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86Scotty 09-11-2012 05:22 PM

Out with the old, in with the new
Well, I once had a ground-up thread here called the Family Conestoga, but at some point I screwed up all of my pics by rearranging my Photobucket album, and now I've tossed out my old interior, added a pop top, etc. so I'm gonna attempt to organize a build thread. It will be pretty random, but if you need info just ask. I've got tons of unorganized pics of expirements.
OK, start with a 2002 E350 XLT clubwagon, mine's a lowly 5.4 :b1:
First, I tossed out all of the benches and redid the carpet, added some homemade cabinets and a fridge and micro, but I was in the early stages of addiction at this point and was impressed by simple things. :a1:
This setup worked out pretty well for our family of four. Each of the kids had their own bench to play on, sleep on, stretch out, etc. and we had a basic kitchen, so we went camping with a tent all over U.S.
It was out there that I started seeing these wicked 4WD vans with funny looking tops. In my previous 40ish years I had never seen one, NOT ONE Sportsmobile. Remember, I'm in east Tennessee, we just have dirty Dodge Neons with no hubcaps over here, and large 4x4 pickup trucks. :a6:
Then I found this site, actually I think I started posting and looking here when I had my previous RB Chateau van, but as I said, early stages of addiction. Not any grand plans.
At some point I decided it would be worthwhile to sell the old Airstream that was just sitting, and throw some cash at a pop top of some sort.
TBC :b5:

Ultrasport12 09-11-2012 05:31 PM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new
Hey stop thinking your van is just a lowly 2002 XLT 5.4 van...

Its a nice van with a great color...


PS Thanks for restarting you van thread...I guess I need to start a build thread too..I owe it to the Forum...

86Scotty 09-11-2012 06:29 PM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new

Originally Posted by Ultrasport12
Hey stop thinking your van is just a lowly 2002 XLT 5.4 van...

Its a nice van with a great color...


PS Thanks for restarting you van thread...I guess I need to start a build thread too..I owe it to the Forum...

Lol, thanks Jamie. Yeah, I love it too. The 5.4 is perfect for me, it just seems like a 4-banger on this site compared to all of the horsepower and torque hanging around. :a1:

I weighed my options on tops for quite awhile. I like the simplicity and reliability of Sportsmobile, but I'm 6'2". I wanted to give Derek at Colorado Camper Van a try since he will make a pop top out of pretty much any fiberglass top. I settled on a Fiberine "TV" top, 12" I think, and I also liked the idea of some extras Derek said he could do. Having enough space on the side of the top, I thought I would add some porch lights up high, and perhaps an awning down the road. I've since come up with a better awning solution since it would be so high up mounted on the side of the top. I was afraid of that kind of weight up there, and the 'sail' effect if the wind blew. Anyway, Derek does power lifts only, and uses a remote system with unused buttons, so he was able to wire up my lift (up and down), my exterior lights, and my interior LED lights all on one key fob, which is one of my favorite features of any camper I've ever had. Having control of interior and exterior lights from anywhere in your campsite is priceless.
Sorry for the lousy pics, but here's my top. The paint will be explained in much greater detail later, but for some Stupid*** reason, I decided to go with an unpainted top.
My first view of the top when I picked it up (late night in a parking lot meet in Loveland Co)
Here's a better shot of it somewhere in Kansas on the way home
CCV does tops for about the same $ as Sportsmobile, so there was no cost advantage either way. I had to travel (fly/drive) whichever one I went with. My main motivation for the CCV over the SMB top was interior height while lowered, and the storage it provides. We can keep all bedding, Reflectix shades, and a few bags up top while travelling, which I love, and hey, I kind of like the Airport shuttle look! :a1:

Ford_6L_E350 09-11-2012 06:37 PM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new
Does that mean 'Painting the top' is on your to do list?

You're right about the airport shuttle look. Actually, it will be nearly invisible compared to a typical 4x4 SMB.

Don't worry about the 5.4L It is a durable engine and it will get you where you want to go - what else matters?


SCBrian 09-11-2012 06:41 PM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new
Glad to see you have a build thread restarted. When you get a chance post up a picture of how the rear air was handled.

