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"Delilah" my terrestrial space ship....

9569 Views 35 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  cdoublejj

Six years after buying her and joining the forum I am finally starting a build thread.
(Can't rush these things)....


Most of her nearly 250,000 miles are mine... several trips back and forth between Florida and California (including last years 9,500 round the country trip). Mostly just a cot or an air mattress in the back.


I am taking a trip down to Joshua Tree and Death Valley this week... that and helping a friend find an Astro (which he is planning an awesome build for) I felt inspired to get some kind of sleeping platform with some gear stowage under it.

This is what I did today;


I have an Engle fridge (great little unit... real fridge, runs on AC or DC.. only draws 2.3a when the compressor is on. So I made a 6' platform behind the first 2 feet of floor the Engle sits on. I think I like it as I can still get into the van without pulling a muscle. :dance:


I left it open in the back with spaces dedicated to my "$30 Camping Awning", and 4 storage boxes.


The space behind the platform is for bicycle wheels, and on this trip it will be for carrying a few water jugs.

I also made a drawer that is 20" wide to stow my tools... My plan was to get as much of the heavy stuff out of the roof top carrier.


I bought a keyed latch for the drawer...



I'll glue down the carpet later, for now I think it is going to work out for me.
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WinnieVan said:
I like the hooks, bags and bungee setup. Very nicely done.
Thank you, I have been using the hanging bags for a long time. It works out pretty well for lighter stuff. I'll post some better pictures of it.
WhiteAstro said:
looking good, where did you get those carpet from?
I got it at a marine consignment shop in Oriental, NC... but I was in Home Depot yesterday and happened to notice they were selling it there too (pre-cut, in rolls).
Just outside of Bakersfield, CA...

On the way to Joshua Tree...


Death Valley

Not a bad view...

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WinnieVan said:
SF -- what size is your Engel? I love where that fits and I'm adding this to my craigslist conquest!
I have a 17 installed in the van, they are pricy but worth it.

I lived aboard and sailed boats for 13 years and have experience with a whole bunch of systems. I like the Engle's for their ultra low current draw and the ability to truly freeze when you want them to.

Engel MT17F-u1 AC/DC Portable Fridge/Freezer Two Tone Gray 16qt

before I bought this one (16 quart) , I had the 27 (which is the same unit with a deeper chest).

Engel MT27F-U1 AC/DC Portable Fridge/Freezer Two Tone Gray 22 Qt

It ran constantly for over 10 years and was still going strong when I sold it.

Their 'swing compressor' is really efficient, drawing about 2.3a when it runs and if you have it full (and dont open it much) it can run as little as 20% of the time.

I also really like how quiet it is, even on an anchored boat in perfect stillness (like anchored off an uninhabited island in the Bahamas... ah...) you can sleep comfortably with your head near it.
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So happy to come back from a hike and have her waiting for me....

Someone asked for a shot of my interior, I realize the build pictures did not show the stove and the refrigerator...


For more on my solar system ~ click here -


One more picture since the first one kind of made it look like a partial raised roof...
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Delilah got a cooling upgrade yesterday.


Replaced the OEM 5/8" core radiator with a 2 1/4" 3row aluminum one from flea bay. ($140 after several offers)...



Swapped out my heater core at the same time.. did not have a visible leak but the air was feeling a little 'moist'. :whistle:

Thinking I won't need to turn off the AC now on those high mountain passes, or when buzzing across Death Valley. :rockon:
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Just back from a month long +7,000 mile plus trip from CA To FL and back with a lot of wandering around the south west (Big Bend National park, Guadalupe Mountains National park, Grand Canyon and Yosemite….

Not a single problem to report other then a wheel center cap self destruct after being over torqued by Costco when they rotated the tires….. :driving:

I LOVE this van. :cheers:

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One of the stops on the 7k road trip was in Big Bend National Park.
Getting out to the primitive camping area involved some fairly significant mud work…. I am so thankful for my G80 rear end that plowed through some deep mud (bottomed out thrice)….

The engine was completely covered in mud when I got back…. A little degreaser and a quick spray down with the hose had her back to looking the way I prefer.

By the way, the refrigerator (and caframo fan) ran daily off of my solar system daily for 19 days…. No problem. :banana:

Also…. Driving up 10% grades with the AC blasting in near 100f temps the gauge never moved. I highly recommend the radiator upgrade. :rockon:
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Update on radiator. People have asked me what seller I bought from…. Not sure, and there are so many I don’t know that it matters anyway.

There seem to be at least 4 styles of these aluminum radiators;

True 3” 3 row core…. Expensive and don’t work with factory shroud…. Probably have better cooling but the 2.5” 3 core works fine…. When I was shopping these they were sold by Summit for around $400.

2.5” 3 row core without mounting tabs…. Don’t get this one. It is a pita to mount (can be done with fabrication of brackets… BUT! The filler neck on this one is not long enough and makes it hard to get the cap off and fill…

Water Rectangle Automotive radiator part Gas Font

2.5” 3 row core with flimsy tabs…. Ok, but better to go with the stronger mounting tabs… (this picture does not look bad, others look really flimsy)…

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Bumper Automotive lighting Automotive exterior

2.5” 3row core with boxed (channel) tabs…. This is what I have and I am pretty happy with it. It worked with the factory shroud, had the mounts for the ac condenser, has the extended filler neck (radiator cap in same place as OEM) and fit with no drama.

Rectangle Silver Font Fashion accessory Grille
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Couple of updates;

Delilah got 22-1195HD springs (+ 1,700lb 3+1 upgrade). For more details see this thread; 22-1195HD upgrade (do I need a rubber?)

Landscape Wood Soil Road surface Shadow

Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire

And she got a new shelf with soft stowage boxes to replace the bags of stuff hanging from her rail…. The shelf is plywood with redwood trim, it sits on cleats fastened to the side wall and is suspended by chain (#75 rated)…. It is just high enough that it does not affect my leg room when sleeping (even my size 13 feet clear it nicely).

Motor vehicle Toy Machine Track Vehicle

Textile Automotive tire Red Wood Automotive design
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I am quite happy with how she is sitting now. 32” to the top of the front fender arch, and 32.5” in the rear
Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Sky Car
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I probably should have included this earlier…. It’s something that might be helpful to others who camp (or live in) these vans.

One “upgrade” that is useful for anyone who camps in our vans is screens for the windows. I use;

Baby carriage bug screens…. Cheap, effective and stretch to fit many windows.

I use them on the front doors and around the side opening windows.

here is a link…ThreeH Baby Mosquito Net for Strollers Car Seats Cradles Universal Size Insect Netting BX07,Black
Car Vehicle Automotive side-view mirror Motor vehicle Automotive tire

Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tire Automotive parking light Automotive design
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Highway 120 to Tonapaugh…. She still has it.
Speedometer Odometer Car Gauge Tachometer
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