First things first. We need to order the van.
We chose the 148″ WB high-roof non-extended Transit because we got our first bit of inspiration from Sprinter Van Diaries who used a 144 WB Sprinter as their platform. Their floor plan fits nicely in this length. The order is happening in October. Our local dealer informed us that it can take up to five months to deliver the van due to it’s large size shipping logistics.
(One of the options in this graphic, 90G drop down parking brake, is not available until late in the 2018 build year. In addition it seems to only be available with the RV prep package (47D) or Builder’s Prep Package (61A)). This post and related graphics were originally made before I knew this and is no longer on our order list. The original idea was to add a swivel to the drivers seat which requires lowering the parking brake (see FaroutRide). The 3D modeling I did after this post also showed me that a driver’s seat is useless swiveled because it would be too close to the galley cabinet.
Here is a list of what we are ordering
Why the Ford you ask?
Toyota does not make a high roof van.
- In all seriousness though, mostly the fact that there is a Ford dealer or mechanic in almost every town in the US and Canada. We plan to keep this van for a long time so finding someplace to fix it easily is a need (all cars have issues over time that is just a fact of life).
- I simply like the look of it. (Don’t get me wrong though, I also think that the Sprinter is very sexy too. The Ram and Nissan are just strange looking to me.)
- It has everything that we want in a van.
- The company that I work for has a Sprinter that I have driven 1000s of miles and I just can’t get used to it.
Exterior Add-on Details
We also plan on adding a T style CRL window to the slider door to allow airflow without having to leave the door open.
The dream of coarse is a premium roof rack from a company like Aluminess but $4K is more than our phase 1 build budget allows. Instead we plan to use a Thule system that consists of Thule AeroBlade, Thule Rapid Podium, and Foot Pack KIT3138. I plan to attach two 180W Grape Solar panels to the rack using aluminum angle bar attached via U bolts. A potential add-on to get something close to the fancy rack is a Rino-Rack Pioneer Platform rack.
To get high enough to clean the panels of snow we are adding a Prime Designs ladder. We plan to paint this ladder with truck bed liner paint because I am not a fan of silver accessories on a dark colored vehicle.
And of coarse the tires are getting upgraded on day one to a good all-terrain tire. LT225/75/R16E is the popular choice on FordTransitUsaForum (where I spent time researching things specific to the Ford Transit). The current choices I have narrowed it down to are BFG K2O, Cooper AT3 and Goodyear Duratrac. These tire choices came from the extensive research on tires over the past year for my Toyota Tacoma. The first winter with this thing will determine if a set of Blizzak Tires are also in order.
In addition to the extra clearance achieved from the tires (6.0 inches to 7.2 inches) we will add a rear air bag lift to the to use in situations where we are on roads with erosion bumps or other minor obstacles. I have a friend with a Sprinter who recommended this as well as the folks over at FarOutRide.
Design Layout and Materials
These are the materials that we are going to use for our van build.
Galley (front side of van behind drivers seat)
We are planning to have a simple galley with a Nova Kool Fridge, Ramblewood two-burner cook-top and an under-mount sink (covered when not in use). The plans are to carry 15 gallons of water in a tank in the garage area. We will use Shurflo UltraQuiet water pump enclosed in a sound reducing box to achieve a pressurized water system. The grey water will be collected in a simple 4 gallon Aqua-tainer. There will also be storage cabinets above the sink and burners. The initial plan is build the counter top out of the same material as the ceiling and exposed walls that is protected by a thin layer of epoxy with a matching inset for the sink cover. This may change if the design pallet needs to be expanded to more textures. In the ceiling (and probably not a surprise to anyone) we will have a Maxxair 00-06200K MaxxFan supported by the famous Hein’s roof adapter
Sleeping Area and “Garage” (back of van)
We were again inspired by Sprinter Van Diaries in this area of the van. We are going to have a raised bed that will allow us to store up to four bikes under it (two mountain bikes and two road bikes). We found a nice comfortable full mattress at our locally owned Mattress Firm store that is 54 in x 74 in. This leaves room to one side for a storage cabinet. The face of the bed area will have storage in the form of a large lower drawer that will also be a bench when pulled out. Above that drawer will be more drawers for more storage.
The garage will be where all the mechanical stuff is. This includes a water tank and pressurization equipment (pump and such), 20lb propane tank locker, and the power system. We are also planning on heating the van in the winter with a Propex HS2211 propane heater. More to come on the specifics of each of these systems in future posts.
Here is a very rough 3D plan. See the finished 3D image in a later post. This drawing is missing lots of details including all the storage shelves in the garage under the bed.
That’s it for now. Come back again for future updates…..