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Old 06-04-2016, 03:05 PM   #1
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NYT profile on Chevy homebuild van

I didn't see anyone share this yet, but the New York Times style section had a short profile on a guy who built out a 2003 Express so he could be nomadic to work on film projects. His approach tilts a little more towards the urban / stealth camping side, but has plenty of interesting tidbits.

He documented the build with a fair amount of detail at http://thevanual.com/ I thought the most interesting feature is the side cutouts on gas lift supports, so they open up while camping but maintain the generic panel van look while parked.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/03/fa...omad.html?_r=0
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:18 PM   #2
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I enjoyed the article, some really good photos in there. I wish he'd said something about those window lifts. Would like to have something like that on my van!

Anybody here done anything like that on a Ford?
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
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I wish he'd said something about those window lifts. Would like to have something like that on my van!

Anybody here done anything like that on a Ford?
That might be another project MGMetalworks takes on?!

I have a friend in my same business with the movable side panels on his Chevy Express van---very handy for both tradesmen and campers too it seems.

Adding such a feature to an E-Series wouldn't be impossible but prototyping etc could be expensive, not something anyone other than the most dedicated DIY'er could easily achieve. Construction of both Chevy and Ford vans is similar relative to the inner structure so the concept would transfer easily enough.

I don't know there'd be a big enough demand for such conversions to be profitable but its an intriguing idea for certain.
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:21 AM   #4
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Before I bought my passenger van, I looked at several other passenger vans that were used as people-haulers. Several of them had removable pins on the tilting window latches behind the driver's seat to allow egress in the event of a rollover, etc. Once the pins were removed the window opened quite a bit. I can't recall if the hinges were also non-stock, perhaps there is a kit available somewhere.

Using a gas spring, etc with the above hardware may be a straightforward way to have opening windows, at least behind the driver's seat, and maybe on the other opening windows on the E-series.
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:12 PM   #5
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@boywonder, do you happen to recall what make/model those windows were on? It would be great to get a close look at hinges, etc. It would be a terrific mod to do/have, for both airflow and access. Right now, I'm restricted to using my long lenses through the front windows only. I could really enjoy shooting out a rear window sitting in my new Sienna seats!

I haven't messed with mine (E350) to see what happens if you disconnect the bottom lock. Will the top hinges allow full opening, or are they restrictive on their own? Maybe I'll check this weekend, unless somebody already knows the answer. @Jsweezy - I think you just replaced your rear windows with openers... what do you say?
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:08 AM   #6
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.....what happens if you disconnect the bottom lock. Will the top hinges allow full opening, or are they restrictive on their own? Maybe I'll check this weekend, unless somebody already knows the answer.
You should find the movable glass won't swing up anywhere close to 90* horizontal---their design won't allow that as there would be an interference between the glass and van body.

For the most part they weren't really designed to move too far outward past what the lower latches already allow.

Add in the glass itself is tempered and while can withstand a bit of abuse or stress its prone to breaking---in a full swing-up mode there's a higher potential this might happen. Being in the auto/truck glass biz I know those parts are rather pricey.

However this is an interesting idea for an "easy" conversion to the GM-like side access on a Club Wagon or window van. Holes already in place for hardware, only necessary to fabricate or adapt hinges and latches to suit the purpose.
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:38 AM   #7
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Otter: I'm assuming that the swing up window setup is an aftermarket kit for E series vans......the latch is different; it has a small clevis pin that you pull out to disconnect the window and it sounds like aftermarket hinges as well. I did pop out the pins and swing the window up on one van that I was looking at.

As JWA has mentioned (he is an auto glass guy).....the glass is tempered and may be a bit fragile under stress.....the setup I've seen is clearly for one time emergency use.
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
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You should find the movable glass won't swing up anywhere close to 90* horizontal---their design won't allow that as there would be an interference between the glass and van body.

For the most part they weren't really designed to move too far outward past what the lower latches already allow.

Add in the glass itself is tempered and while can withstand a bit of abuse or stress its prone to breaking---in a full swing-up mode there's a higher potential this might happen. Being in the auto/truck glass biz I know those parts are rather pricey.

However this is an interesting idea for an "easy" conversion to the GM-like side access on a Club Wagon or window van. Holes already in place for hardware, only necessary to fabricate or adapt hinges and latches to suit the purpose.
JWA, thanks for the insight. Do you suppose the Chevy above has heavier/more durable glass? Or is this a one-off thing and anyone doing it would have eyes wide open as to the fragile nature of the setup? Maybe the answer is a frame to stiffen the whole thing up.

Either way, I see a new product possibility for MG and other designer/fabricators. Or maybe some adventurous tinkerer here can propose a way to adapt hinges, frames, etc.
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:34 PM   #9
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@boywonder: well, that makes sense. Tho an emergency exit probably isn't a bad idea, either. That would require just an easy way to destroy that latch, it being an emergency, after all.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:15 PM   #10
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@boywonder: well, that makes sense. Tho an emergency exit probably isn't a bad idea, either. That would require just an easy way to destroy that latch, it being an emergency, after all.

I looked around the inter-web thingy rather heavily this morning and came up empty-handed for the latches/hinges.....I was curious.........
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