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#26 2016-08-23 07:36:21

itsnotmeitsyou
Potato, Patreason...
Supporter
From: San Antonio, Texas
Registered: 2011-07-31
User Number: 5779
Posts: 2240

Re: Ford Transit Connect

When I had my car redone when I went to Iraq the first time I had a 'friend' do the break in for me.  He ended up re-ending a trailer hitch on a durango.  Insurance paid for a new FMIC, new aluminum radiator and more.  If you have receipts for the upgrades then my insurance has no issue with it (state farm).


2005 Saab 9-2x Aero:  More than you've had done to your car.
2015 Forester XT Touring

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#27 2016-08-23 10:47:57

hammyt
0_0
Supporter
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: 2005-07-18
User Number: 562
Posts: 14088

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Gonna be driving a 15 person Ford Transit 350 from Denver to Telluride and back this week.  Should be interesting lol.  driving


2005 Saab 9-2x Aero 5MT | 275whp/250wtq | 13.6@100 | SOLD
2014 Focus ST 6MT | Tuxedo Black

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#28 2016-08-23 12:08:18

ikbrown
long live R0LO!
From: Fair Oaks, CA
Registered: 2011-10-06
User Number: 6094
Posts: 4963

Re: Ford Transit Connect

dotmaster206 wrote:

or will the fact that it has a manual transmission that doesn't show up in their drop down menu going to be a big problem?

You just won't be able to get windshield wiper blades for it at O'Reilly's.  biggrin
'Uh sir, I don't see a manual transmission, not sure which wiper blades you'll need'


2005 Saab 92x Aero 5MT | The basic mods, Stage 2.04
1968 Dodge Charger 383 | WIP, restored almost everything but body work
2014 Subaru Forester | Wife's car

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#29 2016-08-23 22:05:37

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

hammyt wrote:

Gonna be driving a 15 person Ford Transit 350 from Denver to Telluride and back this week.  Should be interesting lol.  driving

What for? Sounds awesome, it's a really nice drive.

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#30 2016-08-23 22:08:00

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

ikbrown wrote:

dotmaster206 wrote:

or will the fact that it has a manual transmission that doesn't show up in their drop down menu going to be a big problem?

You just won't be able to get windshield wiper blades for it at O'Reilly's.  biggrin
'Uh sir, I don't see a manual transmission, not sure which wiper blades you'll need'

Shit I didn't think about that...

star

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#31 2016-08-24 22:29:35

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

An interesting idea that the Vaccar folks had: what about swapping the engine/transmission together? I think the easiest one to use would be a Fiesta ST motor/transmission. That way, the wiring and ECU is all there and works together without any messing with it. It's an interesting thought. If that's the direction we go, it'd make it easier to source the van to begin with since the non-turbo 2.5 motor is much more common. I wonder about cost effectiveness with that plan though. Would I be able to sell the motor for anything significant? Or maybe I'd want to find one that had a blown motor. Seems unlikely that I'd be able to find one like that though, since I want the latest gen version which is 2014+. All the ones I've seen are under 20k miles. If the motor popped, it'd still be under warranty. So, yeah, that's unlikely.

Another option would be using an aftermarket ECU if it was going to be a problem to get a stock one work with the new transmission/engine combo. One thing I would worry a bit about there is how Colorado emissions would work with that. They plug into the OBDII port in addition to the sniffer test. What would the computer read? Got some research to do.

I'm working on scheduling a call with the Vaccar Master Garage shop manager hopefully later this week. So far via email they've been really good about answering my questions and the enthusiasm for the project is definitely there.

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#32 2016-08-24 23:39:03

racerjim
Headroom is overrated...
Supporter
From: Boulder CO
Registered: 2005-06-16
User Number: 247
Posts: 2999

Re: Ford Transit Connect

dotmaster206 wrote:

I wonder about cost effectiveness with that plan though.

If you are worried about that, you are scoping out the wrong project!   big_smile

Having said that, I'm subscribed to this thread!


My Car:  2009 Mercedes Benz SLK55 AMG
SOLD August 2016:  2005 Saab 9-2x Aero 5-Speed, Cold, Premium, Arctic Silver
Her Car:  2013 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

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#33 2016-08-25 08:34:55

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Haha, yea that's a fair statement. I know it isn't going to be a good investment. A better way to word it may have been "I wonder if this would be the most expensive way to do it" or something like that.

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#34 2016-08-25 14:31:22

cjaama
Member
From: albany, ny
Registered: 2007-03-09
User Number: 1885
Posts: 992

Re: Ford Transit Connect

itsnotmeitsyou wrote:

When I had my car redone when I went to Iraq the first time I had a 'friend' do the break in for me.  He ended up re-ending a trailer hitch on a durango.  Insurance paid for a new FMIC, new aluminum radiator and more.  If you have receipts for the upgrades then my insurance has no issue with it (state farm).

