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Old 10-07-2022, 11:46 AM   #181
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IanF:
Yeah, I know the feeling! An 8' garage door is nice, especially in comparison to a more standard 7' door, but a 9' door would be even better. Having space for a full shop away from neighbors is for sure the goal for our next house.

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Old 10-07-2022, 02:03 PM   #182
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Outstanding job my man!
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Old 10-25-2022, 03:19 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by eddyturn View Post
Outstanding job my man!
Thank you!
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Old 11-12-2022, 01:18 PM   #184
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DIY 4x4 Conversion continued:
It's finally done! Now it's time to get the build thread all caught up. The pictures started to dwindle as I got closer to the finish line, so I'm sorry if it's not super well documented. Might take me a few days to get everything organized into posts but for now, let's dive into the first round!
-The next thing I did was start on the shocks. Unfortunately, since I didn't buy the shocks from U-Joint they didn't send their stem eliminators which meant I had to buy my own. Chris had sent me a link to some Pro Comp stem eliminators which almost worked fine. They might be fine on their standard shocks, but with the shocks, I went with there was some binding on the shoulder of the shock. I realized this after getting them installed, so I carefully ground down the mount o allow for some extra clearance for the shocks to move freely. I will probably take these back out and paint them when I uninstall the rear axle for final welding.


-Once the tops were installed I was going to move onto the shocks, but before doing that I figured I should check my pinion angle one more time. I am glad I did because I realized that at this point I had it set incorrectly. I had set it using the standard method of matching the angle of the output of the motor/transmission to the flange on the axle but this is incorrect for the driveshaft setup that is required for the lift. From the instructions from U-Joint, this setup needs a double cardan or CV style driveshaft This means that the flange should be rotated so that it is as much of a straight line from the axle flange to the transfer case flange as possible. So the bummer of figuring this out was one I had already tacked the spring perches in place (so now they need to be cut loose again) and two I still didn't have the transmission back from the shop. This threw my plan off slightly

-So after readjusting I figured I could move on to starting on my brakes. The calipers seemed to be in decent condition from the donor axle, so I figured with some cleanup and paint they would probably be fine. So I started on the process of cleaning the calipers, caliper mounts, and everything on the axle side of things. The dust shields had been pretty badly bent when I got the axle (probably from shipping) so I had to spend some time trying to straighten them and stop the binding on the rotors. Once everything was spinning smoothly I was able to move on top mocking up the brakes just to make sure everything was fitting. This was well worth it as I realized that although my axle was centered on the van the passenger side leaf pack was slightly askew. This meant that the caliper mounting bolts couldn't fit between the mount and the leafs. Luckily I hadn't fully welded the perches in yet. With a prybar, I was able to pry them back into the correct spot easily and get things all lined up!

-After getting the brakes mocked up I moved on the brake lines. Using the supplied hardlines/soft lines I worked on getting it laid out on the axle. The hardlines were prebent for the older style Sterling 10.5 which meant they needed some adjustment to make them work. Not entirely thrilled with how they look, but I think I was able to make them work. This might be something I come back to. After getting them mocked up I tacked the brackets into place and then got a full weld on the brackets. I also decided that I would go ahead and replace the frame to axle brake lines as I feel like they are too short in their current orientation. So I called Crown Performance brake lines and placed an order for some extended brake lines.


ĖOnce I got that stuff situated I pulled everything apart, masked off the important parts, and started painting everything. I used brake caliper paint for all the brake components and then the same semi flat black paint for anything else.


-Then it was time to remock up everything to make sure everything was still fitting correctly. Really I just wanted to see how the new rotors were going to look with the painted calipers.




-Luckily after not getting much done over the weekend I got some good news on Monday that the transmission was done and ready for pick up! So now I can get back to my original schedule.


-After picking up the transmission and getting it home I made the probably unsurprising decision that I should paint the transmission before reinstalling it. It wasn't in bad shape, but after seeing a post from Justin (Owner of U-Joint Colorado) on Expedition Portal of a van he did this to, I couldn't stop myself. So I pulled out the wire wheel and scotch brite pads and started working on cleaning and prepping the transmission for paint. At this point, it kind of looked like I was going for the polished look!





-I then started on the painting process I used VHT engine enamel primer first followed by a VHT Engine Enamel Nu-Cast paint for the main case and a matching black for the pan. I think it turned out pretty great!


Primer Coat

Primer Coat

Nu-Cast Coat

Nu-Cast Coat

Black Pan Coat

-Unfortunately after painting late into the night I went out the next morning to check on it and the black section of paint seemed to be bubbling up and still wet after many hours. I think I tried to rush it and missed the recommended process for allowing the paint to dry between coats. So I retaped things off and wire wheeled the black paint back off the pan. After that was done it was much better, but still not great but good enough for now.







