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Everything posted by r1alvin

  1. Hello everyone! My name is Alvin and I just purchased this gently used (prior rental fleet unit) 2016 TC XLT LWB Wagon on Wednesday April 12th 2017. Background: I'm coming off of a 2011 Ford F150 XLT 4X4 Supercrew. I have spent hundreds upon thousands of hours digging around forums, and watching youtube videos and visiting dealer lots looking at all types of vans for the past 2 years. Sprinters, Full sized Transits, Sportsmobile conversions, Class B RV's, and Airstreams. I loved my Ford truck, but in 6 years of ownership I only used the 4x4 option maybe 3 times, and I never towed a single trailer with it even though it had the full trailer package and trailer brake. Also, I ride motorcycles and maybe had to haul my motorcycle only a handful of times in the bed. Made the life decision that it was time to downsize and get something that was more practical and useful for my use and hobbies. I purchased a mountain bike this past January and it turns out I drive to the trail a lot,,,2 or 3 times per week,,,30 minute commute minimum. I also own 2 beagle boys that are show dogs and we travel to dog shows sometimes and we also travel to Lure Coursing Trials in and out of state. We bring my electric Onewheel with us everywhere we travel so that will be mounted in the van somewhere as well. Why Transit Connect? The things about the Transit Connect that appealed to me most was the rear lift gate hatch that seconds as an awning to hide from the sun/rain, the slider doors on the driver side in addition to the passenger side allowing me quick access to the rear, the front passenger seat forward flip tray function, and the large open space in the rear of the van. I really wanted the cargo van with lift gate but it turns out that those are super rare and the single nearest unit was about 6 hours away. I liked the idea of the wagon to get the rear A/C and heating vents, and the liftgate. My original plan was to carry my Mountain Bike inside the van. After I got the van, I decided against it because it would be way too messy with a dirty, sweat covered bike. Going with the hitch mount is perfect because I can hose the bike off on the rack when I get home, and the rack has a lock built in as well. Plus I won't have to clean a dirty van. I am not opposed to storing the bike inside the van if the bike is clean, so I am going to keep that in mind during the build. Build/Teardown: So, lets start with what I have done so far. As of 4/14/17 this is what I have done to the Wagon so far: Removed the second row and 3rd row seats including all of the brackets. Completely removed both 3rd row passenger seatbelts from the rear most of the Transit. Installed a Uhaul Class 3 Hitch Receiver 2" Max Towing Weight 3,500lbs, 525lb tongue weight. Purchased from Uhaul Part Code 78578 $149.95 Purchased and installed Qty. 2 Pawslife Quilted Bucket Car Seat Covers purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond for 19.99 each. Purchased and Installed a Thule T2 Pro XT Hitch mounted Bike rack. Purchased from my local bike shop. MSRP: $579.95 Limo Tint is going in all of the rear windows next week along with regular legal tint on driver and passenger side windows. Currently Researching: Flooring options. Raised sleeping area with storage underneath that double as a bench seat (3 box style as many have seen online). Fresh water tank installation option. 5 Gallons at most. Canvas privacy shades for windows and cab partition with either a velcro or button style mount. Electrical,,,well first I need to find a full blowup of the electrical diagram so I can get my meter and figure out what everything does. Theres a cool fuseblock in the back that I would like to try to leverage as a hub if possible. I have about 19 years experience working directly on low/medium and high voltage switchgear and control circuit applications in the field so I'm not afraid to wire, solder, troubleshoot, trace, etc. but vehicular systems are kind of their own beast. I am more afraid of cutting into sheet metal that is painted. Lithium House pack/Inverter combo and solar panel to keep my Onewheel juiced up on the road. That's all for now! I'll try to keep this thread updated the best I can. Enjoy!
  2. Fully loaded! iSup board, MTB, all gear and tools asociated with that and 2 Hounds! Headed to Hot Springs Arkansas to race the Kodiak Tough Enduro on the Lovit trail!
