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2000 Ford E350 15 Passenger Van Build
Great questions there TWIH. I am happy to answer them. I am presently bringing a bunch of firewood into the house before the rain starts, so hopefully tonight I will get to answering. Hopefully some people will be able to avoid my mistakes by hearing how I made them!
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to S Cello for this post:
  • American Nomad Patriot (06-06-2018)
TWIH asked:

Great documentation pics!  If you can tell us more about your choice of fasteners, glue or adhesive, that sort of thing so a person who buys a passenger van like yours will have more of an idea what to use or buy.

Well, I used assorted length self tapping sheet metal screws to attach wood furring strips, floor joist strips and roof 1x4 to existing sheet metal, generally #8 and #10.  I used 1 inch paneling nails to attach the paneling to the furring strips as well as the thin tongue and groove ceiling to the 1x4.
I am using various length wood screws to build the furniture and secure it to the floor, wall and ceiling furrings. I try to avoid using any fillips or slotted screws as I much prefer using star bits. even the square bits suck in my opinion as they spin if you are not some kind of superman.

If I had more funding, I suppose I would have considered using a few kinds of adhesives between the different materials, but being real honest... I was also lazy to deal with the mess. I will have to just drive a bit slower on the washboards and hope things don't rattle loose too bad.

I did use some 3M spray adhesive, #99 I think, to hold up the ceiling insulation only. I also used regular duct tape to temporarily hold up insulation that would be supported by paneling or other wood products. That regular duct tape would not hold things in place by itself for much more than one day. I used an industrial type duct tape to hold wiring in place and such and it's holding power seems much improved over the standard cheap duct tape. That stuff I couldn't tear easily without starting the cut with a side cutter.

Also, explain more on how the rear ac and heating lines and ducts were removed, I’d have thought that would take professional assistance due to Freon.  Any other issues or concerns with the original walls and all that coming out?

Ahh, the rear A/C....   for maybe the last 9 years I kept only one bench seat in the van. The one just behind the drivers seat. Behind that bench seat, I had three 2x4s laying on the carpet with six sheets of 1/2 inch plywood laying ontop of the 2x4s. (this is a long van!). Anyway, about 1 1/2 years ago I had finished a project at my sons house in southern california and I was driving home with a wheel barrow laying upside down on the sheets of plywood. I was coming up a very windey mountain road near home when I heard the wheel barrow slide across the plywood and smack the wall hard.

No more A/C after that, I had lost the freon and damaged some part of the rear coil or lines. Also, the rear unit had always blown very hot air whenever the fan back there was turned on, so I suspected that the switching device turning the hot water on at the rear unit was stuck open.

So when I decided to do this build, my idea was to just remove that unit, cap the lines and recharge the remaining front A/C. My neighbor's son was helping me remove all the rear seat brackets and seat belt attachments and I told him I wanted to remove the rear heating and cooling unit. Before I knew it, he had cut the aluminum refer lines with a little saw he had in his pocket! Anyway, he pulled the cover off the engine and we found the radiator lines running back there. He cut the one rubber hose and disconnected the other from it's attachment to a steel line and looped the first rubber hose back to the steel pipe connection. I personally would have preferred to cap them both so there would not be a short circuiting of the water. I may do that later. That would be just the same as if the valve in the removed unit was closed. I did see some small reduction in the front heating the way he did it.

He butchers works on cars frequently so I asked him to look into where I could buy the parts to cap off or bypass the refrigerant lines. He came back the next day and told me that the caps were available on e-bay for $12, but that the caps had to go on a part of the lines that he had cut off. 
lol, he is a nice guy, and was honest enough to tell me the truth!.

I expect that I will have to intercept those two lines as they come up into the engine area (as aluminum tubing) and attempt to either flare cap or cap with compression fittings. Or there is always refrigeration epoxy as a last resort.

I dont' know squat about automotive, but I did hold a HVAC contractors licence in CA in the 80s. Solar too, but I never used it.

How much time did you spend to get this far, so others can gauge the amount of work that is needed.  Any special tools or bits for removal of existing bolts? What did you do with the seats?

As best I can figure, I started the project towards the end of october. I'm retired, so I don't have other work, but I don't work Sundays.  LOL, I don't get up early either. I'm lucky if I work on it 5 hours a day. Then if I work on it for 3 or 4 days, my body hurts real bad and I take a few days off.
Bottom line: Beats me. And I haven't kept track of the money either, but I shut off Sparkletts, Direct TV, 80% of my phone bill and boxes of my favorite cigars to pay for all this stuff.

