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…..

SEMA Status Report 8/27

Partners Transit Poptop
Current Partners on our SEMA 2019 Ford Transit Poptop 4×4 van

We more moving right along lining up the right partners who make the best goodies for this Overland, VanLife, Chase Van.

Sportsmobile has us on the schedule for the electric poptop, it will have a Thule rack rail that we plan to use for solar panel mounts.

Quadvan has us scheduled for the 4wd conversion which will include a gear ratio change to 3.73, limited slip/lockers, rear axle shock mount shortening, installation of VanCompass intercooler and diff skids, and a bit more.

Aluminess has us on the schedule for a front bumper install.

Extreme Outback is working on our list of On Board Air Compressors, tanks and bits…..can’t wait to check out the new Endura line. Having owned a Magnum and High Output compressor I am sure the Endura rocks.

Scheel-Mann is getting our super supportive and amazing seats ready.

Heatshield Products is figuring out the best way to keep the heat and sound out of the van. Watch for some testing on our Tacoma & Treehouse camper soon.

And we are working out a match between a Redarc Manager 30 and some solar panels.

Plenty more to setttle like tires, wheels, lights, winch, fridge, recovery gear and more.

Our current stress fest is getting a hold of the right person at Ford to let us come in and tour/video the Van moving down the assembly line. Our build date is October 3rd. I know the Kansas City Plant doesn’t do public tours but the hope is that as a media company with a disabled guy who will drive the van it would be great to meet any disabled Ford employees who helped design/build it. Always great to see and hear stories of workers who are well supported by companies.

Watch for update on each partner on why we choose them, the cool stuff they make and best of all the struggles happening behind the scenes to line up the rest of the build.

SEMA 2019 4wd Transit Poptop

Our 2019 SEMA project is a 4×4 Transit poptop race chasing campervan.

We are back after some time away to enjoy life, and some an exciting new project in the works…..in will include these amazing folks that we have worked with before:

Sportsmbile
Sportsmobile West

And some new folks we are looking forward to working with:

Northwest Quadvan
Northwest Quadvan

And of course you know it is leading up to this place:

SEMA Show
Sema Show, the best & craziest place to see what is new the auto world