19' 144 4x4 Front Yard Build

klif01

Member
You have raised some very important questions within this above post.
In short the "What IF"?
What you share is definitely on my mind. I also think about my dog as both a liability but also her safety since she doesn't have a seat. We do have her attached to the van at least during any drives by connecting the two pillar tie down points to her harness.

Mounting the fridge is my biggest concern/liability if we do end up leaving it in the door. Right now the plan is to have it both through the floor as well as to the sidewall and connecting it to the bed structure to share some stress to the opposite side of the van. The remaining structure is all secured to the sidewall as well using 5/16 plus nuts. My wife was not excited about all the visible screws for the ceiling panels, but similarly, I don't want some loose plywood panels flying around if they're just glued on or screwed into some wood.

Maybe we need to wear our helmets when we drive ;)
 

lindenengineering

Well-known member
Well its all very sobering and hopefully none of us are involved in a serious collision but it happens.
Maybe it was my "very aware" experiences in the factory development of large 40 ft transit buses back in the 1970's where steps were taken to improve passenger safety. When seat belts are impractical for fare stage occupants, and the driver's knees are usually about 12"away from the point of impact, that made me conscious of possible injury sometimes fatal in collisions.

One overlooked area are seats
.Fortunately most passenger seats in transit busies conform to strict safety standards, but not so in many countries.
Running a factory for bus build activities in Caracas, my transit customer insisted I install some locally made seats with appalling weld structures. In spite of warnings, we built three 42 seater unit with local seating configurations .
Regrettably one unit ploughed its way into the back of very slow moving Mack truck aggregate dumper on the Caracas / Guaranas Autopista at 50 mph (80kph) .
The death toll was horrific for the 70 odd passengers, many standees .The seats normally made to contain passengers in severe collisions with no more than a 25 G deceleration broke away and launched humanity forward into truck cargo box.
I got to see the wrecked bus then covered by a huge tarp.
Climbing inside the stench of rotting bio hazard defies description and even seeing a child's hand impaled on what was poorly welded seat frame leaves an indelible memory. Conclusion? Structural integrity is paramount.

Well enough of the morbid , lets focus on the positive.
Euro manufactures are working to make interiors safe.
Look at Bott and their cargo racking system undertest.
All the bests
Dennis

 

hilld

Active member
Dennis, I am 100% with you on this. One of the reasons, I am installing a smart floor for the extra seats. They have been crash tested. When my brother uses the van, he has a 7 year old that will sit in the back, we want to make sure it is safe in case something bad should happen. Not doing a heavy build, in terms of cabinets, etc. All of the big weight items such as fridge, sink and bed will be attached to the walls and the smart floor using the L-track. For overhead storage, I plan on using the mule bags, no need to have missles hitting the people when coming to a sudden stop.
 
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Godsil

New member
We almost went out for another weekend but instead had a really productive weekend working in the yard. With impending cold weather, I wanted to get the espar installed and also got to knock out the fan. Not shown, I got some help from my wife, she installed her first of many plus nuts and got the rest of the reflectix installed. Now the inside of the van feels like a space ship. View attachment 156269
View attachment 156272View attachment 156273View attachment 156270
I also started testing some options for ceiling material. Turns out the cedar tongue and groove planking doesn't look that great. View attachment 156271
Hi, thanks for the info. Can you show me how/where you hooked into the fuse under the seat for you B2B connection? I can't find any details on the exact connection, and I'm afraid to toast my electrical system :) Thanks
 

aksotar

2017 4x4 144 Cargo
you need to consider freezing temps in regards to both your battery and water if you plan to use your Van for skiing...
also, plan around half of your solar panel rated output in regards to real world use...
 

Kim_Marcus

Kim Possible
Very nice. You both look happy. The dog looks really happy. Thanks for sharing.
 
G

Gsand31415

Guest
I mounted the heavier stuff low so that a straight on collision would have the seat bases and backs between us and the projectiles. but not much protection if we roll over and hit something hard.
Standard "comfort" seats, not swivels, so I would expect them to at least slow the velocity of projectiles.
 

klif01

Member
Hi, thanks for the info. Can you show me how/where you hooked into the fuse under the seat for you B2B connection? I can't find any details on the exact connection, and I'm afraid to toast my electrical system :) Thanks
Sorry Godsil, I didn't take a picture of it but I believe there are some pictures identical to how I hooked it up floating around here. If I come across them again I will send it your way!
 

klif01

Member
you need to consider freezing temps in regards to both your battery and water if you plan to use your Van for skiing...
also, plan around half of your solar panel rated output in regards to real world use...
I mounted the heavier stuff low so that a straight on collision would have the seat bases and backs between us and the projectiles. but not much protection if we roll over and hit something hard.
Standard "comfort" seats, not swivels, so I would expect them to at least slow the velocity of projectiles.


Random update. We've been out a few times this winter as well as a cross country trip for Christmas. It was great to be able to quarantine for 2 weeks at home before driving then never go inside a store on our way to see my wife's parents. No Covid came with us! Sleeping in truck stops was a new experience too. My dog was not excited about 2 days in the van though and would steal our seats every time we stopped! As for winter camping, we've had a couple of really cold nights. When it hit 10* overnight the Espar ran all night, the lowest it got was 58* inside. We did have it set to 62*.

Right now the garage is still opened up to the front cabin which keeps the battery warm enough but I do intend on adding a simple battery heater, been toying with some motorcycle grip heaters that are readily available and inexpensive just to keep a little heat on the battery when necessary.

I didn't hook the B2B up for a while so we could see how the one 100ah battery served our needs with 200 amps solar. In the dead of winter, it's just not enough. We generally dipped by 25-30% each day/night with lights, fridge, sink, and heater then only recovered 15-20% (and that was on a good sunny day). So for a weekend trip, that's fine but any more than a couple of nights we would need a boost. I now have the B2B hooked up and so far don't think we will have any need for a second battery.


A few more pictures to add because I've added the cabinets, finished the countertops (minus adding a cooktop, happening this weekend), finished the water system (I do need to add an inline switch still instead of pulling the fuse when we're not using it), and started looking towards some finishing details!

All the cabinets, while not perfect I did want to address the strength somewhat. In a major crash though it's just a risk we're going to accept. Each cabinet box, 3 in total, I've added vertical and horizontal supports to the box structure with 5/8" plywood. Is that thick/strong enough, probably not but it's stronger than just attaching the box to the van. Each of the supports corresponds with 5/16" cross nuts in both the side of the van and the floor attachment where the cabinets are attached. Eventually, they will all be attached to each other once I close off the garage, creating a somewhat solid structure also attached to the bed frame. My fridge is probably the biggest risk I have in a collision right now as it's attached on the sides to the cabinet box. I'm considering some sort of strap at the rear to bolt it down to through the floor on both sides so it has less of a chance of being a missile.

Anyway, I love this van. I wish I bought one sooner. We're heading out on a week-long powder chasing trip next month so we will see where we end up!
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