Building an Adventure Van

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Geek, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Not sure how Boulder county works but in Routt it goes down each year till 10yr old and then stays the same; solidly under a $100yr.
  2. Hondaboy

    Hondaboy Been here awhile

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    Just did my AZ to South Dakota title transfer, registration and late fee for waiting too long to take care of it (a whole year late). I just paid $100.78 for all of these. This was for my 2003 Ford Ranger. It would have only been $50.78 but I procrastinated beyond any reasonable time and got a $50. dumbass fee.
  3. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    ...added another to the collection

    [​IMG]

    Van is now upto 32,000 miles.
  4. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Some assembly required :-)

    [​IMG]
    Sent from iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. tweetie

    tweetie Long timer

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  6. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Just glanced over all the info you sent - wow.. THANKS! :freaky
  7. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    So after a summer of pretty much playing too much to work on the van.. the weather is starting to turn and it is crunch time again :patch

    The Espar D2 arrived today (as viewed above) and I spent a couple of hours getting the trailer lights wired and working finally. We've not had to use the trailer in the last year.. but we're heading to Moab for a week at the end of this month and trailer will be the perfect solution for that trip.

    ...at first my OCD was kicking in and I was color coordinating my shirnk wrap color with the wire color but I made myself stop :rofl

    [​IMG]

    I did however label the power wire where it comes up to the 12V hot source under the driver's seat. Not so much for OCD but because the electrical system is becoming complicated enough that labels like this will make problem diagnosis so much easier down the road.

    [​IMG]

    All hooked up - it turns out the camera angle couldn't be much better with its 135 degrees.

    [​IMG]



    and voila. ready to roll.
    [​IMG]

    We currently have 3 garages and the trailer lives in garage #3 with its tounge at the door. I can literally roll it out (thankfully it has a retractable nose wheel so it is nice and easy to move), clip it on and chain it and be ready to roll away in less than a minute. Ironically I think it is quicker/easier/more convenient for to use the trailer than it is the hitch carrier or putting a bike inside (but not as convenient while driving/parking of course).

    Anyone know if they sell BFG AT tires in trailer sizes? :rofl

    I think I'll spray paint those trailer wheels satin black :hmmmmm
  8. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    BFG used to sell their All Terrain tires in a LT195/75R14 size. That was the smallest one they sold.

    I don't think your trailer tires are going to be 26 inches tall though....
  9. KrustyKustom

    KrustyKustom Lets Go....

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    Geek, what wiring format did you use for the trailer wiring? Did you use the relays in the lower quarter panel? One of the converters?

    I want to wire mine up and don't like some of options out there.
  10. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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  11. Lefty23

    Lefty23 Trekker

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  12. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Thanks for the link Lefty - I laughed out loud when I saw that 3/4 of the way down that page is a photo of my van that I took last winter :rofl (and a link to this thread)

    :freaky

    [​IMG]
  13. ducnut

    ducnut Long timer

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  14. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Back to the build...

    so I'd stripped the van of everything inside for our run to Montana/Idaho... now to put it back in the way we want (gotta love legos)

    80/20 inventory...
    [​IMG]

    The shorter these are the better (pieces cut off)?
    [​IMG]

    Building The Worlds Most Expensive Van Table (that opens outside):

    Hinges down:
    [​IMG]

    Hinges up:
    [​IMG]

    It'll end up about 2 feet square?
    [​IMG]

    Trying to decide if I want to use curved stock on the bottom of the table because it'll look nicer when folded up?
    [​IMG]
  15. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Rounded corners under things will be better for rugrats later, or you if you're underneath for some reason and forget it's there when you stand up. Rails will be better if you decide you want to hang a curtain underneath to cover something you don't want to be seen, but need to have handy when using the table. Or you could put folding hooks there to hang utensils.
  16. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    So I'm using rounded stock for the exterior table. It is a pain in the arse.


    Justification for doing something stupid: :norton

    1) With our style of camping I'm betting we'll use this shelf every minute of every day. So I need it to be strong to last
    (justification for over engineering :D )

    2) Every time we open the slider door of the van in a public place.. someone wants to look inside.
    (justification for putting a bunch of extra work in to try and make it look cool)

    Hopefully it ends up worth while? :scratch
  17. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    So I've built the mockup of the table and now I need to decide how to finish it...

