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Discussion Starter #1
It’s been a bit of a wait while I pestered folks on this forum with questions, but I finally have a van to work on.
I picked up a 2020 AWD in Kansas City from Matt Ford on August 12. It was ordered in February and would have been built in April if not for the Covid-19 shutdown.

The name of this thread requires a little background. This is my fourth adventure vehicle and they have evolved from a small truck cap with sleeping platform, to a VW Syncro Westy camper van, to my last vehicle, a Four Wheel pickup camper. With each I have traveled with a yellow lab. The photos below are of my lab Maggie on the Dempster Highway in the Northwest Territories above the Arctic Circle. She traveled from coast to coast several times, was always good company, and never made me circle a campground three times to find a spot. At age 14 Maggie passed last summer.

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In December I picked up my next navigator, Rylee, another yellow lab. She, of course will be helping with the build and then joining me for some long trips.

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Plans are to design the van as more of an exploration vehicle than a live-in. The design will be similar to my Westy camper if the VW were to inflate itself 1.5 times to a become a full-grown van.

I started collecting some of the parts I needed while I waited for the van to be built, especially those that were hard to find because of the pandemic. My first add was the FVC roof rack and ladder. That was a fun addition that had been taking up space in my garage.

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Next up was adding Thinsulate and some Rattle Trap sound deadener that I had leftover from my Syncro project. I have Motion bunk windows on order and an AMA half slider that will go behind the driver's seat above the kitchen area. Waiting on a couple of things I have ordered before finalizing the floor design, so I can provide adequate support under a few of the heavier items. Rylee thinks the gear drawer might be where she will ride.

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Looks like a great Doggie Mobile"..just like our "SNOWFLAKE" our 130 wb Low Roof is basically a day;ly driver but first and foremost a Show Dog Transporter (SDT)...sound deadener, insulated, panelled,mattress for the overnights ( not so much in the Western Prairie Winters)..great for doggie road trips with our crew of 4 Border Collies!
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interesting, we have followed the same paths, i had VW westfalia syncros (6 of them actually), then a four wheel camper (actually started working for FWC to) and took delvery of my AWD magnetic metallic 148 LHR yesterday. ill be posting my build thread soon to
 

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Look forward to your build thread...working on my OTCH X when Covid allows Obedience trials again..!!!...grrrrr
 

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Discussion Starter #7
interesting, we have followed the same paths, i had VW westfalia syncros (6 of them actually), then a four wheel camper (actually started working for FWC to) and took delvery of my AWD magnetic metallic 148 LHR yesterday. ill be posting my build thread soon to
Yeah, I have noticed that common thread too. After hanging out on this forum for a while I recognized some familiar names from the Syncro forum. The same with the Four Wheel Camper crowd. I think it was @ranchero that posted this side-by-side comparison of his syncro and Transit. While the Four Wheel camper was great, especially if you needed the truck for other things, but we really missed that sort of wide open communal space with the front seats facing the rear and the slider open. Pretty confining in the truck camper by comparison.

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Yeah, I have noticed that common thread too. After hanging out on this forum for a while I recognized some familiar names from the Syncro forum. The same with the Four Wheel Camper crowd. I think it was @ranchero that posted this side-by-side comparison of his syncro and Transit. While the Four Wheel camper was great, especially if you needed the truck for other things, but we really missed that sort of wide open communal space with the front seats facing the rear and the slider open. Pretty confining in the truck camper by comparison.

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i see CO plates, more of the same path. maybe we even have met or i helped you. i lived in CO denver metro for 22 years. i was shop manager/ lead tech at rocky mountain four wheel campers for 4 years with Chris and Josh. i moved to Quebec 2.5 years ago--dont ask
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@coguzzi the vans with the Co plates are owned by @ranchero (I'm about 90% sure). I'm out in Pennsylvania now, but my wife and I grew up in Laramie and we have a ton of relatives in Co, so I'm there a lot. Mike at Rocky Mountain Westy in Ft. Collins was the one who set me up with the kit I used to drop a Subie engine in my Syncro. I lived in Bozeman for about 11 years between Laramie and Pennsylvania.
 

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I was able to get a fair bit done over the weekend. I installed the thinsulate, which was pretty straightforward using 3M 90. I left two sections of the roof uninsulated to leave room for the fan and AC unit -- the first holes I have to cut. It was a hot day and the difference with the added thinsulate was noticeable both in temperature and reduction of road noise. I was able to pry open the headliner panel and install rattletrap and thinsulate without having to remove it completely, which doesn't look very fun. The other areas I didn't get to were the hollow spaces in the large tube-shaped support beams (not sure what the technical term is) about 4-5 inches in size. I've seen folks stuffing rolled up thinsulate in there, so that might be what I do, but I'm thinking that space my be useful to run wiring through, so I don't want to jam it up yet. I'm a bit nervous about using spray foam, thinking about future access to whatever I stuff inside.

