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Everything posted by connectvanplans

  1. connectvanplans

    Transit Connect and Transit SWB Camper Kit

    I had no idea (new?) smartphones had that capability. That's nice of you to link your scan for free. When I was looking for a 2D or 3D floorplan, there's was a site I found before I started my build where you could buy a professionally scanned 2014+ model Connect, but I think the cost was $100+ or hundreds IIRC. Just ended up taking measurements to create a rudimentary lower floor model. I like the jig-saw puzzle joiner technique you used in the first video, are you using CNC router to create wood contours or something else? My woodworking knowledge is kind of basic, so hopefully this is not a dumb question.
  2. connectvanplans

    2019 Transit Connect Roof Rails

    For sure, looks pretty straightforward using off-the-shelf parts which is great. I just asked about the supports because I probably overthought things when I made mine pouring liquid polyurethane pads to create flat surfaces for the roof rack supports.
  3. connectvanplans

    2019 Transit Connect Roof Rails

    Ditto Fifty150's request - especially interested on how you dealt with the rack supports on the complex-countered surface while keeping things water-tight.
  4. connectvanplans

    Modify or Replace Driver's Seat?

    Also wanted to say thanks for the write-up Kevin! Went with the 1.25" tall zoneblocks, and they made a noticeable improvement in ergonomics. Increased storage under the seats was welcome too. Total cost of mod was $50 for both seats.
  5. So I've wanted to attempt this modification for years on another car before I got the Connect. It has never made a lick of sense to me to continue to sell new cars with these relatively large and non-aerodynamic mirrors when cheap digital cameras and monitors are readily available and have been for a long, long time. This write-up will document my attempt to rectify this somewhat annoying deficiency. Question: do these modifications violate current NHTSA vehicle regulations requiring at least one side mirror and subsequent rear distance visibility? Yes. Will that stop me? No. Moving on. My goals for this modification: 1. Improve driving safety by eliminating blind spots 2. Improve vehicle aerodynamics and reduce accompanying wind noise 3. Improve exterior aesthetics 4. Gain visibility for security purposes in cargo/living area with 3rd monitor and secondary camera activation with VGA selector switch as well as a separate power switch. Shoutout to jrm223 for selling his extra pair of manual side mirrors so I could make this attempt. Let's begin: Disassembly took a bit of finagling as you can see by the assortment of tools, with one down though I can walk us through the next. Step 1: Carefully remove foam. Try and use both hands or supplement with plastic wedge to reduce bending the foam when lifting it around plastic clips and mounting holes. Cast aluminum core exposed with foam removed. Small torx screws can be removed at a later step as removing them now will not aid disassembly process yet. Step 2: Pop out the mirror directly away from assembly/mirror holder. Note: can use wedges to aid process (not shown). Next, unscrew torx screw in middle of mirror holder assembly shown. Step 3: Three tabs around mirror holder ring assembly hold it in place. Take flat-bladed screw driver and press down 2 of the tabs to remove mirror ring assembly (will fall away after 2 are depressed). Step 4: Unscrew 3 torx screws and remove small center assembly, Step 5: Remove rear cover by working wedge or flat bladed screw driver around perimeter and pulling the rear cover away from the assembly. Note: aesthetic damage to these parts doesn't matter. . Step 6: Push on tab pictured and simultaneously pull cover assembly to the right (oriented as pictured). Forward cover assembly removed. Now the tricky part. The hole with 4 indentations affixes the structurally rigid plastic rotable assembly to the cast aluminum mirror core trapping a steel spring buried between them. It's possible that a special tool that interfaces with 4 indents which may allow you to push down, rotate, and unlock the retaining indent ring. In any case, I didn't have anything on hand that would work so I went the destructive route.. Step 7: Destruction. I used a hand saw to saw all the full length of the retaining tube along each of the 4 indents/tabs. Result. Needed a little bit more massaging with a hammer and flat blade to fully separate the retaining tube halves. Step 8: Pry the hell out of the plastic pieces until they fully break away. Now the rigid rotable plastic assembly and spring can be lifted away from the mirror assembly base. Step 9: Remove small base cover by pushing on tab shown and pulling cover forward/away. Step 10: Remove aluminum mirror core by unscrewing 3 torx screws if you haven't already done this step. Aluminum core can be pulled out now. These are the parts I've kept for this project. Since the modifications/additions will be extremely light by comparison, most of the aluminum structure is no longer necessary excepting the base with mounting threads. Later on, I will truncate the aluminum assemblies with an angle grinder & cutoff disk which will make room for the 3D-printed inserts that will house the cameras. Next Step: ordering cameras and monitors.
