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Old 06-13-2009, 01:59 AM   #1
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DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

First, I'm spec'ing a new Ford RB 4x4 E350 van. I have lots of questions,

1 V10 gas engine or 6.0L PSD? I read the threads, not coherent. I won't pull a trailer and speed is important to me on paved roads. I do a lot of off road, all terrain (mountains / desert).
2. Should i get the bigger RF 4E over the RF 3E- 4e has a usuable freezer?
3. Should I get wet locker and store spare outside? If this design interferes with having a wet locker, should i redesign to get the locker? The design is item 4 below.
4. I want a walkway from front to back ....similar to RB 31 plan ....... so I have a gaucho bed behind driver seat along with storage cabs. The galley - sink, no propane cooktop, more storage on passenger van side. Will use portable propane stoves stored in door pantry.
5. New Fords come with limited slip rear diff - should I change this to locking type and put ARB on front, or just front only? Or what?
6. Onboard or portable aircompressor?
7. Flat Plate for hot water? Is there better way?
8. Espar airtronic heater runs off diesal - or gas?
9. What does floating rear diff do for me - is it worth it?
10. Is solar panel worth it?
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:35 AM   #2
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

Warholic-
All the items you listed are personal preferences but one; the Dynatrac full floating axle. This piece of equipment is, in my humble opinion, a mandatory accessory. The most important reason of course, is that WHEN you break an axle, the wheel doesn't fall off. This alone, in my estimation, makes it worth the price of admission. Another benefit is not having to deal with the track spacers as the axle is already the same length as that in the front. Another bonus is that the axle tubes are much thicker than stock and hence stronger. Also, the price from SMB, while not cheap, is much lower than replacing yours later when you decide that you should have bitten the bullet and bought one when you ordered the truck (EH, Scatter?)
In the good old days, full floating axles were stock on all trucks 3/4 ton and up, but the bean counters have gotten their grimey little hands on this too.
By the way, while you're at it, get the Dynatrac hubs too. Unlike the Warn hubs, WHEN you break one, it defaults to the engaged position as opposed to the Warn, which, WHEN it breaks, is NOT engaged.
Good luck on the build,
Bill
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:40 AM   #3
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

My comments:
1. We have a V10 and are happy with it. But we don't like the noise of diesels. Diesels cost more to begin with and cost more for oil and filter changes but get better mileage. I haven't been paying much attention to the new diesels but Ford was having serious problems with some of the models...something to check.
2. We started with a 4CF refrigerator and replaced it with a more efficient 4CF unit. We feel the freezer is essential for ice for cocktails and being able to carry some frozen foods. We tend to pack all of the food we need for a long trip rather than make trips to the market while on the road...the larger refrigerator works very well for us. So, it depends on how you plan to camp.
6. A compressor is one item that can be "stored" under the van, freeing up space inside. I prefer to have everything that is weatherproof outside.
10. No question...get solar initially and you won't be worrying about your house battery being charged later on.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:51 AM   #4
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

Skywagon and YVRR - good input on floating rear axle and hubs. You sold me - as an engineer and manufacturing guy, I prefer "belt and suspenders" approach when feasible.

I think you're right on in items 1, 2, 6, 10. I'll have to continue my research into Gas v. diesel, tho. It seems if I get diesel I can get the diesel air heater that sips fuel from the tank.
If I get v10 gas, a gas powered air heater isn't an option.

YVRR - What kind of replacement 4CF fridge did you get? I always think more efficient and quieter is better so that would be useful to know.

Skywalker and YVrr - What kind of air heating system do you use?
thx
warholic
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:20 AM   #5
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
First, I'm spec'ing a new Ford RB 4x4 E350 van. I have lots of questions,

1 V10 gas engine or 6.0L PSD? I read the threads, not coherent. I won't pull a trailer and speed is important to me on paved roads. I do a lot of off road, all terrain (mountains / desert).
2. Should i get the bigger RF 4E over the RF 3E- 4e has a usuable freezer?
3. Should I get wet locker and store spare outside? If this design interferes with having a wet locker, should i redesign to get the locker? The design is item 4 below.
4. I want a walkway from front to back ....similar to RB 31 plan ....... so I have a gaucho bed behind driver seat along with storage cabs. The galley - sink, no propane cooktop, more storage on passenger van side. Will use portable propane stoves stored in door pantry.
5. New Fords come with limited slip rear diff - should I change this to locking type and put ARB on front, or just front only? Or what?
6. Onboard or portable aircompressor?
7. Flat Plate for hot water? Is there better way?
8. Espar airtronic heater runs off diesal - or gas?
9. What does floating rear diff do for me - is it worth it?
10. Is solar panel worth it?
Diesel all the way for me. Great for four wheeling, better mileage, lots of low end torque. I have the 7.3 though. I'm a bit skeptical about the new 6.0

Can you have a fridge that is too large. I have the old 2.7 cu. and it's always packed. Having a larger fridge with a freezer would be a dream. My fridge is at the back of the van behind the goucho. I would have prefered the fridge to be within easy access of the open side door.

I think you are right on with the design. I never really understood the 50 design except for the forward facing rear seat for safety of passengers. I have the goucho behind the drivers seat and sink on the opposite side. Works great. Wish I had the stove outside, but mine is currently installed in the counter.

I would put arb in the front and keep the rear limited slip. You can always add the rear arb if need be.

I say an onboard compressor tucked away under the van somewhere. Saves space and it's always there. You will use it regularly if you go offroad a lot.

I've never had much of a use for hot water. Don't know anything about a hot plate.

They now have the airtronic type heater that runs off of diesel and gas. These are very pricey, but seem to be the way to go. I have a propane furnace which works fine.

