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Old 02-24-2021, 06:28 PM   #31
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While dealing with the spare tire fun mentioned above, I focused my energy on the roof. I have some Yakima towers and bars that have been with me for 2 vehicles prior, so decided to make the work on Tank as well and give him a meatier look. First, I had to find the longest tracks I could, which was not as easy as it sounds. I found and ordered a pair of 92 tracks on e-trailer, but they got discontinued before mine got shipped. Next, an 84 pair and had problems there too. Finally got a pair of 74 ones! Not as much flexibility as I wanted but good enough!

The canvas on my poptop goes almost all the way to the edge of the flat inside part of the top, so I did not have an option to mount the tracks outside of the cabin unfortunately. Therefore, I took all the trim on the inside ceiling down to be able to place the tracks and the Gooseberry/Justgosurfin bolts just right. That ended up being unnecessary since I ended up mounting the tracks outside of the trim and could have installed the bolts one at a time. Live and learn I guess...I at least learned how all the trim lights and poptop lift arms all work, so not all was lost except my time!

I used a couple of the boards I have inside to use as a poptop sleeping platform (really a storage shelf when top is up since we sleep below) to align the tracks and get them square. It worked pretty well. Next, I started drilling holes, eeeek! I used 316 steel 10-24 bolts, fender washers and locknuts from McMaster to attach the tracks. I goofed a bit during the drilling because I drilled every 3rd hole and that put the inside part of the bolt along the throw of the rear lift arm. Therefore, I had to change my bolt strategy to every other one, which skipped that hole. It made for a much sturdier track attachment anyways, so not all was lost. I think every 3rd hole had too much play in it.

Pics below, enjoy!
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Old 03-03-2021, 09:23 PM   #32
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Welp, this weekend I knocked a couple more items off my list. First, I mounted the Yakima box on the roof, nothing special there but think I am going to paint the top with the raptor liner to match the van in a couple weeks when I liner my front bumper black. Next, Tank needed a new set of treads to beef him up a bit and grow into his name, so I went and got a set of BFGs. I also have had a set of wheels for months now sitting in my garage, so mounted those as well. The wheels have a bit more (or less?) offset, which pushes the wheel and tire out a bit compared to my stock wheels. I like the new look and think Tank is ready to take on anything now! I did have to do a bit of trimming on the front wheel rear fenders due to the wheels rubbing when I turned. WeldTech has a YouTube video on it, just search for Chevy Express fender trimming. I took the grinder to it and that was that, pretty simple.

Next, I had to remount my awning. I am trying to get some gutter awning mounts from 1der/Ray but his are made for the Ford not the Chevy. He says he has a design for the Chevy and is going to prototype a set for me but need it hung for my trip next weekend, so on we go. My awning problem previously was that the Sportsmobile awning brackets suck! First, the paint job on them is terrible and coming off leaving rust behind it. Next, I probably hung it wrong but found that the brackets would not stay attached to the gutter. They would come loose from the gutter after installation and hold up the awning by just the van skin, which surely wont last very long. See my old post on this for pics.

To rehang the awning, I had to do a couple things: get more bite on the gutter from the brackets and elongate the bracket holes since more gutter bite means the brackets would hang lower and holes would not aline with the fixed plus nuts installed on my van skin. To get more bite, I took a dremel to the inside of the gutter and cut out some of the material they put in there. I am not sure what it is, some kind of hard plastic or epoxy. The dremel worked perfectly to cut out about 1/8th or 3/16 deep into it. I also grinded down the brackets to remove rust and repainted them. Finally I used a drill bit to elongate the bracket attachment holes 1/8th to 3/16. I lined it all up and reattached, boom! Pics below. I will see how it holds up after my trip to Trona Pinnacles this wkend with a little off-road action to shake things up a bit.

Enjoy some photos:
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Old 03-04-2021, 03:29 AM   #33
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Well done. Wish you success on your trip.
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