Hodakaguy's 4wd Sprinter Build - Pic Heavy!

goinoregon said:
hey tom. nice work. i like how you reworked the victron gauge, and covered the initial hole with your aluminum cover plate. this looks good, and i assume much easier than fixing the entire panel.
greg
Thanks Mate. Yeah that cover plate was waaaay easier and quicker than rebuilding the whole panel. Plus I now have a place to mount a switch etc next to the gauge of needed :)

Hodakaguy
 
ckent323 said:
Tom,

Excellent work as usual.

Where/how did you learn the skills to do all of the truck, camper and van mods you have been posting for years?

I don't have a Van but I enjoy following the details of your efforts. Keep em coming,

Craig
Thanks Mate! I've picked up these skills over the years working on many different projects and a lot of my mechanical ability from working in the natural gas pipeline industry for 27 years, maintaining large equipment etc.

I'm not afraid to try new things (this was my first time gluing fabric). When approaching something new I'll research it, watch YouTube vids, talk to guys that's done it etc...then jump in with both feet :). I Enjoy documenting the process and hope it helps others perform their own work/maint.

Hodakaguy
 
Custom Fiamma L-track Awning Crank tool Mounts.

I usually carry my awning crank under my Mule Bag on the passenger side in the small fabric loops on the bottom side of the bag. While I love the location the handles are a bit larger than the shaft of the crank and hangs up on the loops making it a pain to remove & put back away.

After a bit of poking around I decided to mount the crank to the L-track on the passenger side under the bed. This locations will allow quick access and it will be out of the way.

The crank came with two plastic mounting clips, a quick test fit shows that you need a bit of force to snap the crank into the clips and to pull them out. I don't want to mount the clips directly onto the fabric/wood panels as I'm afraid they will eventually pull out over time. Well...time to fabricate come custom mount points.

Note: The links below are my Amazon Affiliate links, I make a small portion each time someone purchases from Amazon using one of my links, at no extra cost to the buyer. I only provide links to items that I personally like and use myself. i use the money to put back into my builds and support making videos/posts. If you prefer not to use my links you can search for the same items directly off Amazon. Thank you for the support!

Supplies that I used:

I started with a couple pieces of 1" X 3/16" 6061 T6 Aluminum Flat Bar.

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Drilling holes. The tabs will mount to the L-track via a mounting stud and the crank mounting clips will attach to the aluminum tabs via drilled/tapped holes and mounting screws.

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I'll be mounting the crank arm on this section of L-track on the passenger side under the bed frame.

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Attaching the mounting tabs onto the L-track via the L-track mounting studs.

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Hodakaguy
 
Keeping your rig clean on the road. Doing some cleaning this morning in preparation for Hood River Adventure Van Expo next weekend.

Thought I'd share my vacuum setup that I carry with us in the van. It's an older Dyson unit that's running an adapter allowing me to use my Milwaukee Tool batteries on the vacuum. The vacuum is great with a lot of sucking power and no bags to deal with, but the stock battery held a charge for under 10 minutes and made the entire thing almost worthless. I found an adapter on Amazon that allows use of the Tool batts (They make them for all brands, I just happen to be vested in Milwaukee). The adapter just bolts on and you slide in your battery....bam that's it. Allows quick batt changes and with the 8.0 it will run a LONG time on a charge, we usually get through an entire trip on a single batt.

The vacuum's are expensive new but you can find ones with bad batteries cheap on CL or FB market if you keep an eye out.

Note: When ordering make sure you order the adapter that matches your exact model of Dyson.

Note: The links below are my Amazon Affiliate links, I make a small portion each time someone purchases from Amazon using one of my links, at no extra cost to the buyer. I only provide links to items that I personally like and use myself. i use the money to put back into my builds and support making videos/posts. If you prefer not to use my links you can search for the same items directly off Amazon. Thank you for the support!

Supplies that I used:

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Hodakaguy
 
Onboard Charger.....

This is something I haven't done yet since I just rarely ever need it. Once in the past few years I wished I had an onboard charger, we were camping at my mothers house and I had the van parked in the shade for multiple days so the solar wasn't able to top up the batts. We were also not driving the van daily so the batt wasn't able to get charged from the DC/DC charger. Fast forward and I decided to go ahead and install an onboard charger in case the situation ever arises again.

