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Posted (edited)

Recently purchased a 2011 TC with hopes of doing some overnight camping down the road. Was a time I'd have done this work myself, but too old and decrepit for that now. Found a friend of a friend who likes to do custom work (couldn't find a body shop that would touch it), tracked down the parts, and let him have at it. Short list of parts:

 

- Fiberine full length one foot topper

- Slider windows

- Universal retractable side step

- Aries step up bumper

- MaxxAir roof fan

 

Here's the original concept I photoshopped from stock pics off the web. Nothing to scale, but it did give a good sense of what I wanted to see when it's done. This uses an actual pic from the dealership's online ad. Vehicle already has a nice 1K inverter and dual battery system for going off grid, and is in excellent condition with 70K on it. 

 

transit-mods-v12.jpg

 

And here we are a week later with the real deal. Stopped by today to take a peak, and lots of progress:

 

camper-mods-01.jpg

 

camper-mods-02.jpg

 

camper-mods-03.jpg

 

I ordered the Fiberine topper with the extra wood reinforcement inside the glass shell. Lot stronger, and better for attaching headliners and such. I was expecting maybe some blocking here and there, but they gave it the full monty ...

 

camper-mods-04.jpg

 

So far, no complaints - the guy does really nice work, especially considering that it's a first. He's mostly custom racers and resto-rods, but figured why not - always ready for something new. Asked today if he'd do one of these again, and it was ... not a chance! Took four men and a chain hoist to get that roof on there, and plan is to leave that for the younger guys.

 

Anyway - been planning this project for several months now - good to see it actually happening!

 

Edited by sKiZo

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Has he commented on the structural rigidity or the loss of it due to the cut roof?

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Posted (edited)

Nope - and I don't suppose I'd listen much if he did ... <G>

 

Truth be told, nothing different happening here than with any other van conversion where the roof is raised. We're not talking much in the way of open length. One rail was removed, and can't say I was all that impressed with the strength and rigidity of that anyway, so I expect Ford has a lot of confidence in the wall structure and support. Also another good reason to spring for the wood reinforcement on the Fiberine topper. That's molded to shape and bonded right to the shell and I'd think makes it even stronger than the original roof panel WITH the brace installed. 

 

Plan is also at some point to add overhead storage to the back of the roof. Could always beef that up some for additional strength. The new storage box would probably cover half the distance from the back doors to the support that was removed. Also plan to box in the area up front between the old roof and the new - I'm thinking that would be a great place to stash blankets and stuff that doesn't mind being jammed into odd spaces. That also could come back a bit further than the existing roof support to shrink the open area even more. 

 

But ... as mentioned ... don't expect to lose any sleep over it, eh.

 

 

Edited by sKiZo

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It's probably nothing as there are many pickup conversions with most of the back cut away with no reports of lost rigidity. Just curious.

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Posted (edited)

I do know that was the hot button for any professional body shops I stopped by. Most took one look and started mumbling about liability. Reminds me of a talk I had with Ford about my '93 Ranger. Basic XLT package, and when asked what I could tow with it, they said, pretty much nothing. To which my reply was ... then why put a bumper on it that has a place for a tow ball? It's all about keep the lawyers happy nowadays I guess.  ;-} 

 

One item I got to look into. The guy who's doing the work is waffling on cutting the roof for the fan. the new roof has got a pretty good crown to it, and installing it per instructions from the outside ain't gonna work. I figure cut the hole and jam it in from underneath instead? That would require a lot of disassembly, but also allow the fan box to seal tight to the edges of the hole I'd think. No rush - maybe eventually get a fiberglass guru to build a box with a flat top and mold that into the roof instead.

Edited by sKiZo

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Tada ... the real deal, sitting back in the drive ...

 

topper-done-05.jpg

 

The step bumper on the back is a nice touch - bolted right in. Side step was a no go - wouldn't fit without a whole lot of welding, so we passed on that for now. Anyone got any ideas on a better option there, let me know please.

 

Interior roughed in nicely with clean cuts and made for a nice storage cubby up top ahead of the side doors. That's better than a foot deep and should be nice for stashing soft stuff like blankets, pillows, and such. Original liner cleaned things up nice after cutting the center out, and just needs some wood trim around the edges to dress it up. Plan is to add LED string lighting with dimmer around that to light the entire cargo area. Fiberine also did a real nice job of finishing out the interior of the shell, with the plywood being bonded right into the glass to improve strength. Heavy duty stuff --- the topper tipped the scales around 250 pounds. Had the driver's side of the cargo wall removed, and the waffle "window" section of passenger side cut out to improve visibility. I can actually see out the rear view mirror now!

 

topper-done-03.jpg

 

One item - the new topper has a pretty extreme crown to it, which is why you don't see the exhaust fan. Figured best left to the pros as that will take some tricky glass work to keep it watertight. Win some, lose some - I can live with it as is for now, and there's a place up the road that can do the work. 