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I also began working on the floor, cutting templates out of some 4 x 8 sheets of cardboard I found at our local lumber store. This was not as straightforward as I thought because I soon had to make some decisions. One was running the floor all the way to the back doors and cutting an access panel for the spare tire hoist, or stopping it short of the last panel to leave access to the hoist and some of the other rubber plugs in that area. I decided to leave that area open. Another was if I want to extend the floor over the step at the slider door and if so how far. As we are leaving that area open and without any cabinets, etc., we decided to stick with the factory floor outline.

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Discussion Starter #12
Minicell insulation installed on the floor and plywood cut to fit. Waiting for propane tank to arrive before finishing floor so I can access the bolts that will support the tank under the driver's side. While I'm waiting I will be waterproofing the plywood sheets.

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Yeah, I have noticed that common thread too. After hanging out on this forum for a while I recognized some familiar names from the Syncro forum. The same with the Four Wheel Camper crowd. I think it was @ranchero that posted this side-by-side comparison of his syncro and Transit. While the Four Wheel camper was great, especially if you needed the truck for other things, but we really missed that sort of wide open communal space with the front seats facing the rear and the slider open. Pretty confining in the truck camper by comparison.

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Ive been taking the Syncro out a bit more lately. It is a lot more fun but a lot less comfy and reliable than the Transit. I can't bring myself to sell it though.
 

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Finished installing the propane tank tonight. Wanted to get it mounted before I bolted down the floor sections. Happy with how it turned out. Went with the 8-inch diameter Manchester tank. The bottom of the tank is level with the bottom of the fuel tank. I considered the 10-inch tank, but was worried that it would sit too low.

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Hauled the fridge in and have been playing with some faux countertops to see how best to organize the kitchen space. I think I should have paid a little more for that window behind the stove. Poor ventilation.

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I picked up this license plate when I drove my VW Syncro van to Inuvik in Canada's Northwest Territories. I would love to go back with my new adventure Transit.

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Plans are to design the van as more of an exploration vehicle than a live-in. The design will be similar to my Westy camper if the VW were to inflate itself 1.5 times to a become a full-grown van.

I started collecting some of the parts I needed while I waited for the van to be built, especially those that were hard to find because of the pandemic. My first add was the FVC roof rack and ladder. That was a fun addition that had been taking up space in my garage.

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That roof rack looks great on your van! Any wind noise? Are you really happy with it? I'm thinking of getting one soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That roof rack looks great on your van! Any wind noise? Are you really happy with it? I'm thinking of getting one soon.
I am happy with it. I chose it because I really wanted a ladder setup so I could brush the snow off of the solar panels, and access a dedicated storage area. I'm thinking of finding a small roof basket to mount near the ladder for this. I also liked that it was designed to mount the Fiamma awning and seemed to avoid the problem some are having with water running down between the side of the van and the awning. I'm expecting the Fiamma to arrive any day so will post an update. The Aluminess rack systems were around twice the cost. I know some on this forum have designed their own inexpensive racks with great success, but for me it's worth it to pay someone a bit more for working out all of the engineering challenges. As the Transits become more popular for building camper vans I'm hoping more businesses like FVC begin to offer kits for the Transits that solve some of the hard to engineer projects for DIYers.

As for wind noise, I haven't taken it anywhere at highway speeds since driving it home from Kansas City. I will be doing that this weekend so will take a listen. Now that it's insulated and I have a floor it might be possible to hear the rack over the road noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
@Bazz99 I just drove about 80 miles in the 70-75 mph range and didn't hear anything that sounded like wind noise from the roof. I installed the rack before insulation when the van was a road noise speaker. You might have to find someone with an insulated van that has added the rack to see if they noticed a difference. I also haven't mounted solar panels or anything else up there yet.
 

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So, my Jeep seat arrived today and I propped it up on some old boxes to take measurements. Very happy with the color -- it is almost an exact match for my front seats. I went with this seat because it was the right width and folds forward which I need because the last 24 inches or so of the platform bed is going to slide over the top of it. The seat is one of those things that I had to have before I could finalize plans for several other things, including the water tanks. Now that I have it in the van, there are several new possibilities, so back to the drawing board. Drawings are nice, but having the real components in the van really makes you look at things differently.

If you look closely you will see the seat it sitting on a couple of old explosives boxes that must be 70 years old. My wife, who loves to watch all the craft shows on TV, thought I should use those as drawers I plan to build under the seat. What do you think?

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