New paint for Transit

When the first Ford Transit comes off the assembly line, later this year, it will come with a new paint application. The two-wet monocoat process results in a more durable finish at a lower cost. Currently, this highly specialized process can be applied to white vans only, so the other colors and the metallics will keep their separate conventional paint system.

zenith electric ram promaster

Is electricity the future of Van living/camping?

Zenith Electric has made available an electric version of the Ram ProMaster cargo van.

It has an electric drivetrain, including a 180-hp motor and a 62.5-kWh bank of lithium-ion phosphate batteries and a list price of $89,500, that can be offset by a federal tax credit of $5,500 and perhaps other grants or credits. It removes the powertrains from completely finished vans from Chrysler, and installs the electric equipment.
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Nissan NV400 Euro Van

For many years, the Cargo Van market has suffered from a lack of innovation; this dry spell ended recently with the introduction of the Nissan NV200, the RAM ProMaster and the upcoming 2015 Ford Transit.

Now Nissan is introducing a larger NV400 van into the European market, which looks very similar to the Transit and ProMaster, that share the same European origin. After a closer look however, the cargo van appears to be a variation on the Renault Master MKIII van, also known as the Opel Movano and Vauxhall Movano.

nv400-2Its configurations are similar to the Ford Transit: four lengths, three heights and three different wheelbases. With a cargo volume of up to 600 cubic feet and a 2.3-L 4-cyl. diesel engine, this van also comes with front, rear and all-wheel-drive versions.

Will Nissan bring the NV400 to the US and do we really need more choice for our van conversions?

2014 Ram ProMaster Van

The 2014 line-up of the Ram ProMaster Van is the second introduction of a European style commercial van, after Ford’s early announcement of its Transit van.
The ProMaster is based on the Fiat Ducato, with some adjustments and refinements for the American market.
As a front-wheel-drive-only, it differentiates itself from other currently available vans. The exclusion of a driveshaft resulted in a decreased overall weight and a lower floor height.

Prices start at $28,630.00. A high-roof, long wheelbase model’s base MSRP is $32,875.00.
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Simple Garden Bridge


The space underneath can be retrofitted later on, to accommodate a water source which can transform the dry bed into a flowing stream.

This easy weekend project has a price tag of about $75.00, with all of its parts available at your local superstore.


A frame of two 6ft and two 4ft pressure treated lumber forms the base of the bridge. The two long boards are notched at both ends and the two short boards are fitted in between and fastened with a few screws.
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Magazine Rack (2)

Enhance the Tiger Maple

Before continuing with the assembly, the three front pieces that are made out of Tiger Maple, need some ‘popping’, that is, enhancing the visibility of the curl in the wood.


Tools & materials required: Dye, sand paper and jar.


A little ‘Dark Mission Brown’ powder dye is combined with some distilled water.


The application of the dye to the wood is done with an old cotton rag. To that extend, the wood is sanded, starting with 80-grit paper, followed by 150-grit. As the curl absorbs more of the dye, after another sanding, the curl is visibly enhanced.


The larger bottom panel after a partial application of the dye.

The assembly is discussed in the third and final posting.

Magazine Rack (1)

Utilizing every available space is a priority; the area to the right of the rear side window is large enough to accommodate a magazine rack and is conveniently close to the bed. This will allow for some late night reading. Back to the workshop for some woodworking!

The main wood choice is again Cherry in combination with some Tiger Maple as a front panel.

After dimensioning and sizing the lumber, everything must be put together, including two extra pieces which are added to the side to act as a pen/pencil holder.

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2014 Ford Transit Van

2014 Ford TransitIn the second half of this year, Ford will introduce the 2014 Transit van to the American market, thereby replacing the aging E-Series model. It is basically the full-size van that Ford has been offering in the European and Asian markets for many years.
Despite a recent make-over in these markets, Ford made further adjustments and refinements to this version of the Transit van, to account for the different uses and expectations of the American consumer.

In addition to the currently available wheelbases and lengths in the Econoline models, the Transit will offer a selection different heights, lower weight but increased payloads and reduced fuel consumption and maintenance costs. Of course, that will probably be offset by higher suggested retail prices, which are, as of this moment, not yet released.
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