View Full Version : Expo 4x4 Camper Van Project
03-27-2009, 04:16 AM
Well, after contemplating all sorts of offroad/expo type trailers & campers, I finally bit the bullett. I just bought this '89 Coachmen Camper Van. (I've cleaned it up quite a bit since this pic.) Others out there may want to look into these things. I bought mine pretty cheap, and they packed a LOT of features into them. They're too top heavy for serious off road usage, but I've got my rock-crawling rig for that already.
This one has AC, gas heat, 2 burner stove, microwave, 3 way fridge, H20 heater, Onan generator, awning, toilet, and shower. Mine only has 60k miles, a FI 351, C6 trans, and Dana 60 rear. My plan is to convert it to 4wd, install a mild amount of lift (enough for 33's), maybe install an OD trans, and put some bumpers on it.
I think it's pretty cool as is, and will only be better when I'm done. I'm looking to make it a tow vehicle for my 4runner, or my boat, and a self-contained beach capable camper. I'm real excited to get started. I'll keep you informed on my progress.
03-27-2009, 05:03 AM
Awesome! Keep us posted!
03-27-2009, 04:46 PM
Nice score. Yes, keep us posted.
03-27-2009, 09:00 PM
Very Cool! Be sure to post photos of your progress.
I'd like to see interior pics, especially the shower. Not sure how the layout is on camper vans, but I sure like them.
03-27-2009, 09:42 PM
I'm sure you saw it already, but spencyg did a great job on his 86! Looking forward to updates! :costumed-smiley-007
03-27-2009, 10:03 PM
Thanks all, I appreciate the words of encouragement.
Yes, I went thru Spenc's build thread last night. VERY similar to what I want. His progress was pretty fast and furious there for awhile. Mine won't be that fast.
Mine is laid out quite a bit differently than his. I'll post interior pics when I figure it out on this site. I had a tough time doing the one of the exterior. Is there a trick other than making them an attachment? Most of my pics are too big for attachments. Worst case scenario, I'll put them on my website and include a link to it.
Expect to see more of it. It will be a work in progress for awhile. My fiancee has named it the Scooby Van, based on the groovy 80's stripes. I don't mind them that much. Kind of retro cool to me. She thinks I need to paint it Dune Beige. Can't argue much with that.
Thanks for the interest.
03-27-2009, 10:52 PM
Posting pics is easy if you are pulling them off your website. Here (http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2376) is a thread on how to post pics in your thread. Also, using a photo hosting site like photobucket makes it really easy. I want to follow this build, just like Spence's, it'll be a fun one to follow.
03-28-2009, 12:14 AM
A good donor Dana 60 for that generation van can be found in an 86-97 F350. The spring pad width is 36.5", which fits nicely under the frame.
03-28-2009, 06:33 PM
OK, I updated my website to include some before pics.
I actually have added 4 more matching hubcaps to the one shown. I couldn't stand looking at it the way shown in the pics. Looked so sad. All 5 will eventually be replaced with alum mods or something.
The lay out appears to be much different than Spence's. The bath is in the rear. The shower is in the corner on the DS. The toilet is in the middle in the rear. The PS rear is a wardrobe. Forward of the shower is more storage, then the fold out couch running fore and aft. On the PS, forward of the wardrobe, is the 3 way fridge, with the microwave above that, then the 2 burner stove, the the sink, then side door. There is a pull out queen size bed over the driver seats. It still amazes me how much stuff they crammed into this thing. No wonder its so heavy.
For what it is worth, my fiancee agrees it is really neat. Which was no small consideration to me. I wanted her to enjoy the adventures I have planned for it/us. I could never get her excited about the expo trailer w/ roof top tent, cooking and showering outside. I plan to rig up an outside shower that will reach out the back doors for rinsing off the saltwater after jet-skiing or surfing or diving. But it won't be our ONLY shower facility. I also plan to take along a grill or outside stove for times when we WANT to cook outdoors.