 

topper-done-06.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next item on the list?  Sound system with half dozen subwoofers?  Crazy paint job?  Rims?  Zebra pattern interior?  Fuzzy dice?

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Posted (edited)

Why half step ... all of the above!  ;-}

 

Speaking of steps ... I've already got a plan B for that ... supposed to be pretty sturdy, and 14" high with the first step splitting the difference is perfect for the side entry. I'd prefer wider, but these should work for now. Also lightweight and just stash them inside the door when traveling.

 

rv-side-steps.jpg

 

I suppose next up should be the roof vent and painting the topper. That's just gel coat right now and should get a couple coats of real paint at least to protect it. I'll have to ask Fiberine if the stuff they used is UV stable or not.

 

 

 

Edited by sKiZo

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Oh. Sound system ...

 

Got that covered - I put a double din touchscreen radio head in the dash, new door speakers, and tucked a couple extra speakers in the overhead shelf up front. Those tucked in real nice and just press fit into the corners for now. Also put a powered sub under the driver's seat. All in all, it's a big improvement over the stock system, and no issues with throwing codes or any of that high tech nonsense these things can give you if you mess with the electronics. Bonus - the radio head also gives me built in GPS and backup camera.

 

gps-radio.jpg

 

overhead-speakers.jpg

 

... and one other little compromise. Got cheap on the wheels for now and just painted the stock steels with PlastiFix and added some $25 covers I got from Amazon. Look pretty decent I think - whole lot better than they did anyway.

 

wheel-covers.jpg

 

I think that about covers it for now ... stay tuned!

 

 

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I didn't know Amazon had hubcaps for sale.  

 

In the old days, hubcaps were simply hung out on fences.

img_4780.jpg?w=676

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You can sometimes get the OEM hubcaps cheap when someone upgrades.

 

Or get the original Mk1 Connect half size hubcaps (full size Transit ones look identical but won't fit) from ebay, which are the best looking ones ever (I lost mine somewhere in storage, worst thing ever happened to me, ever): 

 

24909968_10155868899164188_2335122079084

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The center caps are nice, but I kinda like the Amazon caps I got ... Amazon's got everything, and the price is hard to beat ...

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQ29GA2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Only concern really is I know the cheaper caps have a tendency to go flying off at speed. They have a wire tension ring that presses plastic fingers into the rim, and these are either too loose when new, or wear badly. I could actually spin a couple of these on the rim a bit when first installed - bad sign for long life that. Cue the handy man's secret weapon - duct tape! A couple strips over the wire and down each finger on both sides, and another strop wrapped around each finger below the wire, and they're not going anywhere. Just be sure to inspect the tape for wear any time you tape the caps off and add another piece if necessary. Then be careful not to break any of the fingers trying to pound them on. I press all the fingers in a bit so they hook the rim, THEN a few taps with a rubber hammer to set them, and they ain't goin' nowhere.

 

I'll still be keeping an eye out for a deal on some real wheels, but no rush on that.

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I just can't get excited over hubcaps.  

 

I can see buying new wheels, if there is a performance advantage.  Lighter..  Bigger wheel for a lower profile tire.  Different dimensions to allow for bigger brakes.  

 

I get it.  Some people get rims just because they enjoy the aesthetic.  But who buys hubcaps because they look good?

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1 hour ago, Fifty150 said:

Some people get rims just because they enjoy the aesthetic.  But who buys hubcaps because they look good?

 

Many do. And with the ever growing youngtimer restorations these parts are becoming less available.

 

There’s really no difference if tinkering with cars feels good. Sandblasting and repainting your old steelies is more fun than getting a new set for less money.

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I'm with Fifty on this one.

I leave the factory caps on until they die, I lose one, whatever.  Then I take 'em all off and just go "au naturel".

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Opinions vary.

 

i just don't think hubcaps look good.  

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On 7/1/2018 at 3:27 PM, sKiZo said:

Tada ... the real deal, sitting back in the drive ...

 

topper-done-05.jpg

 

The step bumper on the back is a nice touch - bolted right in. Side step was a no go - wouldn't fit without a whole lot of welding, so we passed on that for now. Anyone got any ideas on a better option there, let me know please.

 

Interior roughed in nicely with clean cuts and made for a nice storage cubby up top ahead of the side doors. That's better than a foot deep and should be nice for stashing soft stuff like blankets, pillows, and such. Original liner cleaned things up nice after cutting the center out, and just needs some wood trim around the edges to dress it up. Plan is to add LED string lighting with dimmer around that to light the entire cargo area. Fiberine also did a real nice job of finishing out the interior of the shell, with the plywood being bonded right into the glass to improve strength. Heavy duty stuff --- the topper tipped the scales around 250 pounds. Had the driver's side of the cargo wall removed, and the waffle "window" section of passenger side cut out to improve visibility. I can actually see out the rear view mirror now!

