Vehicle Mods

Modern vehicle design is a lot different than it was even 10 years ago, especially electrically. Google CAN-bus and you’ll be reading for a while. Try hooking up a trailer wiring plug…… So, my intent is to keep my buildout and the vehicle itself as separate as possible to avoid “compatibility problems”. That said, there will be certain places where the two meet and those will be described here, as well as anything else I do to the vehicle itself.

This page is in chronological order with the most recent entry on top.


February 2019……….

Somewhere back at 5000 miles…. (Now 32,000)


The engine has a “direct injection” fuel delivery system. This means that the fuel is squirted directly into the cylinder. That’s different from squirting it into the intake somewhere just ahead of the cylinder which happens on most car engines. There’s a minor problem with that. The fuel does not flow past the intake valve. What DOES flow past the intake valve is the mist of oil particles from your PCV. (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) This gooks up your intake valve. On the Gen-II Ecoboost they went to a “Dual Port” system where most of the fuel goes directly into the cylinder and a little bit goes in upstream of the intake valve and acts as a cleaner. This engine has been installed on OTHER Ford products since 2017. But, there is a fix, or at least a bandaid where you install an oil catch can in the PVC system. There’s a few different ones, I got the one from JLT. Very nicely made, easy install. Now, this is only on the passenger side of the V-6 so half the engine. This is better than nothing of course but I wondered why not do the other side too? So I called JLT and they took the time to explain to me that 1: If you put one on the other side it throws a code. 2: They rode around with the code and discovered that they collected hardly any oil on the driver’s side…. So, I am cautiously optimistic that this mod will extend my engine life. At just over $100 it’s worth the gamble to me.

In about 25,000 miles I have pulled at least a half a quart of oil from it that didn’t make it to my intake valves.

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Summer 2018


There is a second fuel pickup in the tank….. this is perfect for running a generator and not having to schlepp gas. I have an aftermarket fuel cap for my Honda 2000EU which lets the vacuum created in the tank suck fuel through a line from a larger tank….

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Buy it HERE.

In order to use the pickup you have to add a little plastic 90º connector….

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Looks like this, with fuel hose attached by yours truly.

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There’s a cap on the pickup on the tank, looks similar. Slide out the yellow clip, squeeze the buttons underneath, pull cap off, put 90º with hose on. Done…. except not so fast. You can’t get to the top of the tank. If you go Googling around the interwebs you will find the official procedure for dropping the tank. It starts with: Disconnect filler hose…. etc. etc. Good news is, it’s not that bad.

There are three straps that hold the tank up. With a 13mm socket and long extension loosen all bolts as far as they will go without coming out. Then put a jack under the tank as shown and remove only the center and rear bolt on the driver’s side…. You can now wiggle the tank down enough to get to the top of it. (It helps to not have a full 160lb tank….) Mine was 1/8th which was no problem. The round plastic rim you see just to the right of the center bolt is where you need to be.

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It looks like this: (From the BEMM)

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So…. study the 90º and see how it works…. then reach up there, find the cap, remove it and pop the 90º on… I led the hose straight back, and piggy backed on to a loom heading in the right direction. Then I went up the left rear corner post into the rear utility space… There I mounted a shutoff, a filter and the hose to the generator.

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And there she purrs……

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One important note… the 2nd pickup does not go all the way to the bottom of the tank. (This is protection for stupids that don’t monitor their fuel and then get stuck in the middle of the desert without fuel). When the tank gets down to 6 gallons…. the generator starts sucking air.


Winter 2011/2018

We’re going in to the hills. Buddy has a Land Rover get together with trail runs every year. My Land Rover is a little out of service so I’ll take FD to the cabin, which is 5 miles from the nearest paved road….. Even the Nokiams are not going to cut that so I’ve ordered a pair of Cooper Discoverer STT’s…. Now of course a 235/65/16 is not available so I went with a 225/75/16. A hair narrower but about the same diameter. That and a pair of Thule chains. (Follow up…. they did the job!)

BTW, there’s a nice tire comparator here……. Tells me I’m a little over 4% taller on the rears than the fronts with the Coopers. Wonder if that will affect things…..