  6. 3D Printed prototype design completed. The design was fairly tricky since many of the surfaces were complex-contoured - I'm already anticipating some Dremel modifications being necessary for fitting and, once I see how close I came with the fit, if I'll need to make some modifications for a second prototype trial. It's very likely, but at least the bulk of the design effort is complete now. The slotted holes are there to help account for the possibility of bad drilling operation(s) (in 1 direction anyway) when making the fastener holes. I'm planning on printing these in black ASA material. My printer arrives tomorrow, so it'll probably be some time before I'm proficient with the machine. That said, once everything is assembled, I'll probably go over the whole assembly with black Plastidip create a uniform finish when the weather permits. I stumbled upon a screenshot in an Amazon product review that shows basically what my screen layout will look like (I'm also adding the rearview camera screen similar to the BMW owner, but I'll do that at a later date in a separate thread). Looking at this screenshot, I started to worry that the screen brightness may become a nuisance, especially at night. I thought about this a bit and decided to order some basic 12V switches so I can power on/off each screen at will. I think that'll be a good compromise. Another bonus is I'll have the ability to completely eliminate light pollution from poorly aimed headlights in situations where I don't need or want to see them having removed the side mirrors AND added the ability to turn off the screens when I want. More updates - so most of the parts have arrived: Here I've wired up a screen/camera combo to test functionality. I only ended up ordering 1 camera to see how I would like the picture, and it's a good thing since I wasn't a fan of how pronounced the fish-eye effect was of the "SonyCCD170/180" degree was. I placed another order for 2 that claim a 140 degree viewing angle. If they are what they claim, I think the 140 will be a good compromise between the more standard 110 vs the wide 170/180 degree viewing angle. Kinda feels like a shot in the dark ordering from AliExpress, but I'm optimistic. Excited for the printer to arrive...
  7. Thought it'd be interesting to see what other TC owners are paying. I know a lot of factors roll up into the bottom-line price for a quote, but this thread is not intended to be about divulging PI. I'll start, just the basics: Year: 2018, Cargo XL Coverage: Collision + Comprehensive + pretty basic Personal Liability/Property + Uninsured Motorist Cost: $56/month (although typically a little above $60 without the COVID discount they offered on the 6mo bulk price). I usually bounce between Progressive and Geico trying to get the lowest rate. Feels like it should be a little lower, but I'm pretty frugal (or cheap if you will) especially when it comes to intangible or hypothetical benefits. Then again, I've never had a new(er) car before.
  8. I ended up sourcing the cameras and monitors from Aliexpress. Starting with the cameras, I chose these swivel-adjustable cameras so I won't have to try and get the 3D-printed camera housing orientation perfect or design some kind of adjustments for camera positioning. As a bonus, this type of camera housing will also be very easy to mount in a matching diameter which will also keep the additive plug design simple which is nice. As for resolution, while a higher resolution like 1080P would be ideal, the AHD camera options are somewhat limited as with the monitors in the size and form factor I think will work best. This camera supposedly has a wide 170 degree viewing angle and feeds a 720P resolution image so that'll have to be good enough. Cab Monitors: Initially I was thinking 7 inch screens, but the size ended up being larger than I wanted. I used cardboard to gauge where the monitors would sit and how obtrusive they would be with the deep dashboard and the 5 inch form factor seemed to strike the best compromise between visibility and obtrusion. Pic taken at my eye-level showing box with same dimensions as 5 inch monitor in location. It'll likely sit up a little higher when mounted, but I think this'll be pretty good for not obstructing in front of the windshield. Here's the 5 inch monitor I chose. It is not great that the screen resolution does not match the 720P-capable cameras, but at 1024 X 600, it's not bad and will probably be just fine. Camper Monitor: I have a bit more room to place this secondary screen as a security measure since the cargo van does not have any windows in the back so I went with a 7 inch monitor here. From the sale page. Since I want to put it on a small swivel arm, this slot arrangement on the back of the monitor looks like it will be a good interface to adapt to. Next steps: design 3D printed plugs. I probably won't finalize plug designs until I have the parts in hand sometime in December. Also, I expect routing the wires, especially through the door jams, to be the most troublesome part of this project. That part might not happen until this next Summer so just an FYI if this thread goes without updates for a long while.
  9. Looking to experiment with a camera-mod replacement for the mirrors so if you have a wrecked mirror with a mostly undamaged base, lmk!
  10. Received - well packed too, thanks! Went ahead and completed the disassembly today. I'll start the write-up thread in the Glass, Lenses, Lights..etc. section.
  11. connectvanplans