Admitting that most of your time camping is spent outdoors, this thing will at least allow us a place to get out of the weather when need be. With the generator and AC, it will make summers on the TX coast bearable. And we can get our 2 dogs into it, unlike a RTT. I realize that this type of expo camper isn't for everyone on this site, it seemed to make sense to me. FWIW, I plan to leave the TV's at home. May put in a nice sound system with sat. radio though.
Stay tuned. I have lots of plans. Just not a lot of time. Or money.
03-28-2009, 06:47 PM
I think I figured it out. Thanks for the link. Some of the pics off my site.
03-28-2009, 11:30 PM
I have a truck camper right now...but I really like the idea of being able to go from drivers seat to inside the camper (your van) without leaving the vehicle.
That's a pretty cool set up. Thanks for sharing your pics.
BTW- all you have to do to post pics is click the yellow square with the mountain (on the reply page) and enter the url of your pics. So, all this-
would be copied (right click- copy) from the top line where your pics are, then right click paste into the box. Hopefully that made sense!
03-31-2009, 09:09 PM
Yeah, that's what I thought I did with the last pics. I'll try again, I know a pic is worth a thousand words. Thanks.
04-01-2009, 12:10 AM
I've noticed that guys on 'Yotacrack seem to have difficulty posting pics of Fords.:ylsmoke:
The green FJ40 on your site looks exactly like the one I had when I was 16 yrs old back in the early '80s. Good times.
By the looks of your website, you're going to have a blast with the camper van.
04-01-2009, 05:01 PM
Well that was my thought about the camper van. Especially if I can convert it to 4wd. Seemed to fit my lifestyle pretty well. I have to be realistic about time constraints and the realities of life. I don't have now, nor do I foresee having the time in the near future, to take a couple months off to roam around the world on a completely hard-core off-road expedition.
I foresee being able to take long weekends, and hopefully week long trips to; coastal places here in North America that will allow us to enjoy water activities; surfing, diving, fishing, boating, jet-skiing, kayaking... or towing my 4Runner to rockcrawling/4wheeling sites around the country as well.
What I really want is a Sportmobile, but they are not in my price range, even used. So, I'm trying to build my own. Or something similar, possibly superior in ways. Indoor shower for the fiancee being a big one.
The FJ40 is for sale. Sort of. I haven't made a strong push to sell it yet, but it's a project I just don't have time nor enthusiasm for right now. I've got someone local interested in it, and supposedly coming to check it out this weekend. If that falls thru I will make more of an effort to sell it.
Are you looking to re-live your youth with another one?
04-02-2009, 03:10 PM
Are you looking to re-live your youth
with another one?[/QUOTE]
No thanks, as cool as those are, I've got my hands full with enough projects and planned travel dates and weekly rides and paddles, thanks.
I need to do bumpers front and rear, and a Westphalia type interior yet. When thats all done, it will be time to reassess the idea of a SAS.
04-02-2009, 03:54 PM
I saw one similar to that For Sale near the entrance of Tyler State Park when I was mtn biking there about a year ago.
any possibility this is the same van?
04-03-2009, 12:43 AM
>> Are you looking to re-live your youth?
Uhhh, and exactly when did your first "youth" end?... ;)
04-06-2009, 02:58 AM
Don't really know for sure if that was mine you saw a year ago or not.
I finally got to work on it a little bit tonight. I removed the stupid PVC pipe under the rear that held the sewer pipe. I need to reengineer something else for that purpose, but that thing was ugly, and caused a major loss of departure angle. Might try to incorporate storage for it into my custom rear bumper/hitch/spare carrier/cooler carrier/gas can holder........
I also made my first attempt at sealing up a crack in the grey water holding tank. I say my first attempt, but I sure hope it's my only attempt. While I was under it, I was trying to figure out how to redo the dump valves like Spence did to gain more ground clearance.
The black water comes down vertically from the floor, and could be repositioned to point straight down, and yet not hang below the frame for ground clearance/protection. The grey water actually exits the side of the tank, and runs under the frame rail, over to the valve at the side of the van. Not sure how to reengineer that one yet.
