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Old 05-08-2018, 05:06 AM   #11
alexk243
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Default Oil, Fuel, Trans Filter Changes

Before doing any long trips I went through the engine basics:

-Oil change (Mobile 1 Synthetic)
-Oil Filter (Hengst Filter)
-Water Separator/Fuel Filter
-Transmission Filter and Fluid Change (Used this Fluid and This Filter)
-Air Filter (Mahle one with extra foam pre-filter on it)
-Cabin Air Filter

Full list of all my engine/vehicle maintenance compiled here

I followed other post on here on how to do those jobs. Ill try to post links to other people's write ups on those topics, but there is really good info on here. Everything was pretty much straightforward, However I would recommend reading up on how to drain the transmission and hosing as that was a little more complicated. Also if you don't have a transmission dipstick, make sure you get one for this job.

Used purple power degreaser to clean out the transmission oil pan, made sure to clean off the magnetic in there as well.


Fuel Filter change is pretty straight forwards once you get it out of the vehicle:


Oil Filter is pretty easy also, just be careful as all parts are plastic. I purchased a special oil filter wrench to make it easier. Which I highly recommend:



I also checked for black death... luckily it looked good!




I ordered all the parts through either Amazon or Europarts (has a lot of good sprinter parts)
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2004 T1N Passenger 140" (Conversion in Progress - Build Thread)

My Website/Blog with Projects and Write Ups on my Van

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Old 05-11-2018, 07:38 PM   #12
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Default Trip to Colorado with the Pup

With all the stage one stuff done I took it for a few trips and if there is one thing I can recommend to anyone thinking of doing a build, is this:

Take an extended trip in your van before you design the interior.

After my first trip to Colorado and back I completely changed my mind about the design. Things that I thought were important to me turned out not to be and things that I thought were not important turned out really to be important. Couple examples are shower, toilet, sink, indoor bike storage, storage, beds, etc...

These ideas continued to evolve over my trips and I am just getting to designing my interior now (May 2018, remember van was bought in summer 2016).

I realized I needed a shower, just had to, made the trip much more pleasant and enjoyable. Also indoor bike storage wasn't critical, a good hitch bike rack gave me way more space inside. My thoughts on the need for a sink/kitchen/fridge at this point (fall 2006) were still a no... but that would change.

Here are some pictures from my trip to Colorado:

Passing through Gunnison, CO


How I had the interior setup for the time being:




You can see my companion for the trips really enjoyed the bench seat I left in there for her. She comes along on all of the van trips, so that was also something I had to consider during the build. I looked into a lot of options for cooling it while I was away, but really didn't find anything I trusted that was within a reasonable price range. I ended up going with the MaxxFan and these really cool window screens , granted they are very expensive, but did wonders for ventilation in the van when parked. I would never leave her in the van though if the temp outside was dangerous. The fan and vents could keep the van to about 2-4 degrees higher than outside temperature, so I still had to be aware of the temp. Also note the 3 gallon water bowl I left for her in the van (can be seen in the pictures).

That being said I am still exploring options on leaving her in the van in terms of temperature alarms and whatnot. Right now I am not comfortable with an AC system or running the van while gone with the AC on as that just isn't fail safe without an alarm. Did a write up on my suggestions for traveling with a dog and what I do here.

Here are some pictures of the window vents I mentioned about installed on my van:




Also funny to note that while in Telluride, CO they had an underground parking garage that the van could fit in. Was pretty impressed.


Also the van had no issues towing a few ATVs on some gravel access roads to get to some awesome terrain:






For the time being my shower was a camp shower bag hung from a tree, which worked well enough in the wilderness. Not sure if it would fly in a rest stop/Walmart parking lot. When I would mountain bike I would leave the bag full of water on the hood of the van to try and heat up the water for when I returned. It didn't work great, which is why I am in the process of figuring out a new shower method. (you can see my dog leash method of hoisting the bag high enough up for good water pressure):
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2004 T1N Passenger 140" (Conversion in Progress - Build Thread)

My Website/Blog with Projects and Write Ups on my Van

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Old 05-11-2018, 07:43 PM   #13
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Default Flickr

Just wanted to note that all of the pictures I uploaded on here are hosted by Flickr. I think they have something in their agreement that states you have to link to them or mention them if posted on third party sites or something like that. So heres that: https://www.flickr.com/

So far so good with the photo hosting. I used to use photobucket, but they stopped allowing free third part hosting.
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:00 AM   #14
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Default Re: 2004 T1N Mountain Bike Van Build

It is surprising how much your needs/wants and tastes change. Many folks who are new at van-life style traveling are pretty minimalist. Especially after coming from tent, car, or backpack style camping. After a while you realize just how much easier, and longer you could stay out and on the road with a few amenities.

Good looking van. What does your layout look like? It sounds like you are a solo traveler (not counting the dog obviously).
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: 2004 T1N Mountain Bike Van Build

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Originally Posted by Midwestdrifter View Post
Good looking van. What does your layout look like? It sounds like you are a solo traveler (not counting the dog obviously).
It's still not done on the interior. The interior is still pretty similar except I have removed the seats, insulated, and added flooring. All that's charged is my plan on what I want to do. I have the computer rendering of what I want the interior to be.