-Then it was time to install the transmission and transfer case. Since this was my first time installing a transmission I was a bit nervous, but after some finagling, I was able to get the transmission installed to the engine. Then it was time for the transfer case. I decided to do this in two parts since I was working by myself but I think it would have been easier to do it as one piece if you could. Either way, though I did end up getting it installed. One thing that was a little freaky for me was that the transfer case housing is extremely close to the gas tank plastic skid. Initially, they were pushed into each other pretty good which made me a bit nervous. After talking with Chris he said that it's normal for the transfer case to touch the skid and that I should loosen the tank straps and push it back as far as I can and then it should be fine. So that is what I did. I hope to eventually get a long-range tank (if I can find one or have one made that is) and then at that point I can clear that area a little more for my own peace of mind.







-I wanted to go ahead and get the transmission fully installed the next day so I started on the cooler lines and all the electrical bits. When I was uninstalling of one the cooler lines when removing the transmission I had a problem with one and ended up breaking the line off to get it out. At the time I had ordered a new cooler line so I was ready for the reinstall. Now that I was ready for it I pulled it out and realized that the line was too big and upon further investigation learned that it was for the 5 speed transmission, not the 4. So I had to put a halt on that again and moved on to resetting the pinion angle and getting driveshafts figured out. I used some PVC to get my angle to the transfer case as close to the required amount as possible and took all my measurements so I would be ready for ordering my Tom Woods Driveshafts.


-I then went back to the rear axle work and tacked the perches into their new location. Then I could work on my shock mount mock up. Using the shock mounts supplied by U-Joint I was able to get the shocks lined up and tacked into place. Then it was time for the not so fun disassembly of the rear end to get the axle out for full pass welds. After getting it out I figured it would be a good idea to do some test runs on some scrap to give myself a little more practice again. My welds still arenít pretty, but they are very slowly improving.


-Now that the axle was out I could work on getting the shock mounts welded up and the spring perches welded. Once these were in let the axle sit for a while so It could cool before starting on the paint prep and painting again.










-I used the same Semi Flat black and now the axle looks new. After getting it painted I went ahead and got the brakes, and shocks all back on it just to make sure everything was fitting how it should.




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Old 11-12-2022, 01:38 PM   #185
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Awesome, looks great.
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Old 11-12-2022, 05:18 PM   #186
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Going to be a shame to see dirt all over that sexy undercarriage Austin...Nice job! Did you decide against the Sumo's?
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Old 11-12-2022, 05:28 PM   #187
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DIY 4x4 Conversion continued:
-Then I went ahead and got all my brake lines remounted, my abs lines on, and the parking brake cables in place.



-After this, I went ahead and got the wheels and Tires back on and lowered them down to the ground. A bit of a shock, as the back is now sitting about 3Ē higher than the front. I reached out to both Chris and Justin as they have both been very helpful throughout this process and both said that it should settle quite a bit once it gets driven some, but if it doesn't that I might have unfortunately been part of some of the early orders for spring through Alcan. I guess some of the early batches were going out a little higher than they should, so if this is the case after driving it I may need to remove a leaf or two out of the pack. A real bummer, but I am hoping that this just settles in after a bit of time. The other thing that I now know for sure is side steps/ rock sliders and going to have to be the next thing on the list because this is a stretch to step into.






-After feeling a bit deflated I moved back to the transmission work now that I got my cooler lines from the local dealership. I also decided that since everything was ripped apart it would be a good time to install a Max Cool 40k transmission cooler. Mounting was easy, but getting the right fittings is proving to be a bit more of a challenge. So far I have tried lots of my local stores and eventually ordered some fittings online that should be here this weekend. Hopefully, those ones work and I can get this part buttoned up soon.





-I am starting to see the finish line in my sights, but it feels like I keep hitting dead ends! At least there are plenty of things to switch to when this happens. After running into problems with the cooler I switched back to trying to get the transfer case situated. Started off by running a tap through the mounting holes for the shifter and then attaching the jig. Then it was time for the scary task of cutting a big hole in the floor of the van. I used a hole saw and a cut off wheel to get the metal out of the way. Since I have 3 layers of insulation up front plus the flooring the drill didn't actually make it to the flooring, which was great! I used a knife to slowly cut out the insulation and then cut a slot in the flooring so I could poke the shifter up through the floor to see where it was going to land. Still need to figure out how I want to seal off the shifter on the bottom side of the van as I don't like the idea of having a big open hole in the insulation.