Anybody want some van bench seats? I'm taking them to the dump.

You mentioned running water lines but I did not see you talk about your plumbing plans, waste water and fresh water storage etc.

In the photos you'll see a red and a blue plastic water line running across the van under the floor. I will put a 40 gallon water  tank under the bed, just next to the drivers side wheel well. A 12v water pump will be next to the tank. I originally planned and plumbed for and wired for a 6 gallon RV water heater also under the bed. when push came to shove, I just didn't feel that I could afford to give up the storage space for that water heater. So it is now deleted from the new un-drawn floor-plan. The red water line won't be used, just the blue one will feed water over to the sink. I have not finalized my lil bitty kitchen plans yet, but it will have a sink. I expect that I will use one of those outside hang on the wall propane water heaters. I have gas and water run over to that area and I will use a blue tarp over the side doors for a shower. one plus is that the little RV furnace aims directly at that area.

I guess the sink will drain into one of those blue 7 gallon water jugs under the sink. I really would like to set up a small float switch in that tank that will shut off the water pump when that grey tank starts to get full. The other idea I had was to just plumb in an overflow off the side of the tank to under the van, but that might not be good some places.

Black water: I'm using an old thetford porta potti that I bough when my 30 something kids were little. It will double as my chair when I sit at my desk/table.

Any plans for a microwave?  Curtain across the front?  What kind of led or other lighting will you use?
Did the wall and ceiling finish get air nailed, if not, did you use finish nails or brads?  Adhesives?  Any problems with the finish wood splitting since it’s so thin?

Microwave, yes! There are a few things I need one for... warming coffee, leftovers. I am going to get a small one, I have an Amazon link to a cheap 600w one with dials instead of electronic buttons. I will make a small shelf in the pantry for it.
I got three ceiling lights of the RV style, those double LED jobs. I've already wired the ceiling for them, including switches.

Regarding the thin ceiling tongue and groove splitting: no splitting with the paneling nails, but when I screwed in the trim around the vent and the fan, yes, it wanted to split so I had to pre-drill those.

Oh and how many miles are on it and cost to purchase?  What mechanical repairs were or are expected?

This 2000 van I bought in 2003 for 13 or 15 thousand. It had 30,000 miles on it. some few years later, the V10 took a crap bigly and I had to spend $7500 for a new engine. it couldn't be rebuilt for some reason. It had about 115,000 miles on it at the time. right now it has 235,000 miles on the van. Being a person who knows nothing about automobile repairing, breaking down is my biggest fear.
I truly wish that I lived across the street from the owner of this website!
I have lately been hearing an occasional high pitched whine that seems to track with the transmission. It does it when it's cold and it goes away in a minute or two. I am actually deaf in one ear and I can't hear worth a shit, but people describe the sound as a sound like a jet engine.  Honestly it is doing it less lately.  God seems to love me and I'm sure he knows how to fix transmissions. we will see.

Are you planning on an alternator charging line through a continuous duty solenoid?

I'm hoping the 640 watt solar will do the job, but I will have a honda 3000i locked onto a hitch mounted cargo carrier. It's a generator I've had for some years.

Great solar and battery package, how much was that?

It will sound like I paid too much, but the solar system costed me $5800 including tax and shipping.
It came with breakers and breaker box, 4/0 cables between battery bank, breaker box and inverter.
Magnum ME-ARC 50 Inverter Advanced Remote Control, Magnum Energy ME & MS Series Battery Monitor Kit (ME-BMK) , all the 10 gauge panel wiring, Morningstar TriStar Digital Meter for TS controllers, TS-M-2, Solarland SLP160S-12 160 watt module, 12v, MC4, mounting hardware and just a whole bunch of cool goodies!

This amounts to $166 a month for the rest of my short years sorta thing.

If you saw my sorry ass before the van build and my happy ass after I started it, you would be amazed.
I feel alive again!
I have some life adventures to look forward to now, and I am happy!

I sure hope that I get to meet some of you out there in the great boondocking places.

Sidenote: A neighbor down the street who works at the forest service promises me that she is going to turn me on to some of the best little known 14 day free places here in Sequoia National Forest.
She is sorta high up in that organization I guess.
She tells me that I will be blown away by them.
I will be happy to share on this forum.
[-] The following 4 users say Thank You to S Cello for this post:
  • Justacarsofar (01-07-2018), Texjbird (01-07-2018), Blacktank (01-07-2018), Putts (01-13-2018)
Wow, great info for many to follow.  I’d just add that even though you have soooooo much solar, the alternator charging is almost free and would always be there for you.  That H9nda 3000 must be a big guy, even the 2000 weighs.  Include a picture of the box you built to house the genset, how you secure it from theft and info on how you wire it to charge your batteries or run any ac plugs inside, (or do you) and if you have a battery charger you use.