This is not normal.  Typically your collision coverage will get your car back to stock unless you have opted for additional coverage (CPE).

dotmaster206 wrote:

A question that maybe Jameson or anyone else who has done a conversion like this might be able to answer: how does insurance work for a significantly modified car like this? Will I be able to still go through a normal insurer like Geico or will the fact that it has a manual transmission that doesn't show up in their drop down menu going to be a big problem?

I'm not sure what drop-down menu you're referring to.  When you are getting quoted for a policy, you enter your VIN and it automatically knows what the car was before you decided to sink thousands of dollars into it.

I don't get this project at all.  You drove a manual VW van and it was fun?  Buy a manual VW van, you can stick to your plan of spending way too much money on something and not have to go through the headache of doing a drivetrain swap.


'05 Desert Sand Aero> '96 Volvo 850> '13 Passat> '16 Chevy Volt/'97 Wrangler

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#35 2016-08-25 15:36:23

hyperboarder
WhosaChris?
Supporter
From: Taterville
Registered: 2007-06-19
User Number: 2114
Posts: 8002
Website

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I have my Exocet insured through a custom place, basically agreed value.  I can pass on info for them if needed, price is pretty reasonable.

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#36 2016-08-25 23:33:48

Jameson
Member
From: MI
Registered: 2006-12-27
User Number: 1725
Posts: 3011

Re: Ford Transit Connect

All of my cars are insured agreed value.  First I had Grundy for the M, then I had enough cars to join the MVP program where all my daily drivers are agreed value as well.  I cant let some insurance company look up the book of my 170k Saab and give me chump change when the car is nearly impossible to duplicate.


1998 BMW M Roadster, Dinan/RMS stage 2+@12psi
2006 Saab 9-5 Aero'D Combi 5mt stage5+@20psi
2009 Saab 9-3 Combi (too nice to call a beater-beater)
2015 Buick Regal "T" (wife's)

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#37 2016-08-26 12:06:22

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

cjaama wrote:

I don't get this project at all.  You drove a manual VW van and it was fun?  Buy a manual VW van, you can stick to your plan of spending way too much money on something and not have to go through the headache of doing a drivetrain swap.

Haha no, not at all. The VW microbus this was indeed super fun, but this will be a very different vehicle. I don't want to daily drive a microbus. They're both manual vans, but that's pretty much the end of the similarities. The microbus was fun in the way that driving a dump truck for the first time would be, I imagine. It was just so different from anything I'd ever driven before. It was huge, heavy, had unbelievably soft suspension, a 4 speed shifter that was like 2 feet long and hit the dashboard in 1st and 3rd. The linkage was so long you couldn't feel a difference between in and out of gear, you just moved it into the position and hoped that was the right spot. It was hilarious fun, and since it was a challenging no-feedback gearbox/clutch, it was super rewarding to row through the gears smoothly. I really want to drive a dump truck, btw. But I don't want to actually own and drive a dump every day.

The idea with the TC is way different. I want it to be a 'hot' van. Not crazy, but ~200hp, tight handling, and fun to drive in a more traditional sense. It's a lot smaller than the VW - seats only 5 as opposed to 7-9 depending on the configuration in the VW. It is fairly light for a van - barely heavier than the 9-2x.

I want to find a sweet spot between being stock and obnoxiously modified. It should be obvious that it isn't a stock vehicle (wheels, slightly lowered/stiffened suspension, a slightly more opened up exhaust, maybe a mesh grille, tinted windows, maybe front seats from a Fiesta ST or similar) but not totally ridiculous (giant fart cannon exhaust, big wing, aftermarket company stickers, slammed to the ground on airbags, etc).

You don't get the appeal...that's fine. I'd say maybe 50% of people that I talk to about this project 'get' it right away. It doesn't seem to even correlate with car people vs. not car people. My fiance is super into it, but isn't really a big car person. Having her support is key to my continued efforts. If she thought it was dumb, I might still try to do it. But since she gets it, and actively supports it, I'm extra pumped on it. 

The best way I can explain it I think is that it brings the practical benefits of a van and removes the downsides for me. Practical benefits like a big, open cargo area. The boxy shape takes maximum advantage of its footprint, so even though it's barely larger than the 9-2x it can carry way more stuff. Take the rear bench seat out and you've got a 49" wide, 50" tall, 70" long area that you can work with. That's awesome.

