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Everything posted by chong

  1. Winter Tire Thread

    I haven't seen one of these threads for 2016 yet. What is everyone running in the winter? I'll confess that I'm not a Ford guy, but I am a Subaru guy and starting around this time of year the Subaru forums get packed with winter tire threads. We might as well start one that everyone can use. On my Subaru's I run Blizzak WS70 tires (WS70 has been discontinued in favor of the WS80 model). This is Bridgestone's "studless ice & snow" model. These tires are designed for deep snow and ice covered roads. They give up a bit on cold and dry roads, but I choose to make this tradeoff because I'm a skier and if its pounding down snow, I want to be in the car going to the hill. To that end, I tell people that I run snow tires on my cars because I want to go the speed limit year round. Coming to Ann Arbor from the UP (where it snows 300" per year on average), I'm quite comfortable driving in the snow. I actually quite enjoy it. I have a set of WS70s with only 2 seasons on them that I plan to run. Unfortunately, I need to get new rims. Subaru Wheel Spec is 5x100 and the Transit appears to run 5x108 (so close). So, what does everyone else run? If you have any questions, I'd say ask them here. I'm not an expert, by far, but I'm sure we have some knowledgable folks in the community.
  2. We bought our 2016 LWB Transit Connect for the purpose of converting it into a road trip vehicle. We often drive long distances to ski (we live in Michigan and there aren't any mountains here) and ride mountain bikes. The van is intended to serve those use cases. It isn't intended to be lived out of for long periods of time, it just needs to be comfortable enough to pull off the road when we get tired and catch some good sleep. When we get to the destination, we will stay in more legitimate accommodations (VRBO, AirBnB, etc...). I'll start with the electrical system. Having slept in my various cars (Subaru WRX and Subaru Forester), I knew that we had to invest in keeping warm. If I had my say, I'd invest in better sleeping bags and be done with it. Mrs. Chong, on the other hand, was having none of that idea. It was heated blanket or bust. Luckily, I have some friends who are electrical engineers. They helped me design a power system that will power the heated blanket we bought for a full 1.5 days without recharging. The BOM for this system is as follows: 2 Optima YellowTop D31t 75Ah Deep Cycle Batteries Battery Boxes Blue Sea Systems 120A DC Add a Battery Kit Noco Genius 10AMP 1 Bank Battery Charger 3 Blue Sea Systems Fuse Block Terminals 3 125A Blue Sea Systems Terminal (slow blow) Fuses Blue Sea Systems 6 Circuit DC Fuse Block 1000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter Combination Cigarette Lighter and USB Outlets (DC) 2AWG Copper Wire And various other bits for wiring up the circuits. The first thing to do was to run the wiring from the engine compartment into the cabin. We ran this through the stock grommet in the firewall behind the glove box on the passenger side. We ran one 2AWG wire to the positive battery terminal and one 2AWG wire to the stock chassis ground next to the battery. We installed one of the Fuse Block Terminals and Slow blow fuses between the starter battery and the add a battery kit: We then got to work on wiring up the rest of the kit. Here's a shot of the panel I made for the Add a Battery Kit and the DC Fuse Panel: That panel lives in that little cubby beneath the passenger seat. Here's an in-progress shot of wiring up the batteries, charger, and inverter: You can see that every single battery has a fuse on the positive terminal. This should keep the system from drawing too much current. If something needs more than 125A, that likely wouldn't be good. It will be neat to see what that inverter does when I finally power it on with a load. Those fuses are rated to sustain 2x the current load they are rated for, for a duration of 1 second, I believe (I'm not an expert on this stuff, but I have friends that design the transformers that live on the global electrical grid, they signed off on the design). And the forum is now telling me I'm at the attachment limit for a single post. Really need BBCode so I can link these from flickr. To be continued...
  3. Awesome build! Reminds me a lot of my build. I need to get moving on siding and making the walls look nice. I don't want to add holes to the van if I can help it though. That's been my hangup for over a year now!
  4. Got my new bike rack installed. This was definitely a worthwhile upgrade! Previously, I was just screwing the fork mounts down to the floor, which worked fine, but if I ever needed to carry different bikes I had to spend a lot of time moving things around to make sure everything would fit. Now I can just slide them around in the channels. Test fitting my Fat Bike rack: Front channel mounted in the van: Rear channel mounted in the van: Test fitting the bike: With the previous location of that mount, my tire would rest up against the rear door. Now I have some clearance: That's my longest bike, so everything else should fit perfectly. I drove about 400 miles round trip yesterday to participate in Global Fatbike Day. The rack was rock solid. This was definitely money well spent.
  5. They are various sizes to fit the various racks (some require smaller bolts). They range from M3 to M6.
  6. Got my custom rails that will make up my bike racks in the mail yesterday. The idea is that the fork mounts will bolt into the channels with T-Nuts allowing me to slide them from side to side depending on the bikes I want to carry. Can't wait to get these installed. We leave for our next road trip in 2.5 weeks!
  7. Winter Tire Thread

