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Old 09-19-2015, 08:36 PM   #1
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High Roof Transit Van

Iíve built a detailed 3D CAD drawing of the vanís interior using Google Sketchup. Iíve animated the drawing and linked to the file below. Iím looking for feedback, especially any issues or suggestions anyone sees with the details. Thanks!

Use Criteria (multi-use, flexible configuration is key):

- Wildlife photography (places for large lens and gear by driver's seat).
- Photo tours (seat belts on gaucho. Need driver to passengers line of sight for conversations.
- Fly fishing (assembled rod storage 10.5 feet).
- Dry camping (bigger tanks. Solar? Set up for later? Portable generator under gaucho. Shower inside and out. Grey water trickle dump valve inside by driver's seat. Water system designed to conserve water)
- Tailgating (TV in cabinet by sliding door. Space for canopy storage, space for small keg, bar accessible out back doors)
- Rough roads/snow (4WD conversion, winch, rescue gear)
- All seasons - Freeze proof the tanks and pipes. Need good insulation. All pipes insulated. Recirculation system.
- I'm 6'5", 250 pounds, wife is 5'2" Need two beds to fit us both. Gaucho fits me, with extension. Wife can sleep widthwise on platform bed, I can't.
- May use van for moving furniture - Rear storage, front desk and platform bed should be removable. Gaucho too, if possible.


