layout issues and considerations that you might find helpful. My plan is to have the bed extend over my galley countertops. The bed will only be as long as needed to fit our bikes as to maximize day use space. The trifold mattress you posted looks promising. Did you sleep N-S, that is perpendicular to the folds, in your last van? If so I would assume that you did not find the seam under your torso uncomfortable? I am wrestling with a lot of the same choices you have. I don't want to hijack your thread any further, so I will DM you about a few things. I get the desire for a permanent shower but I will throw out what I am planning for a shower/toilet/space behind the drives seat.
Thank you! I will look for the Humble Road video. I have a watched a bunch of his videos and gotten a lot of value out of them. I slept N-S (or rear -> forward), with the mattress seams going side-to-side in the previous build and that is the plan for this one as well. The way the mattress is constructed results in having one seam facing up and one seam facing down. You only sink into the one that is facing down, so I made sure to orient the mattress such that this seam is towards my legs. It has not been a problem at all. Feel free to DM and good luck with your build!

I have a 148" non EL and with a similar extending N-S rear be planned, so no dinette in day mode, the bed will extend over the galley countertop in sleep mode. Therefore I have installed swivels on both seats (2 travelling in the van) as our only seating. There will be about 2' of clearance between the drivers seat and the galley for legroom. To better utilize that space the toilet will slide out from the side of the galley into that space. I am going to try and fit the sink in the counter above the toilet. I may also try to raise the slide for the toilet a few inches off of the floor so that a shower pan can fit below it. Then that area could also be used as a shower. As an aside, I am also going to see if a three panel cab partition that would fold against the wall in that area is possible within the space constraint (and my skillset :rolleyes:)
That sounds like a good layout - I have seen similar ones and they seem to work well. I believe I would've went with something similar if I didn't have the extra length of the EL model. Part of my thinking around the full-sized shower is that I am hoping it would make it easier for me to add some kind of sliding+folding partition. Since the shower will permanently block about a third of the width, I will only need to figure out a way to have something that can slide and extend for the remaining two thirds. I'd like a partition to hopefully provide insulation from the front cabin and make running the AC a tiny bit more practical. Another advantage of it is I am going to try and over-engineer the driver-seat facing wall such that ideally in case of a bad accident it would prevent stuff flying towards the front from hitting me.

For people wanting a shower without giving it the dedicated space I have seen an interesting design recently, where a custom made pan was recessed into the floor and a curtain such as Accessories was used. It's more work to use it but that is always going to be the tradeoff.
 

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I have no idea. I randomly ordered some Neodymium magnets off Amazon that I thought were reasonably sized but I believe they are too small. Will need to try and find bigger ones. I'm not 100% sure this is a practical solution because of the material thickness but maybe there is a reasonably sized magnet that is not too scary or impossible to get off if it attaches directly to the metal but is still strong enough to clamp the Thinsulate.
I have not worked with thinulate so FWIW, maybe for your temp install you could put the scrim side against the wall and pull away a small bit of it away from the insulation to make a pocket for the magnet?
I am going to try and over-engineer the driver-seat facing wall such that ideally in case of a bad accident it would prevent stuff flying towards the front from hitting me.
That is a great idea. A lot of the van builds I see scare the heck out of me. I hope to build/attach the structures is such that the partition will not need to stop big stuff, but will still try to make it as strong as I am practically able to. Every bit helps. Have you developed any plans for the construction of the folding part of the partition?
 

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2021 Cargo T350 EL High roof AWD Ecoboost
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I have not worked with thinulate so FWIW, maybe for your temp install you could put the scrim side against the wall and pull away a small bit of it away from the insulation to make a pocket for the magnet?

That is a great idea. A lot of the van builds I see scare the heck out of me. I hope to build/attach the structures is such that the partition will not need to stop big stuff, but will still try to make it as strong as I am practically able to. Every bit helps. Have you developed any plans for the construction of the folding part of the partition?
Pulling away some of the insulation might work - I will try it when I have a chance.
I don't have any plans for the folding partition yet. What I currently have in mind is very inelegant - two unistrut channels, one embedded in the floor and one as close to the ceiling as I can get it while still spanning the entire width from the van walls. Because of the walls curvature there will be a compromise between the height of the top rail and the width it spans. Then have a thing that slides using one of these parts. The thing that slides is essentially two pieces of plywood of equal width, dividing the movable part in half, and have only one half be attached to the trolley wheels. The two half are attached with a piano hinge or similar. It is stored folded behind the shower wall and when you want to use it you slide it to the center, then unfold the folded half. This design forces a pretty rectangular shape to a part of the van that is very not rectangular, but perhaps it would still look decent if it somehow plays nicely with the overhead front shelf thing.
One of the reasons I sold the Sprinter is because it was too **** noisy when driving, so figuring out how to build this thing without it rattling like crazy is a must.
 