I was also looking at raising the propane tank like Spence did. Mine is hanging from brackets that have multiple holes in them. I think I can simply unbolt it, raise it, and choose another set of holes to raise it closer to the floor. Does anyone know if the fill valve and other connections need to be at an angle near the bottom of the tank, or can I rotate it, putting the valves/connections pointing straight down? This would allow me to raise the tank up much higher, above the frame rails (or at least the rocker panels). The way they are now, it makes it easier to fill the tank from standing next to the van, as opposed to having to get under it. I need to remove the running boards next. Stay tuned for this one.
I also started rewiring the stereo. I'm eventually going to replace it with something higher end w/ satellite, but the wiring was not done very well, and speakers were cutting out. While I was at it, I was thinking about wiring it to a constant power source so that we could use it without having to have the keys on hand. My concern is drawing down the chassis battery. I should rewire it to the coach battery. Does anyone have thoughts about/experience with this type of setup? Maybe I should just find a switched/acc power and use my keys so that it can't be left on by accident.
I'm also looking for advice on flooring materials. The PO did a lousy job installing lousy looking self adhesive tile squares. It definitely needs replaced. Carpet doesn't really seem practical to me. Hard surface, easy to sweep out, seems the only choice.
I was originally thinking about using hardwood. I've seen a few campers redone with it, and it looks nice. The area is small enough (~30SF) that the cost wouldn't really be prohibitive, but I'm worrying about the moisture that is sure to make it's way into the unit. No offense to anyone, but I don't really care for the Pergo type materials. They do make some nice looking self adhesive tile squares nowadays. Not sure how long they would last. A buddy gave me a roll of left over linoleum last night. The price was right, but it's really light/white. Not sure how long that will look ok. And I'm not sure how easy that will be to cut in the appropriate pattern to use it all one piece. Guess I'll make a template with cardboard, or even paper. Does anyone have any thoughts on flooring materials for our type of rigs?
How about covering/painting the walls and cabinets? Thinking about using laminate material designed for countertops. Seems like it may work well. Here I would like to use a light color to lighten up the interior.
Just some thoughts that monopolize my head nowadays. Any and all comments accepted.
I almost bought one of those at an auction about 5 yrs. ago. I would of scored it for $1000 if one other person hadn't wanted it more than me, I dropped out at $3000. I instead bought a 4x4 Transvan which was a pile of junk but already had the Pathfinder conversion. That was 4 yrs ago and I am just finishing the restoration. In the long run it would of been alot easier to convert a nice 2wd camper van like yours to 4x4 than completely rebuild the camper part. As for flooring I armour coated the cab portion and used heavy duty commercial vinyl for the camper.
04-12-2009, 04:41 AM
I'm currently building a 02 E350 4x4. I used foam rubber tiles from Costco. They are 2' x 2' diamond plate looking grey foam tiles that snap together like a puzzle. They cut with scissors and I was even able to cut and glue over the wheel wells. It took 3 packs at $14.00 a pack but I bought a 4th pack to cover the shelfs because I liked the material so much. It can be damage if you slide something like a heavy sharp toolbox across it but I have spares to pop in the places that may get beat up. It deadened the sound from the floor and wheel wells and adds 1/2" of foam insulation to the floor. Even if the cost was a couple of hundred I'd do it again. I can post a pict if you need to see it. I'm heading to Moab Utah for 7 days and if it does not far well then I'll let you know. So far with all my build traffic and loading for my trip, it's been perfect. This is a link to a similar product:http://www.commercialmatsandrubber.com/c43/Reversible-Soft-Floor-p914.html
04-12-2009, 06:12 PM
The fuel pick-up is usually located where it picks up vapor rather than liquid. I'd research this and see if your proposed rotation will affect it or not.
