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Thread: Ford E350 V10 4x4 Build

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    La Paz, Baja California Sur
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    146
    Quote Originally Posted by TroySmith80 View Post
    Yeah, i saw that one on ebay too, and a video of it romping around some beach. Cool van, wild color for sure! Wouldn't be my first pic either, but it is pretty cool in it's own way.

    The other guys will give better information, but for what it's worth here's my input:

    If you had more time, i'd recommend something like transferflow fuel tanks. But just to be ready for your trip in 2 weeks, keep it simple! Jerry cans will probably be the way to go for now, just make sure you have a way to lock the cans to the truck, and lock the caps.

    Solar would be great, but if you're going to be driving each day, or each couple of days, then your batteries can charge while you drive. Solar is great for extended stays though.

    Projects always take longer than you think. 2 weeks is not much time. I'd do everything the simple way for now. Then after this trip, take more time to figure out the most ideal thing you want to do, if you want to make changes.
    I think you're right, Troy. I'm not going to force it in the next couple of weeks. With McZippie's advice on the batteries, maybe I won't have to do the solar at all but I'm thinking how neat it would be to power the ARB using nothing but solar, though I don't see us staying in one place for more than a couple of days since we have so many spots, ya know?

    Here's more pics my wife got this weekend in Anza-Borrego desert.








  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    La Paz, Baja California Sur
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    146
    Quote Originally Posted by McZippie View Post
    NICE RIG!!!

    I recently built up a 21 foot 2009 Ford E350 Van 6.0 Diesel 'cutaway' steel frame bus for personal/camper/man-cave use. We also use it to tow a Jeep Unlimited.

    The above 'posted' advice to 'make-due' for the trip in few weeks and this stuff takes a lot of time, is spot-on.

    I'll address your first question about batteries, for consideration when you have more time available.

    1.) Forget or don't even bother to educate yourself on conventional wisdom for battery bank applications. Assuming your van has one starting battery under the hood. Ford has holes drilled on the passenger side frame rail for two more batteries, using Ford OEM Diesel battery boxes. These battery boxes are available at a good discount on Ebay. Purchase two of them.

    Purchase 3 AGM batteries that are sized for the under hood battery box and the two frame rail battery boxes from Odyssey or Sears.

    The conventional way to wire them, is to use the 2 frame rail batteries to power the house and use an isolator or solenoid, so the under hood starting battery doesn't discharge.
    A better way, is to combine all 3 batteries into one bank, so all 3 batteries can be use for both starting and house usage. This is done with an automatic low voltage cut-off solenoid, that switches off all power from the 3 batteries at 12.01 voltage.

    This type of system has five advantages over over conventional separate starting/house wiring schemes.

    1. An auto cutoff of 12.01 volts saves batteries from low voltage damage.
    2. No need to monitor the amps usage to protect the batteries from low voltage damage.
    3. All 3 batteries are available for house and engine starting. (Read up on Peukert Law as to the benefits of a larger battery bank)
    4. AGM batteries can be charged at a 'much' higher rate than Deep Cycle or Starting batteries. (faster charging)
    5. Wiring is a lot simpler than conventional isolator/solenoid systems.

    When you get back, post on how you plan on using your Rig and I'll give you my thoughts on solar systems, based on your usage. There can be a lot of money wasted on solar if your useage doesn't fit into solars very narrow benefit schemes. A generator or beefed up engine alternator(s) may be preferable.


    On edit... Consider not spending much money or even not doing the aluminium sleeping/storage thingie, until after the trip. Maybe just for this trip fab up something temp and quick out of wood. I can suggest 'killer' ideas for family with kids 'real world' van interiors.
    McZippie, thanks a million man. I'm going to print your post out and try to wrap my head around it. I had no idea about the existing holes on the frame rails - excellent news!!

    So if we're staying on a beach for a couple of nights, running an ARB fridge, lights at night, charging laptops, etc. do you think we'd need to go with a foldable solar setup at all, or will this system be okay? I figure for about $700 I can get the 62 setup and really send some juice to the battery bank. What do you think? Yes, I contemplated the hi-output alternator or small generator as well but I sure like the idea of a notebook-sized solar setup. Opinions?

    Your rig is positively mouth-watering. Just called the wife and kids in here to see and they are as amazed as me. Wow!

  3. #13
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    Dec 2010
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    La Paz, Baja California Sur
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpalump View Post
    Mine is an 02 v10 E350. I just put an extra battery in the rear with an isolator. I recomend and use an ARB fridge. They have a light inside and run for a week on a charge. Use it in the house when you have a party and keep it out of the van when you don't need it. Lights and electric is over rated. You don't need stadium lighting when camping and a small LED flashlights in the pocket is very usefull. Conserve when you can and every time the engine is run the batteries get topped off.
    Keep it simple. Adventure trailer has a cool water tank with snozzle I wish I had and for fuel I'd just throw 3 jerry cans on the roof. Get metal ones if you can.
    Where did you put your extra battery, Stumpalump? I read reviews on the ARB and everyone recommends them. I ordering one up this morning. It'll make a nice little beer cooler for parties too.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    La Paz, Baja California Sur
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1leglance View Post
    I completely agree with most of what is above...
    Using the Ford factory battery holders is great as I have never banged mine on anything.
    Sears Platinum batteries are the Odysseys rebranded.

