Java's F450 'Rough Road' RV


Figured you guys might want to see my build over here too. So here we go, its going to be a copy/paste for awhile till we get caught up. Truck is replacing a 4x4 swapped Winnie. Not a true off road truck, its just too big, but lots of FS roads, and ski bumming in the winter.

I have been half searching for a replacement for our Ski Bum Mobile V1.0 (on Expo), I love the truck, but the long overhang and fiberglass construction limit me a bit. I had gotten a quote from Tri Van for an all aluminum body (same construction as Ward's Ram 5500) for an F450/550, and was keeping an eye out for cab chassis to com up cheap on CL.

Then I found this truck, Nearly the same body I had a quote for, on a 2008 F450 4x4 frame, which had been stretched 36" to allow for nearly no overhang. It was built as a chase truck for a UTV racing team. I wasn't really ready to pull the trigger for a new truck, but this was too good to pass up. Deal was struck and the truck headed to my driveway.

About the truck, Its on its second motor, the first owner towed horses with it, she attempted to drive it home after the CEL came on, #8 injector had failed, rod ventilated block. PO bought it, had a local shop drop a long block in and used it to go to Vegas for races a couple times. Then it sat, this is good and bad, it has ~4k miles on the new engine, but it leaks. A fair bit. Oil pan, valve covers and #6 injector seal. And the dreaded flex joints in the up pipe. Not the end of the world, but a lot of stuff to remove to get to the problem areas. It seems most procedures on these new trucks is cab off or trans out. Fun.

Everyone home in the driveway, I need a bigger driveway for this many large trucks...

The box is a bare shell.The cabover is 4' tall. Very high interior roof. First order of business is the roof, two vents were framed in, and covered over with plywood and Plexiglas. They leak. So two Maxxfans were ordered and have arrived!

Maxxfans and sealant, first of many parts deliveries.

The back is insulated barn doors. They will be staying. One will be for exterior storage, the other can be opened to the end of the bed if its used in summer. Four 6V 250Ah AGM batteries can be seen here too.


Condensed version of our current layout. I think it works pretty well. Toilet will just have a curtain, leave a bit more space at the door. Cabover bed for the kiddo, back bed for us, fixed dinette. Counter space is limited, but will have a fold out over the crawl through, and is across from the dinette table that can be used as well. Small bar sink, three burner RV cooktop, and the space below used for a marine fridge. Exterior storage for skis, other tall stuff at the back. Still debating on propane tank placement, I am thinking two BBQ style tanks on a swing out on the drivers rear.


First order of business is getting the crawl through, windows and doors framed and cut. The crawl through is going to be a challenge, I have some thinking and blue taping to do still, but it should be doable. Accordion seal will be used there. If anyone has done this I am all ears.

Once the framing is done I will have the entire thing spray foamed. I am still debating on ceiling thickness if anyone has input. Walls will be 1 3/4" foam with 1/4" plywood interior skin. Spray foam will be a big $$ item, but I fell it will be worth it in the long run.

Then its on to interior finishes. Dinette and vertical walls I am thinking will be small steel tubing with a thin plywood skin. Maximizes interior spaces of the compartments that way.

I am leaning towards doing EGR and DPF delete stuff to the engine while I am in there, but it adds a good budget hit. It may be a couple years down the road. Lift is a ways off too, but for most of what we do it should be ok for awhile. FS roads and snow/ice covered roads to ski areas. It has brand new tires that I wouldn't mind using up either.

This will be a very slow build. I am very budget limited, so it will be plugging away a bit at a time as budget allows. I will need to sell the RV come spring, and would like to have this one done shortly after, but I think that may be a lofty goal.


Looking back through these I wish I would have kept track of my hours.... Its hundreds now.... Post build note, spend the money for the MaxxFan with the damn remote! My wife cant reach the ceiling..... And getting out of bed to turn it up/down in the summer is annoying.

hmmmm leaking roof "vent"

Pull off plywood, scrub with MEK

MaxxFan shroud, covered in sticky stuff.

Roof hole #1 done! Only broke one screw off. Stupid stainless.

No more drip trash can needed.


Stripped the interior down. I was getting a bit of water at the back edge of the cabover, need to find it. I had a suspect in mind.

Marker lights were the suspect, and sure enough, you can see the tel tale dribble line coming out the bottom. (there may still be a little coming in from the gutter-body joint, but that is TBD)

Passenger side is better, but still a little drip.

