G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Milton477
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by Milton477 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:15 pm

We are about 3000 km "down the road" now with no problems yet except for breaking my Discovery auto gearbox flex plate. All of the km have been shortish trips mostly for work. The roads have been mainly narrow, very undulating country roads around Kingaroy where my Discovery back suspension with Poly Airs occasionally bottoms out while towing. Also some higher speed travel between Brisbane & Gympie on the Bruce Highway. I am happy with the way the van tows. The classic gentle downhill sweeps where the wobbles often happen are comfortable even under braking & on uneven road surfaces. No water leaks apart from a small leak in the front boot which I can't seem to find. Ball weight is around 220 kg & I run the van tyres at 60 psi while the tug back tyres are at 55 psi.

The decision to go the way of recliners instead of a bench seat is working well. Use can be made of the space in the doorway & the passage down the side of the bed. I considered building a fold out table attached to the wall but settled on 2 separate 600 mm X 450 mm folding tables from Masters that live under the bed when not needed. The footstools are also strong enough to sit on. We covered the chairs with cheapie car set covers so that
20141129_235158 (Custom).jpg
Still to do: Plenty!
I plan on re-building the kitchen base unit. I got ahead of myself using Monopan as the bench top & trying to curve it. New top will be straight & the cabinets will have to be deeper & slightly higher. The whole kitchen is bolted to the floor & walls so can be removed in a half hour or so. Construction techniques also improved as the build progressed so I would like to have all the same. More ventilation needs to be allowed around the fridge as it flattens 2 120aH batteries in 3 days with no sun.
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Also going to incorporate some drawers into the end of the bed box to ease access. Still need to build the platforms next to the bed to enable getting into bed easier than climbing Everest. Planning on bedside drawers too.
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Batteries to be re-located outside on the chassis rails, custom generator box in place of 1 spare wheel, more light in the seating area, water tank protection, nose cone to hide the gas bottles, silicone around the window bezels inside, splashback, external Next G antenna....will I ever be complete? JR?

Should have called it "ImStillDoingIt"
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J.REEVES
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:10 am

Hi Milton looks very professional,
Three days to flatten the batteries is not too bad but would probably consider upping the solar to 400 to 500watts so even on overcast days you would still get some charge.

Being able to unbolt the kitchen is great and going a bit higher is also an advantage, I added a couple of inches to my bench height and table height as I am a six foot plus person.

When does it end, well never completely ends. I found that after completing the build I had a few years before I started adding bits and pieces but nothing major. I would say the area I fiddle with the most is the electrical, mainly because new and better stuff becomes available.

Depending on your circumstances you may even decide to build again but in my case I am over the hill and that’s it for me.

JR
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GerryP
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by GerryP » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:27 am

Hi Milton,

Great job mate! Not wanting to open up a can of worms, but why do so many people run their van (and car) tyres at such high pressures? From experience, 60 psi would give a very harsh ride and really work the suspension, especially over uneven surfaces.

I have a 3t van and run at around 40 psi and the car at 42... have done so for many years. Gives a smoother ride and I don't have any issues with tyre wear or caravan sway. I run LT tyres on both van and car.

Just curious...

Gerry
Cheers, Gerry
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2018 New Age Manta Ray 18'

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J.REEVES
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:50 pm

Hi Gerry,
Remember Milton’s van has a Tare of 2100Kgs so loaded could be about 2500Kgs and it only has two wheel.

I also have a heavy van and one axle set and usually run at 50psi but do drop to 45psi if the road is rough. I have 285x75x16” tyres not sure what Milton has but probably similar so you do need to run them a bit higher pressure than two sets of wheels.

JR
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Milton477
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by Milton477 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:28 pm

He Gerry,

I agree about the comfort factor. In the absence of manufacturers specs, I have tried to apply the "4psi rule" as best I can. All of my tyres are size 245/75 X 16" Cooper StMax. Bigger tyres like JR runs would need less pressure. The van could maybe do with a bit more & the tug a bit less from what I can glean from other manufacturers load/pressure charts. I can't seem to find a Cooper Tire chart. I haven't hit the dirt in any anger yet but I'm sure pressures will be lowered all around when I do. Right now the combination of pressures works well with no hint of instability & with tyres remaining coolish.

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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by Milton477 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:41 pm

Hi JR,

I have got space for more solar so when the pain in the pocket of the build subsides a bit I will re-visit the solar. For now, the one & only time I looked like running out of power, I coupled by tug's second battery to the van overnight to get by. There is always the generator if I get desperate.

A second much lighter 'crossover' van is a consideration....got some DIY & gardening to catch up on first.

Just a question for you. Are you using Nylock nuts on your hitch bolts? I have used nuts with the integrated knurled locking washer & they keep working loose. Maybe Nylocks & spring washers together?

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J.REEVES
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:35 pm

Yes those integrated lock washers are not the best I personally like a good spring washer then nylock with fine thread and even Locktite.

I was using ½” or 12mm bolts with spring washers but decided to up the size to 9/16” UNF high tensile and yes using nylock nuts.

I have never had a problem with any of the bolts coming loose even the ½” with spring washers never came loose but just felt with a drawbar weight of 270KG’s I needed 9/16” high tensile UNF with nylock nuts no spring washers.

I only use the standard 50mm coupling just never needed to exceed its angular range and is easy to couple up. Must admit I do like some of the newer generation of coupling like the ALKO.

JR
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by giffo » Mon May 04, 2015 8:58 am

You have done a great job, you should be proud.After reading this thread from the start, I am keener than ever to build a camper/van.I am thinking a little more basic in fittout though, A big box with single beds and bunks to sleep in is along the lines of what I want.I want to keep it light to drag up the beach or off road.I have been looking at newish model right off vans at the auctions, seems a good way to get windows, doors, tanks and bits and pieces cheaper.

Milton477
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road v

Post by Milton477 » Mon May 04, 2015 9:08 pm

Thanks Giffo. There are plenty of ideas & help available on the forums. Helped me enormously with my build. Just shout if you need a hand.

Milton477
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Strange Tyre Wear

Post by Milton477 » Mon May 02, 2016 6:57 pm

Hello all,

Just an update post build & some questions for the brains trust out there: We have done around 24k km with the van in tow. The vast majority of the km have been work related & we have been as far north as Mareeba, down to Sydney & west to Birdsville & the races in 2015.

So far all works well & even in dusty conditions, we are relatively dust free inside. I do however have a problem with tyre wear.

I have had to replace the left hand tyre already & now the right is going the same way. On road because of the weight on 2 wheels I run around 70psi & on the dirt, around 45psi. The wheels were never balanced from new, I have no idea why! Initially, I had wheel alignment problems & I suspect that I have never quite corrected them. Some pictures below - I would appreciate your thoughts. The left hand tyre chewed the outer edge of the tyre & the right is chewing the inner edge. Both tyres show huge differences in tread block wear with adjacent blocks differing in height by as much as 5mm.
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