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Old 04-26-2019, 04:12 PM   #121
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Not sure you'll achieve a noticable difference in fuel efficiency (1-2 maybe).
Back in the late 70's I got my hands on a JC.Whitney Catalog - all types of mail-order automotive Performance upgrades and Parts.
Justifying my purchase selections through either Fuel or Performance upgrades (Most manufacturers specified you'll benefit from one or the other - many proclaimed both would apply), I soon had a lengthy list of parts and upgrades that would (if you took the time to actually do the math) deliver close to 37mpg & producing 575hp on my Chevy 327.
I since concentrate on achieving good performance complimented by longevity. Trying to manage Fuel economy on a heavy rig which boasts enough exposed surface area to destroy any possibility of being aerodynamic (IMHO) just isnt a consideration - it is what it is. Not saying its all bogus, but think you'll experience less "investors" disappointment if you simply govern your right foot and keep your speed in check.
**just a thought, not a sermon
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Old 04-28-2019, 11:49 PM   #122
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I ran a 327/350HP small block in a '61 Biscayne and later dropped it in a '68 Chevy II. The Biscayne I bracket raced in the Nostalgia Drag Racing Association, a now defunct California based series of races held on various California Racetracks in the 90's. The Biscayne earned first place in its bracket by the end of the season. That was a lot of fun. Always loved that little 327. And the J C Whitney catalog, it fueled many a dream as I was growing up. Nice memories. One memory though, I was at the Palmdale, California Drag Strip one summer, sweating in the 100 degree heat, wrenching on my Biscayne and a friends Slingshot Dragster, wondering why this was my hobby instead of setting under the pine trees camping? 25 years later I have my pine trees... at least for this weekend.


Overall I agree with you Twoxentrix. I'm very aware the E350 is heavy and definitely not aerodynamic, and my mods like the lift, 33" tall tires without regearing, Mud Terrain tread, the high top, and bolt on aerodynamic drag like my solar panels, roof vent, light bar, awning etc, etc have negatively impacted fuel mileage. I've watched fuel economy drop by up to 1-2 mpg for each one of these mods as I've added them. Couple that with the fact I regularly drive 75-85 MPH and I know I can't expect to get great mileage. I keep trying to limit my speed to 70 MPH but have been largely unsuccessful. I realize that "mod" alone would probably net the biggest gains. On longer trips I hope to set back in the slow lane and enjoy the scenery.

Where I disagree is that I should just accept that the mileage is what it is. Or that a 1-2 MPG gain is not worth the expense or time to try to improve mileage admittedly insignificantly. I've lost mileage at 1-2 MPG increments as I added mods, why can't I enjoy gaining 1-2 MPG with a small change?

I ran the numbers before ordering this part. I decided to use my future June trip by itself, 4000 miles round trip from SoCal to San Antonio, then up through Oklahoma, then back home to SoCal. In 4000 miles the difference in fuel consumed at 10 MPG and 11 MPG is 36 Gallons. I will assume gas will be at $3.00 per gallon by June, and at that price that little 36 Gallon difference equates to roughly $100. Here in SoCal regular is already at $4.00 per Gallon. If I realize an improvement of 2 MPG, that $ savings doubles. For just one trip. I'm building this van for the long term, the miles will continue to roll by.

As an old hot rodder I have never thought much about the Cold Air Intake systems. I have zero experience with them and don't personally know anyone that has one. I didn't hold them in high regard. So this was going to be a challenge to my mental impressions. Does a Cold Air Intake actually improve performance? Could it improve fuel consumption? I decided to find out for myself.

We took the van up to Idyllwild, California this weekend. It was the first trip with the new Intake. This trip wasn't a fair comparison for fuel economy though. For one, when we left home the freeway rarely exceeded 50 MPH due to traffic. Then we exited the freeway onto mostly 2 lane highway that meandered through the mountains. Top speed was limited by each next turn coming up. Idyllwild's elevation is 5414 Feet. My home in Riverside, California sits at about 850 Feet. About 170 miles round trip due to some of the highways being washed out during the recent rains. Lots of slowing to 30 MPH, then accelerating to 60, only to brake for the next curve. Hard to compare to our typical 460 mile round trip to Lake Havasu, running 80 MPH most of the way.

The only thing to really evaluate this trip was for any performance enhancements. My Butt-O-Meter indicated some improvements. Below 2000 RPM not much difference. At 2100 RPM it suddenly wakes up and starts accelerating quickly. It pulls hard up to its shift points. With the AC blowing on high, the Stereo cranking Classic Rock, and Lady Shadetree and I belting out the lyrics, the increased noise of the Intake was not noticeable.


The Jury is still out if this Intake actually improves mileage any, but, the modest gains in performance have me happy I installed it.

Meanwhile, back at camp, we enjoyed ourselves immensely this weekend.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:15 PM   #123
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Hey Tim,

How much of that RV trim did you order? I have a RB, so I guess it will be a little less than what you got.

Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:13 PM   #124
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Hey Tim,

How much of that RV trim did you order? I have a RB, so I guess it will be a little less than what you got.

