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r1alvin

2016 TC XLT LWB Wagon Project Mtn. Biker/Dog Hauler/Camper

11 posts in this topic

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!

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Edited by r1alvin
mrtn likes this

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Bike Rack. Please note: The rack tilts downward at an angle in an effort to move the strapped bike away from the lift gate however, with this configuration, and with the bike in the closest mount to the car, the liftgate will not clear the bike. Either the bike must be removed from the rack completely or it might work with the bike on the outer mount of the rack away from the liftgate.

I can also add that this Thule rack keeps the bar end further away from the glass than the Kuat NV Base 2.0 that I was originally going to purchase. My bar end was about 2 inches or less away from hitting the rear glass with the Kuat. Here, I have much more clearance. 

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Edited by r1alvin

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The tilt feature is probably designed to work in hatchbacks and sedans. It's almost impossible to clear a "wall" of the size of the van without some extra mechanism.

Then again, it's quite easy to remove the bike.

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On 4/15/2017 at 7:46 AM, mrtn said:

 

Okay so here I am today,,,Limo Tint Complete,,,Pulled the side panels in the rear, removed the final 2nd row seatbelts,,,removed the carpeting. I think I am going to go with carpet again but I'm not sure how I'm going to pad the underside of it. Dynamat? Some other type of soft barrier or foam? Any suggestions? I am also looking for a local reliable outfitter to install a low profile roof top unit and shore power connection to my van. I was thinking like a Coleman Mach 8 since its only 8" tall and will allow me to park in my garage. 

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Edited by r1alvin

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Well I was hoping for more input from this forum. I see tons of other helpful threads in the search but not much discussion here. Ah well. Back to the midnight oil searching google.  

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You may want to consider using closed cell foam exercise mat material instead of carpet. Lots of options on Amazon. Maybe glue a thin layer of padding down first to keep the mats from moving? 

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39 minutes ago, Don Ridley said:

You may want to consider using closed cell foam exercise mat material instead of carpet. Lots of options on Amazon. Maybe glue a thin layer of padding down first to keep the mats from moving? 

I am definitely considering it. I found some large "soft interlocking mats"  at Lowes today about 2' x 2' in size and 1/2" thick. I think that might do the trick but I will have to insert some foam in-between the ribs to get things level...hoping the mats wont flex too much. Trying to stay as thin as possible and avoid having to use plywood back there as a subfloor. I have also ordered a box of dynamat extreme to put down on the floor and while I have the sides panels off.

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How do you plan to Power the AC .  The Mach 8 Colman is a good unit but needs sizeable power?  If you do a good install the AC unit could be easily removable.  The Roof opening is a standard 14-14 RV roof vent size and a Cover could be made fill the hole when you do not need the AC.

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1 hour ago, G B L said:

How do you plan to Power the AC .  The Mach 8 Colman is a good unit but needs sizeable power?  If you do a good install the AC unit could be easily removable.  The Roof opening is a standard 14-14 RV roof vent size and a Cover could be made fill the hole when you do not need the AC.

Primarily for use on shore power electric connection and then sometime later look at configuring the floorplan to carry a small 2000W gas inverter generator. I just really want to have the ability to go somewhere with my dogs, plug in, cool down and shut the van off. Not looking to be able to remove the unit from the roof. A/C must always be available and installed in Texas! I am also looking at other Roof Top units that are low profile (10" or less in height from the van roof) 

Edited by r1alvin

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The nice thing about a standard 14-14 Rv install is if the unit ever croaks then the replacement is much easier. The TC is Small so the standard inside vent setup would work well.  The Hitch out the back gives you the option of a swing away basket on the back for the generator.  Your plan is coming together 

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Today I completely removed both second row seat mounts under the carpet and the center bracket...I am going to build up a wooden platform to run across the top of that huge opening where the rear A/C ducts run. It looks like I can possibly get away with not having to cut the carpet. I think having a nice flat base in that spot will be best instead of bringing it up to the cargo floor height and using the void underneath as storage. Plus it should make getting in and out of the van easier as well. I also purchased some 2' x 2' rubber interlocking tile from Lowes. These mats are pretty neat at 1/2" thick but they will require a flat base for sure so I found a nice 4x 8 panel 1/2" sanded plywood that I will use as a base over the "dynamatted" floor once all of that comes in! The tiles were cheap so I may or may not use them,,,Have been throwing around the idea of laminate floor planks on top of the plywood but rubber seems like it may hold up better to road vibration,,,we shall see,,,

Edited by r1alvin

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