I came across the forum a few weeks back while I was looking for a backup vehicle. I am a handyman and I use my 1999 F-250 X-Cab 4x4 everyday and it is a great rig. It now has almost 200k miles though and is starting to make some odd noises that comes and goes. I am assuming it will need a motor soon but I cant afford to not have a work vehicle when that happens.
I started looking on eBay and locally for an EWB Ford E-350 since I am familiar with Fords and that seems to be a popular platform so hopefully I can apply what I have learned here so far to my build. here are a few pics of the van as it is now. I bought it from the Colorado Department of corrections for 2400.00 and it has less than 140k miles on it. Mechanically it is in great shape other than the rear brakes, that is what I am working on now. The other issue I ran into was that it had no spare so I found a set of wheels and good used tires from a 2006 on Craigslist and picked them up on my way back.
Here are a few pics of what I am starting with.
So a couple things to keep in mind with this build. I originally thought a full queen across the back was the way to go. However after seeing builds on here I am thinking that the way to go is the benches on both sides so I can have a pass through layout. On a daily basis I will use it for work, so packing my tools and materials is a need as well. Hopefully in the future travel/work trips will be possible. Since I don't have a concrete floor plan yet I am starting out with a few other sections that can be done first. Hopefully through this thread I can go over the sections and then I will avoid some mistakes by getting some feedback first.
1- Front Seats --
They are a bit worn and don't have arm rests, and I need those! I am thinking seats out of a 2014 or newer E-350 would be great I like the look and then get seat swivels to make better use of the space when possible. I found a link on here somewhere for a nice swivel that was low price and they also had a pair of bucket seats for about 700.00 so that is another option I am considering.
2- Rear Seats --
Now the problem here is that I want to have at least 2 more seats other than the front captains chairs. Our son is 14 now and on his way to being my height (6'3) so I need a spot for him to sit comfortably and possibly sleep. (He may use a tent and bag most of the time) Most layouts I have seen have a kitchen right behind the drivers seat which is nice but since I want a 4/5 seater that isn't an option. (More on that later in the kitchen section.) I am not sure if I am going to go with 2 more captains chairs or a bench. Obviously the captains chairs are more comfortable and would make a nice layout with the swivel fronts. However a bench may be able to double as a second bed so I am still a bit undecided on that matter.
3- The Kitchen --
Since the kitchen is a luxury and I am very used to cooking outside this is a place we can save some space and my wife found a great idea on pintrest that I will be modifying to make this work for us. I am pretty sure the layout will be a bench on both sides of the van with a section/table to put down and make a queen size bed. I am thinking this will be under the driver side bench and have a large 4 or 5 foot slide out to house the kitchen.
This is the inspiration:
Here is what I am thinking of for our kitchen "appliances" and "fixtures" that will be in the slide out.
Sink -- Mounted into the slide that can drain to a 5 gallon bucket below.
There will be a small counter section so I am thinking of having this collapsible sink
stored in it as well so that we can have a wash and rinse sink for larger jobs.
- I am thinking two of these for our fresh water storage needs and they can easily be used to fill the sink.
This is a bit larger than I thought of originally, however this does have the added benefit of a small oven. I am not sure if we need that so I may end up switching it for a simpler/smaller stove top.
is pretty cool as well and is multi functional we will find some other kitchen items as well that are along this line to save space.
The down side to this is that I will need some full length drawer slides
for this and ones that are the size I need are going to be about 200.00 for a set but that will save us a lot of space so I am thinking they will be worth it.
What I am starting on now:
I have a rough idea of electrical layout and lighting as well as a few other things I will add later. For now what I am starting on, insulation and sound deadening materials, and the wood floor. I ordered a big roll of Reflectix
for the walls and also under the floor in the back of the van. I also ordered a big roll of FatMat
I am planning on using a layer of each on the floor and then topping that with 1/2 plywood. I will then put Pergo style flooring over that after the cabinets and benches are built in. That will just give me a solid flat base to work with and a good surface to build on.
This is as far as I have gotten for now. I will try and keep this thread updated with each project and I also add them to my blog at www.DirkMitchell.com
Thanks for all your input and suggestions!