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Putt
#1
Hi!  I'm Putts.

[Image: IMG_1627-M.jpg]

Putt is the name of my...um, camper.

[Image: 20160507_122506-L.jpg]

Yeah, I know it's stupid. See, I'm Putts on ADVrider.com, too.  I used Putts because I putt around on motorcycles, and I don't go fast. My main bike is a KLR, but I've had/have quite a few.  (FJR, TW200, XT350, TT350, CB360, TY125, TY250, R80G/S) Obviously, other than the KLR that rules the world for a cheap bike that will get you anywhere on the planet, the Beemer that's a friggen classic, and the Honda which was a basket case that fell in my lap, I'm a Yamaha guy. Anyway, when I started to post what I was doing with my camper (in a smaller private adventure motorcycle forum) those guys thought it would be a hoot if named my truck Putt so that I could have my travel thread titled "Putts putts in Putt." Ha, ha. Oh well, it stuck.

Mainly I ride bike to go on adventures. I love to travel and see stuff.  And I love the natural world, so I tend to explore the less populated places...little towns, old mines, you know. Me and my buddy Paul sometimes do summer vacations where we travel maybe 800 miles over the course of the week going from one forest service cabin to another, staying off pavement as much as possible. Great stuff.

Sheesh...time for a pic or two. This was a trip with a bunch of guys.

[Image: CRW_7471-L.jpg]

[Image: CRW_7580-1-L.jpg]

But I'm done. I've done my bit; raised a family, run a business, had an influence, made friends, ect. Im ready for me adventuring full time in retirement. I'm also sick, fed up, and tired of the rat race. I know I can't talk politics and such here, but I'll just say the modern world seems so absurd to me. I want to live a simpler life. I want to smell the rain and live with it's chill. I want the work pace of my life to be determined by the smell of my clothes. I want to finally have the time to practice my ukulele. I'm lucky enough to be in the diminishing middle class, but I've had three wives, so the only retirement security I'll have is the gain on my house, a Social Security check, and the fact that Putt is owned free and clear when I drive into the unknown. 

At the moment I've still got a good paying job that nets me enough to do a good, but simple, build with Putt. Simple is key to understanding where I'm going with this. Putt's defining feature will be it's ability to support me a month at a time without resupply. I struggled with whether to call Putt and RV or a tiny home---as it will be my permanent home for the next couple of decades. (Knock wood.) I ended up deciding to call Putt a camper...it'll be the bitchenist hard side tent evar.

I'm about 1/4 done with the build right now, but I figure I'll just tell the story from the beginning here and work my way up to the moment.  The good news is we'll progress at a lovely clip condensing months into days; the bad news is, when we get up to the current moment we're going to slam into the glacial pace of how this actually goes. I will, however, slow down my current postings by getting up to speed on who the hell I'm talking too at CRVL and the other builds and forum areas around here. 

I'm used to forums both big and small in the motorcycle world. ADVrider.com may have 4000 people logged-in at any time; the other little private place I live may have 40. This place is about 400 and that seems like a really nice size to me. The other thing is having looked around at a number of other places, this place seems to have a vibe I like. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like good, simple people who like being out doors and watching a campfire rather than a TV. Thanks for being here, I'll try not to be a dick.

Guess I better push the button on this one. I've set aside some time to work on this tonight, so I'll post up a better intro on Putt here in a just a bit.
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The following 14 users say Thank You to Putts for this post:
Wildtrapper (01-04-2018), Netter (01-02-2018), free2enjoy (12-21-2017), dawnann7 (12-03-2017), Rugster (08-25-2017), RV-Hopeful (08-22-2017), Theadyn (06-07-2017), Stretch (06-04-2017), tx2sturgis (05-19-2017), AbuelaLoca (05-17-2017), WriterMs (05-11-2017), rvpopeye (05-11-2017), highdesertranger (05-11-2017), Ballenxj (05-11-2017)
#2
Alrighty then...why a step van?

