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Old 02-21-2014, 11:32 PM   #21
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Thanks I'll check out Photo Bucket and see what I can do.

Thanks for the links.
Look at my pictures on the first page; power control was already installed.
The batteries are sitting in front of the Freedom inverter you can see the inverter in one of the pictures. The battery cables going to it run around 20-24 inches in length. Even the transfer switch is mounted next to the inverter. The only long cable runs are the 120v lines from the inverter to the power panel. There are battery switches already installed; one right next to the batteries and fused and one in the drivers compartment. I was thinking about the battery isolators to remove the oh Sh77 factor if the other half tried to switch batteries.
I doubled up on the battery interconnections with two 4 gauge cables.

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Old 02-24-2014, 10:11 PM   #22
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Well it has been raining hard here the last few weeks and I am not in the mood to splash around in the mud ( done that already as a mud puppy ) fixing the fuel pump problem; the pump still has not gotten here yet..
So did more work on the inside. Had a couple of free hours and got this much done in that time.
God I love my power tools; can do allot in a short period of time.
I moved the drivers side work station shelf up 4 inches, got the frig sitting in under it; testing some sinks - which one do you like?
The double is nice, but I get to keep more counter top with a single hole. Haven't brought out the inductance cook top yet to size it up. I will probably use pec tube to hook up the water and drain. I am wondering is a "p-trap" really needed if I am just running down to the gray water tank?
Getting the shelves and lids made up; whoops cut one a little too long; better long than too short. The one where the blue wire is hanging out I am considering using it for storage and my "closet". The porta potty arrived and I am considering putting it in the corner by the door; thinking about a power vent to suck the fumes of doom out. Either that or install a smaller 5000 BTU AC unit that pulls 5 amps; the solar would generate enough power to run it by its self.
In another picture you can see the power control panel - Houston we now have shore power and the AC works - blows real cold too.
I just scored three 130watt ( total about 390 watts ) solar panels used from a name brand manufacturer; puts out 42 volts. I have ordered an MPPT controller with a remote panel to run it. Those will go on the roof.
I am looking at Sat TV dish system; any ideas? I've considered the tailgate type and they have a vehicle mount for it ( like used by truckers ).

I am going to "borrow" some clay to get a measurement of the gen housing to the bottom of the lid; then attach some fiberglass board to it to reflect the genset heat and cut the noise.

The two new "house batteries - 6v deep cycle in series for 12volt, the heart charger and inverter is the black box and automatic transfer switch is the gray box. You can see the battery switch on the right.

Testing sink types. The upper shelf I am either going to remove or move it higher up.

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Old 02-24-2014, 11:55 PM   #23
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Thx for the pics. I love coming home from work and finding a bunch of bus pics to look at.

Originally Posted by Bullwhacker007
I will probably use pex tube to hook up the water and drain. I am wondering is a "p-trap" really needed if I am just running down to the gray water tank?
With anything in life, bad smells often contain bacteria. Inhaling bacteria is not good for our health.

Yes, for the $2.99 a p-trap cost it is necessary.

Pex is the small fresh water lines, ABS for drains.

1.5" ABS is realy inexpensive.

"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

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Old 02-25-2014, 04:33 AM   #24
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

I guess a p-trap it is. I ordered a bar sink 15x15 in size and will make the measurements to cut out the counter top and then when that is installed make a front for it and maybe a row of small drawers next to the frig.
The right side you see the big piece of plywood is where the bed is going; flip it out wider and pull the cushions out for the mattress. I have a full size space foam mattress I am going to cut for that.
The hole you see to the right in the back of the van is where I am considering putting my 5000 BTU AC for cooling with the on board power - solar; the AC pulls 4.6 amps running.
I have a couple of similar watt meters like the Kill-a-watt that I'll use to monitor power draw.
The picture where you see the current house batteries the compartment next to it I am thinking of another four in there and build another bulkhead to separate the rest of the storage from them. That will give me six batteries or about 660amp Hours capacity.
Right now I have vehicle engine alt. power, gen-set power, shore power and soon to be solar power for this vehicle.
I have the curt hitch and I am holding off on installing it until I get the fuel pump issue fixed. Then a trailer to pull next.
Depending on how much roof I have left after the solar panel install, I am thinking of a power roof vent.
The clear lenses you see on the outside of the van are for strobes. I have a power supply and I am thinking of installing it; Amber for the front and rear; like a super hazard lights.
The pictures are taken with my cell phone and no it is not an iPHONE either..
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:08 AM   #25
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

