"One Piece At A Time" Build

#1
This build thread will document the changes to my 1998 E150. "You might say I went down to the factory and picked it up myself"

First a little backstory, for the last 10 years I've been building/4wheeling/camping out of my 1991 Nissan Hardbody. It started as a $500 2wd truck and is currently SAS'd on 285/75/16s







I used slider boxes instead of shackles up front to keep it low, stable AND flexy. It worked great to haul the boats bikes and all my gear around for the last 4 years in its current configuration.

However I am now married and have 2 dogs and even more gear so I bought this:



I knew from Van experience that I wanted a 5.4, a high top, and a body that was in good shape. A conversion van was the easiest place to start so I grabbed this one off craigslist. Its just a 150, but I've got one of these, and lots of cool ideas.

 
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#3
I bought this van in Feb of '16, wanting to use the van for a bit of everything. Not just a dedicated camper but be able to haul plywood, tow a trailer, haul the boats and seat several comfortably. I also wanted it to be ready to camp at a moments notice for impromtu weekends or staying at friends.
First off was to gut the interior. Tear out the rear seats and carpet and put down insulation and a sub floor.



There was an existing 1/2" layer of foam insulation under the carpet, so I left that. Covered it with 1/2" plywood subloor through bolted with existing holes to the van body.




I covered that with foam tiles from Harbor Freight. This was a quick solution to make a trip but its turned out surprisingly durable.


I had a layout in mind that drew from dozens of camper vans i'd seen, limitations of my truck, and what I wanted to use the van for. Next up were the bed and sink.
 
#5
I knew I wanted a bed that ran front to back (6'2") and that I wanted it to store away when not in use. I came across slat style expanding beds and was sold. Out came the .090 wall square tube and bender.











I used some UHMW pucks punched out of a cutting board to separate the two halves and prevent vibration. They should also slide really smoothly.





Scored some Black Walnut 1.5"x 6" and chopped, ripped and routed them down to fit.







Rubbed it down with a little boiled linseed oil rather than paint. Turned out great.



 

Bbasso

Expedition Leader
#10
I recognize that forklift and the logo on the door in the background...
Looks like you're off to a good start, keep us posted.
 
#12
There was already a lot of decent storage in the van but I wanted a way to store and pack clothes that was removable but more assessable than the dry bags we'd used in the truck. I came across Disc-o-bed Cabinets, a soft sided collabsable closet thats designed to be used with their bunk beds. I ordered one from REI and LOVE IT. Made a little bracket to hang it from and couldn't be happier.







The inside has 3 shelves with one divider on each shelf. It unbuckles while were not camping so I can use the van to haul things.
We set it up and pack it in the house with our clothes and toiletries then simply carry it out to the van and buckle it in. Unpacking is just as easy.

I also made a bracket to attach an old external frame camping backpack I had to the forward barn door. It worked out pretty well but was later swapped out for something more efficient.



I also swapped out the chrome bumpers for gray ones from a cargo van. The rear step bumper was a huuuuge "step up" lol
 
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#14
Knew I wanted a cabinet between bed and driver seat to house the water tanks, toilet and sink. With as much storage as I could fit. With the bed being 6 ft long and leaving room to slide and recline the seat I ended up with a cabinet 34" wide. This yielded an unintentional but awesome slight press fit for the water jugs and toilet.

I started by drilling and tapping the cut ends of some 10 Series 80-20


Cut some brackets


Polished them and opened up the holes





Started assembly





And got my sink mocked up

 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
#15
There was already a lot of decent storage in the van but I wanted a way to store and pack clothes that was removable but more assessable than the dry bags we'd used in the truck. I came across Disc-o-bed Cabinets, a soft sided collabsable closet thats designed to be used with their bunk beds. I ordered one from REI and LOVE IT. Made a little bracket to hang it from and couldn't be happier.







The inside has 3 shelves with one divider on each shelf. It unbuckles while were not camping so I can use the van to haul things.
We set it up and pack it in the house with our clothes and toiletries then simply carry it out to the van and buckle it in. Unpacking is just as easy.
Thanks for those! I've been eyeballing the Disc-O-Bed Cabinet for the same purpose, but other than Mike Hiscox, I don't know of too many people who've used them. I figured I would do something very similar to hang mine.