    Some of the things I've done on my 20 cargo van

    Nice upgrades. Cool to see some unique and tastefully done aesthetic mods. You weren't lying about the photography, can't make out your logo there at all! Anything else planned?
  12. connectvanplans


    Also, welcome to the forum :). The Connect makes for a great camper platform.
  13. connectvanplans


    There's a small hole on right rear area, aft of the wheel well, that I know of in the cargo version at least which you could possibly enlarge if you wanted to create an inlet underneath the vehicle. I use that hole for the sink drain though. Besides adding a secondary vent on the roof or adding a window or porthole along the doors or body of the vehicle, you could just use the driver and/or passenger windows with rain guards to mask the opening and keep out rain with the window(s) cracked. This is what I do, and I eventually added a mesh screen that I've taped magnets to along the perimeter which keeps it in place on the passenger side 24/7 to keep out the bugs whenever I crack this window for ventilation.
  14. Thanks for the offer Don, but I'm actually looking to remove the mirror portion and will likely end up modifying the plastic mirror bases/cores to incorporate digital cameras in a way that will likely permanently change the mirror mounts. I'm looking for another set instead of modifying my own since I want to keep them as a backup in case this mod doesn't go well, or I don't end up liking the camera & screen mirror replacements.
  15. Perfect, yeah I know they go for a bit more on ebay probably because their aren't enough of these vans in the junkyards yet, but I appreciate the reasonable price. Didn't expect to get a response right away even, was expecting this post to hang around for months if not longer lol. Cool, well I'll have to make a post about it as I figure things out then and keep the forum in the loop. I'll DM my paypal address if you want to send an invoice.
  16. connectvanplans

    What a Great TC Surprise! New TC Owner

    Nice, can you let us know how the spacers and tire combo turns out after some time? To figure the circumference, I took the total millimeters in a mile, 1609344mm divided by the tire specification revs/mi, for me was 783 which resulted in 2055mm. For the 215/65/16 Grabbers rated at 772 revs/mi it would be 2085mm. From the screenshot I posted in my tire thread, the forscan revision I was on was 2.3.34 and the input for custom tire dimension in the central Configuration Main program menu is 9 rows below the "Tire circumference" shown as "Tire dimension" where you can select "use custom tire dimension".
  17. Here's a picture of where I mounted toward the rear- I went the custom route pouring polyurethane pads for level mounting and using aluminum angles and 2x4s to hold the solar panels. If I wanted to mount any decent-sized storage on the roof, it'd have to cover the panels with this configuration. Trade-offs with a roof this small. Also worth noting - I purchased an adapter on ebay to create the level interface for the fan to mount to as the roof is curved (it also requires the fan to be centered on the roof).
  18. connectvanplans

    What a Great TC Surprise! New TC Owner

    jrm - update your Forscan version, they have a custom selection menu now that covers all possible tire circumferences in increments of 5mm. I remember when I first downloaded it mid 2018 and they only had the 4 or so circumference selections that didn't quite match the 215/65 size so that's likely the issue.
  19. connectvanplans

    Installing an RV roof vent/fan

    I used this adapter to level out the mating surface available on Ebay. The adapter worked very well, but you want to plan out where you might have solar panels or roof storage like Jack said if you're planning on going that route first before locating the hole for the fan.
  20. connectvanplans

    Connect Dayvan/camper insulation

    Depends on your climate you're planning to protect for, but if you're going to camp in high temperature climates there's definitely a case to be made for minimal/lower R-value insulation over too much/higher R-value. Not to mention not wanting to encroach too much on the limited living space. Basically, it's easier to warm up with a heater in a cooler climate than it is to cool down the inside air, but more importantly, all of the metal surfaces, which after a hot day which can hinder getting to sleep. I'm not really convinced that stuffing insulation in-between channels really does all that much due to the heat transfer from conduction of the various metal structures that typically extend beyond the stuffed areas.That said, I've found it important to, at the very least, cover what metal surfaces you can with carpeting, especially near the areas where you are sleeping (think radiating cold metal at night). I went with a combination of 3M Thinsulate of varying thicknesses for different areas, cheap expanded foam I could cut up and use in some areas too that you'd get for quick flooring in the garage or whatever. I also used a reflectix equivalent when I could maintain an air gap or insulation barrier to help retain radiant heat from the propane heater. Also came across a different insulation product that looked interesting after my build which looks easy to use with self-adhering properties that might be worth checking out if you can source it: http://www.armacell.us/products/aparmaflexsaaparmaflexfssa-duct/
  21. connectvanplans