What I would propose that you do first is visualize what the whole 12 VDC electrical system wants to look like when done (yeah, right, like these things are ever 'done'.) Make the mods now that allow for moving in the direction of that vision and try to allow room for expansion.
An option that I wish that I'd done on one vehicle was to use a Cole-Hersee (http://www.colehersee.com/catalog_top/index.htm) p/n 24059 85 amp continuous duty solenoid powered off the 'house' battery.
Attached to that would be those things that I might want to operate with the key off. I would turn on the solenoid with either a switch and with an ignition source. That way all of those things go on and off with the key unless I specifically flip the switch. I would consider whether to have an indicator light showing when that switch is on so that it is not accidentally left on.
04-12-2009, 10:47 PM
I like the diamond plate snap together stuff idea. Please report on it's durability.
The guy at the propane refilling place told me that there is some sort of auto shut off valve in the tank, or I guess it was in his filling nozzle, that requires the fill valves on the tank be pretty horizontal. That answers my question of rotating the tank, allowing me to put it farther up, behind the rockers. Oh well.
I also like the solenoid idea. Since I posted my question, I've done a bit more research on that too, and it seems my idea is far from new. Sportsmobile does something similar, and my father told me his last Class A motorhome had the same type of switch as well. Definitely something I'm going to install. As it is now, I just put it back together running off the key. Thanks for the input.
No other real exciting updates. I did find a 2" hitch that I think will mount normally, clearing the holding tank plumbing. This eliminates the NEED to make custom bumpers. Not that I don't still want them, but I will be able to tow my other junk until such time that I get to making bumpers. Dying to get it installed, but no time this weekend.
Think my second attempt has sealed up the grey water tank leak. Will keep you posted.
04-15-2009, 12:29 PM
Haha...your van has the exact same top mine does! I hope you didn't pay $5k....you'd shoot me if you knew how much I picked up mine for.
Looks like a good base though. Not sure I'd bother with a 4x conversion if I were you. For the kind of traveling you're considering, I'd think a mild lift, some decent A/T's, and possibly a selectable locker for the rear axle will do it for ya. Remember, these campers (at least mine anyway) aren't wheeling machines. You need to play WAY ahead when going down any unmaintained road, as getting rigs our size extracted would require a bulldozer. The other serious consideration which seriously limits the places you'll go is the height. I stand over 9'-6" tall right now, and I've been considering running a slightly taller tire. Most trails don't allow this kind of height. Don't get me wrong...I've used 4WD plenty, but most of it has been in the snow, and even then it wasn't absolutly necessary.
Just some thoughts. Best of luck.
04-17-2009, 03:19 AM
Well Spence, by the sounds of it, I may not want to know what you paid for yours, but I paid $4k for mine. May seem like a lot to some, but I justified it by considering that the rig only has 60k miles, it already has a Onan generator w/ 63 hrs (worth ~$2000+), a working 3 way fridge (~$1200), AC (w/ opt. heater element), gas furnace, awning, microwave, inside shower (albeit small), hot water.....The biggest drawback to me was that it's only 2wd, and I know anything is possible. I've got big dreams, and friends with mad welding skills. I've found a whole cult culture of 4wd van guys. (Like I needed another vehicular cult to get into.)
I understand what you are saying about the limitations of a rig this size. I agree. I haven't measured, but think I'm pushing 10' tall too. It will NOT be my rock-crawling rig. I'm hoping it will TOW my rock-crawling rig to the trail, or my boat to the ocean, and handle some light duty off-road adventures. My next one will probably have a pop-top, so that the height isn't such a full-time limitation.
I REALLY want it to take me out on the beaches of the Texas coast, or the Outer Banks of NC, or Baja Mexico, or places I don't even know about yet, where I can camp, off the grid, fully self-contained. I know too much about driving on the beach to think this thing will make it w/o the front pulling too. It weighs entirely too much. I plan to put ~33's on it for some flotation. Locking diffs are on the list too.
