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I just want to say that I am floored by your welding and fabricating skills! Terrific work! Thanks for posting it all!
 

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I second Rich Maund's compliment. Beautiful metal working.

Doing same except welded tubes will be covered with traditional materials
Your cabinets looks a lot like mine will, they are just drawings with lots of dimensions now.

Really enjoyed seeing your work.
Let us know when your awnings could be available.

Santiago
 

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Discussion Starter #85
Thank you for the compliments! I’ve been using the van pretty regularly, most recently a trip to North Dakota for work and spent 7 nights in it.

The tarps are ready to go! PM me and I can get you some more details.


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Great design and outstanding craftsmanship on everything you have done. You guys have come a long way since you came by to get insulation. We've sent some folks over for your shade tarps. Would love to see your van again and chat with you guys if you make it to Hood River again. You are always welcome!

All the best,
Hein
 

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Discussion Starter #90
Hein,
Thanks for the compliment! The van has definitely undergone a transformation since you saw it a year ago. I’m hoping that our travels will get us over in your neck of the woods this next year.

I’ve been on several winter camp outs and the Thinsulate has worked great! Thanks again.

And thanks also for sending people our way for the van tarps. Granted, the don’t fit everyone’s needs, but for those that have gotten them, they are pretty happy.



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Discussion Starter #91
Dad and I have been using the vans all summer and have enjoyed them immensely. I’ve been neglecting updating the thread, mainly because not much has changed until recently.

Dad is contemplating a remodel, changing fridge location and bed layout.

I decided to go crazy and try and squeeze some big tires into the van.
I liked the look of the 235/75r16 but some cutting and welding was going to be involved to get them to fit.
the fronts needed the frame cut a little.



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Discussion Starter #92
The rear was a different story. I had to cut the fender 1/2” on either side.


And weld


Now I have to do some cutting and welding of the plastic trim pieces...


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Discussion Starter #94
About 2 months ago I was spending the day with my family over in Ketchum, Idaho and my mom met us over there in her van. She asked me to drive her van because it was making an awful raddle noise on the front driver side. I got in and drove a 1/2 a block and it sounded like the front end was coming off. We went to a park and I tore apart the dash to get to the top of the strut thinking something was loose up there. Everything was tight, but I noticed that both front struts were leaking fluid from broken seals. There was nothing I could do, but send her home.

I called Dad and told him what was wrong and what he needed to order and the following weekend we replaced both struts. The passenger side was a nightmare because the strut was actually broken, meaning that the spring kept expanding the strut and it took several hours to figure out how to get it out.

Once out, we took a spring compressor and compressed the spring to take the top of the strut off. We found that the strut bearing housing was wallowed out and was causing the top of the strut dampener to knock around causing all of the front end noise.




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Discussion Starter #95
We didn’t know that they were wore out so had to order new ones. In orderly get the van back on the road, we found some thick grade 8 washers that we fit into the top of the aluminum housing to hold the top of the strut in place and put things back together.

The fix worked so well that we moved the thick washers to the new strut bearing housings as a preventative maintenance measure because the new housing has one steel washer that has some aluminum pushed around it to hold it in place. I think it’s a weak design.

This weekend we changed in the new strut bearing housings and added a 1 1/2” lift on top of the strut. It works way better than the spaccer insert that we used last time.



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Discussion Starter #97
Tried my hand at some plastic welding this week to get my plastic trim to fit the sheet metal I cut.



Now I have to see if I can color match some paint to cover up the weld.



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Discussion Starter #99
Dads had 110,000 miles. He did some gravel roads this weekend and said it was tight and quiet. Mine has 50,000 and I have begun to notice some rattling, so I’m collecting parts so that I can fix my front end as well when the time comes.


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Discussion Starter #100
I thought that I would post some updated thoughts about my tire choice.

I did get all of the wheel wells cut and the plastics back on and I really like the look!

But...now having put about 3000 miles on the big tires ( 235/85R16 ), I found that the van struggled to push them, especially in the mountains and while towing trailers. I found that I had to use the “manual “ shifting mode to drive the van just to help it shift, otherwise it was a slug. My fuel economy was anywhere between 15-18 and the best I saw was 19MPG in my diesel.

Yesterday I switched back to 245/75R16 and the van is much happier! I could immediately tell a difference and when on a 400 mile trip and was averaging 22MPG.

The tires are Hankook Dynapro A/T


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