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2022 Winter Goals

Posted on Wed 12 October 2022 in ADVVAN

prototype platform bed

The main goal right now is to get the van ready for ski season so we can sleep in the van and be warm. This does not mean a finished interior, but a "campable" interior. We'll be using our Exped mattress, sleeping bags, and our camping kitchen from the Jeep. We'll have a place to sleep, eat and most importantly it will be warm and dry.

In addition to the Minimum Van Project goals, we're also trying to complete some projects which are hard to do to later in the build mostly because they involve cutting holes in the van.


Platform Bed

The platform bed you see above is just a lazily built prototype. We used 2x12's to create a mounting point for the Ikea Skorva support beams. This is sitting about 38" off the sheet metal floor which will be 36" off the finished floor. We'll be sorting out the final height of the bed and the final bed design in the spring. We want to be able to sit up in bed and have room underneath for our systems and toys like biks, SUPs, skis, etc..

We definitely will not be using the 2x12's as the final bed suport. They are too heavy and take up 4" in width. Even in this prototype, we'll be cutting them down so a platform can extend out beyond and into the wall cavities. The Exped is longer than the area you see Dawn laying down in.


The flooring install is a variation of what many vanlifers do with some slight improvements. We're using 1/2" Coosa Board instead of 1/2" plywood. Coosa board is lighter, as strong, and will not absorb water. Foamular NGX 250 XPS insulation will be used instead of the 150 you can get at big box stores. The 250 can has a higher compression rating and the NGX is a more "green" product. On the bottom Soundsulate 1b mass-loaded vinyl for sound deadening. All of this will be glued together in layers as it is installed. We'll likely hold off on the Lonseal vinyl until spring.

One thing others commonly do is filling in all the ridges in the floor. Its our belief that you will get moisture in the van no matter what you do so you want to allow for air flow and drainage.

I'll provide more details on the electrical and the heating system in future posts.

Installing Amazing Auto Seat Swivels

Posted on Wed 28 September 2022 in ADVVAN

Amazing Auto Swivels Installed

We installed the Amazing Auto seat swivels which are the only option for the 10 way power sears. It seems as though there are manufacturing variations both in the seat swivel and the Ford Transit seat riser as many people report wildly different experiences with the installation experience. For us, it was OK, but we had to hammer down two little tabs on the riser so the seat swivel's holes would line up with the riser's holes. Not a big deal.

One other area of installation disagreement is if you need to disconnect the battery since you are disconnecting the seat wiring which is connected to the air bags in the 10-way leather seats. We did disconnect the battery, but I don't know if it was necessary.

After the installation, I can see it was always going to have been be a huge pain in the butt to access the starter battery under the driver's seat. With this (any?) swivel installed this just get worse. I am planning to add external terminals so we could jump start or charge the van without taking apart the driver's seat.

Battery disconnected

Seat wiring harness

View under passenger seat

Cut off the loop on the back of passenger seat

Ford Transit 3D Scan for Design Work

Posted on Thu 22 September 2022 in ADVVAN

3D Scan and Fusion 360

I went to Calgary, AB back in August to visit Rapid 3D, who sell 3d scans of popular vans. Unfortunately they didn't have a 2022 Ford Transit LWB AWD HR in their inventory, so we worked out a deal for them to scan Van Luna.

I drove up and spent a good night at Robinson Lake Campground before crossing the border into Canada and driving the rest of the way to Calgary. This was my first solo long-trip in the still empty cargo van, and it drives awesome. The Ecoboost has a ton of power and the longer wheelbase tracks straighter and is an easy drive on the freeway compared to our Jeep Renegade's shorter wheelbase.

Once at Rapid3D I met with with Cesar and the gang who showed me around and then got to work. It would take them three days to do the scan and a week or so to prep the files to be usable for DIYers and Upfitters.


If you'd like some tips on how to use the mesh files in Fusion 360, Rapid3D put a nice how-to on LinkedIN. Also convenient, Fusion 360's September update had huge perf improvements for working with Meshes.

One of the great things about the accurate scans is using them to place drawn objects and plan as in the picture above. The other useful thing is being able to extract outlines of shapes to use for things like cutting floor panels on CNC.

I'm a novice CAD user, but so far this has been a good process and fun to learn. Thanks to the whole gang at Rapid3D!

Hydronic Updates

Posted on Tue 16 August 2022 in advvan

Hydronic System Diagram 20220816

After many hours of research, I've answered some of my questions I mentioned in Hydronic System Planning, so it is time for an update.

Did I miss anything? :-)

Yes. since I plan to isolate the house sytem from the engine system, a coolant expansion tank is needed. The expanstion tank cap will be the highest point in the system. It is the kind of tank that is pressurized (7PSI). If the system is too full or boils over, the capp will open and release coolant out the vent hole. It can be run out of the van or into an overflow tank. Overflow tank is nice if you don't want evey spill coolant on the earth or fear you migth overfill. But it is not necessary in our application.

3 Way Valve Control

Can the the EastStart Pro control the Eberspächer 3-way valve so I can run the coolant pump and circulant coolant through the plate heat exchanger? I believe residual heat mode will run the pump, but I’m not sure about the valve.