 

topper-done-03.jpg

 

One item - the new topper has a pretty extreme crown to it, which is why you don't see the exhaust fan. Figured best left to the pros as that will take some tricky glass work to keep it watertight. Win some, lose some - I can live with it as is for now, and there's a place up the road that can do the work. 

 

topper-done-06.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The partition modification will KILL you or a passenger in an accident the way it has been modified, especially in any side or rear impact unless your wearing a helmet of course. Otherwise a nice build.

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On ‎7‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 2:13 AM, Fifty150 said:

I just can't get excited over hubcaps.  

 

I can see buying new wheels, if there is a performance advantage.  Lighter..  Bigger wheel for a lower profile tire.  Different dimensions to allow for bigger brakes.  

 

I get it.  Some people get rims just because they enjoy the aesthetic.  But who buys hubcaps because they look good?

 

I'm not a fan of hubcaps either, but almost anything is an improvement over bare steel factory wheels. And a helluva lot cheaper than a new set of wheels. Oh, and there are places around here where they STILL hang the hubcaps on fences.

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6 hours ago, OLDSCHOOLFOOL said:

 

 

. Oh, and there are places around here where they STILL hang the hubcaps on fences.

Welcome to Paradise

 

hubcaps-for-sale-ny-GG0PX2.jpg

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Made arrangements today for a local boat repair to do some fiberglass work on the roof to add a box mount for an air conditioner. Bit tricky as there's some crown to the existing roof. Plan is to go with a Coleman Mach 3. Small footprint at 80 pounds and also has an option to add a heater coil. Should be interesting to see how that works out. 

 

... And ya, I'm sure it could fly off and kill somebody, - just don't follow me too close. ;)

 

Also got the steps in today. Right sturdy, and a whole lot less work than any disappearing stairs, not to mention a whole lot cheaper. Just the thing for us aging gimps ...

 

side-steps.jpg

 

High Country Plastics Trailer, RV Entry Step

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Harbor Freight has a folding step that may work for you also.

 

Haul-Master® 62515 Step Stool/Working Platform

Double click on above image to view full picture

 

Step Stool/Working Platform

HaulMasterShop.gif
 
 
Haul-Master®- Item#62515
 
 
 
 
 
 
Get better reach and solid support with this step stool 
 

 

Only: $29.99

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52 minutes ago, sKiZo said:

Made arrangements today for a local boat repair to do some fiberglass work on the roof to add a box mount for an air conditioner.

 

 

 

Make sure that you know what your new maximum height will be.  Don't want you to drive into a garage with low hanging pipes or low ceiling.  My pickup is 7'.  I can't go to the airport, because the maximum vertical clearance there is 6'8".  Run into a sprinkler head, and not only will water be spraying everywhere, but your brand new custom roof and AC unit will be damaged.

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I think IKEA has one just like the one on Amazon.

 

  • 71RRb72Xu1L._SX679_.jpg
Click image to open expanded view
 

Jeronic 11 Inches Folding Stool for Adults and Kids, Green Kitchen Stools, Garden Stool, Holds Up To 200 LBS

 
 
 
 

List Price: $16.99 
Price: $12.89 | FREE One-Day | FREE One-Day
You Save: $4.10 (24%)

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BOLMEN Step stool IKEA
0284759_PE421942_S3.JPG
0292506_PE425313_S3.JPG
0292507_PE425314_S3.JPG
0292504_PE425332_S3.JPG
0292505_PE425333_S3.JPG

BOLMENStep stool, blue

$7.99
 
The price reflects selected options
Article Number: 
902.913.30
 
 
☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆4.8 out of 5 stars. Read reviews.
 
4.8
 
(116)
 
Write a review. This action will open a modal dialog.
The step stool is tested and approved for a maximum weight capacity of 330 lbs, making it suitable for both children and adults.

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Neither one of those steps would work for me as I have enough problem with a standard 7" step. What I liked about the double step I got ... steps at 7" and 14" and then about 20" floor height ... perfect!  I was able to walk up inside easy enough with the steps, and backed out and down without hurting myself.

 

(Don't know if I mentioned it or not, but recent amputee here, and full reconstruction on the remaining leg, plus a replacement shoulder, all from a vehicle accident, so I have ... issues ... which I'm hoping the van will address.)

 

Also looking into a folding hand rail but not sure how to mount that. Shouldn't be a problem once I get my kitchen/shelving unit built ...

 

Speaking of which ... playing around in photoshop again. I took the original shelving unit out as that's just too bulky and didn't lay out right for my liking. This one would fit between the side and rear doors.

 

camper-kitchen2.jpg

 

PS ... already figured out the watch for low decks thing. Hospital parking lot tops out at 7 feet, and I guess they're not kidding. They're nice enough to have a plastic bumper hanging down before you hit the concrete, so I backed out as soon as I heard the thonk. Bit of a scratch is all.

Edited by sKiZo

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