Meanwhile with all that tire changing there’s TPMS consequences. I’ve ordered 4 factory wheels on eBay. (There’s a bunch of companies do conversions on these vans and eBay the steel wheels…..) The Coopers are going on two, and the OEM Conti’s are going on the other two for the back in summer. These wheels will need TPMS. I’ve ordered these, and this reset tool. It’s says it’s easy…..

Follow up…. It is easy. When it works. Once sensor in one of the Coopers not responding….

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More follow up… took the tires and sensors to a local independent shop. Two of the four not responding to their heavy duty equipment. Sent them back and got new ones, no cost. Theses worked. Unfortunately it cost me $25 to have the tires removed, the sensors replaced and the tires re-mounted. Oh well….


December 2017

Still debating whether to get “nice” summer wheels and tires and leave the winter tires on the steel, or get two more steel wheels to put the summers back on in spring and leave the winters on theirs…. More (endless) talking about wheel/tire size combinations on the forum. Rubbing of bigger tires and speedometer inaccuracies are potential issues. It appears 16″ Ultrawheel Toil wheels with a 45mm offset (versus factory 60mm) and 235/70R16 tires is a pretty good looking combo with no rubbing and minimal speedo impact. To be continued.

There’s a good discussion on the issues on this blog.

Follow up… Got steel. eBay….


December 2017

The build has stalled. Doesn’t mean I’m not using it, just too busy to continue the work. Meanwhile there was snow. The performance in snow? In one word: “Crappy”. My flat driveway with one inch of snow had me sitting there spinning out, with or without traction control. So, winter tires ordered. I read the tire threads on transitforums (and there’s a few BIG ones) and at the end settled on the Nokian CR3 Winter tires. E-rated and the standard 235/65R16 size. Two on the rear for now, leave the standard tire/wheels on the front.  Much heated discussion on whether that’s a suicidal move versus putting them on all 4 corners. I think it will be fine, maybe I’ll get two more next year. NOTE: The CR3’s are uni-directional….. They mount a certain way…. look for the arrow on the sidewall which indicates direction of rotation.

Update… the Nokiams ROCK. MUCH better….. They will be coming on in December and staying on till April from now on. No noise, and MUCH better performance in snow.


April 10th, 2017


I ordered the van without the exterior bling package. (Grill etc). I like the black look. Unfortunately all I could get was the silver hubcaps. Now, I would love to put some snazzy wheels and a larger tire on there, but there’s a budget and the interior comes first. So, the next best thing: Paint them…… Primed with a spray on oil based primer (look in the Kilz section of your Home Depot/Lowes paint department). Finished it off with a Krylon super duper mat black, with a bit of a bronze sheen in it…….I think it looks pretty good for now!

Follow up…. the paint flaked. Now in a dusty corner in the shop and got the black center salad plates. Actually look pretty decent.

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Also today I installed the front wheel well liners. As you can see in the pic below, stuff is way too exposed. They are now available on the special order wish list. In fact they (just) were when I ordered but my sales dude couldn’t find them in his system. So I ordered them separately and put them in. Easy to do. Hint: take the wheel off. Right front facing forward before:

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And after:

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March 23rd, 2017

Reprogramming of the remote start. I ordered the vehicle with the FORD factory remote start. Unfortunately it is a separate fob on the key chain.  And, another most annoying feature is the fact that after entering remote start mode, ie with the vehicle running, when you open the door it shuts down! FORD says this is for security reasons. Well, there is a fix! Thanks to the power of Youtube I found this gentleman that expertly explains how to disable this feature:

All I had to do was find the button. Once you know what you’re looking for it’s easy….. I took a mirror and found it to the left of the brake pedal coming out of a bundle of wires heading up:

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Note: The video said to do it with the door closed, I did it with the door open and it works just fine. Makes it a lot easier to get your hand up in there and then you can operate the brake with the other hand.


This mod is small but very effective…. FORD could have done this easily…

I got tired of the drip into the side door every time I open it when raining. While this is not a solution that can do 80mph it does work (well) when parked, and it slides right into the space between the top rubber and the steel so in seconds it’s on there. It’s got a nice finished edge so it won’t cut the rubber or scratch the paint.

It’s called “drip edge” and is available for $5/10feet at Home Depot/Lowes

It even sticks out far enough that you can leave the door cracked…..

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