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Colby C

my 2016 connect LWB cargo mini camper build

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On 7/29/2017 at 3:36 PM, Colby C said:

Just got back yesterday from the "big trip" went thru CA, NV, AZ (just the corner between NV/UT), UT, WY, MT, ID, WA, OR, and all of CA top to bottom. 

3906.7 miles
152.984 gallons of fuel
25.537 MPG
$441.29 total fuel cost
$2.88 avg price per gallon.
 
not bad, pretty stoked with that actually.
 
now, incidental costs.....
 
parking ticket in seattle, stopped at the rei flagship store, totally worth checking out if you haven't been there before, just make sure you get a parking stub if you're street parking, cuz the pay station was broke where i parked, so i figured it was like LA, broken meter = no pay..... wrong  $44
 
Broken windshield, picked up a rock at 90mph from a gravel truck, took a nice chunk right about the line of sight for my left eye, bummer, might have it "fixed" but i don't know yet, i have a 3 week trip coming in september, so ill wait to have the windshield replaced til after that. 
 
van needs an oil change, I'm 100 miles past my service interval, it'll cost $30, i already have 5 cases of mobil 1 (costco ran a sale), and i have a few filters (factory filter about $4 wholesale)
 
IMG_2612-L.jpg
 
IMG_2671-L.jpg
 
 

 

 

 

That's actually pretty good mileage.  I do all city driving, with the AC running, lots of stop & go, and a lot of sitting & idling.  

My milage has been in the teens.......15 - 18 MPG.

 

Did you get a chance to stop over in SF?

 

 

 

 

KIMG0336.JPG

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3 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

 

 

 

That's actually pretty good mileage.  I do all city driving, with the AC running, lots of stop & go, and a lot of sitting & idling.  

My milage has been in the teens.......15 - 18 MPG.

 

Did you get a chance to stop over in SF?

 

 

 

 

KIMG0336.JPG

did not go to "the city" this time, been MANY MANY times, wife wanted to get home, so we booked it from Ft. Bragg home to Orange County in a day. it was semi brutal, 600+ miles, left at 6:45am, got home about 8pm, traffic thru LA was hit just in time at 5:30. 

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Sorry to hear that you had to sit in LA traffic.  When I'm down in The SouthLAnd, I try to ride a motorcycle whenever possible.  

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What's the gridlock period in LA? Whenever I drive to and from Germany I need to plan the drive so I hit east of Warszawa (Poland) in the middle of the night. Morning and evening means bumper-to-bumper with semi trucks with no air to breathe for dozens of miles.

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21 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

Sorry to hear that you had to sit in LA traffic.  When I'm down in The SouthLAnd, I try to ride a motorcycle whenever possible.  

yeah, I've put 100,000+ miles on various motorcycles the last few years, but this time, i was in the van. i don't currently have a street bike for longer trips, just a 250cc scooter i rip around town on, and a plated dirt bike. 

19 hours ago, mrtn said:

What's the gridlock period in LA? Whenever I drive to and from Germany I need to plan the drive so I hit east of Warszawa (Poland) in the middle of the night. Morning and evening means bumper-to-bumper with semi trucks with no air to breathe for dozens of miles.

it really depends, on which direction, and what you call "LA" before 6am, i can run all over southern CA with no traffic, but after 6:30 am, its heavy til 10, and from 3:30pm (15:30) its heavy traffic til about 7:30 (19:30)

its all part of the game. 

my commute TO work at 6:30am, is 12 minutes, regardless of van, motorcycle, scooter, whatever, its all 80mph freeway blast, but home, at 6:pm, its 50 minutes, same route. 

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4 hours ago, Colby C said:

 

 

it really depends, on which direction, and what you call "LA" before 6am, i can run all over southern CA with no traffic, but after 6:30 am, its heavy til 10, and from 3:30pm (15:30) its heavy traffic til about 7:30 (19:30)

 

 

 

Ever been in the LA traffic at midnight, on a weekend, when everyone is out going to clubs & parties?  That gets pretty bad too.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Colby C said:

yeah, I've put 100,000+ miles on various motorcycles the last few years, but this time, i was in the van. i don't currently have a street bike for longer trips, just a 250cc scooter i rip around town on, and a plated dirt bike. 

