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Old 10-09-2011, 09:29 PM   #401
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Re: Hal The Van

Tire Carrier continued:

With the carrier against the door mark on it the location of the two holes already drilled in the door where the square tubes intersect.


I want to mount the tire so it sits an inch above the rear bumper. Put down a couple pieces of wood that give me that height.


Rolled the spare tire onto the wood pieces and and moved it around until I got the best fit. Then marked both the tire and the carrier so they could be lined up in the same position after removal from the van.

Here's a picture of lining up the tire from when I was working on one of the earlier carrier versions.


The tire position deals with how wide the rear doors could be opened. Ford E series vans are made so the rear doors open enough so a 4 foot wide object can be slid straight in. If I position the tire so it clears the right door it means I won't be able to open the left door all the way.


I wanted to find out how much width I would lose. Used a square to stand in for the tire.


And a ruler on the bumper to take measurements from.


When designing the carrier I had considered making it so the tire could slide horizontally. This would allow the door to open to the full 4 foot width but makes the carrier more complicated. The measurements show I should only lose around 3" of door width if I go with a simpler solid design. I can live with that. Once the inside building begins anything 4' wide wouldn't fit straight in anyway. A 4x8 sheet of plywood will still fit, just diagonally.

Move the tire and the carrier inside the garage and set them up on sawhorses. The tire and carrier are in the same relative position as they will be when mounted on the door.


The welded square piece laying on the wheel is what the spare tire will bolt to. I had constructed this for a earlier design. I have to make something that will join that square to the tire carrier.


Cut and weld two pieces of, what will be when installed, vertical square tubes to the carrier that line up with the bolt square.


Cut four pieces of square tube that will connect the bolt square to the vertical tubes. In this picture I'm using magnets to hold four tubes in place before I weld them to the square .


Then weld the square to the carrier.


Check that everything lines up.


Drill out the holes for the bolts.


Do a test fit with bolts.


As a thief deterrent add a lock and chain


Weld one end of a three link long section of chain to the bolt square. I'll lock the wheel to the chain.


With the carrier finished I got ready to paint it. Didn't double check the fit on the door hinges since I'd done that before. This turned out to be a mistake.

continued -
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:22 PM   #402
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Re: Hal The Van

Tire Carrier continued:

Before starting to paint the carrier I drilled out the two holes where it will bolt to the door near the right edge. Used the new holes to hang the carrier from the ceiling with some chain and a hook. To protect the garage from overspray I hung a plastic sheet on three sides around the carrier.


Placed two box fans in the gap below the garage door and blocked off the rest of gap so I'd have a fresh air supply while painting.


Break out my painting supplies. I'm using automotive paint from NAPA which doesn't have any usage directions printed on the cans. I downloaded and printed the instructions from this web page.


As soon as I started painting I realized I'd made a mistake. Forgot to close off the end of the square tube at the hinge ends. Too late now. Will figure something out later.


To speed up the drying I added a third fan. When painting I'm wearing goggles and a dual cartridge respirator. Even with the safety equipment I'd vacate the garage right after applying each layer.


Along with the carrier I'm painting the hinges. First removed the old paint and rust with a wire wheel.


Hanged from hooks and painted along with the hinge pins


Not bad looking.


Since it took a few days to paint the hinges and let them dry I had to do something about the rear door.


I roped it to the front seat. .




Once the carrier is installed the spare tire will be visible so it's going to need a little work. Up till now it's been hung under the van where appearance didn't matter.


Clean up the wheel with the grinder then wipe down with paint thinner.


Paper and tape prep work.


After painting.


While everything was set up I went ahead and painted the basement door frame.


Painting hint. If you're pouring from one of these metal can and it's full, keep the spout at the top. Otherwise you'll get a mess.


It's explained in this 1909 edition of Popular Mechanics



continued -
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:24 PM   #403
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Re: Hal The Van

Tire Carrier continued:

A couple weekends ago the weather was dismal and rainy but I figured it wouldn't take long to finish up this project. As if.
Mount the newly painted hinges on the van. The picture is before they were adjusted.


Adjust the hinges and door so everything is lined up. Bring out the painted tire carrier and mount it onto the hinges. Or more accurately try to mount the carrier.

It won't fit. No matter how hard I tried.

Rain or no rain take the van door off and bring it into the garage. In trying to get the carrier to fit I managed to scrap some of the new paint off the hinge. You can see in the picture that the carrier's bottom hinge plate is now as much as 1/2" off alignment.


This used to fit perfect so I must have caused the carrier to distort while welding on the vertical braces. It's going to take more than a couple well placed hits with the hammer to straighten it out. Here I was all ready to celebrate another project finished so to say I was disappointed doesn't begin to cover it. I allotted myself a minute and a half for a pity party then after that started thinking about how to fix it.

Here's what I came up with. Used a angle grinder with a cut-off wheel to cut off the lower hinge block from each hinge plate on the carrier.