Ultrasport12 09-11-2012 08:32 PM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new
2 Attachment(s)
Hey Brian,

Because I am an idiot and do not know how to attach a picture to a PM I am posting it here.

The first picture with the three round vents is a picture of a RB van that has rear A/C and a Sportsmobile Top/Roof.

All they did was cap off the top of the vent tube behind the trim that goes to the roof and add these vents it.

It doesn't work quite as nice and the roof vents do but at least it still lets the cold air into the rear of the van.

The next picture is on my cargo van with rear A/C. It has a diffuser on the top of the outlet instead of the pipe like a window van or a van with a full headliner does. I made a longer pipe so it could go through my bed and clear the mattress and still cool the rear of the van.The part number for the diffuser is F2UH-19A869

Also here is a thread started by our very own 86scotty about rear air ducting.viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7659

I hope that helps...

SCBrian 09-12-2012 05:00 AM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new
Scotty's top left the back two roof tops vents in the ceiling if I remember. I've seen the side pillar installs and to me that's less than ideal for us here in the SE. If I ever even think of a PH top (who ever installs) that's the way I would want it done. Right now my kids are in the third row bench and that seems a long way for the air to travel.

86Scotty 09-12-2012 06:34 AM

Out with the old, in with the new
Yep, my rear 2 ducts are intact. I'll post a pic as soon as I can. It is definitely worthwhile.

86Scotty 09-12-2012 06:22 PM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new
Continued, but before I do, let me step back a week of so before the pop-top build. Ford modulars (4.6, 5.4) have a notorious reputation for funny noises. Just google it if you don't know, there are millions of forum posts at the Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums on this. Mine has ticked and rattled since I got it, and many go for hundreds of thousands of miles this way. It can be many things making one do this, but I wasn't worried too much since my spark plugs had been attended to and the van was running fine. I was able to get a date with Derek to do my pop-top build early this past spring, so I busied myself arranging flights, airport shuttles, rental cars, etc. for the trip from Tn to Co and back, HOPING he would get my van done in the two weeks promised. Just as a precautionary measure, about one week before I left for Co, I took my van to my local Ford guy to get a checkup and to make sure it was ready for the round trip of 3000 miles. I dropped it off, told him about the noise, and he called me the next day with very bad news. Not something small as I was thinking, I had a bad rod bearing. Just FYI, my Ford mechanic is an old school Ford guy. He kept it for a day and tried lots of things to narrow it down before pulling the oil pan. So, I had a couple of grand already sent to CCV for my deposit on the top, and flights booked, etc. and a motor that could blow any second. I decided to go with a Jasper remanned engine, and they could get me one within 1-2 days. I've had about 100 cars, motorcycles, campers, etc. and never had a terminal engine failure. I guess I'm lucky, but the timing here was very bad. He thought that IF they got him the motor in the timeframe promised he could get it in in 1-2 days. So $4500 later, I have a new Jasper 5.4 with a great warranty. I never knew much about Jasper before all of this, but they have turned out to be a great company. My mechanic has installed a few, and he likes them better than Ford crate motors. Better company to deal with all around, he says, especially if you have a warranty problem.
Well, sorry for the long post here, but I was on pins and needles for a few days, and most of my play money allotted to build the van went for a new motor. If I could do it over, I would take my time and start over with a different van, a 4x4 or V10 from the start, but I had no time and I have a van I love with only 130K. I had to do all of this (engine, travel, CCV top) in a hurry, or our trip planned for Yosemite this summer wasn't going to happen.
It all went like clockwork. New motor with no problems, blissfully silent as a kitten purring. Gentle break-in trip to Colorado about 2 days after I got it back, and a good experience all around with Derek at CCV on the pop-top.

carringb 09-12-2012 08:49 PM

Re: Out with the old, in with the new
Any chance the van had been run with a heavy oil like 10w-40?

All of the bottom end failures I've read about seemed to correspond with heavier than specified oil.

I've also seen several other cars where a rod bearing went out about 4-5 months after a Quick-change oil place forgot to put oil or a filter back in/on. Last one was a Mazda6. Engine seized a couple miles after leaving Jiffy Lube. Pulled it in our shop, re-filled it. Fired back up no problem. 4 months later he was back in with some telltale knock from #2 cylinder.

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