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artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/15/20 7:18 a.m.

I recently found out that my neighbor used to work as a professional cabinet maker, so I recruited him to help me make some doors for the cabinets in the van. The doors we made are pretty simple, and it was great learning from him. Having the right tools (and years of experience) makes a HUGE difference. I'm very glad I asked him to help, there's no way I would have been able to make these myself with the tools I have.

The original plan was to make them out of Oak, but the lumber mill messed up and gave me Maple instead. Not the worst deal since Maple was the more expensive option and as I understand it, is a bit stronger. 

We cut down the pieces to make the "frame" of the doors and made grooves for the panel to sit in:

 

Then we cut the panels to size, mocked everything up, and glued it all together:

 

Last night we cut the holes for the hinge cups, he routered some hand catches, and then I stained them:

 

Over the next couple of days we'll be finishing up with some top coats and then installing them in the van. The suspense is killing me, I think these will really transform the interior of the van. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/15/20 7:31 a.m.

Skip the junkyard to fix your door handle, you probably  need to replace the cable ends. Details:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/project-cars/2006-ford-e-250/project-van-fixing-locks/

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/15/20 8:00 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what happened with mine. I actually already made it to the junkyard and replaced the cable for all of $3, but I'll definitely have to order a set of those billet cable ends and keep them in the glove box. Thanks for the tip! I need to go back and re-read the e250 project posts since they're now particularly relevant to my interests

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/21/20 7:30 a.m.

After a busy weekend away from home, my neighbor and I got the cabinet doors hung yesterday. I think they turned out amazing and make the interior of the van MUCH more pleasant. Definitely re-started my motivation for working on the van

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/26/20 3:39 p.m.

BOOM, new bed frame! 
 



The upper surface of the bed frame is 24.5" off the ground, and it's tied into the sides enough that it's open underneath. Should still be adequate space underneath for storage. 
 

On the exterior, these little light housings on the fenders have always been a bit of an eye sore:


 

so I removed the light itself and cut up a piece of plastic I had laying around to make these covers: 

 


 

Found a set of aluminum wheels on fb marketplace for cheap, so I'm going to try to get them mounted up this week:

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/17/20 7:47 p.m.

I'm back for my once-in-a-while update to this thread. 
 

I used some leftover maple to trim out the front of the bed frame, and built a tray for the refrigerator. The fridge is on drawer slides so it pulls out from under the bed and opens like a cooler.


 

Then I finally traced down the belt squeak to a weak tensioner. This van has had a squeaky belt that wouldn't go away. At one point I thought I had it when I found a noisy idler pulley, but then the sound came back a few weeks later. All of the pulleys seemed to rotate smoothly, none of them had any wobble or anything, but I noticed the idler was starting to get little bits of rubber built up on it. Apparently this is a sign of a weak tensioner. Sure enough, I replaced the tensioner and it's been silent ever since. Fingers crossed that this does the trick. 
 

Today I cut a huge hole in the side of the van. 

 

The drivers side of the van has been begging for a window, so I took the old one from the side door since it matched the curvature of the van and popped it on there:


 


 

Having some natural light coming in from this side makes the interior feel way more open. I'm dreading trying to trim this whole area out, but I'm sure it'll be worth it


 

the only downside is that because the window was intended for a side door which has a "pocket" for the window to sit it, the glass sits about 1/4" proud of the exterior wall. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
8/17/20 9:15 p.m.

Aww, no clackety switches?

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/17/20 9:22 p.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

Unfortunately, that pocket where the window is now was the last of the ambulance switches. I still have the switch panel sitting in the garage in case I can come up with a cool use for it. Along with the light bar that used to be on top of the ambulance. Some things are too cool to throw away.

java230
java230 UberDork
8/18/20 9:25 a.m.

Windows do make all the difference!

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
8/18/20 10:59 p.m.

In reply to java230 :

They do. Lacking windows on that side always made the van-types feel too cramped.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/6/20 6:06 p.m.

Girlfriend and I will be leaving for a week long road trip in 5 days, so it's time to buckle down and get stuff done. 
 

