Marooned in Paradise - Another Express AWD

Even though the bed platform and side storage is wrapped around the wheel wells, I am worried that in a panic stop, or really rough road it will move.
So I used some of these to anchor it in several places.
I'm not sure what kind of shear strength they have, or how much force it will take to rip them out, but I'm confident they will withstand everything shy of a roll over, and even, who knows.

Before I put the mattress back on I'll do some wiring.
I have two 108ish Ahr batteries I scored from a friend, for free.
I also have a 3000 watt MSW invertor to possible run a future microwave oven. If not it will easily handle a TV and a laptop.
I'll also run a few lights, some USB outlets for phones and tablets and of course my Indel B 43 liter fridge.


I'll be charging the batteries through a solenoid from the alternator and supplementing that with a 100 watt fixed solar panel on the roof.

We have a camping trip planned for this coming weekend but I doubt that I'll have all the wiring done by then. At least I have a plan.
Although I'm not overly worried about going over the GVW, I do wonder where I am.

So,what was removed?
Between the second and third row of seats, the carpet, the seat rails and the seat belts I probably removed over 250 lbs.

What I have added so far are 1 sheet of 1/2"x4x8 plywood, 1 sheet of 5/8x4x8 plywood, 3 sheets of 1/2"x5x5 plywood and 1/2 sheet of 1/4x5x5 plywood. That might add up to around 150 lbs.
I also will have the mattress, the two really heavy batteries and the invertor and fridge. That might be 300 lbs.
The reflectix is almost weightless.

So in reality I haven't really added too much extra in weight.
I can't see my future kitchen and other camping gear taking me anywhere near the GVW.

Someday when it is done I'll hit the local public scales.
Wife and took the van out for a tour today. We decided not to camp but did have a nice ride into the foothills.
On the way we passed the public scale and stopped to weigh in.
First is front wheels on the scale, second is both axles and the third read axle only. Its in Kg which are 2.2xlbs.
If you have a small screen, the numbers are 1580, 3180 and 1610.

The van was close to camping weight with only the solar panel and the Foxwing awning not installed.

Lots'a snow in the mountains from last week's weather. Bring it on.

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I got the house batteries, well, one of them charging from the alternator today.
I used the cheap charging thread by eldave (I think that's it) that is very nicely written up in the 12volt power systems section of this forum.
I don't have any fuses in the circuit yet (I need to find some) and the coil of red 14ga wire you see on the starter battery will be run to a keyed power source when I get around to it. For now I hook it to the positive on the battery while driving to activate the solenoid and unhook it while parked.

I took a set of 20 foot 4ga jumper cables and cut off the clamps at each end and crimped on eye connectors using a punch and my vice. After the effort I went through sealing the holes in the floor from the seat rails, I drilled a new 1 1/4" hole through the floor under the battery compartment to get it inside. It follows the rear heater lines up into the DS side of the engine bay and runs across the top of the radiator over to the starter battery. I'm still figuring out how to seal (water proof) the hole.

From the house batteries I currently have my 3000 Watt inverter and a lighter outlet for my fridge.
I will also power some LED lighting and two more lighter outlets located at each rear corner of the van.
Additionally I will have 12 volt power coming in from a future solar panel installed on the roof. I'm currently agonizing over where to bring in the wires. Through the roof, or as I will be exploring, through the back of the van behind the curved plastic panel above the rear DS lights?

That will probably be it for wiring unless we decide to install a shore power 120 volt outlet. (uhg, more holes in the van)

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Hooked up the solar power today.
Its ironic because it was overcast all day with rainy periods.

I bought a 100W Coleman panel. It it the crystalline type which I have read performs better in partial sun conditions, like in the woods where a branch or two may cast shadows on the panel.
I also got a 20A controller off Amazon for $20.

I have the panel mounted on my roof racks at the back of the van. No particular reason that it is there other than it is accessible from the back bumper to clean it.

I fretted about drilling holes in a perfectly watertight roof for quite a while and finally decided not to.
I drilled two holes in the corner panel above the rear DS lights and inserted grommets. The 10ga wire fit through the grommet very snug. Some dish soap helped them the slide through.

Once the wires were inside the van I hooked them up to the controller which I mounted on the stock plastic panel.

Easy peazy.

The controller has two USB ports.
I will power some lights from it when I find some I like.
A couple of strips to light up the under bed compartments, and one for the slide out kitchen and maybe a night light on each side of the bed.

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OK, I found a grommet the right size for the hole I drilled in the floor for the 4 ga. wires to charge the house batteries.
I ran the 4 ga. wires through the grommet and filled it with silicone to seal it. I'm a happy camper now.
No pun intended.

Got new tires as well. 235/85/16 Falken AT3/W

Can't seem to upload pics at the moment; stay tuned.
Nice build. I see these vans for sale quite a bit here in Ontario. I think the federal government was a big buyer of the awd version.