10/23/19 Update Poptop, bumper, swingouts and more

It has been a mad dash across the country but the pleasure of working with great companies has made it worthwhile. The frustrations caused by others is part of the process but still sucks.

This is a quick update with limited wifi so I will hit the highpoints…

The Sportsmobile top is amazing, never doubt the strength of that frame and the guys there actually are happy and enjoy their work. The top is only partway up here, don’t freak out. Also the custom roof “fence/light holder/awning support” caused them some issues but it works for now even with a lube required tight fit. A little bit of tweaking by Dave the Fabricator back in Phoenix and the thing will be perfect.

The last post I wrote was from the Aluminess lounge, little did I know how upset I would be soon. I will provide a more in-depth post once everything is resolved but the lesson to learn is companies change as they grow, they can’t always hire the best people and new designs create new problems. But more on that later.

From Aluminess it was a side trip to drop off David the video dude I had hired in Kansas City. He is the reason the quality went way up on the videos. But I am a hard person to work for and this is a crazy mad dash trip across the southwest. We parted ways and I blasted north to the Bay Area so Owl Van could work their magic.

Like most of the bits on Red Chaser, this is a prototype swingout setup. The hinges are different both in placement and style from the other Transit they have modeled on, but in less than 2 days they had whipped up a tire carrier and a Sherpa mount that I now get to beat the crap out of in the desert.

In another example of killer customer service, Toby of Scheel-Mann let me invade his shop and helped me install a pair of seats that I am really looking forward to trying. By this point, I have put on almost 4000 miles in 9 days. When I lost my leg my pelvis was broken and healed crooked, I have scoliosis (curved spine), lower back pain and more. I have never been comfortable in any seats but I just figured that was the price of life. My hope is the 10-way adjustment in the Vario model, the firm but supportive padding and German engineering will make a big difference in my life. With another 1000 to 1500 miles before I get home the truth should be clear soon.

There will be a full write up on all this soon, but a quick note. I fully accept I no longer have airbags in my seat. I accept that all of these modifications change the vehicle and it’s safety in some way. I am an adult and I choose to do all of this.

The Scopema swivels will get their own notes but needless to say they were not the simple drop on mod I thought. But they are rock solid and work well.

Sunday was a workday with a buddy who has a houseboat north of Portland. More Heatshield paint on Db Skin (it washed off me with warm water and soap) and more L track installation. Also, I mocked up the tires, Oh Boy!

And then it was bright and early to Quadvan Monday morning to start the magic….and to see if they choke on these big ol’ Nitto Ridge Grapplers and the pretty Method 701’s. The front-wheel well has a pinch weld on the back end of it that has to go and on the rear wheel well the pinch welds at the front and back bottom ends will have to go.

These guys are really impressive at the concern for quality, for double and triple-checking work and the willingness to understand the customer’s needs.

Watch for more soon…..

Day 0 of SEMA 2019 Build a Ford Transit 4×4 Poptop Van Roadtrip

Today is the Day a Van gets built…..I think, I hope, I have not been able to make sure, but I trust the power of positive thinking, and a little 1 leg luck.

Yesterday I spent a bunch of time with the great folks at Matt Ford, from the parts guys that helped me figure out where some boost/pressure sensors where (cool news coming on that) to the finance fellow Fred who helped me pay for a van that doesn’t actually exist yet.

I also got to test drive a high top, 148 Ecoboost for a buddy. I had been telling folks how easy it was to deal with Ed and the folks at Matt Ford and there are actually people who want high roof vans. After seeing how much room is inside those things I can understand why. Now I can say I am really an influencer since a deposit was made and a trip arranged for another VanLifer to join the fray.

Another cool thing about Ed the mighty salesman is how tight he is with the Transit powers at Ford. From big things like the new CrewVan model to small things like a factory floor mat. And never scoff at a well-designed product like this floormat, after all the times Martin our engineer has complained about a poor design I get that the little things matter. The 2 part design keeps you from spilling the dirt and rocks out when you want to dump that mess. Not bad price at $95 (I paid for it quick, they only had 1 left).

Of course, I had to end the day with some Kansas City BBQ, and I knew my belly led me in the right direction when I saw a Transit parked in front of Slaps. They were out of ribs by 6 pm but everyone knows a quality joint should run out of meat each evening. Never trust a place that has plenty of long smoked meat around.

Keep an eye on our Instagram account pegleggarage for the latest updates, let’s all lift our eyes to the sky and say “Get Lance his Race Red Chase Van Today Please”, and thanks for following along.

Day -1 of SEMA 2019 Build a Ford Transit 4×4 Poptop Van Roadtrip

Update time for everyone, we ARE in Kansas anymore Toto! Or Claycomo to be more precise. But amidst the soybean fields, I found where Ford grows Transit vans! And some of them grow pretty tall.

And I admit I geeked out a bit at the serious architecture of the Ford Assembly Plant, very solid.

Now you know I am embarking on a serious Overland Trip when I drive through Overland Park and even see Overland Photo supply since it is really all about the ‘gram after all.

Back home Dave the Fabricator (really of Rock Solid Products) is working hard on the double tube rack to handle the torsional load of the massive 23Zero awning, 270 degrees and 280 square foot of coverage are not to be messed with, plus something has to support the Lightforce Nightfall LED’s.

Meanwhile, I am testing a new leg while trying not to abuse the temp socket too much.

Also just before I left I wanted to put in a new Treehouse to Tacoma gasket and make sure everything is right on this setup before I put it up for sale. So if you know anyone who needs a killer ready to roll ride this is the one.

Lastly, for today, there is still some parts selection going on. Quadvan just sent me these pictures of their Intercooler skid, Transfer Case skid, and Gas Tank skid. Yeah, I ordered them all. I had already ordered the VanCompass intercooler skid and rear diff skid but it is nice to have everything come from one place so I think I will switch out to the Quadvan products since they are doing the 4wd conversion.