Monday, May 16, 2016

Preparing for the Shakedown

Last minute finishing touches are going well. We are going to make the drive to Overland Expo next week, so the van needs to be more or less functional.

The mattress has been re-laminated, and covers sewn. The buildup is 1” gel cooling memory foam, 2” of high density memory foam, and 4” of high density normal foam. 7” total height. It is very comfortable.

The bench seat cushions are done as well. Looking back, I should have used a higher density foam. Maybe it will get redone in a few years… Maybe.

A temporary table has been made up. I am considering fold out hinges. The goal is to use left-over countertop material.

Slowly getting pulls for the cabinets installed. Jen selected some interesting pieces.

I had a couple of hours free so I knocked out a footrest for the passenger side.

I finished the wiring for the heater bypass valve, so I tested it today on my drive to work. My commute is 12 minutes. From a cold start to parking the van the water tank went from ~60F to over 120F. After work it was still warm enough to shower in. I am hoping at full temp it will stay warm overnight.

Still left on the TO DO list.
Shim bed platform to eliminate rattles
Fix ANNOYING squeaking from the rear door.
Wire up circulation fans (bed and front cabin)
Install switches and wire galley and underbody lights
Install reading lights above bed
Select and mount a small monitor/TV at the foot of the bed
Design/build drawers for the rear access storage
Make curtains and bed sheets
Design/make bug screen for sliding door
Design/build interior shower curtain support
Select and purchase tons of gear and equipment
At least 20 things I have forgotten (probably to save my sanity)

We are close to meeting our financial goals.  Hopefully we can give notice sometime near the end of the  month, and start the process of trimming our possessions and cutting loose.  It has been a long time coming, I can almost taste the open road.  What does that taste like you wonder?  

FREEDOM!!    because, 'MERICA!!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Spring Update #16

Mid Weekend update.

First up is testing of the roof lights. They work quite well. There is quite a bit of light thrown upwards which is what I wanted. For camping use the underbody lights should be much less blinding.

Next up is tires and alignment (Finally). After much (way too much) consideration I decided on BFG KO2 in the 245/75/R16 Size. These are about an inch taller than the 225/75R16 which are stock on my van (30.5”). There is no rubbing and they clear enough for chains in the back (possibly the front?).

The van is sitting at 15.5" to the bottom of the rocker panels. There is 12.5" of clearance to the bottom of the fuel tank.

With the 2.5-degree Camber shims the van Is sitting at almost exactly zero camber. The toe was off about a third of a degree. So the camber prior to the lift and shims was probably a bit negative. The van is sitting at 0.23 degrees of toe. The spec is plus/minus 0.16. With a full load the wheels will toe out a bit, so hopefully it pull it into spec.

The bedside cabinet is finally closed up. I added a light control switch, USB and 12V power ports for convenient access.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spring Update 16: Is it Summer Yet?

Started putting in the flooring. Vinyl planks were cheap and easy. Unfortunately, the adhesive on the back is poor quality. It will not last long in the summer. So they will need to come out and have some real adhesive applied. The galley drawers are installed as well.  Months in the making, it all goes together in minutes.  Very anticlimactic

I installed skid plates for some additional drivetrain protection. Despite being final prototypes the fit and finish was good with only minimal changes necessary.

One heavy box.

Here is the front plate fitted.

The passenger side forward corner mounts to the tow-eye location. This hole was too far outboard by about ½” so the eyelet interfered slightly. Not a big deal, and a bit of work with the drill and grinder cleared it up.

This kit requires 3 holes to be drilled. One for the engine plate (same location as the interference) and 2 for the transmission plate. I primed all three just because I can.

As my van is lifted, the skid plate interferes with the bumper cover a bit. Some light trimming resolved it nicely.

The last of the cabinets are installed… Finally… Had some delays due to Jen and I coming down with the Flu. People who come to work sick should be shot…