For me, the downsides to a 'typical' van are that they look dumb, handle poorly, and they just suck the spirit out of you (at least for me they do). But the TC, in my opinion, looks kinda cool. Dress it up and little bit and it looks damn cool in it's own way. With the 1.6L ecoboost and some bolt-ons, it'll be quite a quick ride. It'll make turbo noises. It has a tight turning radius. It'll zip around! Literally the simple fact that it will have a manual transmission takes me from 6 to midnight. Add in the turbo motor and I'm smitten.

After all that, there's an extra cool factor that is hard to explain. It's funny in a way that will stay funny. It's silly, but not in a way that makes it useless.

And, ultimately, I just need a manual. There is no compromise available here. I have never driven an automatic vehicle that I thought "I would like to drive this every day." I know that's an extreme stance for many, but it's the case for me. I expect that long term, the only car that I own that doesn't have a clutch pedal will be a full-electric drivetrain.

I get that for most people it's not worth it. That's why I haven't found documentation of anyone having done this before. But it's worth it to me. I think the end result will be cheaper than the other cars I would look at replacing my 9-2x with, and I'll probably happier with this. This isn't something I'm worried about resale value on. I'm gonna have this for 10+ years. I want to drop my future kids off at kindergarten in it, alongside all the other vans. And yeah, it'll be another van in the row of vans, but it will be nothing like them. It will be awesome. Even if nobody else thinks it's awesome, it is to me.

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#38 2016-08-26 13:12:38

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Thanks for the info on the agreed value. That makes good sense. Please do pass on your info on the companies you're using. It's early yet, but good to know.

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#39 2016-08-26 15:30:51

Jameson
Member
From: MI
Registered: 2006-12-27
User Number: 1725
Posts: 3011

Re: Ford Transit Connect

dotmaster206 wrote:

Thanks for the info on the agreed value. That makes good sense. Please do pass on your info on the companies you're using. It's early yet, but good to know.

Grundy smile  Hagerty was way more expensive with no improvement in coverage.


1998 BMW M Roadster, Dinan/RMS stage 2+@12psi
2006 Saab 9-5 Aero'D Combi 5mt stage5+@20psi
2009 Saab 9-3 Combi (too nice to call a beater-beater)
2015 Buick Regal "T" (wife's)

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#40 2016-08-26 16:24:05

hyperboarder
WhosaChris?
Supporter
From: Taterville
Registered: 2007-06-19
User Number: 2114
Posts: 8002
Website

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Rally Insurance here.

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#41 2016-08-26 23:01:18

itsnotmeitsyou
Potato, Patreason...
Supporter
From: San Antonio, Texas
Registered: 2011-07-31
User Number: 5779
Posts: 2240

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Set an ebay search notification up for salvaged Fiesta ST's smile


2005 Saab 9-2x Aero:  More than you've had done to your car.
2015 Forester XT Touring

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#42 2016-08-27 17:23:04

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

arrow-up Good call. I will do that.

I talked yesterday on the phone for almost an hour to the Vaccar Master Garage shop manager. Our next step is going to be for me to pay them for ~5 hrs of research to get a clearer idea of what it is going to cost, what the real options for how to do this are, and what the trade offs between those options are. Since they work directly with Ford for promotional SEMA vehicles and such, they have direct access to Ford engineers that work on the TC, so we should be able to get a pretty solid plan together. So far, I'm really happy with the level and quality of communication I've had with Vaccar.

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#43 2016-08-28 18:52:39

Jameson
Member
From: MI
Registered: 2006-12-27
User Number: 1725
Posts: 3011

Re: Ford Transit Connect

dotmaster206 wrote:

arrow-up Good call. I will do that.

I talked yesterday on the phone for almost an hour to the Vaccar Master Garage shop manager. Our next step is going to be for me to pay them for ~5 hrs of research to get a clearer idea of what it is going to cost, what the real options for how to do this are, and what the trade offs between those options are. Since they work directly with Ford for promotional SEMA vehicles and such, they have direct access to Ford engineers that work on the TC, so we should be able to get a pretty solid plan together. So far, I'm really happy with the level and quality of communication I've had with Vaccar.

Sounds like a way to get Ford interested in some backing in parts/money to make it a SEMA/promotional build smile

All it takes is a compelling email to the right people too.


1998 BMW M Roadster, Dinan/RMS stage 2+@12psi
2006 Saab 9-5 Aero'D Combi 5mt stage5+@20psi
2009 Saab 9-3 Combi (too nice to call a beater-beater)
2015 Buick Regal "T" (wife's)

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#44 2016-08-28 22:57:38

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Coming from and industry guy, I'll have to take your word for it. That'd be pretty fantastic.

