The Sprinter build worked very well but there were over 100 improvements/changes that would make the build better. The following list describes the improvements/changes.
1. FORD TRANSIT
Gas engine available, lower repair costs, more service locations, dash gages, limited slip option, no limp home mode and not a Mercedes.
2. GAS ENGINE
Less initial cost, lower scheduled maintenance costs, simpler emission system, no glow plugs and engine can be idled.
3. EXTRUDED MACROLUX CEILING
Lighter than expanded PVC and does not mar as easily.
4. TABLE FOR TWO
Much easier to fold up hinged bed platform panels to expose the table for two.
5. ELIMINATE SHORE POWER ELECTRIC REEL
Changed to simple three prong plug below driver door. Location helps prevent driving off plugged in. Male plug is hidden up behind Transit sheet metal.
6. DELETED REAR DOOR WINDOW CURTAINS
Cut to window size Reflectix with tabs that fit between glass and the door frame are effective and easy to install/remove. Adds insulation value.
7. REPLACED REMOVABLE BED PANELS
Sprinter had removable panels to span the gap between the table and the van walls. Changed to panels that are hinged at the walls and fold down to sit on top of the table. Easier to convert to bed platform and panels store vertically against the van walls.
8. USED 3" x 3/4" 80/20 TABLE LEGS
Changed from narrow SS tubes to wider 80/20 to increase stability.
9. MOVED BED PLATFORM A FEW INCHES FORWARD
Added space between table and back doors to provide room for a bicycle.
10. CENTRIFUGAL WATER PUMP
Replaced the standard noisy positive displacement RV water pump with a small quiet solar water pump. Lower cost and uses about 1/4 of the space.
11. FABRICATED 304 SS SHOWER WATER TANK
Replaced the portable 5 gallon SS beer keg with a custom 6 gallon fabricated SS tank. Tank also provides the pedestal to get the portapotti up to the correct height.
12. ADDED ELECTRIC AIR HEATER
Permanently installed a Broan # 124 750 watt air heater with a 86W thermostat. Sprinter had a portable heater.
13. HIGHER WATTAGE SOLAR PANEL
Replaced Sprinter 205 watt panel with a 300 watt LG300N1C-B3 panel. Same physical size.
14. INCREASED SIZE VEHICLE POWERED INVERTER
Changed from a 600 watt Xantrex 600 watt inverter to a Samlex 1000 watt inverter. Higher wattage inverter allows charging at the maximum 50 amps of the shore power charger. Also allowed the addition of the 750 watt air heater and the use of a 750 watt shower water heating element.
15. XANTREX 600 WATT INVERTER CHANGED TO A SAMLEX SK1000K-112 INVERTER
Pure sine with CR-8 remote. Remote has a terminal that automatically starts the inverter when 12 volts is applied to the terminal. If Transit "user defined" switch is on, the inverter starts after a time delay when engine is started.
16. REDUCED NUMBER OF DUPLEX ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Sprinter had 8 duplex outlets and Transit has 6.
17. REPLACED IOTA 12 VOLT DC DISTRIBUTION FUSE BLOCK WITH A BLUE SEA FUSE BLOCK
Blue Sea 5026 has terminals for both positive and negative wires. IOTA IDP-30 was a combination AC/DC distribution panel. IOTA was also difficult to wire the AC due to restricted space.
18. ADDED A 6 POSITION DC FUSE BLOCK
Installed a 6 position Blue Sea # 5025 fuse block on the passenger side of the van under the sink. All 12 volt items on passenger side are powered from the 6 position fuse block. Two fuse blocks reduces the number of electrical cords in the floor from driver side to passenger side.
19. DOUBLED THE SIZE OF THE ELECTRICAL PANEL CABINET
Much easier to wire and much cleaner install.
20. DIFFERENT REFRIGERATOR
Replaced Dometic 80 liter with a 85 liter Vitrifrigo. The Vitrifrigo C85iBD4-F has the compressor located at the bottom back instead of the Dometic top back. Bottom location about doubles the freezer space. Better latch and 3 shelves in door instead of 2. Due to a different condenser design the Vitrifrigo uses about 1/3 less power.
