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Old 07-31-2009, 02:44 PM   #1
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Hal The Van

Original thread starts below. I'm adding this index since the thread is now so long I can't find where things are.
Actuator Repair
Acrylic Lid, Vent Fans
Alternator Replacement
B-17 (near bottom)
Backup Cameras
Battery Box - Wooden 1,2, 3 (Superseded by new design)
Battery Separator - Sure Power model 1315
Battery Separator - Underhood Fuse
Bike Rack
Blower Motor Control Upgrade
Brakes - Front Rotor Replacement
Brake Line Replacement
Calipers, The measuring kind
Camping 1, 2, 3 + bear, 4, Sheep & Beaver
Cockpit Flooring: Blue Diamond,Carpet and Mats
Contact Cement
Covering Wall Panels
Das Boot Lights
Diesel Fuel Tank 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Sending Unit, 6, 7 Ohms, 8, Shield
Disco Lights
Driver's Cockpit Floor Patch
Electrical Outlet -110V
Electrical Power Inlet - External
Electrical System - Main
Fiberboard Wall Panels 1, 2, 3, 4
Flexible Conduit
Flooring: Rubber Mat Layer
Flooring: Extruded Foam Boards
Flooring: Plywood Layer
Flooring: Final Attaching and Vinyl Square Covering
Florescent Fixture LED Upgrade
Fridge Cabinet
Fuel Pump Replacement
Gas Tank Pick-up Pipe
Greywater Tank Fabrication
Greywater Tank Dump Valve, video
Insulation (Pink Stuff)
Kitchen Cabinet
Kitchen Sink
LED Lighting
Machine Skates
Mud/Splash Guard
Open The Pod Bay Doors HAL
Painting 1,2
Penthouse Installation
Radio With House Power
Rear and Front Bumper
Rear Brake Line 1, 2, 3 Be Sure To Read This One
Reflectix foil bubble insulation
Safety First!
ScanGauge II Dash Mount
Sliders 1, 2
Sofa-Bed 1, 2, 3, Router, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Electrical, 9 Formica, 10
Solar Panels
Supervisors 1, 2, 3
Spare Tire Mount
Steering Damper
Switch Panel - Dash
Swivel Base - Passenger Seat
Trailer Hitch
Undervan Storage Box -"The Basement" 1, 2, 3
Version 2
Voltmeter - Dash
Webasto Heater Installation 1, Pump Measurement, 2, 3, Fuel Pump Mount, Exhaust, Shield
Webasto Air Top 2000D Tear Down and Repair 1, 2
Windshield Cover
Winter Portal

Hi All,
Let me introduce Hal The Van.
It's sitting in the back yard of the guy I just bought it from.

This is a 1999 Ford E-250 with a 6 cylinder.

It's first 10 years were spent as the lone work van of a home rehabber in Pittsburgh.
There is some wear and tear but no structural problems and mechanically it was well taken care of.

I intend to do most all the wok myself. The floor plan will be similar to RB40. I've given myself a deadline of next Spring.
One thing I won't be doing myself is installing a Penthouse top. Since I'm in WV a trip to IN will be in my future. Sportsmobile told me that they need about a 4 week lead time.

PO had shelves installed. This left some holes in the deck along with rust spots.
I'm dealing with those issues first. I haven't had to work with Bondo since I got rid of my 1973 AMC green Hornet. And if you had a AMC back in the day you'll remeber that Bondo was your best friend. It's a skill that's slowly coming back to me.

If anyone else is driving a Ford van they might find this of interest.
Once I took up the rubber mat/insulation from the floor I saw this around the through deck bolt near the back doors (pass side):

After taking a grinder to the bubbled paint spot it now looks like this:

From underneath it looks like the van's rear wheels must throw water/salt right up into the gap between the van deck and this cross beam where it starts to rust. Looks like this would be a problem with all Ford vans exposed to the salt they use on the roads around here. I'm having this fixed next week at a local body shop that does welding. That is beyond my abilities.

I know I'm getting way ahead of myself but with the rainy weather haven't been able to work outside so I went ahead and came up an electrical plan:

That's probably more than enough info for a first post.
One more thing, about the name Hal. My name is Dave....

"Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. "

Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Once I exit Hal, this is what I do.
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
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Re: Hal The Van

Plugged into shore power do (will) the van outlets have power without having to rely on the invertor operating?

good to be back
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:06 PM   #3
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Re: Hal The Van

Nice project!!


what are your load requirements?

this determines what your need is.

dry camping?
have a generator?

why twin 6v batteries?

gonna sling them under the rig?
if not why?
(saves space, which is at a premium)

135 watt panel is not much cheaper that 180 or 200

what controler?
does it have MPPT?

let us know what your load is and we can tell you what we used

for instance:
my rig, 4cf fridge, tv, dvd, sterio, fans, lites = max 1200 watts per day
i am installing Two 180 watt panels and a blue sky controler and two batts giving 400 amp hrs
with 5 hours of sun, my panels will just about produce 1200 watts
with sun i should not need the second batt
Mr. Murphey and Mr. Cloudy Sky camp with me at times
thats why the second battery

the only reason i want to start my generator is to fire up the Roof AC

my two cents worth
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:39 PM   #4
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Re: Hal The Van

Shore power will energize a 2 socket outlet on my electrical panel. I unplug the two lines that power all my 120VAC from the inverter and plug them into the shore power outlets. Since most of the high watt drain is on the 120VAC side, the solar should be enough to run the DC side by it self. Since there isn't an air conditioner I can get by with just a 15 amp inlet. I know it's not as neat as having a converter with a distribution panel, which I did considered first. But when you think about it, you already have to move plugs around when you hook up to shore power. What's a couple more?

