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Old 09-14-2018, 02:44 AM   #1
radair603
 
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Default 2016 144" 4x4 high bed MTB-carrier build

I have long been a VW Westfalia fan, starting with a 1984 Vanagon full camper and for the last 10 years a 2002 Eurovan Weekender. But I had 2 additional checkmarks I wanted filled, 4-wheel drive and the ability to keep bikes inside for security and cleanliness. My spring trip this year put the nail in the coffin as we negotiated 2 mountain passes in CO in horrendous conditions with our new bikes on a hitch rack getting caked with salty ice.

After viewing a smorgasbord of camper vans at a mountain bike festival in VT, I went home and perused Craigslist for a new rig. To my amazement, I found the exact vehicle I wanted, a 2016 4x4 144". In a bit of a blur, less than 24 hours later my new vehicle was home.

I figured I would document my progress in one place. So here it is.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg New side view (Medium).jpg (154.9 KB, 802 views)
File Type: jpg New front view1 (Medium).jpg (143.0 KB, 660 views)
File Type: jpg New front view2 (Medium).JPG (124.3 KB, 641 views)
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:06 AM   #2
radair603
 
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Default Re: 2016 144" 4x4 high bed MTB-carrier build

First order of business was to get some light and ventilation with a CR Laurence OEM-style sliding door window. I am not the first person to report the single wall sheet metal opening in the van is a little too small. Some frustrating grinding on the forward double-wall section finally did the trick after a few trials. Once installed it looks excellent and I am very happy with the fit and reveals.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Passenger window drill (Medium).jpg (60.6 KB, 621 views)
File Type: jpg Passenger window cut (Medium).jpg (73.7 KB, 570 views)
File Type: jpg Passenger window finish1 (Medium).jpg (74.5 KB, 576 views)
File Type: jpg Passenger window finish2 (Medium).jpg (143.2 KB, 595 views)

Last edited by radair603; 09-14-2018 at 03:09 AM.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:14 AM   #3
radair603
 
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Default Re: 2016 144" 4x4 high bed MTB-carrier build

To get some ventilation in this black oven, next up was a MaxxAir fan. Impact Products roof adapter made marking the hole a breeze and installation was a snap. I cut 1" wide aluminum flat bars to spread out the stresses on the plastic flange. Thanks to Kenetube/Our Karavan/asimba2 for this fine detail.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Roof vent adapter (Medium).jpg (87.4 KB, 493 views)
File Type: jpg Roof vent hole w-directions (Medium).jpg (49.6 KB, 497 views)
File Type: jpg Roof vent hole w-flange (Medium).jpg (57.6 KB, 506 views)

Last edited by radair603; 09-14-2018 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:36 AM   #4
sprinterPaul
 
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Default Re: 2016 144" 4x4 high bed MTB-carrier build

Quote:
Originally Posted by radair603 View Post
I have long been a VW Westfalia fan, starting with a 1984 Vanagon full camper and for the last 10 years a 2002 Eurovan Weekender. But I had 2 additional checkmarks I wanted filled, 4-wheel drive and the ability to keep bikes inside for security and cleanliness. My spring trip this year put the nail in the coffin as we negotiated 2 mountain passes in CO in horrendous conditions with our new bikes on a hitch rack getting caked with salty ice.

After viewing a smorgasbord of camper vans at a mountain bike festival in VT, I went home and perused Craigslist for a new rig. To my amazement, I found the exact vehicle I wanted, a 2016 4x4 144". In a bit of a blur, less than 24 hours later my new vehicle was home.

I figured I would document my progress in one place. So here it is.


That thing looks brand new! Nice find.


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radair603 (01-03-2019)
Old 09-17-2018, 02:23 PM   #5
radair603
 
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Default Insulation - yawn

We've made some killer progress over the last couple of weekends. Sequencing wiring, roof installations (solar panel penetrations and factory roof rails) and insulation is a bit of a puzzle. Analysis paralysis is a real concern at times.

Throughout the walls, door panels and ceiling we added Rockville Rockmat, a 72 mil butyl product similar to Rattletrap or Fat Mat. Then we went to town with Thinsulate, using 3M 90 spray adhesive for the ceiling and blank rear window sections. It fits nicely in the vertical walls without adhesive. My lady and I were both super impressed with Thinsulate - easy to work with, cuts nicely with scissors and/or Rotomat and can be fished or stuffed in impossible to reach locations, like the roof ribs. And is not itchy like fiberglass or squeaky like rigid foam. Wonderful product. We pulled out the cab headliner (thanks to Orton DIY instructions!) and sound deadened and Thinsulated behind it also. Not too bad a task. The key to getting it back in is not to start off too high - with the headliner that is.

For the floor, we took out the factory floor and filled the corrugated valleys with Kilmat closed cell foam. Kilmat is about .3" thick, adhesive backed and foil faced. The 3 deep valleys, one in center and one on each side, have two layers. The bottom layer is 1-1/2" wide and the top layer is 4-1/4" or 5-3/4" wide depending on location. While you still end up with the steel ridges showing, I figured having 60% of the floor covered in insulation is better than zero. Over the top of this we put down 1/4" polyethylene foam (4 lb. density) from the Foam Factory. This stuff is great; it's 5' wide so I laid the factory floor on top of it (cardboard underneath) and easily and quickly cut it out with a razor knife, including the tie-down holes. I would have liked to have covered the entire floor with Rockmat under the foam but did not have enough left. The net result is we only lost 1/4" of height - important to us because the bed is going to be very high to accommodate bikes with both wheels on.

