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KevinRollin

KevinRollin’s road trip adventure van - Silver 2018 Cargo

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I’ve been reading here for a few weeks, and gleaned quite a bit of information from members and posts, so I thought I’d post the start of my build.  
 
I decided several years ago that a van of some sort was the best vehicle for my outdoor and hobby pursuits:  cycling, camping, trail running, camping, surfing, triathlon, hiking, etc.   I really wanted (and still kinda want) a full-sized van like the Promaster, Sprinter, or Transit, but as an urban dweller with an office job, I can’t really swing one of those.  I test drove the FTC, Promaster City, and rented an NV200 for a long weekend trip.  While I liked the taller interior of the NV200, there are twice as many FTCs on the road so I decided on that for parts availability, aftermarket, etc.  after hunting for a month, new and used, I stumbled onto a used silver 2018 cargo with only 600 miles on it.  It had, according to the dealer, been ordered by a customer for use as a work van, who after fitting it with rear and quarter aftermarket windows, decided it was too small and traded it for a larger Transit.  His loss!  
 
So while this will be my only vehicle, it’s not a daily driver because I take mass transit to work every day, and either walk, bicycle, or Uber everywhere else.  I park in a tiny garage space, big enough to open the driver door but not the passenger door, or rear doors unless I open the garage.  This is going to affect how much work I can get done if I’m not finished before it gets cold!  
 
I won’t be living in the van, and at 6’2”, sitting inside and cooking, etc., isn’t happening a lot either.  So most mods will be focused on hauling sporting equipment, and providing a dry place to sleep. 
 
I went back and forth on the color, white being super common, and most resistant to heat/sunlight, but silver looking less like a work truck and more a regular personal vehicle.  Finding the barely used 2018 in silver that already had some windows put into it made the decision for me.  I traded in my tiny hatchback plus a couple grand and drove off with a nearly-new FTC.   
 
Edited by KevinRollin

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Some van build planning considerations: 
  1. Nothing permanently installed- I might need to remove everything to haul something random. 
  2. I don’t have the skills to weld, or do complex woodworking. 
  3. Needs to fit in a garage.  
  4.  
 

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First mod I want to do is windows in the sliding doors.  

 

I know there are tons of work vans prowling the city streets, but I hate not being able to see other vehicles and pedestrians.  And cyclists, and the tiny electric scooters that we still haven’t decided if they belong on the sidewalk or the road!  

 

So I made a template to see if a Vintage Technologies WD2415 window will fit:

A8B9B51F-90A5-4CEA-A355-C842CCA3CDBE.jpeg

4338817D-36D4-42C3-BB51-F133188787ED.jpeg

Edited by KevinRollin
Added photos

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My first trip out with the van was a hasty one.  A triathlon for which I had not trained fell into my lap on short notice, so I decided to drive there the night before, stealth camp nearby, and then finish the drive to the race site early.  

 

I put a folding camp camp bed and my road bike in the back, and a couple milk crates and duffle bags held my stuff.  Some reflectix-like packing materials blocked out the rear and side windows, and a cheap WalMart blackout curtain hung on a rod just forward of the sliding doors blacked everything out.  

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I made some Reflectix covers for the windshield and front windows.  

 

Just reflectix for now, eventually I’d like to cover one side of each with black fabric so I can pick (by swapping left/right) reflective for daytime heat or blackout at night.  

4B91293E-1178-45D3-A6F0-9619C8252AD6.jpeg

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I envision a semi-fixed half-width bed for one that will be installed the majority of the time.  The other half will be internal space for one or two bicycles.  

 

But, I also want the option for a full-width bed sometimes, at the expense of full-height storage.  I like the idea of the pull-out salad bed that I’ve seen in van builds and youtube videos, but that may be beyond my construction abilities.  

 

Near-term will likely be a plywood platform bed, half-width, that’s installed and tied down with turnbuckles or cargo straps.  Tonight I mocked up a platform with milk crates and two 2’x4’ Masonite project panels.  Half of the width above the wheel wells is 25.25”, but close enough.  I slid one panel on top of the other and adjusted until I got the max length, with the driver’s seat in my preferred driving position (all the way back, slight recline).  

 

(Sorry for the weird angle, the other photos came out underexposed!). 

C968A32E-9972-4883-9E14-255B2250C23D.jpeg

 

Max for me looks like about 76” at ~13 high, to clear the wheel well humps (passenger side is higher), and allow standard milk crates and totes to fit underneath.  Fits a 75”x25” three-panel trifold mattress from Amazon.  

Edited by KevinRollin

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