Hodakaguy's 4wd Sprinter Build Out


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Continued from above

More wiring....

Aux fuse panel getting wired.

Relay installed for the LP9 lights on the roof rack. The lights pull 55 amps so a relay is needed as the may on the Switch Pro is 35A on a circuit.

Installing the Victron 712 Battery Monitor. The battery voltage sense leads are crimped with crappy crimps from the factory so I changed them out.

Mounted the remote for the overhead fans in a easy to reach central location.


All wired up. Redarc DC/DC charger/Solar MPPT controller wired up along with the Victron Shunt.

Wiring cleaned up on the B-pillar and the trim pieces going back in.

Tight Fit.

Drilling some quick vent holes in the foam top covers. I'll eventually make a better cover but this will work for now.

Now to plug in the IcarSoft MBII scan tool and clear the SRS Airbag codes that triggered when I was cycling power to test voltage without the seats plugged in.

All systems powered up and running.....Sweet!

Continued Below....



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Continued from above....

Next up I need to cut our new mattress to size. I ordered an 8" thick mattress (Should have went 6") but need to trim a couple inches off the end for a proper fit.

Had to cut the fiberglass fire blanket to get to the foam.

The temporary boards on the aluminum bed frames ratchet strapped in place, I'll get the permanent units fabricated in the near future. The final versions will have ventilation holes cut into the boards.

Using two pieces of aluminum and a large butcher knife to slice off the 2" of foam....cuts like butter.

Now I'm making notches so the mattress fits up tightly to the vertical L-track supports and stays flat on the bed frame. These will also hold the mattress firmly in place.

Fire blanket and cover re-installed.

Mattress back in the van and locked in place with the L-track.

Next up I wanted to fabricate a mount for the fire extinguisher as I'm tires of packing it under the bench seat.

Laying out the mount.

I'll be using these L-track stud mounts to mount the unit to the vertical L-track under the front of the bed.

Out of the way and easy to access if needed.

Testing the LED Eyeball light out at night. This will be perfect for my son when we wants light at night without bothering the driver.

Out adjusting the LP9's.....Bright Baby! It's like having your own sun! I'll get some better pics in the near future.

Love the orange back-lighting on the LP9's!

Roaming the back roads on the way back home.

More to come....



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Back at it....

Pulled the seats again for a couple minor finishes. Added a heat blanket around the wiring that is close to the heater outlet hose. I'll eventually change out the crumpled heater tube with some fresh stuff.

Next up I tied the headlight trigger for the switch pro into the ignition circuit under the seat. This gives me full manual control of the back lighting and lets me run the display at any brightness at any time.

Now to add in a couple power ports to the OEM headliner. There are two shelves located on each side of the dome light assembly, adding power ports here will make a perfect spot to charge batteries for camera's etc while keeping them off the floor.

I love Blue Sea Products, If your going to run a Cig Plug these are the Best. Here's a link to a video review I did earlier on the sockets.

On Amazon here: CLICK HERE

I pre-ran wiring from the Aux battery into this position earlier in the build. Here I'm taking down the dome light assy to wire up the harness for the ports.

Drilling the hole from the inside of the head liner with a hole saw.

Wired up...

Made a quick trip down to Vanmadegear outside of Portland OR to get some custom window shades measured and built. Simon makes some really great gear, can't wait to have the shades in the van!

Stopped along the way to snag a picture of the Sunset in the Gorge.

Simon at his shop cutting out a template to fit the rear windows.

After some discussion we came up with a plan that will allow the shades to fit around the bed supports and still fold/open when needed. The shades are held in place with rare earth magnets that are sewn into the shades. Easy to remove when needed.

Getting ready for the trip back home, Simon and his crew are great....Can't wait to use the new shades. More info and pics soon!

Next up it's time to modify the plug on the Dometic fridge. The OEM plug has the ability to plug into either a standard US cig plug or a Powerlet port, although I find that the Powerlet port isn't as secure as an actual Powerlet Plug. I'll remove the OEM plug and replace it with a low profile Powerlet Unit. The Powerlet plugs are great on items like a fridge since then snap into place and won't work loose as you drive like a US cig plug does.