(about here the pictures started to really drop off)

-After getting the shifter mocked up I moved back to the rear axle and got everything all finalized and cleaned up. Installed the diff cover, brake lines, abs lines, diff breather, and locker cable. After getting the shifter installed for the transfer case I started to second guess my decision to go with a cable actuated locker. The cable was going to be entering inside the van almost in front of the sloped section of the counter inside and I felt like this wasting going to look very clean or thought out. So after some research and calls, I was able to arrange a swap out with East Coast Gear supply for Ox lockers electric actuator. So now the Locker is cable actuated but electrically controlled. There was a perfect spot in between the top shock mount for me to mount my actuator, so with some drilling and painting the actuator was also mounted at this time.


-After getting the parts I needed to make the connections for the transmission cooler I jumped back into that to finish up the installation. I used the supplied bypass since I live in Bend and half the year we are in the cooler temps with snow I figured I needed to make sure the transmission wasn't staying too cold and actually getting up to temp. Not the cleanest install but I think it should work!


-Then I moved into the engine bay to install my ARB Breather manifold. This will house the breathers for the front diff, rear diff, and transfer case. For now, I have left the transmission alone, as it's already above the floor level and if that is underwater I have bigger issues.


-The next day my Tom Woods Driveshafts showed up! If anyone is looking for driveshafts I would highly recommend them. These are the second set of driveshafts I have ordered through them and they are great quality, very quick turn around, and extremely nice and knowledgable.


-I wanted to take some time to work through the electrical side of things so I could test everything to make sure I didn't have any problems. First thing was to wire up a front facing camera. My head unit allows for multiple cameras so figured now that the van is so much taller it might be good to have a wide angle camera on the front for pulling into tight areas, or for on the trail. Not the highest quality camera, but should get the job done.


-Then I installed my sPod kit from U-Joint. This was a pretty easy install and would highly recommend it as it makes wiring up accessories super easy! The OX locker actuator did require some extra work as it is ground side switching so I had to add in a relay to get it to function properly, but overall not to bad. Front Locker was super simple as all I had to do was cut and resplice the provided wiring harness directly into the sPod. All the wiring I added followed the same practice as my inside wiring using heat shrink, marine grade tinned wire, heat shrink crimp connectors, and all wrapped up and protected in a wire loom.







-Since I had all my wiring stuff out I also decided to relocate and extend my DC/DC wiring by adding a waterproof Anderson plug connector that way I can easily disconnect it if needed as well as clean up the connection on the battery in the engine bay.

(Forgot to take pictures of this)

-Again since I had my wiring stuff out I decided to install the lights into the bumper. I went with a Baja Designs Squadron Driving/Combo in white for the inner position and a Baja Designs Squadron SAE Fog light in Amber for the outer spot. This allows us to legally use the fog lights on the road. These were easily wired up to the sPod and really put out some good light and finish off the bumper!


-Next up for the wiring was the transfer case indicator switch. I used a small indicator light from Amazon and was able to squeeze it in right next to the dash cluster. This keeps it right in my line of sight while still being pretty unintrusive and close to factory looking.




-Then I received my brake lines from Crown performance for the rear lines which meant I could get the brakes all wrapped up. What I thought was going to be a quick swap out turned into a long frustrating process. Unfortaunly the connection points from the F250 and E350 for the axle side of things and frame side of things were different, so I had to get creative and used some unconventional fitting styles to achieve the right brake line path. I had to add on some new welded tabs for the brake lines and a few other modifications but in the end I was able to get it all to work. I think it turned out okay. Not the best, but not the worst. I then hooked up the parking brake cable and got everything adjusted and cleaned up!


-Then it was time to finally start filling fluids! I ended up switching basically all fluids over to Amsoil, except the engine oil as I had just recently changed that but the next oil change it will be switched. One thing I found while looking for brake parts on NAPA was a transmission pan that had a drain plug installed in it, so before getting things filled up I swapped the poorly painted one for a new pan with a plug to make it easier to service.

(Forgot to take pictures of this)

-Then it was time for the first official start of the van since this all started. Since I had an exhaust shop appointment on Monday morning I had to do some test drives just to make sure everything was working right. So at 8:30, I fired the van up and I'm pretty sure I terrified every one of my neighbors as it had no exhaust and was coming straight out of the manifolds! I quickly realized it was much too loud to be driving around to break in the brakes so it had to wait till the morning.


-The next morning It was time to see if it would fit out of the garage door. I was a little nervous about this as our driveway is a little steep and the van was a little taller than it should have been in the rear. So with the help of my wife, we slowly inched it out the garage door. Unfortunately, it did not fit out the door without letting air out of the rear tires. Once it was out it was time for a quick test around the block and then it was to drop it off at the exhaust shop for them to reroute the exhaust and driver-side cat. They quickly got it done and I had it back by mid-afternoon. It was finally drivable! VR garage in Bend did a great job on the exhaust, they were quick and ended up being cheaper than their original estimate which seems to never happen!