Each of the upper hinge blocks needed to have the holes slightly re-aligned. Used the drill for that. Hopefully this won't cause any looseness in the fit.


Looking on the bright side this gives me a chance to fix an earlier oversight. I'd forgotten to close off the open ends of the square tube where it meets the hinge plate. Cut out two metal rectangles and after using a wire wheel to remove the paint, welded one to each tube end. Cleaned up the weld later.


This is the lower hinge plate after I'd welded the lower hinge block back on but in a new alignment. You can see that the upper block is now about 1/2" away from the top of the door hinge. I considered adding an extension to close that gap but decide to just live with it. This gap will necessitate a new hinge pin but I already have that covered.


Here's the upper hinge plate. You can see that the plate is angling away from the hinge pin creating a gap. The hinge block I cut off isn't big enough to fill this gap so instead I made a new but this time I cut it from 1" square bar stock. Reduced the thickness to 3/4" and drilled out the hole for the hinge pin. The extra width allowed the hinge block to cross the gap and reach the hinge plate. Welded them together.


Put the door back on the van and see if the carrier will fit. It does.


The fit is good and solid.


Leave the door on the van and move the carrier back to the garage. Use a wire wheel to remove all the paint damaged by the welding. Instead of hooking up all the paint spraying equipment I'm going to use a paint brush to apply first the primer then the paint and finally the clearcoat. Not sure how the finish will look but going to find out.


I made the first set of hinge pins from tool steel which I find rusts pretty quickly when exposed to the elements. I ordered stainless steel rod and used that to make the second set of hinge pins.


A few days later. The re-painting is done and the weather has improved. Install the carrier on the back of the van with the new stainless steel pins.


Fits and moves just right. The finish on the re-painted parts is not bad either.


The two mounting holes in the door are just slightly off from the holes in the right edge of the carrier. A few seconds work with the drill fixed that.


Attach the carrier to the door with 5/16" bolts. I added the metal plate to the inside of the door to help spread the load.


All bolted up and ready to go.


Now for the acid test. Mount the tire onto the carrier.
The tire weighs 79 lbs so it's not like I can lift and hold it in place while I fumble with bolts and nuts to secure it. I experimented around until I came up with a workable method.

Get the tire on the rear bumper and roll it into place in front of the carrier. Move the tire around until the left carrier mounting hole lines up with the tire hole at the "9:00" o'clock position. Push the bolt through from the front and hand tighten the nut on the back. The weight of the tire is on the bumper.


Using the 9:00 bolt as a pivot point, rotate the tire in a counter-clockwise direction. This will cause the right side of the tire to rise. Raise the tire until the hole opposite the 9:00 bolt lines up with the hole in the carrier at the "2:45" position. The pivot bolt supports enough of the tire weight that I can hold it in place with one hand while using my other hand to push the bolt through and hand tighten on the nut. With the tire supported by these two bolts add the remaining two bolts and hand tighten in place.


Now it gets difficult. I want to add a washer and lock washer to each bolt then "wrench" them tight. I didn't realize how hard this would be until I started trying to do it. Getting the washers on along with the nuts wasn't the problem. The problem was in trying to work a wench in the area between the back of the tire and the carrier. The four square tube supports I welded to the carrier are consistently in the way if you're trying to work a wrench on the nuts. It's not impossible just maddeningly difficult. I tried a succession of wrench types until I came up with this solution.

I took a 7/8" combination wrench from a cheap set I had and cut it in half. Take the box end "half" and ground smooth the cut edge for safety sake.


This was much easier to deal with. It's got enough length for leverage but not so long as to keep banging into the supports.


I'm using carriage bolts since I like their look but didn't have any problem with the heads turning as I tightened down on the nuts. Made slight adjustments to the tire position to center it up as I tightened it in place. With the tire in place I added the lock. If I'd known how hard it would be to work the nuts without my "special" wrench I might not bothered with the lock.


The lock tucks in behind the wheel.


OK. The tire is now mounted onto the back of the van. Do some checking. The door opens and closes without any problems. Has a nice solid feel to it. No wobble on the door when opened.

This is the clearance on the left side of the tire.


There is enough clearance between the tire tread and the edge of the right side rear door that the door can open and close with interference. Just don't get your hand in between the two as the door shuts.


Looking between the bottom of the tire and the top of the bumper there is about an inch of clearance as planned.


Measure the new door width. Notice the yellow broom handle.




I had previously calculated a 3" reduction in width. It comes to 3-1/2". Pretty close.


The yellow broom handle in the above picture is being used to keep the door wide open. There is a small swing arm on the door that both prevents the door from opening too far but also holds the door all the way open. I don't know what the official name for this part is but I'll call it the "door stop". In this picture you can see the door stop on the right rear door.


The left hand door's stop doesn't work anymore. In taking the door on and off so many times it somehow got twisted. I don't know if I'm going to try and fix it or just go get one from the junkyard. It will have to be modified to work with the doors new opening width. Beside the convenience factor of holding the door open more importantly is limiting how far open I can swing the door.