21. DELETED THE 80/20 ROOF RACK
Put the roof "rack" inside the van under the roof instead of on top of the roof. Glued wood stringers between roof ribs to stiffen the roof. Panel has four feet that are bolted through the wood stiffeners. Solar panel is less visible and there is less wind disturbance. Less cost.
22. CENTER BOTTOM DRAWER GUIDES
Wood guides like Grandpa used to make instead of ball guides.
23. 80/20 SINK CABINET
Sprinter had full wood without 80/20.
24. SINK COUNTERTOP
Sprinter had a 1" thick wood laminate chopping block sink top. Used 1/2" Corian for Transit.
25. GRAY WATER TANK LOCATION
Gray water tank located on slider door side of van instead of driver side of van. That provides for additional storage space under the van.
26. CABINET PANEL THICKNESS
Changed from 1/2" plywood to 1/4" plywood.
27. ELASTIC STOP NUTS
Changed from serrated flange nuts to elastic stop nuts. Some of the serrated flange nuts loosened in the Sprinter.
28. LIGHT OVER THE PASSENGER SEAT TABLE
Added a light over the swing up table off the sink cabinet.
29. THERMAL ISOLATION OF THE 80/20 FRAMEWORK FROM VAN STEEL
Sprinter 80/20 framework was bolted directly to the van steel body. The 80/20 framework temperature would be close to the van body temperature. Insulation would be bypassed. The framework in the Transit is thermally isolated from the van body with plywood or nylon spacers. The framework is bolted to the van steel at one location to electrically ground the framework.
30. SHOWER PAN
The Sprinter had a standard fiberglass shower pan. Had smaller custom 14 gallon SS pan fabricated for the Transit. The top of the shower water tank is sloped to direct water into the smaller SS pan.
31. INSULATED TENT AROUND SLEEPING PLATFORM
Made double wall curtains with Thinsulate insulation between the layers. Back curtain is one piece from ceiling down to top of bed platform. Front curtain is three pieces to allow easy entry/exit. The two front side curtains go from under the overhead cabinets down to the top of the bench seats. The front center curtain goes down from the ceiling to the floor. Object was to attempt to retain some of the body heat and 12 volt heating pad inside the tent. More testing needs to be done but so far tent has not been very effective.
32. INCREASED SHOWER HEIGHT
High roof Transit has about 5" height from floor to roof rib than a high roof Sprinter.
33. RELOCATED CIRCUIT BREAKERS
Installed circuit breakers in an indented accessible panel at front of driver side bench seat. In Sprinter the circuit breakers were inside the electrical cabinet.
34. ADDED TWO 120 VOLT AC SELECTOR SWITCHES
First selector switch selects off or vehicle powered inverter "shore power" or real shore power. Second selector switch selects what you want powered. Second switch selects off or house battery charging or shower water heating or electric air heater.
35. UPPER REAR CABINET PLYWOOD FLOOR
Sprinter used horizontal pieces of 80/20 extrusion to connect the cabinet face frame to the van walls. In Transit the plywood floor is the connection between the front face frames and the van walls.
36. ELIMINATED BASKET RETAINING RAIL ON UPPER REAR CABINETS
Lowered the cabinet floor so the front bottom 80/20 extrusion is the retaining rail.
37. RELOCATED SHORE POWER ON/OFF SWITCH
Moved the shore power on/off switch from front of driver side bench seat to high on the shower wall.
38. ADDED BED PLATFORM 12 VOLT RECEPTACLES
Installed 12 volt DC receptacles at each end of the across the van bed platform.
39. INSULATED BED PLATFORM PANELS
The bed platform consists of four 27" wide panels that are hinged at the van walls and are stored vertically against the van walls. Two on each side. To make the bed platform they swing down and sit on top of the table. Panels meet at the van centerline. Panels are a 3 layer composite. Top surface is 1/4" plywood (7/32") and center section is 1" polyiso insulation and the bottom layer is 3/16" indoor/outdoor carpet.
40. SINK CABINET LIFT UP TABLE SLIDER
The lift up table needs to slide sideways 6" to line up with the swiveled passenger seat. Used 1" 80/20 extrusion with 80/20 linear bearings instead of a wood slider.
