2015 170” DirtDevil Build

casmith32

Member
After months and months of research, mining this site, and purchasing my van, I'm finally getting to kicking off the build thread in the hopes that I can contribute to the community and give back a bit. I've enjoyed digging through everyone's ideas and builds; It's helped me quite a bit thus far, and hoping that will continue with feed back on my build. I’ll jump right into it:




Intro:

The patient: 2015 Sprinter 170” Cargo High-roof ; 4 cyl, 7 Speed, 2WD
Location: Colorado

Notable Options:

  • Factory Swivel Seats
  • Heated seats
  • Multi-function Steering Wheel with Cruise Control
  • Radio-Prep Package (speakers, antenna, basic harness/No CANBUS)
  • Alloy Wheels
  • PSM
  • A/C
  • Parktronic
  • Factory Hitch

I ordered the van in early 2015, and it arrived late May. I’d contemplated back and forth between the 2WD and the 4WD option, as I had an opportunity to grab one of the available 4x4 orders at my local dealer (dealers had limited orders for 4x4s initially). I struggled with the decision, as I travel off pavement quite a bit for camping and mountain bike adventures, with multiple trips into, and over the Colorado Rockies; Winter brings snow and trips to the mountain resorts with friends.

Naturally one would think a 4x4 is the ticket - but after multiple discussions with my dealer, friends who have sprinters here in CO, and the local resort transport company, Colorado Mountain Express. CME, passed up going with 4x4’s citing they get great mileage with their 2WD and good snow tires, and have little to no issues. Couple that with the fact that the 4x4 would cost me upwards of $8K more, I decided to stick with the 2WD 7sp model. We’ll see if I regret the decision or not...

Goals:
  • Adventure/Camper Van with modular configurations to accommodate all my toys and support working remotely ( IT-related )
  • Full Camper kit - Solar, kitchen galley, toy storage in rear with multiple configurations possible, hot water, outdoor shower, etc.
  • Occasional 2-3 day stints in camping destinations off the grid, sometimes in light off-road/snowy destinations.
  • Transport, SAG, etc for my small bike biz


The basics:

Electrical:
  • Goal #1: Accommodate auto-switching between House Battery power, Shore power, and Solar power ;
  • Goal #2: Charging via Alternator while driving, Solar, and shore power when parked.
    [*]Estimated Loads (12v):
    • 12v/120v Fridge/Freezer
    • (2) MaxxFan Delux 7800 Fans
    • (8) LED lighting overhead
    • (1) LED light strip for Fiamma Awning - outside
    • (2) LED light cubes - rear exterior
    • Laptop Computer
    • Chargers for phone, tablet, etc
    • Water pump
    • air compressor
    • Heater (Espar D5 w/radiator fan or Webasto Dual Top)
  • Estimated Loads (120v): (2) 120v Duplex outlets:
  • (1) Duplex for Kitchen Galley ; (1) rear of van for auxiliary use ;
    • Induction Hotplate
    • Hot Water Kettle
  • Batteries: I’ve decided to go with L-ION ; GUESStimated initial need : 100 A/hr.


Plumbing
  • 15-20 gal fresh water tank; no grey water, just drain outside for sink.
  • Kitchen Galley sink
  • External Shower (showers, and washing gear)
  • Hot water via Espar or Webasto setup

Climate Control / Ventilation
  • (2) MaxxFan Delux 7800
  • Espar D5 (similar to Rixen setup) or Webasto Dual Top (if I can find one!)

Utility
  • air compressor mounted under van for my toys and tools.
  • Awning
  • External LED lighting
  • Bike/gear storage in rear
  • Modular bed, benches, and tool cabinet;

Getting Started....

First order of business was to get some better kicks on the Sprinter Can... something more suitable for some all terrain goodness...Immediately pulled off the stock tires (who wants them?) and put on some BFG A/Ts.


Then I had VanWorks (Ft. Collins, CO) install a vented window on the driver's side, as well as a 3-person OEM bench seat in a special location for me.


Next up - Stereo System...gotta have some music!!!
 

