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Old 11-05-2021, 09:42 PM   #1
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Originally Posted by Bud View Post
Hold up avanti, what happened with the Transit? I do understand that the're in short supply.
OK, since you asked...

I have just confirmed an order for a MY2022 Ford Transit XL Cargo Van (U8U):
--EcoBoost V6
--All-wheel drive
--Ingot silver
--148" Wheelbase, High Roof Extended, Dual Rear Wheels, 11000#
--Dual alternators
The van will be pretty much fully-equipped, with all the latest driver safety and convenience features including intelligent adaptive cruise, active lane-keeping, passive entry/start, Sync 4 head unit/nav; 360-degree camera, side/rear sensing and auto-brake, etc, etc. Should be a pretty refined chassis.

So, what's the plan?
Well, it is still evolving, but as @bud suggest, getting a hold of a chassis is the long-pole in the tent these days, so I though I would address that problem first. Plus, for the first time we were able to order EXACTLY what we wanted. This will be our third B, so we have developed pretty strong opinions.

It is likely to be many months before it shows up (assuming it ever does). I plan to spend the time developing a detailed design and spec for the buildout. I was tempted to do a DIY build, but fortunately got talked down from that. We have pretty much settled on a specific full-custom upfitter, but I'm not ready to talk about that just yet.

We are currently on the fence between a clean-slate design and an incremental upgrade of our current layout. It is a tough call. Doing something new is always fun. But to our tastes, the Great West Legend basic floorpan is actually hard to improve on (When ARV spun out from GWV for example, their original "Ocean 1" was a virtual clone of the Legend). Plus, having an existing prototype physically present makes designing a lot easier and less error-prone.

So, that is what's going on. I'm looking forward to talking through various design decisions as things progress.
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Old 11-05-2021, 10:05 PM   #2
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I'm looking forward to reading about all of your design decisions as this progresses & have no doubt it will all be very informative.
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Old 11-05-2021, 11:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by avanti View Post
OK, since you asked...

I have just confirmed an order for a MY2022 Ford Transit XL Cargo Van (U8U):
--EcoBoost V6
--All-wheel drive
--Ingot silver
--148" Wheelbase, High Roof Extended, Dual Rear Wheels, 11000#
--Dual alternators
The van will be pretty much fully-equipped, with all the latest driver safety and convenience features including intelligent adaptive cruise, active lane-keeping, passive entry/start, Sync 4 head unit/nav; 360-degree camera, side/rear sensing and auto-brake, etc, etc. Should be a pretty refined chassis.

So, what's the plan?
Well, it is still evolving, but as @bud suggest, getting a hold of a chassis is the long-pole in the tent these days, so I though I would address that problem first. Plus, for the first time we were able to order EXACTLY what we wanted. This will be our third B, so we have developed pretty strong opinions.

It is likely to be many months before it shows up (assuming it ever does). I plan to spend the time developing a detailed design and spec for the buildout. I was tempted to do a DIY build, but fortunately got talked down from that. We have pretty much settled on a specific full-custom upfitter, but I'm not ready to talk about that just yet.

We are currently on the fence between a clean-slate design and an incremental upgrade of our current layout. It is a tough call. Doing something new is always fun, but to our tastes. the Great West Legend basic floorpan is actually hard to improve on (When ARV spun out from GWV for example, their original "Ocean 1" was a virtual clone of the Legend). Plus, having an existing prototype physically present makes designing a lot easier and less error-prone.

So, that is what's going on. I'm looking forward to talking through various design decisions as things progress.
Understood, and thanks avanti.

Interesting, a 'Legend, Ocean One' Transit.

Looking forward to sharing a tiny bit of your adventure.

Bud
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Old 11-05-2021, 11:29 PM   #4
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Congratulation on the birth of your third B.
Retaining same experience from the previous Bs with 2’ less length, while keeping up with openness, will be challenging.

Are you planning to do detailed design yourself or it is going to be a part of contract with the upfitter?

