Thursday, February 25, 2010

Van Update...

First mounting hole drilled... a little nervewracking

Outside view of the mount

All finished! This is just a spare carrier flipped upside down

Dual spares! Yeaaa!

Ladder relocated to the side where it will be more useful

Last weekend I was able to get some work done on the van. I had been dreaming about this epic expedition style dual tire mount on the back that I had seen on a youtube video somewhere. The video had some VW Syncros (4x4 VW vans) somewhere in the desert in Africa and they were carrying dual spares and I really liked the look.
I took a look at the current spare carrier on there now and realized all I had to do was get another and flip it upside down and it would be the exact same thing. I priced them online and I found some for about $75 new. I decided to be resourceful and check out the local junkyard and there I was able to score the mount AND a rim for $35 total! Yeeaaa!!!!!!!
The mounting was pretty straight forward but after drilling the holes I realized they came a little close to the inside of the door and the bolts would likely have a problem. Nothing a little hammering couldnt fix. I used the back mounting bracket to act like a flat punch and with the help of a rubber mallet I knocked the inside of the door in just enough to give the bolts room. This is a super easy mod and took me maybe all of 1.5 hours with some serious jacking around.
As I was sitting on my porch and pondering what to do with my ladder I removed from the back door, it hit me that I could hang it off the rain gutter on the van. I mentioned this to my friend Rami and he said why not mount it on the side door, even better! So thats where she will be mounted this weekend. It ends up getting me near the roof in a much better place when it comes to strapping surfboards down.
Last night I started the process of removing the TV and tearing out of the interior of the van. This proved to be a little harder than I thought. Im not exactly "tearing" it out... just removing pieces and remodeling them for my purpose without damaging them, therefore removal is difficult. I was able to find a ton of extra space being wasted in the forward part of the van so thats good news. Tonight I will try and take some pictures of the work.
I am still going back and forth with the interior design. For the most part, I could stack and bungee some large plastic bins for my stuff and just leave it at that but what is the fun in that? My boredom and desire for a project is taking over and Im doing more work than is probably necessary.... is that insanity? Im also laying out some groundwork ideas for an awning system on the side... that should be fun. I dont feel like buying one for $300! Yikes!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A conversation between Ravs

This morning I pulled up to a stop light and noticed that the car next to me was the exact same model, a first gen Toyota RAV4. I had an amusing (psychotic?) moment imagining their conversation if they indeed had one.

My Rav: "Hey whats up? Your the same gen and model as me!"

Other Rav: "Yup, How cool! So Have you gone anywhere fun or just a car? Notice my mud???
My owner took me to the beach this weekend!"

My Rav: "Awesome! I love the beach. My owner used to take me all the time when he was surfing a lot. We still go traveling quite a bit but mostly on-road now."

Other Rav: "Ohh thats cool. Ive been to a bunch of states too. Have you been out of Texas?"

My Rav: "oooo yea. only a few other states but about 3 years ago my owner took me 7000 miles through Mexico and Guatemala... camping everywhere and going on some serious backroads to beach and forgotten places. We were gone 2.5 months and I still have my badge of honor, my Guatemalan Vehicle Import sticker!"

Other Rav: "Wow... I am impressed. Ive never been out of the country! In fact most of the other ravs Ive met haven't either."

Hahaha.. I know Im retarded but I wonder if my car is ever "proud" of her accomplishments... hell she should be. I took her through what most people wouldnt even ever consider doing AND she had 145K on the clock when we did it! Ravvy... Im gonna miss the hell out of you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pics of the Van

Look at the gas that came out!

Notice I took off the running boards? Looks MUCH better this way!

Got the Van Running!

Well we got the van running! I had to drain some 21 gallons of gas from the tank to make it happen but that was pretty easy, just time consuming. After we finally emptied the tank my step dad and I dropped it from the back of the van. This was pretty straight forward and overall was not that complicated or hard. The inside of the tank wasn't too dirty so we just flushed it several times with fresh gas and decided to just replace the fuel pump. There was a hole in the pickup screen/strainer and the small piece of hose that connected the fuel pump to the line was totally corroded and even had a small hole in it!

After purchasing a new OEM Delphi pump and strainer for 90 bux and a few other misc items we returned home to reinstall the whole tank. We picked up 5 gallons of premium (93 octane here) and some fuel system cleaner to throw in there once we got it all hooked up. My step dad and I assaulted that tank and got everything reinstalled and hooked up within an hour! We put the 5 gallons in and the fuel system cleaner, lowered the van and started it.... VROOOOM! She started right up and purred the whole time... no sputtering and dying.

We took her around the block and to the store and she ran fantastic or VANtastic as I have been saying lately. I'm super excited to have my vanny back. For those that didn't know she had been broken down for over 2 months while I was trying to find a way to get her back to my house to work on and waiting on warmer weather. We've been having a pretty cold and wet winter this year in Texas and its pretty prohibitive to working on vehicles if your working outside.

Now.. as I am awaiting yet more warm weather, I'm trying to find projects for me to work on the van. I finally have her home in my driveway so I have time after work... Problem is.. I didn't know what to tackle next. Electrics? Stereo? Lights? Camping layout?? ugh...