I know they aren't the hardcore expedition rig that some desire (myself included), but it is really growing on me. This one is kind of a test too. If we like the size and idea of a camper van, I may try to justify a newer one, or if I hit the lottery, a real SMB. I feel relatively confident that I will be able to sell this one for what I have in it when I'm done with it.
04-17-2009, 12:39 PM
$4k is a respectable amount....especially given the equipment and the mileage. Is it gas or diesel?
I've actually thought about possibly removing the top on mine at some point in the distant future and doing a pop top. You'll never find the economy in buying a newer rig...they are just too expensive and depriciate too fast. I really like my '86 because its value just isn't going down anymore if I maintain its condition. The tops on these rigs (I assume yours is a Falcon conversion like mine) are really just screwed on with the stock sheetmetal cut to just about where it rounds the bend to horizontal. Removing it wouldn't be an unreasonable task, and adding a new pop top would be rather simple. Just something to think about. I still don't think vans like ours will ever be serious wheeling machines just due to the fact that the CG is so high, regardless of a permanent or pop top. Mine is certainly less "tippy" since installing the airbag suspension, but it still isn't something I care to put much past 15 degrees over vertical.
Congrats on the rig...its gunna be cool.
04-23-2009, 04:46 AM
I like the diamond plate snap together stuff idea. Please report on it's durability.
After 6 days of camping in Moab the floor looks like new. I swept out rocks and sand 3 times and only see 1 small cut. I threw one of my trailer wheel ramps in it when it came loose going down the bumpy roads. Thats probably what cut it but as cheap as they are replacement is simple. I won't replace it because it just has a small nick. It would have wasted hardwood. I say it's good stuff and with the sound and insulating qualitys it's perfect. It's was also nice to kneel on when I was trying to keep the mud from my boots off of it while just tryng to grab somthing.
As far as 4x4, my van has it and it saved our trip. A lot of the good camping spots were filled and to get back to the real nice ones and away from traffic it was 4x4 only. Nothing extream but I was pulling my Jeep and Rokon 2x2 dirt bike on a trailer. I would have never made it in 2 wheel drive plus the low range of the T-case is nice on the really ruff sections. I say convert it. You have low miles and all the nice equipment. I bought a 02 4x4 E350 with raised roof and genny but I had to add all the other goddies and it still need more. You allready have all the good stuff for a camper so to have a 4x4 conversion will put you in a whole other leage. Nice low milage rig to boot. Is that motor EFI? If so then it's perfect.
04-24-2009, 02:28 AM
Thanks for the additional words of encouragement. I haven't had time to do much with it in the last 2 weeks. Got the hitch installed. Now need to do the trailer brake wiring.
It does have the fuel injected 351 gas motor. It was my choice of the available gas motors of that vintage. I felt the 302 would be too small, and the big block 460 would probably have been too much of a gas hog (not that the 351 isn't too). I really wanted the FI. I'm fighting carb issues on the FJ40. Enough of that. I like old school stuff, but FI is a wonderful advancement in my eyes.
I found the diamond plate snap together stuff your talking about at my local Pep Boys. They had 2 diff brands, that didn't look like they would snap together with each other, and not enough of either brand. I think I'm going to try the free linolium I got from a buddy first, but will keep this stuff in mind for the next round. Did you put the trim around the stepwells back in place over the edges? Does it compress enough for that? I appreciate the update. Sounds like a great trip to Moab. Yet another place on my list of places to go in it when I get it done.
Anyone have any experience replacing the side and back door windows with factory opening ones? I found some in a van in a boneyard, but I need to know how to pull the windows, the gaskets, and the hinges out of the donor van w/o destroying them. Anyone find ready made screens for van windows? I am planning to make my own if I can't buy them.
As a side note; when I was rewiring the stereo, I found that my switched (ACC) power lead (yellow w/blk stripe) isn't hot, key on or not. Not sure where that wire runs to. My fuse box cover is missing, my Haynes manual doesn't tell me, and all the fuses in the box appear to be good. I pulled a layout of the fuse box off the net, but everything at that end appears to be good. Anyone have any ideas where else that wire might go from the IGN swtich to the fuse box?