 

250 CC may be all that you need. 

 

There are small displacement bikes now on the market which seem really interesting.  The Honda Grom & Kawasaki Z125 Pro  look really interesting.. ...I've also been looking at the Honda Rebel & Harley Street.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjM-7CLhbjVAhUprFQKHXZLA68QtwIISDAF&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dvm8hIO_Z9YM&usg=AFQjCNEdcSSOBn5vEPX5J-jmF1nk7FIh9w

 

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5 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

Ever been in the LA traffic at midnight, on a weekend, when everyone is out going to clubs & parties?  That gets pretty bad too.

 

 

 

yes and no, I've been coming home from LA (have a bunch of friends up there, I'm 35 miles south in orange county) and have left there at midnight 1 am and yeah, the 101 is traffic-y. but mostly thats well past my bedtime

5 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

250 CC may be all that you need. 

 

There are small displacement bikes now on the market which seem really interesting.  The Honda Grom & Kawasaki Z125 Pro  look really interesting.. ...I've also been looking at the Honda Rebel & Harley Street.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjM-7CLhbjVAhUprFQKHXZLA68QtwIISDAF&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dvm8hIO_Z9YM&usg=AFQjCNEdcSSOBn5vEPX5J-jmF1nk7FIh9w

 

250 is fine as a scooter, it'll go 80, and cruise 65 super sweetly, I've done a lot of 50cc riding too, see a buncha cool stuff at 35mph on backroads. 

mostly, little bikes are just too little, I'm 6'3 and 300lbs, no grom, z125 gunna work for me. 

I've had em all, bmw, triumph, vstroms, etc, i like a nice middle weight standard bike, gotta have 200+ miles of range, and ba able to cruise 85. 

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pulled the camper module out today..... 4 bolts, 10 minutes and its sitting on saw horses in the back of the shop at work. its nice to know it will just slip right out in short order. only reason i pulled it is i have a giant pallet of steel parts to pick up. transit will suffer for the 10 mile trip home until i unload it, should be about 2200lbs back there.

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Have someone follow you from behind with a video camera.  I would like to see how the van drives with a ton of metal.  But in all fairness, you should be okay.  7 adults, at 200+ pounds per person, rides just fine.

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10 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

Have someone follow you from behind with a video camera.  I would like to see how the van drives with a ton of metal.  But in all fairness, you should be okay.  7 adults, at 200+ pounds per person, rides just fine.

 

it handles it just fine, keep a little bit extra braking distance, and take it easy over the big bumps, but theres still travel left in the suspension in the rear. i have done it a couple times before. again, not long distances, just about 10 miles from my laser cutter, to the shop. 

i was hoping i didnt have to pull the interior kit, but my trailer isn't going to be ready til friday, and i have orders to fulfill so ya gotta make it happen, guess i could have rented a pickup truck for a few hours, but this is no biggy. 

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On 9/6/2017 at 9:28 PM, John Angelyn Canete said:

Great write up! I'm looking forward to starting a similar project. 

 

thanks. 

its ever ongoing as time/money allows.

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Next up will be a maxxair deluxe roof fan. 14" of suction out the roof.

see, this year ill have spent like 6 weeks in the van, or more, and the key to not ruining things is evacuating the condensation.

i already have the maxxfan 6401k 

inbound is a roof flange adapter machined from a solid chunk of "plastic" that is machined to fit the curvature and the ribs of the roof. mine is going to be placed 6" forward of the back of the roof, dead center. 

more to follow as soon as parts get in.

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@Colby C - great job on your mini camper build. Thanks for sharing. You're a true craftsman.

Looking forward to seeing more improvements. Keep up the good work!

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Received my roof vent flange adapter from @Hein today, VERY nice piece of kit. Like a Dingus i forgot to take pictures of it. Tomorrow, my buddy from the body shop next door is going to come over and cut the hole in the roof, its not that i can't do it, its that i don't really have the time right now, so while I'm working, he can use out the hole and it'll all be good. 