I agree with skywagon on the full floating axles. These are heavy vehicles.

Solar solar, and more solar. Only drawback I see is not being able to run your A/C (with a generator) in the boonies. C'mon though, we do still call it camping don't we. Can't we survive without the air. If you can't swing the price for solar the solar pre-wire is a must.

PM me if you have specific questions. I'm in Arizona if you want to see anything.

Good luck, welcome to the forum.
tom.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:18 PM   #6
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
1 V10 gas engine or 6.0L PSD? I read the threads, not coherent. I won't pull a trailer and speed is important to me on paved roads. I do a lot of off road, all terrain (mountains / desert).
Both are good strong engines with their share of occasional problems over the years. It depends what is important to you. I like to 4-wheel slowly along trails with the windows open and not hear & smell my engine. Yeah, lots of gas vs. diesel threads. Discussions of the issue should go there, but here's my summary: (Diesel (D) advantages and (G) gas advantages)

(D) 10-20% better fuel mileage (but fuel $cost?)
(D) diesel appliances (stove, furnace)
(D) better low-end torque for heavy towing
(D) bio-diesel or vegetable oil option
(D) diesel engines are supposed to hold their value better
(D) diesel engine might last longer than gas engine
(D) older Ford vans (?--2004) had better transmission with diesel
(D) there's something about diesel people just love!

(G) diesel engine costs more (initial cost & repairs... turbos!)
(G) diesel engine is noisier
(G) diesel exhaust fumes are smellier
(G) diesel fuel can gel in extreme cold
(G) diesel fuel is messier
(G) diesel engine has issues with long idling and engine shutown care
(G) diesel engine puts heat into the cabin (though my gas does somewhat too)

(?) fuel availability in foreign (which countries?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
2. Should i get the bigger RF 4E over the RF 3E- 4e has a usuable freezer?
My wife and I are happy with our little 2.7 cu. ft. fridge with its micro-freezer. We just don't freeze anything but ice cubes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
5. New Fords come with limited slip rear diff - should I change this to locking type and put ARB on front, or just front only? Or what?
I have the Ford rear limited slip & front ARB, and am happy with the combination. The rear limited slip helps a lot on its own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
6. Onboard or portable aircompressor?
Onboard is a nice convenience. I wish I could tuck away some more of my belongings under the van like that. Finding organized space for all the tools and knickknacks in our van can be complicated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
9. What does floating rear diff do for me - is it worth it?
Full-floating axle rear is stronger. I didn't know when I ordered my van and got the semi-floating axle. But I've beaten on mine pretty hard and it's still there -- though my van is the lighter RB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
10. Is solar panel worth it?
If you're going to camp in the same boondocking location for more than one night, then yes! Solar will keep your lights and fridge going indefinitely so you won't have to start your engine or run a generator just to charge your batteries. Solar also lets your batteries stay topped up when you're storing your van between trips (if it's parked outside, of course).

-- Geoff
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Old 06-13-2009, 01:20 PM   #7
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by warholic
YVRR - What kind of replacement 4CF fridge did you get? I always think more efficient and quieter is better so that would be useful to know.

Skywalker and YVrr - What kind of air heating system do you use?
thx
warholic
I replaced our original Norcold with an 4CF Isotherm which is slightly smaller in overall size. (See viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3075) We are planning a trip up to Mendicino, CA this Wednesday-Friday...that will be the first chance we get to see how it works out.

We have propane so we have the propane stove, propane SMB furnace, and propane hot water heater. But, if you don't get propane, those ain't options. We get a lot of use out of both the hot water heater and the furnace since we camp year-round and are usually out for several days at a time so showers are nice. Of course, we could do without either but we did our share of backpacking when we were in our 30s and 40s and, while we loved it, we can't do it anymore. So, we still get out but don't feel we need to rough it anymore...
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:49 PM   #8
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

Hey, I love the smell of diesel in the morning.

I know it won't last, but for the first time in three years, diesel is $0.20 cheaper than gas around here, just like it was for nearly thirty years before Katrina.
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:42 PM   #9
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

YES, go with the full floater. I'm pulling my still working fine semi-floater next week and sending it to Dynatrac for the conversion. I just go too many way out of the way places to want to walk out and then haul parts back in. I've lost axles before and having one go out at 60 mph on I-5 while towing a boat on the way to Baja is not something I want to do again. Also lost another one in Baja and luckly had a welder and was able patch things together and limp out in front wheel drive. But, I digress....
Solar is super. Wouldn't be without it. Also love the diesel except for the noise. The exhaust on the new diesels really don't smell. Haven't found that to be a problem.
I went with the Warn PowerPlant winch which has a compressor built in. Puts out more air then the Extreme Air too. But, from what I've read, that winch won't fit in the Aluminess bumpers on '08 and newer rigs.
I've got the limited slip in the rear and open in the front. Never had a need for the locker and believe me, I go some nasty places. I'd go for a front locker if money isn't a problem. (hey, I'm the guy what saved $4k by not getting a full floater.... )
We use an after market Coleman water heater for showers. It works great, but takes up some room inside.
Whatever you do, you'll love and enjoy it. Have fun.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:31 PM   #10
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Re: DYO sporty - lot's of questuions, looking for comments.

Thx for all the responses and input. This is a really usefull and interesting forum. Thx Scatter, Yvrr, Panion, Geoffff, Skywagon and Ed in Montana.

Don't know how to reply WITHOUT sending all the attached emails, but for me: Solar - 2 Kyocera panels, 4CF fridge, on-board air compressor, full floater in rear, V10 gas engine,

Thx - will start new threads on specific questions I have.

Adios Amigos
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