Attachments

Last edited:

casmith32

Member
2015 170” DirtDevil Build: Stereo System Install

Next in the build…I need a stereo system! When I ordered the van, I knew from the start that I’d be putting in a custom stereo and speakers. So I decided to order it w/out a stereo system and save myself $350; also known as the “Radio Prep Package (Code ER0)”. To clear things up, contrary to what some folks think, this is not the "radio delete package”. The differentiation is that the radio prep package is everything except the actual radio - per the 2015 Sprinter upfit guide (pg 60):

CODE ER0 Preparation for Radio Retrofit Pre-installation for radio
Pre-wiring (12 V) for retrofitting a (commercially available) radio, plus short-range interference suppression and a flexible stub antenna on roof. Chassis Cab and Cargo Vans have 5 front loudspeakers (EL8), Passenger Vans come with 5 front and 8 rear loudspeakers (EL9).


And, now here it the important part that I didn’t pay attention to initially, but it’s important:

"NOTE: The pre-installation for radio does not support CAN/MOST technology. After market radios will not work with highline steering wheel and cluster. Additional wiring must be retrofitted in order to retrofit a factory supplied radio. Without this wiring, functions such as recognition of the key position (radio continues to operate after the ignition key has been removed etc.) as well as control of the radio via the multifunction steering wheel and display of radio information in the instrument cluster are not supported."

That’s all fine and dandy if you are just installing the aftermarket stereo, but if you also want the steering wheel controls integrated, you’ll need CANBUS access…more on that later...

The Radio Delete package basically doesn’t have anything, not even the wiring or antenna… So if you read this to help decide, make sure you get either a radio installed, or the Radio Prep Package.

The System

I ordered the following components to complete my system:

  • Head Unit - Pioneer AVIC-7100NEX
  • Front Component Speakera: JBL GTO608C 2-Way
  • Rear Speaker - JBL 6.5 GTO628
  • Radio Harness - Metra 70-1784
  • DIN kit - SCOSCHE CR1294B Installation Kit
  • Steering Wheel Control - Axxess SWC-1
  • Reverse Camera - Rear View Safety Third-Light Camera for Sprinter Vans

Diagrammed my wiring and placement of everything (see attached), then went to town ripping up my brand new van !!!

Disassembling the Dash

Plenty of other posts here on dash removal, so I’ll keep this to just the more complex parts that I didn’t see anyone else post…Definitely get a good set of panel removal tools - can be found cheap on Amazon or Ebay.

  1. Removed the center trim panel around the radio compartment, start at the bottom - pops off pretty easily. Then the adjacent vent panels; If you have the lid on the center console make sure you lift it up first.
  2. Removed all the screws underneath the trim panel, and the corresponding DIN insert, and hazard control panel and A/C control panel to open up the entire center of the dash.
  3. Removed the tweeter covers, then unscrewed the top lid and vent covers and removed them; you have to slightly pull them to release, then lift them out. Before you can pull them out completely you need to disconnect the tweeters.
  4. Then removed the A-pillar covers and went ahead and removed the glove box, floor covers, and then bottom center panel, to enable access to the cable channel that runs beneath the seat pedestals.

In the end, this is what my van looked like when I was done...
Cabin-removed.jpg
CtrConsPanelRemoved.jpg
GloveBox-Removed.jpg

Next up - removing the door panels...
 

Attachments

casmith32

Member
Disassembling the Door panels for Speaker wiring


Next up, I removed the door lock covers, carefully removed the covers over the handle and door latch, then began to pry off the door panels. A short and a long panel pry tool is useful here; the kind that look like a screwdriver
The longer one is useful for prying the middle panel anchor up. You don’t need to have these but it makes it easier to get the door panel off w/out breaking the green door panel anchors; Available cheap on Amazon...

IMG_4129 (1).jpg
DoorPanelLockcover.jpg
DoorPanelRemoved.jpg
Lock-lever-mech.jpg
After prying the door panel off, disconnected the window control plugs, and the door latch mechanism, which is the yellow end piece. Simply pops out, then angles down to come out of the door latch.

