Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-31-2018, 05:03 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 29
The Gnarhauler: Another white cargo van.

This is a duplicate thread to one I've started over on Expo Portal, but wanted to add a thread here as well since I've gotten a lot of inspiration from this site. I'll do my best to keep both threads updated in tandem. Anyway, on to the van!

First, a little behind the intent of this build. I'm a mountain biker, dirt biker, camper etc. I need a comfortable, secure way to transport myself, a few passengers and our gear to and from destinations while also offering somewhere to sleep and shelter from the elements. This will be less of a dedicated camper and more of a flexible, configurable gear and people transport.

I've been drooling over SMB/4x4 style Ford vans for some time now, I've always wanted to build one of my own. A little over two years ago I was ready to pull the trigger on a used cargo van to start converting, then I got cold feet. I ended up buying a brand new Tundra TRD 4x4 with plans to build it into an expo/overland style vehicle. I was really enjoying the truck and getting some modifications done to it. As time went on and I used the truck, I was quickly getting over beating up a brand new vehicle that I was still making payments on. The idea of a van was still burning in the back of my brain.

I put the Tundra up for sale this May, sold it private party a few weeks later and then began my hunt for a used van. The requirements for the van were: rust free, cargo van, EB, V8, sub-150k miles, sub-$10k, PW/PL and cruise control. After some searching, I came across a van that checked all the boxes minus CC. A 2006 E350 EB cargo. One owner with 125k miles on the clock. After some research I determined it would be an easy enough to add cruise later. I began the negotiation process with the seller and soon after was on a plane from Phoenix to San Jose to pick up my new-to-me van.

Van wishlist
AT tires-Complete
Small lift/suspension-Complete, for now.....
Floor with cargo tie down and seat attachment points-Complete
Passenger bench-Complete (may add third row if needed)
Roof fan-Complete
Aux battery-Complete
Cruise Control-Complete
Roof rack-Complete-ish
Insulation
Interior paneling
Power distribution
Interior storage
Stowable bed platform
Stereo-in progress
Solar panel
09+ front seats w/swivels
Awning
Solar shower
Cargo box

Picture of the van from the CL add.
Click image for larger version

Name:	EEDBA46D-D813-4360-8062-4D71312D06EC-33987-0000072D42FB6547.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	98.2 KB
ID:	24748

After a test drive and through inspection I was on my way back to Phoenix. I made to over 700 miles home in one shot, van did great. A little front end wobble around 65, I assumed due to worn out front end components, cruise control sure would have been nice.....
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8269.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	101.5 KB
ID:	24751

Got the van home and did some interior cleanup in preparation for starting on CLD (constraint layer damper, AKA Dynamat) treatment of metal surfaces.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8331.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	105.7 KB
ID:	24752

Also made up a quick set of Reflectix window shades to protect the interior from the harsh AZ sun. I used metal tape to attach some small magnets around the perimeter to hold the shades to the metal window frames.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8275.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	104.2 KB
ID:	24753
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8280.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	103.5 KB
ID:	24754

Took care of some necessary maintenance along the way. New Moog tie rod/dragling assembly, replaced a balljoint, oil change, coolant flush, AC recharge, new fluid and dif cover seal and an alignment.

Of course, the mandatory van right of passage. Step one, put a hole in the van.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8323.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	90.6 KB
ID:	24755

Step two, put a fan in the hole. I used the Hein adapter off Ebay, if anyone is wondering.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8329.jpg
Views:	14
Size:	100.8 KB
ID:	24756

Picked up a group 31 100ah deep cycle AGM battery to power said fan and other accessories. Found a nice steel battery cage online and used some 3/8" grade hardware to hang it off the crossmember. I went with the X2 (Batteries Plus house brand) because of the 4 year warranty. Phoenix heat is not kind to batteries, and if I do need to replace it in 18 months, it'll be nice to not have to pay for it.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8621.jpg
Views:	21
Size:	110.4 KB
ID:	24757

Until I got a floor in, this was my makeshift method for hauling my 250 XC-W around.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8363.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	108.9 KB
ID:	24758

