Building an Adventure Van

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

  1. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    16,762
    So it's probably a 5 gallon tank, and nominally goes 10,000 miles between refills. You could pre-emptively put 2.5 gallons in at every 5k on the odometer and never have to see the Add DEF message.
  2. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,922
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Or delete the damn thing... :evil
  3. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    32,212
    Location:
    8000ft.
    Almost what I'm going to do...
    DEF has a shelf life... I'll keep a single box in the truck (2.5 gallons $13) and when the light comes on poor it in and buy another box. Repeat.

    Long trips.. carry two boxes just to have a buffer (like the 5500 miles we drove over the holidays).

    The boxes fit in my "van supplies cabinet" onboard nicely. :thumbs

    :freaky
  4. duanew1

    duanew1 In my Pajama pants

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I probably would not carry any extra DEF around ever if I was you. If I had a long trip planned, I would fill it up and not worry about it. It doesn't seem that hard to come by on the road. Most truck stops should have it if you really needed it.
  5. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    32,212
    Location:
    8000ft.
    I snuck out to the garage for a little while this afternoon to start mockup on the first 8 foot overhead cabinet.

    I've kept some of the more interesting pieces of wood for the overheads as they are visually dominent.

    In a perfect world the cabinet will be "3 boards deep by 2 boards tall" .. or not.
    This is definitely going to be a "that looks about right" building technique.. and if I get lucky one of the dimensions will look right at an actual board width multiplier so I don't have to cut every board its entire length for fitment :lurk

    This one piece of wood is crazy dark compared to the others.. I think I'll put it in the center facing downward on the bottom of the cabinet.. should look pretty cool that way.

    [​IMG]

    ...with my buggered up ankle the hobbling around is slow going. I actually worked up a sweat just doing this. Time to go elevate it above my head again :patch
  6. Mr. J

    Mr. J Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,655
    Location:
    northeast coast
    that's what i was aluding. we all spend pleasurable hours working on whatever modification, but those hours are never recompensable
  7. Narsisco Lopez

    Narsisco Lopez Addlepated

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,207
    Location:
    Golden (Showers), Colorado
    Ed, if you ever get tired of the high-tech world, you can always convert your Sprinter into a Mobile Doggie Wash/Grooming station like this guy...

    [​IMG]

    Ironically, I was out on my daily morning walk with my pooch when we walked past it in our neighborhood.
  8. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,693
    Location:
    Fort Collins
    Don't sweat the 4x4 conversion too much. I've been pulling with a 2WD van for years. 99.9% of the time you don't need 4x4.

    Options to increase your utility:

    Spare rear wheels with agressive studded snow tires.

    Limited slip differential. My old van had one of these. It did surprisingly well.

    Air locker rear differential. A little more xpensive, but will work even better than limited slip.

    Always carry chains. All year long. I barely made it out of the swell pulling a 8k # trailer in the mud without chains a year ago. We then drove into another mud-fest around Moab and I came to a spinning stop. Putting on full truck chains got me unstuck and into camp. I've also had to chain up to make it over the Divide once.

    Ideally, I would like to carry two sets of chains. Cable chains for highway use, and full lug chains for really knarly stuff.
  9. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    32,212
    Location:
    8000ft.
    'Twas good to see you and Paul @ the party last night Jeff :freaky

    Unfortunately I don't know of a limited slip or locking diff that's available for Sprinter.
    As our getting stuck showed me, the computerized "brake pulsing" is not an acceptable substitute.

    What's a "full lug chain" ? :lurk




  10. Ruffus

    Ruffus Dirty Old Mudder

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,102
    Location:
    Fort Erie,Ontario
    Ever think of an axle transplant? Quite a few company's make custom, made to fit axles with every possible gear ratio & LSD imaginable.
  11. HellSickle

    HellSickle Scone Rider

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,693
    Location:
    Fort Collins
    Big steel chain with bars made of twisted links with straight cross bars. Rattles like hell on the road and can't be driven much above 30mph. You must have grown up with these in Canadia, eh?

    For added benefit, get chains with welded & hardened cross bars.

    [​IMG]

    Chains with cross bars mounted at a diagonal might be a good compromise.

    [​IMG]

    For momentary stuck-ness on ice, I always carry a coffee can of kitty litter, and a small folding shovel.

    Much like the automatic chains, maybe you could install an automatic sanding system, like those used on trains?
  12. Mercury264

    Mercury264 Once you go Triple...

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,419
    Location:
    Masshole
    Just don't adopt the system they recently employed on Top Gear :D
  13. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    32,212
    Location:
    8000ft.
    In december we had a tour of Schroyer's private truck collection in Ohio. Many of their trucks had sander boxes built in (Phil's looking at them in the photo) but I didn't get a photo of the actual boxes at the time. Basically a box in front of the rear dually wheels that would pour sand in front of the wheels when needed.
    I don't know if they were a factory option or something they added afterward?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Amazingly I never used chains the entire time I lived in Canada. :dunno
  14. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    16,762
    The last set of chains I had didn't have the crossbars in the links, but they sure came in handy on my old Impala wagon. I had to use them on pure ice one night on a trip from Wichita to Lawrence. Took me 7-1/2 hours to make the trip at 30 mph, stopping periodically to check on people in the ditches and then stopping at pay phones along the way to report the mile markers. That was 19 years ago, before most folks had cell phones.
  15. xdbx

    xdbx Motorcycle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,505
    Location:
    NorCal
    Dude! Check. out. this. sprinter. :freaky

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/b_NRDt0HISA?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  16. Geek

    Geek oot & aboot

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    32,212
    Location:
    8000ft.
    The trailer they're pulling is awesome.. wouldn't you love to have that combo. :drif

    I ordered an astro pneumatic rivnut tool today (with tips for 6 different sizes) and 50 Knurled, Zinc, 5/16-18x0.72 rivnuts.

    This will let me get started on the ceiling/upper cabinets. by going with the 5/15-18 rivnuts my rivnut sizes match the 80/20 bolts I'm using so I should be able to use the same fasteners for everything and bolt the 8020 straight to them :thumb

    [​IMG]
  17. ducnut

    ducnut Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,321
    Location:
    central IL
    Those VWs were nice, too. And, we get stuck with rebadged Chryslers. :rolleyes
  18. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    28,984
    Location:
    NoVA for now...
    You notice that the Sprinter/hauler was a manual?

    M
  19. pfb

    pfb Riding, not skiing.

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,524
    Location:
    Boulder|Denver|Winter Park
    Nice! The inexpensive hand tools are o.k. for aluminum riv-nuts, but very difficult to squeeze the heavier ones with them.

    Why did you choose to use standard rivnuts instead of metric?
  20. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,922
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Sprinter as well!