You probably don't want that voltage drop of isolator diodes in a solar charging system siphoning off the meager output (compared to a shoreline or alternator) from the system. A 1-2-both-off battery switch used in ambulances and marine installations (Cole-Hersee or Perko, for two) would probably be the better choice, except for removing the idiot-proofing factor.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:59 AM   #26
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

I wish I would have seen this sooner!! I had an 87 F250 with a carbed 460. I had built it and in the process upgraded the fuel system. I actually ended up putting in a 38 gallon tank also. It had a dual tank setup originally, and each tank had a low pressure pump and then the mechanical pump on the engine. I went to just one tank, put in a sending unit without a pump, and then installed a high volume (not high pressure) Summit fuel pump (frame mounted, close to the tank). I also installed an aftermarket fuel pressure regulator and a nice pressure gauge. I found 6 psi to be about the max I wanted it at. I still have it all, I believe. Would you maybe want it? I would sell it extremely cheap.
The journey is the destination...

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Old 02-25-2014, 08:46 AM   #27
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Sorry, but your solar panels are not going to run your A/C. 4.6 amps at 120V AC is 552 Watts. Your panels are rated at 390 watts but you're unlikely to get the full wattage output except under perfect conditions, then you have voltage drop to contend with. Additionally, your A/C will draw higher amps when it "kicks in" during cycling, AKA surge load. Even if you had a large enough solar panel array to handle the average draw of 4.6 amps (you'd probably need at least 800 watts of solar panels due to inefficiencies), you'd probably need at least 4 big 6 volt batteries to handle the surge load. Speaking of batteries, are those sealed AGM batteries or FLA? If FLA you'll need to vent the battery compartment to the outside and keep your other electrical components in a separate compartment close to the batteries. Battery gasses are corrosive and potentially explosive.

This blog is definitely worth taking the time to read thoroughly:
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:46 AM   #28
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

You missed the point where I also have a 6.5Kw generator, shore power and I won't be running the AC 24/7. I also plan on more panels as soon I find more good ones; I got these three for 270.00. they are rated at 42v open at min 8 amps each. I have battery switches as I mentioned and you can see one next to the batteries. The isolators are in fact used in solar arrays all the time. The voltage drop is around .6 volts; but I mentioned them due to avoiding my better half switching the start battery into the house battery bank and doing damage. I was looking at using one for the engine alt. to the House battery bank to charge the batteries while driving. My concern was back feeding that current into the solar controller and again thought about either an isolator or a blocking diode. I did install a "vent" for the batteries.
The picture where you see the long piece of plywood is the length of a full sized mattress. It is 24" across and I plan on cutting another and reinforcing it with possible rectangular tube stock and put legs on it like a take down table. To use is lift up the cut mattress into seat cushions flip it out with the legs deployed.
The neighbors have gotten very interested in this project and I constantly get people looking in the back door watching me and asking questions.
I live in the tropics and at times I am ordered out of my house due to tidal wave threats. I got tired of spending nights in the car.
I also have installed external 120v plugs on the outside of the van to hookup goodies; like a tailgate BBQ including Big Screen for those football days..
I am now digging around for an RV awning that would fit and will install one as soon as I can get it.
In the picture where the "roof" ac is shown I am considering making a partition thant can be removed and a "tunnel to the AC vent to the main area; this is so I don't cool the cab as well when no one is in it. That critter is rated at least 13000 BTU's..
I am interested in the fuel pressure gauge; I had gotten a 115gph external fuel pump and if that fraking internal pump doesn't arrive soon will do as you did; pull the in tank one and covert it to a pickup only.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:28 PM   #29
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Tidal wave threats. Where the hell are you?
I'm hungry!

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Old 02-26-2014, 12:33 PM   #30
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Bus name suggestion... Sue Nammie.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:46 PM   #31
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Lets see,
If you use a charge controller you dont need a diode to prevent backflow at night, the controller will do it.

