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BoondockinDave

Newbie starting a cargo to camper conversion.

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     I'm looking to take a road trip in my 2017 TC just as soon as I finish a few modifications. My thought is that I'll tackle some of the custom woodworking after my first significant trip. 

     What I'd love to get some advice on is the best way to access the firewall grommet for threading a wire from my engine battery to my house battery. My CTEK d250sa DC to DC charger will be arriving this week. My house battery is a 92ah AGM deep cycle. I chose the CTEK because it seems able to fully charge my battery, as well as offering the option of easily adding a solar panel when stationary for a few days - or longer. I'm installing a Maxxair deluxe fan. I'm starting with a simple cooler without electric, but may add something without too much draw.

     Youtube DIY videos have been helpful, but I'd appreciate any advice you may have for how to best prepare for this first significant trip.

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Here is a clean way to do it or use the large grommet behind the glove box but be careful removing hinge pins in the box or you'll break the hinges.

 

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@boondockinDave - Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new van.

We love to see pics of new vans all nice and shiny!

There are numerous write-ups here on this forum for most of the mods you want to do. Someone else installed a fan and provided some nice pics of that install.

Use the search tool to locate.

Please keep us posted.

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I used to think that you had to have something larger for road trips.  But after seeing all of the youtube videos, I am convinced that there is enough room in a Transit Connect.  And it looks like you're only limited by your imagination, and what you copy from someone else.  Don't reinvent the wheel.  If someone else has already done something well, copy it.  I'm still of the mindset that I will not permanently modify my van, and will always keep it as a wagon with folding seats.  Thus far, my van camping consist of sleeping on the cargo floor with the seats folded down.  Good enough for me.  Yoga mats and a Pendleton blanket.  But I get it.  A lot of people want more comfort.  Keep us posted with your project.  

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Thanks for the great suggestions! I was able to thread my wire through the grommet on the driver's side, and secure my AGM battery behind the driver's seat. I attached brackets to plywood, and secured the battery box with a strap. It may not be my final configuration, but should work in the short term. With my Maxxair fan going in in the next few days, it's looking pretty good for being on the road by the weekend. I'll post a few pictures soon.

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Sounds like you're into a good start.

Be careful of batteries inside the vehicle.  Lead/acid batteries "out gas" ... venting some hydrogen and oxygen while charging or discharging.  It might smell a bit, but the gases aren't poisonous.  

However ... just to detail the explosive power of hydrogen and oxygen ... it's what launched some of the rockets from NASA.  Letting those gases build up in your Transit could result in the sudden and catastrophic loss of your vehicle ... and anyone standing within 10 feet or so.

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Smoking in your car won't help either.

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Posted (edited)

I've made good progress over the past week. The battery set up is functioning as I'd hoped. I worked with a friend to install my Maxxair fan. Cutting that 14 x 14 hole was stressful, but the end result was pretty satisfying. Now, to finish packing my essentials, and storing the rest...I'm eager to hit the road! Some have suggested that the fan is a dead giveaway that you're camping. I still think it's reasonably "stealthy." My rig doesn't have fancy built-ins...yet, but I'm beginning to believe it will be livable. After my first journey, I'll commit to some carpentry, or, more likely, employ a friend with far greater skills in that area than I possess.

 

35077175_10155676493559639_2725990814781014016_o.jpg

Edited by BoondockinDave

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Looks good.  Gives a neat profile "kick" to the van.

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On 6/4/2018 at 9:52 PM, Mike Chell said:

Be careful of batteries inside the vehicle.  Lead/acid batteries "out gas" ... venting some hydrogen and oxygen while charging or discharging.  It might smell a bit, but the gases aren't poisonous.  

However ... just to detail the explosive power of hydrogen and oxygen ... it's what launched some of the rockets from NASA.  Letting those gases build up in your Transit could result in the sudden and catastrophic loss of your vehicle ... and anyone standing within 10 feet or so.

Not to worry  -  AGM batteries like the one he installed are sealed and don't vent gases of any sort while being charged and they are 'legal' for installation within the living spaces of vehicles and boats

 

Don

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I hate ... I really do hate to correct people "in public" ... but this needs to be stated:

Directly from several sources (mostly battery manufacturers and boat.com)

 

"Question: I just went for some really nice slim-line AGM batteries for my boat. They’re sealed so there is no gassing. Do I still need to provide some sort of ventilation for them? My mechanic says I do, but I’m not sure why. Is it to keep them cool? If they are sealed what’s the big deal?

Answer: This is a question that I get quite often. The short answer is, your mechanic is giving you the straight story and you do need to vent these batteries. Here’s why."

 

Go to boat.com to see the rest of the answer.

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Yes, you do need to vent them, or . . . . ensure there is no possibility of a gross overcharge, because only under a sustained gross overcharge condition will it be likely to pop it's seal and vent,  They do not vent ANY gas under normal conditions.  It's very unlikely that a modern alternator will fail in a 'max charge' condition, but it is theoretically possible.  Since Dave isn't charging his AGM with an alternator, but with a CTEK DC to DC charger, that eliminates the possibility of a gross overcharge and the need for venting his AGM battery.  He has nothing to worry about

 

Every Chevy Volt made has an AGM in the passenger compartment (it's under the rear deck panel which is not sealed from the passenger compartment) and to my knowledge, there's never been an AGM failure reported.  Again, that battery isn't charged by an alternator but by a DC to DC converter

 

Don

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Knew there was battery in the rear but didn't realize it was AGM.  It just sits back there and works.  

 

Love the progress on the van, learning lots about mods.  Unfortunately I don't have time to do much at the moment.  I have a VW with a turbo motor - I'm done owning VW's!!!!  75,000 miles and major engine problems.  Working on it makes me appreciate the underwood space in the TC.  It's not perfect and the trans fluid change is a hassle but nothing like the wonderfulness designed by VW.

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Not arguing with you Beta Don.  But as a technician, I am always hesitant to recommend on the side of convenience.  I always recommend on the side of safety.

Because we all know, there are WAY too many people with a skewed view of "whats right".

onewir12.jpg

 

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Nothing wrong with being safe, or even ultra safe if you're a bit paranoid  -  It's important to know what you're dealing with and not do anything which would endanger anyone

 

But you did tell Dave to be careful because 'Lead/acid batteries "out gas" ... venting some hydrogen and oxygen while charging or discharging' and while that's true or conventional flooded batteries, it's not true of his AGM battery, so I felt compelled to speak up to let him know he has nothing to worry about  -  No gassing of any kind unless there's a catastrophic failure of the charging system, which he really doesn't need to worry about either

 

Don  

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Love the photo of the battery terminal!  Had a BMW with a battery in the trunk.  Replacement batteries had to have a vent tube to vent to the outside.  Smart car battery is under passenger floor mat and it has a vent as well.  Nice thing about the two vehicles I've had with batteries out of the engine compartment is how well they last.  Many years ago I looked at a used Alfa Romeo Gulietta Sprint which had the battery in the trunk.  The battery in that one had exploded!  In those days don't think the batteries were sealed and vented to the outside.  

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Here's my set up. Everything seems to be working well. I've partially discharged the battery a few times by running the fan overnight, and it seems to fully charge again pretty quickly.

20180618_131629.jpg

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