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Old 11-29-2021, 02:59 PM   #1
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'03 Super Duty build in HB

My wife and I decided an awesome Ford was next in life. We came across this 2003 E350 Super Duty with a quality 4x4 conversion. Roof rack, solar and full interior build is in the design stage. I'm trying to document as much as possible with drawings as well ('cuz I'm bored in the off season for fishing).

We've already got some great friends, relatives and companies willing to give a hand. Thanking them before we even begin!!

Comments are very much welcomed (good, bad or otherwise)
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Old 11-29-2021, 03:16 PM   #2
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Welcome and congrats! Look forward to seeing your interior build!
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Old 11-29-2021, 04:29 PM   #3
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Here's my thought for an aluminum roof rack. Full length of the van with solar panels above the cab and a light bar to protect them while driving. The pink standoffs have side cutouts for tiedowns and center cutouts for small LEDs. Dual purpose. Trying to fab it up this month so I can figure out where to run the wiring into the van. Time to dust off the TIG welder!!
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Old 11-29-2021, 04:37 PM   #4
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Here's a better image of the rack idea. I am still getting use to navigating the site.
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Old 11-29-2021, 04:44 PM   #5
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First - Do NOT rip out the rear HVAC!

Next - Rack - terminate or lower the upper side bars just behind the rear edge of the solar panels. The lower bar and light bar will protect them. Any upper bar will cast a shadow on your panels and significantly reduce your solar energy capture. The top of the side bars should be 1/4" elevation above the edge of the panels.

Get some tilt out rear door windows and search for screen install for all the tilt out windows. Easy, cheap and super effective.
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Old 11-29-2021, 09:21 PM   #6
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Garage
I suspect when you get into the interior build you'll also include some sort of inverter/charger to go with a house battery. Also assume you'll utilize the Vans altinator to charge the house battery while driving. If that's the case, the roof solar will only help you while you're parked...in the sun.
If you are like most of us, you park in the shade when you get to you're destination, so the roof solar won't help at that point. I would suggest adding a solar port hook-up that will accommodate a long cord (75ft min) which you attach a suitcase panel to so you can drag the panel into the sunshine while the vans sits comfortably in the shade.
Several Threads outlining different options to achieve this (use the search function and search "solar suitcase panel" for access to some of them)

https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...ise-28189.html
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Old 11-30-2021, 11:28 AM   #7
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Roof Rack

Multiple people have said not to pull out the rear HVAC, So I am thinking of shortening the run and might have only 2 vents in the rear. I don't think I need all the vents on the roof. Not there yet in my head.

As far as the rack goes, it might be better to separate the solar and storage into 2 racks. As drawn now, the rack is nearly 12'. 2 racks are an easier fab and will eliminate the upper side bars needed for rigidity.

Huge tip on the rear windows. Thanks
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Old 11-30-2021, 12:58 PM   #8
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Charging System

Here’s the charging system plan with dual alternators and fixed solar panels for both the vehicle and “house” batteries. I’m supposed to get a contact for a used ambulance dual alternator kit, so why not? I plan to use two 100 ah lithium batteries for the house battery bank connected to a 2800 watt inverter for 2-3 110v outlets. The inverter includes an inlet for a shore power cord.

Questions…
1. Dual alternators vs. single high output alt? I’m not sure how cramped the engine compartment would get, but I do like having the backup alt. Are dual alternators common or a headache?

2. For those with dual alternators, should the second alternator only charge the house batteries or include the vehicle batteries too? I’m not sure the two alternators would overcharge the vehicle batteries even with a high amp isolator. This might be a question for my diesel mechanic.

3. Any solar recommendations? I am leaning towards Zamp, but have looked at Renogy with costs in mind. I will consider a side mount connection for a portable suitcase recommended in the previous post AND the solar manufacturer. Not sure about storaging the suitcase when not in use…on the roof?

4. The inverter I prefer is a Magnum Emergy marine/RV grade unit. Any suggestion here to research would be appreciated.

That’s it for now. Still waiting to get the van back and start on it. As usual, comments welcome.
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Old 11-30-2021, 01:43 PM   #9
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It's my understanding that having that second alt makes it a real bi**h to work on the front of the motor. I have no first hand experience with this.
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Old 11-30-2021, 01:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAMvan View Post
Multiple people have said not to pull out the rear HVAC, So I am thinking of shortening the run and might have only 2 vents in the rear. I don't think I need all the vents on the roof. Not there yet in my head.

As far as the rack goes, it might be better to separate the solar and storage into 2 racks. As drawn now, the rack is nearly 12'. 2 racks are an easier fab and will eliminate the upper side bars needed for rigidity.

Huge tip on the rear windows. Thanks


Now that looks fun. Should have had similar thoughts before I "temporarily" did this or that :-D


Rear HVAC:
We're in the Bay and don't go snow camping or similar. So what I'm still thinking about is to remove the bottom heat tubing. The cold AC comes in on the top and warm air comes out down at the floor. We typically don't turn on the heater, so that I could remove it to have the side wall build easier...

Rack:
You want to screw it on the roof or use brackets? Buy brackets or DIY?
For the brackets you should keep in mind to not exceed 75lb PER CROSSBAR. Just in case of an accident. So depending on what you're planning to load you could perhaps already integrate you "bracket points". And keep the weight of the rack itself in mind :-)

What I have also seen on a Tacoma or so was that the side bars have been "leaned in" 45 degree. What I like on that option is that when mounting something on the outside the rack would carry the load better and not only "hang on the screws". Just thinking about road shower, traction boards, perhaps even an awning...


Floor:
I don't have a fully build out van as I don't need it. But I used a rubber floor (like coin or diamond flooring). That was the best I could have done: easy to vacuum, easy to wash off, you can slide whatever you have over it without damage.
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