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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What's up fellow FTUF members!

My SO and I have been building out our 2020.

Here's how we got to this point. We've been bouncing back and forth between long-term shared ski houses, campsites near trailheads, and random short term rentals for about 7 years. It's was the only way we could ski 40 or 50 days and ride bikes another 100+ days. I've been wanting a van for a few years as a way to mountain bike more and ski more.

I let the idea go because it seemed one-sided and I wasn't about to get my partner involved in such a massive undertaking. When we had to come home from our annual extended trip to Utah for skiing due to looming travel lockdowns, she started getting into the vans. Rented a van and rolled up to the ski mountain. Pulled into the parking lot and knew it was "game on" based on the level of stoke. 7 months later we purchased our 2020 148" Ecoboost AWD Cargo, more or less loaded... for a cargo van.

Our requirements for the van were AWD (locked us into 2020 Transit), relatively low maintenance cost (Transit), the ability to stand up inside, and high parts availability (Transit). Since we're traveling from the east coast to the west coast and back, we need to be able to carry both winter and summer equipment simultaneously (5-6 pairs of skis, up to 190cm + 2x29" MTBs are the big items). We're also going to be working from the van a bit and we're going to spend a lot of downtime in the winter inside the van when it's cold and dark outside.

This weekend feels like we got the van over the hump from tedious, high-risk projects that never-seem-to-end to the fun stuff. We missed a good weekend of snow but it was worth it. Next weekend when we're sleeping in a bed instead of cots after a day of bell-to-bell skiing it will really be worth it!

About our van so far (Feb '21):
  • 3x 175 aH AGM
  • 2000W Renology Inverter w shore power
  • Sterling 1260 B2B
  • Scopema Swivel - Passenger
  • Queen Bed (north-south, I'm 6'2"...) - 40" high
  • Nature's Head composting toilet
  • MaxxAir fan
  • Webasto STC2000 (gasoline)
  • WeBoost
  • Nokian Hakka snow tires in stock size
  • 1.5" XPS floor + Thinsulate everywhere else + Low E thermal break (not used as vapor barrier)
  • Cedar walls and ceiling
  • Over-cab-shelf using Vancillary brackets
  • Vanmade Gear window covers
  • Mountain bike tray
  • Ski storage rack
Summer '21 Updates
  • Ceramic tint on driver and passenger windows
  • 2x 60" drawers in the garage
  • Wardrobe (in progress)
  • Flatline Van Co roof rack and ladder

Here are some interesting points from our build.

Our bedframe is a design I came up with using Ikea Skorva support rails to span the width of the van, attached to rails that are mounted in each corner using 2 factory holes with plus nuts and a bracket. The side rails are 1 1/4" square steel tube with 1 1/4" x 1/8" steel bar attached to the outer face of the rail that act as a clamp to hold the tongue of the bed supports to the side rail. All the holes are threaded so you can theoretically install and remove the bed in about 30 minutes. Initially, there was a little flex in the middle of the rails since they're only tied down at the corner - adding a 2x4 "face" to create a garage divider stiffened it all up better than expected.

We contracted Downeast Custom Vans in Portsmouth, NH to do our electrical. We had the system built "long and low" since the battery box (ahead of driver wheel well) would eat up a lot of floor space in the garage. This week I'll be building "the tunnel of love" - aka a floating ski compartment that spans the length of the bed, making use of that dead space above the battery box and inverter. The floor of the tunnel will be tub-style to prevent any moisture from dripping onto our electrical. We're also going to enclose the electrical system in plexy as an added safety measure. The supports for the tunnel will extend from the floor to the base of the bed, adding additional support/rigidity for the bed platform.

For our interior walls and such, if it is load-bearing we used Okume, if it's "just a wall" or ceiling, we used two slices of 1/4" plywood laminated using wood glue to create ribs and mounted to the van body with plus nuts. This allowed us to create super flexible ribs that follow the curves of the van. Kind of like building skate park ramps... This is awesome for creating a visually interesting interior, but it is problematic when seating cedar tongue-and-groove on those compound curves. But, I'd do it again because it's light and it looks good.

This website has been such an awesome resource and inspiration. I am stoked to be able to share some photos of our progress.