- Tall height LB Transit van with 4x4 conversion. EB won't work (not enough storage). Ecoboost gas, not diesel. (noise and fumes). Need Ecoboost for capacities. 250 or 350?
- Max headroom in the isles. Nothing protruding in the isle if possible. Iíll hit it.
- Factory window in side door, back doors and over gaucho and galley. Small slider in bath.
- Backup camera.
- Slide out, removable, platform bed in 3 pieces for when traveling with 2 or more people.
- Platform bed slides out over galley and gaucho on slide out tracks. Not sure how to do the slide out tracks. Metal? Thicker?
- Bed folds back and straps over back cabinets for travel and use of galley.
- Cushion sides of platform bed are water proof. Undersides are laminated and can be flipped upside down on top of cabinet to extend counter top.
- Cargo net holds gear on bed down while traveling. Need tie downs in tops of platform bed cabinets. See drawing linked above.
- Sink's faucet may be in the way of platform bed. Move sink to the right and faucet to corner if needed. May need a stop on the track to protect the sink.
- Leave room under side roof storage units to use the windows. Iím not sure of the window height. Make sure there is good headroom when sitting in gaucho as well.
- Extra padding needed on bed and gaucho?
- Battery separator.
- House battery bank: 4 total? 2 Under floor? 2 in back above floor?
- Under-shelf storage over the galley or elsewhere? Deeper or shallower overhead cabs?
- Cabinets and galley counters should be "normal" height (36"), not SMB height if doesn't block window too much. I'm too tall for SMB height galley.
- Removable, modular, back storage units.
- Rear storage accessible from right back door should extend under the gaucho for long gear. Inflatable boat oars. Tripods. Tailgating canopy.
- Custom tie downs cut into the tops of the rear storage cabinets. Cut through holes with lag bolts for tie downs. May have to use thin walled pipe over the lag bolts to cover the threads. See drawing linked above.
- Several D-Ring tie downs on rear storage floor.
- Assembled fly rod storage mounted in the right overhead cabinet. Load rods from back. Owner to build? Will need room above electronics in the cabinet. Could just use tubing to protect the rods. See drawing.
- Can gaucho be removable too so can haul furniture when needed (with back storage removed)? Probably not with gray water tank located there?
- Can the grey water go under the van, or be spit into more than one tank under the van? Grey should be 38 gals like the fresh water tank. Not sure if room under van for that.
- Need room under van for 16 gal black tank, or does it go under toilet? Use the spare wheel space and put spare on back door? Prefer to keep spare under van.
- Wire back overhead speakers to TV and the front stereo.
- Enable running the stereo on the house batteries.
- TV mounted in back right cabinet.
- Tailgater satellite antenna/receiver bundle?
- Electronics, fuses, guages etc in side roof storage above sliding door.
- Big lens (600mm) storage behind driver's seat? Tripod goes under gaucho. Camera bags under side door cabinet with strap downs. Big bag is 24x17x12Ē (lwh)when laid flat.
- Need 110v power by head of gaucho bed. Put it on van wall by sliding door and behind drivers seat for computer.
- Also need 110 outlet on galley. Probably under galley with access through hole from above. See drawing.
- Also 110 outlet at back of van for TV, etc.
- 12v outlet at back of van, galley and front gaucho cabinet as well.
- Grey water trickle dump valve inside van. By driver's seat?
- CPAP fits/plugs in under gaucho. Hose accessible from under the gaucho.
- Propane system for air and water heaters plus stove
- Plumb propane to right exterior of van for exterior gas BBQ under awning as well.
- Exterior awning over sliding door.
- Fan-Tastic ceiling fan located by bath but out of the headroom in the center isle.
- X-Large storage tanks. 38-40 gal fresh and grey water tanks. 16 gal black tank. 15x20x30 inches fresh tank inside van.
- Large fresh water tank located in back left storage inside van.
- Larger grey tank inside van? (better insulated).
- What is the largest grey water capacity I can get under the van?
- Accumulator tank to help conserve water.
- Black water under toilet/floor outside van?
- Water heater in back storage with fresh tank.
- AC? Depends on cost. Add later? If so, put over platform bed out of the isle.
- SUREflow Whisper King Water Pump (quieter)
- Honda 2000 Generator (Needed for tailgating, etc. Manage for noise. Under gaucho in vented box. Wire into electrical system, but make removable.)
- Need to raise gaucho to accommodate 18" box for generator.
- Solar? If so, two panels on roof, minimum. May need to add later, so if not, set up for adding later?
- Outside hot/cold shower in back. Plumb it in left back storage inside the locking doors. Long hose.
- 4G cell signal booster
- Atwood Mobile Products 96121 Electronic Direct Spark Ignition Water Heater - 6 Gallon
- Wifi hotspot booster
- LED lighting all around. Ceiling, under cabs, in back storage cabs. Light switches reachable from side door when entering/leaving. Switch for back lights by back doors.
- Furnace under galley. Leave long space open under gaucho for awning and tripods.
- Recirculation system to keep pipes from freezing when used in winter.
- Extra headroom with roof cap over bathroom? I doubt I'll be able to stand in the bathroom without it.
- Spare tire stored under van. Van is too long to put tire on back. But, need space for grey tank?
- External BBQ. Maybe one that mounts on outside of van, behind sliding door. Or on table.
- Manual side awning (and back awning to eliminate need for tailgating canopy? Big Foxwing? or something similar?)
- Removable table between driver and passenger seats for laptop navigation while driving, eating.
- Wet clothes (rain gear, waders) hang in bath to dry.
- Furnace under the galley or gaucho, but donít block long storage under gaucho.
- Microwave in the galley
- Bifold doors in bathroom. Make sure doors can open with gaucho extended.
- Reverse the fridge and freezer in 7E. Freezer blocked by extended gaucho, but fridge should be able to open when bed is made.
- I'm tall. Raise toilet seat some (17"), but not too much for wife. Assist bars in bath double as towel rack.
- Need good knee room in bathroom while using toilet. No under sink cabinet. Maybe medicine cabinet above? See drawing.
- May need to move driver's seat back some. TBD. If so, squeeze the galley. May have to move furnace?
- Raise gaucho a bit for my long legs and room for grey tank, extra storage? Not too high for wifeís legs.
- Retractible running boards/steps on all side doors.
- Winter configurations. Extra insulation. Insulated pipes. Recirculation system.
- Can the toilet be corner mounted to give more knee room?

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Old 09-19-2015, 09:07 PM   #2
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Difficult to digest but nice job on the vid. I'd say build it the way you want but make sure the load is well distributed.. not saying it isn't.

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Old 09-20-2015, 10:12 AM   #3
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Your work on the 3-D modeling is astonishing, the level of thought and detail that went into the design is really impressive. You should buy a Cad-Cam cutting machine and go into business designing and building interiors for people, never mind the photography!