DoorPanel1.jpg
Disconnect the electrical plugs and the panel is off the door...
 

casmith32

Member
2015 170” DirtDevil Build - Stereo Install

With the door panels off I proceeded to insulate them with Thinsulate...

Needed to disconnect the rubber wiring conduit between the door and the body. Made it easier to fish the speaker wire through the door. Took some time to get it to release; had to work it from the back side, in the door. The alternative is to try and work the end back on to the grommet, but that looked harder to me.
DoorWireConduit.jpg

With Dash and door panels exposed, I ran speaker wire from tweeter locations and doors, to the radio location; crossovers mounted under the radio. I also ran speaker wire, and RCA cables down the wiring trough to under the passenger seat, where I’ll mount the amp. Wires were ran in wiring loom. Also removed the headliner in prep for insulating and sound deadening.
DP3-thinsulated.jpg

Installed Crossovers for components. They happen to fit perfectly on top of the center-bottom compartment that sits above the pull out cup holder. I did fabricate a wood platform, then used some industrial velcro to mount them to the panel.
IMG_4086.jpg
IMG_4087.jpg
Situated the GPS Antenna in a perfect little recess on the dash just left of the center lid location. Ran the cable over and underneath the Center speaker location, and center lid, down into the radio area. Checked that the cable doesn’t get pinched anywhere - the panels float over it nicely.
GPSLocation2.jpg
 

casmith32

Member
2015 170” DirtDevil Build: Stereo System Install

Next I wanted to get the mic wired...

For the Bluetooth mic, I really wanted to try and figure out how to use the factory BT mic; Even though I didn’t get a radio, they still supplied it with the radio pre package. It’s situated in the headline light console, in the center.
OEM-MIC.jpg
mic-location.jpg
IMG_4146.jpg

Thinking it was higher quality than the one I got with my head unit, I initially tried to get it to work by modifying a cheap mic I bought off amazon, but I couldn’t get it to work. Waste of time and probably overkill anyways...
After that failure, I just used the stereo mic and mounted it with double sided tape in the same location. The installation came out very clean and there isn’t any issues with the sound clarity.

Ordered the speaker adapters from Hein. Mounted in the doors and reinstalled the cover. Tested the system before replacing the door panels.
The speaker comes right up to the opening in the panel. The outer rubber ring just touches the panel to form a tight seal. but its not compressing the rubber. I’m not sure if this is bad or not.

Ran the XM stereo antenna up the right A pillar and along the ceiling to the walls to the rear of the van; then out the brake light opening and mounted just above the light.
Also installed the rear view camera. XM reception is great - no issues yet. Glad I took the time and effort to do that vs trying to install it in the dash or something; I’m sure I’d have nothing but issues with reception as I traveled if I did that. I followed XM’s recommendation and am happy I did...
IMG_4160.jpg

For the rear view camera, I used a posi-tap, and tapped into the Left-side A-Pillar reverse light wire (WHT/BLU) for reverse signal to the head unit ; so the unit switched to camera when in reverse. The posi-tap is nice since if I had to remove it, it only leaves a small hole where it pierced the wire; easy to patch with some elec. tape if needed. And it’s much more reliable than those t-taps I think. These won’t come loose.
IMG_4150.jpg

Now's time to start pulling it all together...
 

casmith32

Member
Bringing it all together:

Last bit of wiring, getting the USB/AUX and HDMI extensions wired into the center console... pretty easy..
IMG_4250.jpg

Ran the wiring in the floor to the passenger seat where the amp goes. Ran power over to driver side and tapped into the switched 12v+. Grounded to grounding posts in the passenger seat pedestal. will fabricate mounting and such later... as I have two 50Ah LifePo4 batts going in there too.... I left extra slack for now in cables since I'm not sure if this will be the final location for the amp. I may try and fit more batteries in there.
IMG_4088.jpg