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Is your floor free floating? Did you order rear vinyl floor from Ford? If not, are you concerned about condensation in the space between the foam board and ribbed van steel floor? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Is your floor free floating? Did you order rear vinyl floor from Ford? If not, are you concerned about condensation in the space between the foam board and ribbed van steel floor? Thanks.
We did the ole make a template and cut out the recesses so the spaces are minimal. There are some small gaps in there but I made sure to seal the edges where they're exposed to the van interior or vehicle floor. It's a layer of 0.5" XPS stuck to a layer of 1". I am 100% concerned about condensation but feel like I did as much as I could to fill any spaces where vapor or liquid might collect.

We did have the vinyl floor from Ford. That denim insulation was way sketchier in terms of condensation in my totally unqualified opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
^^ we also used sealed Okume in the floor in the hopes that wouldn't absorb any ambient moisture
 

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2021 350 HR PASS XLT AWD 3.5L ECOBOOST
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What's up fellow FTUF members!

My SO and I have been building out our 2020.

Here's how we got to this point. We've been bouncing back and forth between long-term shared ski houses, campsites near trailheads, and random short term rentals for about 7 years. It's was the only way we could ski 40 or 50 days and ride bikes another 100+ days. I've been wanting a van for a few years as a way to mountain bike more and ski more.

I let the idea go because it seemed one-sided and I wasn't about to get my partner involved in such a massive undertaking. When we had to come home from our annual extended trip to Utah for skiing due to looming travel lockdowns, she started getting into the vans. Rented a van and rolled up to the ski mountain. Pulled into the parking lot and knew it was "game on" based on the level of stoke. 7 months later we purchased our 2020 148" Ecoboost AWD Cargo, more or less loaded... for a cargo van.

Our requirements for the van were AWD (locked us into 2020 Transit), relatively low maintenance cost (Transit), the ability to stand up inside, and high parts availability (Transit). Since we're traveling from the east coast to the west coast and back, we need to be able to carry both winter and summer equipment simultaneously (5-6 pairs of skis, up to 190cm + 2x29" MTBs are the big items). We're also going to be working from the van a bit and we're going to spend a lot of downtime in the winter inside the van when it's cold and dark outside.

This weekend feels like we got the van over the hump from tedious, high-risk projects that never-seem-to-end to the fun stuff. We missed a good weekend of snow but it was worth it. Next weekend when we're sleeping in a bed instead of cots after a day of bell-to-bell skiing it will really be worth it!

About our van so far:
  • 3x 175 aH AGM
  • 2000W Renology Inverter w shore power
  • Sterling 1260 B2B
  • Scopema Swivel - Passenger
  • Queen Bed (north-south, I'm 6'2"...) - 40" high
  • Nature's Head composting toilet
  • MaxxAir fan
  • Webasto STC2000 (gasoline)
  • WeBoost
  • Nokian Hakka snow tires in stock size
  • 1.5" XPS floor + Thinsulate everywhere else + Low E thermal break (not used as vapor barrier)
  • Cedar walls and ceiling
  • Over-cab-shelf using Vancillary brackets
  • Vanmade Gear window covers
Here are some interesting points from our build.

Our bedframe is a design I came up with using Ikea Skorva support rails to span the width of the van, attached to rails that are mounted in each corner using 2 factory holes with plus nuts and a bracket. The side rails are 1 1/4" square steel tube with 1 1/4" x 1/8" steel bar attached to the outer face of the rail that act as a clamp to hold the tongue of the bed supports to the side rail. All the holes are threaded so you can theoretically install and remove the bed in about 30 minutes. Initially, there was a little flex in the middle of the rails since they're only tied down at the corner - adding a 2x4 "face" to create a garage divider stiffened it all up better than expected.

We contracted Downeast Custom Vans in Portsmouth, NH to do our electrical. We had the system built "long and low" since the battery box (ahead of driver wheel well) would eat up a lot of floor space in the garage. This week I'll be building "the tunnel of love" - aka a floating ski compartment that spans the length of the bed, making use of that dead space above the battery box and inverter. The floor of the tunnel will be tub-style to prevent any moisture from dripping onto our electrical. We're also going to enclose the electrical system in plexy as an added safety measure. The supports for the tunnel will extend from the floor to the base of the bed, adding additional support/rigidity for the bed platform.

For our interior walls and such, if it is load-bearing we used Okume, if it's "just a wall" or ceiling, we used two slices of 1/4" plywood laminated using wood glue to create ribs and mounted to the van body with plus nuts. This allowed us to create super flexible ribs that follow the curves of the van. Kind of like building skate park ramps... This is awesome for creating a visually interesting interior, but it is problematic when seating cedar tongue-and-groove on those compound curves. But, I'd do it again because it's light and it looks good.