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2021 Cargo T350 EL High roof AWD Ecoboost
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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
A week into owning the van and already a few things not going the way I want them to. While installing more Noico I discovered that Ford messed up the adhesive job that glues the sheet metal panels into the inner support frames - see dedicate thread here: Adhesive between body panels (outer sheet metal shell)...
If anyone has recommendations for a good dealership to take the van to in the Bay Area that would be much appreciated. I hope that they will have a reasonable solution for this issue and not say it is not a problem or blame it on my sticking the Noico on the panels...

Additionally, the two first big projects I was hoping to start with are slowed down by some annoying issues: My van has the roof shark fin antenna that is going to get in the way of the roof rack and solar panels (or vice versa if I put the panels above it). The BEMM mentions a kit to relocate it but Google does not seem to believe the thing exists. Some more details are posted here 2020 Low Roof Passenger Shark Fin Delete?

I am unable to start on the floor until I decide where to place my heater, since I want to mount it straight to the sheet metal. For that I need to decide which heater to go with and where to get it from. I am strongly leaning against Propane and that leaves me with a few suboptimal options to choose from:
  1. Espar B4L. Seems like the only reputable place to order it from (unless someone is aware of other places) is esparparts.com. $1900... also sadly only comes at a 4kW version which is an overkill for a van.
  2. Webasto - Leaning against this due to lack of automatic altitude adjustment. I believe cheaper than the Espar.
  3. A Chinese Diesel heater - About a 1/10th of the cost of Espar. Would require figuring out a location for a Diesel tank so definitely a less elegant solution, but apparently they now come with a controller that has altitude adjustment. Additionally, they come in a 24v version which annoyingly is not an option for the Espar gasoline version.
Decisions decisions....
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Not a lot has changed, but there is more Noico applied and more planning took place. The projects I am currently trying to focus on are the roof rack and everything that goes on the roof, and finalizing the layout so I could start building the floor. I still need to get to a dealership and see what they say about the foam adhesive issue, but having thought more about it I am less concerned that is is actually a problem. I mostly want to talk to the dealership to establish a relationship with a service person.

For the roof rack I was debating between Hein's brackets (the v1 ones, that were sold out) and custom making my own. Then the V2 ones came out and I decided I don't need another project and would rather trade money for time, so I ordered those. Tomorrow I am picking up 145" 1515-LS pieces from a local distributor. I definitely want a rack longer than the shippable 94" pieces, and since the distributor is 30 minutes away from my house I figured I would get the long pieces and trim them to fit instead of getting smaller pieces and joining them together. I am still on the fence regarding the solar panels configuration - the two options are 4x200W Rich Solar or 3x365W Rec Alpha panels. Once I have the rails installed I am hoping to install the Maxxair vent (the rails should allow me to create a temporary "roof deck" so that I could more comfortably do the install without worrying about bending the roof thin sheet metal). Once the fan is installed I could make some decisions about which panels to go with. The shark fin antenna is likely going to be an issue so I will need to see what to do about that.

In order to move forward with the floor I need to decide where to place the heater since I would rather mount it straight to the metal floor. For that I need to decide which heater to go with and that is turning out to be a difficult decision. The gasoline Espar is expensive and unreliable (and it sounds like they are coming with a 2kW version at some point that is more suitable for the size of the van, and will likely be cheaper). Are there any reliable places to get it from other than esparparts.com?
I am not going to do propane, but I might add an auxiliary Diesel tank and go with a Chinese diesel heater. The aux diesel tank plumbed into the DEF port that someone here did looks like an overall nice solution to this problem.
Another option is to commit to doing a hydronic heater, and then I don't have to worry about where to mount the heater. Figuring out a place for the air heat exchanger is much easier. Seems like this solution is also not significantly more expensive than the Espar air heater, and has the added benefit of being able to heat up water in an Isotemp heater (which I am hoping to fit under the van).