    Went down and measured my Blizzaks and found them to only have 3/32" of tread left. They are practically on the wear bars. I'm going to give the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 a go this time. On paper, they look to be quite awesome. Can't wait for the snow!
  8. I did remove the glove box and it was not hard to get out, but I'm pretty sure we had to cut some plastic to be able to pull it off the pegs (I don't think it was designed to be removed with the dash in the vehicle). Doesn't really hurt any functionality, but you should be careful putting it back in as it will weaken it a bit if you aren't careful. For the record, my glove box hasn't fallen out and I keep it pretty loaded up! Take this bit of information with a grain of salt, my memory is pretty fuzzy. Also be careful running the wire through the grommet. There is almost 0 room and if you manage to unseat the grommet, the sheet metal is damn sharp and you'll risk stripping the jacket off either the wire you're running or the wiring that's already there. Good luck!
  9. Just ordered some custom aluminum extrusions with appropriately sized t-nuts to make a much nicer interior bike rack. Parts should be here around the 2nd week of December. Can't wait to get the parts in and install them. Should make switching up the fork mounts a 5 minute operation.
  10. She's 4'11" I'm 6'5". The car side of the awning is probably right around 6'6", but the poles on the other side telescope and we can make that end a bit higher if desired.
  11. The Awning is the Arb Awning 2000 The heated seat kit is this eBay auction
  12. Had the day off Friday so I decided it was time to add heated seats to my Van. This isn't my first rodeo with adding heated seats to a car that didn't come with them from the factory. The first step was to yank the seats: Having an elevated work area makes things go a bit faster: Disassemble, add the heating element, reassemble: We pulled the center console and mounted up the switches: Wired everything up to switched power and we're off to the races: No more cold butts!
  13. It doesn't really do anything of value unless you service your van at the dealer (you used to be able to get coupons, not sure if that's still true). I have it turned off on my van.
  14. I have 2 aux batteries in my setup. I ran the alternator cable through the grommet with the stock wiring on the passenger side of my 2016. There's not a lot of room there, but I wasn't able to find another place to feed it through without requiring the use of a drill and some primer. As far as placement. Depending on the size, they will fit under the floor extension (see my build thread for some photos of this), but in my case, it wasn't a good fit. I did the same thing as Glenn and built a box for them directly behind the front seats.
  15. I have 2 aux batteries in my setup. I ran the alternator cable through the grommet with the stock wiring on the passenger side of my 2016. There's not a lot of room there, but I wasn't able to find another place to feed it through without requiring the use of a drill and some primer. As far as placement. Depending on the size, they will fit under the floor extension (see my build thread for some photos of this), but in my case, it wasn't a good fit. I did the same thing as Glenn and built a box for them directly behind the front seats.
  16. That explains the clutch pedal... Edit: I use Weathertech. Like them a lot.
  17. So we've now had our van for 1 year. We've put almost 37k miles on it. We're loving it!
  18. Looks great! I'm curious how you secured the walls. My wife has been bugging me to make the back of the van look nicer, but I don't want to drill any new holes. It looks like there are already some pre-drilled holes with captive nuts welded to the backs, but I've not had the time to experiment with any of them yet.
  19. I have 2 batteries. The design requirement was to be able to run 2 heated blankets for 8 hours (the coldest overnight temp we've slept in the van was -18F). I put together a system to do that while running a powered cooler. A battery monitor is definitely on my list of upgrades for the future.
  20. I have both in my Van. My battery bank is 2x Optima Yellowtop (each battery is 75Ah). I have them connected to the Alternator via a Blue Sea Systems Add a Battery kit. I can also charge them via AC with a NOCO Genius 10a charger. I've documented my build here: Vincent VanGoing 1.0
  21. That's a kickass trip! Sucks about the windshield. I'm on windshield #5 in less than a year and I just took another rock on the way home from work 2 weeks back. Happens, I suppose...
  22. It looks to me as though someone just drilled. I'll see if I have any good pictures of my naked roof. Edit: Oh, just realized you have a 2012. My 2016 is likely quite different.
  23. GPS antenna but.....

    It is, on his model year at least. The SYNC3 GPS antenna is built into that same puck for model years with SYNC3. If the OP has either of the previous iterations of sync then there's a GPS module floating around in there somewhere, but I have no idea where it would be placed. Usually under the dash on top of the steering column.
  24. First summer trip in the Van report! As mentioned, our route was as follows: Ann Arbor -> Traverse City -> Marquette -> Houghton -> Copper Harbor -> Ann Arbor The first night in the van was Marquette. Turns out, the Marquette Walmart is Boondock Central! As mentioned this was a bike trip. We carried 5 bikes: 2007 Giant TCX (Roof) 2012 Pivot Mach 4 (Roof) 2016 Surly Ice Cream Truck (Hitch) 2005 Santa Cruz VP Free (Hitch) 1986 Trek 400 (Inside) We mostly rode mountain bikes. Starting July 3rd we rode laps on Benson Grade in Marquette. The Norquemanon Trail Network is an IMBA Bronze Level Ride Center. Some good gravity there if you are willing to work for it. Monday night, we drove to Houghton and stayed with a buddy. Tuesday we spent up in Copper Harbor, an IMBA Silver Level Ride Center. The route from Houghton to Copper Harbor has some photo op places. I can quite honestly say that this is the first time I've ever stopped at either of these locations. I used to live up there so I never bothered. This time, we made an exception. It snows a lot up here. The pavement disappears in November and doesn't re-appear until Mid-April. I've chased a lot of storms up here. This thermometer tracks just how much it snows year to year. As you can see, last year was just above average. Breakfast in Copper Harbor: Lunch in Copper Harbor: Mrs. Chong getting ready to rip the Overflow trail: Apparently, the showers in Copper Harbor are only for bikes. Mrs. Chong was not pleased: All in all, it was a good trip. We didn't get any rain until after we were done riding/running on Saturday evening. We stayed Friday night at the Fort Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor and Saturday night in the rest stop in Seney. We did 1573 miles round trip, averaged 23.2mpg, and never left the state!