This website has been such an awesome resource and inspiration. I am stoked to be able to share some photos of our progress.
View attachment 145955 View attachment 145957


View attachment 145959

View attachment 145962 View attachment 145969
Nice project to accommodate the life!
I too will be adding a dedicated ski locker / stow area in my new (March '21) 148 HR - very important.. Mountain bikes will go on a 1Up with the swing arm.. Sounds like you're on it with being careful with the snow melt near the electrical.. I look forward to seeing more pics if you post more. Good luck with the rest of the build it looks great and let's hope for some more snow here in the Rockies!
 

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We did the ole make a template and cut out the recesses so the spaces are minimal. There are some small gaps in there but I made sure to seal the edges where they're exposed to the van interior or vehicle floor. It's a layer of 0.5" XPS stuck to a layer of 1". I am 100% concerned about condensation but feel like I did as much as I could to fill any spaces where vapor or liquid might collect.

We did have the vinyl floor from Ford. That denim insulation was way sketchier in terms of condensation in my totally unqualified opinion.
Thanks for the reply. Did you attach your floor in some way to the van, or does it float? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the reply. Did you attach your floor in some way to the van, or does it float? Thanks
Sorry I didn't answer your question fully - the floor is glued down but floats. Blue Great Stuff on the first layer to the van floor, spread thin with a putty knife, with silicone in strategic locations. Then Loctite adhesive to mate the bottom layer to the middle, and a ton more Loctite between the plywood floor and XPS. No mechanical fastening of floor to the van beyond glue.

We did a nice job templating the floor - it's not going anywhere unless we do a really violent barrel roll... and if that happens, hopefully, it's fast enough that centrifugal force or the spirit of Jerry takes over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice project to accommodate the life!
I too will be adding a dedicated ski locker / stow area in my new (March '21) 148 HR - very important.. Mountain bikes will go on a 1Up with the swing arm.. Sounds like you're on it with being careful with the snow melt near the electrical.. I look forward to seeing more pics if you post more. Good luck with the rest of the build it looks great and let's hope for some more snow here in the Rockies!
I love my 1Up soooo much. It was such a tough pill to swallow and it was totally a buy-one-cry-once scenario. My better half somehow dragged the 1Up in the lowered position behind our Subaru for like a half-mile at 50mph. All that happened was a tiny bit of road rash on the corner of 1 tray. I was so thankful our Konas weren't on the rack! That would have been a heart breaker .... but I kind of wonder what would have happened just a little bit.

Our van has no windows, so the backup camera is super vital. If it weren't for that and transporting bikes through winter weather we probably would have fore-gone the bike tray and had a sweet dinette in the van.
 

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2020 148 high roof extended
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Nice rig! Is your Sterling BB1260 connected to CCP2 (175 amp)? If so, does it beep sometimes when you open the door? I'm trying to figure out how to shut off the alarm - my Lab hates smoke alarms and will probably not be be happy with the sound.
 

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Nice rig! Is your Sterling BB1260 connected to CCP2 (175 amp)? If so, does it beep sometimes when you open the door? I'm trying to figure out how to shut off the alarm - my Lab hates smoke alarms and will probably not be be happy with the sound.
I remembered that someone posted that they solved the problem so I bookmarked it. Looking back I see that was you. So I am guessing that you still unfortunately have the issue?
 

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The solution I posted was for the continued charging after the engine was shut off. Sorry for the confusion. Still haven't solved the alarm problem even after a phone call to Sterling USA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I like your bed idea I'm also too tall to sleep east/west. Can you post more pics of it?
Sure thing!

Here's how the n-s rails were constructed. Drilled, rivnut'd and primed. The bar acts as a pinch to the square tube - similar to how Ikea designed the (discontinued) Skorva mounting brackets.
View attachment 146145

Here's a pic of the frame without the platform on top. Everything looks wildly cockeyed in this photo but it's just the street we were parked on.

View attachment 146146
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nice rig! Is your Sterling BB1260 connected to CCP2 (175 amp)? If so, does it beep sometimes when you open the door? I'm trying to figure out how to shut off the alarm - my Lab hates smoke alarms and will probably not be be happy with the sound.
I remembered that someone posted that they solved the problem so I bookmarked it. Looking back I see that was you. So I am guessing that you still unfortunately have the issue?
Are you two inside my van?? 🤣 I'm having serious issues with the 1260. What a **** show.

