PAV Adventure 4x4 Build

ddunaway

Member
Skis get all corroded surprisingly quickly riding outside exposed to road grime and elements. Ideally they are sealed in something. I suppose a bag on a rack could work.
These thing are interesting. They show them strapped to the roof in the second link. Maybe strap them to a trailer hitch rack. Wood coffins are probably cheaper but you can used these for travel also (assuming you travel far afield to ski).

https://www.sportube.com/Ski-s/1814.htm
https://www.sportube.com/Roof-Rack-Straps-p/rrstrpspk.htm
 

ddunaway

Member
Big progress last weekend. I basically finished most of the initial electrical and successfully testing it all including the MaxAirfan and the Espar D2!!! Still need to sort out the exhaust on the D2 but at least all the little wires, Dsubs, and fuel line shenanigans are done.

Current Electrical Setup
My electrical setup is pretty simple given that it is all DC. All wires feed under the driver's seat down by the drivers side B pillar. It is all reasonable tidy. The crux was finding some fuse bars to fit under the MB fuses and making a bracket, so it all fit nicely.

I just need to run the solar wires through the roof to be "solar ready".....next few days hopefully. Working toward the milestone of re-installing the headliner. Lighting is the other thing to figure out before headliner goes up.....
 

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ddunaway

Member
Future electrical plan
Here is what I plan in the near on the electrical. I will add 2 group 27 batteries under the chassis (in the new Hein tray). That will give about 285Ahr....should be plenty in super cold temps for up to a week. I'll also add a couple solar panels to run a refrigerator full time and keep the batteries topped off. In addition, there will be one more fuse box in the driver side mid ship, so I can easily add more stuff as plans evolve.

The idea of the switch is that I can isolate all the loads, connect to the MB battery, connect to the other 2 house batteries, or just have it all hooked together (which will probably be most of the time). For jumping I could just separate the MB house from the other 2 house batteries and connect 1 small positive jumper cable under the hood, since the starting and MB house are the same type of battery.

Please offer suggestions.

Outstanding questions..
- Missing a few fuses on the batteries?
- Add battery monitor?
- Should just ground my house batteries to chassis somewhere or run wires all the way to connect to the MB auxiliary battery as shown?
- Lighting - I plan to replace the factor headliner light bulbs with LEDs. Should that circuit be put on the house batteries or is current draw so low that it is unimportant? I ran my wires to those locations in case I decide to move the circuit to the house side. Ideally, one might have the switch take power from the house circuit on the always on switched mode, and then still have the switched lighting working when the doors open. I do wonder if I can make that happen by placing a connector that jumpers in the House power on one of those circuits between the 1st switched overhead light and the MB wiring ......worried that it might mess with the MB electrical magic if I get too cute here though.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Final Espar Install Details

This little project touches a lot of aspects of the vehicle and really gives you a crash course in upfitting. The last 20% took a while to finish.....mostly due to where I wanted the exhaust and fear of melting the fuel line.

It's under the passenger seat....
 

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ddunaway

Member
Exhuast

I did not want the exhaust to come back in open doors or windows. When I initially decided to do the under passenger seat install, I did not realize that most people put the exhaust close to the slider door. I wanted to run the exhaust out near the drivers side rear wheel. To do this I transitioned to 30 mm tubing after the heater which is mounted close to the heater. SS Espar tubing is not cheap and lots more brackets.....
 

