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Old 10-31-2021, 07:15 AM   #1
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UJOR 4x4 MTB camper for family of 3

Hello everyone,

I'm excited to share our new purchase with you all! 2013 E350 RB with the V10. 84k miles on the clock, single California owner, XLT trim. Picked it up in Sacramento,.CA and just drove it to Denver, CO. Will be going to Justin at UJOR CO for a 6" 4x4 kit, Ox locker, and UJOR rear bumper. Then we drive it home to Minnesota to do a very basic MTB/camper build. And I mean basic - beds, drawer slide for cooler and stove, and that's probably it.

Still torn on what to do up top - pop top, high top, or roof top tent. Our only requirement is that we can sleep/seat three people while also keeping our bikes inside. I pondered a bunch of layouts with the EB as well, but that extra 2' of length didn't seem like it bought us much in terms of sleeping capacity. Decided I'd rather have the shorter length and build up, not out, but we'll see how that plays out. I'm currently thinking one person sleeps in the garage next to the bikes and on top of the cooler slide, then two people sleep up top in one of the aforementioned accommodations.

It will be a while before all the parts arrive for the 4x4 conversion, so I have lots of time to think about how to accomplish our goals. The only downside is that I won't have the van handy to take measurements.

Here she is going through Vail, CO. Performed flawlessly the entire drive, and managed to average 15 mpg (hand calc) while driving at the speed limit - 65, 70, or 80mph depending on the section of highway. That's about the same as what our highroof EcoBoost Transit got.


Current layout plans. The cooler drawer slide is enclosed and also serves as a bed for an adult-sized person.
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Old 10-31-2021, 07:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by motovan_mn View Post
..Then we drive it home to Minnesota to do a very basic MTB/camper build. And I mean basic - beds, drawer slide for cooler and stove, and that's probably it.
Congrats on your new Toy!
It takes a strong willed person to stick to initial expectation...suggest you stay off a forum such as this because there are entirely too many people to entice you with their upgrades/ideas/fun additions - We all go broke by either trying to keep up, or the cost of therapy to maintain sanity!
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Old 10-31-2021, 11:03 AM   #3
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I would go with a CCV top. This would allow you to sleep at least 2 people up top but also create extra living space. You wouldn't have to exit the van like you would with a RTT.
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Old 10-31-2021, 02:33 PM   #4
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Congrats on the Van! I'll be keeping an eye on your build as it comes along.
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Old 10-31-2021, 03:17 PM   #5
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Wow... I can count on one hand the number of '09+ V10 RB passenger vans I've seen. Nice find! Rare find!
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Old 10-31-2021, 08:37 PM   #6
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I would go with a CCV top. This would allow you to sleep at least 2 people up top but also create extra living space. You wouldn't have to exit the van like you would with a RTT.
Yeah, the main thing holding me back from a CCB top is price. We're talking $15k installed, whereas a fixed fiberglass hightop or roof rack + RTT would be somewhere around $5-6k installed. The fixed hightop also provides the additional living space, but at the cost of always having that larger frontal area and height. I do really like the idea of the openness of the pop top with all the windows open. As far as getting into bed without exiting the van, our toddler currently goes to be much earlier than we do. So we are always hanging out outside of the van for a couple hours before he goes to sleep anyway.

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Congrats on your new Toy!
It takes a strong willed person to stick to initial expectation...suggest you stay off a forum such as this because there are entirely too many people to entice you with their upgrades/ideas/fun additions - We all go broke by either trying to keep up, or the cost of therapy to maintain sanity!
Hah! I'm sure there will be some scope creep in our build. Plus I'm a total forum junkie and nothing you say will keep me away!

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Congrats on the Van! I'll be keeping an eye on your build as it comes along.
Thanks very much!

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Originally Posted by mgmetalworks View Post
Wow... I can count on one hand the number of '09+ V10 RB passenger vans I've seen. Nice find! Rare find!
Yes, I had multiple alerts set up across various sites. I was about to pull the trigger on a 5.4 van (and honestly that would have been more than adequate for us), but this one popped up and I knew I had to jump on it. Luckily it was right near my parents so they were able to test drive it and ultimately make the purchase on my behalf.
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Old 11-04-2021, 04:05 PM   #7
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Congrats on the purchase motovan.