    I travel baja also and I am pretty sure 25 gals will get you by if you stop freq for fuel. I agree that rushing to have something on your back bumper fabbed is a bad idea.
    However since you are in Cali why not just go to Aluminess and get the bumpers that they spec for SMB?
    Yeah they are not cheap but they are worth every penny.
    I love the big box on the back as I can put in Jerry cans or my propane tank & fire pit or pretty much anything else and it is lockable. And it handles high speed washboard like Baja. I would get the biggest box they have, you will love the storage (don't forget the recovery gear storage inside the bumper).
    Also having the back tire on the swingout means later you can do the underfloor storage and get even more space.

    If it really came down to it I would just strap down Jerry cans inside the rig (lots of people around the world do this with quality cans with no issues...I have done it many time before), pack it full of gear and just go, let the trip tell you what you need.
    Lance, I can't thank you enough for turning me onto Aluminess! I though SMB made the bumpers proprietary and that I couldn't get one! I think I'm going to have to call them up right now.

    We tend to go to places like San Francisquito and some roads to abandoned Jesuit missions where the nearest towns are so small that the Pemex stations tend to be out of gas alot. Also, it seems I have GRINGO written all over me and for the last few yrs those guys try every scam in the book to rip me off at the pump. The less stops the better!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Drake Co
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    479
    I saw that van on ebay it is very sharp. I asked the previous owner who built it but he did not know who did it. Either way it appears they did a really nice job with the top and 4wd conversion. The first thing I would be concerned with would be fuel the range sucks on these things with the smaller tanks. I also agree with who ever said I would use it on a trip before making major altercations unless you owned a van in the past and know what you want. Making small changes as you use it will give you a better overall result and less money wasted from doing things twice.
    Welcome to the portal.
    Derek

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    La Paz, Baja California Sur
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsw4x4 View Post
    I saw that van on ebay it is very sharp. I asked the previous owner who built it but he did not know who did it. Either way it appears they did a really nice job with the top and 4wd conversion. The first thing I would be concerned with would be fuel the range sucks on these things with the smaller tanks. I also agree with who ever said I would use it on a trip before making major altercations unless you owned a van in the past and know what you want. Making small changes as you use it will give you a better overall result and less money wasted from doing things twice.
    Welcome to the portal.
    Derek
    Thanks Derek! Javier (the previous owner) probably didn't want to tell you that it was done in Tijuana by some guy who works on chase vehicles. I will tell you that I've taken the van to all the offroad shops and fabricators in town and they all, along with my Baja buddies, marvel at the workmanship and quality of welds, etc. So apparently it's put together well!

    I have travelled alot in my 1990 Suburban but only used it for camping with my 13 yr old son. I do have experience with "roughing it" in a 4x4 vehicle but this is my first van. You guy's advice is well-recieved. I'm not going to go overboard until our first shake-down trip when we'll know alot more about what we need.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    La Paz, Baja California Sur
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    Just got her back from the welder who fabbed up a very nice frame for sleeping on. What do you think?

    Justin
    '97 Ford E350 4x4 Van
    '90 Suburban 4x4
    '09 KLR650 (now a 685 Stage II)

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Here, but Wishing I was There
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    2,570
    Thats a start. I would go to the hardware store and see if you could find some plastic or rubber plugs for the open ends there, though.
    "Credo Quia Absurdum"

    '97 Dodge Ram 1500 4x (Daily Driver)
    '93 XJ Sport (Adventure Vehicle)

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Gig Harbor, WA (originally from Morenci, AZ)
    Posts
    1,300
    Is that frame height designed to fit a certain size container (Pelican cases, Rubbermaid, etc.)? It looks really tall; but that might just be the camera angle playing tricks.
    Brian

    2004 Toyota 4Runner Sport, 3" OME lift, 255/75R17 Goodyears, Super Sliders, communications, GPS, Black Widow roof basket, Truck Vault, 400 watt inverter, Scion stereo with iPod cable. 2009 Roadtrek 190 with 5" lift.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    La Paz, Baja California Sur
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photog View Post
    Is that frame height designed to fit a certain size container (Pelican cases, Rubbermaid, etc.)? It looks really tall; but that might just be the camera angle playing tricks.
    It is taller than what I would normally choose, but the height allows for the maximum width of the sleeping deck. If you'll notice, it goes right to the top of that little "ledge" below the window. Why is this important? I am 6' 4" and every inch is gonna matter on some of those long winter nights. While not designed for a specific container, the added height will be nice for storage.
    Justin
    '97 Ford E350 4x4 Van
    '90 Suburban 4x4
    '09 KLR650 (now a 685 Stage II)

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