Hodakaguy's 4wd Sprinter Build Out


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Time to get the tops mounted to the frames. Originally I planned on welding tabs to the frame and using bolts to attach the two, after staring at it a bit in the garage I decided to use aluminum TRIC-nuts instead (Like Rivet Nuts) as they would be faster and cleaner than tabs.

Here I'm getting ready to start installing the TRIC-nut thread inserts.

I had a scrap piece of tubing on the bench so I installed one of the TRIC-nuts for a test fit and to show how it functions.

Here's the TRIC-nut.

Drilling the hole and installing the TRIC-nut.

Using a standard Rivet Nut Setting tool to compress the TRIC-nut

And BAM....instant threads. Threads stayed nice and centered in the hole, perfect.

Next I clamped the wooden top onto the frame to prepare it for marking and drilling.

Measured and marked center line of the aluminum tubing them marked where I wanted the bolts to be placed. Using a small pilot bit I drilled through the board and into the aluminum.

Next I up-sized the pilot holes in the frame to 3/8" to fit the TRIC-nuts.

And installed and set all the TRIC-nuts in place.

Deburring the holes.

Next I drilled out the holes in the boards to 1/4" and counter sunk them for the bolts.

Test fitting the panel. Fits great!

One panel down.....

And the second panel complete.

Next up all the wood panels were sanded to 240 grit in preparation for sealing. I'm using OSMO Polyx-Oil (See Below) to seal the boards and you don't want to go any smoother than 240 Grit as you need some grain for the oil to soak into the wood.

I'm using OSMO Polyx-oil in Clear Satin to seal the boards. OSMO is great stuff! Human safe and can be applied without making a mess, love the natural finish it provides. Stir the product really well before use and every now and then while you work. To apply the OSMO you use a non abrasive 3M pad and apply a really thin layer of OSMO. Work the oil into the the wood (Can go with or against the grain with the non abrasive pad). Once the wood is fully covered you take a fresh piece of pad and rub it all down again until there are no "wet" spots left and your left with a nice smooth finish. Wait 8-10 hrs and apply a second coat with the same technique and you have a nice sealed finished product.

Note: The links below are my Amazon Affiliate links, I make a small portion each time someone purchases from Amazon using one of my links, at no extra cost to the buyer. I only provide links to items that I personally like and use myself. i use the money to put back into my builds and support making videos/posts. If you prefer not to use my links you can search for the same items directly off Amazon. Thank you for the support!

OSMO Polyx-Oil: Available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2XKMgxo
3M White Application Pads: Available on Amazon Here: https://amzn.to/3imLlgj

Applying the first coat. Love the finish!

Hanging up to dry.

All the boards are now complete with the first coat, will apply the second coat in 8-10hrs.

More to come soon....



Fantastic looking bed panels. So clean. Thanks for sharing Tom. I like that countersink on the bolting of the panels to the frame, the details wow.


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All together......

Up early the next morning to apply the second coat of OSMO to the boards, then let them dry. Later that afternoon I started the assembly process.

I used Loctite 243 on the bolts that thread into the aluminum TRIC-nuts, and Antiseize on the 4 bolts with Nylocks.

One panel assembled.

Here's a look again at the horizontal mounting rail. This rail can move up and down the vertical L-track to adjust the bed height. The bed itself will expand in and out as the bed goes up and down to accommodate for the walls being closer together as you go up.

And both panels back in the Van. Pretty happy with how they turned out.

And a shot of the Mule overhead storage bags.

Now I'll let the OSMO fully cure for a day or so then throw the mattress back in. Now on to a few other finishing details.

More to come....



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Time to make some more room...... 3 Person to 2 Person seat conversion coming up!

Up till this point we've used the factory 3 person bench seat up front for out son to travel in, while it works it's way bigger that we need it to be and makes it difficult to move from the rear of the van up to the front seats as you have to step down into the slider door well to pass the seat. The time has come to modify the seat from a 3 person to a 2 person and give us some more living space in the van.

Disclaimer....The seats integrity is vital to the safety of it's passenger. Below is the procedure I used to modify our seat and that I was comfortable with. If you choose to modify your own seat please use your own judgment and do so at your own risk.

