Baby Shamu - 170 4x4

gltrimble

Well-known member
After 2+ years of effort on my van conversion I thought it was time to document the work. I have been promising to start this build thread for the past few months. This build thread will hopefully move at a relatively fast pace given that the van is 95% complete. I will start off with an assortment of pictures to provide an idea of what the mostly completed van looks like before I get into additional build details in a mostly chronological order.





































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Shawn182

Active member
Amazing build.

I am in the process of almost identical floor plan with a few tweaks for my mission, but love that layout.

You have the info on the shower pan you used? That is one hangup I am having and yours seems to be exactly what I am looking for.
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
You have the info on the shower pan you used? That is one hangup I am having and yours seems to be exactly what I am looking for.

The drain location was important for the shower pan to work. The corner drain aligns perfectly to the inside of the frame rail.

ICON Shower Pan SP100, Polar White https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007NZVM34/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_3uAdDbERKA8G4

Combined with this 2” drain fitting and strainer.

Camco Anti Rust Flexible Camper Drain Tap with Hose System for RVs Campers and Trailers, Easy Connection and Set Up (37420) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000EDUTPO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_hLAdDbFHPANEH

https://pantherrvproducts.com/jr-products-strainer-with-push-in-basket-95325/

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gltrimble

Well-known member
NEW VAN

My van is one of a few 2017 vans with a 2016 VIN. The van was ordered from the 2017 Dealer Ordering Guide in May of 2016. 2017 production was originally estimated to be October of 2016 for my 4x4 but it slipped to December of 2016. Because of the recent VW emissions scandal the EPA had placed additional demands on manufacturers for all new models. Rather than delay delivery of a number of 2017 vans built in 2016, Mercedes decided to give them 2016 VINs. The good news was that the pricing was adjusted to 2016 prices saving me about $1500. I had already negotiated a sales price below the MSRP at the time.

My 4x4 170 had most of the available options including a few fleet only options. The option list did not even fit on the window sticker. I did omit a few major options including the roof mounted AC, the Radio, and rear mounted camera. The Radio delete option, ERO, I would learn later changed a few unexpected items.

The only options i ordered that I felt were of little value were H01 and H04, the heat insulation. I have yet to make use of the Parametric Special Module, PSM. And the rear window wipers see little use but were part of a package.





One of the first things I did was test the Espar D5 heater by placing the ambient temperature probe into a bag of ice water. This allowed me to determine the hot water flow path from engine to D5 and thru the H88 rear heater loop.





I then followed up by installing a DPDT switch with resistor to fool the ECU into thinking it was 4F. Again tested the D5 successfully.







The last few things I accomplished in the initial weeks of ownership was to “blackout” my chrome Mercedes emblems and remove the entire headliner. The emblems can be removed easily for painting by snipping off a few anti-theft tabs on the back. The headliner would not be installed again for almost two years.





NEXT UP: RADIO INSTALL

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MTGJR1

Active member
Could you share details on resistor to fool ECU? Will you be keeping this long term so you can heat the interior when its even a smidge warmer?
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
Could you share details on resistor to fool ECU? Will you be keeping this long term so you can heat the interior when its even a smidge warmer?

In the picture below the two wires from the ambient temperature sensor, located behind the front grill, are connected to one pair of the outer terminals of the DPDT switch. The two wires from the ECU that previously were connected to the ambient temperature sensor are connected to the center pair of terminals on the switch. Between the remaining pair of terminals is a resistor.

Your choice of resistor will determine what temperature the ECU will see. The various Espar D5 run times associated with the outside temperature are documented in the owner’s manual. In the pictures I initially attached a 22k ohm resistor. This should represent 5F on the dash but as you can see it occasionally reads 4F. This was a problem because the temperature cutoff for a 40 minute versus 50 minute D5 run time is 5F. I wanted it to cycle 40 minutes and not 50 minutes so I changed the resistor to 15k ohms which represents 18F.

I recommend you only utilize this switch to fool the ECU while the van is stationary with the keys removed from the ignition. Switching it while the ECU is “awake” could cause a momentary interruption which the ECU might interpret as a fault. Not a big deal if you have an Autel to clear the fault.

I am using this switch, the factory D5, and an Isotemp Spa marine heater as another option to heat my water.






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gltrimble

Well-known member
Before I post some actual build details I will summarize the build specs for the van.

VEHICLE EXTERIOR
Tires: Cooper 255/85-16 ST Max on OEM alloys
Skid plates: Van Compass
Front Suspension: Agile MAX Auxiliary Shock/Coil Over
Rear Suspension: Agile Spring Pack - 8 leaf, Fox Shocks
Rear Step: Van Compass
Bike Rack: Kuat NV + Kuat Pivot swing away



ELECTRICAL
House Batteries: 4 x Fullriver 224amp 6 volt GC2
Vehicle Batteries: Starter and Auxiliary
Auxiliary Alternator: Nations 280 amp
Inverter: Go Power 3000 watt Pure Sine with remote
Solar Panels: 5 x Renogy Eclipse 100watt
Solar Charge Controller: Victron MPPT 150/35
Circuit Panels: Blue Sea DC 8 position /AC 6 position
Radio: Pioneer AVIC 8200



PLUMBING
Fresh water tank: 46 gallons
Hot water: Isotemp Spa 4 gallon engine/electric/Espar D5
Gray water tank: 16 gallon
Pump: Shurflo
Sink: Dometic 7.5” deep oval
Shower Fixture: 2 x Ambassdor Marine
Toilet: Thetford Curve
Propane Tank: Manchester 6813 7 gallon



HVAC/APPLIANCES
Heater: Espar D2 with EasyStart timer, Remote+, HAK
Refrigerator/Freezer: Isotherm Cruise CR-195
Range/Oven: Force 10 two burner propane
Microwave: Panasonic 1.2 ft3 1200/1800 watt



OTHER
Awning: Fiamma F65 Eagle legless
Compressor: Puma 3/4 HP 12 volt 135 psi 1.5 gallon
Cell Phone Booster: Weboost 4G-X






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sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
Beautiful job.