Your panels are probably listed as 36v panels, most put out 5 or so more watts than they are listed for, you will certainly want an mppt controller since it can take 12/24/36/48v as input and put out 12v to the batteries, be sure to calculate the wattage/voltage output of you panels to make sure the controller you get can handle it, as I recall my controller can take up to 150v as input,

Depending upon how much stuff you put on your roof you need to make sure no shadows ever cross the panels, even a small shadow of just a few square inches can drastically cut the output of a panel, as odd as it sounds panels dont like being hot as it decreased their output so many will mount the panels a few inches above the roof, you may want to consider putting them up 10/20 inches depending upon what else needs to be up there.

In texas it is against the law to keep amber/red lights on the roof even if they are turned off, might want to check your local laws, I put clear lenses on mine and disconnected the blinker function,

I put an isolator on mine but if I had to do it over I would just put in a manual switch,
My conversion thread, viewtopic.php?f=9&t=466746
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:31 PM   #32
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Heres a thought for your bed.
The seat of the bench is double layer -both on piano hinges. you can flip it up to get at the storage underneath-the top will flip "out". I made up 4 squares-1" tubing vertical and some 1"x 1/8" flat stock horizontal. They are hinged on one side.

The span across the middle is twice as long-so i have a piece of 1" square -with the ends cutdown to lie flat-that goes across the span.

On top of that, we have a full size air matress. It sets up quick + is solid.
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

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Old 02-26-2014, 11:36 PM   #33
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

sdwarf36, very ingenious idea for your bed!
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:58 PM   #34
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Location - The state called paradise.. Where the big Kahuna Lives.
Thanks about the shading issue; reason why I am going to wire the panels in parallel instead of series. Also if one takes a hit and is damaged in series would take all of the panels offline; in parallel you'd lose one panel. My other concern is hooking the alternator into the system and not using an isolator to protect the MPPT controller when the alternator is running a current into the battery bank? Can it block that as well using the same diode you mentioned?
That is exactly what I intended to mount the panels about 4-6 inches of off the roof; to get air flow under them to help cool then and also kinda like carrying my own shade around with me. I might and have thought about a deflector on the front edge of the roof to kick the air over the panels while driving. I don't want to have the air get under them at highway speeds.
LMAO on the sue-namie name; maybe get the license plate with it on it.
I have checked my current laws and can have "amber" all around and can only use them for a 'road hazard" situation.
Many thanks on the bed pictures; my idea is almost exactly like the one you show. I am considering putting a rectangle tube stock around the flip out part edge to reinforce it and the legs made out of the same material. IF I was crazy and wanted to spend big bucks maybe could have used linear actuators to deploy the bed. You know push a button, lights go down and Berry White starts to play. LoL..
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:56 AM   #35
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Re: 1987 Ford E350 Former FBI Mobile Command Post

Well it has been raining here very hard for many weeks. Also got hurt and slowed down the project; but the goodies are finally starting to arrive. My Tailgater sat dish system finally arrived and that is in the future to be installed. More of the kitchenette parts have arrived and FINALLY my fuel pump hanger assembly arrived. Also now have some sunny days and jumped on removing the tank. it also had allot of crap in the bottom so gave it a good shot of liquid laundry detergent and put on face shield and fired up the pressure washer and stuck it in the hole where the hanger goes and blasted allot of that junk loose and rinsed it out. The highly trained federal ASE grease monkey did an unbelievable generator install; they cut the fuel line feeding the engine and use a "T", then ran a semi transparent plastic fantastic line to the generator fuel cutoff value. You cat see the line where the tank was and the line going to the cutoff valve. I can't figure why they did not do it the right way and use the fuel tap on the hanger for the generator? It is there for that use; you can see it in the picture. Also the pipe stops at the 1/4 tank level so the generator will run out of gas and you still have a 1/4 to run the vehicle.
rusted old hanger assembly

New hnger assembly

Plastic fuel line to generator

plastic fuel line to cutoff switch for generator.

Also as I mentioned previously no rust on this rig at all.
I also thank you for the bed ideas. What I decided was I got folding legs from amazon and they are heavy enough to easily hold the bed and people. Lift the cushions, start to open the bed and deploy the legs and lock them in place, set down and pull cushions into mattress position. My MPPT solar charge controller and other parts have also arrived.
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