-It was great to see the van out of the garage, but it was short lived as it was time to finish up the rest of the work. By this point, the front end had dropped some, but the rear was obviously still sitting very high, so after talking with Chris I decided that it was time to pull the trigger on getting the rear end dropped.




-Luckily the van pulled right into the garage with no adjustments when pulled in the front end first. Still a little tight but at least it fits!






-Chris has suggested which leafs to pull, but I wanted a second opinion just to make sure so figured why not call the ones who made the leafs, Alcan. So I called Alcan, but the main guys were at SEMA, so they said they would get in touch after they were able to call them later that day. The next day they called me back to see if I could get the van re-weighed so they can determine which leafs to remove. Luckily I was able to find a scale much closer to my house than the one I used last time and was able to get it weighed the following week. Surprisingly the van didn't really gain much weight in the 4x4 conversion. Not entirely sure how, but I ended up being 7,480LBS total and roughly 3,580lbs on the rear axle and 3,560lbs on the front. There is roughly a 340lbs missing when adding the front weight and rear weight up so I am just going to go with the total weight of 7,480LBS as that was the displayed amount when the van was fully on the scale with me in it.


-While I waited to talk to one of the head guys at Alcan we had some additional things show up in the mail. Vandit is now officially with its custom license plate! We also got our custom switches from OTR Switch Guys.




-We also got some miles on the van and started our break in process after getting it aligned. We tested out the 4x4, the lockers, and even got it out on some dirt before the snow came in! Since then it's been pretty much only snow driving.






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Old 11-12-2022, 05:35 PM   #188
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DIY 4x4 Conversion continued:
-Then I got a call back from Alcan. The person I talked to said that stock they are building the rear leafs to be at 4,100lbs so I was pretty light at 3,580lbs. I am surprised that my full camper build is so light, but I am not unhappy about it, except that meant I needed to pull some leafs. So he suggested I pull the 5th and the 10th leaf to bring the back end down some so I started on the not so fun part of pulling the rear end back a part. In doing this I ended up damaging one of the threads on the ubolt, so I also had to replace one of those which turned into all 4 as my local shop only had 5/8" rather than the other 9/16" bolts. Not a bad thing they ended up bigger, but wasn't planning on it.

(Forgot to take pictures of this)

-While I had the back end ripped apart I decided to work to finally mount my shock reservoirs. Since I went with the adjustable LSC shocks I wanted to have easy access so I wanted them on the outside of the frame rail if possible. I ended up using these universal remote reservoirs from Accutune to mount to the frame. I didn't like the hardware they provided, so I went back to my old ways and added a threaded insert and some black stainless steel hardware. I think this achieved the accessibility of the adjuster and can't say they don't look cool too!





-At this point, I was still waffling on whether or not I should swap to 37's. I talked to discount and they said that I could still do the swap if I wanted, and I would only need to pay the difference in tire cost, but I wanted to do one final test before I made that call. When I was at Technique Vehicle Outfitters picking up my axles (since they took delivery for me) I noticed they had a flex ramp in the parking lot so I called them up to see if I could do a quick test to see what my clearances look like with 35's and see if 37's would fit. This made it pretty definitive to me that 37's would not stuff in the rear wheel wells without some real reworking of the wheel wells and fender flares. So this time around I will be sticking with 35's! Also, have to say I am extremely impressed with the flex of the U-Joint suspension system. The shop measured the distance up the ramp and it made it 55" up which was better than a Raptor, Tacoma, 4Runner, Powerwagon, and more! Not to bad for a fully built out camper van!





-I am still working through the break-in miles and will hopefully soon be able to get the van all cleaned up and get a good walk around video and pictures of everything now that it's 99% done for the 4x4 conversion. The final front shocks are now expected for mid-December, but they also started out by expecting to be here by mid-June so I won't be counting on them actually showing up. I know there are more things that were done than what I have typed out, but I think this about covers all of the 4x4 parts of the build. Next up will be sliders as this thing is a bit of a stretch to step into especially at the barn doors. I have drawn up some plans and hope to get that knocked out in the next month or so. Most likely going to pass that off to a fabricator as I am feeling pretty spent after getting all of this done! I will post more pictures of it as I can get out and use it some. hope everyone has been enjoying following along with the build!

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Old 11-13-2022, 09:11 AM   #189
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Outstanding build, mister!
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Old 11-14-2022, 08:01 AM   #190
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Nice Work!!
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