'06 E350 Van Build

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Caligirlnic

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Bend, OR, USA
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Nicci
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miller
New Overland Vehicle Systems Awning!
Just came in, modified the roof rack today to hold it and popped off the old ARB small awning. This one puts a whole lot of coverage around the side and back of the van (not many awnings are big enough) and actually cools down the interior by a noticeable amount
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One of the poles does come down right next to the stove, but I think we're going to be redoing the kitchen soon so that won't be a big deal (or I can just leave it up). We still get great coverage over the pullout kitchen with just the last burner being outside the coverage of the awning.
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Closed up it doesn't take up much length of the van, just 7 ft. It is rather thick though
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Overall we're very happy with the new awning and how it works. Construction seems stout, welded aluminum hinges and it was holding up well to the wind while we were deploying it. Definitely looking forward to testing it out camping soon, but BBQing with neighbors on the 4th of July will have to suffice for it's first test run :)

We also got started on rebuilding and regearing the Dana 60. Just started tearing it down and cleaning it off
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what is the roof rack you have for the awning?
 

Built By Fluffy

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what is the roof rack you have for the awning?
Custom built. I used work van ladder rack for the clamps that attach to the rain gutter and welded those to a giant U shape I bent out of 1"x1" square tubing. There are 8 clamps, 2 at the rear and 3 on either side
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It fits around the sides and back of the high top with a slight bend downward just aft of the front doors to contour the rain gutter. It's secure enough for the awning or as a decent hand-hold. Eventually I'd like to replace it with an full aluminum roof rack, but we'll get there when we get there
 

Built By Fluffy

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Start of the kitchen box, just need to modify my welder to work with a spool gun
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It'll be roughly 36"L x 24"W x 14" tall, in the aluminum box/platform will be one drawer and space for one of our large plastic bins. The top will hold our Iceco fridge, 5 gal water can, solar generator, and coleman stove. The whole thing will bolt to the floor via the seat bracket bolts and one seatbelt bolt (seen above)
 
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Built By Fluffy

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The window is gone! And I'm updating/fixing the aux tank fuel fill neck.
Wife n I planned on deleting the rear driver side window from the beginning (originally both, but we decided to keep the pass rear window). There was a company out there that used to make aluminum window delete kits but they appear to have disappeared, so what's an amateur welder to do?
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Window "blank" cut from a junkyard work van (has the required curvature) and conveniently the bolt holes for the original window are the same diameter hole I would typically drill if I'm trying to emulate a pinch weld using mig.
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Weld through primer paint and "weld through" seam sealant were used in between the two sheets of metal and securely(?) clamped using a saw horse. Prime note for anyone wanting to emulate, I've discovered the "weld through" seam sealer is for resistance pinch welding ONLY...
I may have earned my callsign "Smokey" all over again today...
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Prepped for paint and final result. It looks nice enough if you don't get up close, but it gets the job done, increases our privacy, and gives us much more surface area for insulation later on.

As for the rear fuel tank, the nice expensive dual filler neck didn't work out. Its a nice product, nothing wrong with it, but considering the location of the tank the length of hose required I haven't been able to fill the rear tank at any gas station. So I fabbed up a hidden rear filler
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Welded and seam sealed in a similar fashion to the door, the donor was an S10 truck. It's angled right down to where the fill hole of the rear gas tank is. There was no other place we could figure out to put the fill cap on the outside without removing the rear air conditioning, and this still keeps the fill cap hidden from view. We figured we don't need access to it unless specifically going on long trips (so it's a convenient enough spot) and it's not too intrusive on our rear storage since I'll be building a drawer system anyway
 
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OverlandRS

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Adventure

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Portland, OR, USA
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TJ
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LoMac
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Nice truck interesting mods! If I need to go bigger than the BroncoSport a full size Econoline 4x4 is what it will be unless I can find a S&S M1078 cheap.
 

Built By Fluffy

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Nice truck interesting mods! If I need to go bigger than the BroncoSport a full size Econoline 4x4 is what it will be unless I can find a S&S M1078 cheap.
Thanks! I really wanted to build an LMTV but the wife said no :(
The van has been great though, all considering having camp set up as soon as parked and still being able to fit in normal parking spaces are major bonuses
 
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OverlandRS

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Portland, OR, USA
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TJ
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LoMac
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I grew up every school break in a 1969 TEC Ford Econolone poptop camper. I remember pulling into camp, and dad would pop the top and set hammocks in place, by the time mom and us kids were back from toilets, all ready for dinner and bed. I remember we had a shore power cord but once Dad and Grandpa installed the dual battery system we never use it. I really think a 4x4 or just lifted van is the ultimate offgrid long term adventure vehicle. Picture Not Ours; but basically identical to our Harvey blue 2WD Econoline.
 

