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Old 05-27-2019, 08:09 PM   #1
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The van that wouldn't float.

A few folks have wondered about the Pismo van, so I thought Iíd start a thread detailing its resurrection. First off, I have to thank all those great forum members that were so helpful in my quest to buy and transport this van home. Without the help of numerous forum members, I don't know how I would have pulled this off, so, thanks to you all, you rock. So, to begin with for those that donít know, the van is a 2002 7.3 SMB that went for a swim at Pismo Beach Ca while crossing a river. It got stuck half way across and ended up being towed out. Shortly afterwards it was fully rinsed out, then steam cleaned, the engine, both diffís, and the transmission were flushed and fresh fluids installed. A new starter was installed and the engine run. In addition, new axle seals were installed. A few days later, I flew to Santa Barbra to inspect it and ultimately I bought it. That was the easy part, getting it to Wa state turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. The first attempt was to trailer it home, but that ended badly. Next, I had no less than four auto transport companyís contracted to deliver it, but they never showed up on pick up day and then refused to even answer the phone. Finally, on the fifth try, I found someone who actually did pick it up and deliver it to me. It was unloaded from the trailer, and I drove it home the last 100 yards with the engine running just fine. My first concern was with all the electrical connectors and sensors since corrosion can cause issues, so the first thing I did was to pull the front bumper and much of the front sheet metal to aid in getting to all that stuff. Holy hell that bumper is heavy, but I guess the 12K lb Warn winch doesnít help much.
Starting with the headlight connectors and working my way to the firewall, I pulled every electrical connector expecting to find moisture at a minimum, but instead I found every one to be dry, and with dielectric grease in each. So, my first concern turned out to a non issue. I really wanted to inspect the big plug that goes through the firewall, but once I got it apart, it too was like new inside with a coating of dielectric.
Probably the biggest issue is the transfer case. It got water in it due to the breather hose being so low, but unfortunately it wasnít drained, and it corroded the magnesium case enough that it began to leak oil. The good news is that I had a spare on the bench, but first the Transferflow fuel tank had to come out to make room. While it was out, it got a good cleaning, inspection, and some fresh paint.
The underside of the van is impressively rust free, far better than my 2001 that I spot prime and paint yearly after snow season. The interior is in reasonably good shape, but the carpets and door panels were removed to allow flushing and cleaning, so those will be replaced, along with some other cosmetic upgrades. So, at this point the van is stabilized and in good shape, it just needs a bunch of love. I expect this project to take several months as I have a road trip to Alaska planned this summer, but Iíll just chip away at it a little at a time. In the meantime, I have two camper vans parked in the driveway, and amusingly, my immediate neighbor has two Ford vans in his driveway too.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:30 PM   #2
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Quite amazing you didnt find any issues with the electrical - not just because of the bath it took, but also taking into account the age of the Van.
Hopefully this surprise will be the standard for the rest of your projects.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:22 PM   #3
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:12 PM   #4
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Walk in the park!
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:44 PM   #5
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Thanks for the update! Are you planning on being at the Van Expo again this year with the new van?
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:25 AM   #6
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Very cool - good luck with it!
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:13 AM   #7
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I vote for you getting the personalized license plate: FLOTSAM
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:43 AM   #8
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Or ďDRIFTVNĒ
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Old 05-28-2019, 11:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellpilot View Post
Thanks for the update! Are you planning on being at the Van Expo again this year with the new van?
Not this year, I'll be headed to the BCOR rally at Whistler in a few weeks in my 2001, BCOR - BC Overland Rally then North to Alaska to hopefully catch up with REF and his family for some additional exploring before heading South to Baja in the fall. I'm not sure when the new van will get it's first on road sea trial, but I'm not in a hurry and want to take my time getting it all cleaned up and adding a few upgrades. Your welcome to join us anywhere along the way, Baja will be in November on either side of the Baja 1000 race.
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Old 05-28-2019, 11:54 AM   #10
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The biggest issue so far turned out to be the transfer case. I had a spare on the bench, but I discovered that it had a slip yoke output, instead of the needed fixed yoke. Unfortunately, the output shaft in the old transfer case was un-usable, so I needed a new one. Searching the internet wasnít turning up much, but TomsBeast had an unused one in his shop, so he shipped it to me, but despite being from the same BW 1356, it didnít fit, the splines were too large and a different length. Some careful measuring determined that the OD of the splines was .015 larger than my old one, so a bit of careful polishing got it to fit and the length didn't seem to matter. He also sent me a new planetary gear set, but the ID and pitch of the gear was a different diameter. It's odd how many slightly different sized parts are used the same model of transfer case. Meanwhile, I was trying to find new output and input seals, but none of the three auto parts places in town could match the original one. They all were able to cross it over to different seals, all with the correct OD and ID, but none with the correct shield. I finally found a Ford part number on line and that got me the correct ones in just one day. Or course I had accidently switched the two yokes, and had the front on the back, but I didnít discover the problem until I tried to connect the drive shafts and the ujoints didnít fit. I had to switch them, but luckily there was just enough room for the impact and it was pretty easy. After reassembling and installing the transfer case, the fuel tank went back in, but getting the hoses back on was a real chore due to the lack of room for my fat hands. Meanwhile, I picked up a molded carpet set from a local yard and it cleaned up like new. Yesterday I got that in, and cleaned up some wiring under the dash. With all the switches for the ARB lockers and compressor and other stuff, I wanted to secure everything a bit better.
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