41. FORWARD END OF SINK CABINET SWITCH AND RECEPTACLES
Added a light switch to end of sink cabinet that can be reached from outside of slider or from the front of the sink cabinet. Also added a 12 volt DC receptacle and a 120 volt AC duplex receptacle on the end of the cabinet.
42. ROTATED PORTAPOTTI 90 DEGREES
In Sprinter the portapotti inside the shower enclosure backed up to the driver seat. Rotated portapotti 90 degrees so it backed up to the driver side van wall in Transit. Portapotti front to back dimension is larger than the side to side width dimension. Rotating it 90 degrees makes it easier to use and provides standing room space in the shower.
43. SINK WATER ON/OFF SWITCH
Added a on/off sink water pump switch to wall behind sink. Water system is never pressurized. Centrifugal solar pump must be turned on to get water to the sink.
44. ELIMINATED PRESSURIZED WATER SYSTEM
Sprinter had a normal RV positive displacement pump that kept water system pressurized. Prefer not having the water system under pressure at all times. Less chance of water leaks.
45. ONE PIECE SEAT TOP
Made the seat top out of one piece of 1/2" (15/32") plywood instead of three pieces.
46. ELIMIMATED THE 80/20 SLOT AT THE TOP OF CABINETS
Provides a cleaner appearance.
47. RUBBER FLOOR NOT UNDER SINK
3/8" rubber gym mat floor does not go under sink cabinet so it is now easily removed.
48. SEAT BACK REMOVAL
Revised seat back design so bench seat backs are easily removed.
49. SHORTER SEAT BACK LENGTH
Eliminated the angled seat back at the rear doors.
50. REMOTE START
Bought the Transit remote start option. Now I can heat the van in the morning without getting out of bed. Gas engine can be idled whereas a new diesel engine should not be idled.
51. GREY WATER TANK DRAIN
Increased the diameter of the drain piping from 3/4" to 1".
52. ELIMINATED THE GREY WATER DRAIN VALVE
Instead of a valve the drain is a 1" ID rubber hose plugged with a boat transom expandable rubber plug. Less restriction and easier to operate. Hose rests on an aluminum flat bar up out of site. To drain, pull hose sideways off the flatbar and remove the plug.
53. NEW METHOD OF BOLTING REMOVABLE PANELS TO THE 80/20 FRAMEWORK
Fabricated tapped angles that bolt to the side of the 80/20 extrusion.
54. RELOCATED VEHCLE POWERED INVERTER
Sprinter vehicle powered inverter was located on back of passenger seat pedestal. Transit vehicle powered inverter is located behind driver seat on 80/20 structure.
55. ELIMINATED PROPANE TANK
Instead of a large propane tank I now use refillable 1 # bottles. Local sporting goods store sells the bottles and will refill the bottles at no cost. Bottles stored outside under the van floor.
56. ADDED 1/8" MLV UNDER THE FLOOR
Layer of MLV under the plywood floor and on top of the floor corrugations.
57. SHORTENED THE FRESH WATER TANK
The Sprinter fresh water tank extended into the under the sink storage. Stopped the front of the fresh water tank in the Transit at the sink cabinet to provide storage under the sink.
58. ADDED A CUTTING BOARD
New cutting board is stored in a holder on back side of sink cabinet door.
59. PLASTIC SHOWER ENCLOSURE WALLS
Sprinter had 3/8" painted plywood walls. Transit has 1/8" PVC plastic walls.
60. REPLACED PORTABLE COLEMAN TWO BURNER STOVE
Used a two burner Coleman "Fold and Go" 10,000 btu/burner stove in Sprinter. Bought a Camp Chef Ranger II 17,000 btu/burner two burner stove. Coleman could not boil water in windy weather.
61. ELIMINATED SINK BOTTOM DRAWER
The much larger Camp Chef two burner stove needed a place to be stored. Removed the sink bottom drawer and left an opening at bottom of sink cabinet where the Camp Chef can be stored.
62. SHORTENED SINK CABINET DOOR
The Sprinter sink cabinet door went down to the floor. Some times due to how the van is parked on a hill I will sleep in the aisle instead of across the back of the van. If sleeping in the aisle the sink door could not be opened.