I decided to go with the Victron 17A unit. The charger has built in bluetooth and has the proper settings/charge profiles for Lithium batts. I will mount the charger under the passenger seat and the shore power plug under the van. There is plenty of ventilation under the seat and the Espar heater stays cool under the seat base while in operation. As an extra safety measure the charger will ramp back if it starts to over heat.

Note: The links below are my Amazon Affiliate links, I make a small portion each time someone purchases from Amazon using one of my links, at no extra cost to the buyer. I only provide links to items that I personally like and use myself. i use the money to put back into my builds and support making videos/posts. If you prefer not to use my links you can search for the same items directly off Amazon. Thank you for the support!

Victron IP67 17A Smart Charger - On Amazon here: CLICK HERE
NOCO Shore Power Plug - On Amazon here: CLICK HERE
Deep Reach Marker- On Amazon here: CLICK HERE
Brother 550 Label Maker - On Amazon here: CLICK HERE (Note: I use generic heat shrink cartilages off Ebay as they are WAY cheaper than the Brother cartridges).

The charger fresh out of the package.

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Marking & drilling the mounting holes in the passenger side seat base. Long reach pens are super handy when you need them!

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Painting the bare edges

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Always a good idea to use Anti-seize on stainless bolts.

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Printing up some heat shrink labels for the charger wiring.

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A little bit of edge molding for abrasion protection.

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Continued Below.....
 
Continued from above....

I tied the positive wiring into the house side of the master disconnect. (I know, I need to build a guard for the positive terminals).

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For the shore power plug I'm using a NOCO waterproof shore power connection. I decided to keep the run short and mount it hidden up under the van out of harms way. For as much as I'll be using it I don't mind a quick duck under to connect the extension cable. Here's I'm taking a bit of scrap aluminum and fabricating up a mounting plate.

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And painted up.

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Upon mounting I used a bit of 3M 4000 UV to seal the mounting screws.

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Don't mind the wet spots....Windex from cleaning off the mounting location.

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I cut the ends off on both power cables on the charger and shore plug. Made it a lot easier and cleaner to drill a smaller hole and use a rubber gromet to pass the wire through the body.

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Continued Below....
 
Continued from above...

Wiring terminated.

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All tucked away under the passenger seat.

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Plugging and and charging great!

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Nice to have the option to tie into shore power....options are always good!

Hodakaguy
 
Installing VS30 (2019 - Current) seats in an NCV3 (2007 - 2018) Sprinter along with Apline Mechanism Swivels.

I recently scored two brand new take out front seats from a 2022 VS30 Sprinter for $100 each with a plan to install them in my 2017 VS30. The seats came complete with air bags but the wiring harness had been cut so it could be re-used on the Scheelmann seats they were installing to replace the factory seats with. I will cut and re-use the wiring harness from my NCV3 seats on install.

Why the Upgrade? My wife and I actually find the stock NCV3 seats to be quite comfortable and I can easily spend 10hr plus days in the saddle while on road trips. With that said there are a couple improvements I like in the VS30 seats. I've spent a fair amount of time in my fathers 2022 Revel and really like the seats. The VS30 seats are slightly softer and plush than the NCV3 seats and the built in electric/air lumbar support feels really good on my back (I use a lumbar pillow on my NCV3 seat). The VS30 seats are more adjustable than the NCV3 seats allowing you to tilt the front and even slide the front out if needed. Another huge improvement for me is how they changed the sliding mechanism. On the NCV3 seats the slider release is a metal bar on the front underside of the seat that digs into my calf as we drive, on the VS30 seats the release is located off to the side allowing me to tuck my leg back comfortably under the seat without rubbing my leg on anything....perfect! I also like that the leatherette is smooth on the entire seat without the textured insert found on the NCV3 seats making it a lot easier to wipe down and clean.