I also gave some thought to what AC solution to go with, the options being a Chinese one like I did in the Sprinter (which looks like might fit okay under the Transit), or going all out with the CruiseNComfort. The CruiseNComfort condenser will fit nicely under the van, although I will have to deal with routing the refrigerant lines close to the exhaust, since I want to place it on the passenger side of the van.

Here are some not very exciting photos of some Noico. Hopefully the next update would include photos of the roof rack :)

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2021 AWD 148" HR 3.5L EcoBoost Avalanche Grey
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I've seen a few people refer to mounting the heater directly to the sheet metal. What's the thinking behind this? Sealing the ports below?
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I've seen a few people refer to mounting the heater directly to the sheet metal. What's the thinking behind this? Sealing the ports below?
I believe there are two issues - one is what you said, it's preferable to have the exhaust/combustion air intake completely outside of the van to reduce chances of CO leaks into the living space.
The other issue, I think, is depending on the thickness of your floor, it might be very hard to impossible to tighten the hose clamps that hold the exhaust and air intake pipes in place if they are sitting in the floor and not outside of the van. Does that make sense?
 

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Congratulations, beautiful van and sounds like you’ve got a solid plan! I’m working on my 2021 HR Ext build in between W Oakland and Humanmade Makerspace in the Dogpatch. We should compare notes over 🍻 sometime!

Last weekend was insulation install, measuring out the adapter I’m CNCing for the Maxxair, and starting the Espar hydronic install.

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The aux diesel tank plumbed into the DEF port that someone here did looks like an overall nice solution to this problem.

Another option is to commit to doing a hydronic heater, and then I don't have to worry about where to mount the heater. Figuring out a place for the air heat exchanger is much easier. Seems like this solution is also not significantly more expensive than the Espar air heater, and has the added benefit of being able to heat up water in an Isotemp heater (which I am hoping to fit under the van).
Do you have a link handy on using DEF port for diesel tank inlet? I was thinking to put the diesel tank in the passenger side of the engine bay.

Using a hydronic heater, you still need some auxiliary heater for the prolonged sitting mode???
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Congratulations, beautiful van and sounds like you’ve got a solid plan! I’m working on my 2021 HR Ext build in between W Oakland and Humanmade Makerspace in the Dogpatch. We should compare notes over 🍻 sometime!

Last weekend was insulation install, measuring out the adapter I’m CNCing for the Maxxair, and starting the Espar hydronic install.

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Nice! I am going to alternate between working in my driveway in East Oakland on simple stuff (no tools here) and my well-equipped workshop in Bayview. I've been meaning to sign up for Humanmade and take their CNC class/certification thing, that would be a nice superpower to add to my arsenal.

Do you have a link handy on using DEF port for diesel tank inlet? I was thinking to put the diesel tank in the passenger side of the engine bay.

Using a hydronic heater, you still need some auxiliary heater for the prolonged sitting mode???
Check out this thread and this one. Not sure I understand your question about prolonged sitting? The hydronic heater can run indefinitely I believe, as long as it has fuel, unless I am missing something.
 

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Man, y'all making me miss Oakland! I lived in West Oakland until a year ago. Would have been fun to have van build cohort buddies locally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Man, y'all making me miss Oakland! I lived in West Oakland until a year ago. Would have been fun to have van build cohort buddies locally.
Agreed! I'm looking forward to meeting some of the other people in the area :)
 

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Using a hydronic heater, you still need some auxiliary heater for the prolonged sitting mode???
The hydronic heater heats and circulates coolant which passes through a heat exchanger inside a hot water heater tank to provide domestic hot water and it also can pass through a hydronic air heater to heat the air inside the van. The hot water tank acts as a 'battery' of sorts so the coolant heater doesn't have to cycle on/off as much as well. So there's a thermostat on the hydronic air heater that kicks on when the air in the van reaches the low setting and then there's a thermostat in the hot water tank that kicks they hydronic heater on when the hot water reaches it's low temp setting. Often the coolant loop taps the engine's coolant loop, either directly or through a plate heat exchanger that allows you to heat the hot water tank when the engine is running as well.
 

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Check out this thread and this one. Not sure I understand your question about prolonged sitting? The hydronic heater can run indefinitely I believe, as long as it has fuel, unless I am missing something.
Thanks for the links. (y)
I meant when the van sitting and not running the engine. The heat from the engine will only last for a few hours. If you have a hot water tank (heat reservoir), it may last for 24 hours. I believe that we still need a supplemental heat source.
 
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