Whatever you paid is all “water under the bridge” now, some will spend more on things, others less.  What counts is that you enjoy your rig. After all, it’s your home and it’s a lot cheaper than what stick and brick types have to pay to live in.

Thanks again for the timely reply.
They say when you get older two things happen, one is you lose your memory and the other, I forget.

We have enough youth. How about a fountain of smart?
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to TWIH for this post:
  • S Cello (01-07-2018)
Great build!!
Beast Master,JunkyMonkey,Drinks with Wolves,Fup'd Duck,Sheriff Ricochet Cockroach 4B's 1 cluster,3 TFMS Tempory Weirdo Overlord replacement 
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to Scott7022 for this post:
  • Justacarsofar (01-08-2018), S Cello (01-08-2018)
Nice Van! It's looking great. Nice pup too.
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to Everyroadleadshome for this post:
  • S Cello (01-08-2018), Justacarsofar (01-09-2018)
I was planning on going to the RTR this year in an unfinished van but I needed to get the furnace up and running to be able to go. Well, parts are a lot more expensive than I expected and it seems I spent part of my gas money on .... PARTS!
So I am just going to keep on building for a few more days and I plan on boondocking at the Alabama Hills next week near Lone Pine, CA. That will cut 400 miles off of the January trip.

It rained here Monday and Tuesday so my daughter Jennifer and I sewed curtains those days. We got them all done and ready to be hung.

I stained the wood under the desk, installed the batteries and built the bottom shelf of the pantry above the batteries yesterday.

[Image: IMG_0125.jpg]

Today I installed the little RV furnace. The space to the right of it is for shoe storage.

[Image: IMG_0123.jpg]

I built the floor of the wardrobe above the furnace. I had installed the dowel to hang clothes on earlier this week.

[Image: IMG_0126.jpg]

After that I stained the wood sides of the furniture and above the desk/table. Oh, earlier this week I also removed the passenger seat and fabricated a piece of 1 1/8th inch plywood to fit that space. It will hold the Dometic 40 qt fridge up off the seat studs.

Tomorrow I will stain a few spots that I forgot and assemble my hitch mounted cargo carrier. I want to apply polyurethane to the ceiling, walls and furniture exteriors as well. I need to start up my generator and change out it's dead battery too.

I hope those who are at the RTR will report on how it's going over there, I'm interested to hear.

[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to S Cello for this post:
  • Cammalu (01-13-2018), Justacarsofar (01-13-2018)
Looking good !
1 1/8" sounds like overkill ....
Wouldn't 1/2" hold the fridge ?
Stay Tuned

Weirdo Overlord  YARC 
15 "Stinkin'Badges"  a "Full Monty Badge" 2 "Just Ignore Me" clusters  10 "Pine Cone" clusters  , one "Stinkin' Badger" and 7 of the coveted "Flying Manure Spreader"awards
(What a "Stinkin' " honor !)

[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to rvpopeye for this post:
  • S Cello (01-13-2018)
(01-07-2018, 02:03 AM)S Cello Wrote: If you saw my sorry ass before the van build and my happy ass after I started it, you would be amazed.
I feel alive again!
I have some life adventures to look forward to now, and I am happy!

Funny how that works sometimes. Welcome to your new life!
YARC : Drunk in the Mud/Keeper of the Dingy/Ears [Image: L3000.gif]/Potluck Contributions Restricted
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to Putts for this post:
  • S Cello (01-13-2018), Justacarsofar (01-13-2018)
(01-13-2018, 08:37 AM)rvpopeye Wrote: Looking good !
1 1/8" sounds like overkill ....
Wouldn't 1/2" hold the fridge ?

Sure, but I had the 1 1/8" laying around
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to S Cello for this post:
  • rvpopeye (01-13-2018)
Yup , thought of that after I posted.
Sink cut out ?
Stay Tuned

Weirdo Overlord  YARC 
15 "Stinkin'Badges"  a "Full Monty Badge" 2 "Just Ignore Me" clusters  10 "Pine Cone" clusters  , one "Stinkin' Badger" and 7 of the coveted "Flying Manure Spreader"awards
(What a "Stinkin' " honor !)


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