I'd like to be able to get down most Forest Service roads reasonable well. A bitchen 4x4 Fuso box truck would be awesome, but they're expensive. And the one or two extra steps up to the bed vs. a step van is going to add up when you're 70. A step van will get farther down the road than a big RV rig; it's a rougher, louder ride, but it's a bit more rugged than your average RV. 

I know there's a lot of van dwellers here---more power to you---but I want more space and storage. Even a Sprinter seems a little claustrophobic to me. I'm a sailor, so I know and have lived in, and don't mind, close quarters. But hey, if you've got the choice, I want the room to at least pace back and forth at least four or five steps when it's raining outside. Putt would have to be a big vehicle. Baloo will be entertained to know an ambo was the smallest I considered seriously.

Then there's stealth. I swear, I can't think of anything more invisible than a plain white stepvan parked somewhere discrete between a Pep Boys and Home Depot. I've camped in Putt a few times and it's easy as pie to find a place to sleep. 

Lastly, I want something I built. I want to know exactly how everything works and exactly how to troubleshoot and fix it. Moreover, I want to build it myself so I know that it just doesn't break...period. I want a vehicle that will work during a Zombie apocalypse.  Not because I'm a prepper---though I don't think the world is sustainable at the moment---but more because I want to live in a very simple way. To put a fine point on it, I even considered whether it was possible to transport a couple of chickens around with me. (You'll soon learn it's good for me to have other people to talk me out of stupid shit.)

Imma push the button so I don't loose stuff.
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The following 6 users say Thank You to Putts for this post:
Netter (01-02-2018), Vesper (06-24-2017), Jahmai (06-18-2017), Patrick46 (06-08-2017), tx2sturgis (05-19-2017), AbuelaLoca (05-17-2017)
#3
Putt is 14' behind the driver's seat. Initially I had been looking at stepvans that were 16'. I did a lot of scrounging around in the on-line classifieds and came to the conclusion that I needed to spend about $16k on a pre-2007ish diesel that would run on dirty fuel in Central America. That's a sentence that took six months to write.

Then, I was driving down the frontage road here in Bozeman, Montana, where I live (yes, I'll fill in my profile) and saw this out in front of the Culligan Man's place.

[Image: 20150411_161416-L.jpg]

$20k and two feet shorter than I wanted. But...it was in good shape, and I dug the shit out of the test drive. 2006 with 70k miles...theoretically just broke in for a vehicle like this. It was too much dough though, so I said no thanks.

Then, about six months later, my neighbor across the street from me, who is a sales guy at the local Ford dealership, tells me they have a used stepvan on the lot. I go take a look. Sure as shootin' it's the same vehicle; the Culligan dude did a trade-in for a new truck that would fit in his dock, and now the Ford dudes had to figure out how to unload it. It was listed at $16,999...I told him I'd do $16k out the door and we were done. Then I went to my Farmer's home owners and vehicle insurance agent and my bank and did the paperwork, and I was a proud owner of a commercial vehicle that would sit in my driveway and pay registration and full-boat insurance as if it was delivering newspapers on public roads for 40 hours a week. 

I tell you, I'm so friggen grateful that I can just afford to pull the switch on all that paperwork shit. In so many forums I've seen so many people have to struggle to get a commercial vehicle into a position where they can even start a conversion it's disheartening. I just bled my paycheck into the right hole and it happened. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting away with it easy. 

So, as of October a year and a half ago, Putt has lived in my driveway.

[Image: PuttOutside-L.jpg]
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The following 3 users say Thank You to Putts for this post:
AbuelaLoca (05-17-2017), Ballenxj (05-11-2017), hepcat (05-10-2017)
#4
Cool! So far so good, right!???

Here lately, my Sandy an I have been watching this guy on the u tubes who bought a huge step van. It is a VERY DIFFERENT approach from our journey!
Check out our journey below in my signature, and also on Fakebook!

