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Old 08-04-2012, 04:52 PM   #1
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East Coast Ground up

Picking up my 2008 E-350 extended body on monday. She is an empty canvas. Not a 4x4 but wont need it. Ive been cruising the forum for a while getting heaps of ideas. Folders upon folders of parts. Sold my trusty 2005 Jeep wrangler unlimited to do the build out. We have a 25'Class C that is awesome but not easy to use in some areas I surf in here on the east coast.
Hope someone can help out the starting phase. Who am I kidding more like whole phase..
Our first list on the agenda is:
#1-Buy a Hightop. Diciding on the 24" bubble top with windows from Fiberine. Its going to cost a huge chunk of change to get delivered to Mass but seems to be the best for a DIY.Like 20" aero but we are putting roof A/C so need a lil more head room. Anyone have any recomendations? Pros or cons.
#2- Installing spare on rear door and putting in under van storage. Has anyone used this space for house battery?
#3 Purchasing slide window for drivers side and barn doors. Has anyone used CR Lawrence? If so do you like them?
http://www.crlaurence.com/crlapps/showl ... delID=2544
Also found some on discount site but not sure of quality or tint.
http://www.discountvantruck.com/vanconv ... indows.htm
I prefer to buy quality and take my time as money is an issue..
Really appreciate any help especially in the begining....
Thanks in advance
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:12 PM   #2
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Re: East Coast Ground up

Quote:
Originally Posted by bodhi1960
#3 Purchasing slide window for drivers side and barn doors. Has anyone used CR Lawrence? If so do you like them?
http://www.crlaurence.com/crlapps/showl ... delID=2544

I can't help with the first 2 questions but in regards to the C. R. Laurence windows I can tell you that their built very well. I have a 2006 E250 that was bought as a cargo van without windows. The company that did the van conversion installed all the big windows and the power sun roof. They are all from C.L. Laurence. I can say that the build quality is excellent. I have not had any issues or leaks. I would definitely recommend them.

Cheers
Darryl
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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Re: East Coast Ground up

Thanks Darryl.
I have to go to a local glass company to order. They look to be good quality. Hopefully I wont have sticker shock.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:16 PM   #4
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Re: East Coast Ground up

Just had CRL's installed. Windows are great so far but the installers were terrible.

Be very careful with who does your install. They screwed up everything you could. They used a cut saw to cut the windows which left a layer of metal dust on the outside of the whole van which rusted into the paint. They paid for a pro detail. The metal shavings also burned holes in both front seats and my drivers mirror. They also paid for that but all this took three months. Fortunately I recorded the whole window install on my GoPro and you can see sparks flying all over on the inside of the van.

They used different screws on the windows and on and on.....

I originally wanted just the solid glass window but the misses convinced me to have some type of opening. We ended up getting the t-window at the bottom and glad we did. That small window on both sides makes a huge difference.
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:57 AM   #5
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Re: East Coast Ground up

haywoodphotomaccom Can tell you more about roof installations at least. He swapped his from a low one to a high one. He also mounted his battery under the van just behind the rear axle. Where he put his you might be able to keep your spare tire where it is. Check his posts and super great pictures for more detail.

wl1193 had two batteries installed into the back corners under the floor of his EB Ford. I kind of like that location but you can only do the right side if you have rear A/C.

On my 2008 V-10 van I have rear A/C so I did the diesel van battery boxes in the stock location on the right frame rail under the side doors.

If your van is a diesel you can put two additional ones on the drivers side rail the holes are already there you just need to buy or make some spacers to clear the e brake cable. If I ever think I need more power thats what I am going to do.

To move the tire to the back is kind of a big deal. The eight lug wheels and tires are so big and heavy they can't really be mounted on the door like they used to in the old days. You need something like this.

http://www.aluminess.com/tire-racks.htm

Or this.

http://www.tiregate.com/hg_series_0.shtml

They both are quite nice but they are both $600 plus.

Do you have a battery size or requirements in mind yet? That may help you decide where to put it/them.

At any rate there are a lot of good ideas on here just do a search for what you need and go from there.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:44 AM   #6
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Re: East Coast Ground up

I missed the roof question in the first post:

I had a 16" Fiberine that came on the van that I really liked. It was double sided and finished smooth fiberglass on the inside. Has automotive paint to match the van and it was installed great. Still have it for sale BTW.

The new top I put on is a 20" from them with windows they installed and rough on the inside. Love the extra height but still prefer the look of the lower top.

The new top has been a pain. Went with Fiberine again as the first top was so nice. The instal job was done poorly and both windows leaked. Have video of water coming in while in a storm on both sides.

The outside caulking was sloppy and missing in spots all together. I had to pull both windows out and reseal them. They did give me some money back to have them fixed locally. One of the windows has different glass/tint on one side. The inside mounting installation was done poorly as well and I still need to fix that.

I think I have pictures of both installs on my build thread.

They told me the white out of the mold should match my van close enough and I should not need to paint it like the first one was. The top has since faded slightly and the difference is more visible now. Wish I would have had it painted. In addition there were significant swirl marks in the finish of the entire top. Had a local detailer fix them.

I would closely inspect the work of your local installer and have the windows installed locally too.

The best install I have seen so far was done by Sportsmobile on AdventureTreks van with a Fiberine top. I will be pulling my top sometime and fixing the rest of the issues .
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:18 AM   #7
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Re: East Coast Ground up

Thanks Ultra, I was going to get the door mount tire carrier because I do not have oversized tires but may rethink. Still researching battery needs. Our 25 Class C has always run fine with one house battery so may start there and add if needed.
Brent, I have read thru your thread a cpl times, in fact its what sold my wife. I will be doing the install of the roof with the help of a cpl friends. I think we are going with the 24" bubble top from fiberine with windows. My wife doesn't want to feel like she is in a box while I'mout surfing, and overhead storage is key. Unfortunately Fiberine is the only place I can get with windows installed. They have been great responding to my questions and concerns. Shipping and crate is costing my upwards of $900. to Boston.. Its a big hit..
Thanks to everyone regarding my window choices. I'll be making choices soon and ordering...
Cheers
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:57 AM   #8
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Re: East Coast Ground up

Fixed top...

IMHO, think strongly about the crusier top, also avail from fiberine

Cons
- ugly to some

Pros
-TONS more room
- the over cab portion storage allows the "living/cooking" space to be
pretty clutter free (some pics in my gallery

I dont know:
i think the gas milage of a cruiser vs a voyager
probabaly about the same

my two Satang

ps
good luck w/ build

feel free to pm me and pick my brain
(i have built out several rigs)
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:37 PM   #9
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Re: East Coast Ground up

Thanks Bill. I sent you a PM. I like the cruiser but dont think they make them anymore. The super camper will cost almost as much as the van to ship to Beantown....
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:13 AM   #10
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Re: East Coast Ground up

We have a 24" top and it seems to be a good balance between storage space and tree clearance. Fiberine has an option to provide an inner fiberglass skin with foam insulation in between. We had this option on our 1988 van an it seemed to provide more head room and storage space than our new van, which has a more standard plywood/uphosltery ceiling. The fiberglass liner was also noisier.

We chose to get the window in the top only on the driver's side, above the galley. It does add a sense of space to the interior.

Our new van has CR Laurence windows and they appear to be top quality. No rattles or leaks.
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