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Old 01-28-2014, 11:32 PM   #1
PaulDavis
 
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Default Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

After about 3 months reading the forums, my conversion process starts ... now.

Just drove back from Ashland, VA with a 2010 NCV3 2500 170", odometer 64250 miles. The goal is to convert this thing into a place where my wife and I can travel for about half the year, and in which I can work writing software while we do. Lots of challenges, but the forums here have me feeling very confident in both my current plans and my sense that I'll find help and/or ideas here if/when I run into an issue. My software is called Ardour (http://ardour.org/) and the van will carry a PA plate that says "ARDOUR" :)

Two opening shots from the dealer to get us started:




Last edited by PaulDavis; 01-28-2014 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:08 PM   #2
hein
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

Looks like there will be some nice shelving showing up on CL in your area.
I have a nephew who is a recording engineer and told him about your software.

I've had some folks asking about a battery tray located ahead of the rear tires.
Can you post a picture of this area? There is not as much room as on a 3500
but still might be able to get 1 battery on each side.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

Removed shelves, bulkhead:



Sad to see the destruction caused by whoever installed the old Weatherguard bulkhead:




Removed factory floor:



Dismayed to find (a) some kind of solvent spill in a rear corner that caused a nasty tar-like deposit to come out of the floor under-felt.



Next up: cleaning floor, priming a few dozen holes left by self-tapping screws from previous panneling. fixing the usual problem with the side-trim mounting holes.

Oh, the fantastic fan arrived too, meaning there is nothing really stopping me from making the first cut. Shiver.

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Old 02-01-2014, 10:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

Looks like you scored!
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:27 AM   #5
hein
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

I see the notorious leaking trim clips and also water leaking past the sticker over that oval holes. Good time to get that sealed.
Link to my thread with the plugs you can get: http://sprinter-source.com/forum/sho...6&postcount=55

P.S. I know someone who has a wrecked NCV3 who might still have those B pillar cover moldings if you want to replace them.
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

What the cat dragged in:



The one thing I've got done so far:



It is too cold here for any conversion work at all. Metal primer paint won't cure, contact adhesive won't cure, sealants won't cure, moisture won't evaporate. And there's another 6-8 inches of snow+ice due tonight and tomorrow.

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Old 02-13-2014, 09:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

Well, at least I get part of the required weather to begin working on the beast next week:



I guess it would be too much to ask for no rain?
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

That weather's the reason we are heading down from an hour north of Toronto to a friend's driveway in South Carolina to begin our conversion of our 2013 170. Sound dampening and EZ Cool being on our list to get accomplished in our ten days there.

Yesterday, we had the good people at Transform Outfitters in St. Catherines, Ontario put two CL Laurence windows into our as yet un-named vehicle.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

Time to get started on something, given a few days thaw. Temperatures hit 61F here today, with snow still everywhere but melting fast, but also rain all day. Tomorrow should be low 50's with no rain, Sunday is low 50's with maybe rain and Monday is 37F and clear as we head back to winter weather. Took a long trip to Lowes to pick up some necessary tools. Spent the morning rebuilding my Ryobi BT3000 tablesaw, which hasn't seen any action in a decade or so (and whose predecessor amputed the end of my thumb).

First things first: Having read MeanInGreen's thread on rust formation and Hein's observations on water entry, both occuring behind the side trim, I wanted to take care of this issue ASAP. It is evident in a picture above that the trim mounting pins are leaking and that the stickers put over the larger holes are also admitting water. Picked out my newly acquired "plastic-on-plastic" tool:



and gently levered the driver side trim from the body. I started with the little piece right under the fuel door, just to get a sense of the amount of force required. A bit more than I expected, but not huge. Then moved on to the long section that is not touched by the wheel well trim, and then finally the two pieces on either side of the wheel well. As expected, some number of the plastic pins that hold the trim to the wall came out with the trim, but most stayed in the body. I started taking off the wheel well trim, but found that to be a mistake - very easy to break the mounting tabs on the trim when doing this. I found that releasing it from the attachments most "down" on both sides of the well, I could get enough leverage on the side trim to remove it even with the well trim still mostly attached.

And what did I find?



Thankfully no obvious rust yet. But absolutely no sealant around any of the trim mounting pins, and the stupid tape to cover the larger holes. What are these holes for anyway? My plan is to follow MeanInGreen's actions: thoroughly clean the entire area with soap and water to remove actual dirt, then go over it with a light solvent to remove any grease. Then I'll use Sikaflex on all the mounting pins, and then spray the bulk of the area covered by trim with this stuff:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

which is the closest thing I could find to the UK-produce compound that MeanInGreen used for this purpose. The exposed horizontal seam really is a terrible idea on MB's part, and needs better protection that the little strip of undercoat that they appear to have half-heartedly applied. And all those leaking holes!
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Ardour HQ - 2010 NCV3 2500 170 mobile life conversion

Having gotten a view of the side trim task, it was time to move inside and get a small but vital charge completed: adding an Aux input to the factory sound. I had already done the magic menu machinations to enable the Aux input (as documented here: http://www.mercedes.gen.in/WP35/merc...est-mode-menu/) and had ordered one of these: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008LBGCF2/..._M3T1_ST1_dp_1 which gave me a male stereo minijack pre-wired to the blue block that plugs into the back of the Sound 5.

With a little trepidation, I started dissassembling the center dash/console, following the steps in gyzari's video (search youtube for: Dodge Mercedes Sprinter stock stereo Sound 5 replacement)

I had to return to it to check on how to remove the wierd empty box below the Sound 5 unit - turns out that it just levers out, but requires a surpising amount of force. His video is visible on the netbook below:



I had purchased a couple of stereo minijacks sockets, planning to mount at least one of them in the trim around the Sound5. But I realized this would be a bad idea because it would make removing the trim rather difficult in the future. In the end I had removed enough of the center console trim that an alternative path became clear that let me (a) avoid cutting the cable to wire it to the socket (b) soldering (c) drilling any holes. I fed the cable rightwards, up and over the right-center cold air vent, and through a small gap into the passenger side "top tray".



I zip-tied the new cable to an existing hole in the dash framing (and the flexi-bundle heading in roughly the same direction). You can see the cable just above the air vent, and then out in the open in the passenger tray.

Music is a central part of my day to day life, and definitely on the road, and although I imagine lots of other modifications and additions to the overall audio situation, just being able to plug our existing 120GB music collection into the Sound5 already seems like a big step. The Aux jack gives us more flexibility in terms of device hookup (one day my Sansa Clip+, another day someone's phone, another day a computer with the music collection on it, etc. etc). I'd love to just get a DIN unit with USB support except that I'm enough of a geek that 75% of our music is in Ogg/Vorbis format. It is VERY hard to get information on whether or not modern car audio devices will support Ogg/Vorbis at this point - I've tried. So Aux jack it is - simple, device and format agnostic.

Tomorrow, the cutting begins!

Last edited by PaulDavis; 02-22-2014 at 01:53 AM.
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