This post will be picture heavy.....

Supplies used:

Note: The links below are my Amazon Affiliate links, I make a small portion each time someone purchases from Amazon using one of my links, at no extra cost to the buyer. I only provide links to items that I personally like and use myself. i use the money to put back into my builds and support making videos/posts. If you prefer not to use my links you can search for the same items directly off Amazon. Thank you for the support!

Surface Conditioning disk (Paint Remover) - Amazon Link: CLICK HERE
Electric Knife (Used to cut foam) - Amazon Link: CLICK HERE
Gorilla Heavy Duty Spray Adhesive - Amazon Link: CLICK HERE
Upholstery Thread - Amazon Link: CLICK HERE
100 Sewing Needles - Amazon Link: CLICK HERE
Optical Center Punch (Not a must...but a very cool tool): Amazon Link: CLICK HERE

Here's the 3 seat bench just removed from the van.

Remove the 7 screws that hold the rear plastic cover onto the seat.

The sides and bottom edges of the seat covers snap into place on the round tubing that runs around the perimeter of the seat. To loosen the cover just grab the plastic clips and pop them off the tubing.

The upper portion of the seat cover attaches to the back of the seat by a thin piece of plastic that's folded over and slipped into a metal channel. Just grab this piece and pull it out of the metal groove.

Next up remove the left side seat belt attachment point. Pry off the plastic cover and remove the bolt, spacer and plastic washers.

Now remove the seat belt latch on the right side.

A quick wrap with a little electrical tape is a great way to keep track of your parts.

Now you need to remove the head rest guides. Remove the headrests and set them to the side.

Use a thin piece of wood and a hammer to pop the plastic guides out from the bottom. Place the stick on the bottom of the guide up inside the seat and hit the stick with the hammer, the guide will pop right out.

Next up remove the plastic seat belt covers. To remove these you need to drive the plastic pin in the center of the retainer inward. The pin will fall out then you can remove the retainer itself. Once apart pick up the pin to re-use upon re-assembly. Once the retainer is out the cover just lifts right off.

With the plastic cover removed you can now take apart the seat belt hardware that guides the belt. To remove this assembly use a screw driver to pry off the little metal retainer from the post.

Slide the two plastic washers back onto the post and slightly re-install the retaining washer to keep all the pieces in one place.

Remove the remaining seat belt mounting points under the seat.

To remove the arm rests slightly peel back the seat cover from the sides to expose the mounting hardware. Remove the bolts then slide the arm rests out of the seat.

Remove the plastic trim pieces around the child seat anchor points on the bottom seat. Just pry up with your fingers and pull, they pop right out.

Now it's time to release the lower seat cushions. Both the upper and lower cushion assemblies are attached on the lower metal U-channel bar behind the cushions. The seat backs attach here first then the seat base attaches over the top of the seat back clip. It's easier to see once you start messing with it but they have to be in this order, upon re-assembly the seat backs get installed here first, then the base.

To remove this anchor just pry up with your hands and pop it out of the U-channel. Here I'm un-clipping the retainer for the lower seat base.

The lower seat base is now free, remove the foam and lower cover as an assembly by just picking it up off the frame

Now remove the seat back retainer at the same spot.

And almost a bare frame. Now just finish unbolting the seat belt assemblies.

I Struck GOLD!!! Found my sons gold that he panned from last summers travels buried in the seat cushion lol.

Laying out where I want to make my cuts on the frame. Here I'm using a straight piece of thick paper as a wrap around to draw a straight cut line on the tubing of the seat frame.

Measure the distance between the seat attach points and make your cuts so that when you remove the center section of the seat and re-connect the outer halves that the attach points still have the same measurements.

Laying out the rest of my cut lines. There are several options on where you can cut, Make sure you cut a little long and trim for an exact fit.

Continued below.....
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Continued from above....

New blade in the reciprocating saw and it's time to cut.

One section removed. Floor jacks work handy to support the seat as you make your cuts.