You may be on a better path, what with the high ceiling, fairly square sides an such!

Keep posting, Brother! "Git Er Dunn!!!"

Such Fun!
Thx, Dan'l
Big plans, Mini budget!!!
Check out my build here: Sophia's Hauler
And on Fakebook, look for us at: @Sophias.Hauler
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The following 1 user says Thank You to galladanb for this post:
Putts (05-11-2017)
#5
Welcome aboard to another KLR rider. It will be awesome to see what you do with Putt.
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Putts (05-11-2017)
#6
I'm excited to see this develop Smile
I found her. I love her. The Bacon Van, my 1986 Chevy G20.
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Putts (05-11-2017)
#7
(05-10-2017, 07:28 PM)galladan Wrote: Here lately, my Sandy an I have been watching this guy on the u tubes who bought a huge step van. It is a VERY DIFFERENT approach from our journey!
Check out our journey below in my signature, and also on Fakebook!

You may be on a better path, what with the high ceiling, fairly square sides an such!

Keep posting, Brother! "Git Er Dunn!!!"

Such Fun!

Gotta link perchance for those u-toobs?

I did check out your van build...very inspiring. I'm a month away from starting the electrical stuff. I'm pretty good with electronics---used to repair scanning electron microscopes---but I'm only modestly familiar with configuring a vehicle electrical system. I'll have questions for sure.

Yeah, building into something that's all 90 degree angles is a big plus. Discovering that a wall or floor here and there that's 88 degrees kinda screws things up when you're expecting 90. Ah well. A little bondo here and there and things will buff right out...or not.

Nice to meet you!
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galladanb (05-12-2017)
#8
(05-10-2017, 09:29 PM)masterplumber Wrote: Welcome aboard to another KLR rider. It will be awesome to see what you do with Putt.

Thanks. After I sell the house I'll be putting a custom bumper on the rear (and front) that will have a motor cycle mount. My bumper thumper of choice will be a TW200. Just a glorious, all purpose, efficient, easy to ride little bike. Had one before and loved it. Nothing better for a little bimble around the countryside.

I think as a master plumber you'll appreciate my ultra-simple set-up. Nice to meet you, mate.
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#9
A bit of timeline info here:

Initially I saw this as a 7 year project to start my Social Security at 66.3 yo, but I found my self wanting to accelerate the process. I push the button next year in August on Social Security at 62. I thought about waiting, but I've been a good earner and I'm fucking over it, so I'm working to pull it off at 62 and start my adventure. That means I hope to be done with Putt and driving away from my sold house in the spring of 2019. 

I'm so looking forward to learning how to do this from you folks in the mean time. Thanks in advance for all your help. I've already been mildly lurking (unregistered) for a couple of years. Bob's advice and videos have been inspirational. Thank you for doing all this, mate. 

So, I'm on the track of taking a stepvan that was initially commissioned purchased by the Chicago Tribune in 2006. I guess I should do the technical details now.

Putt is a 2006 Morgan Olson step van on an International SC1652 chassis with a Navistar VT365 engine. This is where the real gear heads start to cringe. The VT365 engine is the foundation of the Ford Powerstroke 6 liter engine; an engine well know to blow itself to bits. Mostly, this is because idiot kids chipping their engine and want to roll coal at 70mph. Morans.

[Image: 20150411_162232-L.jpg]

Anyhow, there is some problems built into this engine.
  • Head bolts used from the factory were not strong enough and will stretch if put under too much load for too long.
  • Once they stretch you start to get coolant/oil contamination.
  • Which overheats the exhaust gas recirculator (EGR) and starts to corrode the radiator in there, which then starts to leak coolant, which ends up getting into the intake fuel mixture, which screws up all sorts of stuff, and eventually causes the engine to blow.
  • Or...the VT365 turbos from '05 and '06 have a nasty habit of grenading at the worst possible moment.
Fortunately, all these things are fairly repairable. Replacing the headbolts is well beyond my comfort zone, so once the house sells I'll find a good mechanic, set up and appointment, and spend a few days in a motel while the work is done. at the same time I'll have an EGR bypass installed---it's mostly an emissions thing and the vehicle will actually run more efficiently with it bypassed entirely...or so I read on the web. And I'll have an '07 or later turbo installed. 