Actually most of my camping tends to be the weekend boondocking kind. So the shore power will most often be used with the charger once I get home.

what are your load requirements?
With all LED lights, supper insulated fridge, propane cook stove and some sun I've calculated that I can go 3-4 days without having to worry about external power. I think I can go longer but I'll find out. If I'm wrong I can always add a couple more batteries.

why twin 6v batteries?
1.)A lot of people have written they believe that two 6 volts last longer than an equally amp-hour sized 12 volt battery.
2.)I can pick up and move around separately two 63 lb lead filled objects a lot easier than I can pick up and move around one 126 lb lead filled object.

gonna sling them under the rig?
if not why?
If I could weld I might have considered it. But I can't.

135 watt panel is not much cheaper that 180 or 200
Have you checked the prices here today:
Kyocera KD135GX-LP 135 Watt 12 Volt Solar Electric Panel $415
Kyocera KC130TM 130 Watt Solar Panel with Junction Box $484
Mitsubishi 170 Watt Solar Electric Panel $829
135 watts are cheaper than 130 watt at the moment.

what controler?
does it have MPPT?
Blue Sky SB2512iX MPPT Solar Charge Controller 12V 25A, with IPN

the only reason i want to start my generator is to fire up the Roof AC
Since I won't have AC I'm not planning on a generator.
A Fantastic Fan or two but no AC.
Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Once I exit Hal, this is what I do.
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:46 PM   #5
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Re: Hal The Van

I think the whole 6 volt thing is a throwback to earlier days... before true 12V deep-cycle batteries were widely available, golf-cart batteries were cheap and plentiful and had the thick plates that allowed deep discharge.

Now, we have some really good AGM deep-cycle batteries, with equally thick plates and high-quality construction. In my opinion (which isn't worth much!) there's no reason for the extra wiring, the flooded vented cells, and the risk of your entire system going down if you lose one battery. You can get 2 group 27 batteries (which weigh about 60lbs) instead of a 4D, and still get your 200Ah.

I run a small, not-particularly-efficient fridge and some lights off of 100Ah of capacity, by the way, and lasted 4+ days the one time my charging system didn't work. With a 135W solar panel, I'm fully recharged by 10am on a sunny day, up here in WA.

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Old 08-19-2009, 11:48 PM   #6
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Re: Hal The Van

Update on the patching work:

Lesson Learned #1.
If applying clear coat INSIDE the van with a spray gun, wear goggles.
I'm never going to get the clear coat specks off my glasses.
It was time for a new pair anyway.
At least I had sense enough to wear a respirator.
Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Once I exit Hal, this is what I do.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:52 PM   #7
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Re: Hal The Van

"Say Hello To My Little Friend(s)"

I'm going to be getting to know these guys, and their parts, fairly well.
Actually they have already made donations.
Cargo step, 2 brake lights, drivers step, cargo door weatherstripping, and assorted screws and bolts.

I'm out working on the van today when a guy came up and asked if I wanted to sell it. He'd noticed there were no tags, I took them off to fix rust around the mount, and thought maybe it was for sale. If I was a quicker thinker I should have asked what he was offering. Maybe done a upgrade.
Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Once I exit Hal, this is what I do.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:41 PM   #8
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Re: Hal The Van

Working in the Winter
If I'm planning on having this conversion done in the spring a way to work over the winter is needed. The van is too big to fit into my garage but it will fit in front of it.
Winter is here:

The view from inside the garage.

Use some furring strips, staples, a old tarp and some clamps. Block off the opening with the garage door up.

Using another old tarp and duct tape to create a tunnel around the side doors. A piece of scrap plywood is placed on top of the open van doors.

Do a little cutting, put the two together and mark off where they meet.

Do some more taping.

Then install. It only takes a couple of minutes to get it fully installed.
I don't know what to call it. Either the Human Habitrail or the Blue ET Tunnel.

The tunnel part has some extra length so it will reach the van if I move it and not return it to the exact same spot.
The tarp doesn't provide much in the way of insulation but it does keep the wind out and with the two kerosene heaters running the garage and the van stay reasonably warm.
Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Once I exit Hal, this is what I do.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:33 PM   #9
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Re: Hal The Van


But I think you need to add some Reflectix to that tunnel. No wait, maybe it should be Dynamat. Err, maybe Second Skin?

Dammit, more research required ...

2008 E350 EB, V10, GTRV Conversion
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:37 PM   #10
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Re: Hal The Van

I think you should call it "The Airlock."

I wish I had a garage, but I live in NYC.

I will be picking up my van in Portland from Quadvan very soon, then driving it back.

Since it's basically new, there's less I have to do to prep it. At the same time, I have to do the whole interior build. It will be simple, but it's winter and I'm going to have to do it in little sections, basically pre-fabbed and installed one bit at a time.

A friend in Brooklyn has a garage that I can use for some of the gnarlier parts.

I look forward to your progress.

2009 E350 5.4 Quadvan Homebrew
One day at a time
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