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Hodakaguy's 4wd Sprinter Build - Pic Heavy!

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#11 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:55 PM

Continued from above...

After traveling the next day we ended up staying at Bog Hot Springs in NV.  Bog springs is a Hot flowing river, the water flows from the source out into the desert and eventually just soaks back in.  This is one of my favorite soaks.....the scenery is amazing, the temperature is perfect (102 deg) and there is very little sulfur smell.  The family really loved this camp spot.

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The depth of the water varies and there is a couple spots where people have created dams and larger pools.  It's a very nice soak.

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Back at camp my wife was cleaning the sunstones and checking for shillers.

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A view of the Pueblo Mountains out of the van...not a bad camp site!

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Next morning we stopped at Fields Station for fuel, breakfast and a world famous milkshake!

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On the Alvord dry lake bed

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Steen Mountains in the background....beautiful!

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Getting some exercise and driving the RC tank out on the Playa.

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50 miles of gravel to make it back to pavement again....and amazing scenery!

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On the way home we got in an awesome lighting storm, I only managed to capture one lightning bolt in the few minutes I was trying.  Love these storms!

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Can't wait till next trip!

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


#12 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:56 PM

Time to remove the roof AC unit.  The roof top AC unit is engine powered by its own compressor and designed to keep the interior cool when loaded with passengers.  Unfortunately the unit eats a lot of valuable roof top space that for us could be better used for roof racks, solar panels, vents etc.  Since spring we have put almost 12k miles on the van and tested it in temperatures up past 100 deg, in all but the hottest temps we found the dash AC proved to be sufficient and it should be even better once the van is fully insulated.   For now I'll be installing a couple Maxair Fans on the roof, solar panels and insulation, eventually I'll add a roof rack down the road as well.

Supplies that I used:

  • Astro rubber eraser tool - Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE
  • 3M Panel Bond Adhesive 08115 - Available on Amazon Here: CLICK HERE
  • Sikaflex 252 Sealant - Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE
  • Maxxfan Deluxe - Available on Amazon Here: CLICK HERE
  • Dicor Lap Sealant x two tubes- Available on Amazon Here: CLICK HERE
  • Nitrile Gloves - Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE
  • Wax/Degreaser - Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE
  • Raptor Liner - Available on Amazon Here: CLICK HERE


First up remove the interior in preparation for AC removal and insulation.  Start at the front and work your way to the back of the van.  I didn't take pictures of the removal process but do have before and after shots.

Before...

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And after headliner removal.

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Removing the side panels.  The trim around the windows can stay in place since insulation can be pushed up into the open areas with the trim in place.

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Pile of interior parts

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Next up is to remove the upper AC unit from the roof.  First up take your van to a shop that can reclaim/drain the refrigerant in the upper AC unit, once the unit is drained of refrigerant your ready to start the removal process.

With winter setting in I ran the van over to my buddy Mike's at VanLab to put the van in his nice heated shop....thanks Mike.

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In the next couple shots I've already completed a lot of the smaller prep work.  At this point you should remove the interior refrigerant lines from the AC unit, the lines run from the unit then down the A pillars.  You will need to remove the plastic A pillar trim from both the drivers and passengers side so you can remove the AC lines from the interior of the van.  There are two condensate drain lines that get removed at this time as well.  Disconnect all the electrical connectors at the AC unit at this time.

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Here you can see where I disconnected one of the two AC lines that go through the roof.  Next remove the 10mm bolts that attach the upper unit to the roof, there are two 10mm bolts at each AC line connection.

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Next move to the roof and remove the bolts from the plastic covers.

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Remove the rear plastic cover.   Note:  The front cover is trapped in place until you remove the rear condenser unit.

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In this shot you can see how  the condenser unit is attached to the van with 6 studs.  The nuts and washers you need to remove are buried under a bunch of white sealant (Looks like Sikaflex).

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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


#13 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:57 PM

Continued from above...

Next you need to uncover the nuts and washers.  A screwdriver, putty knife and pair of pliers are handy tools here.

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Once you have all 6 nuts and washers removed you need to separate the condenser mount from the roof of the van, which is also stuck down with more white sealant.  For this task I used plastic scrapers, a hammer and some scrap pieces of wood.   Start at the rear and use the hammer to drive the scraper between the mount and the roof, this will split the sealant and won't damage the roof.  As you move forward tension the mount by lifting up on the rear of the mount and installing a wooden block to keep tension as you go forward.  Take your time.

