Old College Kid (re)builds a Camper/Moto Van-1989 Ford EB SMB Penthouse

Mwilliamshs

Explorer
I'll post some meaningless pics sometime but this past weekend I swapped all 4 shocks, all 3 flexible brake lines, and the driver's seatbelt. Rotated the tires and bled in all new brake fluid too. Also realized I have a leaky axle seal on the driver's rear so I'm researching the best way to solve that. The Ford 8.8 uses the axle shaft as the inner race and I believe the seal is leaking because the bearing is bad (but not noisy so maybe not?) so it's fairly likely the axle shaft is worn too and if the driver's is bad the passenger's side might be right behind it so I'm looking at replacing both shafts, bearings, seals, differential gasket, and 3 quarts of gear lube...roughly $300. Thanks to the axle's popularity there are lots of opinions on this online and multiple solutions like c-clip eliminators, axle-end conversion kits that get the 9" bearing ends, etc. I got no problem with any of this but I do wish I was further along in my build before contemplating all the axle stuff cuz I fix it now and find out later I'm pushing the GVWR, I'll be swapping axles to 8-lug anyway but swapping axles now would mean changing wheels, axle, driveshaft, u-bolts, u-joint...

Lots to consider.

Might just go with a repair bearing for now to get by. Hate re-doing things and almost never take the cheapest or easiest option but sometimes it just makes sense I guess
 
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calicamper

Expedition Leader
Interesting note about thr starter design. We had a 85 351 that had starter issues also, if you cranked more than a few turn overs the battery cable would get hot. Lit two on fire actually. I wonder if that okd starter design was the same deal that 85 had? Sounds like you found a good fix!!!
 

Mwilliamshs

Explorer
The water system thinking has lead me to thinking engine heat. Tying the camper water system to the engine for heating means if I installed a block heater in the engine I could theoretically heat my fresh water with 120v electricity with a $19.99 part. The best brand of block heater I know of is Kat's .pdf of their catalog and their Ford 4.9L application is a 600w element that replaces the 2nd freeze plug from the front on the passenger side. I'm being specific here so I can look it up right here later. Forgetful. Part 10603 has its cord permanently attached and 11603 is removable. It's 41mm and direction is "6". Dunno what direction means yet, guessing it means the element needs to be point straight down, 6 o'clock.
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I really don't expect to get hot water from this but it's gotta help some when 110v is available and I'm going to look into hooking this big resistor (that's all a heating element is) to maybe the solar, etc.

600w / 120v = Just 5 amps but 600w / 12v = 50 amps. Hmm.

I screwed up some math in a post that used to be here. Skip ahead a couple posts (to #67) to see what I was going for.
 
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UHAULER

Explorer
Was discussing a similar but unrelated idea with a colleague today and got to thinking. The British thermal unit (BTU or Btu) is a traditional unit of work equal to about 1055 joules. It is the amount of work needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. My cooling system currently (no heat exchanger loop) is about 14 quarts or 3-1/2 gallons. Automotive antifreeze weighs about 9.6 lbs and my system should be 50/50 antifreeze/water so 9.6 + 8.4 (water) = 18/2= 9 and 9 x 3.5 = 31.5 pounds for all the coolant in my stock coolant system. To make the math easier and more accurate since we're not talking pure water, I'll use specific heat. Specific heat is the amount of heat required to change temperature of one kilogram of a substance by one degree so now we gotta go to kg. Half my cooling system is water and that's 7 quarts of water at 2.1 lbs per quart, or 14.7 pounds, or 6.66 kg. Half my cooling system is ethylene glycol so 16.8 pounds, or 7.62 kg.

The specific heat of water is 1...screw it. http://homepage.usask.ca/~llr130/physics/HeatCapcityOfAntiFreeze.html lists the Specific Heat Capacity of Water-Antifreeze Solutions and at 50% concentration it's 3.62 J / g / °C at 93° C and the specific heat goes down relative to temperature so it's easier to heat cool fluid and harder to heat hot fluid. That's good enough for me.

Q = cp m dT is the formula to determine Amount of Heat Required to Rise Temperature. Q = amount of heat (kJ), cp = specific heat (kJ/kg.K), m = mass (kg), and dT = temperature difference between hot and cold side (K).

