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Old 10-23-2012, 09:16 PM   #1
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Default Multi Use Van

Hi,
this is my first post here. We are a family of four, like to go camping, are active in our community and do work on our house. We wanted a multi use van for exactly that. I could convince my wife to purchase a used Ford E350 passenger (12) van. It had vinyl seat covers and rubber flooring, ideal for tough usage. We had in mind to use it for people transport, group camping, large family outings and as cargo van.

The windows all around make it very attractive for that and the strong V10 doesnít feel a difference (even so today I would rather have a smaller more economic engine). I do also work on my house. Just recently I built a deck Ė so the van worked well as a cargo van, after I removed two of the rear seat benches.
We like to go camping and are spontaneous in our decisions, so we like to be able to grab the gear and go. For this reason, I have built a platform in the back of the van for storage of all the stuff underneath and for sleeping of two on-top of it. It is removable and can be used as a table. So far no modifications have been made to the van.

We have also purchased a Field Kitchen from Kanz Outdoors, which we like very much as you can see. The kitchen, gets in last. I place it so that I can make coffee at trip stops without removing it. I use a disposable propane cylinder during the trip, which is easy to disconnect for the time of driving. When we have arrived we build our camp, setup the kitchen on its legs and use the large propane bottle. The boys want typically sleep inside the van. I have removed the door courtesy light bulbs and the front dome light bulb to reduce battery drainage.

I am thinking now about a winter setup, where we can cook at least some tea and coffee inside and warm up a soup. We love our multi-use van and wished we had bought it earlier.
Thank you for listening to our story.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg van-12-passenger-rear-cl.jpg (584.6 KB, 3495 views)
File Type: jpg van---12-passenger-rear-ki-.jpg (610.1 KB, 3495 views)
File Type: jpg van---7-passenger-rear-with.jpg (575.8 KB, 3495 views)
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

Hi Lars57,
Very nice setup. I especially love your field kitchen.

Before I bought my class B, I had a 98 Ford E150 Sherrod high top conversion van I had picked up on Craigs list in early 2011. We carried a 12V cooler, camp stove and screen tent under the rear bench seat/bed similar to your set-up, and had a port-a-pottie strapped in behind the driver. We generally left the middle Captains chairs behind when camping to provide more room. We really enjoyed camping in it and it was definately more useful as a second vehicle than the B is but I also have a Suburu Forester and a Dodge Caravan so we didn't really use it much other than camping.

We weren't really looking to replace it but stumbled on a super deal on the American Cruiser we have now, so now my son has the Sherrod. That has worked out great as well as he and his girlfriend occasionally tag along on some of our travels.
Welcome to the forum!
Randy
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

Seating for up to 12 people you won't find that in a typical camper van.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

Thank you for your warm welcome.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:08 PM   #5
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Welcome to the Forum. We are all about sharing and helping each member. You have what works for you and yours, and that is what it is all about, having a great time and developing memories of the outdoors. Your versatility in being able to pull it all out quickly and use it for a lumber or tool hauler, and then replacing for a weekend in the woods....priceless. Safe travels, Ron.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

Nice setup. I like the kitchen too.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

I may be accused of being biased but I bought a Sportsmobile (check webpage in my profile)that I think is fairly versatile for my needs.You might consider having them put a pent house top on your van which will allow everyone to sleep on board and stand up in.They will gladly do a penthouse top on a used Ford van such as yours. http://www.sportsmobile.com/1_penthouse-top.htm BTW. not cheap but very well made.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

Yes,
such a penthouse top as seen on Sportsmobile would be a hit. Maybe one day. The problem is where to draw the line, So far we kept modifications to a minimum. Have only replaced the sealed headlights with a Hella version - what a difference that makes. Sometime I wish for a winch as insurance and a mild (1"-2") lift for more adventurous looks.

Thanks
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

Nice set-up and welcome! I have to agree about the penthouse top. Just got ours a couple of months ago, and wonder how we ever got along without it. They can be a bit pricy, but worth every penny. With a family of four, the penthouse can come with an upper bunk. And Nancy & Jim (from the SMB North) are the greatest people and will do as much and/or as little as you want. Cannot say enough good things about them and their product.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Multi Use Van

Itís getting cold very soon and since we are talking about creature comforts, I have tried a mockup winter configuration, where we can cook at least some tea and coffee inside and warm up a soup. Anything more would probably make the vehicle smell bad very soon. For the big fish cooking the kitchen can be removed and placed outside. Yes, I will install a carbon monoxide poisoning detector.
So, here is the setup. I have removed the first bench to create enough space to sit inside, cook, talk and play.





The Kitchen will be mounted with a wall mount kit http://www.kanzoutdoors.com/product17.html to the interior wall. In order to do this I need to remove the interior cladding, find the structural members and put the marked cladding back in place. Yes and then I will take some length of L-track and mount it on top the cladding to the structural members. Since I assume that the structural members will not be exactly where I want to mount the hanging brackets for the kitchen, I think the flexibility of L-track comes in handy. Am I thinking to complicated here? Better ideas?
For the room underneath the kitchen I will have a single drawer on heavy duty slides - this will be the dry food storage container. The room between the front seats is ideal for a cooler and can be used as a seat as well. Room for dirty dishes and such is under the front seats. When we sat inside it felt pretty cozy and spacious enough. This might work, what do you think?

We love our multi-use van and wished we had bought it earlier.
Thank you for listening to our story.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg VAN-winter-1.jpg (70.2 KB, 2826 views)
File Type: jpg VAN-winter-2.jpg (70.3 KB, 2826 views)
File Type: jpg VAN-winter-3.jpg (62.5 KB, 2826 views)
File Type: jpg VAN-winter-4.jpg (78.8 KB, 2826 views)
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