04-24-2009, 12:33 PM
I've been dealing with the little yellow wires behind the dash lately in hopes of finding an electrical gremlin too....how odd.
The yellow/black should be hot all the time. The solid yellow wires are switched with the ignition. There is a fuse that ties into this circuit....I think its the 4th one down on the left if your box is anything like mine (small glass fuses?). I could have avoided all my slicing and dicing if I'd just checked the fuse first! Idiot! My knowledge is coming from working on an '86 and I'm pretty sure up to '91 is all the same.
04-24-2009, 08:39 PM
On the threshold for the sliding door I used a piece of Home Depot 2x2" aluminum angle and the rear I left butted to the factory threshold. It compresses enough and seems to cut and trim into anything you want real nice.
04-25-2009, 12:29 PM
ELEC GREMLINS; Apparently somewhere between '86 and '89 they switched to blade style fuses. Bad for you, good for me. I thought for sure I had determined that they used ylw/blk for ACC power in '89, but since it doesn't work, I'll have to get back in there and check for just ylw. I had found some website that lists factory wiring colors for installing aftermarket stereos. It was pretty useful, but apparently I didn't print it out. If you need it, I'll relocate the website.
FLOOR COVERING; Mine doesn't currently have the trim around the step-wells. Coachmen in their infinite wisdom decided it would be good to run the floor carpet down into the step-wells. As you can imagine after 20 yrs of dirty shoes, and leaking door gaskets, the carpet in the step-wells is NASTY. I plan to take it all out, leaving the painted metal and alum step tread thingy. Should be much easier to sweep out dirt and sand.
BUT, in the vans I found in a local boneyard, I saw that they have factory trim around their step-wells (all 3 side doors). I thought that would be a great idea to cover the edge of whatever floor product I use. I plan to get them when I get the flip-out windows.
Speaking of flip out windows, and the screens I'll need for them, I found a company in Australia that makes pretty cool flexible magnetic screens for vehicle windows, but there is no listing on their website for American vans like mine. Neat idea though. I plan to use velcro to attach mine to the inside of the doors. On a similar note, I bought a screen wall kit for a freestanding 10x10 canopy thing off the clearance table @ Pep Boys for $5. Plan to adapt it to my awning for a screened room, or cut it up to make screens for the side and rear door openings. Figured for $5 bucks I couldn't go wrong.
They also have a 3 wall/wind screen attachment thing for the same freestanding canopy thing. I may go back and buy that for a privacy screen to run between the rear doors (when opened) to provide some privacy for an outdoor shower. The shower nozzle is long enough as-is to reach outside the back doors. You can already reach the shower valves while standing outside. I plan to build (or buy) a small flexible/roll out standing platform to keep your toes out of the sand while showering. Should be easy/cheap for outside shower capability. Stay tuned.
Speaking of leaking door gaskets, does anyone have specific luck with replacing door gaskets? I found that JCWhitney has some for my van, but I don't have any experience with.
I really wish I had more time to play with this thing. It really is pretty neat. I know, pics are worth a thousand words. Pics will be coming.
04-25-2009, 05:40 PM
Link to company that makes screens for Vans:http://www.skreenz.com/products.htm
04-25-2009, 06:46 PM
AWESOME. Thanks for the link.
Might still make my own, but I like the idea of having double screen.
05-01-2009, 07:11 PM
I am @$$-uming your engine is a 351 Windsor. I you want I can look for some gas saving upgrades for ya. I love the Ford 351s. My favorite is the 351C (but its not the same as a "W"). Is underhood heat a problem for you? I know alot of vans get pretty hot. A cheap way to cut underhood heat is to wrap your exaust manifolds in that insulation on F-250 and F-350 Diesels (the stuff that kinda looks like tinfoil). It also wont rust your pipes out like the fiberglass wrap will.