Now comes the fun part - installing the head unit and making all the connections…The biggest frustration I had initially was the fact that I couldn’t find out what the extra pin was in my factory harness. The Upfit manual describes the pinout for a “Radio Prep” package, and doesn’t show pin1 being populated. Says it’s N.C. After mining the forums, MB, and the internet, I finally found a schematic that represents the wiring I found in my van.
MB-ER0-Wiring.jpg

It looks like Pin 1 goes to the CANBUS computer or something. I tested it and it gets 12v+ when ignition is off; Then voltage drops as soon as you put the key in the ignition. Nevertheless, I punted on trying to determine what Pin 1 was for and just continued; never used it for anything. Got wiring harness connections done and plugged everything in. Once I got everything up and running and tested, the last thing was to get the steering wheel controls to work.


Steering Wheel Controls

I learned that a lot of installers go with the PAC Audio interface. I chose to run with the Axxess ASWC-1. More simple, and I didn’t need to buy additional components for it to work.
ASWC-1.jpg

The install of the ASWC-1 only required basically 5 connections:
  • 12+ - tied into harness 12v ACC wire
  • Ground - tied into harness ground wire
  • CAN H (BLU/PNK) - spliced into Hazard Panel Pin 3 - Blue/Pink wire
  • CAN L (PNK) - spliced into the Hazard Panel Pin 4 - Brown/Red wire
  • 3.5 mm aux cable - connected to the Head Unit’s 3.5mm input

The CanBus connections are on the back of the Hazard panel/module that sits below the A/C control panel..
Once I got things wired up properly, I fired up everything. Programming the Steering Wheel controls with the ASWC-1 was easy….after I called support to help me interpret the instructions. The by product of such a simple solution, is that there aren’t a bunch of buttons and such to program it and map the buttons to the functions you want. Thus programming is done mainly through your steering wheel buttons. It took a bit to understand how to do it…but it’s not bad once you understand how it works.

aswc-1_CANBUS.jpg

Got things programmed the way I wanted and now I have full volume up/down; Hang up button - seek (for when I’m traveling and don’t know the stations); and Pick up button - Siri Hands-Free for iPhone.

Really liking the whole setup. The Pioneer Nex platform rocks! I tested the whole system out and still have some tweaking to do with the amp.

Follow ups
  • I am getting some vibrations in the doors when hitting the lows at a higher volume. I will remove the door panels later and add some more sound deadening to the actual door panels and maybe add some more insulation behind the speakers.
  • Also am noticing that there are some issues with the USB extension I put in. Not sure if it’s my phone, the head unit software, or the cable, but my Iphone keeps dropping the carplay connection. I’ll probably pull the unit and make sure the plug is secure.
  • I’m looking at installing another rear view camera near the license plate and/or splitting out the high rear view camera signal to a rear view mirror lcd so I can have a “virtual” window into traffic behind the van.

Next up is the (2) maxxfan deluxe installs….
 

casmith32

Member
2015 170” DirtDevil Build: Maxxfan Install #1

MaxxFan Install - Front

Needless to say there is a certain pucker factor that comes with thinking about cutting holes into your brand new van...but I decided I'm savvy enough to do it, have the tools, and wanna know how this all works in the event something goes wrong...as for everything in the van that I install. Plus the cost estimates to do it by the upfitters was ridiculous; especially knowing in hindsight how fairly easy it is..

Thanks to Orion, Hein, and many others here on the forum, I was armed with the gusto to get at it. I took GraphiteDave's idea and used the plywood template screwed into the center of the front location.

IMG_4162.jpg

From there, I squared up the template, traced the template, then drilled holes at the corners, from below.
IMG_4164.jpg

Went topside, using straightedge, connected the dots, and used my jigsaw to trace the cutout. You have a tiny bit of fudge factor here as the opening of 14"x14" actually gives you a bit of play if you don't get your lines exactly straight while cutting.
IMG_4165.jpg

I will say it's a good idea to cover they entire area pretty well, and use a vaccum attachment if you have one. The shavings from cutting can go anywhere and you don't want that scratching up the roof !

