hilld's slow roll build

hilld

Well-known member
I just picked up my van last Friday and have started the work already. Rather than substantially completing the van and then posting all of it at once, I want to share as I start the process and have you guys come along the journey. This way, if I am screwing something up, you can call me out on it.

I used to be an auto tech (until about 25 years ago), but have continued to wrench on my own vehicles and have done some light fabrication work over the past few years. So I figured, I can tackle this.

Originally, I wanted a single rear wheel, but those are hard to come by right now - 4x4 sprinter vans are the new toilet paper. After looking around for the past 3-4 months and visiting countless dealers, I came across a "used" 2019 3500XD Cargo Dually, 170 high top that was part of the Ryder purchase of over 1000 vans that is also known as the Winnebago vans. Basically, Ryder purchased these and then Covid hit and like the other rental car companies, they ended up with a lot of vehicles that they no longer had any use for. So they were sold off to other dealers. Mine had 16 miles on it when I test drove it and 32 by the time I purchased it. I had 2 test drives, one alone with the salesman and another with the boss aka. wife with the salesman standing in back as there were no seats back there.

Since it was a used 19, none of the 0% financing incentives applied, but I did manage to get 8k off the sticker price, so that worked out ok. I traded in my sports car and am now a proud owner of the Sprinter. The plan is to use it as a cargo vehicle for the first 4-6 months while I am still building a home 5 hours away to haul building supplies, furniture, etc. Along the way, I plan on making incremental upgrades, hence the slow roll build in the title.

Fully loaded window sticker (missing a couple of options I cared about, but I can live with this) :ROFLMAO:

1603761351864.png

As it sat on the lot (it was calling my name)

1603761388567.png

The day I brought it home, it was washed, but had to have the badges removed.

1603761488419.png

The blank canvas, no wood floor either - would have loved to have that for the cargo phase of the life of the van.

1603761547794.png

1603761593216.png
 

hilld

Well-known member
The drive home was quite loud, so I knew right away that sound proofing is at the top of the list. Also, when turning on the sound system (that is a very optimistic term - at least the way it sounded), all I could hear was the center channel and tons of road noise.

As soon as I got home, I ordered CLD sheets, in my case Kilmat as it is lighter weight than Noico.

I also disconnected the center channel speaker and that made a big difference.

1603761757092.png

Just the black connector and taped it to the harness using Tesa cloth tape to prevent rattles.

1603761808363.png

Installing the Kilmat (gotta love next day shipping)

1603761844548.png

That CLD made a ton of difference, however, I still had some annoying rattles, from the sliding and the rear doors. Time to investigate.

I pulled the panel of the sliding door and noticed a few connectors simply touching the sheet metal and of course there was very little sound proofing, so more CLD tiles go on. Also taped the rattling connectors to harnesses using Tesa cloth tape.

1603761932443.png

1603761985039.png

The rear door had daylight showing from the bottom of the door when standing inside the van. Looks like it is door adjustment time. Looking at the striker, there is a bolt missing. Hmm, MB quality control at its best. I happened to have a M8 screw that had a head small enough to fit and adjusted both the left and right rear door and they close correctly now. Called the dealer and ordered the missing bolt, less than a buck, not even going to bother with a warranty claim.

Now onto the sound system. The van came with the EP7 option (rear speaker pre-wiring) and while I have sound, I don't have the fader control showing in the MBUX system. The dealer tried to turn it on, but couldn't make it work. They ended up opening a support case with the MB mothership, will have to bring the van back when they have an answer.

I ordered some tires, MaxxAir fan, floor liners and a few other odds and ends. Still haven't decided which windows I will go with. Originally I wanted to do the Arctic Tern ones, but my wife doesn't like the look and happy wife = happy life, so something that looks more OEM. Basically, I see 3 choices. CRL, AMA or the VWD (vanwindowsdirect.com) sourced windows out of Turkey. I am leaning towards the VWD windows, but just like everything else, they appear to be back ordered until the end of the year.

My other goals are to do some sort of modular L-track system, similar to the AdWagon, however, they don't just sell the tracks, they want you to buy their entire kit, panels and all. Not interested in that. I guess, I will be fabbing something going forward.

I look forward to this journey and hope to learn from all of you, receive feedback, even if it is critical.

Thanks for following along.
 
Last edited:

hilld

Well-known member
Goals for this build are:
Seating for 4 - probably using a smart floor
Sleeping for 3 +1 (guest, perhaps via Cabbunk or something similar)
Modular, the ability to remove the galley and seats quickly to go back to cargo use
Solar, Lithium (exact sizing TBD, but probably somewhere around 4-500W and 200AH), dual alternator using the N62 bracket
Galley (sink, cooking, fridge)
Composting toilet (TBD)
Outdoor shower
Hydronic heating (air and water)
Upgraded sound system (ok, not really part of the build, but for the sanity of the driver)

I have been inspired by a lot of the build threads on here, actually in awe. Also, as few weeks ago, I went to the Adventure Van show in Portland (St. Helens).
 

hilld

Well-known member
Today was new tires day. Should have been yesterday, but the shipping company that Tirerack chose OnTrac delivered 1 out of 7 tires yesterday and the remaining 6 today. In any case, I got to the tire shop and was greeted with this stack.

Toyo Open Country AT3's, 235/85R16, up one size from the stock 215's.

1603934828460.png

floating in the air

1603934877108.png

Stock Conti's on the left, Open Country on the right. Should have a bit more traction in the lose stuff.

1603934938021.png

Looking good

1603935006409.png

Still sufficient gap with the lowest tire pressure setting for unloaded

1603935043337.png
 

hilld

Well-known member
First driving impressions on the way home. They are so quiet compared to the conti's, however, they are a bit more squirmy due to the higher sidewall. The tire is about an inch taller overall. Not bad squirmy, just different squirmy.

