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Old 02-17-2015, 10:11 AM   #11
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 44
Re: Link it up please!

Originally Posted by E350
Smokin' buy !!!:

Originally Posted by Bee
I have a 2006 E250 Econoline Cargo Extended Length. ... Spent $6k cash on van.
Do you mind sharing what engine it has, how many miles it has, and how many miles you have put on it since purchase?
5.4L. 166k miles. Immaculate condition inside and out. Had engine checked over and CARFAX as well.
So far put about 200 miles on it, mostly from driving it home. Bought it private but it was fully detailed inside and out. I mean FULLY detailed. Even the wheelwells and springs were clean. Guy was asking $7k for it.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:14 AM   #12
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 44
Re: Link it up please!

Originally Posted by E350
Smokin' buy !!!:
How is it putting your boats on the roof with that type of top? How do you do it?

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Old 02-17-2015, 10:49 AM   #13
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Sacramento Delta, CA
Posts: 1,012
Re: Link it up please!

Bee: Where are you located? Oh, probably near Seattle. You need a ladder to put boats on the roof. I cut up and had welded (today I would weld it myself) a Weatherguard van rack. Which clamped to the rain gutters and put the weight on the rain gutters. Bullet proof and elegant for what it is. I will post pictures for you later.

BTW, driving down that 6% grade in Idaho to the MFS, with those boats on the roof and five people in the van, I had to give it diesel (ie., more fuel) to keep the van rolling at 55. There's wind resistance for you!

For the last three years the rack has sat outside in the snow in the Winter, rusting. Now that I have solar panels, I will probably redesign the rack. With rectangular aluminum frame on the inside (like a roll bar of sorts) with bolts through for roof top cross-members and for (spring-loaded folding-back-when-not-in-use) J-hooks (made by Werner? Prijon? Hmmm... Some German or French company...) on the top's vertical sides. (But I forgot, I don't have the Python push-pull gun or the skills to weld aluminum yet... dang!)

FYI, personally I would never go with pent house top for kayaking, but there is a skiing/kayaking family from Reno with a friggin' phenomenon daughter kayaker, with an "official" Sportsmobile with a pent house roof. (It makes me smile everytime the picture of their family rotates through on the forum with their ski garb on in the snow in the parking lot at Kirkwood). They seem to make the pent house roof work just fine for them.

In American-Christianity we worship the "Creator" as our God ("We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights..."). (Protection for Patents and Copyrights is in Article I of our Constitution!) Good creation is God-like.

Dude, while God could pull off creating the entire planet in a week, it generally takes most humans (and maybe you too) more than an afternoon to pull off designing a homebuilt "SMB." When you are inventing, designing and fabricating you are conforming to your God-like nature. Give in to it. Slow down and have your journey in mind by focusing where you want to be when you get there. Only then plan your route. Or as the old paper copies of the Mother Earth magazine used to say on their inside cover: "We are as gods, so we better damn well get good at it..."
2002 E350 ext.; 160K; 7.3L; 4R100 (w/4x4 deep pan & filter); 4x4 conv. w/2007 F250/F350 coil frnt axle (oppos. dual Bilstein press. shocks cured DW) diff chg from 3.55 to 3.73 (bad!); BW1356 t.c. (bad!); LT265/70R17/E Michelin LTX M/S2; Engel MT60 Combi Fridge-Freezer; 4 BP 380J pv panels; Auragen 5kw AC gen. in top alt. position; Webasto Dual-Top; Voyager top. 1995 5.8L EB Bronco, bone stock.
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:31 PM   #14
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pan-American Highway
Posts: 307
Re: Link it up please!

Building ours out now and suggest (basically what Pschitt said):

Sit in your van for 1-2 hours thinking about how it will be used - do this about 5 times before anything else.

All cutting into the van body (roof, windows, underneath storage, trap door, whatever)
Sound Proofing
Pre-wiring (especially exterior outlets, lights, etc)
Wiring and Plumbing

A simple thing like a solar panel can become a PITA if it's not installed at the right time. If you know you'll want one later, pre-wire it before building your walls and installing your cabinets. Things like where your outlets, switches, charge controller will be installed need to be sorted out well in advance or you may be rebuilding things or running wires in the open. Scratch out your ideas and scrutinize them while you are sitting in your van. This sounds idiotic, best thing we did over and over again. We still do it. When you think you are ready use tape on the floor to mark it all out. Boxes help to mimic cabinetry.

Have fun

2001 7.3 E350 Ujoint 4" w/ SMB Penthouse
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:05 PM   #15
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 246
Re: Link it up please!

For what is worth,

One thing I know for sure is that you will spend hundreds of hours on-line in this site and searching for products and DIY advice, so I too suggest to start with a good online gadget.

And in my experience most of us like the research and DIY process and probably spend more time researching, planing and doing that actually playing with it.

Good luck!
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:19 PM   #16
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 38
Re: Link it up please!

If you want a link then check out "Hal the Van" in my opinion an absolute must read thread. Even if you don't do anything the same way he did it is a great source of inspiration for the aspiring DIY'r

2015 Jeep JKUR with J-30 Ursa Minor top
1994 GMC G3500 EB 5.4 2WD SMB, PH (sold)
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:39 AM   #17
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Posts: 3,350
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Re: Link it up please!

I'll contribute just a bit before letting this build wind on a bit......

When it comes to the floor post something about seeking advice on the how-to---long before you start buying materials and such. There's a few ways to do this best practices-wise which goes slightly against the grain here on SMB. My plan of attack is proven over time to be very effective even here in the midwest where we truly have all four seasons unlike many located mostly in less cold and humid climates.

BTW that's a great price on your bare van. I paid $4500 for my '03 E250 5.4 motor, 165K miles. Mechanically its been perfect---couldn't have asked for a better deal.
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:41 PM   #18
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 64
Re: Link it up please!

I built ours out last winter, similar situation, Myself, wife, kiddo, and the dog. One of these days I'll get around to posting photos of the build.

We built ours with the possibility of sleeping two couples inside, kids out in tents when they get old enough. We have seat belts for 7. 4 captains chairs, and 3 on a bench that runs lengthwise.

My 2 Cents. Think about how you will really use the van, not how you "want" to use the van.

I wanted 4x4 and an inside cooking area, heater etc... but we don't need them.

In build out order

Stripped inside. Sub floor and floor insulation. Installed window in driver side. Ran wiring, with extra's pulled to central locations, ie front dash, and passenger side door areas. Insulation. Wall Panels, plumbing. cabinets. 2nd row captains. flooring. window blinds. Then it went to CCV for pop top.

After stripping the interior we sat in the van a measured and taped, and moved stuff around to come up with a floor plan that worked for us.

There are some amazing homebuilds on the forum, keep looking around. I spent countless hours just looking, and looking some more. In my opinion many people overthink and over engineer some things, that end up costing time and money. Keep It Simple Stupid.

Some resources I used: has a great wire gauge calculator. Shop on Ebay and Amazon, junk yards are a great source for van parts. I saved a ton by making my own battery cables and got a crimper out of the whole process. PPL motorhomes has great pricing on lots of the RV items.

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