    What a Great TC Surprise! New TC Owner

    From what I've seen, without forging a new path going custom you're limited to increasing tire diameter like with the Grabbers you saw and Gideon's comment about the spacer kit. I'd be interested in feedback on how the spacer kit might end up negatively impact handling or long term suspension component durability, just haven't seen much out there as few people with these vans are doing much modification (camper conversions excluded) other than the aesthetic/lowering crowd in the UK/Europe. Cool, I like to read about people's professional journey even if it was a lot of luck, it's interesting. Sounds like you've got yourself a good gig.
  22. connectvanplans

    What a Great TC Surprise! New TC Owner

    Welcome and good choice - I too think the Connect looks the best by far in comparison to the Promaster and especially the NV200. Once you size up your tires for clearance and traction, you can reprogram your ECU to the new tire circumference for free using the forscan.org software (on a windows laptop) and an appropriate OBD2 adapter. Can do a lot more than that too for customizing settings and features. Interesting background, thanks for sharing. Any advice for someone looking to going into business for themselves? I just quit my corporate job (mechanical engineering) and will be enjoying some leisure time, but after that I'll need to work on developing an income stream and don't really see myself going back to being an employee again if I can help it.
  23. connectvanplans

    What mileage does Trip odometer reset ?

    It resets the count at only 2000 miles which is kind of annoying. You'd think it'd be something like 9999 miles, it just makes ya shake your head.
  24. Cool mod. What about threaded braces which could tie the back of the lights to the bumper grill slots and adjust the brace compression with the threads. It wouldn't tie the light bar to the subframe, but it'd at least give you a couple more points of contacts to the light housings. It's neat that you rallycross the TC. I've noticed these vans corner pretty well stock and manage to have some fun up in the twisties whenever the opportunity arises! Do you have a manual conversion? If not, how does the auto-shifting hold up in your races?
  25. connectvanplans

    Falken Wildpeak A/T 215/65/16

    TL;DR: They fit. Really fill out the wheel-well nicely. Credit to jrm223 for his feedback with the General Grabber AT2s - with that post and comparing tire specs - I was pretty confident I wouldn't have any problems with the 215/65/16 sizing. So after an extended camping/road trip, I decided the ContiProContacts were just not going to cut it anymore. Too low and too harsh of a ride off the tarmac. Actively dodging most minor imperfection in the road just gets old too, and although the van corners better than it has a right too, I'm still not sure how much I am willing to attribute to the stock rubber vs the suspension design. Enter wheel and tire package from tirerack. Between the Grabbers, Geolanders, and Wildpeak tires (KO2s too spendy), the reviews trickling in for the Wildpeaks looked promising and the price was right. Running the difference from the rev/mile calcs, these would only result in ~4.6% speedometer error which is less than the Grabbers for this size. Sold. Since the tire weight was increasing roughly 7 lbs over stock, I looked for the lightest rim to try and mitigate the weight penalty in addition to aesthetics. The selection in the 16x7 category is not the greatest, but I managed to find something in the 18 lb range that suited me. I was curious how theoretical weights measured up to the actuals: Old New Only ~4.5 lbs heavier, not too bad! One thing I didn't account for was the TPMS sensors! Honestly didn't know or think that the base model FTC would have them, but I see now it's a pesky general vehicle requirement these days. Thankfully, the genius(es) at forscan.org in their infinite benevolence grant free access to their incredible OBDII scanner and Ford OEM module (re)programmer. Totally an aside comment, but the last time I booted into forscan was 2018 shortly after getting the van, and after updating the software it looks like they added even more features to the user-friendly "main" programming interface. In any case, they had made it super easy to enter any custom tire rolling circumference AND disable the TPMS system saving me a tough choice between putting up with an annoying alert and constant indicator light or shelling out for sensors, an install, and a re-mount/balance (as freaking if!). Ford had the OEM tire at 1955mm and I had calculated 1960mm from the specs, similarly calculated 2055mm with the Wildpeaks, so I used 2050mm to mirror this minor discrepancy. I think I'll end this with another Forscan endorsement because it's just that good. Frankly, I believe the customization and control it affords owners is an ability that should come WITH the vehicle, but this is the next best thing. I've since used it to disable approach mode (god-awful feature that turns on exterior lighting when door(s) are opened), turn off the annoying DRLs (I can turn on my own headlights when I wish to thank you very much), and now calibrate the speedometer to the new tires and disable the TPMS that I never wanted to begin with. Oh and how do the tires ride? I've gained 0.9 inches in ride-height elevation and the ride quality is greatly improved. The Wildpeaks corner well too from my initial impression, but I still need to test near-limit cornering and 60+mph road noise (sub-50 might have been quieter than stock).