Prepping to connect the two seat halves back together. I used some scrap tubing I had around the shop to make reinforced joints for the tubing connections. I drilled holes in each side of the seat base at the butt weld and then inserted a smaller piece of tubing into the larger seat frame tubing. I welded this smaller tubing to the frame using a rosette weld on each side then finished the connection with a butt weld. This makes a really solid joint that I won't have to worry about when the kiddo is riding back there.

I removed the paint around the weld locations with a grinder and a surface conditioner wheel.

Welding in the internal braces.

The larger tubing was already sleeved on one side of the seat base (Not the side pictured) and was limited in the amount of distance I could push the internal tubing into, So this connection had a shorter stub on one end.

Test fitting the bases.

I then latched the seats into the van and tack welded the assembly together while it was in the seat rails, this helped hold everything in proper alignment.

Once the frame was tack welded together it was back in the shop to weld the assembly up.

Now it's time to modify the foam to fit the new seat frame. To remove the seat cover you need to pry back the cover and unhook the cover from the red plastic clips that are embedded into the foam. To do this apply some upward tension and use a screw driver to slightly spread each side of the red clips, the cover will then pop out of the clips.

Once you get to the seat belt pocket you need to flip the foam over and pull out the staples that hold the pockets to the seat base.

With the cover removed you can now cut the seat foam. I used an electric bread knife to make a nice smooth cut. You want to cut the foam right down the center between the seats, right in the middle of the deepest groove.

Test fitting....perfect.

Now it's time to join the seat ends back together again. I used Gorilla Spray Adhesive which is foam safe and sticks good. Spray both sides of the seat base then let them sit for a couple minutes before joining the two halves together.

Do the same thing for the seat backs, right down the deep channel.

Now to shorten those covers. Just like the foam you want to cut them down the middle between the seat halves, I added an extra 1/4" onto each end piece to allow for the seam when they are sewn back together. First up is the seat back.

Straight edge and a razor blade makes a clean straight cut.

Continued Below....


Active member
Continued from above.....

Center section removed and covers loosely sitting on the seat.

Same process on the cover for the seat base. When you get to the plastic clips sewn along the edge just use the razor blade to saw through the plastic.

Center seat left over parts.

Now you need to trim the plastic mounting clips back by 1/4" on each side on the lower seat cover to allow for stitching. Once the seam is sewn these parts will line back up.

Now make a line 1/4" in on the interior of each piece so you can follow this line when sewing the halves back together.

Now it's time to sew up the covers....it's my first time running a sewing machine so this should be fun. First a few calls to my mother is in order to see how to set the machine and what thread and needles I need. With that information in hand the kiddo and I headed out to get the supplies. Always fun to have an excuse to ride somewhere :)

With upholstery thread and #100 needles in hand I'm ready to get sewing. Like I said I've never ran a machine before but I practiced a bit on some scraps then dove in on the cover.

I like this Meme...fits well.

Two become one.....

I ran a stitch a little down from the line first then came back and ran one right on the line, back stitching the ends.

Re-installing the covers on the seat foam. The beads on the back of the cover snap back into the red clips.

To re-attach the seat belt pockets I added a bit of Gorilla Spray Adhesive then stapled the flaps back in place.

With the cover back on the foam the whole assembly was placed back on the seat frame and the lower cover clips were snapped into place.

The child seat trim pieces are snapped back into place.

Starting to look like a seat again.

Installing the seat back again.

Remember on re-assembly to install the seat back retaining clips first on the lower U-channel, then the seat base.

Re-install the arm rests and hardware.

And re-install the seat belt assemblies.

Continued Below.....


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Continued from above....

Bam....It's a seat again.

Now I need to shorten the plastic seat back to fit.

I've seen some people overlap the two sides of the plastic seat back but I was wanting something that looked a bit more finished. After scratching my head a bit I decided to cut them so they would butt up against each other then fabricate a fir strip to link the two together.

I love de-burring tools, made quick work of cleaning up the cut edges

I used some 1" aluminum strap and hand bent the piece to the contour of the seat back. I'll use this piece along with some aluminum rivets to join the two halves together

Marking the holes for the rivets. I want them to be even since they will be visually noticeable if they are crooked, I used my optical punch to mark out the drill locations. The optical punch is a sweet tool, you align the sights in the yool to where you want to punch then while holding the base in place you slide out the sight and drop in the punch....right on the money every time.

