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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I would start a build thread on our van. We drove from Michigan down to Ohio to pick it up yesterday. The deal was very good and it drove/rode the 333 miles home very well. We have an appointment with our trusted (they never charge us on minor issues) auto shop to have it checked over and get the tires rotated. RED has 79,000 miles on it.

So far I have removed the bulkhead to give myself some leg room (I am 6'4") and started to peel off the vinyl graphics. Slow going in below freezing weather as RED is too tall to fit in either my garage or my 32x48 (radiant floor) heated cabinet shop (sad face, for some reason I thought it would fit through the door). Wife said that I can build an addition to the shop to house RED but that has to wait until spring.

We plan on using it on our bicycle travels (mountain bikes and touring bikes) and the occasional over crowded family gatherings.

Issues that it has: The back bottom door latch bracket on the bed is broken off, it has a bench seat rather than passenger bucket seat (anyone want to trade?). A long scratch down the passenger side and a few small dings and dents here and there. It was used to deliver truck parts so the bed is bashed a bit but not as bad as I expected considering the pictures. We are fully expecting some types of mechanical issues that will need to be addressed.

Although I can't think of a use for it we did receive a free 4x8x 1/4" sheet of steel that the original purchaser used to slide pallets around on. Selling that might pay for a hitch perhaps ;)

I have a background in RV repair (two years when I was younger) and building/installing interiors in Four Winns cabin cruisers (Michigan based boat builder). I have been a cabinet maker (I own a small custom shop) for the last 28 years as well as an adjunct history instructor at the local community college. This should be interesting....


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Discussion Starter #2
The rear door catch, I am going to clean it up and fabricate a new steel plate with welded on nuts for the bolts. Widen out the holes in the floor so they will fit, and then weld the new plate down.

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Thanks ThomD, but in hindsight maybe I shouldn't have bragged about my experience. That way when it turns out like complete crap it will not be as embarrassing :D
 

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The van looks good. Congrats on it! Curious why the old business didn't remove their decals before selling and curious how they broke the door latch. Dings can easily be fixed by a competent door ding guy. I never worry about dings anymore. These guys are like magic! Interior will most likely get all covered up so cosmetically speaking its a nil factor.
 

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68169415AC is the part number for that forklift mangled lower door latch striker - $25~ delivered... That may back into a blind channel so no/low opportunity to get a coat of paint on the backsides of the welds, I'd look at stainless steel pop-rivets to lock it down while the auto body panel adhesive sets?

That is a part of the adjustment to keep drivers side door taut - that black rubber button is important to snub vibration down with some gasket compression but not enough to seriously bind the lock handle... give the bolt/bore dimensions a little play but with older gaskets the adjust will not drift much if any.

Inspect those lower black composite wedge plates too, my almost new van saw a forklift tear drivers' side one half off, ripped the threaded rivnut insert out. Those get adjusted snug so chassis flex does not skew the 'square' door frame.

If* the passenger side door gets adjust too tightly there is a good chance a strain-relief on one of the cables will let go and disconnect the outer door latch - pop small inside cover and study to see where cable unclipped from its holders. Just to ensure zero 'drum skin' vibrations on mine I adjusted it tight so a straight armed palm pressure against door makes flicking the outer latch butter smooth...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi MesaAZGuy, they assumed that the Ford dealership where I bought it would remove them. But I offered the dealer a low bid that included my own removal of the decals. I was curious why they would agree considering the plumber who's phone number was still on the his old truck while ISIS was using it as a gun platform! I am not worried about dings to be honest, it is a used van and I can live with that.

The door latch was probably broken while loading pallets with heavy loads. There is a fork (forklift) dent right under it as well. (as Zoomyn mentions).

Zoomyn, thanks for the advice.
 

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Thanks ThomD, but in hindsight maybe I shouldn't have bragged about my experience. That way when it turns out like complete crap it will not be as embarrassing :D
No pressure. I always say that everything is a prototype. If it doesn't work out, I'll redo it eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Progress!

Well, sorta; one step forward and two back kind of thing.

I took RED to the Oil and Grease Clinic today to find out how much of a soaking we were in for. Buying an "AS-IS" used car can result in some real "GOTCHA's".

Wait for it....

Nothing! Well, almost nothing. I took it in for an oil change, tire rotation and a once over to check everything out. Everything checked out. ?!

Seems that RED has had recent service: new brakes, transmission service, etc. I got out for 119.96, much less than I expected with the time they spent going over everything for me. They even tried to fix the license plate light issue. There were four different breaks in the wires leading to the bulbs and they were still searching when I called. I needed RED back as it is my daily driver (for now) and my wife was on her way up north to help her parents out for a couple of days. They were going to keep going on the wiring, and told me to bring it back if I wanted them to do so. They did not charge me for working on the wiring because "we didn't fix it; no charge". Gotta love this place.