The Vaccar shop manager actually mentioned that even just bringing this idea up with their Ford contacts could potentially result in some other options that we never could have known existed. His example was something like 'oh, we actually have a TC with a manual transmission in storage currently.' 

I'm very interested in finding out what they hear back from them.

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#45 2016-08-29 13:50:16

cjaama
Member
From: albany, ny
Registered: 2007-03-09
User Number: 1885
Posts: 992

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I'm guessing you've come across this thread.  Spoiler alert: The guy ends up aborting the project,but there might still end up being some stuff in there worth reading.  He also lowers and puts some cool wheels on it.
http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.p … rsion-Info

What is your budget for this thing anyway?  I imagine this custom builder you're talking to can get out of control in a hurry.


'05 Desert Sand Aero> '96 Volvo 850> '13 Passat> '16 Chevy Volt/'97 Wrangler

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#46 2016-08-29 20:41:57

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

Yeah, I saw that. It's the first gen TC, though. I think I've seen a couple of first gen 'kits' for sale on forums out there. A few inquiries for the current gen (2014+) but nothing serious.

As far as budgeting/cost, I'll have a much better idea in a few days after they send me the fruits of their researching. They thought roughly $3k labor for the swap off the top of the head type estimate, though. We'll see.

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#47 2016-08-30 09:46:49

cjaama
Member
From: albany, ny
Registered: 2007-03-09
User Number: 1885
Posts: 992

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I would make sure you don't allow their estimate dictate your budget. 
How much are you paying for them to research this?


'05 Desert Sand Aero> '96 Volvo 850> '13 Passat> '16 Chevy Volt/'97 Wrangler

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#48 2016-08-30 20:08:13

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I'm paying them $60/hr. We capped it at 5hrs to start, and they may need less.

I mean, for an absolute limit, I'd say $20k total. But it depends to a certain extent on what the end result really is. If we start with a clean vehicle (non-salvage title) and can add some other goodies like exhaust and suspension upgrades, etc., maybe I'd be willing to entertain a higher number.

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#49 2016-09-03 20:41:05

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1968

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I went to a Ford dealership today to get inside and test drive a TC. I hadn't ever actually been up close to one before so thought it prudent to actually have that experience before getting too deep on this journey.

Overall, I liked it a lot. The handling really is quite good, and not just for a van. I drove both a long and short wheelbase version, and you can really tell the difference between them in terms of handling feel. The SWB is quick and sharp. It was remarkably smooth on the highway, and quieter than I'm used to as well. It's funny reading reviews of the TC; people often mention the road/wind noise as a weak point, but after driving the 9-2x for 4+ years, the TC sounds luxury quiet. I think the bar is a lot higher in that department with newer vehicles. I had read that it had noisy suspension over bumps and stuff but I did not experience that at all. It was pretty buttoned up. The seats were comfortable and supportive. The 2nd row bench was actually pretty comfortable as well. It has some noticeable contouring for all 3 seats in the back, which is nice.

Two negative points:
- The length of the dashboard is surprisingly long. I'm sure I'd get used to it, but it's weird going from the 9-2x to that. It has almost as much dashboard as it does hood length. That makes it feel bigger than it is, I think.
- There are some cheap feeling plastic things around. The worst I noticed was the overhead map light area. It was really flimsy/weak plastic feeling. Not so nice. It isn't worse than the 9-2x in that department, but still a little disappointing that it's not much better.

The dealer didn't have any Ecoboost ones on the lot, so I couldn't try that. The 2.5NA was pretty meh. It felt decently peppy at low speeds, but if you put your foot into it, there isn't a whole lot to give. It's adequate.

The salespeople I talked to had basically no clue about the TC. They were surprised I wanted to look at it and kept asking if I was going to use it for my business or something like that. They also told me some factually wrong stuff like 'you can only get the version with the seats in the long wheelbase.' Selling these things is really not a priority for them, and they obviously got no training or information on them. The salesman who went with me on the test drive was pretty surprised how nice it was. He had never been in one either.

The showroom had a couple of Mustang GT350s that looked really nice. They also had an F-150 Tonka Edition, which is probably the dumbest looking thing I've ever seen on a showroom floor. It even had yellow Tonka brake caliper covers.

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#50 2016-09-04 14:38:48

Tribbe
Katrineholm
From: Sweden
Registered: 2010-08-05
User Number: 4731
Posts: 1814
Website

Re: Ford Transit Connect

I'm driving a Ford Transit Connect at work every day. Mine only have 2 seats and a wall behind them, this makes room for 0 adjustments on the seats.... We have about 15 of them at work, all of them that got Diesel heaters have had their cars at the shop several times for that.


A Few Pics of my car | Old Pics
Did I type wrong? Please correct me.

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