I used the method of reinforcing with the aluminum strips on top of the mounting flange, and the wooden cutout below. I'd say by now that enough people have done this (thanks Dave!) that it's tried and true. Used the sealing tape, SS bolts and nuts, and sealed it up with Dicor.

IMG_4170.jpg

On to number two....
 

casmith32

Member
2015 170” DirtDevil Build: Maxxfan Install #2

Maxxfan Install #2 - Rear


Took me a while to decide on where I wanted to mount the 2nd fan in the rear. The difficulty on a 170 is that you end up sitting on the center rib in the roof, not flat. After scouring what others had done, and measuring / mocking up like 20 freaking times. I had a plan.

Using my template, marked the location and traced out the cut...I located it between D & E Pillars (I think)..After the cut you'll notice the ribs you have to deal with...
IMG_4193.jpgIMG_4194.jpg
What I chose to do, was to cut the mounting flange back part way, and cut the rib back part way so that the two mated together nicely. Some others have simply just cut a slot in the ribs and slid the flange in there, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to slide it in or not. In hind sight, that's probably easier, but I'm happy with my job.

IMG_4195.jpgIMG_4196.jpg
It doesn't look like it, but the rough cut goes a bit deeper inward underneath the flange, hence having to notch out the rib a bit (approx 3/8"). This has pretty much the same affect as the slot method I think, forming a relatively tight mated connection.

To be continued...
 

casmith32

Member
2015 170” DirtDevil Build: Maxxfan Install #2

Continuing on the second fan install...

Once the notches were cut out, and the flange sat flat on the surface, I drilled the mounting holes.
Then mounted the spacer ring underneath, laid down the butyl tape, and aluminum strips, and sandwiched it all together. I paid particular attention to the center rib area, making sure there was ample butyl tape all around and underneath as well.

IMG_4197.jpgIMG_4199.jpg
IMG_4200.jpgIMG_4203.jpg

Finished it up with a good layer of Dicor...

One thing to note, I did paint/seal all the cuts/drilled holes before continuing with assembly.

In the end I like the final product and am happy. Nothing done inside the van quite yet so I have gotten to check for leaks and such for a couple weeks now...

IMG_4204.jpg
 

casmith32

Member
2015 170” DirtDevil Build - Insulation

Time to get the headliner back in place so I can drive around with dignity and not have a light dangling down.

After laying up some sound dampening, I added one layer of thinsulate to the roof and sides.
IMG_4220.jpg

Then added the reflective layer. I chose to go with Low-E - doesn't make the noise that reflectix does, and I think it compresses better if needed and still has some value. In any case threw up one layer of Low-E over the thinsulate.
IMG_4221.jpg

Did a test fit and realized that I could actually get another layer of thinsulate up there. Now I realize it wouldn't be the full 2" in all places but it was pretty close and either way I'm sure it adds some R-value. So I added a layer to the headliner, and popped it back in place.

IMG_4218.jpg

Pretty happy with how it turned out and it's quieter. Will take note of the insulating efficiency as I go...
 

hein

Van Guru
Thank you for posting the step by step door panel removal and Thinsulate(TM) install. Very well done and a great example for others.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Thanks for an excellent write up.

Today I finished installing a Maxxair on my Transit. Much more difficult than on the 144" WB Sprinter. 14" hole was easy. Then the fun began. On top the Maxxair side flanges end up over a lower roof corrugation so that required spacers. Under the roof was even more difficult. At the front and back the Maxxair flanges end up over the rib flange. On the sides they end up over the corrugations.
In the corners the picture frame touches the rib flange. Front and back require a 1/4" spacer and the sides require a 7/16" spacer. Ford did not design the van for a roof vent. I suspect European roof vents are smaller than USA vents.
 

casmith32

Member
Absolutely! Thanks for your advice on everything. I plan on pulling them back off and throwing some more thinsulate in the void close to the door hinge behind the speaker. And also add some sound deadener directly to the door panels to try and mitigate the speaker vibrations I'm getting. I've already added some to the door skin itself. I used your speaker rings and put in 6.5" speakers, but the speaker's outer rubber ring "just touches" the door panel speaker opening a little bit. Not compressing it much at all, but I don't know if that matters much to the sound quality or not.