I realize this is boring stuff but we benefited greatly from negotiating the rabbit hole of others' experiences so might as well add to it!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Floor valley insulation2.jpg (142.2 KB, 568 views)
File Type: jpg Headliner sound deadener1 (Medium).jpg (115.6 KB, 544 views)
File Type: jpg Headliner insulation (Medium).jpg (95.1 KB, 521 views)
File Type: jpg Wheelwell insulation (Medium).jpg (93.9 KB, 553 views)
File Type: jpg Thinsulate 1 (Medium).jpg (145.7 KB, 541 views)

Last edited by radair603; 09-17-2018 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:50 PM   #6
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Default Roof rails and solar panel

Before we could insulate the ceiling, we had to wrap up penetrations through the roof. I bought factory M-B roof rails at my local dealership. They quoted me $315 but when I mentioned the $219 Tampa FL link I saw on this forum the parts guy cut his price to $263, cheaper than the Rhino Rails I tried to buy through eTrailer. Those arrived bent like a hockey stick and eFailer said they were no longer shipping them. The factory rails are excellent, with studs installed that match the van's hole spacing perfectly and galvanized nuts with washers built in. Popping the plastic plugs out was fairly easy using a heat gun and instructions pulled from this site. I don't have plans to use the roof rails until/if I get an awning but knew I needed to get them installed to insulate. So we did.

The 300W solar panel was mounted directly to roof using 8 Z-brackets with VHB tape. I drilled a pair of holes for the 10 ga wire, painted the bare metal and installed rubber grommets and a Link Solar entry gland. That all went smoothly.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Roof rail (Medium).jpg (115.5 KB, 527 views)
File Type: jpg Solar roof holes (Medium).jpg (83.2 KB, 530 views)
File Type: jpg Solar entry gland (Medium).jpg (77.3 KB, 522 views)
File Type: jpg Solar panel (Medium).jpg (134.3 KB, 531 views)

Last edited by radair603; 09-17-2018 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:16 PM   #7
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Default Driver's side window, swivel seats, rear step

One of the first things I ordered was swivel seat adapters. I don't like that they jack up the seat a couple inches but I love the swivel.

I liked the light and ventilation from the CRL passenger side window and decided to add one to the driver's side, despite objections from my lady. This side goes in super easy, just cut out the single wall section, file & paint and drop it in.

I welded up a quick step to plug into the receiver hitch - these 4x4 vans are tall! I need to come up with nerf bars or something for the rest of the doors.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Swivel seats (Medium).jpg (70.5 KB, 531 views)
File Type: jpg Driver's side window (Medium).jpg (103.1 KB, 512 views)
File Type: jpg Driver's side window close (Medium).jpg (70.9 KB, 500 views)
File Type: jpg Rear step (Medium).jpg (131.7 KB, 541 views)
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2016 144" 4x4 high bed MTB-carrier build

Looks like a good build. Thanks for keeping the info coming.
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radair603 (09-17-2018)
Old 09-18-2018, 02:31 AM   #9
radair603
 
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Default Re: 2016 144" 4x4 high bed MTB-carrier build

I learned an important lesson tonight. I ordered 8.8 mm drill bits from Amazon for my 1/4-20 rivnuts to attach strapping to the ceiling and panels to the walls. I checked the rivnuts with a caliper when I received them - 8.7 mm. Perfect. Then i proceeded to drill about 55 factory holes out to 8.8 mm. My wonderful lady friend followed me and painted the ID of each hole. But as it got dark I found that I could not fit a rivnut into the holes. I measured the bits at 8.5 mm to 8.6 mm in diameter. I went back out in the dark with a headlamp to see if the rivnuts could be force fit. No f'ng way.

Note to self - check the FIRST hole/bolt/nut/etc before going full assembly line mode. I am as pissed at myself as I am at the Chinese distributor of these undersized bits. Oh, and when Amazon says "be the first to review this item" you had better beware!
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File Type: jpg drill bit fiasco1.jpg (63.0 KB, 510 views)
File Type: jpg drill bit fiasco2.jpg (63.8 KB, 466 views)

Last edited by radair603; 09-18-2018 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 09-18-2018, 03:14 AM   #10
sprinterPaul
 
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Default Re: 2016 144" 4x4 high bed MTB-carrier build

Quote:
Originally Posted by radair603 View Post
I learned an important lesson tonight. I ordered 8.8 mm drill bits from Amazon for my 1/4-20 rivnuts to attach strapping to the ceiling and panels to the walls. I checked the rivnuts with a caliper when I received them - 8.7 mm. Perfect. Then i proceeded to drill about 55 factory holes out to 8.8 mm. My wonderful lady friend followed me and painted the ID of each hole. But as it got dark I found that I could not fit a rivnut into the holes. I measured the bits at 8.5 mm to 8.6 mm in diameter. I went back out in the dark with a headlamp to see if the rivnuts could be force fit. No f'ng way.



Note to self - check the FIRST hole/bolt/nut/etc before going full assembly line mode. I am as pissed at myself as I am at the Chinese distributor of these undersized bits. Oh, and when Amazon says "be the first to review this item" you had better beware!


Tap with hammer didn't do it? Also recommend practicing a bit with scrap material. Get feel for tool to avoid overdoing it. You may be rivnut expert. But just in case it's easy to over do it and then get it off center. The threads will bind and then you can get a spinner.


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