If I had to do another B, no plan, I would:

Repeat by myself:
1. Do the mechanical, plumbing and electrical design including materials and appliances
2. Fully modular design with focus on simple module to module and modules to van chassis interfaces
3. Use aluminum framing

Investigate:
1. Contracting individual modules work based on my plans
2. Contracting modules installation

Or:
1. Purchase a new B.
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Old 11-06-2021, 12:07 AM   #5
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Congratulation on the birth of your third B.
Retaining same experience from the previous Bs with 2’ less length, while keeping up with openness, will be challenging.
Actually, it is only 10 inches less (Cargo length: Sprinter:171", Transit 161"). Our Sprinter is not the extended length model.
Plus, the Transit is significantly taller and also has straighter sides. So overall it is not too bad. Not sure which has the greater usable volume.

Quote:
Are you planning to do detailed design yourself or it is going to be a part of contract with the upfitter?
--I will produce a solid-model rendering of the interior, which will specify exact dimensions and general shapes.
--I will definitely specify all appliances and major systems.
--We will likely indicate general look and feel by finding examples that we like on the Internet (you can find examples of just about anything that can be done reasonably).
--Detailed execution details like plumbing and wire routing, location of hidden utilities (batteries, inverter, tanks, etc) will be a collaboration, with due deference to the upfitter's experience.
--Same with materials, hardware, etc. The prospective upfitter has significant aesthetic execution skills.
--Modularity is not a goal (we will likely be going for a fairly organic look), although accessibility and upgradability is.
--I have some thoughts wrt control, convenience and automation features. I intend to start another thread on that topic.
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Old 11-06-2021, 12:11 AM   #6
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"...has significant aesthetic execution skills."

Careful, or the swag's will begin.
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Old 11-06-2021, 03:00 AM   #7
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It will be interesting to see what will you choose for heating, repeat Rixen or the new kid on the block from NW. They codeveloped their unit with Winnebago. https://elwellcorp.com/product/timbe...nar-5-compact/ The Russian furnace could be more reliable then Eberspacher.

I recently lost my patience with Eberspacher unnecessary complexity of EasyStart Controllers and temperature sensors not even understood by Heatso from UK.

My choice would likely be a Truma Combo but it is LPG.
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Old 11-06-2021, 12:25 PM   #8
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It sounds like an interesting, maybe stressful, hopefully fruitful, adventure.



A couple of things will be of interest once you get it done. First would be if the quite short wheel base is noticeable compared to the longer Sprinter. Perhaps the dual wheels mask some of that difference, but the 148" is even shorter than our 20-4" Chevy at 155". I think the Transit site showed about a 6' rear overhang.


On the build, I think the aesthetics would be the most concern to me. I have seen lots of stellar workmanship on one off builds by custom places, but the appearances tend to be quite plain, without the texture of raised panel doors, curved surfaces, etc as those kinds of things are quite expensive to do in a one off.



Do you have an idea about final design and delivery schedules yet?
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Old 11-06-2021, 05:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by booster View Post
It sounds like an interesting, maybe stressful, hopefully fruitful, adventure.



A couple of things will be of interest once you get it done. First would be if the quite short wheel base is noticeable compared to the longer Sprinter. Perhaps the dual wheels mask some of that difference, but the 148" is even shorter than our 20-4" Chevy at 155". I think the Transit site showed about a 6' rear overhang.


On the build, I think the aesthetics would be the most concern to me. I have seen lots of stellar workmanship on one off builds by custom places, but the appearances tend to be quite plain, without the texture of raised panel doors, curved surfaces, etc as those kinds of things are quite expensive to do in a one off.



Do you have an idea about final design and delivery schedules yet?
There are pluses and minuses to the shorter wheelbase. A plus is that it has a nice tight turning radius for such a long van, about the same turning radius as my F150 (supercab, 6.5' bed). The ride and handling are very similar to my F150.

