Truck Update: 2/18/18

  • Ordered sink (Houzer CS-1307-1, Overall size 12.5″ x 14.375″, Bowl 12.06″ x 10.125″ x 6″ deep, stainless steel)
  • Ordered house systems fuel tank (RDS aluminum tank)
  • Trimmed aft subframe angle
  • Fit checked assembled angle on subframe periphery
  • Removed spare tire mount
  • Removed more unneeded small bracketry
  • Received  Air Head composting toilet
  • Received Froli stars (from Froli Systems)
  • Received mattress and fitted sheet (from Mattress Insider)
  • Purchased steel for storage accessory mounting
  • Started weld prep on subframe for periphery angle
  • Ordered passthrough bellows from Total Composites
  • Ordered cabinet faces for kitchen from Wayfair
  • Finished weld prep
  • Final test fit and clamped periphery angle
  • Started tack welding periphery angle
  • Ordered weld seam sealer (Eastwood seam sealer)
  • Welded periphery frame
  • Designed mounts for fenders, passenger side jerry can holder, and rear under bed storage boxes
  • Kitted mount material for fenders, passenger side jerry can holder, and rear under bed storage boxes
  • Fixtured and welded mounts for fenders, passenger side jerry can holder, and rear under bed storage boxes

Truck Update 2/28/18

  • Fit checked fenders and measured mount plate size
  • Fit checked habitat entry stairs on sub-frame
  • Fit checked passenger side jerry can mount
  • Made aft fender mount plates
  • Made passenger side jerry can mount spacers
  • Received water tank
  • Received auxiliary fuel tank
  • Received kitchen cabinets faces
  • Received weld sealant
  • Received stainless steel sink
  • Arranged shipping with Tern Overland for doors, windows and hatches
  • Purchase chain hoist
  • Purchased spare tire lifting sling
  • Purchased spare tire lifting shackles
  • Purchased welding supplies
  • Started modifying auxiliary fuel tank
  • Designed driver side jerry can, aux tank, storage box mount structure
  • Purchased extra steel strapping for driver side jerry can, aux tank, storage box mount structure
  • Cut all steel for driver side jerry can, aux tank, storage box mount structure
  • Cut steel for habitat stare mount
  • Cut steel for rear under bed storage box mounts
  • Welded driver side jerry can, auxiliary fuel tank, storage box mount structure
  • Fabricated tank hold-own clamp

Habitat Update 3/2/18

It’s a big day for the new habitat: our custom habitat kit from Total Composites arrived today! More details coming soon as we get into inventorying everything, but here are a few photos from the day.

We had 2 hours to unload the container, but with the 2 of us and a friend it took less than an hour to unload. Most of the panels are quite light and can be carried by 2 people. The floor panel weighs a bit and required all of us (including the truck driver) to carry it.

The container had a tamper free lock from U.S. customs on it. The truck driver didn’t have a bolt cutter and seemed concerned when he showed up. It took just a second to cut the lock off with an abrasive disc on a grinder.

Sea Container Arrives
Sea Container Arrives
Panels After Removing Small Boxes
Panels After Removing Small Boxes
Panels After Inspection
Panels After Inspection
Floor Panel on Subframe
Floor Panel on Subframe

Habitat Update 3/8/18

Another big day for the project: we received all of our windows and doors from Tern Overland today. We got everything but the roof hatch, and it should get here in a little over a week (and certainly before we need it!). We spent some time inventorying everything we received, and it all looks very good.

We are especially excited that everything is double glazed so our habitat should stay nice and cozy. All the windows have integrated blackout blinds and screens, too.

Tern Overland Shipment
Tern Overland Shipment

Truck Update: 3/11/18

  • Ordered and received tile
  • Ordered and received LED eyeball lights
  • Ordered and received under counter LED lights
  • Ordered kitchen cabinet and locks
  • Ordered 2 1/2″ receiver pintal
  • Purchased marine adhesive for floor hardpoint bonding
  • Created assembly sequence list
  • Started passthrough design work
  • Started electrical wiring plan
  • Inspected position of floor on subframe
  • Measured and inspected all panels and corner extrusions
  • Trimmed foam to fit in hardpoint channel
  • Dry fit forward lower extrusion and front panel
  • Marked position of passthrough on back of cab

Truck Update 3/18/18

One of the main reasons that we decided to make a new habitat for our truck was that we really wanted to incorporate a passthrough into the cab of the truck from the living area. Honestly, we’ve been a little overwhelmed by the logistics of designing and building a passthrough for a while. We figured that now would be the best time to finish the passthrough details before we start assembling the habitat box.

Wabi-Sabi Expedition Truck Passthrough Exploded View
Wabi-Sabi Expedition Truck Passthrough Exploded View

We designed our passthrough to have a frame assembly on the cab side and a frame assembly with door opening into the habitat side. The frames are connected with a water tight EPDM rubber bellows / accordion seal. The cab side assembly is made of 3 steel frames and can be disassembled to disconnect the bellows from the cab if future engine or transmission work requires that the cab be tipped up. The primary cab side frame is welded to the back of the cab.