A little while back I made some new door cards for the side doors. The original ones were covered in some red vinyl material, these are just some Oak plywood that I had laying around:


 

And now that the window is in on the drivers side, I've started putting up some paneling in that area (with a bunch of insulation behind of course) 


 

And since some of the old tires had been a bit dry-rotted, I decided now is a good time to get new tires. Especially since we might come across rough terrain and snow in Colorado. 
 


 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/8/20 7:11 p.m.

3 days left! 
 

Got some paint on the wall today, I'll probably give it another coat tomorrow.

 

Wired in the 12v water pump for the faucet, hid the switch behind that little access panel you can see in the above picture


 

And finished off the evening by getting this counter top cut out, with holes for the faucet and the sink, and stained it. I'll get a coat of clear on this tomorrow and get it installed

java230
java230 UberDork
9/9/20 8:01 a.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

Looking good! 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/9/20 8:37 a.m.

Yeah, really good!

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/10/20 8:09 a.m.


 

just about done painting, faucet is plumbed, and the mattress is in. Made a couple of covers for the rear windows so we don't have to worry about someone looking in through the back doors. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/10/20 8:18 a.m.

Looks great!

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
9/10/20 10:59 a.m.

Maybe try using a P seal to help trim out that window on the outside?

Amazon Link

 

 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/10/20 11:17 a.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

That looks perfect, I didn't know such a thing exists. Thanks for the link!

 

in other news, I officially have a van with running water!

onemanarmy
onemanarmy Reader
9/10/20 1:03 p.m.

Is the transmission still acting up?

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/10/20 4:16 p.m.

In reply to onemanarmy :

Shifting seems to be fine once I'm driving, but I still get the occasional time when I shift into drive and it doesn't engage any forward gears. Apparently the shift barrel (maybe wrong term?) on the steering column is known to get loose and cause this sort of symptom, but mine was nice and tight. Almost feels like the shifter gets stuck between "gates" and doesn't go all the way forward into Drive. My fix so far has been to wiggle it back and forth a bit...
 

this reminds me that I wanted to check the transmission end of the shift cable and see if there's something funky going on there?

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/10/20 4:21 p.m.

Got some basic "emergency" stuff mounted up in the van (tow strap, jumper cables, "traction boards") such that it's all out of the way. 
 


 

can see the two 5 gallon water jugs that I'll be using as the fresh water supply. Once we've used up the first 5 gallons I can just switch the supply hose to the other one. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/11/20 10:45 p.m.

Today is the day, we are leaving for Colorado! 
 

my girlfriend took care of some final touches and decorations on the inside:


 

I did an oil change, nut/bolt check, added some hella 700 lights to the front, and generally gave everything a once-over.

Im a little late to post anything because it's been a busy day and I've been doing a lot of driving, so we are actually almost to Iowa now. 
 


 

First full fuel tank came back at 18.3mpg. When I first bought it and drove it up from Atlanta to Michigan, I was getting 14-15mpg, so I was pleasantly surprised! I'm guessing going from 4.10 rear gear to 3.55 was the biggest change, but I'm going to tell myself that some of the other maintenance and care I've given the van has helped. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/12/20 8:00 a.m.

Working our way through Nebraska now. No issues to report, but a few oddities:

1. trans temp seems suspiciously low. Like 125F. But it's cool out and I guess it makes sense that it won't build too much cruising along at 70mph. Has plenty of fluid and the fluid is a good color. Should I be alarmed?

2. Front wheels are getting a lot of rust colored dust on them. Noticed it after driving in the rain for a few hours. Van rolls fine, everything is cool to the touch, nothing seems to be dragging. I'll keep an eye on it as we keep going, but I'm going to assume it's fine. Pads are new, rotors look great, I inspected the wheel bearings when I was doing the brakes and they felt good with plenty of grease in there. 
 

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
9/12/20 10:09 a.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

How long are your legs?  Mine are short but still on a long drive I wanted to chew my left leg off around the knee The tire well is right where  my leg wanted to be.  

Mind you For years I used a company van every single day 5-6 days a week. It wasn't uncommon to turn in mileage reports of around 3000 miles a week. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/12/20 10:18 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Wow, 3,000 miles a week in a van is rough! I'm 6'2" with reasonably long legs, but I've actually found the van to be pretty comfortable for these road trips, just needed a pillow for lumbar support because the seat back is lacking some support after all these years. I like being able to put my left leg down into the little step between the seat and the door.

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