Thanks!
You don't want to follow my example Cyrull. I ordered mine when I was at work and just guessed that 50 feet would be enough. It was way too much but not enough to do two vans. But at $1.36 a foot, it wasn't that costly a mistake.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:02 AM   #125
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Hi. With your vinyl flooring. Do you have any pictures on how you mated it to the front carpet? Or did you change that out too?
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:39 PM   #126
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I left the original carpet in the front NCMODELA. While I was laying the 1/2" plywood subfloor for the rear, I ran it about an inch or so up under the front carpet so it would utilize the factory carpet edge for the transition. You can see the impression of the plywood in the way the carpet lays. At first, the carpet did not lay well on the plywood so I stapled it down. The staples have since pulled out but now the carpet lays pretty good.
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In other news, I've been working on getting the Chinese Diesel Heater installed. After a little debate, I placed it under the couch, behind the wheelwell. I did not plywood that section as it was smooth metal, so all I had to do to mount the heater was drill a big hole and cut back the vinyl under the heater. I sealed the heater mounting plate to the van body.
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Seen from below before running the fuel lines.
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The outlet is in the fascia under the couch.
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The diesel tank fit perfectly in the bumper box frame. I ran the fuel line inside rubber hose to protect it. I'm thinking of creating a vinyl cover that snaps over the tank to shield it from the sun. Not sure how UV resistant this tank is.
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The nice thing about these later generation Chinese Heaters is they have altitude compensation. The controller is mounted just above the cabinets by the side doors where it is easily accessible.
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I tried to fire it up last night, but not sure I've got all the air out of the line yet. And the fan is rubbing slightly on the housing. Need to tweak it a little bit. Because of that the unit shuts off before firing up with a fan trouble code. I'm a member of the Facebook Chinese Heater group, seems like these are common startup problems. Hopefully I can get it resolved before we go camping this weekend. It's supposed to rain all weekend where we're camping so I'm sure we'll be running a heater. I hope it will be this one.

And lastly, a while back I met Jeremy from Weldtec Designs at a small show and he interviewed me about the van. The interview was recently released on Weldtec Design's YouTube Channel. I have to admit, it felt pretty cool to open YouTube and see a video about my little project van. I'm not the most polished interviewee so please be kind. As usual, afterwards I thought of way better ways to express myself. But there are some good video shots of the van in there. Thanks for the kind words Jeremy. You could have done me a favor and edited me more though.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:01 PM   #127
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I'm curious how you managed the threshold around the door areas with your floor? It looks like you managed to get the subfloor underneath the plastic edge of the footwell.


Do you have anything under the plywood for insulation, or is it just sitting on top of the sheet metal?


I've got my carpet pulled out and am trying to decide how to do the flooring, dealing with the edges at the side and rear doors is what has me stumped.


Thanks for the updates, I've gotten a bunch of inspiration from your build thread.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:28 PM   #128
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Thanks fleabag. Living in SoCal I didn't worry about adding a bunch of insulation. In my VW, without any added insulation, I've camped in 10 degrees and 110 degrees and never felt like the floor was my source of discomfort. If I lived elsewhere I may have done something different. In that VW the plastic wall panels radiated cold, which is why I went to the Trunk Liner material in this van, for a warmer feel. The coldest I've camped in this van is around 40 degrees, the walls didn't feel cold.

The plywood is glued and screwed directly to the metal. The plastic door trim has enough flex to compensate for the added 9/16" or so material. If you flip the door trim over you will see it has these feet that are supposed to grab and hold the carpet. The feet sit proud of the surface so I cut them flush with a multi tool.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:32 PM   #129
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I ended up ordering 24 ft, hopefully it will be enough. Thank you again for all your updates, you and many others contribute so much to this community . Highroof install starts this weekend, fingers crossed it goes smoothly!
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:39 PM   #130
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Highroof install starts this weekend, fingers crossed it goes smoothly!
You are going to love the high roof, other than parking structures. Good luck with the install.

This past weekend we went camping for Mothers Day at Hurkey Creek with friends and family. First time to try the new heater. Lady Shadetree retired earlier than me so I turned the heater on then went back to the fire with my buddies. We could hear the heater running and noticed it never slowed down. I had the heat set at 20C (68F) which I thought would be pretty comfortable. It was only 48F outside. My buddy has a real Eberspacher Diesel Heater in his van, so the comparisons were inevitable. Why'd you buy that, it's so noisy compared to mine? Why is it pumping out white smoke? Busting my chops seemed to be the only reason they had stayed up so late.

I dropped the exhaust to get the smoke away from the body of the van. Then my phone rang, Lady Shadetree told me the CO Detector was now beeping. I went inside and it was a little smoky, I assumed from the oils burning off the new heater, and it wasn't warming the van up either. Airing out the van, in defeat I shut the heater down and drug out the propane heater.
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The next morning I fire it up again and tried a few different setting. White smoke seems really bad and the heater eventually spits out an E-08 code, which after a little research meant I probably had air in the fuel line. Crawling under the van I found where I had a high spot in the fuel line between the pump and the heater, creating an air bubble.

Returning home Sunday I fixed the fuel line and turned the pump back on. For a few minutes it continued to smoke. I went inside the house. 45 minutes later I was back outside and wondered if it had shut off? It was so quiet and no smoke. Checking inside the van it was nice and warm. I left it on for another 2 hours and it ran flawlessly. No CO warnings or bad smells inside. Unfortunately, I probably won't use any heater again until next fall. Might as well pull the fuse until then. Still, it's good to know its not a noisy heater when running properly.

Other than the smoky heater, we had a great time camping. Our grandson and our Dobie liked walking the campsite together.
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My buddy Casey's van is on the left. Casey bought his top from Vanimal.
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My other buddy Mark owns this van. With two teenagers, Mark wanted a better solution for where they could sleep. I gave him my old tent trailer, which he promptly gutted, installed a new tent, wrapped the sides and lengthened the tongue to carry bikes. Inside is a dinette and he's building a shower/toilet where the kitchen used to be. Glad to see the old tent trailer get a new lease on life.
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