I Bought a Van!

Yezzir! It was neither of the ones that I last wrote about. It wasn’t even the one I drove 5 hours away to go look at after posting my last…post. In fact, I found it 10 miles away on a Sunday morning. How random, eh?

If you’re following me on the social medias, you already knew this. But if you don’t (why?), THIS IS SUCH A HUGE MONUMENTAL ANNOUNCEMENT AND NOW YOUR LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER AM I RIGHT?!

I knew it.

The Van

It’s a 2001 GMC 1/2 ton Savana with a hi-top. The engine is a V8 with a 5.7L Vortec with towing package and 170,000 miles (a little more than I’d like). The cosmetics of the outside look good from far, but they’re far from good. The previous owner didn’t like scratches so she decided to cover them up with the same stickers teachers would put on your homework when you did a good job. She also backed into something so there’s a small rear panel being held on by tape.

The interior is in decent shape from the front seats back. It’s all leather, and the stereo system still works throughout (as does the AC. Woot!). As for the front seats, though….well, let’s just say they look like an angry ex-girlfriend had her way with them and a sharp razor blade in tote. Oh well. It’s just cosmetic.

The van itself is 217″ long. The one I drove 5 hours away to look at was only 207″, and the biggest one I’ve seen available was 220″. The green and white one in Jackson was something around 244″. That’s HUGE!

Mechanical Issues

So far there are a few mechanical issues that need to be taken care of before anything else. There are 3 engine codes: random misfiring cylinder(s), O2 sensor heater circuit malfunction, and EVAP circuit malfunction. The first one is scariest, but I’m told that might just be indicating it needs a general tune-up. Of course, I’ll be checking the plugs and wires too. The other two aren’t nothing, but they’re not as serious either.

On top of those, it looks like there’s a leak in the steering box, and the radiator and transmission might need to be flushed. There’s possibly some brake work, and I’ll need studded tires or chains for this winter.

This dude I keep mentioning, Derek, has a shop that he’s letting me use and will be proverbially holding my hand while simultaneously drinking a beer with the other and teaching me how to fix this stuff. Right now I only know enought to get by when it comes to cars so I’m excited to get my hands dirty and learn some useful, real world knowledges.

Making a House

Of course I’ll be looking to Mr. Honnold for inspiration:

And then there’s Travis Burke

This new guy, Jason Kruk.

Get In The Van: Jason Kruk And His #mobilemountainpad

And of course, PINTEREST!

There’s a delicate balance between needs and wants with such limited space (and money), but here are the ideas floating around in my head as of now for the interior and exterior.

The Needs

  • Full-sized bed that converts into a couch when not in use (size, as in, King, Queen, Full, Twin)
  • Seat covers for the front seats
  • Enough storage for:
  • –> Climbing gear, backpacking gear, snowboards + gear
  • –> Technical clothing
  • A tall closet for normal people clothing
  • A place to store my 6 gal. water jug
  • A cubby for a 20lb. propane cylinder (for cook stove and heater in the winter)
  • Counter top for 2-burner Coleman stove (removable for dual use, inside and outside)
  • Some kind of table or counter space for working on and eating
  • Storage for kitchen pots, pans, dishes, cups, silverware, and cooking spices
  • Small RV-refrigerator (powered by propane and electric)
  • Separate battery and charging system for refrigerator, LED lights, and electronics
  • Carbon Monoxide detector/alarm
  • Insulated window covers, black on one side (for winter), reflective foil on the other (for summer)

The Wants

  • Exterior electrical plug to plug into the entire electrical system for those times someone’s willing to give me 110 VAC
  • Roof vent/fan for condensation in winter months and controlling the funk of sweaty boy, sweaty boy clothes, and cooking
  • Permanent or semi-permanent solar panel install
  • Tear out carpet flooring and replace with rubberized coating
  • Slide out table out the back for as much outdoor use/living as possible
  • –> More likely might just be storage space for my already portable, roll-up table.
  • Storage for my portable propane grill
  • Pull-out, removable awning
  • Roof rack and storage
  • Have the entire thing Rhino-lined (or similar) or Vinyl-wrapped to cover up the scratches and stickers
  • Convert it to 4-wheel drive
  • Get it lifted and bigger rims, therefore ensuing step bars, because it needs a little more clearance
  • Add a brush guard, winch, and fog lights (mostly just to make it look badass)

I can’t afford a Sportsmobile fresh off the factory floor (not even a used one, actually), but I can piece one together myself!

When it All Goes Down

As much as I want to tear into this thing RIGHT NOW, the real world is still a real place. I’m currently in NH for work for the next 2-5 weeks, so other than researching and brainstorming, this project is just sitting in my driveway until I return.

I plan to tackle the mechanical issues first as they’re the most important, and then I’ll move on to the other needs. My hopes and dreams are to keep the interior intact as much as possible in its current condition (other than the flooring) to cut down on complete re-design and material costs. Of course, I’ll do what needs to be done regardless and document everything along the way for your viewing pleasure. Because why wouldn’t I?

So then, who has feedback on my ideas, wants, and needs? Have you done this before or know anybody that has? Any other super-vans I can get ideas from? I’m looking at you, Beth.

 



Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.

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