The habitat side frame is made of 2 steel frames and 1 aluminum frame. The aluminum frame incorporates the door hinge and lock strike plate. The door opens inwards into the shower/bathroom/entry area of the habitat. The door is made from a 1 1/2″ thick insulated RV door panel. The hab side steel frame is bonded to the forward wall of the habitat prior to habitat box assembly.


  • Talked with vendors about passthrough bellows material
  • Finished design of passthrough
  • Cut steel for passthrough frames
  • Cut aluminum RV door frame extrusion material for passthrough door frame
  • Welded habitat and cab side steel pasthrough frame
  • Milled slots for passthrough door hinges in aluminum frame
  • Milled steel corner fillets for bellows connection
  • Welded and finished fillets
  • Ordered passthrough bellows material (ED-5389 from Uni-Grip)
  • Primed and painted habitat exterior passthrough frame

Aluminum Passthrough Frame Assembly

Steel Passthrough Frame Assemblies

Truck Update 3/25/18

  • Received kitchen cabinet and locks
  • Received and fit checked 2 1/2″ rear pintal
  • Began truck cab passthrough cutout planning
  • Measured roof rack
  • Researched roof rack cargo box options
  • Started stripping down kitchen cabinet for repaint
  • Started laying out passthrough door
  • Purchased low profile deadbolt lock for passthrough door
  • Cut aluminum for the passthrough door edging
  • Ordered cargo boxes for roof rack
  • Started laying out passthrough door panel
  • Removed unneeded material from inside cab back wall
  • Removed old insulation from cab roof hatch (23 7/8″ diameter)
  • Removed rear cab windows
  • Marked passthrough cut out in back of cab
  • Laminated plywood for passthrough door panel
  • Trimmed down height of kitchen cabinet
  • Marked trim line on and trimmed forward passthrough frame
  • Cut passthrough opening in back of cab
  • Fit checked forward passthrough frame opening
  • Removed passenger seat and unneeded sheet metal
  • Removed rear pintal (42 pound assembly)
  • Bonded aluminum facesheets to passthrough door panel
  • Purchased masonite for new roof hatch insulation mount
  • Started looking for new cab seats
  • Ordered insulation/sound deadening for cab rear wall and roof hatch
  • Started tack welding passthrough frame to cab

Truck Update 4/1/18

  • Started welding passthrough frame to cab
  • Received pintal clamp bolt
  • Received acoustic foam
  • Received roof rack cargo boxes
  • Received aluminum trim for passthrough cab interior
  • Finished passthrough structural welding on exterior of cab
  • Ordered jerry cans
  • Ordered seats for cab
  • Marked subframe to hab floor bolt hole locations on subframe rails
  • Started subframe paint prep
  • Finished passthrough tig welding inside cab
  • Finished structural welding of passthrough frame on cab
  • Removed and disposed of foam from inside roof rack cargo boxes
  • Cleaned shop and recycled scrap material
  • Received bellows from Uni-Grip
  • Sketched out plates to fill cab back windows
  • CAD modeled plates to fill cab back windows
  • A friend was nice enough to plasma cut the plates to fill cab back windows: AeroDesign
  • Another friend gave us some Lord 7545 adhesive to try on the bellows: Monolith Aeroworks
  • Applied second coat of paint to habitat passthrough frame
  • Cut aluminum for cab passthrough trim
  • Drilled and tapped mounting holes for cab passthrough trim in cab side steel passthrough frame
  • Machined aluminum spacer for rear pintal shear bolt
  • Trimmed passthrough door
  • Rounded corners of cab side steel passthrough frame
  • Purchased abrasive disc for removing scale from subframe
  • Purchased black silicone to seal removable frame on cab passthrough
  • Continued removing scale from subframe
  • Drilled and tapped holes in cab passthrough frame for removable forward passthrough frame
  • Tack welded plates over old window openings
  • Started touch up paint on back of cab

Truck Update 4/8/18

  • Purchased steel for spare tire mount, subframe spacers, and back panel hardpoint inserts
  • Prepped, primed, and painted back wall of cab
  • Received drills and taps for subframe
  • Painted cab inner passthrough frame
  • Seam sealed all cab passthrough welds using Eastwood seam sealer
  • Applied second coat of paint on cab inner passthrough frame
  • Drilled 52 new 1/8″ diameter pilot holes in subframe
  • Final painted back wall of cab
  • Rearranged truck part storage area
  • Installed rear cab ceiling trim
  • Reinstalled rubber edge cover on back wall of cab
  • Removed cab headliner and inspected condition
  • Wiped down cab interior
  • Removed tail light brackets
  • Retorqued bolts that hold subframe to truck chassis (5 were so loose they could rotated by hand)
  • Moved tail lights aft to accommodate storage boxes
  • Relocated rear gladhands
  • Preliminary mounting of aft underbed storage
  • Prepped and painted back portion of truck frame

Truck Update 4/15/18

  • Received jerry cans
  • Received roof hatch from Tern Overland
  • Received new mechanical suspension cab seats
  • Updated roof hatch installation plan
  • Mocked up fender mounts
  • Mounted rear fenders to subframe
  • Started working to move muffler forward