 

ill get pics of the adapter, and the products that I'm going to use to install the vent. with any luck, the vent will be finished installed on wednesday. which is just in time for my "exit" on sunday, heading to Overland Expo East, from southern California to Asheville, North Carolina. taking the van, and my little trailer with product, hoping for a good weekend. 

 

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Nice work Colby! Thanks for all the detail and pictures!

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ok, so heres a basic run down of what has been happening on my build.

 

tape a giant area off, and mark off where the 14x14" hole is going to be cut.

 

IMG_2853-L.jpg

 

drill the 4 corners and cut out the square. i used a cut off wheel on a die grinder. quick and dirty (like my jokes). i have access to everything, all the cutters, air nibblers, shears, etc etc, but i chose the die grinder because i am well versed in its usage. 

 

PRO TIP: tape a trash bag below the area you're going to cut, this seriously kept out 98% of the crap that would have gone all over my bed platform (i removed the cushions)

 

IMG_2858-L.jpg

 

Couple quick shots of the fan up there, kinda just seeing how monster this thing is. i really wish they made like a 8x8" fan, cuz this is totally overkill. the only other powered fan (size anyways) is a vent line vanair and its like 6.25" circle, pretty noisy due to the "squirrel cage blower" and only has one speed. go big or go home i say. 

 

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Obligatory head thru the hole in the van shot. 

 

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now, ill 100% admit to getting in the groove and getting this MOFO installed for the night, i forgot to take a picture of @Hein 's BEAUTIFUL adapter, this thing is NO JOKE. its CNC machined to match the curvature in the roof, both front and back, and side to side (like EZ-E's switches), fills in the ribs in the roof to perfection. Well worth the entry price of ~$65

 

taped off a perimeter, dulled the paint with a Grey scotch brite pad, wiped down with isopropyl alcohol, let dry

 

i used 3M window weld as spec'd in the instructions, 3 beads 1/8" high/wide all around, light clamps to hold as needed.  after the squeeze out, used a gloved finger, and made a little fillet of the window weld, then peeled the tape, nice crispy lines. 

 

IMG_2867-L.jpg

 

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DONE! 

 

well, at least with the roof adapter to give the fan flange something flat/level to sit on.

 

let me tell you, this thing is 100% level front to rear and left to right, very impressed. 

 

 

 

 

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@colby c - congrats - great install. thanks for sharing with great pics.

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Very nice job.  The vent size is an Rv industry standard, there are lots of Ac units fans and  evaporate coolers that will plug into the flange you put on the roof.

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ok, heres more of the install. wrapped this up yesterday, but it was late, and i was tired. 

 

lay up the flange and drill thru the holes into the adapter, and then thru the metal

 

IMG_2876-L.jpg

 

showing the holes drilled, i ran a light countersink to de-burr the holes

 

IMG_2878-L.jpg

 

Butyl tape on the underside of the flange, slight overlap of the corners (about 1/8") 

 

IMG_2877-L.jpg

 

screw the flange down nice and easy..... 

 

IMG_2879-L.jpg

 

also made wood blocks for the inside out of some old poplar i had hanging around.

 

IMG_2880-L.jpg

 

drop the fan in, note the wire in the bottom of the pic..... heat shrunk, and in "chinese finger trap" loom. runs thru the body to the right rear where my electrical is.

 

IMG_2883-L.jpg

 

installed/popped open height

 

IMG_2882-L.jpg

 

this thing REALLY SUCKS!!!!! so much air flow

 

 

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Nice Job.  The fan is made for a travel trailer so  it is plenty big enough  for your TC.

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Sweet! Nice job finishing. What's next?

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On 9/23/2017 at 7:18 PM, windguy said:

Sweet! Nice job finishing. What's next?

 

What's next? 

 

I am currently 500 miles into a 5000 mile road trip, heading to Asheville, NC for Overland Expo East. So, what's next is some seat time.

 

my foam cushions are too firm, should have listened to the foam guy, but I was stubborn, so what's next is likely new foam for my bed cushions. 

 

After that, I'm planning on more sound deadening and some insulation, as well as finishing off the interior space with panels/upholstery on the back walls, and filling in "where windows would be" on the sliding doors. And a headliner. 

 

As time and money allows. 

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Great report and  looking forward to the next set of pictures.

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