Here is the left door all the way open. You can see that the tire is pressing against the driver's side rear taillight assembly. I have no doubt that the door can be open far enough to crack the assembly. I'll have to be careful until the stop is replaced.


I'll take care of the stop at some other time so I'm going to call Spare Tire Carrier project finished.


One final note on the problem I had with the carrier. I've since been told that the distortion could have been prevented by using a jig when I was welding. Live and learn.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:51 AM   #404
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Re: Hal The Van

If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now:

Most.EPIC.thread.EVER.

Your write-ups and photos are just awesome. Very well-done!
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:03 AM   #405
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_in_delaware
If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now:

Most.EPIC.thread.EVER.

Your write-ups and photos are just awesome. Very well-done!
Agreed. And I can't even say "if only I had the time" while that's certainly true, I also quite surely do not have the skills to accomplish what you've done. Most impressive.


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Old 10-14-2011, 12:33 PM   #406
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Re: Hal The Van

Also impressed that you can make anything you set your mind to. Hands of skill!
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:40 PM   #407
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Re: Hal The Van

Having all those manly tools and toys helps, too, I would think.....
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:35 PM   #408
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Re: Hal The Van

Hey Guys,
Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it.

Quote:
Having all those manly tools and toys helps, too, I would think.
You think correctly. The van conversion has given me a reason to just go ape scheiße on the acquisition of new tools. When it comes to skills the only one I'll admit to is persistence. The rest of what I do is pretty much just trial and error.

Dave
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:51 PM   #409
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Re: Hal The Van

From earlier today. Bob endeavors to explain to me how the fuel line disconnect tool works.



She succeeded, eventually.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:11 PM   #410
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Re: Hal The Van

Gas Tank Pick-up Pipe installation.

If you've been following this thread you'll know I installed a Webasto heater and a diesel fuel tank for the heater. I'll also be installing a Espar HYDRONIC Coolant Heater as part of a home-brewed (pun) system to provide hot water for the RV. The Espar model of heater I'll be using is fueled by gasoline. I'll draw the gasoline from the van's fuel tank. To get the gasoline from the tank to the heater I'll need to install a fuel tank pick-up pipe and a fuel hose. Even though I'm not ready to install the water heating system I still need the pick-up and fuel hose in place before I can proceed with the van conversion. I'll explain more as I go.

The recommended way to install a fuel tank pick-up pipe in the gas tank is to first drop the tank. If I had a newer van I'd probably do it that way but since my van is a 1999 and a lot of things are rusted in place I'm going a different route. I'll cut a hole in the floor above the gas tank large enough so to remove the entire fuel hanger assembly from the tank.

WARNING: I've not done this before nor seen it done. I can't think of anything more dangerous than drilling and cutting around a gas tank. Wait, I can think of something worse. Working around a partially filled 35 gallon gas tank with a large open hole at the top. Don't even think about doing this if you have doubts about what you can handle. Also don't trust anything I've written.

STEP ONE: Get a fire extinguisher and keep it close. Actually I had two on hand.


I'm working on a 1999 Ford E-250 with the 4.2L engine. Other years or models of van might have a different fuel tank location and/or fuel pump hanger assembly.

To find the location of the fuel pump hanger get under the van on the driver's side below where the fuel fill is located. Reach up an stick your arm forward of the gas lines between the top of the tank and the underside of the van floor.


Feel around for a round plate with two metal tubes and wiring extending from the top. This is the fuel pump hanger. You can't get your head up there but you can a camera. Here's what it sees.


Take some measurements from the hanger to the side of the van.


Inside the van with the floor covering removed. In the top center of the picture is the "hump" that marks the fuel fill location.


I'm measuring from the center of the hump into the van.


I'm 18-1/2" in from the center of the hump. Very carefully drill a hole using a small drill bit. Don't let the bit "grab" and draw itself deeper into the hole when it first punches through the floor. You don't know what's directly below the hole.


I used a series of drill bits so I could enlarge the hole in steps without the bit grabbing and pulling downward.


You'll know the hole is big enough when you're able to see what's below.


I could see that it was ok to next use a hole saw.


Now I could really look around. Able to see where everything was located.


Next up the saber saw. My saw comes with a depth adjustment.


Even with the saw set to it's minimum cutting depth it still extends to almost 1-1/2".


The supply and return lines at the top of the fuel pump hanger are less than 1-1/2" from the van floor. I can't use the saber saw above the area of the hanger where the lines are located.


But I can use the saber saw on the parts of the floor that's not directly above the fuel lines. Cut the floor away from above the hanger in a series of cuts.






To remove the floor over the fuel lines use a hack saw blade in a holder. Patience needed for this step.


Here is the fuel pump hanger uncovered. The largest of the two fuel lines is the supply line. The small one is the return. The electrical connections are for the fuel pump and the sending unit.


continued -

PS. Found a new use for the rear mounted spare tire tonight. You can use it to accidentally back into things at night in the rain, like a telephone pole, and nothing gets damaged.
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