Not So Subtle E350 Shuttle - 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Coil Build


Since the thread became dominated by the discussion of death wobble I haven't had much enthusiasm for updating it. Dealing with it for so long really sapped my enjoyment of the van. I want to be clear that Chris was super helpful and supportive but his parts didn't solve my issue. The double damper has done the most to mitigate the issue and it's been a real relief to be able to drive the van without worrying about it. I still want to try a few of my ideas to see if I can find the cause of the DW but for now I can concentrate on enjoying the van.

And the other projects that I wanted to do.

This is where we left off. I'd tacked in this pivot and was waiting to make the rest of it. If you follow me on Garage Journal I've documented the build in more detail there but since the van has become so popular on Instagram I figured I should continue this thread.

One of the things I struggled with was how to mount the spare and not block the tail light. If you move it over to the middle you can't open the right door and if it's to the left it blocks the light. I bought a Baja Designs strip light that I thought I could incorporate but it didn't have an obvious place to live. I still want to make a bike hauler so I figured I'd save that for the hauler.

Anyway, what I came up with was to raise the spare up enough to clear the light. I haven't changed a tire on the side of the road in 30 years (and probably just jinxed myself) so I wasn't worried about the ease factor.

I drew it up after looking at the dimensions and then bought the steel.

My mills DRO helped me space out the 8x170 pattern. I only did four holes.

I made the single arm from the bottom and then started building the second brace to support it.

First iteration didn't quite clear so I had to do some cutting and mitering.

You can't really plan this on paper. Perhaps a complex CAD model would work but the only real way to do it is to hang the tire and build the mount up to where you want it to be. For me I want the mount to be at a slight angle following the rear windows.

The MOVE bumper isn't nearly strong enough to support the weight of the spare out on the corner of the bumper. Despite the bracing that I did I quickly discovered that the whole bumper would flex. I anticipated that and planned to include a bump stop from aluminum.

And Delrin. That would help it slide and provide a wear point but also hold the weight directly below the tire.

My new favorite thing is drill taps.

This is version one of the bump stop.

And this is the latch that I am planning on using.

Since this forum has a picture limit I'll stop here for now. Hopefully there's still interest in the building of the van as there's still a lot of the van left to build!



Love the bump stop. Never used a drilltap before, looks like something to add to the toolset!

Where did you purchase the Delrin from?
Yes, drill taps are pretty awesome. Not for things like solid material (obviously) but for thinner material they do an amazing job.

The Derin I bought at our local plastic supplier - Tap Plastics. Most cities will have a similar sort of place. Delrin is pretty pricey. The single square foot of 1/2" black Delrin was $55 but as I was browsing around I discovered they had an off cuts bin that was a $1.70 a pound and so I bought all they had for just a few dollars and added that to the material bin collection. I opted for Delrin as it's stronger than HDPE (I bought a foot of that as well - it's the bottom sheet in the photo above) or the material that cutting boards are made from. It's not subject to any shock loads so doesn't chip.


Arctic Travelller

I've had good luck with draps even in thick sections of aluminum just as long as they are kept straight, like when chucking them in a Bridgeport collet. Keep the updates coming, and I'd love to see more of your drawings, there amazing.


I have been hoping you would continue this thread. It went a little sideways awhile back but hopefully it can stay back on track now. I've enjoyed watching your van progress, watching problems come up and get solved, and seeing the trips you've taken out on. Also your photos are always amazing!
Keep up the progress!


Keep the updates coming, and I'd love to see more of your drawings, there amazing.
I have been hoping you would continue this thread. It went a little sideways awhile back but hopefully it can stay back on track now. I've enjoyed watching your van progress, watching problems come up and get solved, and seeing the trips you've taken out on. Also your photos are always amazing!
Keep up the progress!
Alright then. We'll keep the thread from going sideways and keep updating.

I considered welding the latch that came with the clamp but decided to make a new one as the gap was a bit too far. I had to really shape the catch to get a positive close and I remade the delrin plate to include a lip so that the the spare would lock into place. I would shape the delrin with the file so that the carrier would just slide in and lock in place. That was accentuated with the way the gas strut was set up so that the last two inches of travel serve to close, rather than the open.

The catch plate did the job of taking the bulk of the weight at a place below and near to the frame mount of the bumper. I mounted up the spare and noticed something that I didn't anticipate - the spare rocked for and aft. Not much, maybe an inch or two, but it was an aspect of the build that I didn't expect and I was really disappointed about it. I felt like I'd failed. All that work and my design didn't anticipate the torsion that the 100lbs of tire and 50lbs of mount would exert up that high.

I drove around for a day trying to convince myself that it wasn't that bad but I'd posted a video to Instagram and a couple of folks mentioned to me that they'd had carriers fail once the rigs went off road.

