Hey everybody. Last fall I bought a conversion van to add to my car fleet. My wife wasn't thrilled and is still skeptical. I have been slowly working on getting it road-worthy for long trips and to tow my boat over some local mountain passes. I wouldn't even mind using it for tail-gating. LOL.
Anyway, I thought I'd start posting pictures and documenting my progress here for added motivation to keep going.
I'm not real knowledgeable about how to use the forum such as easily posting pics, but hopefully I'll get it down.
So, it's a 1990 Club Wagon 1/2 ton 5.8L (351W) FI E4OD with about 102,000 original miles. It needs work, but I'm up for it. The body's in pretty good condition along with the interior. I plan to just keep updating, upgrading and improving when I get the time and money.
So far, it's had a full tune-up including full-synthetic oil, filter, new plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filter and air filter. I also figured out what the problem was with the electrical system. It involved replacing one of the two batteries, replacing the serpentine belt, new alternator and new regulator.
I got better after-market rims from a guy on CL (what a great deal) along with new tires. Still need to find the correct center caps.
Bought a new 6-way valve switch to solve the fuel line problem (yeah, it startled me when gas started pouring out from behind the front gas cap.... LOL). However, I haven't installed it yet because I'm thinking about modifying my gas tank configuration (different thread under the van section).
Still have lots to do before I feel like it's ready for the road. I plan on doing the front and rear brakes, front bearings, new shocks, rear sway bar (currently doesn't have one), LSD rear, better rear leaf springs, alignment, new 3" stainless steel cat-back exhaust system, big oil cooler, big tranny cooler, new driving lights and yellow fog lights and so on.
I'm even thinking about rooftop A/C like an RV! Not sure about this mod yet.
Thanks! Yeah, you're probably right about the rooftop A/C. LOL.
I actually have a nice free-standing room A/C unit that I could take along on longer trips during the hot trips so that if/when we plug in at an RV park or at a relative's place with an extension cord, we can have a cool, comfortable environment without using gas. I'm also thinking about one of those canopies that bolts to the side of the roof and you can pull it out so that we have sun/rain protection off the side of the van. Just a thought.
So, we finally had a day of good weather (still a little cold) but at least it was dry. I spent the better part of the day working on getting some of the parts I've collected actually onto the van. LOL.
With the help of a really good friend of mine who is an excellent mechanic I did the front brakes including new rotors, calipers, pads and brake lines. We also did the inner bearings with new seals and the outer bearings. Since we had everything apart in the front and I had daylight, I also installed the new Monroe Gas-Magnum shocks as well as the new Energy Suspension components for the front sway bar. Everything is great except the brake pedal is a little soft. I think I let some air into the rear brake lines so they'll have to be bled. However, I'm going to wait since I am rarely driving the van right now and I hope to do the rear brakes in a couple of weeks anyway.
Speaking of a couple of weeks, if all goes the way I hope it will, I'm going to install the rear sway bar that I picked up from the junkyard along with the new Energy Suspension polyurethane components as well as change out the leaf springs with the 3/4 ton springs I also got from the yard. I'll Do the rear brakes (everything.... drums, shoes, brake kit, adjust the emergency/parking brake) and I'll install the new shocks, too. This thing should drive like it's new! LOL.... And, with any luck, I'll try the fuel tank swap which some of you have been waiting to hear how it goes. For any of you who haven't heard, I am thinking of swapping out the two rear tanks for one 33-gallon Bronco tank. More soon.
I took some pictures. I hope they're not too blurry.
I'm throwing in a picture from our snowy winter we had. Sort of unusual for the Seattle area to get as much snow as we did and for it to stick around for a week.
Weather's been pretty bad, but I couldn't stand it anymore, so I tried to do some work on the van in the house. I brought the rear sway bar that I got from the junkyard into the TV room and started cleaning it and taking off all the old rubber pieces. Actually, I started that process outdoors since I used my hand-held propane torch to get the old rubber pieces out where the arms bolt to the chassis.
Boy was I careful not to make a mess because I didn't want my wife to kabosh any future attempts of working on stuff inside. LOL.
So, I got all the new Energy Suspension components onto the rear sway bar. Almost everything is greased and ready to go (see pics). Can't wait to get this on along with the new rear leaf springs and shocks. I still have to burn out the old rubber from the eyelets in the leaf springs and shackles in order to replace those, too. I learned that it really isn't necessary to burn up the old rubber too much. I found that if I aimed my torch down the middle of the metal sleeve and heated that up real well, it can be pushed out relatively easily and then the old rubber parts are easier to get out.
Wow... Haven't been on this forum for quite a while. My wife's been having health issues, my oldest dog is, well, getting old, I switched job locations.... Man, life has been busy. I've done a lot to my van, but now I'm thinking about selling it because my wife doesn't really like it. Oh well. I'll at least try to update my thread soon to share what I've done. Maybe someone on the forum might want to buy it! LOL.