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Old 12-01-2021, 05:16 PM   #1
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What Would You Do To Your Rig, if the Floors Were Removed?

Hello all, I have a 1993 Ford E-250 with a 4.9L I6 that has 72k mi on the odometer and I'm converting into a campervan. The engine runs well along the other systems of the van, but since it was in Nebraska, it has tons of rust, and I'll will be doing some bodywork inside and out. This isn’t a big deal to me, because I love converting vehicles into adventure rigs and this sort of thing is right up my alley.

For the interior rust, I initially planned on only removing and replacing the rusted through areas of the van floor, but I decided to eliminate the entire cargo floor area and lay in brand new panels (The cab floor has rust through, but I am going to patch those areas since they’re small). With the cargo area floor removed, I will be able to apply my POR 15 undercoat a little easier to the frame and underbody components. I can replace the suspension and perform some servicing/maintenance a little easier since I have access to certain areas from the top. And I now have a great view of the undercarriage and I plan out how to utilizing some of that space to potentially mount a water tank, propane tank, rock lights, etc.

So, my question for everyone is, based on your personal rig building experience and knowledge what should I consider reinforcing, replacing, or incorporating into the van now that I can get to this area that would prove difficult otherwise. I have a few ideas already, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thank you in advance and I've attached a few pics for reference.

Be safe.
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Old 12-01-2021, 06:22 PM   #2
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Wow, that's ambitious!

First thought is this would be a good time to do any gas tank stuff, like a new in-tank pump.

On the heels of that thought, it would be pretty easy to eliminate the spare tire crossmember and install a rear tank right now, along with the plumbing required.

Good time to weld in the factory hump and do a gas filler door for the rear tank.

Are you going to add a fuel or propane heater? Maybe house batteries? You have a blank canvas and easy access...
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Old 12-01-2021, 07:46 PM   #3
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Wow, that's ambitious!

First thought is this would be a good time to do any gas tank stuff, like a new in-tank pump.

On the heels of that thought, it would be pretty easy to eliminate the spare tire crossmember and install a rear tank right now, along with the plumbing required.

Good time to weld in the factory hump and do a gas filler door for the rear tank.

Are you going to add a fuel or propane heater? Maybe house batteries? You have a blank canvas and easy access...
Ambitious is right! I would be lying if I said at the first sight of this van that it didn't frighten me. But instead of looking at as one giant rust bucket, I broke it down mentally into bite size pieces and finding solutions for individual issues.

I'm entertaining the idea of mounting a water tank where the tire carrier is (installing a filler neck is a good idea!), but I'm also contemplating putting it inside the van, so it doesn't freeze in the winter months. I'm familiar with 12v RV Tank Heater Pads to prevent the water from freezing, but I'll have to weigh the pros and cons for interior vs exterior mounting. I'm leaning towards placing it underneath the van with the right enclosure in place to protect the tank. Perhaps using the heated blanket and some sort of 12v heating element in the tank would be the solution to prevent freezing? I gotta look in to that.

I would like to try a diesel heater out in the van to stay toasty in the winter, but I also have a propane tank that I'd use for the stove and a shower. IMO I'd like to have one fuel source for everything where it can be helped, so I'll have to research the best solution for that.

And finally I will definitely add house batteries and solar panels on the roof, but I still have to calculate what 12v components I'll have onboard to build the right size system.

Thanks for the suggestions Joper!
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Old 12-01-2021, 08:29 PM   #4
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I don't know where they come from (google, I guess) but I know there are plastic water tanks that sit behind/over the fender wells inside the van. Might be an option.

I know what you mean about figuring out the 12V system. I did a bunch of math, figured "that can't be right" and finally just went for it. So far it seems like my math worked (so far).
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:38 PM   #5
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Under-van storage boxes, either accessible from inside the van or from underneath.

Cutout for access to the top of the fuel tank(s) for in-tank pump/pickup replacement without having to drop the tank(s), and a removable cover for such openings. I'm doing this to my own van.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:40 PM   #6
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Am amazed that the wheel wells still in good shape.

You may want to think about adding anchor points in the new floor for interior cabinets.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:46 AM   #7
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Lots of great suggestions given here.
Spare tire area - basement box has proven very effective for us. In winter time it becomes additional food storage as it is very cool. The space there is about 55 gals worth of water or just over 7 cu ft of storage. Storage is better utilization of that space for us.

Water - 20 gals can be split into two tanks to better utilize interior space. Have one tank feed another which feeds your water pump. We elected to incorporate a 3" ringed fill spot which allows use of hose, water jugs, etc. to fill the tank in remote areas.

Heater - yep. Diesel heaters are super efficient and cheap. 2.5 gals of diesel should easily cover one to two weeks of camping use in under 20 deg weather in a pop top. longer in a fixed or regular roof van.

12v heating pads - these will draw your batteries down pretty quickly. An AGM battery already loses 1% capacity for every 1 deg Celsius change. That means from 75degF to 32F you batteries are already degraded by 25%. At 0F you are down 42%. If you . decide to go Lithium you will have to keep them above 32F to charge them. You have an opportunity for either AGM or Li to created a well insulated and heated ( just need a little) space that is below floor.

12v system math - take into account the temperature related capacity losses in sizing your system. Also, charging from solar is great but harder to rely on in winter. Incorporating a robust inverter/charger/transfer switch is most prudent. Even w 360watts of solar we find plugging in on winter ski trips very helpful. We have not incorporated a DC to DC charger but that may be added this coming year as a way of keeping the battery bank within best charging parameters.

Fuel tank sending unit/pump access - absolutely. No idea why Ford did do that as a standard feature.

Cabinet / wood floor attach points to the new metal floor- I would probably not do this. Every solid metal attach point becomes a sound / temperature transfer point directly from under the van to the interior floor. Better to float your floor and hard point attach cabinets to the metal of the interior walls and the cabinet bottoms to the floated floor.

Definitely prep and paint the frame, cross members, etc. Be careful around the bolts/nuts when using POR15. Great stuff but torture when trying to unscrew something w POR15 on the threads.

How do the body mounting bushings look?
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:49 AM   #8
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Oh, one other thought - If there is a way to provide access to the upper nuts for the rear shocks! Those are a nightmare!
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Old 12-02-2021, 05:58 AM   #9
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Oh, one other thought - If there is a way to provide access to the upper nuts for the rear shocks! Those are a nightmare!
I've had "good luck" accessing those nuts from behind the stock crossmember when a full-sized spare tire occupies its normal place. You have enough room to use a Sawzall or similar tool removing the shocks.

Using shocks that have large wrench flats below the lower bushing and washer at the top is another good feature as it also greatly aids in their removal. I prefer Bilstein as they have those in most all their shocks but not the only brand I'm sure.

Keep in mind anything permanently installed in that space will most likely block or greatly restrict accessing those nuts.

One thing I do when installing rear shocks is use anti-seize on the upper stud threads which makes removing them a great deal easier---that step pretty much eliminates rust that almost welds the nuts to the studs.

Since BYNC000's entire floor is missing inspecting that area now may be helpful determining how to most easily replace rear shocks when the van is completely built out.

HTH
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:43 AM   #10
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Do any wiring/plumbing, cross van in particular, while all that is open. Run some extra raceways (ENT inside, liquid tight outside) with pull string installed. Place some junction boxes in strategic locations for later modifications. A pathway through/under the firewall to the engine bay is a handy thing to have.
Things I have had to do the hard way include a backup camera and Blue Sea battery selector switch. One thing I would like to do is get the rear A/C controls on the dash.
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