2160 / 3620(14,280) = dT so 4.178 is the heat increase after an hour. That's in Kelvin. It means 7.52124054e-05 F. I gotta go now but I'm gonna revisit that math. There's no way commercially available block heaters rated for 600w are only raising the temperature of coolant .7.52124054e-05 degrees F per hour. That's like .000007 degrees LOL I screwed up somewhere doing this on my phone waiting on a date
If you talk about this on your date, you will decrease your chances of raising her temperature:D
 

Mwilliamshs

Explorer
If it hadn't been quoted in its entirety I would just edit the erroneous post but it has so here goes:

The specific heat is a function of the coolant formulation and temperature. The following equations can be used to calculate the specific heat of the coolant. For water
alone, the specific heat is CW = 4.127 + 0.0002892 TW or 9.15. For a 50:50 blend of ethylene glycol in water, the specific heat is CW = 3.409 + 0.003897 TW or 9.16, where CW = specific heat, kJ/kg·°C TW = average temperature of coolant in radiator core, °C. So we'll use 9.16 kJ/kg·°C. For specific heat of our coolant. We have 6.66kg of it and 2,160 kg of enery input. Q = cp m dT is the formula to determine Amount of Heat Required to Rise Temperature. Q = amount of heat (kJ), cp = specific heat (kJ/kg.K), m = mass (kg), and dT = temperature difference between hot and cold side (K). So, Q = cp m dT is 2,160 = 9.16 (6.66) dT and dT = 2,160 / 9.16 (6.66) or 35.41°C, or 95.74°F. Call it 96. Allow for the fact the coolant is spread out in a copper and brass radiator, iron block and head, rubber hoses, etc as opposed to all collected in a tank and I think it's real safe to say an increase of over 50°F in an hour is entirely plausible in the real world.

For comparison, water heaters in the real world are rated in recovery rate. This is the rate at which the water heater can raise the temperature of the inlet water by 90° F. It's expressed in gallons per hour. The Ariston GL-6 110v water heater sold by HomeDepot (I just googled 110v water recovery rate and it came up, I didn't hunt out an especially powerful one or anything) claims a recovery rate of 7 gallons per hour with 1500 watts of power. Now that's in an insulated tank with nearly 3x the heating power, etc but if 1500w can heat 7 gallons 90 degrees in 60 minutes, it can theoretically heat 3.5 gallons (my cooling system size) 180 degrees in the same time. 1/3 the power (derating block heater from 600 to 500) should be able to heat 3.5 gallons by 50 degrees (again, derating 180/3 from 60 to 50) so yeah, I'd say I got the math fixed.