63. PORTAPOTTI SUPPORT CHANGE
The portapotti was supported off the shower wall in the Sprinter. In Transit the portapotti is bolted to the top of the shower water tank. Tank elevates the portapotti up to the correct height. Tank location utilizes unused space under the portapotti.
64. ADDED A SECOND REMOVABLE SHELF IN THE SHOWER ENCLOSURE
Second shelf was added in shower enclosure at sink countertop height. Shelf about doubles the sink counter area.
65. REMOVABLE SHOWER ENCLOSURE SHELVES
Shower enclosure shelves can be pivoted up against the back wall of shower or completely removed. Shelves are pivoted against the back wall to use the portapotti and are removed to use the shower.
66. PLASTIC DECK MATERIAL TO HIDE END OF RAISED FLOOR AT REAR DOORS
The floor is 2 1/8" thick so floor layers were visible at the back door end of the floor. Hid the layers with a piece of plastic deck material.
67. CHANGED METHOD OF BOLTING FIXED PANELS TO 80/20
Glued a 3/4" strip of wood to back of the panel on two sides. Bolted through strips into the 80/20 slots.
68. ADDED 12 VOLT RECEPTACLE AT REAR DOORS
Installed a 12 volt DC receptacle on end of driver side bench seat at rear doors.
69. REMOVED DUPLEX OUTLET AND 12 VOLT OUTLETS.
The Sprinter had the outlets in the front panel of the passenger side bench seat. These were removed so panel can be removed.
70. DELETED THE DUPLEX RECEPTACLE FROM FRONT OF SINK CABINET
Moved receptacle to forward end of sink cabinet.
71. MOVED SOLAR CONTROLLER LOCATION
Controller was visible at front end of driver side bench seat. Moved it so it was inside the electrical cabinet. Flashing lights were distracting at night and had to be covered for sleeping.
72. ADDED SOLAR CIRCUIT BREAKER
Could not disconnect the solar power from the 12 volt system. Circuit breaker installed between the panel and the controller.
73. REMOVED ONE ACROSS THE VAN 80/20 FLOOR EXTRUSIONS
Have four across the van extrusions in the floor frame in the Transit instead of 5 used in the Sprinter.
74. REMOVED ALL PUCK LIGHTS INSTALLED IN THE CEILING
Had too many lights in the Sprinter. Each light had a switch on the fixture.
75. REVISED LIGHTING
Instead of general lighting the lights are now located where I need light and were changed to LED lights. One above rear doors with switch. A LED light string under the rear overhead cabinets in the 80/20 bottom slot with a switch under cabinet that can be reached from bed or the aisle. Two LED lights over the sink with switch on forward end of sink cabinet. Sink light switch can be reached from front of sink or when standing outside the slider door. One LED light above shower enclosure with switch high on shower wall. No lights operate when a door is opened.
76. WINDOW COVER STORAGE
The Reflectix window covers are stored behind the bed platform panels between panels and the van walls.
77. INTERIOR CEILING AND WALL PAINT
Put two coats of latex paint on the ceilings and walls. Paint had hollow insulating spheres mixed into the paint for insulation. Did crude test to see if the paint had any insulating value. Painted half of the front sloped portion of the roof above the windshield. Could feel a difference in temperature between the painted side and the unpainted side when facing the sun. Spheres were Hy-Tech # 2150.
78. WATER QUICK DISCONNECT
At water pump discharge there is a ball valve and a garden quick disconnect hose fitting. Use a 10' hose to connect to the quick disconnect to fill the shower water tank or for pressurized water out the sliding door. Use the same hose for the shower and to fill the fresh water tank. Hose has a radiator fill valve to enable on/off at the hose end.
79. ELIMINATED THE BENCH SEAT END PANELS
Had end panels blocking off back end of bench seats at the rear doors in Sprinter. In Transit that storage space on each side is open without end panels.
80. STORAGE BASKETS ROTATED
By rotating the storage Home Goods # 25092 baskets 90 degrees one additional basket could be added to each cabinet.
81. CABINET UNDER THE REFRIGERATOR
Increased height of cabinet by raising the refrigerator and microwave. Instead of two drawers the cabinet has a door and one shelf. Increased the available storage space.