Got home and loaded her up with about 2000 lbs of cargo, lets see what the trip tomorrow is like ~300 miles.

Using it.

1603935162023.png
 

hilld

Well-known member
Just a quick update. I have been ordering lots of parts and some of them are trickling in.

I also ordered some items from DIYVan and went to Hood River to pickup my Thinsulate and a few other items and to meet @hein and Kim, both very nice people.

1605532894606.png

I also ordered a smart floor and 2 seats and hopefully they will arrive in early December and will be installed by Esplori in Bend, OR. I saw the system at the AdventureVan show in Oct and was impressed and it also came highly recommended by several members here. Not cheap, but will be worth it if the van will ever be in an accident. I sure hope not, but I can sleep a bit sounder and it system has been crash tested.

I did manage to install a few parts that arrived, a step for the rear hitch and some grab handles. They came in handy to help load the van.

1605533052757.png

1605533085462.png

I also purchased some side panels from another member here from a crew van. I will initially use these and probably at a later time as templates for some other material, but if I like these, they might just be the lower panels for the build. Still deciding.

1605533178268.png

Also found out that my van is too small. Should have gone for the EXT. j/k

Couldn't fit everything in there, there is another trip in December to haul the few remaining items. I am glad I have the 3500XD as a 2500 would have been hopelessly overloaded.

1605533284252.png
 

johnplyler

Active member
Goals for this build are:
Seating for 4 - probably using a smart floor
Sleeping for 3 +1 (guest, perhaps via Cabbunk or something similar)
Modular, the ability to remove the galley and seats quickly to go back to cargo use
Solar, Lithium (exact sizing TBD, but probably somewhere around 4-500W and 200AH), dual alternator using the N62 bracket
Galley (sink, cooking, fridge)
Composting toilet (TBD)
Outdoor shower
Hydronic heating (air and water)
Upgraded sound system (ok, not really part of the build, but for the sanity of the driver)

I have been inspired by a lot of the build threads on here, actually in awe. Also, as few weeks ago, I went to the Adventure Van show in Portland (St. Helens).
I see you are going with hydronic heat. I am too, using the Espar S3 D5E CS 12V.
I am also using the Nation's aux. alternator, Wakespeed regulator and REC- Active BMS.
I am just collecting parts as well and I don't plan to start the build until January. We should stay in touch.
 

hilld

Well-known member
That is actually quite a bit cheaper than a smart floor, but I have already put down the 75% deposit. Since it is my brothers daughter and he is paying for some of the conversion costs, we both felt better using something that has been crash tested. Hopefully we will never have to find out how safe it is, but it is one of those areas, that we didn't want to compromise on.
 

coss370

Member
I don't know what part of the country you are from, but spend couple hundred bucks and get radiant flooring. YOu get a lot of bang for your buck
 

hilld

Well-known member
Not sure I can do that as the smart floor get's glued down to the floor of the van with structural adhesive to make sure it doesn't come up during a crash. I am waiting to install the flooring in between the L-Track for a bit, so I could look into it then. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

hilld

Well-known member
Not much to report as far as updates to the van, other than the draining of my bank account. I have placed several BF orders from various vendors and have some LiPo batteries, inverter, solar charge controller, Nations alternator and various other bits and pieces headed my way. I also got notification that my VanCompass order (been about 7 weeks) is being shipped. Next week I have to take the van in to get the smart floor system installed. Excited to start making progress, even if the progress is just filling up my garage with goodies.
 

Stella_Blue

2017 144 4WD Passenger
Can I ask for details - model and price - on your LiPo batteries and inverter? Also, are you planning on a shorepower link?
Thanks!
 

hilld

Well-known member
Certainly.
Batteries: 3 each 100A Battle Born 12V - $849 ea for Black Friday Special

Victron stuff: (BF special pricing)
Victron Multiplus 3000 - $1019
Victron Cerbo GX - $315
Victron GX Touch 50 - $220
Victron BMV-712 - $185
Victron Smart Solar MPPT 150/60 - $432

I plan on running a shore power connection, the Victron supports that, just need to get a plug for it.
 

Kuko

New member
Those are awesome pricing. Do you mind sharing where you ordered them from?


Certainly.
Batteries: 3 each 100A Battle Born 12V - $849 ea for Black Friday Special

Victron stuff: (BF special pricing)
Victron Multiplus 3000 - $1019
Victron Cerbo GX - $315
Victron GX Touch 50 - $220
Victron BMV-712 - $185
Victron Smart Solar MPPT 150/60 - $432

I plan on running a shore power connection, the Victron supports that, just need to get a plug for it.
 

hilld

Well-known member
Not at all, I purchased everything from Battle Born. But let me preface this, these were Black Friday / Cyber Monday prices. Not sure how aggressive they will get other days. These prices are not online, you had to call in. I put together a complete system, so I am not sure if the whole package factored into the pricing either.
 

Stella_Blue

2017 144 4WD Passenger
Thanks. I'm curious about the Cerbo GX? I'm trying to understand what it does/why it's needed? What functions does it serve, and how do people without it manage?

Thanks!
 

hilld

Well-known member

Stella_Blue

2017 144 4WD Passenger
Thanks Hilld. But what I'm asking is, what functions do the Cerbo GX and the GX Touch serve? If I were to install a Multiplus 3000 with 2x 100A Battle Born 12v (same ones you have) and a BMV-712 (currently planning on B2B charger and shore power, solar to come next summer) ... what would I be missing that the Cerbo GX can satisfy? Why do you need the Cerbo?

Thanks!
 

Top Bottom