Optima Batteries SEMA 2015 Build


Look at what arrived at my shop today... This van has done some traveling in its short life. It was most of the way across the country at Ujoint just a few weeks ago, then SMB west now in Oregon before going to SoCal then on to Vegas for SEMA.

I spent a couple hours gutting the interior and getting ready for a frenzy of measuring-thinking-Solidworks over the weekend.

The Super Duty truck mirrors will probably be the first item to get crossed off the list. First thing in the morning I'll be doing the finish work on the plastics.

Big shout out to Ujoint too! The 4x4 conversion looks awesome! So much attention to detail!


SO BRIGHT INSIDE! Polar opposite of the cargo body. care to share what you're thinking for housing that HVAC unit? i've got, what i assume, to be basically the same thing (2005) but with a bloody massive cage around it, and i've recently been pondering how to utilize all the dead space.
Think Optima will notice if you throw the Cummins into it? You've made the swap look oil-change-easy and it's always easier to seek forgiveness rather than permission. :chef:
it might just result in a dozen orders for ram-vans....#mgmetalworksshareholder


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Very cool, looking forward to what you'll be doing. Wish we had more time with it, there's never enough time! We had 6 working days with it.

I have some pics of what we did in my build thread if anyone hasn't seen them.


SO BRIGHT INSIDE! Polar opposite of the cargo body.
Joking aside I have an 8-passenger and it was horribly hot until heavily tinted. 10% on everything from the b-pillars back and 25% on the front side windows (which is the legal limit for Texas forward of the b-pillars). Made a HUGE difference, even with the rear A/C.


Progress report:

Damn you summer heat!!! It has been a race against rising temperatures the last couple of days. The material I'm using for shaping/texturing the plastics on the Super Duty truck mirrors is very finicky when the temps are high so I'm having to work around the heat of the day (meaning early mornings and late evenings). I'm ready for texturing at least...which is the 2nd to last step before reassembling the mirrors and mounting them on the van.

To give you an idea...it took a full day's work to go from this:

To this:

Lots of design work going on and piles of parts being ordered. I LOVE this stuff!!!!


Expedition Leader
So, let's see... Skills that MG possesses:

- CAD Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Metal Fabrication
- Plastics Modeling
- Guacamole Manufacturing

You're pretty much a Super Hero.


More progress on the mirrors. Started to assemble the internals and snake the wiring through the assembly. They definitely go back together easier than they come apart but that doesn't mean it's easy to do without breaking tabs or scuffing the new finish. Sloooooooooowwwwwww process.

I figured out the seat/bed folding linkage/latch this morning over a maple bar and wake up beverage :coffeedrink:. I've said it a million times already but Solidworks is great for mocking up linkages and simulating motion of components. With the basic "stick drawings" in place, now it's just a matter of designing brackets and linkages to match the dimensions in the mock up model. This is sort of an important milestone because the whole seat frame needs to be designed and fabricated by early next week so the upholsterer has enough time to do his magic.


Gonna have to drop off my rig next time I cross through Portland for this here mod. Awesome as always!

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