Hoping the vibration goes away...
DP4-SpeakersInstalled.jpg

DP5-SpeakersNPanel.jpg

Thank you for posting the step by step door panel removal and Thinsulate(TM) install. Very well done and a great example for others.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
After months and months of research, mining this site, and purchasing my van, I'm finally getting to kicking off the build thread in the hopes that I can contribute to the community and give back a bit. I've enjoyed digging through everyone's ideas and builds; It's helped me quite a bit thus far, and hoping that will continue with feed back on my build. I’ll jump right into it:

Notable Options:

  • Factory Swivel Seats
  • Heated seats
  • Multi-function Steering Wheel with Cruise Control
  • Radio-Prep Package (speakers, antenna, basic harness/No CANBUS)
  • Alloy Wheels
  • PSM
  • A/C
  • Parktronic
  • Factory Hitch

I ordered the van in early 2015, and it arrived late May. I’d contemplated back and forth between the 2WD and the 4WD option, as I had an opportunity to grab one of the available 4x4 orders at my local dealer (dealers had limited orders for 4x4s initially). I struggled with the decision, as I travel off pavement quite a bit for camping and mountain bike adventures, with multiple trips into, and over the Colorado Rockies; Winter brings snow and trips to the mountain resorts with friends.

Naturally one would think a 4x4 is the ticket - but after multiple discussions with my dealer, friends who have sprinters here in CO, and the local resort transport company, Colorado Mountain Express. CME, passed up going with 4x4’s citing they get great mileage with their 2WD and good snow tires, and have little to no issues. Couple that with the fact that the 4x4 would cost me upwards of $8K more, I decided to stick with the 2WD 7sp model. We’ll see if I regret the decision or not...

Goals:
  • Adventure/Camper Van with modular configurations to accommodate all my toys and support working remotely ( IT-related )
  • Full Camper kit - Solar, kitchen galley, toy storage in rear with multiple configurations possible, hot water, outdoor shower, etc.
  • Occasional 2-3 day stints in camping destinations off the grid, sometimes in light off-road/snowy destinations.
  • Transport, SAG, etc for my small bike biz


The basics:

Electrical:
  • Goal #1: Accommodate auto-switching between House Battery power, Shore power, and Solar power ;
  • Goal #2: Charging via Alternator while driving, Solar, and shore power when parked.
    [*]Estimated Loads (12v):
    • 12v/120v Fridge/Freezer
    • (2) MaxxFan Delux 7800 Fans
    • (8) LED lighting overhead
    • (1) LED light strip for Fiamma Awning - outside
    • (2) LED light cubes - rear exterior
    • Laptop Computer
    • Chargers for phone, tablet, etc
    • Water pump
    • air compressor
    • Heater (Espar D5 w/radiator fan or Webasto Dual Top)
  • Estimated Loads (120v): (2) 120v Duplex outlets:
  • (1) Duplex for Kitchen Galley ; (1) rear of van for auxiliary use ;
    • Induction Hotplate
    • Hot Water Kettle
  • Batteries: I’ve decided to go with L-ION ; GUESStimated initial need : 100 A/hr.


Plumbing
  • 15-20 gal fresh water tank; no grey water, just drain outside for sink.
  • Kitchen Galley sink
  • External Shower (showers, and washing gear)
  • Hot water via Espar or Webasto setup

Climate Control / Ventilation
  • (2) MaxxFan Delux 7800
  • Espar D5 (similar to Rixen setup) or Webasto Dual Top (if I can find one!)

Utility
  • air compressor mounted under van for my toys and tools.
  • Awning
  • External LED lighting
  • Bike/gear storage in rear
  • Modular bed, benches, and tool cabinet;

Getting Started....
Well structured project start, I am sure, as with many projects, modification will be made along the way but having a clear view what you trying to accomplish will limit potential mistakes to minimum.

George.
 

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