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Built By Fluffy

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Kitchen is almost done, at least the base is installed and fridge in place. I changed gears and went with a steel structure, much heavier but at least I'm well practiced at this point. I made it so the bottom attaches to the same captain's chair bracket, making removable (albeit with very tight tolerances so it's hard to move), it also sits on four rubber feet at each corner
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Fridge sits snuggly in place just behind the driver's seat and there is room for our 5 gallon water jerry can just next to it and under what will be a shelf/counter space. The room underneith is just enough for two of our large rubbermaid camping boxes (one for kitchen gear and the other for dry foods) and plenty of space in the back to store a camp stove
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Built By Fluffy

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Ok, so kitchen is now quasi-finished and the diffs have new oil with armored covers. Installed a bowl (which will eventually have a drain), electric water pump, and water sprayer onto the kitchen box. The elec pump has generic water quick disconnects to hook up our water jerry cans
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The differentials have 500~800ish miles on em now (DDing in 4x4) so I figured it was time to exchange the fluid and add armored diff covers. Rear turned out alright but I'm worried about the front.
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Rear fluid came out clean and clear as I was hoping, I did see a little bit of wear on the toe of the gear but its nothing I'm worried about. The front fluid came out opaque and slightly sparkly, I also found a bit of dirt in there but that could've been from the removal of the original cover. There didn't seem to be any wear on the gears but the opaque fluid probably means I need a rebuild. I'm going to wait and see for now, considering I won't be running it in 4wd all the time I don't think it needs to happen right away.
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Built By Fluffy

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ALMOST a 1 year update

Long story short I got tired of freezing my butt off in the cold and feeling like I'm in an oven in heat, so we finally got around to insulation (Pretty much the only thing changed since last post, we've been enjoying the van otherwise)

First, I put in a bunch of blocking and furring to later attach walls, as well as finished adding plastic conduit line for any wires I wanted to run (Ignore the white stuff at the top, we removed that)
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Next we taped / plasticed everything up for foaming. I did lay down some wood strips and washers in the floor in certian places to save the bolt-holes, our intention is to spray foam the recessed portions and lay down a level floor. The rear heater / AC was also tapped off with a rear duct / shelf made at the top back.
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Will sand and scrape tomorrow to get everything level and evened out. Odd contours we plan on covering with stretchable marine carpet and the flat walls will just be stained wood board.
 

Built By Fluffy

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Another very late van update, but the interior is starting to take shape!
Got everything sanded, the walls and ceiling carpeted, along with wood paneling a the floors and a few walls:
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After that we got a faux-teak boat flooring to cover the wood floors and driver & passenger area so we could finally install the new bed/bench platform I welded up a while ago:
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After cutting down our conversion-van bench by about 5" we were able to get it bolted down with our 60L fridge sitting right next to it. For now we'll rock it as is but I do plan on welding up a little kitchenette to go where we used to have the fridge. It'll bolt right into the same spot the old set-up did and include a burner/sink combo, water storage, and all the drawers we need for our camp-kitchen gear.
 
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Built By Fluffy

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So, we completely changed tact for the kitchen, bench and bed layout. When we went camping with it we didn't like how we had to remove car seats and fold out the bed in order to get ready, lot of bulky moving about. So we opted for a bit of a hybrid of our original sleeping layout and the new; permanent bed platform, kitchenette is now behind the refrigerator, and I made new seat brackets to move a permanent bench rearward from the center section:
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Electric pump and propane are hooked up through the underside of the bed platform, two locking drawers, and just some cubby space. Propane is fed from outside the van on quick disconnects.

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We have a back-up mechanical water pump up front using a little sprayer hose from our last kitchen build, 20 gallons underneath the bed, the 2 or 3 person bench (and car seats) no longer has to move, and the upper cubby w/ electronics is finally filled in.

Overall I think this layout will suite us better, much easier to park and immediately have camp made. We don't intend on cooking much inside the van, for the most part we will use our outdoor stove, but it will provide the convenience of making coffee inside on a cold morning. Figured it was worth the trade off
 
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Built By Fluffy

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Trial by fire! Took the big girl up the Backway to Crown King and the Senator Hwy to get to Overland Expo West. The new camping set-up worked great, we were able to set up and break down camp much quicker to get back on the road!
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Some trail damage, actually bent the crossmember up enough to touch my exhaust, our mid-destination at Crown King and camp at the Expo
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Overall I'm very happy with the build. We still have some interior touch-ups to make, a new front bumper with winch to weld up, I have an idea with trailer jacks for a leveling/tire jack solution, and some refinements to our electrical situation but otherwise I think she's a good 90~95%-ish done. I'll probably still make those update here but otherwise will start to make new posts on our upcoming adventures!
 
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