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Archive for the ‘Preparation’ Category

Van Mods!

Back in Seattle I had deducted that the main source of the leaks was a faulty weather stripping along the back window. Wrong. It turns out that whomever had put the bitchin baja rack on the van hadn’t invested enough material in not having metal on metal contact. The rain gutters of the e350 are notorious for rusting out on their own, much less with a 300 pound steel rack sitting in them. The area behind the rack contact points had rusted out in several locations, allowing water to free flow into the cavity of the van, settling in the wall panel insulation and transforming the van from awesome adventure vehicle into Petri dish. A full gutting was in order. A massive under taking. With the help of my good buddy’s Aaron, Chris, and Cyrus, with many other people pitching in, we liquidated the van of any absorbent materials. Five cans of rust inhibitor, a metric ton of bondo, magic aluminum roof tape, several gallons of Kills, and some paint later she was water tight. It was pretty satisfying to sit inside the empty shell while Aaron hosed her down and no droplets appeared. We replaced the carpet with faux-wood vinyl flooring, switched out the massive double 10” subwoofer box for a more than adequate 10” slim line single sub, and put her back together again.

Here is a list of all the modifications we made to her:

  • New mattress
  • New side panel insulation
  • New floors
  • New temperature control panel
  • New CO detector
  • Raised the bed 2”
  • Added exterior steps
  • All new shocks
  • New parking brake mechanism
  • New window weather stripping
  • New radiator
  • New gas tank sending units
  • New gas pump and fuel filter
  • New ignition coil (crazy back firing)
  • Welded 3rd cross bar to surf rack
  • Modified cabinets
  • Added grab handles
  • Fixed leaky rear axle (twice)
  • New window motors
  • New stereo with replacement sub and wiring
  • Rewired 40% of the van
  • New 12 volt deep cycle marine batteries
  • Solar panels with charge controllers
  • Sewed new curtains
  • Sewed mosquito netting for the bed and side door
  • Added a powered ceiling fan vent
  • Double bike rack on the spare tire
  • Added a rocket box
  • Solar shower – 4” black ABS pipe (45 gallons – 10 minutes of hot shower!)
  • New (softer, gentler) sticker décor
  • Built a water system with strainer, particle filter, UV filter, pump, propane hot water heater/shower
  • Added propane auxiliary tank extended tee and multiple appliance Y.
  • Purchased 3, 5-gallon gerry cans
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