I feel the Ford Transit struggles with looking like a delivery vehicle unless you change the wheels or add a roof rack. And while our van purchase was a used vehicle our tires were in great condition so a roof rack was our next move. I chose the Flatline Vanco Low pro aluminum roof rack and Fiamma F45s awning to enhance the outside of our van.
When shopping for roof racks I liked the larger tubular structures of other brands but the idea of wind noise and extra weight became a concern, and the price and installation fees were reaching 3K. I really thought I needed to go another direction. Finding Flatline Vanco was a great surprise as they offer a lightweight, well-constructed aluminum and powder-coated roof rack. The rack comes in several pieces and the whole thing screws together with nice hardware. While that may sound cheap, the thickness of the product and the anodized hardware all make for a high-quality product. Having seen this rack on several vans and know happy customers I purchased the rack and had it delivered to the house in a few days.
Flatline does a nice job keeping you informed on the product shipping and everything comes well packaged. I also purchased the new fairing that they started offering the first of 2020. The following emails will be sent to show you a video on the install. I have left a link below to view. It really was an easy install, but the fairing installation was not included in the video. So below I have added some photos to share how to install this piece to the front cross member. Again this was very straightforward. The finished product looks great and then you go back and tighten everything up and you have a very sturdy roof rack.
Our Installation Video- Coming Soon
The Fiamma awning was not delivered at the same time. This was no fault of Flatline Vanco but during the world pandemic shipping and products were delayed. This and the Fiamma is an Italian made awning, so about a month or so later, I received the awning and I must say this is a beautiful product. This product does not have any videos to really show the install and because the awning is a universal product each application can be different. Once you realize that you will need to make three holes in the bottom of the awning to create the final attachment then you are well on your way to having this installed. Hopefully, our photos below will help in your installation. I found that I had to test mount it to see where we wanted the brackets and that having them too far on the ends makes it harder to drill the hole to install the fix screws. One big help was using duct tape around our finger and then pressing the nut to the tape. This allowed me to put my finger down inside the slightly open awning and attach the screws. Once these screws were attached then the awning was ready to go back up on the roof rack and be fastened to the side rails.
What I really like about these Fiamma awnings is that they are fully enclosed meaning that the actual awning material is protected by the encased aluminum structure. This should protect this material and allow it to last an extended amount of time. The legs are recessed inside the outer casing so you just roll out the awning a few feet and drop the legs right down and then finish unrolling the awning until you have it in place. The awning does come with brackets to attach the legs to the vehicle but on the vans, this is not really practical.
The final piece, the ladder for the side of the van has just been installed and we are very pleased with the way the van looks with these products. Once the ladder is installed we will be creating a deck on top and will add that as a future blog. The high roof van should give us a nice vantage point for sunsets and expansive views.
Do you have anything to add to this article or questions that we did not cover? Let us know in the comments we would love to help you with your van conversion.