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Lee_

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Jun 16, 2024
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Location
Appalachia
Howdy! I'm Lee. Nice to meet you all. I'm fixing up an '88 E-150 for use as an weekend overlander in national forests and state parks and such. Not planning to do a 4x4 conversion, but I figure if I put a locker in the rear and have a winch it'll be fine as long as I don't act too stupid, heh. We'll see how I like it, maybe go full time at some point, but I suspect I have too many pets for that at the moment.
 
WELCOME! I'd put the winch on a receiver mount & add a front receiver so it can pull from either end & you can keep it out of the weather. I'd use a snatch block which will double the pull but halve the speed & I'd use real SS cable not that new rope stuff. I have a 17,000# winch set up. What part of Appalachia? My family was from middle TN & I met my wife at my Grandma's funeral 43+ years ago.
 
I'd put the winch on a receiver mount & add a front receiver so it can pull from either end & you can keep it out of the weather. I'd use a snatch block which will double the pull but halve the speed & I'd use real SS cable not that new rope stuff. I have a 17,000# winch set up. What part of Appalachia?

That's exactly how I do it with my pickup: Frame mounted receiver in the back and a bull bar bumper w/ receiver in front. I have a Horrible Fright 12000# winch on a receiver mount that I use with the pickup, so I'll just use the same one with the van. I bought a "real" receiver mount for the rear of the van off ebay, but I have an old one off a junked chevy that I am gonna cut up and weld onto the brush guard/bumper for the front of the van when I make it. I figure the rear one needs to be not-sketchy since I might want to pull a trailer now n' then. But the front one will just be for winching and pushing a trailer in somewhere "just so".

The only thing I don't like about it is that the sucker is *heavy*. But yeah, I think it's better than having it out in the weather all the time.

Other than that, I'm planning to rhino line the whole outside and the interior floor once the body man gets done fixing a couple holes in the roof corners that I am too dumb to do myself (those complex curves are hard!). Probably tan so it will stay a little cooler inside than OD green would, but still blend in a little. Body man is gonna undercoat it with his special gun too. The rest of it is pretty solid though. All the places that usually rust out around here are fine. It's kind of funny, it was cheaper to buy it from a guy in CA and have it shipped here than it was to buy one with way more rust and way way more miles locally. Then maybe a 2" lift if I think I can still get the front end aligned. It was owned by some public service department out in CA, then a buddy of mine bought it and parked it for like 10 years or something when the government got rid of it, and I got it from him.

I'm gonna take some of the solar off my house and put on it, 4x 100w panels I guess. Probably try to get a ladder rack off FB marketplace to turn into a roof rack thing. Some kind of deal where I can fold the pairs of panels over on themselves and have them protected from branches and stuff when the road is gnarly. I have to fit a 102" whip and some ham radio antennas up there too. If I figured right, I think I can be all-in for like $8k or so (not counting my labor lol), using some stuff that I already have, and end up with a pretty decent old van with a 351W, C6, good durable body that should stay good, 77k miles, and old enough that I can work on it myself until I am no longer physically able. Although you know how plans go, lol. Not a huge fan of the C6, but the price was right.

I'm in the eastern part of WV. I don't want to be too specific, because I'm a weirdo like that heh.
 
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How are you going to fold the panels over onto themselves? You have to keep the upsides facing up as that is the surface that is made to resist UV damage and the hail damage, etc. It is the underside that is most vulnerable.The only thing that would work is to have a rack that can slide one panel back over the top of another keeping the upper surface facing up. There are plenty of examples of that sliding system done to vans on YouTube along with how to wire them up to the controller. You will want to have that upper set of panels working to bring in solar energy while you are driving around with the lower panels completely shaded.
 
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I figured I'd build a wooden frame around the edge of the panel and put a piece of plywood across the back. Then when it was folded over it'd all be encased in 2x4s and plywood so the low branches wouldn't break anything. I'd only fold them up when driving on an unmaintained road anyway; once the gnarly part was over I'd open them back up. Was also trying to figure out a mechanism to slide them down and under the ladder rack that they'd be mounted on, for additional protection, but I'll have to get the actual ladder rack and mock something up before I can be sure on that I think.

I mean if worst comes to worst I guess I can just mount them with wing nuts or something and take them down and put them inside for the unmaintained roads, but that's kind of a pain.
 
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I figured I'd build a wooden frame around the edge of the panel and put a piece of plywood across the back. Then when it was folded over it'd all be encased in 2x4s and plywood so the low branches wouldn't break anything. I'd only fold them up when driving on an unmaintained road anyway; once the gnarly part was over I'd open them back up. Was also trying to figure out a mechanism to slide them down and under the ladder rack that they'd be mounted on, for additional protection, but I'll have to get the actual ladder rack and mock something up before I can be sure on that I think.

I mean if worst comes to worst I guess I can just mount them with wing nuts or something and take them down and put them inside for the unmaintained roads, but that's kind of a pain.
Travel with one of the gas engine, chainsaw pole pruners.
 
Howdy! I'm Lee. Nice to meet you all. I'm fixing up an '88 E-150 for use as an weekend overlander in national forests and state parks and such. Not planning to do a 4x4 conversion, but I figure if I put a locker in the rear and have a winch it'll be fine as long as I don't act too stupid, heh. We'll see how I like it, maybe go full time at some point, but I suspect I have too many pets for that at the moment.
I'm a certified welder in the state of Georgia. Ask me anything!
 
For nomads who camp near the town of Flagstaff you can join the COCO-CO. It is a maker space with monthly membership fees. They do teach welding skills . The coop has a variety of types of welders and lots of other tools in their metal fabrication area. Plus there is a woodshop, a room full of various types of sewing machines including industrial and leather machines, laser cutter, 3D printing and more.
https://www.cocoop.org/

Even nomads who travel with tools might want or need to work inside a workshop during the monsoon season in summer!
 
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