I do a lot of solo trip with the dog, but I have to build it to take a few passengers from time to time. I've done 8+ hours with 5 people and 2 dogs a few times in it and I need to keep that as an option. Probably keeping one of those bench seats able to be mounted. Van needs to sleep at least 2-3, preferably 4, but tents are still an option.

This thread is taking me a while, but I'll get all that up on here soon :-)
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:51 AM   #16
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Default Copper Harbor Harmonic Balancer Failure

Fall of 2016 I took a trip up to Copper Harbor Michigan, which has amazing mountain biking, with two dogs and four people. The trip was amazing and another test run of the van with no interior done. If you are in the Midwest and into mountain biking I would really recommend making a few day trip there. I prefer to go in October, its cold, but no one is there and its such a cool little town.

We stayed in Fork Wilkerson State Park and I think we were the only people in the campsite.



The pups loved it too



I had found a Yakima bike rack on craigslist that fit four bikes and folded away so the rear doors could open without taking the bikes off that worked amazing on the van. I am not sure they make that model anymore though.




However this is when things started to go bad. Towards the end of the drive I had noticed a rattling in the front of the engine, similar to a bad pulley. With no tools I took a look the best I could at the front of the engine.



I had no reception up there, but the diner at a local hotel had wifi and was very helpful. With help from people on this forum I was able to figure out it was my harmonic balancer. The outside weighted ring on the harmonic balancer had come loose and was spinning freely on the balancer. Ended up meeting a guy in their local brewery there and he gave me a phone number for a diesel mechanic shop about 30-50 miles away. So after our mountain biking we limped slowly to the shop.

I had to look up the shop, but it was called Bekkalas Diesel Repair (23862 Oneco Rd, Calumet, MI 49913 - (906) 337-5880). I would highly reccomed them if you are in the area. They were really nice and were able to get me in right away even though they were busy. Both the mechanic and I decided the best course of action was to remove the belt, remove the loose ring, and re-torque the harmonic balancer to make sure it could make the 500+ mile drive home and then just go for it.

You can see the ring they removed lying on the floor:


The van in front of their shop:


We made it the 500+ miles back in that condition with no issues at all, except vibration as you neared 70MPH, so we just kept it much slower and it seemed to be fine.

The write up for my issue and the thread I referenced to figure out the issue and repair for those in the same issue.
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:26 AM   #17
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Default Harmonic Balancer Fix

Now that the van is back at home it was time to fix the harmonic balancer. I ordered most of the parts from Europarts-SD and at the recommendation of people on here I did not go cheap with the harmonic balancer, I went with the $200 OEM German one. A note on that also; my van has 250,000 miles on it and this will be its third harmonic balancer. The original would have been a dual AC one and the one I am replacing is not the double belt one so it would have been replaced previously, I am guessing with a cheap one.

The big concern with getting it replaced was going to be the torque wrench, I didn't have one that could do the required specs needed (240 ft-lbs and then 90 degree turn of the bolt). I tried going to a local diesel mechanic shop and asked if they could just torque it down for me, but they wanted $700+ because they "had to remove the radiator". So I decided to do it in the alley behind my house and not remove the radiator:



Once you remove the headlights, grill, and other parts (listed in this post), you can push the radiator forward enough to get to the pulley/harmonic balancer. While I was in there I replaced everything, seemed like the time to prevent another brake down. This flywheel locking tool was essential to loosening and tightening the harmonic balancer as it locks the flywheel, would really recommend getting it.

Replaced:
-Water Pump
-Idler Pulleys
-Belt
-Harmonic Balancer
-Belt Tensioner
-New Bolt for HB

Tools Needed:
-Flywheel Locking Tool
-Torque Wrench capable of 240 ft lbs (Cheap One Here, but I actually used the free loaner rental from AutoZone, oddly enough theirs could do 240 ft lbs and it's free as long as you return it right away)
-Sockets
-Large Allen Key Sockets
-Large Breaker Bar

I was able to do this in the alley behind my house without removing the radiator. It is a real tight fit in there and you have to remove the fan, but its doable. I have not had any issues with it since.
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2004 T1N Mountain Bike Van Build

Van looks great, I started my "temporary" build out of a 2017 3500 4X4 this past Jan., I came up with a shower/toilet combo which cost around $100 and can be taken down when needed. It worked great on our 3 week road trip in Utah and Arizona here is the link for pics

http://http://kitchenhui.com/road-trip/

Last edited by RVCuisineScene; 05-14-2018 at 05:11 PM. Reason: wrong link
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2004 T1N Mountain Bike Van Build

wrong link above here is the link

http://www.KitchenHui.com
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:40 AM   #20
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Default Re: 2004 T1N Mountain Bike Van Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVCuisineScene View Post
Van looks great, I started my "temporary" build out of a 2017 3500 4X4 this past Jan., I came up with a shower/toilet combo which cost around $100 and can be taken down when needed. It worked great on our 3 week road trip in Utah and Arizona here is the link for pics

http://http://kitchenhui.com
I like the idea, but I am dealing with a space issue, so I am trying to develop a plan to have a shower that can be completely removed and stored when not in use. Leaning towards some sort of hanging curtain into a shower pan and a loose hose that hangs from the ceiling hooked into the plumbing system. As for water heater, thinking a 120VAC heating coil submerged in a water tank (small and wrapped in insulation) and set to 90 degrees so there is no mixing of hot/cold required.

This is all just in my head still haha, haven't figure out the implementation of it yet.
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