I have a feeling that for me at least, it would feel small and a bit crowded with so much of the interior space taken up by furniture and with the rear windows apparently covered by the mattress in storage mode but man, it's a functional and very detailed design. If it does what you want and need, go for it.
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:09 AM   #4
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Good point on blocking the back windows. I am concerned about the bulk too. I've designed it to be flexible though so I can leave one or more of the platform bed cushions at home, travel with the platform bed made (to open up the back windows) or even pull out the entertainment cabinet and or the closet to really open up the back, depending on how I'm using it for a given trip. The driver's side back cabs would be permanent because I've got the plumbing in there but the rest should be removable so I can configure for hauling crap or just to open things up. Hopefully I could even pull out the gaucho. Going fully loaded with the platform bed would just be for camping with my wife or a buddy. Solo trips I'd probably leave the platform bed cushions, entertainment cabinet and closet at home.
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Old 09-20-2015, 06:27 PM   #5
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Also a good call on the weight distribution. I think I'm too heavy on the driver's side with all the liquids. I'm going to move the propane system onto the passenger side. Also all the batteries should go on that side. I'm not sure where the grey tanks go under the van or how big they can be. But I'll try to get those onto the passenger side as well.

Does anybody know how high off the floor the windows are? For the sides and for the back windows. I'd like to put those in the drawing but I can't find that measurement on line anywhere. Also, what are the window dimensions themselves?
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Old 09-21-2015, 06:08 AM   #6
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Very nice work. Have you considered a combination heater/water heater such as a Truma? Did I miss the location of the inverter/battery charger, I did notice a control panel for that or a solar controller. Lot's of great ideas in your design.
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Old 09-21-2015, 06:19 AM   #7
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

You might consider not using the factory windows except on the rear doors. Aftermarket windows on the slider and on the rear sides will give you more ventilation and would be usable in the rain. With the roof fan I expect you will need more openings somewhere to get good air flow.

Are you on the Transit forum, Lots of good info over there...

Again, very good work on the design, it looks great...
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:56 PM   #8
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Don't forget to allocate space for people inside the van. When we are camping in a ski area parking lot, the sun goes down at 5PM and we really enjoy the open space inside our van for "hanging out." In the summer we stay outdoors more, but if the bugs are really bad or there's a rain storm, inside is pretty nice then too.
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:39 AM   #9
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Thanks all for the comments. Greg, I found some good info on regarding the windows. They had some measurements for a 2014 EU version of the Transit so I used those to estimate the windows. I'm updating the design a little. I'm going to make the back cabs flush with the 36" galley so they don't block the back windows so much. That will simplify the cabs and eliminate the slide out rails. I've also changed out the water heater to a combined unit as you suggested. That gives me room for trash under the galley. I've made some other changes too and will upload a new animation when I finish the mods.
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:52 PM   #10
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Re: High Roof Transit Van

Ok, I found measurements on the windows for a 2015 Transit in a US Body and Equipment Mounting Manual (BEMM) I found on line here: ... M_v1-0.pdf. I ended up making a lot of changes due to the window and roof measurements I found.

Iíve lowered the height of the platform bed by more than a foot. I deleted the sliding rails and lowered a portion of the galley to accommodate the bed change, but kept the 36Ē height at the sink and stove so I comfortably can use them. Iíve deleted the TV and closet and widened the isle so I can walk through the van now when I leave the platform bed cushions at home. I can add a clothes rod or adjustable height shelves between the rear cabinets if I want. The left side platform bed cabinet is now just an extension of the galley. I moved the fly rod storage under the right roof cabinet, added the water pump, and inverter locations, moved the batteries and propane to better balance the load, added a toolbox cubby to the right roof cabinet behind the electronics, shaped the cabinets to better fit the profiles of the side walls and changed the drawers and cabinets in the galley. Iíve also changed the furnace and water heater to a combo unit, which gave me space in the galley for garbage under the sink. Another change was to create cabinet spaces to fit some clear storage tubs I have. I can load the tubs with gear and then quickly load them in the cabinets and under the fridge without having to unpack them. Depending on how Iím going to use the van for a given trip, I can preload gear and store it in my garage, then easily swap them in and out of the van as needed.

Hereís a link to the new animation: ... A.mp4?dl=0

Suggestions for any more changes are welcome. Thanks!

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