The RTT probably best option for storage flexibility inside the van and sleeping for 3.

I agree with others suggesting the fiberglass hardtop vs pop-top if you want to keep sleeping inside and have headroom - once you install a slide drawer for the bikes you will be 30-32" up to the standard roof (or the upstairs bed base in a pop-top) at ~52" with your bed base and mattress thickness still to go! The hard top will also give you better roof insulation options for keeping everything inside (glamping vs old skool camping!)

In May we moved from a 2012 E250 Quigley 5.4 with roof rack and tow hitch bike rack to a Transit T250 high roof with Eaton TruTrac to get to a similar layout and have never looked back - and yes we're a long way from sleeping in a tent like we used to!

All the best with the build - looking forward to hearing how it goes. btw the V10 will help in the mountains and was the other upgrade option I was looking into as well in May
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Old 11-04-2021, 05:58 PM   #8
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We bought a Chevy Express passenger van in June 2020 and went with a CCV top in Nov 2020. We love it! Pricey but after a year using it a ton I feel it's so far so worth it. Really high quality build and totally comfortable for two adults. We also love the head room it gives us for the kitchen as well.
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Old 11-04-2021, 06:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rpembrey View Post
Congrats on the purchase motovan.

The RTT probably best option for storage flexibility inside the van and sleeping for 3.

I agree with others suggesting the fiberglass hardtop vs pop-top if you want to keep sleeping inside and have headroom - once you install a slide drawer for the bikes you will be 30-32" up to the standard roof (or the upstairs bed base in a pop-top) at ~52" with your bed base and mattress thickness still to go! The hard top will also give you better roof insulation options for keeping everything inside (glamping vs old skool camping!)

In May we moved from a 2012 E250 Quigley 5.4 with roof rack and tow hitch bike rack to a Transit T250 high roof with Eaton TruTrac to get to a similar layout and have never looked back - and yes we're a long way from sleeping in a tent like we used to!

All the best with the build - looking forward to hearing how it goes. btw the V10 will help in the mountains and was the other upgrade option I was looking into as well in May
Thanks for the insight! The V10 performed quite well climbing from sea level over the Sierras, then over the Rockies into Denver. Granted it was on an empty stock passenger van, but still

Funnily enough, we are actually coming from an AWD high roof transit. One of the things we learned was that, given our needs and use cases, we never actually took advantage of the "standing" head room. We definitely used the vertical height in the garage, but that was with a similar layout as I've shown in my initial post: bed platform up high, and bikes/cot on the floor level. We had the ability to stand in front of the bed, but most of that room was taken up by the bench seat (crew van configuration). Prior to the Transit (and pre-child), we had an older Econoline and a Ram B250. We lived out of the B250 full time for a year, albeit relying heavily on gym showers and cooking on our propane stove outside of the van.

So given our past experiences, our thinking is that we didn't actually NEED the standing room of the high roof. That, and we found ourselves in many situations with the AWD Transit where we wished we had more ground clearance and/or a proper 4x4 system.

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Originally Posted by Nathandeuel View Post
We bought a Chevy Express passenger van in June 2020 and went with a CCV top in Nov 2020. We love it! Pricey but after a year using it a ton I feel it's so far so worth it. Really high quality build and totally comfortable for two adults. We also love the head room it gives us for the kitchen as well.
Awesome, good to hear. I've heard only good things about the quality of the CCV product. I've submitted 3 inquiries on their website about getting a quote and appointment, but haven't heard back. The main complaints I've read about CCV online are regarding communication and customer service. Luckily, it seems like the guy at the UJOR CO location can also install the CCV poptop, so if we decide to go that route he could source the top from CCV and install it for us. Did you get the 4 season insulation and the vent van pre-installed?
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Old 11-04-2021, 07:36 PM   #10
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We did get the insulation. We've camped down into the 30s comfortably. But when it was down to 6 degrees at Steamboat last winter I made sure we were at a KOA where I could plug in a space heater to the camp shore power. To avoid that in the future, we do in fact have an appointment in December to have CCV install a heater for us. The Maxxfan they installed sucks but it's not because of CCV; something is wrong with the fan, maybe a rain sensor? CCV says they will address in Dec.
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