In case anyone is interested, here is how the panels clip together and form the ribs.

Brown Santa has been leaving me lots of goodies.

12/3 SJTW for the 12V circuits. I could buy 100' extension cord cheaper than the wire, go figure. Made in the USA too.

14/2 Anchor Marine Tinned cooper wire for the 12V circuits, 250' roll, also Made in the USA.

Also got a switch panel and the interior lights I will be using.

I only had an hour or so, but I started on the cab.

Stripped the back wall.

I knew there were some mice at some point as I found some turds under the back seat.... But they made a home in the middle seat belt housing. No fresh, but stinky mouse pee. Somehow they seemed to have made it above the headliner too... I really didn't want to pull that. (post build, BETTER PRE PURCHASE INSPECTION!!!!!! No wonder he had it going with the heat on high when I arrived to look at it. Smelled a little musty but not crazy mouse pee....ended dropping the entire head liner, stripping 90% of the plastic interior trims and cleaning it all. Ugh)

Planning for the pass through, it looks like I can unbolt and slide the box back about 6"; I hope that's enough! And of course this is a glued in back window. (post build, didnt have to move the box at all, was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be, just scary cutting up a perfectly good truck)


Yeah this took a long time..... Every day after work, whenever my wife was out of town till midnight or 1 after the kid went to bed. Really wish I had tracked hours..

wiring rough in is just about done. I used that entire 250' roll of 14/2, and i didn't use it for the lighting circuits (18 gauge for the LED's). I didnt quite expect it to go that fast! I need another 30' probably. Need to run circuit for the heater and water pump still. I will likely run those outside the wall later on.

Door and double pane windows have been ordered too!

Two main areas for the elec, under the bed, where the batteries, inverter/charger fuse panel and breakers will live, and the end of the cabinets of the opposite side, where all the switches will be. The rest is lighting circuits, and conviniance plugs. I need to figure out a way to keep the end of the wires poking out of the walls/ceilings where I want them, duct tape may work, but the entire inside of the box is covered with frost at the moment, its cold out...

I got some rigid insulation to start furring the ceiling down with as well!


One table saw, one sheet of 3/4 ply turned into little pieces. These are the furring strips for the vertical walls.

Got one wall almost done. It was butt berkeleying cold. The missing areas are doors/windows.

So I tried insulating the aluminum channels. That was a failure. The foam would only expand ~6" either side of the hole, no matter how much you tired to pump in. Im not going to put a 15/64 hole very foot.... Looks like they will remain uninsulated. I dont think ti will make a real difference thinking about it now, the aluminum will bridge around the foam anyway.

You can see the foam puking out of the holes in a few spots here. That stuff was not cheap.

Got the ceiling channels filled at least.

Box of goodies is growing

Battery interconnect cables. Check, CL score.

Got an on demand hot water tank on Ebay, killer price, should be a nice unit, 60K btu's. (post build, it works, but takes 15 seconds to get hot water at the sink right above it, wastes water if you want it hot.....)


My door showed up, but the UPS guys had their way with it :mad:, edges are good and dented in a few places....

Picked up a used inverter/charger as well, only 1250 watts, but should run a microwave (i hope!). Charges at 55 amps, a bit slow there as well, but the price was right. Came with a 200A Blue sea breaker too.

Whats in the crate?

Windows!!! Not fancy flush pane ones, but they are double pane insulated ones, they latch and slide very nicely, I am very happy.

(post build, windows are still nice, I still like that they are glass. But the aluminum frames sweat a fair bit. Glass is way betteer scratch resistance for a truck this size pushing down FS roads)



Big hole cutting time!

headliner dropped and moved forward.

No going back now! It was a bit scary to take a sawzall to my new truck.... Rough cut in the box.

Window out, got 3/4 of the way around, then it broke... ugh


Need to cut the inside lip down to 1/2" still. Ran out of blades.

Window infill pieces, ran out of time today....





Got the window infill panels done. Used the cutout from the box! Has a rib on either piece, makes a nice stiff panel.

Almost done! Cutting the last bit of the cab and box.

done, that was a *****!

Whatever aluminum they used for the floor is HARD

Starting on the gasket!!

all done

Connected! just need to get the cab vents back in now.

