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Old 12-10-2015, 01:42 PM   #11
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Thanks DerPo.
The older pre-2003 style hood has the Ford emblem in the center. 2003 to 2007 hoods do not have the emblem. The grill on the '03-'07s changed and got the emblem there instead. Both are simple bolt on swaps.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:01 PM   #12
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

Rather than build another bench out of 2x4 my brother and I fabbed a bench that pulls out to form a bed. We used 1x steel tubing which actually ended up being much lighter. I designed it to slide into itself and open as well for access to all the electrical and audio under the bench. We just built guide for the 1x rails to slide in. This track system worked out pretty slick and actually has no binding sliding in and out with the bed in place with ease.
Inside the frame I put a drawer system for easy storage. One out the barn door side, the other right out the middle. One the drivers side I built a ported and insulated box for a 10" sub. It fill the area right by the fuel inlet. The 5 speaker sound system with 5 channel Kenwood amp sounds great.
As you can see in some of the pics, I put foil/bubble insulation on all surfaces. Other areas got additional fiberglass insulation to boot.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:08 PM   #13
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

More bench / bed pics with storage drawers.
While my other bench was bolted through the floor I bolted this one directly into the 2x4 studs on the rear wall and the driver's side wall with large lag bolts. It's also bolted to the floating plywood floor.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:11 PM   #14
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

The wall behind the bench is padded and covered with automotive style cloth I got at a discount textile shop. The two white vertical strips are snowmobile slide that keep the plywood back of the bench from tearing up the cloth wall when the bench is slid out into a bed.
Also, want a cheap good quality foam? Buy a used Ikea futon off Craigslist. You can get the whole thing for less than the foam even from discount textile shops. In my case the futon frame became metal scrap.
Ready to nap... Anywhere.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:29 PM   #15
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

The rear of the van came together fairly well and still needs more shelving. Right now it has the battery bank, wheel well benches with storage and tool box platform. I put in plenty of L track for securing motorcycles and cargo. The tool box still needs to be secured. Found that out when I got a little carried away testing my new WeldTec lift. More on that later...
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:35 PM   #16
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Awesome build. I really like your door panels.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:43 PM   #17
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

Looking at bumper upgrades left me a bit bitter. I don't make enough cash to justify a $2500 aluminum rear bumper. I wanted a step bumper with shackle mounts. Ok, so that's what I got in the form of the stock step bumper modified. It got a touch of reinforcing. And shackle mounts tied into the bumpers' frame mounts. Like my brother said, all that work and it still looks stock. Whatever... With a coat of Line-X I think it looks good and is functional. I have a tire carrier on the way to complete it.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:58 PM   #18
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

Not that anything was wrong with my stock exhaust, even after 250K miles, but I wanted a bit "more." What was supposed to be a bolt on 4" exhaust was anything but. Thanks to my brother's welding expertise we were able to make everything work. After relocating the collar on the turbo downpipe we could get everything else to line up on down to the rear of the van. Hanger placement was the next issue. Not a one lined up with the stock hanger positions. So, we re-did those as well.
All said and done, with the supplied muffler, I had the dreaded drone a lot of people curse when going with a larger aftermarket exhaust. Due to the poor finish quality I pointed out to the manufacturer they sent me a resonator free of charge. After having it installed as close to the turbo downpipe as possible the drone was decreased and I can now live or drive without going nuts. I can't imagine how terrible this would resonate in an average van that has no sound proofing. No thanks. I still have the stocker for backup.
What I noticed is a gallon better mpg likely due to cutting out the cat. It was dang near plugged. I could look through it and only see a pinhole of light coming through it. To be expected after 250K? I am also now much lighter on the throttle at cruising speeds (65-80).

I also wrapped the downpipe and used steel ties to fasten it.
Steel Ties - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o07_s00
Wrap - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o07_s00

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Old 12-10-2015, 03:21 PM   #19
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

I've been on the fence about 4x4 vs 2x4 for a long time. I drool over how cool some of your rigs look. A few months ago I got serious about finally doing something and so with some feedback from a few forum members, I pulled the trigger on a WeldTec Stage 2, 6" lift kit.
http://www.weldtec-designs.com/produ...rocery-getter/

Jeremy at WeldTec was easy to work with and answered all my questions and concerns. I got a few heavy packages delivered and set off to my brother's for a weekend driveway install.
I have to say that taking off the OE parts was probably the most time consuming. Didn't have this or that and over to the parts or tool store to waste away time. But, taking your time to do it right and clean and maintenance things along the way is important. It's really straight forward and basically what you take off you bolt back on with the exception of the new radius arm mounts which have to be welded to the frame.
On Vantasi, there is an external fuel pump mounted on the inside of left/driver's side frame rail. Its mounting plate gets in the way of the radius arm mount as it sits further back on the frame. So, we had to remove it, notch it out and then drill and tap a new hole in the frame. I suspect this will only be an issue on older 7.3L vans. I don't currently have a picture but will post one when I get a chance to take one.
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:39 PM   #20
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The making of Vantasi- cont.

With the font lifted I had an appointment to have the bottom of the van sprayed with Line-X. The job went wrong and that's another story but you'll see that the van kinda took a beating with the ugly stick.
Anyway, I installed the blocks and rear shocks without any issues. Everything came together smoothly. Vantasi got an alignment and I was off on a maiden voyage to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I took every forest road I could find to see how the lift would handle some bumps and holes. The little bit of rough forest road I encountered was easily soaked up by the front which I am pleased with. The rear, only being on blocks, really needs full new springs to perform as well as the front. WeldTec has these ready and I will get these next. It will also hopefully level it out just a bit more as it sits just a tad bit low in the rear.
Road handling- I've put enough miles on this van to know how it handles in different situations. I've had alignments that I was not happy with and probably gave shops a conniptions getting it just right. With it lifted it has a ton of bump steer and follows uneven road surfaces like a hound on a coon. I'm not sure that this is all the better it gets? Anyone have any input on handling with a bent i-beam lift? What can be done to get better handling? I'd really like a more relaxed road driving experience. All alignment adjustments are within spec.

Remember how I said I don't drive Vantasi in the winter? I just happened to find a snowstorm...
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