Van out in the wild doing van stuff. First shakedown to the White Mountains and Sunrise Ski Resort, the only lift-acess mountain biking in AZ. The bike is an Evil Insurgent for those who may be wondering. That was the first time I'd ridden it since I built it up, absolute ripper with a 170mm Lyrik on the front.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8372.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	102.3 KB
ID:	24759
__________________

ibike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 05:18 PM   #2
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 29
Slept in the van for the first time that weekend, simple Ikea twin mattress on the floor. Works for now till I figure out a bed platform.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8379.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	109.9 KB
ID:	24760

Back to work, began adding FatMat CLD all over large, resonant metal surfaces. The plan is to install L-Track in the rear for seat tracks and cargo tie down points. Using masons string to mock up potential locations.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9235.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	112.4 KB
ID:	24762

Treated the front doors as well, they got the full sound treatment including a sheet of mass load vinyl backed with closed cell foam. I swapped the factory paper cone speakers for a set of JL Audio 6.5 components while I was in there. Tweeters got installed in the black sail panels on the backside of the rearview mirrors.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8585.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	108.7 KB
ID:	24763

Picked up some Moog 880 coils for the front and Bilstein RV comfort series shocks for all four corners.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8624.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	106.7 KB
ID:	24764
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8623.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	105.9 KB
ID:	24765

The tires that were on the van had lots of life left, but were pushing five years old. Swapped them out for a set of Falken Wildpeak AT3W in a 265/75R16, including a full size spare. (Which does fit in the factory location, BTW)
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9247.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	104.0 KB
ID:	24766

Not a big fan of the dog dish hub caps, so I ditched them and rattle canned the wheels satin black. Much better.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9264.jpg
Views:	18
Size:	93.9 KB
ID:	24767

The van is still doing van stuff with all the projects underway. One dirtbike and two full size arcades, very happy with my decision to go with an EB.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9357.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	111.4 KB
ID:	24768

Post-pedal in Flagstaff.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9067.jpg
Views:	14
Size:	105.4 KB
ID:	24769
__________________

ibike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 05:28 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 29
Along the way I picked up a cruise control wheel from the junkyard. Ordered new buttons and clock spring, ended up having to replace a faulty brake pressure sensor switch as well. One of my mountain bike buddies is a Ford master mechanic, got him to enable the speed control option in the ECU.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9172.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	102.8 KB
ID:	24770

SUCCESS!!
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9263.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	42.9 KB
ID:	24771

I picked up a pair of brand new two person Transit bench with built in seat belts off CL for $50 each. Going to use the legs of the seat to set the L-Track spacing.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9176.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	103.6 KB
ID:	24772

Ordered some recessed L-Track and used the Transit seat to create a mounting placement jig.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9407.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	111.0 KB
ID:	24773

Heres the idea, right or left seat placement depending on how the vans being used.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9232.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	105.9 KB
ID:	24774
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9233.jpg
Views:	14
Size:	104.7 KB
ID:	24775

Three sheets of 3/4" ply, laid sideways and rough trimmed using the factory rubber mat. I covered all side of the ply with deck sealer to prevent moisture issues down the road.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9370.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	98.4 KB
ID:	24776
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9384.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	109.4 KB
ID:	24777

L-Track test fit.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9424.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	109.2 KB
ID:	24778

Last step before plywood goes in, 3/8" neoprene foam in the low point of the corrugated floor. Hoping to get some noise reduction and insulation out of this, as well as sure up the plywood.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9513.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	110.7 KB
ID:	24779
ibike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 05:34 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 29
Joined the plywood pieces with wood glue and dowels to prevent heaving at the seams.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9492.jpg
Views:	18
Size:	64.2 KB
ID:	24780

Floor in the cab got the same treatment as the doors, 100% CLD coverage topped with closed cell foam and mass load vinyl.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9479.jpg
Views:	24
Size:	106.6 KB
ID:	24781

I looked at a bunch of flooring options an opted for rubber coin. Home Depot sold some online that came in a 7.5'x17' roll, enough to cover front to back and side to side in one piece. I didn't get many pictures of the rubber floor install as I was under the gun to get the floor wrapped up and seat installed for a snowboard trip over Christmas.

