The Rig Runner ...a 2010 E350 5.4 DIY Coil Conversion


Another project getting close to completion. Roof Rack/observation deck/solar panel. I'm quite pleased very solid.

I have not weight it. I used very light wood. The heaviest part are the roof bars by a long shot. The decking wood (brown) is about 80 lbs. I was able to lift the whole stack. The frame maybe another 100 lbs. I'll guess 250 to 350 lbs.



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As my neighbor was listing his house, they posted drone pictures showing my progress.
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Continuing with the Party Deck project. Awning is taking shape. I'll replace the telescopic poles (4' to 8") with longer ones (6' to 12') to gain a little bit of rigidity. I've build two "pockets" on the rack using PVC pipe where the poles got inserted. They provide enough support. The fabric is a side wall for an EZ-up from Academy ($16).

I've been running the fridge (dorm fridge) for three days out of the 165w solar panel.IMG_0717.JPGIMG_0719.JPG


I've been looking for ideas to build a roof deck, and this looks nice.

Is everything except the main cross bars wood?


I've been looking for ideas to build a roof deck, and this looks nice.

Is everything except the main cross bars wood?
Yes. All wood. The decking is screwed to the crossbeams and resting on the metal cross bars.

Here is a better view. IMG_0736.JPG


Driving on that river bed in Mexico was not the best for the old dorm fridge and after three years, it quit. You can hear the compressor turning, but it doesn't cool. All things considered I think it was a good run. 3.3 cf (98 qt) for $150 and lasted 3 years.
I replace it with an energy star mini freezer that is being controlled with a thermostat so i can set the temperatures as a refrigerator. I went with the freezer since they have better insulation. I like the fact that the door inside is flat so I can use the whole depth of the unit.
I have one 165W solar panel feeding two marine/rv deep cycle group 27 batteries (85 Ah each I think). I have the van parked in my driveway in the Houston sun with the temperature being around 95F and the thing is being running 24/7 with no problems.
The old fridge will make some clanking noises (compressor) when going oven bumps. The new one doesn't, it seems to have better suspension.

Here you can see the thickness of the insulation. I've added a child lock so it will stay closed when on the move. I can fit a full gallon of milk.


I've putt it to the test already and it works quite well. I joined a Toyota group at Off Camber off road park in the Texas hill Country and did well.


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I rip one tire and had to change it in the middle of the climb. The UniJack worked quite well in those circumstances and with a little help from my friends and tying the van to a Jeep uphill, I was on the trail in no time.




Time for the rear springs. Since I put the 860S springs at the front, the back was slightly lower than the front. Even tough I replaced the 2" block with a reverse shackle, the leaves seem to gave some. I got a set of springs from a E-250 and did some mixing. The springs I had were aftermarket and you can tell the main leaf is thinner than the OEM. I used the main and the middle leaf from the E250 and made a new set with a extra leaf.

Old pack on top, E250 pack on bottom

this is what the new pack looks like:


When I rip the tire, I was able to find two tires of the same size, type and amount of wear on Craigslist. Now I have a full size spare and this is how a 305/65r18 looks like under the van:


and finally this is how the van looks like with the new springs. Offset is how it looked before. I am guessing I got around 1"
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Another trip to an off-road park. Life gets in the way of longer trips so this should do. This think keeps surprising me . With a little bit of stupidity is a very capable vehicle. Only messed a little bit the roof rack because of clearance with the trees and a side step as I got high centered (Not the best Breakover angles). It is not very often that you have to winch downwards, but that's the way I free it form the top of a crest.




What comes next?
I’m always impressed the places you take your van. I bet you make a lot of Jeep guys jealous. Your last post on the SMB forum with you 3-wheeling was awesome!