Monday, March 22, 2010

Well.. the Interior is Coming Out!

All the carpet gone!

Walls and insulation coming out!

Ceiling piece/headliner out and finally all the wiring exposed. My sted dad Wesley helps in this step as I needed it and so did my soul. I hate hurting vehicles like this.
Wall and window frame gone, Insulation stripped.

The pile of debris :)
This weekend I worked to get the van ready for her conversion. I had been going back and forth on this decision for a long time because I just couldnt bring myself to strip a perfectly good vehicle. I started with the carpet because it needed to come out anyways. It just was going to be way too smelly after years of living on the beach and with a dog at that!
I also started stripping the walls and the ceiling headliner as well and got most of it out. Im happy I went this route because I need to cut in a roof hatch for ventalation and I need to rewire everything and make it more accessible. As it was, wires were almost impossible to trace and repair.
Ill keep you guys posted as I move forward with this.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Long Weekend (Working on the Van)

Well it was yet another long weekend for me as I worked to get my van ready formy trip to the southern latitudes. As of this weekend, I have exactly 5 months until I hit the road, not much time for something that is going through a total overhaul.

We started saturday morning with getting the van off the jacks to get the rear wheels off to start mounting my airbag kit (thanks to those for the awesome recomendations). Well, we quickly found out the lug nuts were seized so I ran her over to a shop to have em busted loose. He had to bump the air gun to 1kft/lbs but we got em off without busting anything. Got her home and started dry fitting the airbag on the drivers side... no bueno. Exhaust pipe passed within 1/2 an inch of the bag and causing some concern from my stepdad and I... so bags delayed until exhaust is worked out. We removed all lug nuts and lubed them with axle greese to prevent future seizing.

We then turned out attention to the stuck window on passenger side as it would only go down half way before a horrible buzzing sound and same going back up. We quickly discovered the gears were stripped in the motor so I picked up are placement ($42 bux lifetime warrenty) and got her working great, especially after the silicon spray in the window tracks. The we fixed the power door lock too!

Sunday I tackled the heater control valve that was leaking a serious amount of coolant. I had suspicions that the heater core under the dash was out anyways from the strong antifreeze smells when heat was on, so I totally bypassed my heating system and just hooked the return line back up to the radiator (evenrear heat was bypassed)... problem solved for free! I took off down the road and thats when she started dying again... CRAP! I couldnt get her restarted and I assumed I was out of gas (after replacing the fuel pump, I only put 5 gallons or so back in and I had done some driving on that) so we dropped in 2 gallons.Problem is.. she started WAY too fast for a car out of gas, usually they take a few cranks. Nope she fired right up. So... I swung by the parts place and bought the last piece of a full tune up, the ignition coil, $20 bux... worth the piece of mind. Dropped it in, got to a gas station, 10 more gallons of premium with a fuel treatment and she is running fine.

This project is slowly moving forward but I feel like for every 3 steps forward I take 1 back (better than 2 and 1 right?? ahaha). I plan to take her out west before I hit the road so I can really test her limits, Im thinking Taos or something, good 2K miles round trip from me. I need to see what is going to break before I can trust her again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vanny Update

Carpeting going up to insulate and clean the look up a little

All of this came out! This is where the TV went. Good thing I HATE TV!

Tons of room in the back.. this board is 6'2"!

All... a semi blank canvas to work with. Now the fun starts

Look at all that room!
So a lot of work has been done to the van. I started ripping out the TV and all of that mess above the drivers area. There is a good amount of space that I freed up so Im pretty excited about that. I tried to hunt down a fabric that was the same type/color as the interior of my van and I quickly gave up. Its just incredibly hard for some reason to match this stuff! I optioned for the greyish outdoor carpet and now I have been laying it up on the roof of said storage area.
Ive also removed all the passenger seats and rear bench/bed so that I can build out what I want in the van. I was thinking hard about keeping the back bench so I wouldnt have to build a bed but after some long thought I decided building something I wanted vs. accepting what I had was a better option for me. The bed was just not long enough for me and I think it wasted a good deal of space in the van, especially underneath it with all of the metal bracketing involved.
I took a look at the suspension of the van and realized my rear leaf springs were a little flat and causing the rear of the van to sag. After looking around, I finally found a place on the net that sells new ones but they were $300 for a pair. I talked with some guys on the Yahoo VanDwellers group Im a member of and they turned me on to a long forgotten option... airbags! So I purchased a set of Firestone Riderites for $300 and they will arrive tomorrow at my house to be installed. They can support loads of up to 5000lbs and takea great deal of the load and weight off of the springs and place it back onto the axle. They also have the advantage of raising the ride height of the van!
I went ahead and bought a cd player for the van too as this tape deck was just killing me. I didnt go overboard and I only spent $100 bux, a number Im willing to accept as a loss when this unit gets stolen. I picked it for its ability to allow USB sticks to play through it, which is much easier than connecting a laptop to the AUX port on the front. Speakers will be coming too as mine are just too damn old.
Much work is about to be performed on the engine and brakes as well. Im looking to go ahead and flush the radiator and all the coolent, replace hoses (buy spares), replace all belts (buy spares), pick up a spare heavy duty water pump, resurface rotors and install new pads and replace the lower brake lines after a suggestion from my grandfather. Apparently Chevy/GMC trucks/vans from this year range have a bad habbit of their lower lines disolving in the brake fluid and eventually this will lock the piston down, possibly causing a bad situation if driving.
Work still to be done....
1) front air bags to stiffen and support the worn springs. Keep her from hitting the bump stops on the suspension of this beast so much!
2) design and build interior layout!
3) cut hole in roof for air/ventalation
4) work on cabin lighting! This is a huge one.
5) get battery banks worked out and isolators ordered and installed
6) get different rims if possible, and new tires.
7) get good used tires for dual spares, paint rims to match.
8) sand rust spots and paint
there is more im sure :)