From the rear, with tracks and aluminum threshold installed.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9554.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	108.8 KB
ID:	24782

Side step detail.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9555.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	103.6 KB
ID:	24783

Transit seat mounting detail, hacked off the factory brackets and had a buddy weld on some 2"x3/16" tabs. i also installed steel backer plates under the van where the track bolts through in locations where I plan to mount the seat.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9557.jpg
Views:	22
Size:	107.2 KB
ID:	24784

Transition from the plywood floor, I put a taper on the leading edge of the plywood to help ease the transition.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9559.jpg
Views:	22
Size:	108.6 KB
ID:	24785
ibike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 05:40 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 29
A few more goodies from along the way. Picked up a 45qt Whynter fridge, fits nicely between the front seats. Just plugging into the CLA portin the dash for now. Planing on building a fridge slide to attach to the L-Track at some point.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9320.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	94.8 KB
ID:	24786

Amazon lightbar and sprayon bedliner bumper.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9397.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	85.4 KB
ID:	24787

New to me head unit with car play. Popped out one of the lighter plugs on the dash and replaced it with a USB bulkhead I picked up off Amazon, connected directly to the rear of the stereo.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9400.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	100.8 KB
ID:	24788
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9405.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	103.8 KB
ID:	24789
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9560.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	100.4 KB
ID:	24790

More van in the wild photos. I scored a free aluminum ladder rack off an old Econoline we retired at work. Refinished it with rattle can bed liner and some flashy grade 8 hardware. Plan on using it as a foundation for an awning, solar shower, cargo box and solar panel to charge the house battery eventually.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9398.jpg
Views:	18
Size:	108.6 KB
ID:	24791

Christmas day at Snowbowl. Quite possibly the first time the van has ever seen snow in its life.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_9551.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	105.4 KB
ID:	24792
ibike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 05:43 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 29
Low hanging fruit.

Busy few weeks with the holidays, managed to sneak out for a mountain bike ride in Sedona yesterday. High of 50 degrees and snow still in the shaded areas

I quickly realized I need to better way to transport mountain bikes in the back of the van.

I really liked the look of the 1-Up van tray mounts, but at $75 each I investigated some more cost-friendly options. I went to a tried and true design that’s been around for a while, the good old PVC bike rack. Modified slightly to fit my needs. Link to plans if anyone else is interested
https://www.utahmountainbiking.com/g...edBikeRack.htm

I determined spacing to give enough room for handle bars with some wiggle room built in for sway. I had originally hoped for room for four bikes, but three ended up pushing it.

Needed a method to attach to L-Track. Went to Lowe’s and got some 3/8” x2” carriage bolts, finessed the heads with a flap disc till they easily slid in and out of the track.

I had ordered some thumb screws off Amazon a while back for this very application. Installed the 3/8 nuts I bought along with the carriage bolts into the thumbscrews.

Centered the rack in the van and marked where the rack would meet the tracks.

Now my bike is riding in style, only takes two minutes to take the rack in and out. Pretty happy with the results, I’m using a 24” bungee from the handlebars to the top crossmember of the rack to keep the bikes from rolling out backwards. Center bike will need to go in backwards and get secured by the seatpost.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
ibike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 06:51 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: MO
Posts: 471
Garage
Nice, well done.
__________________
2008 GMC 3500 Quigley Weldtec 4x4 Savana SMB
2006 BMW HP2 Enduro
marret is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2019, 06:16 PM   #8
Member
 
TheVagabondMBA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Back and forth between CA and AZ
Posts: 46
v nice. I love Snowbowl!
__________________
Falkor-1995 Hightop E350 build
Betty- 2003 Harley XL1200 (Daily Driver)
@Falkor_theford
@TheVagabondMBA
@LeannaMayMusic
TheVagabondMBA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2019, 06:44 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Posts: 1,615
Me too but I live here. Crazy busy over the holidays.
__________________
2005 E350 RB 6.0 PSD for extended fun
1989 Landcruiser FJ62 for local fun
2011 VW TDI Golf for hwy fun
JoeH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2019, 09:55 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 328
Good job on build I like your style..
__________________

Zappo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.