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beanco
beanco New Reader
10/12/15 1:39 p.m.

Between work, kids homework and sports, I've got nothing done!!! Until Friday night when we got a break in activities and decided at a moments notice to go camping.Cut a sheet of plywood for upper bed, installed cheap carpet on floor, loaded camping supplies and hit the road - 20 minutes away. It was just me, my daughter and two dogs, wife wasn't going without shower house or real bathroom. Once we got there I just opened all doors, ran cord to van for lights and started fire. Everything was going great until my daughter couldn't find the hot dogs??? I had rushed out of the house and left them in fridge!!!Unplugged van, headed to town, bought hot dogs and back to camping.

Everything worked great but I'm going to change a few things. Lower upper bed, add Bedrug to replace cheap carpet and add a few odds and ends to keep things organized. My daughter was up top and I was under on an air mattress. Dogs slept on their blanket in the middle of van. We were all worn out after hiking around lake. One fellow camper commented on how good my dogs behaved, that made the trip a success in my book.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
10/12/15 2:03 p.m.

I think I would want bug netting for the windows. Windows up is often too hot, and wide open allows anything to fly in.

Petrolburner
Petrolburner HalfDork
10/13/15 2:32 p.m.

I'm jealous of your side doors on passenger AND driver sides.

beanco
beanco New Reader
10/13/15 3:15 p.m.

I got lucky when I found this van. Great option even though it's a considered a cargo van. Plus power locks with rear door button to activate all doors. I'm going to attempt to make some magnetic screens for the windows and some shades out of aluminum foil faced bubble wrap insulation stuff(Reflectic or something like that)

I need to find a screen tent to convert to extra living space on either side of van.

Petrolburner
Petrolburner HalfDork
10/13/15 7:41 p.m.

I just made window shades for almost all my windows out of a roll of Reflectix this weekend. 25 foot roll I think. I came up short to do the front two windows.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
10/15/15 2:35 p.m.

Glad you had fun and are already able to put the van to good use

EricM
EricM SuperDork
10/17/15 4:30 p.m.

are you on Expedition portal? Cheers!

beanco
beanco New Reader
8/9/16 2:47 p.m.

UPDATE life got in the way and time was running short, but I got van ready and hit the road for 2 weeks out west. Built a rear bumper with swing out tire carrier and storage box for things I didn't want inside van(grill and propane)not easy to do. I lost pics of build, but with a tubing bender and lots of thinking and trial fitting it worked. Redid interior for more storage and better use of floor space.

beanco
beanco New Reader
8/9/16 2:55 p.m.

me and the girls hit the road for 2 weeks starting in Rocky Mtn NP, then across Colorado,Utah, parts of Arizona and everything in between. 6 national parks, forest roads, slick rock in Moab, we covered it. Van ran amazing, getting 13.5 mpg going 80 down hill and 40 up. It's no hill climber or canyon carver, but we made it 4400 miles trouble free.

beanco
beanco New Reader
8/9/16 3:08 p.m.

Ever since I got back home I couldn't stop thinking about what was needed to make van more useful. First was better organization and to remove some things that weren't used. I was"loaded for bear " as my dad use to say. Live and learn.. Second was more room to move about, so........ I found this jewel late one night while driving thru a not so great neighborhood. A deal was struck for the top only and within an hour I had it removed and in the shop. It's a for an extended body Ford, mines a standard wheelbase Chevy. How hard can it be to cut down??? Let the fun begin. If anyone has any tips on joining two pieces of flat fiberglass together, chime in. Gelcoat is in okay condition, but i was thinking of covering it with Monsterliner to help hide scratches?

beanco
beanco New Reader
8/9/16 3:11 p.m.
EricM wrote: are you on Expedition portal? Cheers!

I'm just lurking right now. Amazing stuff over there. My budget is more mac-n-cheese, those guys are caviar.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
8/31/16 8:59 p.m.

Van looks awesome man! Can't wait to see you cut the top off and install the fiberglass one. That would make my butt pucker sawzaling a top off

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy PowerDork
8/31/16 11:00 p.m.

Great build so far.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
9/1/16 3:24 p.m.

If you decide that top won't work, I'm looking for one for my extended Ford van. Maybe we could work out a deal.

beanco
beanco New Reader
9/1/16 3:36 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: If you decide that top won't work, I'm looking for one for my extended Ford van. Maybe we could work out a deal.

I looked high and low for a top, just got lucky I guess. It would fit your new van perfectly. Keep searching the junkyards and online. If there's an airport nearby you'll find one, shuttle buses always have hightops.

Petrolburner
Petrolburner Dork
9/1/16 4:00 p.m.

I wish you the best of luck in making that top work. I like the side windows. When I'm sleeping in my loft I can't see anything outside. I've been tempted to put one of those hotel room door peep holes in.

beanco
beanco New Reader
9/1/16 5:41 p.m.

I've been searching CL for truck toppers with smaller windows. Dirt cheap,compared to new windows. All depends on where I cut top to shorten length. Stay tuned...it's happening soon.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
9/1/16 7:55 p.m.

In reply to Petrolburner:

What about a periscope?

gearheadE30
gearheadE30 HalfDork
9/2/16 8:59 a.m.

I had no idea they made these with passenger and driver side rear doors...that's an awesome find!

beanco
beanco New Reader
9/2/16 1:44 p.m.

My "rented mule" showed up today. Got this on loan from an unnamed source...I'm going to use it to cut-n-fit the high top, and practice cutting the hole in the roof.

AntiArrhythmic
AntiArrhythmic Reader
9/5/16 9:39 p.m.

In reply to beanco:

Great build. I'm interested to see how you fit the topper on there.

beanco
beanco New Reader
9/6/16 12:11 p.m.

I spent an hour cleaning out all the junk out of the van and getting it mobile. The van didn't come with keys or a steering wheel! Dropped the driveshaft and unbolted the drag link, will move with forklift. Had some time to kill so I decided to cut the roof. It took less than 15 minutes with nibblers and a sawzall.

beanco
beanco New Reader
9/6/16 12:23 p.m.

While I was at it I set the top on the van to see what i was in for.

Not bad until ....

She's a little wide in the front and tapers towards the back.So I packed up and went home to think about how I was going to continue with project.

Your probably wondering why I would go through so much trouble with a van top.

1= this top with all options- inside liner,windows and 2 vent fans $3000 new, ships from west coast = $$$

2= I paid very little for it and I'm not afraid to try my hand at fiberglass repair.

3= see picture below, I'm 6' tall and now have so much room for activities

beanco
beanco New Reader
9/6/16 12:29 p.m.

So late at night I built this jungle gym to use as support. I leveled the van FBSS and screwed the structure to the van floor. This allowed me to mark the center line and get some good reference points to measure off of. Next up is to cut some plywood pieces following the inner profile to use as supports.

Things will go slow from here, lots of measuring and head scratching...

beanco
beanco New Reader
9/16/16 4:03 p.m.

after establishing a center line and convincing myself this was a good idea...

we have 4 pieces now. After lots of measuring I cut 3.5" off of one side and placed it on test van. It lined up with my center marks on the jungle gym, so I cut other side.

dry fit looked good. Took 7" total out of middle.

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