I have the 1260 connected to CCP2. I have not got the unit to stay on or bulk charge and I've messed with just about everything. I will do a reset and run the battery down to trigger the B2B - the B2B will kick on, but after about an hour of driving and minimal charge (0.2v gain), the B2B seems to go into deep sleep mode. Initially, it would do the beep when I turned the van over after a reset - but no beep when the door opens. It's been installed for a month and I would say it has shown signs of life 5 times so I think there is some "smart alternator" signal killing the power feed from CCP2, then the B2B saying "yeah, not expected to run - no power, I'm staying off..." On Friday, I am connecting the Sterling directly to the battery.

One thing about CCP2 - check your terminal connection. When I initially installed I tightened it down pretty well, but after a week of driving it was loose. I got in there and tightened it down, that seemed to solve the problem with a reset/reprogram. But then after an hour of driving, the Sterling went into ghostmode.

I've been reading all the Sterling troubleshooting threads but haven't found a definitive solution. It sounds like folks have had better luck going directly to the battery. Crossing my fingers that is the silver bullet because we are rarely somewhere we can get shore power and we don't have solar. I have a few weeks to get this really sorted, then we're hitting the road for a few months. Any insight is appreciated.
 

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Are you two inside my van?? 🤣 I'm having serious issues with the 1260. What a **** show.

I have the 1260 connected to CCP2. I have not got the unit to stay on or bulk charge and I've messed with just about everything. I will do a reset and run the battery down to trigger the B2B - the B2B will kick on, but after about an hour of driving and minimal charge (0.2v gain), the B2B seems to go into deep sleep mode. Initially, it would do the beep when I turned the van over after a reset - but no beep when the door opens. It's been installed for a month and I would say it has shown signs of life 5 times so I think there is some "smart alternator" signal killing the power feed from CCP2, then the B2B saying "yeah, not expected to run - no power, I'm staying off..." On Friday, I am connecting the Sterling directly to the battery.

One thing about CCP2 - check your terminal connection. When I initially installed I tightened it down pretty well, but after a week of driving it was loose. I got in there and tightened it down, that seemed to solve the problem with a reset/reprogram. But then after an hour of driving, the Sterling went into ghostmode.

I've been reading all the Sterling troubleshooting threads but haven't found a definitive solution. It sounds like folks have had better luck going directly to the battery. Crossing my fingers that is the silver bullet because we are rarely somewhere we can get shore power and we don't have solar. I have a few weeks to get this really sorted, then we're hitting the road for a few months. Any insight is appreciated.
My problem now seems trivial compared with yours but here's my experience with the BB1260. Hooked to CCP2 and my negative bus bar. Programed custom charging profile per Battleborn website. Started van and got 50 amps (not sure why I didn't get 60). But it kept charging after I turned off ignition. Found the setting and solved that problem. I also hooked a wire from an upfitter switch to BMS2 input so I could remotely stop charging. That seemed to work. But the unit beeps every time power is applied to the BB1260. I called Sterling and he suggested trying ignition mode, but that did not seem to help. As you know, every change involves pressing the correct buttons for the correct length of time with little feedback (worst UI I have seen in decades). This is my one purchase regret so far with the van build - wish I had bought 2 Victron 30 amp B2Bs.
 

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I think there is some "smart alternator" signal killing the power feed from CCP2, then the B2B saying "yeah, not expected to run - no power, I'm staying off..." On Friday, I am connecting the Sterling directly to the battery.
Do you have the ignition signal connected to the Sterling, that reduces the trigger voltage, which is necessary to work with the lower voltages of the smart charging?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Do you have the ignition signal connected to the Sterling, that reduces the trigger voltage, which is necessary to work with the lower voltages of the smart charging?
Sure do. I'll check the connection for good measure. Did everything by the book or so I thought!
 

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I just remembered something from my conversion with the Sterling dude. He asked if I was using the battery temp sensor - he said something like "throw it out". He may have mentioned it because Im using Battleborns and don't need it. But I could see a defective sensor causing the spurious problems you are seeing. Might be worth investigating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got to the bottom of my B2B issues - it was actually a bad Blue Sea 285 fuse. Probably faulty due to getting hit by the shroud of our 10-way seats.

Got my ski bin tunnel frame built but held off on finishing the job so I could run some wiring for our refrigerated filing cabinet and a 120v outlet in the garage area.

Plant Wood Outdoor furniture Flooring Floor

Learned that the key to ripping 2x4s down to square 2x2s for framing like this is to work right to left. Remove the 1/4" or so of rounded edge on all your sections, then adjust your table saw to 1.5" and do all your "middle cuts" in one run. Cutting down the middle and trimming the sides doesn't work as well.
 
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