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B350 12-10-2015 12:47 PM

The making of Vantasi
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Long overdue I'd like to share a build and rebuild that is now Vantasi, my '99 E350 EB 7.3L. I bought the van back in '01 when diesel was cheap and I was driving all over the place racing motocross. After finding the van with only 65K miles in OH my dad dropped me off on his way from MN to MA. I drove the thing home on a Saturday and directly to a motocross race Sunday morning. I still had a Chevy G20 at the time so that had to go so I could afford the payments on my new diesel as a college student. From there the transformation from dust encrusted work van to moto van started. Actually, I broke both my arms that summer and as soon as I could hold a tool I had the time to get after it. So, I basically built my first interior while on the mend from two severely broken arms. Three months in external fixators was no treat.
The local junk yard happened to have everything I needed: clean cloth seats, carpet, headliner and a bunch of other miscellaneous trim. I was out of there for somewhere around $150. Score. The first interior build, split with a wall right behind the barn doors, served as my mobile garage for 10 years. In the winter of 2012 when I ripped it all out and started to give the van some tlc and a makeover.
While I rarely, if ever, drove the van in winter here in MN, it was getting some rust around the fender wells and lower body panels. Thanks for the less than even decent job of making nice, closed seems on the van's body panels Ford. Other than that, I found the usual rust at the driver foot bed and rear body mounts above the axle. A body guy did some cutting, applied POR-15 and welded panels back in. It got a bit of paint were needed and clear coat to half way up the body. She deserved it.
After a few moves between 2013 and 2014 progress came to a crawl if not halt. Not my style to drive around in a half finished project. But, in the mean time I always had a work truck or van in which I could haul a bike and so the van sat quite a bit. Finally this summer I got after it again finishing, well almost, my current build. Here is the picture story of Vantasi-

The old setup is pictured with, yes, leopard print. Seemed cool at the time... :confused: I made an aluminum extension to slide into the bench and double the bed size for those times a "friend" would crash in the van.

B350 12-10-2015 12:51 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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Older exterior pic. And then removal of the old interior.

B350 12-10-2015 12:53 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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After gutting the old gal and finding some of the hidden rust.
Some areas were cut and replaced with POR-15 applied to the inner body.

B350 12-10-2015 12:57 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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More rust. More TLC. and a happy ending. Swapped out the hood and grill for a newer style and thought black would be cool. Changed my mind on that in the mean time too. :n5:

B350 12-10-2015 01:06 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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The interior took a looooong time to complete just due to moving chaos but I tackled the majority this past summer. I started by applying sound control material throughout from inside all doors, to floor, walls and ceiling. Here is what I used:

I also cut material out of the barn and rear doors to add storage compartments. Cutting the sheet metal with a reciprocating saw and metal blade was super easy and left a smooth cut.

B350 12-10-2015 01:14 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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My brother and I then fabbed the storage cubbies from sheet metal making a nice fit utilizing the entire depth of the door. Once we got a nice fit we bent tabs from the edge of the cubbies with which they could be mounted. With some silicone around the perimeter the cubbies were riveted to the doors. I ended up stuffing the doors with insulation after that and making my door panels. It's so satisfying to close the doors on my van and just hear a nice solid thump rather than the clang of bare sheet metal. Who needs European luxury car?!

B350 12-10-2015 02:02 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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Door panels. I made these and most wall covering out of white hardboard. Some people find it a bit sterile and cold but i like the clean look. i do like the look of grey carpet too.
When I first worked on the van in '01 my dad and I made the aluminum diamond plate window inserts as a bit of theft deterrent. I still have to utilize the space in both those rear window recesses with some shelves. It's not a greenhouse after all.

B350 12-10-2015 02:14 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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Back to the interior. I read the recent thread on the safety of converted vans in general and what kind of danger moving objects are. When I rebuilt the interior I already thought about how to make the divider between "garage" and sleeping quarters safe. I can only imagine motorcycles, tool box parts and other stuff having a huge amount of inertia in the case of an accident. Rather than just screwing the divider wall into the wood floor with some 90 degree elbows I had my brother weld a heavy 90 degree angle iron to the floor and elbows to the ceiling cross member. With the addition of 3/8" plywood sandwiching 4 2x4 studs I figure its pretty stout. I hope never to have to find out what forces it will really hold up to.

The angle iron is painted white and can be seen on the floor in the last pic.

DerPo 12-10-2015 02:32 PM

Cool build! I like the black hood and grill. Whats the difference between the hoods (besides color) I have a 99.

B350 12-10-2015 02:36 PM

The making of Vantasi- cont.
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I already laid out most all my electrical at this point for additional speakers (I upgraded all of them), sub, amp, 2 house batteries, Xantrex 1000W inverter, battery switch, battery isolator, 12V distribution block, outlets, lights, etc...

I used jumper cables as relatively inexpensive cable donors to connect my battery bank. Otherwise, I bought good quality cable for the inverter and amp connections.

Here is a list of some of the things I used:

Audio Cable and Fuse Kit -
Amp -
12V Marine Outlets -
Distribution/Fuse Block -
Relay/Isolator -
Battery Switch -
Fuses (I got heavy fuse blocks elsewhere) -
Reading Light -
12V USB Port -

Some cutting, soldering and more cutting and more soldering later...

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