There was bad news however; RED has one blown out shock absorber which they need to order in. I have another appointment next week to have that done. The quote for new shocks, installed, is 203.17. If it wasn't for the fact that I underestimated the height of the van and it will not fit in my shop I would change them myself. But this is Michigan and January. BRRRRR.

We budgeted 1500.00 for immediate vital repairs....we are sooo ahead so far. Course....I am sure something will go wrong and I will eat my words :p

I Found A Bucket Seat! :)
A local scrap yard had one for me (149.00) with a blown seat tensioner so thanks to the wonderful people on this forum who have shared their experience I was able to swap out the needed parts from the old bench seat and I have no error codes showing.

Seat Surgery, a moment of silence for the dearly departed bench seat. It unwillingly (I didn't ask) donated it's internals for the cause.

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Looks almost natural huh?

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Another donor; an old liner for the flexible cooler that my daughter borrowed and never returned. ("Umm...Dad...I think...I lost it")

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In these cold Michigan winters we learn the importance of layers to stay warm....er...I mean layers to keep things from rubbing and breaking the sensitive pressure pad. Yep, that is what I meant.


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The finished box...nothing special really. Does look innocuous though.

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And the fitment. I used self adhesive Velcro to mount it down instead of wire tires. For many reasons. Mostly because the wire tires that I have are brittle and kept breaking. Yep.
Unfortunately I could not mount it in a place that would allow the stock jack/tool kit to slide back in place. I thought about suspending it above the tool kit but I was worried that moving the chair around might mess with it. And of course I have to move the tool kit eventually anyway when I install the Webasto heater (have to win a lottery first...or knock off a rich relative...if I had any).

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Tomorrow....something else.
 

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There was bad news however; RED has one blown out shock absorber which they need to order in. I have another appointment next week to have that done. The quote for new shocks, installed, is 203.17.
I assume this is the rear rubber absorber above the rear axle or is it the rear shocks. My van is lower on the driver side on the rear axle by about 2 inches and was wondering if a shock would be the problem. It is not weight distribution as I have loaded the passenger side with 3 people and still have a big lean to the drivers side.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
They are the rear shocks, one is blown out (seal). I do not see any difference in the stance of the van though.

Rear axle?! The Promaster is front wheel drive....
 

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They are the rear shocks, one is blown out (seal). I do not see any difference in the stance of the van though.

Rear axle?! The Promaster is front wheel drive....
Thanks, that eliminates the rear shock as the problems, also what is the rear beam connecting the wheels really called?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Running Boards! I found a good deal on Ebay for a set of Ionic dual (long) running boards and clicked "buy it now". 129.00 for new open box....and the seller did reply that the mounting hardware was all there. Lets see if my luck holds out. :D

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Discussion Starter #18
Ran to the store last night (wife is away for a few days with our other car) with RED. Noticed that a headlight had gone out so I stopped at the auto parts shop on the way home and jumped into it this morning....Yeah(?)!

One really nice thing about buying a used vehicle is that I will not break some things as they have already been broken for me! Er....um...yeah.... (yes, I watched lots of YT before hand)

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Nice finger freezing 23 degree day (that's -5c for everyone else that uses a measuring system that makes sense) here in Michigan. I am so going to cut the top of the shop door a foot higher....(wife already said I can)...just not looking forward to pulling vinyl siding off in freezing temperatures. Course being Michigan I can wait a few days and we will probably have some 60 degree days. :p

On another Note: (Middle C) I have an appointment with a local vinyl installer (in this case a deinstaller?) to have the graphics removed from RED. I keep expecting people to walk up to me and say "Yer a long way from home ain't cha?". (Considering the graphics advertise a company in Ohio).

So, tomorrow I should have a clean van that shows every scratch and dent. Yeah! (?)
 

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The main thing I am reading is that you are enjoying the van. Thats the best part of it all!!

Yeah, I would make the door higher on the shop. You will be future proof no matter what van you end up with down the road. I give you credit. My days of working in freezing temps are long gone. Only to be replaced by days working in the fiery depths of **** come middle of summer here. (Good thing for ac in the garage!)
 

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So far, sounds like a fun build. None of the pressures of cutting holes into a brand new van!!!

Wished I had a way to cut a higher garage door into our house garage so I could work inside, but that didn't happen.

The good news- when I wanted to work INSIDE the van on our cold CT winter days, I just started the van and the dash heater made it shirt-sleeve comfortable in a few minutes.

With the van running, the heater will keep the whole van warm in winter... not so with the AC in the summer (on a dark gray van, at least!)

Enjoy your build!
 
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