Empty, Putt weighs in at about 10,500 lbs. GVWR is 19,500 lbs. So I can add up to 9000 lbs of stuff to Putt. I've done the mental math before with 150 gallons of water, a 60 gallon extended range tank (the normal tank is 25 giving me about a 250 mile range and I don't like that), four batteries, back bumper and motorcycle, food, interior build, and my fat butt, and I can't figure out how I could add more than about 5000 lbs.

My thought here is that my weight will be fairly stable, so once she's build and on the road, I might consider some suspension modifications to set it right for the weight and soften up the ride a bit...but maybe not. I'll just have to see how she rides at weight.
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The following 1 user says Thank You to Putts for this post:
AbuelaLoca (05-17-2017)
#10
Okie dokie, this is the post that will give you a good vision of what Putt's going to look like indside.

Like I said, I'm a bit of a geek, and have in the past done some mechanical design work. So I know how to run a 3D computer aided design program called Solidworks. It's one of the two main 3D CAD programs out there, the other well known one is AutoCAD. These programs cost in the neighborhood of $1500 to purchase, and technically you need to pay a $500/year seat fee or something. Anyway, Solid works is crazy expensive. But, bless their ever lovin' hearts, they offer a program for veterans where you can buy if for personal use for $25. Woot!

So I drew up Putt. Mostly it's a sketch to work from, I don't take any measurements from the drawings. Hell, I hardly ever look at them any more. But it was great in the planning stages to be able to shuffle things around to consider different layouts.

Here's what I settled on, and I say settled because when doing something like this it's all about where you're willing to compromise. If the shitter's an inch wider, then the counter and drawers have an inch less.  Here's the top view of the basic layout with the upper cabinets not shown so you can see the floor plan better. 

[Image: 3DOverheadViewl-L.jpg]

The first thing to notice is that the rear door opens to a storage area that will be completely separate from the cabin. I don't want to live with the smell of a chainsaw in my space. That back area will store all the chairs, tables, firewood, fire ring, buckets, shovels, spare parts, tools, blah, blah, blah.

The bed runs crossways above the wheel wells. That's a standard single mattress you see there; there will be just enough room for a little headboard shelf with reading light, book holder, glasses storage, iPad charging, etc.

At the top is the kitchen cabinet that contains, from left to right: a composting toilet; propane range (mine will actually be just one burner), sink and faucet, and then the top-loading refrigerator under a hinged counter top.

The bottom side shows the dinette. The forward seat will be a car seat bolted to the top of the battery box.  The rear seat will be a compact RV swivel recliner.

Here's a side view.

[Image: 3DBasicInterior-L.jpg]
Here you can see all the storage compartments. Under and above bed is all my personal stuff. Above the kitchen will be for food. Above the dinette will be all the electronics. The bed, over bed, and kitchen cabinet will have a single door that flips up on hydraulic lifters. The kitchen counter unit will have drawers for all the dishes and pans etc. The garbage will be under the range accessed through a flappy panel. 

Here's a quick look inside the kitchen counter unit.

[Image: 3DKitchenDetail-L.jpg]

The turquoise box is the 60 gallon water tank. I eventually plan to put two more tanks between the wheel wells for a total of about 120 gallons. The dark blue box is a water cube for the gray water under the sink.  I had planned to just manually empy this but have changed my mind and will be installing a small 10 gallon tank that can be drained with a valve. The orange box is the fridge. I bought a Dometic CFX-50W that runs on 12VDC or 110AC.
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Wildtrapper (01-04-2018), dawnann7 (12-03-2017), Ballenxj (05-11-2017)


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