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Once the condenser unit is free hand it down to someone on the ground, the unit is really light.

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Remove the front plastic cover and the foam block under the cover (pictured here).  Mike at VanLab front and center.

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The front portion of the unit is sealed to the van using a black adhesive sealant.  To remove this portion use a wooden block and pry bar to slightly lift the edges of the unit while you use a long thin razor knife to reach in and separate the sealant.  Go slow and work your way around the unit, place wood blocks under the lip as you go so the unit doesn't stick back down to the van as you move forward.  A second person is handy here for sure, it took maybe 5 minutes to remove the front unit using this method.   Again the unit is light so hand it down to the person on the ground once it's free.

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Front unit removed.

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Next up remove the wiring coming through the roof.  The wiring has a round rubber grommet but is buried in white sealant.  Have a person inside the van push up on the rubber grommet with a screwdriver etc and then use your razor knife to cut the sealant around the rubber grommet.  Once free stuff the wiring/grommet down into the van.

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With the upper unit removed its time to do some clean up.

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Use a razor knife to trim off as much of the white sealant as you can without getting into the paint.

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Next up use a automotive rubber eraser wheel to finish removing the white sealant without damaging the paint.  This wheel makes quick work of removing the sealant.

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Like all erasers it's messy so wear a dusk mask.

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From this.....

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To this...in a couple of minutes.

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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


#14 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:57 PM

Continued from above...

Next up the condenser mounting areas.  I will leave the studs in place and reseal the base of the studs once finished.

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Don't use the eraser wheel on the black sealant as it will gum it up and ruin the wheel.  Wax/Grease remover removes the black sealant almost instantly, just put some on a shop rag and wipe the sealant off.

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Sealed for the night.

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More on closing in the holes 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


#15 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:58 PM

Progress........

Adding some additional sound dampening material, the whole family got into the game on this one.

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Time to get this hole on the roof plugged up, I'm tired of putting tarps on the roof to keep water out of the van lol.

I fabricated an adapter plate to cover the hole that was left behind from removing the Roof AC and create a 14" square opening for the Maxair vent fan.  I also made up 3 smaller covers that will seal up the smaller holes left by the AC wiring and hose connections.  I covered the plates in Raptor Liner, Raptor Liner is a bed liner material that is very durable and holds up great over time.

Here's the adapter plate in primer, getting ready for the Raptor Liner to be applied.

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Raptor Liner fully cured.  Here the adapter is setting in place and getting ready to be permanently attached.

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The adapter will be bonded to the roof with 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive.

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Panel in place with adhesive applied.  The panel is being held down with weights and clamps while the adhesive cures, no screws or rivets needed which helps to eliminate leak points.

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Next up its time to cut the hole for the rear Maxair Fan.  A little measuring, marking and a skinny wheel made quick work of this task.

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Here we are cutting a blades width off each side of the fans base.  By slightly trimming the base it will fit perfectly between the roof ribs without having to use a separate adapter plate to raise the fan base up, this gives a perfect fit and reduces the number of sealing surfaces and leak potentials.

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The fan bases are sealed in place with Sikaflex 252 sealant.

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With the bases cured in place I sealed the screws on the bases with Silaprene and sealed the edges of the black adapter/seal off plates with black Sikaflex 221 (Not really a necessary step but can't hurt :-).

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Good coverage of sealant squished down inside, nice waterproof seal.

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Getting ready to install the fan unit

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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


#16 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:59 PM

Continued from above...

And installed.   I'm happy with the way they turned out, nice and clean.   Having the two fans when camping will really be awesome!

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More to come as time allows.....

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


#17 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 07:59 PM

Haven't been working on the van for a while but it's time to get going on this project again.

First up is to clean up a bit of wiring.  There are two pig tails of wiring hanging down from the ceiling that used to go to the roof top AC, I'll remove them and tie the stubs out of the way to the main harness.  Also note that I filled the ceiling cross members with low expansion foam since there is no way to pull in insulation through these beams.

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Wires shortened and staggered, marine heat shrink applied to ends.

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Bundled up to the harness and now out of the way.

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Next up.....Insulation.  We will be installing 3M Thinsulate SM600L, this is both a thermal and acoustic insulation that is hydrophobic and won't adsorb moisture.  My friend ordered a large builders roll and we purchased ours from his roll.