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ddunaway

Member
Fuel pump, fuel line and heat shielding

The fuel pump is mounted near the gas tank by where the fill tube goes into the tank. The fuel line goes above the tank and generally takes advantage of some holes that go thru the frame in various places on the passenger side. I went a little crazy on heat shielding.....how much is enough really?.....better safe than sorry. Anywhere that there could be radiant heat from the vehicle exhaust or Espar exhaust close to heater I ran the tubing through aluminized heat shield tubes. Anywhere there was radiant heat from the vehicle exhaust I also made heat shields that covered the tubing that was already in aluminized heat shield. I know...over the top.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Controller and High Altitude Sensor

The controller is mounted above the map light/overhead console in the headliner. Wait to install the electrical connectors on the controller till it is mounted in the location of choice or you get to cut and re-spice the wires to mount it (like I did). High altitude sensor is right behind it in the headliner.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Solar

I wanted to have enough solar....
  • to run a DC refrigerator full time
  • to give some power in the winter to allow me to stay longer in one place and run the heater
  • to keep the batteries fully charged w/o ever having to plug in

I also wanted to keep my options open for the roof. I may want to put my rocket box up there at some point. I went with (2) 100W Renology rigid panels. They are mounted with Hein's adapters, which are compatible with a Fiamma. With 2 panels, I figure I can take one panel off and mount the rocket box next to it if I feel so inclined.

To take wires through the roof, I used some electrical connectors recommended by Graphite Dave (aluminum 1/2" NPT 90 degree cord grips, McMaster-Carr # 8317k2). I ordered a variety of other fittings that I did not like much.
 

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ddunaway

Member
MPPT controller and 2nd Auxilliary panel

I mounted the Tracer MPPT controller in a temporary location behind the driver side crew window. #6 wire runs underneath the window near the floor in the wall to a blue sea panel mounted under the controller. The controller feeds into the panel. The solar wires are left long, so I can move these components around when I settle on a final configuration. The second panel will allow me to add circuits later w/o much trouble. All other wiring goes along the drivers side ceiling (to be covered by crew headliner) and down the drivers side B-pillar to under the drivers seat.

Need more batteries now......this system charges up my MB house battery fast.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Augmenting the thinsulate with reflectix

Right before installing the headliner I decided to augment my insulation with reflectix. In certain areas of the factory crew headliner, there is a significant air gap. In these areas it seemed reasonable to put a layer of reflectix to get some radiative insulation benefit. I was also able to cover up a lot of exposed metal between the thinsulate pieces and the metal structure.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Major milestone - Crew headliner is installed again!

The main goal is to get to a modest level of functionality in a relatively short time frame and be ready for winter. I am sure that I will be adding an upper cabinet at some point or additional lights once I settle on the inside configuration but for the medium term everything above the headliner and on the roof is basically complete. I say basically because I left some options open for wiring the factory done lights....more on that later....

I installed the headliner from the back forward. I am sure this is how it is done initially. If I took it down again, I would probably start from the front. It is clear to me now that you can actually remove any one piece without the others. It's really not that difficult and comparatively fast compared to everything else that one might do.

I initially thought that I only broke 4 push pins (sheared off top) but many in the larger pieces (front and middle sections) also had more subtle damage (broken fins) that eliminated their holding power. I needed to get 10 more.....still waiting for 3 from MB.

I cut the hole for the fan using a utility knife like Pfflyer. It was pretty easy.

I am trying out some fishing line loops (blue tape is holding those) in the headliner seams. The idea is to be able to hang really light things. We'll see how that works.

Put the drivers seat back in and drove it around....still runs after several months.
 

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ddunaway

Member
Inside layout concepts germinating - where does the gear go?

We need to be able to accommodate skis and bikes......but skis are paramount. Here is one idea....the skis might go in some sort of trough to catch the water......the trough could be a long drawer that slides under a bed/storage box. The bikes could be mounted in an open area under the bed.

Essentially, I am thinking about a cross between these two concepts,

1) Bed/storage area kind like this...
https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36993

2) A slide out ski trough/drawer like what has been done with the Mountain bikes..

The general layout of gear would look like the last picture. That is 4 sets of skis and poles (a minimum) and 2 mountain bikes in the van in the approximate locations.
 

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ColoradoTom

New member
Looks great!
I can't wait to see that battery tray, I hope to buy one soon too.
 
