My latest project - something larger!

A 2003 'Freightliner' badged Mercedes Sprinter, 140" wheelbase, undergoing total transformation over the next the next eight months. Plans include all electric and one-fuel (diesel) appliances, shower, cassette toilet, and indoor storage for two bikes. Long-term plans are for an around-the-world expedition. Let the progress begin!

Hmm...what have we here?

 

My 'new' Syncro Westfalia!

After my old faithful 'Otto' Syncro Westy fell apart due to rust end of 2011, I acquired this relatively rust-free Syncro Multivan from a friend. I had already converted it to a TDI for him years ago, but now that it was mine I started with some fresh new ideas and admittedly got a tad carried away.

AHU m-TDI 1.9, regeared and updated transmission. 

'Before':

   

Interior was totally stripped and sprayed with Quiet Car sound deadener. When that had dried a few days, I packed all cavities with Enguard insulation (which we now stock, for sale!). The result was amazing - quiet and holds heat very well. The next step was to fit some real deep-cycle batteries to power all the cool gadgets I had planned for the build. To utilize space as completely as possible, I cut out the original battery boxes and replaced then with custom-fabricated boxes made of 20-gauge galvanneal steel, 2.25" deeper. These now hold the top-notch Lifeline group 27, 100-ah batteries.

     

Next, I started building a custom kitchen. My original plan was to build a smaller removable unit that would go behind the passenger seat, so I bought a SMEV single burner and sink combo. After thinking a bit more I decided to go with a larger custom version of the original Westfalia kitchen since I would still need a place to store food, and really wanted to gain more woodworking skills along the way. So I ended up with this - same cooktop, Vitrifrigo C60i compressor fridge, and three huge drawers on ball-bearing slides. I elected to keep the MV rear seat, so that meant an under-seat water tank and smaller 'filler' cubby with .5-micron carbon filter and UV purifier. In the same space I fitted a Xantrex 1800W - 40A charger/inverter and the Espar D2 diesel furnace.

           

I built up a custom rear bumper and dual swing-away tire carriers - a design unlike any others out there. Suspension got the new Trailmaster HD kit, direct from Germany - designed for vans weighing around 6000 lbs, which is what I expected mine to be fully loaded. Not shown are the Audi A6 288mm front brakes and BMW 3-series vacuum booster, the combination of which results in power and feel of a modern truck's brakes.

       

I'm still not done but you can see the progress made up to end of 2012, when I loaded up the dogs and we took off for a 5-week, 8000-mile western road-trip.

     

       


My 'Syncro Monster' project - a 1990 Syncro 16" turbodiesel, Reimo camper conversion and high-roof

This camper traveled all over the world before coming to me: Europe, South America, all over N. America and more.

 
 

The stock 16-er  brakes will be updated to Audi S8 345mm brake discs and 4-piston calipers. Brake swept area will be effectively doubled. Rear brakes will remain as the LT drums are pretty good! (photo to come later)

The wheels will be upgraded to these sweet - and super strong - Audi S8 alloys.



An interior photo as it appeared when I bought the van.
 


 

I have big plans for the interior, almost everything you see here will be replaced with more modern appliances - huge 90-liter Vitrifrigo SS electric fridge, Espar diesel furnace/water heater, Webasto diesel cooktop, custom wood cabinets and floor (possibly a heated floor?), Recaro seats, wood steering wheel, Audi instrument package from a Euro TDI, Westfalia full-width bed, and more! Just need to find the time...




Here is my old reliable (but rusty) Syncro Westfalia I've owned since 1996: He came with the name 'Otto', from Toronto Canada. I've driven this van nearly 500,000 km, it now has over 700,000 km (450,000 of those km as a diesel), and still running the original viscous coupler and many other parts!

This wonderful little camper has taken me around the 48 states multiple times and to most of the lower provinces of Canada over the course of the past 15 years. Sadly, in September of 2011, the left rear suspension mounts collapsed into the body, so I decided to retire it, finally. Such a sad day, but I have hundreds of great memories of the places it took me and my dogs.

  
 

Westfalia outside table bracket: it came to light recently that one of the 'big' vendors suddenly 'discovered' a great idea of mounting a table on the outside of the Westy, using the jack point as a mounting point. Odd that I've had such a thing for ten years in use on my own van. I guess campsite photos get around. Anyway, here is the 'el cheapo' version I made so long ago, you too can save most of the $139 cost this vendor charges and make your own, using iron water pipe and a few easily-found parts at the local hardware store:

   


One of the best changes I ever made to this van: The Vitrifrigo C51iSAC electric fridge. (See more about this on the 'parts' page of this site - I now sell these fridges direct!) Well....let's not forget the installation of the awesome TDI engine!

   
 

My former Dehler Profi, 1984 model with 1.9 carbureted wbx and five-speed. One of six formally imported to the US. Would have been a cool rig to 'Syncronise' and convert to TDI. Too many projects, so little time...