Note: The mounting holes in the seat base are spread farther apart on the VS30 Seats than the NCV3 seats. This will require you to build/fabricate an adapter to bolt the seats onto the bases or buy a seat swivel/adapter to make them fit. I planned on adding swivels so i ordered the Alpine Mechanism seat swivels for my install. The Alpine swivels are set up for both the NCV3 & VS30 mounting locations and acts as a perfect seat adapter when swapping seats. I chose the Alpine units as I feel they are the highest quality, they don't rock around once installed, super easy to actuate and they only raise the seat height by 1/2". Another difference between the two seats that you will have to deal with is the seat belt anchor attachment point. On the NCV3 seats the seat belts are anchored/bolted onto the seat itself, on the VS30's the belt in anchored into the B-pillar instead of the seat. If you pop the side covers off the VS30 seats there is a mounting location still in place for the belt anchor but it doesn't quite line up perfectly with the alignment tabs on the NCV3 belt anchor. It could be modified to work but the Alpine Swivel comes with adapter brackets for this exact purpose making this a non-issue.


Here's a pic showing the VS30 seat on the left with the NCV3 seat on the right.

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This photo shows the different mount spacing between the two seats.

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Here I'm cutting the harness off the NCV3 seat to re-use on the VS30 seats.

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My non-heated NCV3 seats have two wires each. The VS30 seats have 5 wires each. One extra ground that goes to the seat frame (Brown/white) and a pwr/ground wire for the lumbar air pump motor (Red/Brown).

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Connecting the passenger side air bag.

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Passenger seat plugged into the van for a test. Started the van and No SRS Air Bag Lights.....Perfect!

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I used an SAE plug for the Lumbar Air Pump Connection.

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Lumbar wiring connected at the Aux fuse panel with labeled terminals.

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Wiring harness is wrapped in cloth wire loom tape.

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Braided loom added for extra abrasion resistance.

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Mounting the Alpine Mechanism Swivel. The swivel bolts to the base and the seat bolts to the swivel. You can see the two sets of mounting holes for either the NCV3 seat or the VS30 seats.

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Here I'm transferring over the original seat belt latches onto the VS30 seats.

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Here's the 90 Deg adapter that attaches the seat belt to the seat base...allowing the seat to swivel.

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Seat wiring runs up through the middle of the swivel

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Continued Below....
 
Continued from above...

Passenger side installed

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Here you can see the metal slider release bar on the drivers side NCV3 seat that digs into the back of my leg when I drive..... and the lack of that bar on the passenger VS30 seat. Soooo much better!

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Repeating the process on the drivers side.

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Harness for drivers side Lumbar power.

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Next I had to lower the E-brake handle to clear the seat when it swivels. The Alpine Swivel comes with the bracket to lower the E-brake.

You will need to do some plastic trimming on the E-brake cover to make it fit once the brake handle is lowered. Take your time and trim a bit at a time until it fits. I took this time to modify the way my cover mounts since it's easily bumped and often comes loose. I cut the plastic mounting tab off the back side of the cover, drilled a hole then used a bolt to re-install the cover. Rock solid now and won't keep coming loose like the OEM setup.

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Lowering Bracket

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Continued from above...

Modifying the cover to attach via bolt vs OEM plastic tab.

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The swivels only raise the seat by 1/2".

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And Installed. No Warning lights and everything is working perfectly. Success!

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The Test!

We just returned from a trip to Montana where I spent about 14 hrs in the saddle. For me the seats are a great leap in comfort over the NCV3 seats. The built in lumbar support worked perfectly for me, it's so nice not to have to mess with the lumbar pillow that I've been using. And the back side of my left leg thanked me for getting rid of that metal slide release bar. We also used the swivel this weekend and found it to be super convenient...I should have installed these a long time ago!

Hodakaguy
 
Seat back organizers!

I've had my driver's side seat back organizer going on 4 years now and it's been absolutely awesome for arranging & carrying my small items like charge cords, batteries, lens wipes etc etc. I originally purchased the bag at the Plain WA Overland Rally but couldn't remember who made it (I've been asked numerous times by others). I've seen others that are close but I really like the quality and layout of this unit.

Fast forward to the recent Overland Expo PNW Rally in Bend OR and Bam!.....they were there! The unit is made in WA state by a company called the Last U.S. Bag Company. (Model LUSB302 Caddy). I purchased a second unit for my passenger side seat and my father purchased one for his Revel as well.