The minus is the long overhang in the rear. When our Paseo was stock, it had really limited clearance in the back, and we would drag the trailer hitch on almost every gas station driveway, speed bump, etc. We fixed this by adding SumoSprings and SuperSprings, which put the stance of the van back to pretty close to an unloaded cargo van's stance. The suspension upgrades in combination with mildly up-sized tires only raised the van about 2" at the rear wheels and 1" at the front wheels, but that change in stance resulted in about 3.75" of additional clearance at the trailer hitch (from the hitch being 12" off the ground to almost 16"). Plus the stiffened up suspension means less body roll and weight transfer which aggravates that low clearance in the rear.
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Old 11-07-2021, 02:41 PM   #10
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It will be interesting to see what will you choose for heating, repeat Rixen or the new kid on the block from NW. They codeveloped their unit with Winnebago. https://elwellcorp.com/product/timbe...nar-5-compact/ The Russian furnace could be more reliable then Eberspacher.

I recently lost my patience with Eberspacher unnecessary complexity of EasyStart Controllers and temperature sensors not even understood by Heatso from UK.
Hmm... Hadn't seen that one. Thanks.
Still mulling it over, but I am thinking that I may stick with the devil I know. Tearing down an Espar gets so easy with practice. Also, the new Rixen's controller looks pretty nice, so no EasyStart nonsense. Plus, upfitter is pretty pro-Rixens.

I wonder if petrol Espars will burn kerosene for clean-up?

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On the build, I think the aesthetics would be the most concern to me. I have seen lots of stellar workmanship on one off builds by custom places, but the appearances tend to be quite plain, without the texture of raised panel doors, curved surfaces, etc as those kinds of things are quite expensive to do in a one off.

Do you have an idea about final design and delivery schedules yet?
I think I have found a shop with the right skills. We'll see...

As for schedule: There is almost no chance of seeing the van before late spring, and that is probably optimistic. Ford is apparently still building MY2021 vans(!), and they are going to build the new e-Transit first. And, of course, fleet orders get priority. Actual build will only be about two months--the question is: starting when? Still, though, I think I will beat the two-year lead times that we have been hearing about.

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The minus is the long overhang in the rear.
I hadn't paid much attention to overhang (the Transit was really the only chassis in the running for more basic reasons). I just looked up the numbers:
Sprinter's rear overhang is 64" for the 170" and 79" for the 170" EXT. The long Transit's is 76". So, it is a foot longer than mine, but a bit less than the Sprinter EXT.
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Old 11-07-2021, 04:11 PM   #11
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I will be interested to see how people integrate the Transit OEM dual alternators with a Class B battery system. I would be more interested in a Transit if there was a good and easy way to do this.
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Old 11-07-2021, 04:28 PM   #12
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I will be interested to see how people integrate the Transit OEM dual alternators with a Class B battery system. I would be more interested in a Transit if there was a good and easy way to do this.
I'm recalling that I think Humble Road is about to use the Transit dual alternators.

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Old 11-07-2021, 04:38 PM   #13
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I will be interested to see how people integrate the Transit OEM dual alternators with a Class B battery system. I would be more interested in a Transit if there was a good and easy way to do this.
Looks perfectly straightforward. You just use as many DC-DC converters in parallel as you like, connected to the Transit CCP2 connection. The only complication is that they have to observer the "load shed" signal that the Transit upfitters' interface provides. No big deal. People get all worked up about this, but I don't understand why. The Ford power takeoff system is far more capable than the Mercedes equivalent.

It is funny. Transit people refuse to believe that the Ford engineers can deliver what the BEMM guidelines promise. Sprinter people refuse to believe that the Mercedes engineers had a good reason for their 40A takeoff limitation. IMO they are equally irrational in opposite directions.
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Old 11-07-2021, 05:03 PM   #14
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................

I wonder if petrol Espars will burn kerosene for clean-up?

....
I think gasoline burns reasonably clean so cleaning with kerosene could be a moot point. I am not sure if gas unit is setup to ignite and burn kerosene. Be careful about the leaks, gasoline flashpoint temperature is very low.

Based on my 1985 awful experience with petrol powered heater, installed by a small shop in Germany in our Westfalia Camper I would choose a different route, but this was 36 years ago. The issue was ignition failure and the short life of spark/glow plug.