  3. Trying out a few new things with the setup: REI Co-op Camp Bed 3.5 Open Cell Self Inflating pad (78"x30"x3.5") w/R-Value 6.0 Helio Down 30 Sleeping Bag It's 40 degrees outside and I just tested this sleeping arrangement with a short nap. Felt very nice and warm. I was blown away at how comfortable the pad is and I weigh about 190. Even when laying on my side it holds its shape. I will take care of it and I hope it lasts! The photo below is my 50qt arb fridge freezer, large lightweight soft crate (both beagles sleep in it together) folded up, large expanded suitcase and my 12' inflatable sup board. I still have plenty of room under the bed for biking stuff. Onewheel can go on the floor in front of the passenger seat or behind my driver seat. Inflatable pad deflates fast, and rolls up to get out of the way along with the sleeping bag allowong me a large platform to secure the beagles to their tethers!
  4. You're welcome windguy! The side panels come off pretty easy. I start from one corner of the panel and give it a quick and careful horizontal pull away from the side of the van to get it started. Any clips that dont move I carefully use a panel remover tool (looks like a flat tip screwdriver with a notch in the center. Good luck!
  5. First road trip today was a success 5 hours out to the field for some lure coursing trials, a visit to a state park and a 5 hour drive back ending a 16 hour day in the TC with both hounds. ARB fridge is amazing,,,so much storage space and held temperature flawlessly,,,,I only wished that I could see the temperature display from the cab. I could always turn the fridge around or buy that 80 dollar wireless display kit ARB sells for additional peace of mind. The fridge and the 8 gallon water tank work really well together. I was also for the first time using the AWESOME cold open hooks and my paracord pigtails as cage stabilizers,,,Both beagles have PLENTY of room to curl up and sleep together in their massive crate parked on top of the bed unit. I'll post some video shortly,,,
  6. Hey whats up guys. Quick Update, I know I've been offline for a while. found some nice thin (less than a 1/4" thick) rubber mat material at Academy sports so I cut a few pieces to fit to provide some good traction on the floor and also lining the front cabinet bottom. I purchased a small 4x8 single axle utility trailer to handle yardwork stuff, material movement and possible motorcycle transport. Added the CURT trailer wiring harness and wired the hot lead into the rear passenger fuse box "hot" 40A spade terminal with a 15A fuse in line. I finally dropped the big loot on this ARB 50qt. fridge/freezer combo unit. I made a custom pigtail adapter to power this thing through my trailer wiring harness which is coiled up in the jack cubby hole on the driver side rear. Made for a more clean layout instead of running the wire across to the passenger side 12V socket, but that option is always there if I need to go that way. I had to rip about 1/2" of wood lengthwise off of the end of my flip top on the bed cabinet. This worked out perfect because the vent for the ARB unit is on the right side of the fridge so it has plenty of space for ventilation. I'm using these very handy and simple straps from REI to hold the ARB in place-"Sea to Summit Accessory Strap with Hook Release." This is all for now. I will test out the fridge on a trip tomorrow. Later!
  7. interesting. I've been waiting for someone to post up their external a/c option. I was looking at floor standing models with flexible tube type duct to pass heat outside. Was that type of machine not an option for you? Seems like it would simplify your setup by not requiring all of the wood framing////? http://www.honeywellstore.com/store/products/portable-air-conditioner-8000-btu-cooling-single-hose-honeywell-mf08ces.htm
  8. I bought a really pricey Gunner kennel a few weeks ago but it was just too heavy and not portable at all. My dogs also got too hot inside it even when placed in air conditioning (they were panting heavily when I let them out). These crates literally trap heat from the inside regardless of the ambient temp. I returned it and got a refund for these 2 reasons. If anyone has a lightweight portable and stronger solution then the standard fold up wire crates, I'd love to see it. Unfortunately it seems most of us are stuck with wire crates or tethering our dogs in a harness to an anchor point in the vehicle.
