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Hodakaguy's 4wd Sprinter Build - Pic Heavy!

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#1 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:46 PM

I have my build thread going on another site and thought I would copy it over to here as well for anyone what want's to follow along.  I'll get it caught up and then update it as progress happens...
 
Since selling our Tacoma we have missed having something to camp in and have been contemplating what to build out next and what would best fit our needs.  After quite a bit of thought we came up with the following requirements:

*  No canvas/pop top, must have a hard top this time around.
*  More room than the 4 Wheel Camper (Wife was claustrophobic in the 4WC)
*  4WD
*  Can travel at modern freeway speeds (That eliminated the VW Syncro).

After looking at a lot of vehicles we decided a 4WD Sprinter would best fit our needs, now to find one!  After talking to many dealers most were saying at least 1+ year wait to get a new sprinter, that's not going to work so I started keeping a close eye for a decent priced used one.  Most of the used ones that were coming up were far over priced due to availability but after a month or so of constant looking I was lucky enough to make a deal on a low mile (14K) 2017 4WD 144" Sprinter passenger model....Oh Yeah!  It was even in my favorite color and well equipped!

The van was located in CO so my father and I set out from WA state in his Tacoma to pick it up.  Here we are getting ready to head out from the sellers house with the Sprinter....soooo hyped!

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Fueling up and getting ready for the 1200 mile trip back to WA.  This baby is a beast!

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Evening near Green River

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One of the many fuel stops along the way, we decided to stop whenever the Tacoma was at half tank.  This gave us a chance to stretch and also make sure we have enough fuel for the long stretches.

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On HWY 50 in Utah you'll find the remains of the Frisco Mine.

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I geek out on old mine relics so we headed up the dirt road to check out the remains.

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A ways up the road you come to a closed gate with lots of No Trespassing signs...bummer!  Time to send up the drone and get a look at the mine from the air :-)

Heading up to the hills.

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Lots of really cool relics at this mine site!  The massive head frame is still standing along with the huge ore bins.  So wish I could go up and check it out in person!

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Continued Below....
  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#2 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:47 PM

Continued from above....

 

One of the many remaining structures in the valley below the main adit.

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Back on the road again.  Heading down HWY 50 in UT, man I love these wide open spaces!

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Dad taking a rest on HWY 50 :-)

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Getting fuel in Baker NV.

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We stopped at the Lehman Cave visitor center just outside of Baker, we didn't have time for the cave tour on this trip but the visitor center was cool!

Dad checking out all the Monarch Butterfly's the rigs were picking up out on the highway.

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Inside the visitor center was a real surprise, the "Forgotten Winchester" was on display here!  It was really cool getting to see it in person, if you haven't seen the story on this gun check it out here: CLICK HERE

Dad next to the Forgotten Winchester

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Back on the road again

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And back home!  The sprinter drove amazingly well, the more I drove it the more I love this rig!

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Can't wait to start building it out as time and money permit :-)  The plan is to keep the build very basic, we don't want a kitchen or water system in the camper.  The setup needs to be easily convertible from camper to utility so I can haul a dirt bike etc inside when I want.  More to come :-)

Hodakaguy

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#3 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:48 PM

First mod...install a heater!  I'm a wuss when it comes to sleeping in the cold so a heater is a must!  I have a brand new Espar D2 diesel fired heater that I had purchased when we had the Unimog and never used.  The heater is a new "take out" from a semi truck.  I almost sold the heater when we sold the Mog, now I'm glad I kept it!

Here's the D2 heater waiting to be installed in the Sprinter.

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The heater will be mounted in the open space beneath the passenger seat.

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Here's the bottom side of the heater, I will remove the rubber gasket and use it for a template to drill the required holes.

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This is the location the heater will be mounted, gasket is in place and holes marked.

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Drilling the holes was a quick process thanks to a spring loaded center punch, a couple drill bits and a Step Bit.

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Edges of the holes were smoothed out with a reamer, these tools are handy.  Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE

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Bare edges were painted with cold galv then a coating of black RTV gasket maker for rust prevention.  Heater was then bolted into place.

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Next up route the wiring for the fuel pump out from the seat base, through the frame and out under the van.  There is a factory rubber plug right next to the heater that you can remove and thread the wiring down through the frame channel and out under the van.  Here the rubber plug is removed in preparation for pulling the wires through.

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The factory D2 connector on the fuel pump wiring needs to be removed to allow the wire to pass through the openings.  This is the connector that needs to be removed.

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Continued Below....


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#4 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:48 PM

Continued from above...

 

Once the blue retainer clip has been removed with a screw driver you can use a pin release tool to release the wiring terminals and slide the wires out of the connector.  Here's the release tool.  Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE

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Next up take a piece of stiff copper wire and fish the wire from under the van up through the frame and into the seat base.  Note that the frame tubing is double stacked and you need to pull the wire through 3 holes total.  You can see the copper pull wire sticking up next to the heater in this shot.  Also note that already installed on the factory heater wiring harness is a rubber grommet that will fit perfectly in the open hole.

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The wire will exit a ways back from the heater, near the front of the slider.