A quick summary of gasoline / kerosene and diesel fuel comparison. https://captainpatio.com/gasoline-diesel-kerosene

https://www.heatso.com/espar-airtron...e-air-heaters/

Eberspacher must have a good reason to not recommend them for marine application, most likely fire.

“Gasoline-powered Espar Airtronic air heaters – capable, durable and efficient
For a gasoline-powered van, like the Fiat Ducato or Ford Transit, van conversion, trucks like MAN, DAF, Scania or even RV’s, food trucks, as well as mobile workshops, the Eberspacher / Espar gasoline air heaters, are the optimal solution.
These petrol units can be fitted with petrol-powered engines. They are ergonomic in size; thus, you can fit them seemingly everywhere. Espar Airtronic gasoline air heaters are commonly installed under the passenger seat of the vehicle. Contrary to diesel units, they are not recommended to be used in marine vehicles.
In terms of efficiency, the gasoline bunk heaters and air heater systems are dependable and capable. On average, they will consume around 0.54 litres of gasoline per hour on maximum power. The heat output is 13000BTU or 3.8kW. You can also find more powerful solutions for sale on our catalog. Price, along with feedback and technical characteristics of this bunk heater, will be listed on the sub-page of the product. We also provide a manual.
The gas-powered heater systems are known for their simple, DIY-level installation which almost everyone can complete. This is especially true thanks to a manual. It should be noted that Espar Airtronic gasoline air heaters can be fitted not only to motor vehicles but to living areas as well.
Finally, two additional things should be mentioned. The high altitude kit (HAK). It expands the operation range from 7200 feet to over 10 000 feet or from 2.2 km (without the kit) to 3+ km respectively. Heatso also recommends combining this solution with EasyStart Pro controllers. Well worth the price if you ask us.”
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Old 11-07-2021, 05:26 PM   #15
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I think gasoline burns reasonably clean so cleaning with kerosene could be a moot point. I am not sure if gas unit is setup to ignite and burn kerosene. Be careful about the leaks, gasoline flashpoint temperature is very low.

Based on my 1985 awful experience with petrol powered heater, installed by a small shop in Germany in our Westfalia Camper I would choose a different route, but this was 36 years ago. The issue was ignition failure and the short life of spark/glow plug.

A quick summary of gasoline / kerosene and diesel fuel comparison. https://captainpatio.com/gasoline-diesel-kerosene

https://www.heatso.com/espar-airtron...e-air-heaters/

Eberspacher must have a good reason to not recommend them for marine application, most likely fire.

“Gasoline-powered Espar Airtronic air heaters – capable, durable and efficient
For a gasoline-powered van, like the Fiat Ducato or Ford Transit, van conversion, trucks like MAN, DAF, Scania or even RV’s, food trucks, as well as mobile workshops, the Eberspacher / Espar gasoline air heaters, are the optimal solution.
These petrol units can be fitted with petrol-powered engines. They are ergonomic in size; thus, you can fit them seemingly everywhere. Espar Airtronic gasoline air heaters are commonly installed under the passenger seat of the vehicle. Contrary to diesel units, they are not recommended to be used in marine vehicles.
In terms of efficiency, the gasoline bunk heaters and air heater systems are dependable and capable. On average, they will consume around 0.54 litres of gasoline per hour on maximum power. The heat output is 13000BTU or 3.8kW. You can also find more powerful solutions for sale on our catalog. Price, along with feedback and technical characteristics of this bunk heater, will be listed on the sub-page of the product. We also provide a manual.
The gas-powered heater systems are known for their simple, DIY-level installation which almost everyone can complete. This is especially true thanks to a manual. It should be noted that Espar Airtronic gasoline air heaters can be fitted not only to motor vehicles but to living areas as well.
Finally, two additional things should be mentioned. The high altitude kit (HAK). It expands the operation range from 7200 feet to over 10 000 feet or from 2.2 km (without the kit) to 3+ km respectively. Heatso also recommends combining this solution with EasyStart Pro controllers. Well worth the price if you ask us.”