WHEW
 
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dazdconfsd

Observer
Now that I'm driving the van daily some issues have popped up. Primarily, the starter. Fords of this era use a direct drive starter that's a big electric motor with a gear on the end and a bendix that slides the gear out to meet the flexplate when you turn the key. This motor has windings in it that must be engergized to create a magnetic field, in which the armature rotates to turn the gear. Mine was original, I'm quite certain of that anyway as it had a Motorcraft label dated 1988 and my build date of the whole van is 10/88. Anyway, it cranked slower than I'd like at the best of times and if the van idled too long then needed to be restarted (like when I was hunting a vacuum leak) or if you were running errands and let it sit 20 minutes then tried to restart, it would protest quite stubbornly. This got worse as time went by and temperatures rose from the 20s of a couple weeks ago. Fast forward to 2 days ago when I was racing home to change shirts (lunch date marked my collar) before a meeting: knowing the van wouldn't want to restart after being driven across town in traffic then parked 20 minutes, I chose to leave it running while I ran upstairs. Came back down, hopped in and snagged my jacket cuff on the shifter while I put my briefcase in the passenger seat...pulled my cuff free and somehow tripped the ignition and killed the engine. UGH. Hit the key and barely got a groan. NO WAY it was gonna start. It was pouring rain and about 40* out so I grabbed the towel from my gym bag, held it in the river running along the curb, and used it to soak and cool the starter for about 5 minutes. It worked, but barely and I knew I was on borrowed time.
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I could get a stock replacement starter for about $80 at RockAuto, my local parts store, etc. I could also get an improved version of the same thing for about $150 from Powermaster, PA Performance, etc. OR I could upgrade the starter to a much better design for about $30. Yes, please!
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In 1993 or so Ford began installing a starter that no longer used heavy copper windings to create a magnetic field inside but instead, permanent magnets, and instead of a big heavy armature to create sufficient torque, they used a planetary gearset. This is known as a Permanent-Magnet, Gear-Reduction starter, or PMGR. The same starter fits my 4.9 and the 5.0 and 5.8 Ford engines for all years. Pretty cool. I'd returned the core for my leaky injector to the junkyard, and the 3 extras I'd bought in case the 1st replacement was a dud, and had about an $18 credit at my local Pick-N-Pull. I'd previously picked up the 6 GA charge wire from a Ford Taurus with the 3.8 v6 and a 130 amp 3G alternator. Was actually pulling the whole set-up (alternator, wire, fuse, etc) and found a crack in the alternator housing so abandoned it but held onto the cable. Drove to the junkyard, pulled a PMGR out of a Grand Marquis, and had it tested at O'Reilly's. WOW these things are fast. Pulled the old starter, moved the former power wire from the solenoid hot post to the switch post of the new starter, added the Taurus charge wire to the new power post, routed it to the battery side of the fender-mounted starter solenoid, and just that simple, I've got a FAST, light, efficient starter for a cash outlay today of about $12 for the price difference at the P-N-P and 1 terminal for attaching the charge cable to the fender-mounted solenoid's 1/4" post.
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Crank time is WAY down and thanks to the new starter's heat shield, smaller size (further from the exhaust) and improved design, my heat soak concerns are long gone. I'll run this unit till it gets tired and get a good new unit from the parts store with this one as a core of the right type. VERY good day in van-land.
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Here's my first ever YouTube upload. Be kind! https://youtu.be/U4RrVT56Pig
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Comparison shot: (yes, the new [used] starter was GREASY but worked great and cleaned up well. The car I pulled it from had a leaky power steering rack)
What motor was in the Grand Marquis that you pulled the starter off of? I'm thinking of doing the same upgrade this weekend if I can find the right one.
 

Mwilliamshs

Explorer
Any old small block ford starter will work. Not a 5.4 or 4.6 modular motor, but a 300, 302, or 351. I think my starter came off a 5.0/302 but I really don't remember exactly. I have had pretty good luck searching the entire junkyard and finding parts pulled and left by others. Example: guy wants the flexplate so pulls the trans, torque converter, starter, etc. You just pull the wiring from the starter if need be and you're good to go. Same deal if you want an electric fan...look for a car someone pulled the radiator from and left the fan behind. Especially effective strategy when the part you want, PMGR starter in this case, can be found on cars, trucks, and vans. I honestly bet I could go to my local pick-n-pull today and get a PMGR starter with nothing but a pair of wire cutters. Kinda have to balance time vs effort in this heat though. Heat index here today is like 110* so do you want to do more walking and less wrenching, or spend a little longer laying in the shade of a car?
 

Mwilliamshs

Explorer
Been a long time since I shared anything meaningful here. Just hasn't been anything going on with the van. I actually barely even drive it right now since I have a scooter I ride back and forth to work a lot and a little Civic I drive when the van's power and/or capacity aren't needed. I do some weekend home remodeling on the side but usually use the crewcab dually for that since it usually means towing trailers or hauling tear-out debris that loads more easily into and out of a truck bed than a van. ANYWAY...got a remodel job coming up in the middle of nowhere and I think the van is gonna get used for it. It's over an hour and a half drive from the job to my folks (where I keep tools and stuff since I live in an apartment) and almost 3 hours from the job to my house. Probably looking at 2 full weekends of work so possibly 16 hours of driving if I drive to get tools, drive to the job, drive to my folks to sleep, drive to the job, drive back to my folks, drive home. BUT I have a big van so what if I drive to get tools, drive to the job, sleep in the van, drive back to my folks, and drive home? That's only 5 hours a weekend. Much better. I do have a dually and cabover camper I could use but the jobsite isn't conducive to parking the tall camper there and the truck will be taking my folks' boat to the lake the weekends I'll be working anyway. So time to camp in the camper van for the first time since I bought it what, 2 years ago?! Now, it is about 100* here every day right now and my van is an empty shell other than some paneling on the walls so I've got some work to do. Plan is to make a plywood filler for the front passenger window to hold a window unit ac, sleep on a futon mattress I have, and pack simple grub (protein shake for breakfast, cooler of cold cuts for sandwiches, etc) for lunch and drive about 15 minutes into the little nearby town for dinner. If I get real jazzed on the idea I might even throw some carpet in the back of the van for luxury. I'm probably more excited by this notion than I should be but I've owned a camper van for 2 years and never camped in it so I'm way past due. My only real hesitation is knowing I'll be working up a good sweat and don't have a shower in the van but I'll improvise some sponge-bathing or just spray off with a garden hose. We're talking WAY out in the middle of nowhere so no real concern with blinding the neighbors.