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Wire coming out the frame channel.

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Factory connector re-installed.

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More to come....

Hodakaguy


 

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#5 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:49 PM

Some more progress on the heater install today.  I started working early this morning and started taking pictures as I went....that is until I realized that I didn't have the memory card in the camera lol.  Well won't be any pictures of the first part of the morning :-)

Drilled the 3" hole for the heater vent in the seat base and attached the heater hose from the heater to the vent.

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Removed the trim pieces and the flooring to gain access to the wiring tray.  You can lift the white cover and there is black cable tray with factory wiring inside, I used the tray to route the heater power wire as well as the control wires.

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This picture was taken going back together, had to remove the plastic trim along side the drivers seat and drill holes for the heater thermostat.  I chose this location since it's out of the way and easy to access.  You need to really watch the install location here as space is very limited since the seat belt slide takes up most of the space in this area.  I also had to extend the control wires so they were long enough to reach from the heater to the controller, the wires run down behind the trim piece, under the drivers seat then into the cable tray and over to the passenger seat.

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And a shot of the controller mounted.

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Wiring running into the battery area, nothing has been connected yet.  The wire used is pre-tinned marine wire, eventually I will install an aux battery system and re-route the heater power wires over to the aux system.

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Going back together with the trim and flooring.  The heater vent is adjustable so you can direct the air flow where you need it.

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I added a switch on the side of the passenger seat for control power to the heater.  I chose this location since it's tucked out of the way and easy to access from the drivers seat.  This location also won't annoy me when the switch is on and the switch is lit up red.

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More to come.  I still need to order a few parts (muffler, intake tubing, hose barb for the fuel pump).  Hope to finish the heater install up soon!

Hodakaguy

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#6 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:51 PM

Been pretty busy lately and haven't been posting much.

Recently my father and I went to the NW Overland Rally in Plain WA and camped with the van and his Tacoma/Drifter setup.  We had a great time and talked to a lot of great people.  The rigs worked great, can't wait to start building out the Van and making it more comfortable for camping.

Sooooo many cool ideas at these shows.

Our camp for a few days.

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When I was driving the van home from CO we got into a strong cross wind on the drivers side and the roof top AC started making a really annoying rattle which persisted for about 2hrs until the cross wind went away.  I kinda forgot about it until a couple days ago coming home from another outing and got into another cross wind....yep rattle was back!  Yesterday I got up on top of the van to disassemble the cover on the AC unit and see what's loose, turns out I didn't have to take anything apart to find it!  The leading edge of the cover was missing one bolt and the other bolt was super loose allowing the cover to flap up and down.  Right before I picked the van up Mercedes had performed a service bulletin to fix a leaking roof AC unit, apparently they forgot to tighten down the front bolts!  A little loctite and a new bolt and it's all good to go again.

Loctite 243 available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE

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Next up it's time to add some vents to this baby.  The only windows that open for venting are the two front windows but then bugs can easily get in.  There is an emergency window that you can open on the drivers side but it has no screens as well and isn't the best option as you need to prop it open with a stick etc.   I decided to remove the emergency window and replace it with a CLR double vent window with screens.   I'll eventually add a AM slider vent window to the slider door as well.

Here's the stock emergency window.

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The emergency window bolts onto the body with 5 small bolts, remove the rubber covers to expose the nuts then remove all 5 nuts.  Then it's just a matter of lifting out the window.

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Once the window is out just pull out the rubber seal around the window, you won't need the factory seal with the new window.

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The vans with the emergency windows will need the mounting holes filled to avoid water leaking into the van.  I'll be filling the holes with some stainless 10-32  3/4" long Allen head cap screws with some Sikaflex 221 sealant under the head of the bolt.  This will allow me to replace the factory rubber trim caps on the interior once the new window is installed.  Once the window is installed the screws will be hidden under the edge of the tinted glass.

Sikaflex 221 available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE

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New window installed!  Here you can see the factory rubber trim caps re-installed on the bolts that are plugging the factory emergency window mounting holes.

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Looks factory! Sprinter CLR Window:  CLICK HERE

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More to come

Hodakaguy

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#7 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:52 PM

Our family camped at the Adventure Van Expo at Mount Hood Oregon this weekend with the Sprinter.  We all had a great time and got to meet some really great people.  We also checked out some sweet van setups!  It was nice for the wife to check out the different interior options in person and helped us nail down a direction we want to go with the van.  There were a LOT of vans at the show and the day parking was packed with vans on Saturday.  Fun Stuff!

What a view to wake up to in the morning!

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Roambuilt.....Yummy!  Love the Shadow Rack with built in awning, good for 50mph extended.

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Lots of cool stuff to check out!

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We took a couple hrs on Saturday to check out the Timberline Lodge up on the side of Mt Hood.

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At the show I picked up a few items from Terrawagen for the Sprinter...always fun adding new bits to the rig :-)

These are the Terrawagen storage pockets, they attach to the seat bases with the provided VHB tape.  Always nice to have areas to rat hole small items.

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Next up is a black Mercedes emblem for the rear doors, no more chrome :-)

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And last up is the rock guard for the leading edge of the hood.  The guard attaches to the hood with VHB tape as well and the fit is spot on.