Gasoline is wicked stuff, especially in boats that are a big unvented (except at the top) bathtub very prone to holding fumes. Here in Minnesota we hear of boat explosions a few times every summer. Leaks are a huge deal and only the best of connections and hoses should be used. EFI for engines helps as it gets rid of carb vent overflows, but I don't know how they protect/vent furnace applications. Best would be to have the gas only on the exterior connected spaces, I think. Having a combustible gas monitor everywhere gas is present would be a necessity for me.


Personally, I would choose propane over gas fired heat and hot water.
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Old 11-07-2021, 06:29 PM   #16
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Isn’t the heating system under the van outside? There would not be any fume build up inside the van.

Anyway, good luck with your adventure. It will be rewarding. We had a similar experience with floor plans based on the Pleasure-way Plateau, Great West Van Legend, and my first ARV. On my fourth totally custom van I chose to deviate completely after eliminating the annoying bits in those plans. It was the challenge since I had a clean slate. I decided length (less than 20 ft) and eliminating duallies to keep it simple and nimble without sacrificing amenities. It was because my wife asked me why I avoided cities in my being an architect and a change of pace of where we want to go.

It had been three years between my published CAD plans and acquiring my completed van—“Mies - Less is More.” I hope and trust you can get that sooner with the COVID delays waning.
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Old 11-07-2021, 06:58 PM   #17
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Isn’t the heating system under the van outside? There would not be any fume build up inside the van.
Yes, exactly. If we were talking about an air heater, I might be a little paranoid. But with an undermounted hydronic setup, the fuel run is short, simple, isolated from the air being heated, and completely outdoors. Gasoline fumes are MUCH heavier than air. This doesn't worry me at all.

I have no interest at all in propane. I see no upside at all except for the modest advantage of a gas cooktop. I literally have not needed to refill our current tank since I put in a second alternator. If we decide we gas cooking that (which I doubt), I will feed it with the little cartridges.
Quote:
Anyway, good luck with your adventure. It will be rewarding. We had a similar experience with floor plans based on the Pleasure-way Plateau, Great West Van Legend, and my first ARV. On my fourth totally custom van I chose to deviate completely after eliminating the annoying bits in those plans.
Thanks.

I have always been a van behind you. Glad to have you going first.
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Old 11-07-2021, 09:58 PM   #18
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If you have a high capacity electrical battery system with second alternator and losing the need for an Onan generator and absorption refrigerator a propane installation doesn’t pay for itself, IMO. We use a portable induction cooktop as it has as much infinite control of heat as gas and unless you are grilling meat all the time you don’t need gas. Hooking up to a propane tank in your van outdoors half the time the hose doesn’t reach the picnic table where you usually want to be. The small propane canister can last a long time. I got an hour with my portable propane pizza oven. I refill my small canisters from my 20 lb tank at home so don’t dispose of them at a campground as you see a lot of.
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Old 11-08-2021, 12:05 AM   #19
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Hmm... Hadn't seen that one. Thanks.
Still mulling it over, but I am thinking that I may stick with the devil I know. Tearing down an Espar gets so easy with practice. Also, the new Rixen's controller looks pretty nice, so no EasyStart nonsense. Plus, upfitter is pretty pro-Rixens.

....
Does the Rixen new controller has proportionally to heat demand controlled blower?
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Old 11-08-2021, 12:30 AM   #20
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Does the Rixen new controller has proportionally to heat demand controlled blower?
Sadly, apparently not. It does have five fan speeds, though. The good part is that it is WiFi-enabled and does diagnostics via a phone app. Seems pretty good from what I can see.

I mentioned that I have gotten interested in some automation solutions. I will post on this topic when I am a little further along, but it appears to be feasible to interface directly with the Espar CANbus and script a custom control system that can do whatever you want, including PCM-controlled fans. Stay tuned on that. I will probably go with the Rixen's controller and save the automation for a post-delivery project.

edit: Even if the CANbus hacking proves too hard, the automation could easily control the furnace by spoofing the signals from the Rixen's controller to the Espar. Could be done in such a way that it could fall back to stock Rixen's behavior.
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