See above for the video review that includes the Powerlet Connectors.

Here's the OEM fridge plug next to the Powerlet unit.

Closer look at the OEM plug.

Pop the red end off and it will work in a Powerlet port.

I cut the OEM end off long enough so I can make up a Powerlet to US Cig adapter if I want to use the fridge in a different vehicle in the future.

Here's a closer look at the 90 Deg Powerlet Connector.

The insulation is pretty thick on the power chord so I opened up the end a bit to allow it to fit and still be snug/secure.

Earlier in the build I wired in both a Cig Plug and Powerlet connector where the fridge will sit.

And plugged in, I like that the low profile plug keeps everything tight against the wall.

Snagged a cheap hitch step at Walmart to use for the rest of this camping season, I'll eventually fabricate my own setup.

Continued below...


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Continued from above...

Organizers! We received our order of OverLandGearGuy Mule bag organizers this weekend. You can choose the colors and the Velcro labels when you order the bags. This will really help to organize our kitchen kit etc, after a while you will know exactly which bag to grab when you need something. Now our coffee setup is all in one bag and super convenient to snag and use each morning....nice!

Here's a trick for filling DEF. I finally got tired of trying to use the crappy hoses that come with the DEF bottles that always leak and dribble while your using them. I snagged a oil fill hose that fits the DEF bottles perfectly and has a O-ring seal so there are NO leaks. The hose also has a on/off valve so you can throttle the pour and a cap to seal the hose when your done. There is no internal vent on this setup so you rock the bottle a bit to allow air in and keep flow going, I like this as I pour slow so I can listen to the sound and know when it's full so I can stop. If you want to dump the entire bottle in then just poke a hole in the upper rear of the bottle and it will pour quickly.

Hose is available here: CLICK HERE

Next up is to make a way to securely carry our bucket toilet. This is a super simple setup that uses WAG Bags (Plastic bags with a powder inside that turns liquids to solids and prevents odors). To use you pop the lid off the bucket, insert a bag and snap the lid back on. Then just tie the bag and toss in the garbage when done. We don't like carrying a toilet and always stop and use facilities whenever possible, this will be for emergency use when we can't find facilities and will be used outside the van.

The bucket will also be dual purpose, we can use it for water to put out camp fires etc and I will carry additional supplies in the bucket while we travel (Hatched, folding shovel etc).

Now to make a secure way to carry the bucket. I'll use the two factory tie down points and fabricate a third tie down point that will attach to the floor mounting plate.

I'll modify this bracket to fit the recess in the floor mount.

Painted and Installed

Now to modify the bucket to accept tie down straps. I'll seal all the mounting points so I can still use the bucket for water when needed without any leaks.

No sharp edges inside to catch the bags, I added a layer of sealant around the lock nuts and washers as well.

Cutting some straps to size and burning the edges to keep them from fraying.

All mounted up and super secure. Will make a great place to carry extra gear and will only be used as a porta-potty in emergencies (But nice to have the option).

The bag kits are small and we will carry spares in the bottom of the bucket. I got a good deal on these as open box items so snagged a bunch to have on hand.

The Hammock & Straps and the Alite Butterfly chair fit perfect in the rear door pockets.

More gear storage! I love our OverLandGearGuy organizer that goes on the back of the front seats. We use it to organize a lot of our smaller gear that we need frequent access to. We recently added a Map pocket as well as we didn't have a great place to keep the maps without them getting damaged. I'm using Giant Loop silicone Proghorn straps to secure the bottom of the unit to the seat base. My only complaint is that the mounting hoops are to wide for the headrest and it makes the bag bunch a bit at the top, I'll eventually fix this so it hangs flat.

More to come....