  9. I used 1/4" perforated hardboard as a base for my vinyl planks and its working great. I'm not standing up and walking around in the van so IMO 1/2" , 3/4" plywood is overkill unless you are using it as a base to screw things into (which I'm not). Seems like you have not gone through my build thread link that I posted above. Go ahead and do that.
  10. Me neither this was my first build. Lots of lessons learned. Take your time and really think it through. Here's a link to my build. Hope it helps! And hello from another mountain/road biker!
  11. That's my van! Go look at my build thread and you can see what I did although I opted to build a stable flat platform over the lower 2nd row area to maintain that low entry point on both sides of the van while still allowing plenty of space to put "things".
  12. These two bagel brothers like camping out in the back of the van more then I do lol. You can see what I mean with the tie off point there,,,Right now I'm just looping their lead around the hook. I might look into make something more clean and simple, but same idea. Is this an alternate safe way to travel with them in their harness as opposed to being in a wire crate that can fold up etc in a crash? Also serves as a nice place to hook some plastic bags for trash or whatever else.
  13. I used the hook as a tie off point for the Beagles lead . It actually worked out really well during transport too. They had their harnesses on and the hook allowed them to stay on the floor, in the rear of the van on a soft pad with restricted movement instead of in a wire crate. (Beagles like to snoop around the van lol) I've been thinking about maybe running a line across the width of the van to both hooks to allow more restricted movement for the dogs during transport but I'm still trying to determine if this would be safe. Both dogs seemed to do well back there as I left enough lead for them to lay on the floor comfortably.
  14. Added these heavy duty 500lb. hooks to the rear pillars where the seatbelt use to be. Forgot what they are called but our local Ace hardware had them for cheap. Used a small section of M10 allthread, a hex spacer and a really short M10 Bolt and 2 lock washers.
  15. Thats cool! I never thought about sniffing around the gutter area, now I will! See if you can cut, tape and epoxy a rain shield to one of those in case of weather. Maybe you can cut a plastic gutter or one of those corrugated roofing strips from the same aisle.
  16. Back from our trip to Colorado! I drove the entire route solo both ways approx. 13 hours straight. Was not even the slightest bit fatigued after all of that driving! Did a lot of high elevation driving including 1 drive up to the summit of Pikes Peak with a fully loaded van (2 bikes, gear, 2 dogs, full 8 gallon water tank). Overall the van did great but was easier to manage in the hills in "S" mode where I could select the gears. I can now see the value of that swing away hitch that was posted in here for the bike rack. We arrived a day early as I mentioned above and found a place to pull off on a dirt road in the Pike National Forest. I set up my bed arrangement and it worked great. I also cracked a window and had a bug screen with magnets on the exterior of the sliding door window. Problems arose as temperatures plummeted into the 40's. It got too cold to sleep and I didn't have a sleeping bag or anything, just a thin sheet so I turned the van on to warm up the interior. My fuel guage said that we had approximately "300 miles to E". It seems when the van idles with the heat on, I counted 8 minutes 46 seconds for the fuel indicator to drop a mile. I figured this would give me PLENTY of time to finish a good nap before running out of fuel. (ie: 8min x 200miles / 60 = 26.6hours). Sure enough, I slept great! Woke up, drove down to the Hungry Bear in Woodland Park, CO and had a nice pancake and egg sandwich breakfast with coffee. Shower was also really nice to have and I used it several times to rinse myself off and my bikes. It's even better if you need to rinse the dirt out of a wound from MTB riding. Finally, the fuel mileage was great! Speed limits were 75+ in many areas and we were doing that and up to 80-84mph on cruise control and I was averaging over 24 mpg!
  17. Headed out to Silverthorne, Colorado tomorrow morning with the van, 2 beagles, and both bikes,,,Going to try out a night of dry camping tomorrow and then check into the hotel Saturday,,,
  18. how do I know where and when my Transit was built? Is there any reference VIN numbers or something on this recall?