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thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/6/11 5:29 p.m.

2 days of whittling and beginning the templates to save time on the next one. and near final fitting still head scratching a bit, but she landed just where I needed her to. the rest is just gap filling and it will load the same way oe designed it and maybe a bit more

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/7/11 9:46 p.m.

the strut mount was cut off and the interface plate was trimmed to fill the gaps surrounding the spindle to manage the torque load as originally designed.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/8/11 5:18 p.m.

welded the side seams and prepped for the join weld- that wow is for the E brake cable

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
3/8/11 6:23 p.m.

Very very cool project! Way back when, a guy I knew in Columbia SC had a VW Bus and a boat. Bus would not tow boat. Owner found wrecked Olds Toronado. Olds Toronado drivetrain found its way under the back of the Bus. Bus would now tow boat. It got a lot of startled looks when he'd go zinging up a long hill on US Hwy 1 at about 75 with the family inside and the boat behind.

The best part: he left stock VW wheels etc on it (stock brakes too, in retrospect maybe not the best choice) so it qualified as a 'sleeper'. He had two radiators, one on each side, and had these 'scoops' (which I think were actually a period accessory) over the side air intakes. Otherwise (unless you listened to it) it was just another VW van.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/9/11 12:03 a.m.

i just want to make sure I have enough juice for my wire machine. its got to be hot enough to maker stick! it was sputtering today, so I may wire up a dedicated circuit for it.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/10/11 10:23 p.m.

baboo!!

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/14/11 12:22 a.m.

hub structure plates installed

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/16/11 12:46 a.m.

flanges are ready to go on

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
3/16/11 6:07 p.m.

Very cool man. I'm now on the search for a campervan....any campervan. Just wish that they'd made the astro/safari into one. Any tips on finding one other than CL? There's a vanagon/wesfalia '84 for $5600 in my neck of the woods. 88k original miles and allegedly everything works.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/16/11 11:50 p.m.

I'm actually scared to death of all the propane tanks and stoves and fridge stuff. an old vanagon needs everything, and I mean everything...and then there is the extra credit /work of the westies--but, you will be joining one of the most misplaced egotistical auto groups on the planet.
they look on ebay, but it has problems, like scams and remote locations. they cost more and cost more to restore. if you are a very thorough and patient and rich mechanic with an absolute love for a westy popup, go for it. I have 2 base tin tops [gl] and I.m moving on next year to a midengined toyota previa. I have looked on the recycler.com, but it seems like cl is the main tool now. edmunds.com is another. good luck rust is a dealbreaker, by the way.

dculberson
dculberson Reader
3/17/11 9:20 a.m.

Someone made Astro campers!

from:

http://countryhomescampers.com/tips-advice/gtrv-toyota-conversion

Edit: An AWD/4wd version of this with an LS1 swap would be sweeeeet.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
3/17/11 3:29 p.m.

That information is VERY good to have. I will now cease to look for VW westy's and concentrate on the Astro/popup idea. The cost of VW synchro's starts at ~$30k and I've seen upwards of $66k for a westy synchro. WTF? Astro AWD's start at 3500 in my neck of the woods, and the popup is about $6k (ouch!)... add anything you want for the inside. So now I'm thinking of maybe picking up an Astro conversion van, pulling the fiberglass top off, making a pop up mechanism, and building the inside. If I were clever, this would cost under $10k total. With AWD, capacity for v8 power, and 5000lb towing. Parts in every shop in the US. Fun!

That camper was actually the one I was looking at, DCulb- berkeleying $6k for the pop-top though! Not that I'm cheap, but I think if I got a conversion van with fiber roof, I could build a mechanism to lift the roof for under a grand.

thummmper wrote: I'm actually scared to death of all the propane tanks and stoves and fridge stuff. an old vanagon needs everything, and I mean everything...and then there is the extra credit /work of the westies--but, you will be joining one of the most misplaced egotistical auto groups on the planet. they look on ebay, but it has problems, like scams and remote locations. they cost more and cost more to restore. if you are a very thorough and patient and rich mechanic with an absolute love for a westy popup, go for it. I have 2 base tin tops [gl] and I.m moving on next year to a midengined toyota previa. I have looked on the recycler.com, but it seems like cl is the main tool now. edmunds.com is another. good luck rust is a dealbreaker, by the way.
thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/17/11 8:52 p.m.

thats a better choice for insuring too. you are a wise man. don't those have the 4.3 in them?

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/18/11 10:13 p.m.

vanagon trail arm comparison [converted] to the bmw 7 series has longer radius/wheel travel

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
3/19/11 10:09 a.m.
thummmper wrote: thats a better chouce for insuring too. you are a wise man. don't those have the 4.3 in them?

Yeah, that's my understanding- apparently an LT1 is an easy swap. I like the towing capacity as well. AWD passenger van just came up in my area for $2500 with 122k. Don't know how the 4.3 holds up to mileage though.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/19/11 11:29 a.m.

a lot better than the v8--that could be the difference in going somewhere and staying at home in the next 2 years. just run synthetic oil in it and it will live. I wanted that engine for my project, bolted to a quattro trans, but it was too tall and the smog ref hated it. they dont like the mix/match of engines and transmissions.

dculberson
dculberson Reader
3/19/11 11:30 a.m.

The 4.3 holds up to mileage great. I had one with 275,000 miles on the original engine and it still had good power and started every time. Only sold it to downsize my fleet and have regretted it a couple times since.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/22/11 7:53 p.m.

rear calipers were painted in this fair weather window--along with the lr suspension arm which goes back on the van tomorrow with more good weather. the rr arm will final fit and weld up tomorrow as well.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/23/11 9:10 p.m.

Its hard to believe that this undersea wreck photo is now this--its like an old musical or something " and the drive flanges are onboard to boot the bilstien HDs are in the works bubba

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/29/11 7:26 p.m.

I tore into the dash for the LHS conversion- I need the steer column and cluster, plus the brake switch and range selector and lockout. Lhs column on the right chryslers dash is 3" narrower than vanagon

Nitroracer
Nitroracer SuperDork
3/30/11 6:47 p.m.

I would have guessed the chryco dash was bigger, the LHS looked like quite a large barge.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
3/30/11 7:15 p.m.
thummmper wrote:

That's the point where I would give up. Hang in there!

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/30/11 7:55 p.m.

Its 3" narrower than the vanagon dash-- the LHS is a mid sized car--the german quest for cubic footage persevered -- they wanted so bad to not be a minivan that they spaced for a full width dash dimension. illusions are funny-- I may fab my own dash if this pisses me off enough--crowned 1/2" tubing and resined pattern board with a little matte-- landau top padding, channelled for french seams and a LEATHER skin for the glare shield-- all contingent of the subsystem functions, of course........ {they will be gutted open until I am satisfied they can be closed in proper trim]

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
3/31/11 7:58 a.m.

That wiring is scary and ugly. Good luck with the dash... my Astro dreams have faced two realities: 1. Wife thinks they're ugly as hell
2. The awd version gets 12/16. Ouch.
Another came up- a 2004 AWD with 81k in good shape for $4700. I realize that the cheaper buy-in buys a lot of gas, but I still have a tough time getting around that corner.
Your vanagon is going to be sweet. That rear setup looks great.

thummmper
thummmper New Reader
3/31/11 9:07 p.m.

the astro was my plan b It doesnt make me ill like the mini vans from japan [most] I only went to a van out of fear of being homeless--hasnt happened yet.whats worse is being dreamless I'm gonna pare down the sheet metal frame of the vanagon dash and make the LHS cluster and column fit. It will be okay from what the mockup tells me. thanks

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