Here goes! My build thread to sleep a family of 9 (!!!) in a 2020 170" 4x4

RVBarry

Well-known member
I’m sorry if you said this somewhere, do you have the 4x4 2500 or 3500?
Hi, the wheel wells' size indicate it's a 2500:
 

sms

Member

drodio

"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
I’ve got a plan for the lower bed.

I'm going to use two camping tables as the base of the bed, with 2" square aluminum tubing supporting the tables.

I figure that way, we've got two camping tables we can use at the campsite, and then turn into a bed when the kids go down.

We'll see how it goes!

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drodio

"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
Just put the fridge on sliders, for easier access from the side door, as well as easier access to the back.72998BE1-4165-4ECF-82A5-4CA60FC83965.jpegB6BCF728-8919-457A-AFF8-BBE23EFE0689.jpeg25B8735E-A296-4AF2-99FF-7335D4DCCAA2.jpegBCC56E6D-817C-4466-97B4-0834FBCDE861.jpeg
 

drodio

"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
built some angled racks that connect to the l-track for long items (snowboards, etc)

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OffroadHamster

Well-known member
Man, what a build. I struggled with finding solutions for sleeping 4 in a 144...but 9 people in a sprinter!!:bow::bow:

Time to upgrade your welding rig to a TIG machine ;)
 

SION1771

New member
Which seats did you get? I see SF offers these four styles: Austin, Grey artificial leather, Carmat Code, and MB Maturin.
Their website shows lots of styles but doesn't call out which is which.

How do you like them? The fold down feature worth it? Do they recline? Do you know how the price for what you got compares to the other options?

Each time I ask for information from my vendor, they update the entire quote and it seems like it's a whole thing - wish it were simpler. They just dropped the ISOfix when I asked if they could sharpen their pencil - didn't even know they added that in in the first place. </rant>



Finally got the AMF-Bruns M1 SmartSeats installed!
View attachment 163774
 

drodio

"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
For anyone who wants more 411 on the SmartFloor & seating: Just posted on this thread w/ some more 411 about the seating configuration.

Doing a first road trip w/ a bunch of these new things built; we'll see how everything works! I reached out to Ingergy when the Flex 1500 shipping date was delayed (due to challenges getting lithium battery cell production ramped up; sounds like the entire world is trying to source those right now) and got to know them a bit better. Really impressed w/ what they're doing. I think we're entering a time when the power grids we all rely on are going to become less reliable. The power grids weren't built for a world w/ more extreme climate events. It's already happening w/ wildfires in CA and freezing in TX. My bet is that's only going to become more common. I believe this is the first year that the CA fire season has extended into January. So although I would've never believed this 10 years ago, I think we're all going to have to become more self sufficient on sourcing our own power vs. just buying it from a grid. The good news is that technology is changing so quickly that the price points are now starting to make it possible to do so, with solar panel prices falling and solar generator capacities rising (and at reasonable price points).

All of this makes me even more sure that the modular approach is the way to go. I'm willing to bet that although it seems to be a bit crazy today not to build a permanent electrical system into a van, within maybe 3-5 years it's going to be the norm for the electrical system to be fully modular & portable. The technology is just evolving so fast that it doesn't make sense to me to build a 300-1000 amp hour system permanently into a van. We're already on the cusp of being able to have a stackable, modular system, like Inergy's, that will allow for 300-500 amp hours (each battery is 100 amp hours, so that's 3-5 batteries, and each battery is about 9 inches tall, so having the Flex DC or Flex 1500 + 3 batteries would mean about a 36" high system in a very compact footprint. And importantly: I can move the system into my house the next time there are rolling power blackouts in CA due to wildfires, to power my critical appliances like the fridge & lights!!! No more throwing an entire fridge worth of food out.

The Flex DC has two 30 amp Anderson PowerPole connectors; the Flex 1500 has 2 10 amp cigarette outlets (or 20 amp output if just using one). So right now, I'll likely have to get both the Flex 1500 and Flex DC, and then hot-swap them in & out depending on whether I need to run 12V DC, or 110V AC (although I'm going to try seeing if getting 20 amps from the cigarette lighter is enough for my van's needs). But even if I have to hot swap both out, worst case, it's still amazing to be able to have the entire system be powered by one removable, modular system, and I've already told the Inergy folks that if they could get a 50ish amp Anderson PowerPole connector built into the Flex 1500 in a future model, that would be absolutely killer. And I'd also be wiling to bet that future batteries will be more than 100 amp hours each.