And a final quick spray paint job to paint the rivets black.

Before re-installing the seat I decided to modify this rubber backed utility mat that I found at Target. The mat looks great in the van so I decided to cut out openings for the seat and leave the mat in the van.

Marking out the cut locations.

An using a razor blade to make the cuts.

Sealing the cut edges with super glue as an extra measure.

Back in the van

And the seat re-installed. This is going to be great, sooooo much more room to move around inside the van now. Pics didn't come out that great, ill get some better ones later.

More to come....



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Mobility and fun on the go! I've been looking at options for a personal EV's to take with us on trips and keep coming back to Onewheels. A Onewheel is basically a single wheel electric "Skateboard" that is capable of traveling on dirt, gravel, pavement, etc. Two of the smaller Onewheel Pints will take up little space and provide a ton of fun while on the road.

Here's a youtube video (Not Mine) that shows a Onewheel Pint in action:

Link to the official Onewheel site here: https://onewheel.com/?msclkid=f3f18617e4b01a1e7585e6546de409c4

Our two Pints fresh out of the Box and ready for fun.

20 minutes or practicing and my son and I were cruising around the neighborhood, they are very intuitive to operate. Here's a shot down at the park putting on miles :)

Now to figure out how to haul the two Pint's in the van. There is only one spot that is "open" where the boards can be stored and out of the way, that's the rear passenger side corner.

Next up.....stare at the space and figure out a design that will keep the boards secure and take up as little space as possible. After a while of staring and with a plan in my head it was time to start cutting metal.

I have some left over aluminum and Birch ply from my bed project which will work perfectly for this mount and match the bed system in the process. Here I'm starting to cut metal and assemble the rack.

Still practicing/learning welding aluminum, starting to get a bit better at it. Aluminum is really fun to weld.

Here I'm using scrap pieces of foam to figure out the correct spacing and height for the wheel mount.

Temporarily setting the assembly in place to check for clearances to make sure the door still closes etc. I had measured all that ahead of time but better to find out now if there is an issue :)

Rubber caps will make the open ends look a tad more finished.

Next up it's over to my buddy Mike's place. Mike runs a sweet van up fitting business called Vanlab and made quick work on cutting out the base and back plates from my scrap birch on his sweet CNC router. We decided to cut a Onewheel Pint image into the back board for an extra touch. Thanks Mike!

Back to work on the frame. Drilling and inserting Tric nuts (Similar to Rivet Nuts) into the frame to hold the base and backboards on.

Sealing the boards with OSMO....great stuff.

Adding some extra height to the ends to lock in the boards.

Here I'm cutting down some rubber floor mat panels to install in the carrier. All surfaces that touch the boards will be foam padded. The base foam panels are held in place by compression, the side pieces are applied with Gorilla glue.

The notched areas are for the bolts that will bolt the base of the carrier into the OEM floor tie down points.

Next up I'm making foam rails that will attach to the back board. The rails are comprised of aluminum strap cut to size and foam strips glued to the aluminum, then the whole assembly is screwed onto the back board.

Here I'm using the optical center punch to mark out the hole locations on the aluminum strap.

Continued Below.....


Active member
Continued from above....

Getting there....

Now to make the upper mount/brace that will tie the carrier into the vans L-track. I'll be making a removable mount that will bolt to the upper bar on the rack, that way if I want to use the rack in the house when it's not needed in the van I can remove the upper brace.

The upper brace bolts on via rivet nuts on the top and rear.

And here is what happens when you get in a hurry and drill holes for the rivet nuts in the wrong location....extra holes lol. Luckily they were on the back side and I was able to just move the holes inboard a bit so the two rivet nuts wouldn't hit each other. Oops....lol.

Using these L-track studs to attach the upper brace to the L-track. These are genius and have sooooo many uses.

Removing the OEM bolts out of the tie down points, the rack will mount in these locations using longer bolts.

Installing the longer bolts through the rack and into the tie down locations.

And here the rack is fully bolted into position. The rack is super solid and keeps the whole assembly away from the wall panel so nothing will rub/wear on the tweed fabric.

These are going to be a blast!