Wow, never seen those before. Those could strap on the roof or go on back or even inside I suppose....wonder if they are water tight?
Been a while so maybe you now know but these boxes though durable enough to stand more than a decade of airline abuse are not waterproof. The ass end is a hair smaller and fits neatly with it's mate. Basic design has lots of overlap and gravity will need to assist any leaks as long as the pointy end is in the wind.

I like you open drawer idea (stored in the van) better as first thing I do after return to ATL from SLC is open it up to breathe out what once was snow.


Sweet van - mine is going to serve similar needs - bikes, boats, boards, cams, etc. :thumbup: Thanks for the write up - I've got some dirt sale up in the hills, going to fund my 3500 170 Ext 4wd - hopefully sooner than not.

Question on the espar fuel line - how did you tap the tank? A dude from here (and MC site ADV) with screen name 'Geek' had a post suggesting need for KL1 Aux Fuel Sending Unit but I did not see it on your build sheet.
 

ddunaway

Member
Question on the espar fuel line - how did you tap the tank? A dude from here (and MC site ADV) with screen name 'Geek' had a post suggesting need for KL1 Aux Fuel Sending Unit but I did not see it on your build sheet.
Sutherngintelmen,

There is a second fuel tap on the tank that comes standard (only goes part way down to prevent using all the fuel...last 5 gal is inaccessible). It comes off the top and goes toward the drivers side just above where the fill comes in. It kind of goes toward the front of the fill tube but I redirected it toward the back of the fill tube because that was a better location for my pump (which comes with the Espar).

There is a very specific connector that you could probably buy to connect to the fuel line but I just cut it off and clamped on standard fuel line you get from the auto parts store. The fuel line from the auto parts store is much more flexible than the black stuff that came with the Espar.

If you get the heater booster or aux heater there might already be something connected to this line but I think you just T into it in that case....can't say for sure since I did not do it.
 

Oberon

New member
Ddunaway,

Just joined the forum and yours was the first conversion thread I have read through so far. Thank you for putting the time in to share your journey. We have just picked up our 4x4 170 cargo van and in the planning stages of the conversion. We spent a few hours today just sitting in it and thinking through layouts. This will be our first conversion and there is a good healthy mix or excitement and fear as much of the work we have never attempted before. We are also in Seattle and would love to buy you a coffee or beer sometime to pick your brains and share ideas. Looking forward to the next installment.
 

ddunaway

Member
Ddunaway,

Just joined the forum and yours was the first conversion thread I have read through so far. Thank you for putting the time in to share your journey. We have just picked up our 4x4 170 cargo van and in the planning stages of the conversion. We spent a few hours today just sitting in it and thinking through layouts. This will be our first conversion and there is a good healthy mix or excitement and fear as much of the work we have never attempted before. We are also in Seattle and would love to buy you a coffee or beer sometime to pick your brains and share ideas. Looking forward to the next installment.
Oberon,

I am glad that you find the write-up useful. There are certainly plenty of others on this forum with more experience and skills than me.....my first time too. I would be happy to meet with you and impart what I have learned so far and bounce ideas back and forth. I'll PM you.
 

ddunaway

Member
Been doing some outdoor recreating....climbing mountains.....planning and ordering materials. Winter is coming so time to get it done!!!!!.....at least phase 1.

Final electrical

I did a lot of research and almost got drawn into building a 200Ahr Lithium battery but decided the added complexity and cost was silly for me at this point. Later on after I test out the build and prices drop etc .........maybe then.

In the end, I decided to add 2 group 31 Fullrivers inside instead of under the chassis. The only use case where I really need the power is in the winter, and I did not want to give up most of my power to the cold. I will treat the OEM under hood battery as sort of a backup and use it separately from the 2 Fullrivers inside. The switch allows me to run off the OEM or the Fullrivers or both. If someone wanted a second OEM battery I would probably sell it....long term I will probably put something else under the hood in that location.

Here is the final electrical to be implemented mostly by this weekend. I did not show all the grounds on the loads or all the lighting circuits.
 

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