Al Swope

Founding Member
You are ambitious. For your headliner, I once used coffee grounds to get a spoiled milk smell out of the carpet in vehicle. Maybe you could completely remove it, lay it out and cover with fresh, unused grounds coffee for a few days.
You are ambitious. For your headliner, I once used coffee grounds to get a spoiled milk smell out of the carpet in vehicle. Maybe you could completely remove it, lay it out and cover with fresh, unused grounds coffee for a few days.
Yeah It was a big project, but one I had been dreaming of for years. My wife is very understanding even though she rolled her eyes many times when I said I wanted a box truck :D

Interesting idea on the headliner, would not have thought of coffee grounds. I used some order eating bacteria spray, simple green, fabreeze, random cleaner mix, scrubbed, wet vacuumed repeated and ran an ozone machine a bunch. Its 99% out now, if its sitting baking in the sun you may get a faint whiff if you know what the smell is.

Getting the headliner out of the cab would have been tough, I believe it goes in either the windshield or back window hole during assembly.
More big holes this weekend!

Window is just temped in, so the red tape is water proofing...

One next to the door too, hard to get a pic as its next to the garage.

Opens the inside up a bit!

Said good bye to my little trailer too :(

Long list before insulation.... Got a little more done last night.

Reinforced the large window. It was a little floppy, and I didn't wan the spray foam to hold it crooked. Used a piece of oak there.

List, done. Way more of a thrash than I was expecting. All the little stuff adds up...

All the furring s done, all the wires wrapped, taped, glued in place.

All the tools that were in the truck are now in a pile.... in the garage.... I need to do some cleaning!! A 4800W heater heats this truck quite nice with no windows or insulation! :)D)
Insulation! Spray foam, good stuff, vapor barrier, very water resistant, and adds some structure too. I subbed this out. 1.75" in the walls, 3.75" in the ceiling.

Now for the nasty part... Grinding it all flat.

Annnnd Done!!!

It has been a project, thats for sure, and its not done yet!

First wall panel up!! Using 1/4" birch ply that come pre finished. Its construction adhesive glued to the furring strips and nailed in place with 23 gauge micro pin nails.

Got another sheet on the wall last night. Aiming for one a night for the weekdays.

One more panel.

And the heater getting a bench run. Cant decide if I want to do a separate tank or pull from the main tank. (Used Webasto 3500st off CL for cheap! I ended up running a separate tank and filling it with Jet A/Kerosene. Its too much for the small space, it short cycles...)

What are friends good for if not for snapping pics after your wipe out.....

But I made some progress on the truck too. Put about 70 miles on it Sunday, picked up the ceiling material. Its going to be knotty cedar T&G. Smells delicious! But it was smoking again, I think it may be leaking oil onto the exhaust, but it seems to do it randomly. I need to crawl under it again and see whats up.

Drivers Side wall done

Ceiling started. Definitely a rustic cabin kinda look.

Test fit one of the lights Ill be using. I hope they are enough light! They are 3W 120lm each. (they are plenty, doing them in two banks was good, but it would have been nice to keep a single over the door separate for when the kid is sleeping)

Al Swope

Founding Member
It has been a project, thats for sure, and its not done yet!

First wall panel up!! Using 1/4" birch ply that come pre finished. Its construction adhesive glued to the furring strips and nailed in place with 23 gauge micro pin nails.

How are edges joined? Butt joint, t&g? Good move on the ceiling fan and windows. You've sealed it up so well, it will condensate with 3 warm bodies.
I was trying to get the two windows I have cut in yesterday as we are supposed to get 2" of rain today... I have had a cold coming on, and that sure didn't happen.....

I did get one in, and it was not fun. Turns out my walls are only 1 7/8" thick, not the 2" I planned on. And to make things worse the foam was a bit thin around the windows, this let the plywood bend in even more. So I have to cut a bunch of shims, and make things kinda the right thickness again. Then.... The wall has a big bow in it, vertically. So I couldn't just use the foam strip to install the window. Its glued in like a berklyer now. After getting that in I was spent. The good news is my new patterning bit for the router work great at cutting the holes. (and the 1/2" router will try to kill you when it clips the aluminum skin..... Went right thru my sweatshirt like it was nothing, continued into my carharts, luckily it caught the coin pocket, cutting and ripping that off wrapped it up enough to stall out.....)

Hole cut

Window in

it got dark....

My stairs came though, and they fit in the under body box! It was close, but they fit.

I also picked up a battery combiner, its rated for 200A continuous, so it should be up to the task. Another CL score, $20!
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