Do you happen to have handy the footprint/dimensions of the rear two seater bench in your layout? And how many inches of legroom are there in front of it?
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
Beautiful job.

Do you happen to have handy the footprint/dimensions of the rear two seater bench in your layout? And how many inches of legroom are there in front of it?


Thank you.

The two person Transit seat measures 31” wide x 27” deep. The floor mounts are 22” long and 17” centerline. The floor mounts are offset 4” to one side depending on weather you choose to use the driver or passenger side seats available from the four seat rear Transit row.

My floor mounts are closer to the outer wall which aligns well for the floor bolts. The seat can be tilted forward or removed using the quick release latch.

The legroom is 33” from the front of seat to backside of driver pedestal. Better than Business Class.

I also made use of the space behind the seat by building a trapezoidal shaped mini-bar. The bottom of the mini-bar is my inverter. The cabinet is removable for access.









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Geriakt

2017 View 24J
Love your van. I like all the AL connection channels and grey fabrics on the walls and ceiling. The wood working in natural maple is very nice.
How do you use the second row bench seat since you only sleep 2? Does the driver and passenger seat swivel to make up an eating area with the bench?
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
Love your van. I like all the AL connection channels and grey fabrics on the walls and ceiling. The wood working in natural maple is very nice.

How do you use the second row bench seat since you only sleep 2? Does the driver and passenger seat swivel to make up an eating area with the bench?


Thanks for the compliments.

The second row seat sees a lot of use. Most of it on day trips to MTB with friends. Both front seats swivel to face the table. There is room for a fifth seat in front of the slider if needed. My wife likes to work from the bench seat and table on long drives.

The van will eventually sleep four when completed. I plan to fabricate four smaller bed panels that will span the rear cargo compartments creating another second queen sized bed. These smaller bed panels will stow on the side walls, secured to the wall mounted L-Track. The rear storage compartment lids have an 1/8” gap to accept the bed panels allowing access to the storage compartments. Two 4” thick Exped inflatable Megamats will stow in the rear compartments when not in use.








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Geriakt

2017 View 24J
Can you point out any pros and cons of your pricey Isotherm refer? Do you run it at 12 or 24 volts? What is the voltage operation range? IE 21-25 volts?
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
Can you point out any pros and cons of your pricey Isotherm refer? Do you run it at 12 or 24 volts? What is the voltage operation range? IE 21-25 volts?


In my van build two of my top priorities were sleeping well and eating well. I was looking for a larger size fridge with a separate freezer. I looked at Norcold, Vitrifrigo, and Isotherm. These three units offered between 6 to 8 cubic ft. I also wanted a fridge with dimensions that could be easily incorporated into the van. The Isotherm 195 stood out for a number of reasons.

The only con with the Isotherm 195 is the price. I did manage to get some discounts via rebates and a holiday sale to minimize the outlay. The shipping cost of this item also limited my options to local suppliers.

The pros of the Isotherm 195 are numerous. The Isotherm 195 is actually two separate units with two Danfoss compressors. The Norcold and Vitrifrigo had separate freezer compartments but shared a single compressor. This provides a huge advantage in temperature control. My fridge averages 35F while the freezer averages 0F. No frozen produce or melted ice cream. This also gives me the option of shutting off the freezer when not in use.

Dimensionally both the Norcold and Isotherm fit the wall profile of the Sprinter. Both are slightly narrower at the top. The Vitrifrigo, the largest of the three would have negatively impacted a number of my build dimensions. The Isotherm sits directly across from my 25” deep shower yet I still have a 23” wide galley way. I also find the added height an advantage as I don’t want to get on my hands and knees every time I get a cold beer. The freezer sits about 6” off the floor. Their is a drawer under the freezer and the 1.2 ft3 microwave fits nicely over the fridge.

The Isotherm operates at 12/24 DC and 120/230 AC. I have it wired for both 12 volt and 120 volt. I believe the unit will operate down to 10.5 volts.

Both the fridge and freezer have large external fans and the fridge has an internal circulating fan and LED light. The fridge also comes with a condensate drain.

The units are very efficient. The fridge typically consumes 20 watts per hour on average when the door remains closed. I did add some poly iso insulation to the exterior and two 80mm exhaust vans wired to the individual units that assist in air movement.

Conclusion, you get what you pay for and I have ice for margaritas.










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Geriakt

2017 View 24J
That's a lot of beer. Thank you for the info. I have a Norcold 3150 propane.12/120. Just looking for Ideas when it is time to replace mine.

Is your 170 4x4 the same as a 170 XL extra long? Do they make those in 4x4?
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
That's a lot of beer. Thank you for the info. I have a Norcold 3150 propane.12/120. Just looking for Ideas when it is time to replace mine.

Is your 170 4x4 the same as a 170 XL extra long? Do they make those in 4x4?


I wish my fridge had that much beer. My van is the shorter 170 Regular 4x4 and not the longer Extended 170. They do make a 170 extended 4x4 but they are even more rare than the regular 170 4x4.




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