So net-net, I'm going to give all of this a try, and I'll document the journey as I do. I'd love to know if other people are also thinking about moving from permanent electrical system installs to a more modular approach like the Inergy.

Also: Although I don't think Inergy is selling the Apex anymore, when they saw my original post about trying this, they offered to let me try an Apex out for this trip since the Flex 1500 ship date was delayed. So I'll also share some 411 about that, and this will let me compare & contrast the older Apex to the newer Flex 1500. I am planning on using two 175 watt Renogy solar panels to recharge the system. The one thing I know off the bat is that I'm really looking forward to the Flex 1500's regulated DC output. The Apex doesn't have that, and my Alpicool fridge throws an error code when I try to power it w/ the Apex, because it has a low voltage cutoff, and it thinks the batteries are low (i.e., it's protecting against old-school lead acid battery voltage drops). Will post more as I have more 411!

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99sport

Well-known member
All of this makes me even more sure that the modular approach is the way to go. I'm willing to bet that although it seems to be a bit crazy today not to build a permanent electrical system into a van, within maybe 3-5 years it's going to be the norm for the electrical system to be fully modular & portable. The technology is just evolving so fast that it doesn't make sense to me to build a 300-1000 amp hour system permanently into a van. We're already on the cusp of being able to have a stackable, modular system, like Inergy's, that will allow for 300-500 amp hours (each battery is 100 amp hours, so that's 3-5 batteries, and each battery is about 9 inches tall, so having the Flex DC or Flex 1500 + 3 batteries would mean about a 36" high system in a very compact footprint. And importantly: I can move the system into my house the next time there are rolling power blackouts in CA due to wildfires, to power my critical appliances like the fridge & lights!!! No more throwing an entire fridge worth of food out.
If you are concerned about black outs, a $500-1000 generator is portable and can run everything a van power system can, but continuously as long as you can supply gasoline or propane, or you can convert it to natural gas and run it indefinitely.

Regarding modular / upgradable van power systems, if my system meets all my needs now, I expect it will continue to do so in ten years, so I see no benefit to upgrading. My system is fairly compact so even if new technology means I could reduce its size by half, I still wouldn't bother unless the cost of a new system is almost zero.

Love your build by the way
 

SKIpowder8s

Member
Loving the build. Those CabBunks seem to be the way to go. We're a family of 5 + Leo the puppy in our 170. 4 is comfy for us, 5 is a stretch with one on the floor. So we mostly rely on tent / hammock; but that CabBunk might be just what we need. Thanks for sharing and enjoy every moment....as it seems you are already doing.
 

drodio

"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
@99sport all valid points! I expect most people will see things the same way you do. For me, the feeling I got from capturing the energy of the sun and then having it available to use in a portable, modular way was incredible, and I’m very interested in learning about how to move beyond fossil fuel sources as the technology advances. So, I’ll report back on what I learn, and we can continue the dialogue!

Also, are you running AGM or lithium batteries? That’s an example of the kind of technological progress that has prompted many van owners to upgrade their existing systems, even though one could say that AGM was “good enough” for their needs. I expect we’ll see many more step changes like these (another example is solar panels that are rapidly improving, from 100 to 200+ watt panels, for example.)
 
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drodio

"Vader" • 2020 170" Crew 4x4
@SKIpowder8s yes the Cabbunk is working out well. The only 411 is that it takes me about 30 mins to set it up (lots of ways to do it incorrectly, esp in the dark!) I expect once I get better at it, I’ll be able to set it up in 10ish mins. Takedown is fast, about 10 mins.
 

99sport

Well-known member
@99sport all valid points! I expect most people will see things the same way you do. For me, the feeling I got from capturing the energy of the sun and then having it available to use in a portable, modular way was incredible, and I’m very interested in learning about how to move beyond fossil fuel sources as the technology advances. So, I’ll report back on what I learn, and we can continue the dialogue!

Also, are you running AGM or lithium batteries? That’s an example of the kind of technological progress that has prompted many van owners to upgrade their existing systems, even though one could say that AGM was “good enough” for their needs. I expect we’ll see many more step changes like these (another example is solar panels that are rapidly improving, from 100 to 200+ watt panels, for example.)
I have 400Ah of lithium. Total weight is 97lbs. Total volume is .8 cubic feet.

The great thing about DIY is you can do whatever you want. Given all the stuff you are tyring to squeeze into a tight package, making things removable / upgradable makes a lot of sense. And of course there are the less tangible aspects you mentioned as well.
 

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