    I started with 45 degree miters in all the round stuck (justification for the nicer miter saw :D )

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then I test fit everything into the "door island"

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    I stuck some wood I had laying around into the hole to see if I like how it looks? :scratch

    [​IMG]

    Then threw up a piece of cloth behind that to get a "feeling" for what the island is going to be like.. how intrusive, how visually blocking (an objective) of the inside, etc.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One of the ideas I have... build the box face out of the maple so it matches everything else... and then do an inlay in the flip down table bottom of a raven map of Colorado (we have this map on the wall at home.. as well as wyoming, montana and utah)).

    [​IMG]

    Then I'm considering doing the fridge door with a similar inlay - maybe a map of Utah?? :dunno

    [​IMG]
  18. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

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    Geek, way too many colors in that wiring. :evil

    How is your rear camera activated? Only when put in reverse, or can you toggle it to check on the trailer while driving? I have the same setup on my van, but it only activates with the backup light. I use it mainly for hooking up trailers. Since I have windows in my van, I can pretty much keep an eye on bikes while driving.
  19. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    Hi Jeff :wave

    I ran a toggle switch on my dash board so I can turn the thing on/off any time I want (actually 3 of them - one turns the stereo off and on, one of them turns the camera off and on, and one of them is "reverse"). I dunno why Pioneer in their "wisdom" defaults to an ignition sensed power up.. but my stereo runs off the house batteries so we can run it while camping with zero impact on the starter battery.

    I've hacked the stereo a bit.. one was getting rid of the reverse sensor (i.e. the above toggle) and the other was I figured out a way to bypass the nanny-system which turns off things like destination entry in the navigation system when the van is moving (why can't Cheryl enter a destination when I'm driving by default?).

    Way back early somewhere in this thread I eluded to how I did it.. :freaky

    edit:

    switches I used: post 194

    stereo hack: post 343

    Hope this helps :freaky
  20. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

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    When we designed the original bed frame our idea was to be as close to the ceiling as possible while still being able to sit up in bed - to maximize the storage underneath the bed. Over time we realized our bed was too high.

    Random photo from past:
    Here you can see the height of the bed platform - up around the window height with a single platform that swung down to form the bed itself:
    [​IMG]

    ...and here it was with the platform folded down and the offending overhead cabinet I kept trying to knock myself out with:
    [​IMG]

    The bed as it was:
    [​IMG]

    The basic factors that changed our minds:

    1) Once we installed the overhead cabinets, I kept hitting my head on them when in the bed.
    2) Poor Cheryl had a heck of a time climbing up into it... It never occurred to me I'm 6 inches taller than her :norton (hence the need to carry the foot stool pictured above.. which takes a lot of space on its own)
    3) The under-bed cabinets really did hold a huge amount - but it turned out they were quite a pain in the arse to get into when camping because there was always stuff in the way with the bed folded down - so we didn't really use the space effectively due to the inconvenience... and we tend to leave the bed setup the entire time we're camped because naps are awesome :D

    So if I was going to lower things..
    I might as well lower them enough that we end up with a sofa back there for when not used as a bed?

    That brings me to the last few days of work: The Bed Frame - V2.

    I still need to build the shelves inside, the cabinet covers, etc.. but here's the basic frame work:

    [​IMG]

    I went with a double center-vertical for added strength. With the original bed it was pretty much only used for laying down so weight was dispersed - with people sitting on these boxes like a sofa and putting more force in a smaller area I wanted a bit more rigidity than the single-vertical had.

    [​IMG]

    I made the gap between the boxes the same as twice the seat height so that now, instead of having one huge swinging bed platform, it is two halves that swing up and join in the middle

    [​IMG]

    contrasted with the old bed frame design:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ...now imagine everything covered in birch, wrapped in interweave fabric and then a custom 4 cushions that make the backs of the sofa and the sofa seats - but slide down to form a solid mattress across the platform (or so I hope) :rofl

    The isle is now about 3.5 inches wider than it was with the older bed - I made the right side box a little bit narrower (which turned out nice because I made the isle an exact board multiplier - 6 boards wide - i.e. no need to cut wood length wise for replacements :thumb