Project Van: Adding a Power Inlet

Update by Tom Suddard to the Ford E-250 project car
Jun 29, 2019

We’re working on turning this $2000 van into a do-it-all machine that can tow a car to the track, then serve as a mobile workshop and hotel room for the weekend. 

We already covered our inverter installation, which is a great way to charge phones overnight, or run high-powered stuff while the engine is running. However, it's sometimes pretty easy to find a 110v outlet at a race track, which we prefer to use when possible to avoid draining our battery. There's one problem: Using racetrack power means leaving a window open. 

It would be awesome, especially in the winter, to be able to bring that power into the van safely, securely, and neatly. AKA without having to roll a window down and throw a cord into the van. 

So we ordered one of these. It's a flush-mount power outlet with a 1' extension cord on the other side. Basically, it's the perfect way to bring power into the van without worrying about somebody popping the door lock open at the track, and without leaking heat in the winter. Commence the drilling! Installing it was easy, but we made sure to take our time measuring, and taped up where we'd be working in order to avoid any unnecessary chips or scratches. 









(not pictured: touched up the edge with white paint so it doesn't rust)





Ta-dah! Success, and a shiny new power plug on the side of our van. When not in use, the cord tucks neatly down into the inner fender of the van. 


And shortly after installing it, we tested the new power cable out at the GRM Experience at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. It was really, really cold and wet that weekend, and we spent Saturday night at the track. The power outlet with a tiny space heater kept the van livable, though it's obvious that we'll need to add some insulation in the future.


It's like a living room, but at the track! Notice our sweet feng shui lamp. DSC_9254

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View comments on the GRM forums
Osterkraut UberDork
6/29/19 12:38 p.m.

Any consideration projected issues with the 13 amp limit? All those cords are giving me the heebie-jeebies!

californiamilleghia HalfDork
6/29/19 1:10 p.m.

Electric blankets do not take much power....

And where is the Lava light ?

Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
6/29/19 2:37 p.m.

Nice job.  Great idea.  

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/29/19 5:04 p.m.

In reply to Osterkraut :

Not at this point. The most we ever run is the space heater and a few phone chargers, so we're not too worried. 

noddaz SuperDork
6/29/19 5:07 p.m.

Next...  AC unit on the roof?

Hasbro SuperDork
6/29/19 10:48 p.m.

Loving this, makes me want to get a van.


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