82. RELOCATED 8D HOUSE BATTERY
The 8D battery fit between the driver side rear wheel well and the back doors of the Sprinter. 8D battery does not fit in that location in the Transit. 8D battery was moved to in front of the driver side wheel well under the bench seat.
83. AUTOMATED VEHICLE POWERED INVERTER
Every time the engine was turned off in the Sprinter the inverter would stop. Had to manually restart the inverter. Inverter in the Transit can be set to automatically start each time the engine is started.
84. HEATING SHOWER WATER WITH SOLAR POWER
The single 300 watt solar panel on sunny days has excess solar power available in the afternoons. Changed the electrical so that excess power can be used to heat shower water.
85. SINK FOLD DOWN TABLE SUPPORT
Added a door below the table that swings out to support the table.
86. INDOOR/OUTDOOR FLOOR CARPETS
Cut three carpets to cover floor. Easy to remove for cleaning.
87. CLEAR WATER HOSE IN PIPE UP TO THE SINK FAUCET
Fresh water tank water level can be seen in the clear hose.
88. PAINTED EDGE OF THE PLYWOOD PANELS
The Sprinter had solid wood edges glued to the panels to hide the ply's. In Transit the edges are painted with a color that matches the panel color. Much easier to make and it looks acceptable.
89. INCREASED BED LENGTH
Sprinter across the back bed length was 70". Not comfortable for my 5'-10" height. Instead of filling the window indents in the Transit as was done in the Sprinter, the insulation is 1 1/2" thick polyiso covered with 3/16" indoor/outdoor carpet. That increased the bed length to 73 1/2"
90. PASSENGER SEAT SWIVEL
Designed and built a swivel instead of buying a completed swivel.
91. TWO SOLAR CABLE FITTINGS THROUGH THE ROOF
Separate holes for positive and negative cords.
92. RETAINED THE SOLAR MC4 DISCONNECTS
Bought a 15' MC4 extension cord and cut it in two to get one female and one male cord. Used the cords to connect the panel to the controller. Will be easy to remove the panel if that is ever required.
93. LIGHT OUT SLIDER DOOR
Added a LED light under sink that illuminates out open slider door.
94. ADDED FRESH WATER FILL TUBE
Because fresh water tank is no longer visible through open slider door a PVC fill tube was required. PVC fill tube is closed with a boat transom expandable rubber plug.
95. ADDED SINK STORAGE
Shortened the sink drawers 3" to create a 3" deep storage between the drawer backs and the fold down out the door table.
96. ADDED CUBBY HOLE STORAGE
Used the front portion of the rear window indents for additional storage. Made boxes with three openings on each side of van to use the space for additional storage.
97. MULTIPLE PRIVACY CURTAIN LOCATIONS
The front privacy curtain can be installed at four different locations. Behind front seats, at rear of slider door, at front edge of 54" wide bed platform or at front edge of 27" wide bed platform.
98. STORAGE CONTAINERS ON SHELF ABOVE SLIDER DOOR
Due to the shorter Transit slider door and the 5" taller high roof Transit van, a shelf could be installed for plastic jars above the slider door opening.
99. CONTINUOUS DOOR HINGES
Bought 3" aluminum continuous hinges for the doors and tables. Cut to length and put holes where they were needed.
100. FEMALE POWER CORD
Installed a power cord at back on passenger side to allow use of house inverter power with the doors closed.
101. RUBBER DOOR LATCH PLATES
The Southco drawer and door latches rattled. Replaced the metal latch plates with 3/8" thick rubber plates to eliminate the rattles.
102. REMOVABLE TOWEL RODS
Made towel rods out of 3/4" copper tubing. They are spring loaded like a toilet paper holder. One end has fixed 3/4" wood dowel and other end has a compressible dowel. The wood ends are cut to fit in the 80/20 extrusion slot.
103. RELOCATED THE ELECTRICAL CONTROL PANEL
The selector switches , shore power circuit breaker, Magnum remote panel and a voltmeter were moved to the upper wall of the shower enclosure.
104. A DIGITAL TEMPERATURE GUAGE
Added the LED gauge to the back wall of the refrigerator cabinet.
105. DIGITAL CLOCK
Added a LED battery powered clock above the rear doors.