Goonie - 09 Chevy Express AWD Camper Van

Goonie

Member
summertime always seems to bring changes! My wife and I got sick of using a Camelbak to wash off sand and salt water after surfing so I got a cheap water pump and nozzle setup from amazon and tested it out:

12V Pump and Nozzle

Worked for about 10 min and then quit.... there was a poor solder joint in the cigarette lighter adapter but once i sorted that out it's been working like a champ! I wanted to come up with a better mounting solution than having the tank strapped to the side of the van and the pump zip-tied to the strap so a mounting bracket was made. Pretty simple design made with 1" angle iron and 1/2" tubular steel with rubber pads to help prevent rubbing/abrasion of the water tank. I added a strainer between the tank and the pump to prevent any particulate from killing the pump:

Barb Fitting Inline Strainer

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With the addition of this pump as well as a used ARB Fridge we found in craigslist, we decided to double our battery mojo as well so I installed a second Deep cycle battery as well as adding a hinged section to our bed to more easily access it:

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I brought my buddy out to the beach for a taste of Vanlife and he loved it

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Goonie

Member
Winter seems to be a good time to make upgrades:

I installed a swivel passenger seat and cut down the stock seat mount to maintain seating position

Designed and fabricated a cabinet around the ARB fridge and Diesel heater which was just installed.

Optimized water and electronics storage/ location

Added a more efficient storage box to the side of the bed.

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Wyuna

Observer
Do you not get diesel fumes from having the Heater fuel inside the van?

Im guessing the fuel tank behind the seat is vented
 

Goonie

Member
Correct, the fuel tank is vented. I have not had any issue with fumes, the vent hole is very small. Perhaps once the weather gets warm I might start to notice it. If that's the case I'll probably just drain the system, no need to run heat in the summer.

It seems common practice to have the tank inside, especially with Westfalias.

anyone that's interested in getting one of these heaters should check out this facebook group which discusses Cheaper Chinese made Diesel Heaters, it's a great community with lots of info.
 

Jmacn

New member
Looking Good! I'd like to know more about your swivel passenger seat. I've been striking out on junk yards & got completely hosed on the swivel base I bought off Shop4Seats.
 

Goonie

Member
Jmacn, Check out The Gnarvan build thread, pages 1 and 2, I did pretty much the same and used it as a guide.

I bought the seat from discountvantruck for $229, part 111615
 

45Kevin

Adventurer
Great thread.

But you really need to glue some black felt on to the reflectix on the windows.
I gives a much more stealthy look.

What do you do for a toilet?
 

Goonie

Member
Great thread.

But you really need to glue some black felt on to the reflectix on the windows.
I gives a much more stealthy look.

What do you do for a toilet?
Good call, I kept flopping between paying for some good tint for stealth and keeping the van cool and just staying super cheap by using the reflectix. I guess you use black felt? doesn't it get hot in the sunlight? We have so many windows, we normally have bikes on the back or paddle boards on the roof so we’re not very stealth anyways 😆.

Most of the time we hit up coffee shops in the morning for #2. Neither me or my wife are squeamish so if we’re in the woods we just dig a hole.

We are planning on a longer trip in the future, might be nice to have a easy access toilet. do you have any recommendations?
 

Jmacn

New member
Jmacn, Check out The Gnarvan build thread, pages 1 and 2, I did pretty much the same and used it as a guide.

I bought the seat from discountvantruck for $229, part 111615
Thanks, that seems like the only option left. I had one ordered from Roadtrek but they couldn't fulfill it before going out of business.
 

Goonie

Member
Thanks, that seems like the only option left. I had one ordered from Roadtrek but they couldn't fulfill it before going out of business.
Ah bummer, this was the only option I was aware of. You might be ok without cutting down the seat base if that was a concern. I test fit it before I modified the base. It was able to swivel and function fine. My wife is somewhat short and didn’t want her feet dangling when sitting so I cut it down.

Removing the connectors to run the wires through the center bolt was very easy, no special pin extractors needed, just a small flat head screwdriver.

Cutting, modifying, and welding the base was a bit of a pain in the butt.

There was also a side plastic trim piece on inboard of the seat that needed trimmed due to catching on the swivel section.

I’m not sure who mentioned it but adding some white lithium grease in the swivel bearing race is probably a good idea while you have it out!
 

Goonie

Member
Dreaded spark plug change went smoother than expected, the drivers side was a little more difficult than the passengers side. The pre gapped spark plugs were not pre gapped very well, most were around .030 to .035, I needed .040.

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Also got a good deal on front and rear brake rotors/pads on Amazon for $150.... except that they packaged and sent the wrong rear rotors so I was only able to knock out the fronts... but they sure as hell needed it, pretty groovy!

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