No. The EasyStart Pro only connects to and controls the furnace. It can not control the Silencio 2 (air matrix \ radiator) or the valve.

Further, the Eberspächer valve is an automated valve, not a relay controlled valve. It is not suitable for this use case, where we want to control water flow to our preferences.

Can also add the EasyStart Web to the system?

Yes. But Not in the U.S. This controller has its own builtin in LTE connectivity. It is only available in certain countries.

Silencio Contoller

I’ve looked through the EasyStart Pro Installation, Instruction and Wiring diagrams. I don’t see how the EasyStart Pro wires up and how it controls the Silencio 2.

Sadly, it does not also control the Silencio 2, or any air matrix \ radiator fans. This is very disappointing as it means having to controllers. Seems like a real miss. In an Air heater solution, the Pro will control the whole system, this limitation is only for the hydronic heater.

Awesome Ford Transit

Posted on Tue 02 August 2022 in advvan

"Awesome Lists" are very popular in the tech world. They are well-formatted lists of helpful things for developers many times.

This list is an Awesome Ford Transit Resources List. Curated links to awesome stuff for your Ford Transit.

You can make a pull request to add to the list, or get a hold of me and I'll do it.


Hydronic System Planning

Posted on Fri 29 July 2022 in Advvan

First system design discusion !

I've looked at several paths to achieve a comfy camper with warm showers and hand washing. This can be done many ways and you can find them all online, so I won't get too far into the other options. But this approach with a single Eberspächer Gasoline furnace which heats coolant that is then used to heat water or the camper was my preferred approach. The main advantage to me was the single furnace system and not using AC (see the common Bosche heaters) except when on shore powr.

The main goals and requirements of the system are as follows:

  • Runs off the gasoline fuel tank
  • Camper heating while driving and camping
  • Water heating while driving and camping
  • Shore power water heating
  • Engine system isolated from camper and water heating
  • Engine coolant heat can be used to heat water without extra furnance
  • Remote (over the internet) Control

System Diagram

Hydronic System Diagram

Major Components

  • Eberspächer S3 Economy B5E Kit Part Number: 29.2135.30.0021
  • S3 B5E gasoline (petrol) furnace w\ High Altitude
  • Water (coolant) Pump (12v)
  • Fuel pump (12v)
  • EasyStart Pro Controller
  • 300mm Fuel Pickup
  • Muffler
  • Wiring harness
  • and more …
  • Silencio 2 Air Matrice (12v) Part Number: 41T0034
  • Eberspächer 3-Way Valve (12V) Part Number: 29.2180.01.0030
  • Kuuma 6gallon Hydronic Water Heater (w\AC heater)
  • Single-wall plate heat exchanger
  • T Check Valve
  • Coolant reservoir

Remaining Open Items

  1. Did I miss anything? :-)
  2. Can the the EastStart Pro control the Eberspächer 3-way valve so I can run the coolant pump and circulant coolant through the plate heat exchanger? I believe residual heat mode will run the pump, but I’m not sure about the valve.
  3. Can also add the EasyStart Web to the system?
  4. I’ve looked through the EasyStart Pro Installation, Instruction and Wiring diagrams. I don’t see how the EasyStart Pro wires up and how it controls the Silencio 2.

Meet Van Luna

Posted on Tue 28 June 2022 in ADVVAN

2022 Ford Transit 350 AWD Cargo Van

16 June we picked Van Luna our 2022 Ford Transit 350 AWD Cargo Van.

We ordered the van in October 2021. Then the waiting and hoping to get a VIN, which is the golden ticket, letting us know our van would actually be built. In April we recieved the email from Ford with our VIN and then we waited for Chris Reade at Evergreen Ford in Issaquah to let us know when the can arrived.

I won't go into every little decisions we make, but as we do our build becuase there are so many good posts and DIY builds we're copying. I will do write-ups similiar to those we did for s/v Deep Playa when I think there is more to share, or when I feel like writing things down.

Here are some common quetions we get asked though:

q: Why Van Luna?

Dawn named the van. We both love to go stargazing and with her silvery paint she just felt like a Luna.

q: Why a Ford Transit?

1) AWD 1) Because they're less expensive and parts are readily available in smaller rural towns.

q: Why not buy a fully built van or a kit?

We enjoy this stuff. We enjoy the project, the learning that goes into the build, and making our own compromises vs. living with the compromises someone else made.

q: Which Transit did you get?

spec value
Year 2022
Make & Model Ford Transit 350
Body Type LWB Cargo Van
Drive Train AWD
Engine 3.6L Ecoboost
Color Silver Ingot

q: How long will the build take?

Forever. :-)

I think we'll always be tweaking it. But the short term plan is to get the van ventilated and insulated so we can use it for rough camping this summer. Then to work on a more permanent bed and heating so we can use it as a ski van this winter.

After that, we'll work on the planned large electrical system and more finished carpentry.

q: What are you going to do with Artie McFarti the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk?

Artie will still be our daily driver and there may be times we plan to go place Luna can't fit or can't get to, that the nimble Jeep Renegade can easily go.