Used the pin release tools I bought from this thread today for the rear tail lights and they were super easy to use. Only had to look at this thread about 5 times today lol. The best!! Thanks Tom


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Been quite a while since I've posted. We've put over 5k miles on the van in our travels and have seen some amazing sights, I'll be posting pictures of our travels soon. Here's a few misc photo's to catch the build thread up to date.

MY Vanmadegear window covers came in.....super stoked.

The covers have rare earth magnets sewn into the edges of the covers and they just stick in place. The front units are the only ones that need to be removed and stowed, the remaining covers stay in place and just fold up or down (saving a ton of storage space!).

The split design on the rear windows came out great!

I went with the silver reflective covering on the windshield to help keep the heat out.

Here's a video walk through showing how the shades function, Simon turns out a great product!

A few more details....I like labeling :) Cut some custom stickers for the passenger seat base.

Time for Adventure Van Expo! Headed down to St. Helens OR for this years AVE. The event was quite a bit smaller than last year, I'm sure it was due to Covid, the event being pushed out twice while they tried to find a venue and it being later in the year. I told Simon I would park my van in his Vanmadegear vendor booth and we had an awesome time. Got to meet a ton of really cool people at the show, thanks to all who turned out.

Hanging at the show.

Setting up camp on the first day, the forcast was calling for rain and more rain.....ugg. Had to make a temporary gap seal between the rack and the awning to keep water from dripping into the van when I left the door open. Here I used a garbage bag but up into strips, worked perfectly. I'll be fabricating a permanent solution to this in the near future.

While at the show I pulled the Maxxfan trim rings and installed rare earth magnets on the back side of the covers to accept Simon's insulated fan covers. The magnets get taped in place then the trim rings re-installed. The fan covers are great and just like the other covers they can be folded and left in place....nice!

Stopped at the WW1 Stonehenge memorial on the way home....always a cool stop.

Continued Below......


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Continued from above....

While heading to the Adventure Van Expo in Oregon I was heading down the highway when a truck ahead of me started loosing large sheets of plastic out of their trailer. I tried to avoid them but one went under the van and I didn't see it come out, as soon as I was able to pull over I did so and found the plastic wound tight around the rear driveline. I cut the plastic off with my knife and all looked good, fast forward a bit and I get back home and start smelling burning oil, pull to the side again and yep...oil everywhere from a failed pinion seal and nice burning oil on the muffler...eewwww. Plastic must have made it to the seal......dang!! Time to replace the Pinion Seal.

I ordered an OEM seal, nut and 4 replacement driveline bolts (these are set with stretch and non reusable).

I followed the Mercedes procedure and all went smooth. I used a 0-3.5nm torque wrench to measure the rotational drag torque both before nut removal and after I was finished, right on the money. The pinion nut is torqued to spec (30nm) then advanced in two stages at 15 deg each with 30 axle rotations (15 in each direction) between each step.. Zero axial play verified and then check again for proper drag torque, .1nm more than the starting torque....perfect.

Hard to see here but the entire underside of the van is wet in gear oil.

Up on the jack stands.

You can safely use a floor jack to lift the rear of the vehicle, just make sure you don't bend the diff cover. My jack has a rubber pad in the lifting surface and I place the jack just forward of the cover.

Using a paint stick to index the propshaft to the hub, always a good idea to replace everything on a drive line exactly as it came off.

Propshaft tied up and out of the way.

Here I have the wheels removed and the diff drained of fluid. I'm using a 0-3.5nm torque wrench to measure rotational drag torque before disassembling the flange.

Best not to use impact guns here. I used a large pipe wrench to back up the flange and a large breaker bar to remove the nut.

Using a puller to remove the flange, not a lot of pressure is needed which was good since this was a poor puller and the only one I had on hand that would work :)

Now we get a look at the old seal.....yep a piece of plastic stuck in the seal and caused the failure. Dang plastic!!

A seal puller made quick work on removing the old seal.

The new seal comes pre-greased and ready to install.

A oil filter wrench made a perfect seal driver to install the new seal.

Flange cleaned, oiled and re-installed.