To mount the bags I use Giant Loop Proghorn straps. These Silicone straps are bullet proof and work perfectly to attach the bags to the seats while looking great in the process.

Looks like Das Mule carries the organizers here and they are available in 3 different colors: CLICK HERE

Giant Loop Proghorn Straps: CLICK HERE

Overland Gear Guy Map Pouch: CLICK HERE

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Mounting the lower portion of the bag to the seat base using the Proghorn straps.

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The one thing about the bags I don't care for is how wide the upper mounting rings are. When you run a strap through the loops and around the headrest it makes the bag bunch up and looks crappy. They have two narrow loops (red and blue) but they are sewn onto the outside of the bag and will prevent you from accessing the larger Velcro pouch at the top of the bag if used to attach the bag to the headrest.

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To solve this I used a small piece of tubing and a steel rod slid through the tubing to force the bag to retain its shape and lay flat then attached to the headrest. The tubing is slid between the straps then the steel rod slides through the loops on the bag and the tubing. The tubing is 1/2" thin wall carbon steel (11" long) and the center rod is 5/16" solid steel rod (13.25" long). I painted both black. I have this same mod on my driver's side and it's worked perfectly
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Cutting a piece of 1/2" tubing to size.

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Painted and ready to install.

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Looks like a giant watch spring bar :)

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Installed on the bags upper mounting straps.

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Continued from above...

And on the seat!

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The top of the bag opens up and can hold maps, machetes, or any other larger items you have to store.

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On the drivers side I have a Overland Gear Guy map holder mounted between the seat and the organizer.

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The seats still swivel perfectly with the organizers installed.

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The bags are useful in soooo many different ways. I use the lower pouch on the drivers side to keep my car wash chamois in.

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Hodakaguy
 
As always you present great solutions to better a product! Thanks.

You have a crosscut saw hanging in the garage. Lance tooth possible 5 or 6 foot felling saw. Do you still use it? future plans for it?

What we are using for edge guards? We now use plastic lattice trim with the channel that hold the plastic thin lattice. Can be bought at Lowes, Home Depot etc. Cut to length. Then screw rubber straps to the trim molding. See images.
Patrick
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Figured I'd make a post letting people know I'm still alive and I still have the van lol. Been a while!

I recently picked up a 53 BMW R51/3 with a 52 Steib LS200 hack and it's been consuming a lot of my free time lately. The previous owner owned it for 56 years! I'll eventually pick up a small enclosed trailer so I can tow the setup with the van to bike meets etc. Been having a blast out riding it with the kiddo and giving it some much needed TLC.

Still have some more mods to complete on the van that I'm hoping to get to in the near future. More to come!

Bike thread here: https://www.advrider.com/f/threads/hodakaguys-vintage-bmw-steed-hack.1661713/


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Hodakaguy
 
Please take a lot of time to learn how to ride the hack. It is not a motorcycle. My brother was an expert level flat tracker and wanted a hack for taking his kids on rides. I am sure you have ridden it enough to know how fast it moves sideways when you do a pantic stop. Scarred me when I rode my brothers hack. We went on a long trip in 1989 three of us on bikes and my brother on the hack. I am still not sure what happened but my brother died. I have friends who love their hacks, just not for me. Again practice and become proficient on riding the hack.

Bill

Current ride 2020 BMW S1000XR
 
billharr said:
Please take a lot of time to learn how to ride the hack. It is not a motorcycle. My brother was an expert level flat tracker and wanted a hack for taking his kids on rides. I am sure you have ridden it enough to know how fast it moves sideways when you do a pantic stop. Scarred me when I rode my brothers hack. We went on a long trip in 1989 three of us on bikes and my brother on the hack. I am still not sure what happened but my brother died. I have friends who love their hacks, just not for me. Again practice and become proficient on riding the hack.

Bill

Current ride 2020 BMW S1000XR

Hi Bill, really sorry to hear that about your brother. Your right, a bike with a hack is a whole different beast than a two wheel machine in more areas than one. This is my 3rd sidecar setup and I have many years riding them....but it's always a learning experience and one should always be practicing and getting better. I personally love the characteristics of a sidecar setup but it isn't for everyone for sure.

Thanks for taking the time to respond and stay safe.

Hodakaguy.
 
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