Gonna look for window unit in a van window holder board stuff and post good ideas i find here.

LOL




 
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Mwilliamshs

Explorer
The Everest Star furnace I have in my plans is nearly exactly the same size as an 8D battery and they both sit side-by-side beneath the truckfridge 130 quite nicely. Pretty much sums up my plan for the furnace/battery/fridge cabinet I want to put right behind the driver's seat. I'll mount it as close to the driver's seat as I can, while still allowing for seat recline and slide. Probably angle the cabinet behind the seat to hug it as tightly as I can while still allowing seat travel. I think that angled face (toward the windshield) is a good place for storage of a table top. The opposite face (toward rear window) or somewhere on the side facing the curb side of the van will have to house battery monitor and solar controller, etc. This is also an ideal spot for a fire extinguisher. I think adding 2" (maybe 1") of closed cell foam inside the cabinet will be great for keeping the fridge as efficient as possible and the furnace as quiet as it can be, etc. I think a low-amp DC fan to help fridge ventilation may also be in order but there's lots of info on that stuff over at thesamba. I'll get a draft of this cabinet up soon. Still letting the ideas swim around.

Better fan for fridge, quieter, more cooling, less noise
http://noctua.at/en/nf-f12-pwm

Model TF130
Size - H x W x D 29 ½" h x 20 ¼" w x 20 ¾" d
Gross Capacity 4.2 cu. ft.
Nominal voltage 115 Volt AC/12 Volt DC
Internal Light Yes
EMC conformity Yes
Air cooling Forced with fan
Average consumption 24 watts/hour
Net Weight 53 lbs.


Trojan 8D-AGM

Length 20.47 (520)
Width 10.64 (270)
Height 9.08 (231)
Weight 161 (73)

Everest Star 8012 http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Vehicles/PMRV/Furnace/Install manual Atwood7900EverestSeries2.pdf

Cut out Size 8.375" x 11.25"

Weight: 24 lbs.

Dimensions: 20.5" (L) x 8.375" (W) x 11.375" (H)

Drawer Slides 24", 400 lbs I think. These will allow an angle-iron frame to fit the battery box below and slide out far enough to lift the battery straight up to remove.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GP28HXE/ref=s9_dcacsd_dcoop_bw_c_x_4_w

Battery Box
http://www.allbatterysalesandservice.com/browse.cfm/4,434.html
Picked a box that'll fit the 8D or 2 GC2's since I don't have either yet and might change from one to the other down the road, don't want to rebuild a cabinet or be stuck buying 1 size of battery.
 
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Mwilliamshs

Explorer
Been very lazy lately and decided I need to change that. As a goal-oriented guy, I set a deadline as a way to motivate myself.

October 2017 I'll be driving my van from Little Rock, AR to Yellowstone National Park. With work and budget always a concern I'm keeping the trip short, about 10 days total. 4 days driving North, 3 days camping, 3 days driving South.

Lots to do to prepare so expect updates on the van regularly.
 

Mwilliamshs

Explorer
My penthouse windows are junk. Got new ones from SMB a while back. Gotta find someone to sew them in. I'd like to use zippers so they can be removed. This would allow storing them flat and simplify future replacement.

EDIT: a buddy from school manages an outdoor awning company (like canvas and sunbrella awnings for storefronts, etc) and his seamstress says it'll be no problem. Shopping zippers now.
 
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