The new flange nut is first torqued to 30nm then you verify zero axial play, then rotate the axle 15 turns in each direction. Next you tighten the nut 15 deg then rotate both ways again. Next tighten an additional 15deg then rotate again. At this point you check rotational torque again and it should be .1-.3nm higher than the original reading, mine was .1nm higher so It's right in spec.

Again I used the pipe wrench to back the flange while torquing the nut, it didn't leave any marks in the flange.

Now stake down the new nut to lock it into position so it can't move.

New propshaft bolts. These bolts are tightened to stretch and can't be re-used.

The propshaft bolts are first torqued to 15nm then tightened an additional 90 deg of rotation.

Wheels back on and torqued to 177 ft/lbs.

Diff filled with Redline 75-90W.......Good Stuff!

And back on the road!

More to come....



There is no way I would attempt this one buddy!! Crazy you did it with minimal tools and that paint stick is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.


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There is no way I would attempt this one buddy!! Crazy you did it with minimal tools and that paint stick is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.
I do almost all my own mechanical work....I don't like dealers touching my vehicles unless I absolutely have to :)



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Here's a video I took on the way home from our recent 4k mile trip as we explored the historic abandoned Shirk ranch. Pictures of the trip coming soon



That is really cool, I thought it may be neat to have a voice over on it about the trip. Just a suggestion. Such cool video


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Haven't posted in a while as I got side tracked :). More to come on the van soon.

Picked up a low mile used 2018 Ural Gear Up. Years ago I drove a BMW R69S with a Steib LS-200 hack and racked up a ton of miles on it over a couple year period. Feels great to be back on 3 wheels again and the kiddo loves it!

My thread on the bike: CLICK HERE



You really are making some cool memories with your family. Always doing fun and very interesting thing Tom! congrats on the new bike!


The more and more I look back at how you located the single battery and components under the front seat I really want to follow suit for a build I have coming up. It just makes so much sense to utilize that protected space up under the seats. So detailed thanks Tom and I will let you know how it turns out if we do it.


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The more and more I look back at how you located the single battery and components under the front seat I really want to follow suit for a build I have coming up. It just makes so much sense to utilize that protected space up under the seats. So detailed thanks Tom and I will let you know how it turns out if we do it.
It's worked out really well for us, make sure and post some pics!



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Time to finally start posting the TONS of photo's from this summers travels, It's been ages since I've caught the build thread up and with the holidays over it's time to start going through pictures and posting about the numerous road trips that we have taken with the Van this summer.

So I don't clog up the build thread with hundreds of photos I've started another page that I will be posting all of our travel photos and trip reports on. I'll provide the link here and a few teaser pics below....

The current road trip starts on post 11 here: https://advrider.com/f/threads/the-hodakaguy-camping-trip-report-photo-mega-thread.1460644/

And a few teaser photos....



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Time to finished off the bed build that I started earlier last summer.

Last summer when I finished the aluminum adjustable bed frames camping season started and I threw some scrap plywood I had onto the frames and secured them with ratchet straps. This setup got us through the summer but with winter here It's time to finish it off before hitting the open road once again.

Here's a shot of the bed frames in the van with the temporary plywood installed.

And the bare frames.

With the frames removed I took them into the shop to sketch out the measurements for the top boards.

With the quick sketch in hand I headed down to the store to snag a couple sheets of 1/2" Baltic Bertch Plywood.

Next stop was to visit my buddy Mike at VanLab, Mike is an up-fitter and has a commercial CNC router that made quick work of cutting out the bed frame tops. Thanks Mike!

Transferring the drawings to cad.

And setting up the Router to cut.

And away it goes.......This thing is soooooooo sweet!

Mike approves!

Quick test fit on a frame...yep that should work nicely.

While the second frame was being cut we went over all the edges with a router for a nice smooth finish.

Heading back home

Tops sitting on the frames, one extended and one collapsed. The oval sections will provide ventilation to the mattress and prevent moisture/mold from forming.

Now to weld on mounting tabs, drill and counter bore the holes in the tops, seal the tops and assemble everything.

More to come.....