I got more depressed. I can't stand failing.

I looked at the few offerings out there and noticed that Aluminess pivoted off their bumper but also near the door hinge. I didn't want to build a second pivot - the first is more than strong enough - but I wanted to lock in the spare and improve the strength. Maybe this was the answer. After all, good artists copy - great artists steal.

Back to the drawing... notebook.

The rear hinge uses fairly long bolts and is made of 1/4" steel so the door gap has room. I decided to make a brace that mounted off the hinge plate to take advantage of the strength of the door mount.

I had 1/4" steel stock and cut and welded two pieces together to shape them at the same time.

I used the mill to make them even and to set the curve of the plate to match the hinge so it would fit closely.

I welded the tube sections in place with a 1/2" stainless rod in place so that the alignment would be good.

It may look like there's only a small amount of weld but the bottom plates are welded all the way around the top clamping plate - there's a lot of weld there.

I made sure to tuck the assembly in next to the hinge so that it wouldn't stick out and interfere with the door.

The hardest part of this build was the welding of the brace from the catch I'd made to the holder. Too much weld on one side or the other and the pin would bind or not even fit. I had to weld small sections back and forth to keep the alignment.

I made a small cap on the 1/2" stainless rod i was using as it kept dropping through...

After an hour or so of fitting, welding, adjusting and checking I had my brace. It felt remarkably strong, better than I had hoped, and the pin slides in with perfect alignment. My friend Taylor had told me that he'd had the lower latch I was using open on the trail so I figured this was both a good way to strengthen the mount but also a fail safe catch for the spare.

To keep in touch with my buddy Ben when we go out I'd bought a CB and needed to mount the antenna. I didn't like most of the mounts that put the antenna on the hood so decided to mount it off the new brace.

I cleaned up and packed the bearings, scrubbed off the rust that had formed on the spindle and painted the whole thing in bed liner to match the bumpers.

Once the antenna was mounted the pin was hard to access so I welded a loop of stainless to the pin. There's no looseness in the pin - the fit is snug and the loop doesn't move or touch the paint.

Finally I mounted the tire and tested it out.


Not only does it keep the spare from rocking but it adds a third place to distribute the weight of the tire. The spare is so locked in to the whole rear end that the kids will climb up the spare to get to the roof and have found that the spare makes a very comfortable seat. I stood on the spare and could bounce the whole van and there was no slop or movement.

I felt really good about fixing this. Way better probably than if it had just worked the first time. Each time I make something on the van I learn a bit more about it. Each time I make the van better and a bit more "mine".

This whole build took almost two weeks and I managed to finish it exactly one day before we left for our trip to Colorado. I rotated the tires (I rotate the spare to increase the life of the tires) and had the oil changed and then we cleaned the van, Rain-X'd the windshield, replaced the tail light bulbs with LED's - much brighter - and loaded up with podcasts for our 5th trip in the van to Colorado but our first in the winter. Time to see if the van would work as well in snow as it does in sand.

I'll post up some of the trip photos next time but I have to say it's really nice to get the spare out of the back of the van. That extra room really made a difference and I like the look of the spare up high with all the clearance you could want for the tail lights.



Looking great! What's your IG?

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Hmm, that would be helpful wouldn't it? It's my name: gregorhalenda and I added it to my signature.

We left Portland just before Christmas. I've discovered that while my preference is to start trips super early in the morning it does't work with kids and a night owl wife. We leave late in the day and put in just a few hours but what it does is establish momentum and begin the trip. A few hours and a motel and you're on a road trip - the next morning we get up early.

First real test of the tire carrier was the infamous cat stack. While one cat showed no deflection I feel comfortable that the spare could hold at least two and possibly even three cats. This was in Utah.

The other rule of road trips in our family is NO SCREENS! Sure, it might get you down the road a bit farther but then what's the point? We have a van to travel, to experience the wonder and joy of a road trip not pass through it with your nose in and ipad. We listen to podcasts (studies show they stimulate the brain in the exact same way as a book), music and we take a lot of short breaks. I'd seen this road before off highway 191 outside of Price and always wanted to explore it.

I'm not sure how we won the cat lottery but our cat loves to travel. He's probably better than the dog actually. And we took the fish.

Outside of Gunnison we started to get some snow but not enough to put it into 4wd. You ever notice that if you type that with the caps lock it's $WD which I have always found ironically appropriate.

Almost there.

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Expedition Leader
Fantasic, we always try to leave early, and half the time it works! I like the no screens. It's insane where they find them these days.

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I love this build. Thanks for the updates.

I was able to get the no-screen policy for a while. Once they are in their teens it gets harder.

We were in the Gunnison area this Christmas too. Beautiful area.