05-03-2009, 01:10 PM
Yes, it puts out a lot of heat. I haven't even addressed that problem yet, but I was going to put additional sound deadener/heat insulation on the motor side of the motor doghouse. Manifold wrap wouldn't hurt either.
The motor/trans/van body also generates a tremendous amount of engine noise at take off. Makes me think the fan clutch isn't engaging/disengaging correctly. Until you get up to speed, then the clutch lets go (or kicks in) and the noise level goes down. Anyone know if this is characteristic of the breed? My '98 E350 company van w/5.4 and E40D, don't make this much noise.
Going to try and get it ready for it's maiden voyage to the TX coast next weekend. This will be just a shakedown cruise. Trying to get a feel for it and see if we like it enough to invest the $ to convert to 4wd.
05-03-2009, 02:58 PM
Back when I was a firefighter/EMT, all our ambulances were Ford van conversions running 460 V8s. The underhood temperatures were such that we had to go to special silicone radiator and heater hoses to keep them from bursting. Our solution was to have the hoods louvered - multiple small louvers cut into the hood surface. It looked good and was very effective - and it sure kept the windshield clear of ice and snow during the winter!
05-05-2009, 02:29 PM
The motor/trans/van body also generates a tremendous amount of engine noise at take off. Makes me think the fan clutch isn't engaging/disengaging correctly. Until you get up to speed, then the clutch lets go (or kicks in) and the noise level goes down.
I just replaced the fan clutch in my G/F's 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee and it makes the same noise. If I drive about 1/4 of a mile, the noise goes away. I'm gonna wait a few months to see if the clutch breaks-in before I look at it again. hope this helps
05-16-2009, 03:04 PM
Well, we made it to the Texas coast and back. We burned a LOT of fuel; 8-9 mpg, 974 mile round trip @ ~$2.15/gallon. You can figure it out. Expensive 4 day trip. Good thing I enjoyed it. Could've burned less fuel, if I had slowed down. I have a problem with going less than the speed limit, and becoming a hazard to navigation.
The Scooby van did pretty well. It's a little small for the 2 of us and the 2 dogs. It was very hot down there and I got extremly sunburnt playing in the surf on Sat., so we had to run the AC most of the day Sun. It was a God send to have it. Can't imagine camping down there in the summer without it.
The temporary screens I made for the front side windows worked well enough. Will be engineering something more substantial before the next trip. Will be designing screens for the side and rear doors as well. Have the canopy screen room thing from Pep Boys, and going to modify it to work with the awning.
One of the most useful things turned out to be one panel of the $5 canopy wall thing I bought at Pep Boys. I fastened it to the awning to provide some afternoon shade. Made sitting outside much more possible.
We made use of the outdoor shower thing after coming back from the beach Sat. afternoon. That was pretty cool. For real showers, we used the campground bathhouse, but could have done it at the camper.
Cooked our meals on the trusty Coleman propane, outside the camper. Got the inside stove working, but it generates a LOT of heat.
Got the fridge working on 110 and propane. After years of camping out of a cooler, that's pretty neat. Even was able to have clean ice for our drinks. Little RV camping luxury that didn't go unappreciated.
The holding tanks both worked as designed. Did decide that I need to replumb the dump valves together into one valve. This will allow me to dump both tanks without removing the hose. I will incorporate this redesign when I raise the valves for better ground clearance. Hopefully will only need a Y before the valve.
All in all, we enjoyed the trip. Makes me want to go ahead and do the 4wd conversion. The van won't do what I ultimately want it to without being 4wd. Just need to start collecting parts for it.
As a side note, we stopped at Sportsmobile in Austin, TX on Monday. Spent quite a bit of time there. Boy, do they have some cool stuff. Very expensive stuff, but cool. Very nice people too. Decided I need to play the lottery, regularly.
Stay tuned for future updates. Another link to my website; http://web.mac.com/drjacobs2/Site/Solid_Axle_Toys,_Inc./Pages/1989_Ford_E250_Camper_Van.html
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