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Before and after install.

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More to come....

Hodakaguy

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#8 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:52 PM

Fabricated an aluminum mount for my Scangauge II this morning.  I like running the scangauge as I can tweak the MPH display right on the money with the GPS as well as monitor actual coolant temp etc.

The Scangauge II

Scangauge II On Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE

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Laying out the mount on a scrap piece of aluminum plate.

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Mount cut, bent and painted.

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The mount will be stuck in place with VHB tape

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On the Sprinter the OBDII port is located under this cover, I'll have to trim the cover to allow the connector to remain in place while the cover is closed.

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Cover trimmed and re-installed with Scanguage cable plugged into the OBDII port.

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And installed.  I ran the cable up under the rubber door molding, the only portion of cable visible is the small section next to the scangauge.

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The mount is angled towards the driver for easy viewing.

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On a not so much fun note I completed the B service today.  New Oil, engine air, cabin air and fuel filters along with fresh oil.


Hodakaguy

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#9 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:53 PM

This past weekend the wife and I took a drive over the North Cascade HWY, van did great (other than the air mattress).  Weather was perfect, the more I drive this van the more I love it.

Up on the Pass

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On the ferry leaving Whidbey Island

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Stumbled onto a cool aircraft museum that I had to stop and check out, turns out that my father and I's first aircraft is now in this museum!

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As soon as we walked in the door I was greeted with the plane that I solo'd in, a Piper L-4J cub.  This plane served in the Philippines in WW2, my father and I purchased it from CA and flew it home to WA 20 years ago!   We ended up selling it to a guy in Arlington WA.  The folks at the museum offered to let me hop into the seat again, felt great!  I have a lot of hrs flying in this bird with my father...great memories!!

Hodakawife and I

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Chatting with the Museum staff, always fun swapping airplane stories.  These guys were great!  

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They also let me climb up and sit in their DC3...man what an awesome stop!  They just returned from over seas with this plane where it participated in the D-Day anniversary.  They were working on the right engine and doing run ups when we arrived....what a sweet sound!

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I want to take this baby up for a spin!!!

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Back home....

Well after quite a few nights in the van we decided that the air mattress has to go!  The mattress on the floor eats up a lot of valuable real estate and leaves no room to stand or move since your cloths etc are laying in the only open area behind the front bench.   On this last trip we had the mattress go flat on us for the second time (I think the one way valve in the built in compressor is leaking) so it's time to come up with a better temporary solution.

After we returned home I built up a temporary wooden elevated bed platform, this will give us storage room below the bed and standing room in front.  Eventually I would like to install an Adventure Wagon interior kit but this should do the trick for now.

Fabricating brackets that will lock the bed frame to the walls using the factory rear seat mounting bolts.

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Painted and installed on the frame

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And installed in the van.  I covered the frame in vinyl for easy cleaning and used turn buckles on the legs to lock in into position, coupled with the side brackets the bed is very secure and easily removable from the van to haul cargo etc.

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I'm 6'1" and can fully stretch out sideways by angling my legs slightly, this should be a lot nicer setup for now.  The bed will be a FULL size trimmed down slightly for length.

Hodakaguy

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE


#10 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:54 PM

Trip Update.....

Just returned from a 1000 mile family road trip through the SE Oregon and NW Nevada Deserts.   The new bed platform worked great!  Still need to get a roof rack, solar and battery setup in the near future.

After stopping at rivers and sight seeing along the way we headed deep into the Oregon desert to mine Sunstones at the Spectrum mine.  We did a combination of ground searching in the free area and some sifting through some pre-dug high grade ore at the mine.  

My Son playing Mad Max with his Nerf gun

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Heading into the desert....30 plus miles from the nearest pavement.

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My son loved riding on the bed once we got off road....he though that was pretty cool!

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Pulling into the Spectrum Mine

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The Mine Office

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Ready for mining!

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We elected to sift some high grade ore....everyone had a lot of fun sifting and picking out the sunstones.

Our ore being crushed and getting ready to be loaded in the backhoe for delivery.

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Going through the Ore...

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We found some nice stones, my son found this red centered stone.

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I found a nice AAA Shiller (A Sunstone with copper infused that creates a nice copper sheen)

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My Son having a geology conversation with the guy running the mine

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More stones collected at the Specrum Mine, later we would find quite a few more shillers in the batch.

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We camped for the night in the free public collection area, super quiet and calm out there!  We spend maybe 30 minutes looking for Sunstones then called it a day.

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My son and I went out looking for stones again in the morning before we hit the road, you don't need a shovel but he really wanted to carry it :-)

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The ground is like glass down there with Sunstones

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We collected some nice clear stones that my wife will make a rock wire tree out of later.

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Continued Below...

 


  • 0

My 4wd Sprinter Build: CLICK HERE

My Unimog U1300L Build:  CLICK HERE

My VW Syncro Westy Build:  CLICK HERE

My Tacoma/FWC  Builds: CLICK HERE

Ride Report - In Memory Of The Crewmen: CLICK HERE






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