Getting ready to start cutting...

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My wife is doing an awesome job cutting and fitting the insulation!

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I'll be building the interior out with all new panels (I'll be reusing the factory window trim for a finished look) and will be running L-track along the walls and ceiling similar to the Adventure Wagon interior kits.  Part of running the L-track on the ceiling is building braces/supports that will go behind the L-track and greatly increase it's load capacity.

The Adventure Wagon interior kits come with really nice support brackets, but they start at $11K which is a little rich for my blood so I'll be fabricating my own brackets.  I Picked up some C-channel and flat bar to fabricate the supports with, this will be rock solid when finished.

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Cutting mounting tabs.

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Tabs cut and mounting holes being marked and drilled.

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First brace ready to test fit in place.

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Looks like it's going to fit perfect.  The L-track will be bolted into the roof supports via Plus Nuts then will be bolted into the braces as well for extra support.

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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


#18 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 08:00 PM

A bit more progress today.....

I switched gears and decided to get the L-track mounted in place so work on the wall and ceiling panels can start, once the panels are finished I'll continue on brace fabrication and installation.

Here's the L-track all ready to be installed.

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I'll be mounting the L-track into the van using Plus Nuts, they are similar to Rivet Nuts but offer a better hold with more surface area.  Here's a picture of the Plus Nut setting tool and a 1/4" Plus Nut.

Astro Plus Nut Install Tool - Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE

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Rivet Nut on the left and Plus Nut on the right.

Plus Nuts - Available on Amazon Here:  CLICK HERE

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Here's an example of a Plus Nut installed in a scrap piece of tubing so you can see how it grabs on the back side.

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Drilling the holes in the L-Track.  Once the track is all installed I'll pull it back off and taper the holes so the bolts are flush in the track.

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Drilling the holes in the ceiling cross members and installing Plus Nuts.

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Next up is prepping the sides for L-track.  I'm going to re-use the stock grey plastic window trim for a nice finished look but a bit needs to be trimmed off the top edge to allow the L-track to be installed.  Some quick work with a straight edge and some tin snips made quick work on this job.

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And trimmed all the way to the front.

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Plus nuts installed....

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L-track installed.

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Will try and get the rest of the track installed tomorrow....

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


#19 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 08:01 PM

This morning we cut the final piece to finish out the horizontal run above the drivers side windows.  An aluminum blade on a chop or miter saw works perfectly, makes a nice clean cut that's perfectly square.

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I marked the hole locations and here we're installing the plus nuts.

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And installed.  I'll be counter sinking the holes and installing flush bolts later in the build.

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Finishing the trimming of the passenger side rear window plastic.

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Marking and drilling the holes in the passenger side window L-track.

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Next I used the drilled L-track as a guide to transfer the hole locations to the van.  Used the same 1/4" bit to just barely make a mark on the van wall then remove the L-track and use a punch and 3 drill bits to step the hole up to size for the plus nut.  My dad is giving me a hand here, it's great to have an extra set of hands!

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Using a shot vac when drilling the holes really saves a lot of mess and clean up work.

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Plus nut's installed and L-track mounted.

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To install the two forward pieces of L-track on the ceiling I'll need to fabricate the supports at this time since there is only 1 bolt that will go into the roof rib, the rest of the bolts will be in the support braces.  Here I'm starting to fabricate the brace using the same C-channel.

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Cutting a notch on the ends to allow the mounting tabs to angle back a bit to match the angle of the roof beams.  Using my favorite shop tool....my Portaband.

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Getting ready to weld on the mounting tabs, the tabs are welded out on both sides.

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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


#20 Hodakaguy

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 08:02 PM

Continued from above...

Installing the Plus Nuts and bolting up the support.

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Once bolted into place I transferred the hole locations to the brace and pulled it off once more to drill the holes and install the Plus Nuts into the brace.

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And All bolted into place in the van.  This setup is going to be super strong once all the braces are installed!  The two pieces of L-track came out nice and tight.

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At this point I stopped taking a lot of pictures as we worked to get the drivers side finished before daylight faded.  On the drivers side brace I decided to angle the ends of the mounting tabs upwards a bit to ensure they stay out of the way.

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Drivers side mounted up.

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And ceiling completed for now.  The fish-eye lens on the phone makes the tracks look like they are bent a bit in the photo.

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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






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