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Old 06-11-2015, 11:57 AM   #1
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1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Hello First post on this forum - I've been lurking for a bit to see ideas for interior builds. I've added a bit of storage to the side doors, but doors on both sides make it difficult for any real closet space. Ideas? Cross posting my current build with posts I've made at Expedition Portal...

I recently purchased a 2004 GMC Savana AWD conversion van & have been working on re-converting to a capable weekend camper to handle dirt forest service, BLM, roads - mainly to access mountain bike/hiking trails & just get away. The van has 3.73 gears, g80 rear locker, and 70,000 miles. Digging the low-top, my previous van was a high-top, nice to run thru the auto car wash & fit parking garages.

Before:

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Current:

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I installed 3/4 ton suburban springs, Max lift keys, and longer Bilsteins - lifted 3" in rear & 2-1/2 in the front. Sierra wheels & 265-70-17 Michelins. Maybe a low-range transfer case in the future - anyone know of a close/direct fit?

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Dual house batteries under the rear sofa/bed with Xantrex inverter, solar panels/controller/charger still sitting in the garage. I added the discountvans seat swivel & had the seat base cut down 2" to retain original seat height. Rearview camera 3rd brake light, insulation, rear vent fan installed in 1/4" tinted marine window plexiglass, and insulated (InsulBright) digi-cam curtains all around.

Photo vomit:

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I repurposed one of the center bucket seat mounts to secure a cooler and water storage:

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Thoughts & suggestions appreciated for storage inside... looking at rear drawers & maybe a front drawer under sofa? The extended power sofa bed works great with 3" memory foam on top & converts quickly to gain 3-seatbelts in the rear.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:23 PM   #2
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Fantastic transformation. From granny-van to adventure vehicle. Being a GM fan I actually followed this on the other forum.

Good job.

~Peter
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Old 06-11-2015, 04:03 PM   #3
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Thanks Peter - GM fan myself... much cleaner traditional van look than newer Fords..
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Old 06-11-2015, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Glad to see another GM! Love the drivers doors! Great find. Here's a link to a transfer case swap
http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/t ... conversion
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Old 06-11-2015, 07:49 PM   #5
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Cargo doors on the drives side are way cool. Had those on my 59 VW transporter. Loved them.

Your rig looks great. Welcome aboard.
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Old 06-14-2015, 06:40 PM   #6
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Nice work so far! I'd love to see more details and pics of the rear window vent van mod. I've thought of doing something like that in our Ford SMB.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Nice work so far! I'd love to see more details and pics of the rear window vent van mod. I've thought of doing something like that in our Ford SMB.

I selected this 6" diameter roof vent & mounted it in the rear window:

http://ventline.com/i/u/6148923/f/RV...Vent_11-11.pdf

I ordered a 24x48 piece of 1/4" UV tinted plastic from http://www.e-plastics.com - rated for windows. (I think the Savana window is 22"x28" or something)

Removed the glass window & traced the outline onto the plastic (I added 1/8" all around to account for non-curve) including the 3 mounting holes - also, trace the vent fan location. Cut with drill, jig saw, and file/sand all edges smooth/round. I attempted to heat the plastic with a heat gun while clamping to factory glass - to try and put curves into plastic... this did not work, made it wavy, I guess you would need an oven to heat evenly & hold temp for a length of time... I did this with the left-over plastic as a test.

Next, I took the cut plastic to my window tint guy & had him add tint so result matched other privacy tint windows. Plastic installed in place of glass and fan mounted & wired thru door loom to dome light circuit which is wired to my house battery (I couldn't find power at the rear door lock... must be on relay?). Lastly, because of unsuccessful attempts to heat & form plastic, I drilled & screwed corners of plastic window to form/hold tight against rubber window seal. Window does not open, but does not leak either, & I run it thru the automatic car wash.

The vent pushes open using the white handle & the red button turns it on... with front windows cracked, it pulls air thru nicely. On a 95 degree sunny day parked in an open field it keeps the van at 95 degrees inside vs. 120+ without it... I also made a flap in this window curtain so it can be used with all curtains closed to block sun & keep privacy.

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Old 06-21-2015, 07:25 PM   #8
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

Looking Good!

I really liked the rear window fan as others have noted also.

Camo for the interior trim? Oh Yea : ) we had the Smitty Built G.E.A.R. ACU seat covers in ours for the first three seasons. Luved the practicality of all the extra room for gadgets.



Best wishes on the build and enjoy the adventure!
Thom
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:01 PM   #9
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Re: 1st Post. GMC Savana AWD

I've been looking at lifting our van with pretty much the exact parts list you used.

Did the stock u-bolts in the rear fit the thicker leaf springs? That's about the only thing I'm unsure of.

Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2015, 05:46 PM   #10
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Swivel seat

Great looking van OccasionalDirt! I've got a question for you. How difficult is the passenger seat to swivel? I've got a 1999 Express that I want to add a swivel seat for the passenger side. Do you have to move the seat all the way forward to avoid the door jam?

Thank you!

Scott
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