Transit Van Conversion Complete

It’s not only more-or-less complete, but it’s in the driveway!  I’m tweaking things and making some additions but after about 15 months from initial contact to finish we finally got to pick it up from Van Haus Conversions in Vancouver, WA in mid-September, amidst the smoke and fires across the western states.

This previously empty Ford Transit cargo van is now officially a nimble little 4×4 adventure campervan, (or disaster bug-out van, or zombie apocalypse survival unit) or… The New Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle.  It’s quite the change from the original Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle which was a 25-ft Sprinter-based Class B RV from Leisure Travel Vans. We had a good time with the LTV Unity, but our two biggest wishes were to 1) have internal storage for our mountain bikes and 2) downsize to a smaller, more off-road-capable camper van, which would also allow us to park more easily in busy metro areas.  We did take the Unity out on dirt roads a lot but we were often of course constrained on just how rugged the road could actually get with a vehicle of that size and length.  Anyway, here it is – wishes made true — and it looks great:

The new campervan is built on a 2019 Ford Transit cargo van (Long Body, High Roof, 148″ wheelbase, non-extended, 19.5 feet long).

QuadVan in Portland, Oregon did the conversion to support 4×4 as well as upgrade the suspension, add a locking differential and protective skid plates, raise the low-hanging rear shock mounts and the overall body and add all terrain tires.

Van Haus Conversions did the build out to a campervan.  (Here’s some pictures of the work in progress.)  The design features a queen-sized raised-platform bed that creates a large “garage” space for bikes and gear underneath.  The living area centers around the galley with a sink, refrigerator, double burner induction cooktop and a fold-out swiveling table between the two front swiveling seats and a small bench seat that hides a dry composting toilet.

Click through for a full gallery of the completed build – I’ll update the gallery as I make changes to the van:

     

I’ll link to a new page here documenting various build details and decisions, where to buy stuff and additional customizations I make along the way as I did before with my LTV Unity.  But for now, here’s the build feature list (includes QuadVan, Van Haus Conversions, and my own additions):

(Please note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases via my links to Amazon.)

House Build

  • Insulation/walls: sound deadening, radiant barrier, several inches of rock wool, and Luan plywood covered in closed cell foam and marine grade fabric
  • Floor: closed cell foam, two 3/4″ plywood layers and marine grade decking
  • CR Laurence awning-style front windows and bunk windows
  • Galley cabinet with countertop, under sink storage and four drawers
  • Overhead cabinets along both sides plus open shelf over cab area
  • Bench seat
  • Drop leaf swivel table system on Lagun mount
  • Fiamma Awning F45s with electric motor (10.5 ft) on van side wall, plus LED light strip
  • LED lighting throughout (overhead, under cabinet, garage, porch, awning, steps)
  • Platform bed (67″ x 80″) with Innerspace RV high-density foam mattress
  • Insulated window coverings for all windows and cab area
  • Magnetic-closure bug screens for sliding door and cargo doors

Appliances

Electrical

  • 400Ah Lithium-ion battery system (LifeBlue LiFEPO4 )
  • 500 watts solar (five Renogy 100W panels on roof)
  • External Zamp port for extra solar and 120W AcoPower portable folding panel
  • Red Arc 50amp DC-DC charger & battery management system
  • 2000 watt 110V inverter (Xantrex Freedom XC 2000), three duplex outlets (inside and out)
  • iSeries tank monitor
  • Victron battery monitor w/Bluetooth
  • Amp-L-Start vehicle battery maintainer
  • shore power connection
  • multiple USB 4.8 amp ports and 12V ports (inside and out)
  • Cellular booster w/externally mounted antennas (weBoost Drive X)

Plumbing

  • Sink and faucet combo in galley
  • Shower head, hose and port in garage
  • Frizzlife MK99 under-sink water filter
  • Camco EVO Premium RV filter for tank filling
  • 24 gallon interior fresh water tank
  • 28 gallon under carriage gray water tank

Garage

  • Two L-track mounted on floor, two on cabinet walls, one on cat apartment
  • 2x RockyMounts Hotrod swappable bike fork mounts (on homemade mounting plates)
  • Removable cat apartment (w/feeding room and litter box room)
  • Tool kit, tire repair kit, compressor, tow strap/rings
  • Various storage organizers

Cab Upgrades

4×4 Conversion

Share
Tagged as

8

Nic

I’ve been reading through this site with great interest. We are picking up a 2021 Unity TB in December and plan to travel for 2-3 months straight at a time, with a strong preference for dry/dispersed camping in remote areas, and bringing our cat with us.

I believe you had 250ah lead acid batteries and 600w solar in the Unity (after your upgrades), so with 400ah lithium and 500w+120w you should be much better equipped to dry camp than before. That said, you’ve also gone from a full bath with black tank to a small dry composting toilet. How do you think this will affect your potential dry camping duration in a single location, and do you have other concerns/remedies related to dry camping in this smaller unit?

Stephen Muehler

I have enjoyed with interest your blogs. Thank you.
What Renogy solar panels did you install and how?
In your previous post you added some flexible panels with Eternabond tape.
Did that work out for you? Did you do the same on your Sprinter or did you go with rigid glass panels?
Thanks in advance, Steve

Glenn

It looks great. The garage looks nice and big. Also, the lights on the awning are awesome and something I’ll want to make sure we have on our build list.