2017 4X4 2500 144 High Roof Lithium Based Stone Grey
2017 4X4 2500 144 High Top Build Lithium Based
My long delayed build thread, much modified over the past few months by excellent advice and information from board members.
The main use of the van will be for extending our outdoor adventures into further remote areas. We are long time backcountry enthusiasts: Backpacking, climbers, hikers, skiing. For years we took long trips while living out of the back of our Tacoma, then 4Runner. The van will ease the finding of campsites without worry of setting up camp in driving rain or snow, storage of outdoor gear. General comfort while camping greatly improved.
I wanted a 600 mile range for a planned trip up into the Brooks Range in Alaska - one of our most memorable and all-time favorite backpack trips. The aux fuel tank will allow this. This will also allow for as yet unplanned trips into very remote areas.
Most campsites will be up logging roads. Some difficult, some fairly mundane. Post-conversion work will enhance this capability.
Ultimate goal is extended 3-4 months trips to Alaska and all western US and Canada remote areas.
A lot of my needs and comfort level on design/systems have also been driven by long-time boat ownership, including liveaboard stints in Key West FL and Anacortes WA. The systems in an RV are much like a boat. In fact the Blue Seas panels are local to my home in Bellingham WA and I am familiar with the 12V and 110V set-ups.
Pertinent details of the van:
• 2017 4x4 (high & low) Stone Grey Sprinter 2500 144” RB (Regular Body) HR (High Roof)
• Lithium based electrical. Much talk of this and I'll add a separate follow-on post for this. The basic configuration will be completed by SMB but will be upgraded to a larger battery bank post-delivery. Minimum 600 Ah to run the rooftop A/C 2-3 hours with our dogs inside.
• Post-delivery: Agile Offroad RIP/Suspension kit, winch, tires, Aerotank aux fuel tank. Separate thread post for this to follow.
• Aluminess roof rack with adjustable Yakima bars. Cutouts for MAXAIR and Rooftop A/C
• One 100W solar panel on rack
• Upgraded 2800W Invertor
• Active safety plus package with Parktronic, cruise control, rear window wiper & defroster, etc. Due to Parktronic we wanted to keep the front and rear bumper area as clean as possible. We understand that there may or may not be issues with the Parktronic with extra baggage on the rear bumper so we opted to store the spare tire underneath. No issue with this for us, we have had spare tire storage underneath our Tacoma and 4Runner - still need to see if a 275/70/17 BFG A/T tire on a ROAMBUILT wheel will fit though
• Window tint, sliding and rear doors. Full arctic shades, arctic cab panels
• Swivel seats (by SMB) on both driver and passenger seats
• Second alternator bracket plus high idle control - this will be our main method of charging the house battery bank
• Extended electronics package including remote temp sensor to monitor inside temp while away from van with dogs inside
Specifics of the build:
• Delete propane option
• Diesel/110V furnace and water heater (Espar D5 hydronic)
• Single Lihionics 110 Ah battery with Balmar Max Charge regulator - BATTERY WILL BE CHANGED POST DELIVERY, NEW BATTERY TO BE DECIDED LATER BASED ON SPACE AVAILABLE
• Larger (23 gallon) fresh water tank
• Porta Potti, stored in standard cabinet space
• Exterior shower mounted on drivers side rear
• Upgraded microwave
• SPACE UNDERNEATH ON DRIVERS SIDE LEFT CLEAR FOR 20 GALLON AEROTANK AUX FUEL TANK - TO BE INSTALLED BY AGILE OFFROAD
• Additional (extreme weather) insulation
• No built-in cooktop, portable stove for indoor/outdoor use (2 stoves, special storage slot for both)
• Isotherm 12V Cruise 195 7 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer - We plan on lots of food storage to be used in 7-10 day periods in backcountry. In addition our dogs eat raw food, which needs to stored frozen then thawed
• Carpet overlay with Loncoin floor below
Fresno visits and conversations with Brian have been excellent. I've made two visits to iron out details and get the final build details right. The van goes on the production line this week, expected delivery January 2018. Post delivery trip to El Cajon for Agile work, then follow-on trip north via ski areas and Joshua Tree National Park.
Much more to follow as time permits over next few days on van, lithium configuration, post Agile Offroad work.
•1600.00 DNX893 am fm cd ( turn off android auto )
•260.00 integrate steering wheel radio controls
•50.00 MBZ radio bracket
•80.00 USB relocation to dash cubby ( for Ipod )
•40.00 Kenwood remote control ( for use when parked )
•Included: Integrate system into house battery system for use when parked
•480.00 3BL Back up camera integrated
•180.00 AUX audio input at galley
•380.00 XM radio with rear roof antenna relocation
•2150.00 JL 600/6, sub control 1800p front 1800 rear cabinets down firing with 8w1 under the rear seat facing back or just behind it in a corner.
•450.00 DRIVERS DOOR mounted coded keypad to lock and unlock doors / arm and disarm alarm
•1850.00 Compustar remote start alarm with T11 long range paging remote ( up to three miles)
car can start up to 5 times between starting with a key and will run for 45 minutes )
•690.00 4G Cradle mounted cell phone booster with roof mounted antenna ( to the right of the stereo )
Much discussion on this topic and this is the tank finally decided on.
A few items that make this possible:
Need to keep drivers side area under van clear. To do this it's best to have galley on passengers side. This is so Agile also has easy access for carriage bolts and grey water tank is located on passengers side.
Fuel gauge will be Autometer, bought separately.
Attached again picture of carriage bolt location, picture of tank and Autometer gauges.
Would like to have gauge and transfer switch located in cubby above dome lights, center of windshield and high. I'll post after work to see if this can be accomplished.
Skid plate welded onto bottom of tank. Not ideal but better than no plate.
There has been a lot of discussion on this. Our van is the first Lithionics based in Fresno, according to Brian. They have built a lithium based before, not Lithionics brand though.
I am confident the SMB engineering will be sound and tested for the basic system
Using the Nations alternator as 2nd alternator, with associated wiring diagram
Battery will be changed out for either one or two batteries once I get the van north. My marine electrician will do this work - She has installed lithium batteries on very high end Nordhaven Trawlers. Again, I feel the basic engineering and wiring will be sound by SMB. But my electrician may add additional safeguards and monitoring when the batteries are changed. I'll also have her install a goldenrod heater for the passenger side dinette (110V) which will remain on when van is plugged in at home in storage.
I'll put as much battery in as I can fit and also as weight allows. I'll be taking the van to a scale after the van comes north to determine loading, and these numbers may also determine how much battery I can install. However, a single lithium 600 Ah battery is still significantly less weight than dual 4D AGM's.
Balmar MC-614 external Voltage regulator kit. This regulator kit also allows us to tie in/ connect the Lithionics Field Control Circuit (FCC) option that tells the alternator when to stop producing current when the battery is full.
Lithionics State of Charge Monitoring Kit: Most RV and boat owners opt for this option so that they always know how many Amp hours capacity are left, what their Amp usage is and so on. Lithionics offers a 2 1/16" round or small rectangular digital display gauge that has 2 lines of readout that you can toggle through to show the Voltage, a graphical fuel meter and more. The sending unit for this is built into either the battery or an external BMS box and then the gauge quickly/ easily connects to wherever you want to mount it with a 16 foot CAT5 Ethernet cable. Extension CAT5 Ethernet cables are also available.
I would be remiss if I did not specifically call out key forum members who have contributed greatly to my knowledge base and direction. Several items in my build would not be included if were not for them. This isn't to say others have not given me inspiration, but the three members below are most influential and helpful. A lot of the ideas and concrete details in my build came from their research and knowledge base: