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Old 09-12-2020, 09:46 PM   #1
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Location: Long Beach, CA
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2009 Chevy Express 1500 AWD

Hey all, I am pretty new here and wanted to showcase my new (to me) rig. I got a great COVID deal on a used 2009 Chevy Express 1500 AWD with the penthouse top that is in great shape. Note: I am a couple months behind on posting this...

The interior is very basic: bench seat that folds down and makes a bed with a rear platform, 2 burner stove, cabinet, sink, house battery and solar. Functional and minimalist systems. I plan to continue to use as is to figure out what we like and then upgrade as necessary.

Planned upgrades:
Fimma 10’ Awning (picked up at SMB West on delivery drive home)
Aluminess bumper w/ tire carrier and deluxe box (just ordered it)
Aluminess Side ladder (ordered that too)
New Stereo and backup camera (ordered)
Passenger swivel seat (ordered)
Trailer hitch (ordered)
Wheels and tires (possibly with additional lift)
Raptor liner the whole thing probably
Roof tracks (ordered), Thule bars and box (already own)

Seems like lots of good info on this forum. Will post progress, pumped to have a new way to explore SoCal and the surrounding area and to carry my Kiteboarding gear around.
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:52 AM   #2
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Congrats. Nice, looks good and you have a solid plan. Definitely lots of info on the forum.
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Old 09-21-2020, 03:40 PM   #3
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Does anyone know a good place to get the Raptor liner painted on a van in SoCal? I have called 5 different paint/auto body shops in Long Beach/Torrence area and have not found any shops that do it.

Hell, I will even pay a forum user in cash/beer/food if they have the facilities to paint and an air compressor I can use. I only have street parking where I live and cannot DIY it here unfortunately.
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Old 09-21-2020, 04:07 PM   #4
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I'm sure you have a lot more planned, but that's an aggressive start - good for you!
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Old 09-21-2020, 04:27 PM   #5
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Been Busy

I finally completed the back-up camera, stereo, and awning installation. Believe it or not, the ‘wired’ back-up camera was the easiest part. It was my first time installing a stereo in a vehicle, didn’t realize you had to solder all those wires in the back of the unit, so that was FUN! Camera works well and makes parallel parking the beast on my street much easier!

The awning was a whole other pain in the rear! I wish I had researched gutter mounting options on here before I drilled into the side of the van to install the Sportsmobile awning brackets. First issue was the instructions Sportsmobile West (aka SMB West) gave me were incorrect. They were for a Ford not a Chevy (should be similar) and parts listed did not match the parts they gave me. After a ton of research and multiple trips to Ace Hardware, I finally got it installed. If anyone ever needs advice on how to install an awning like Sportsmobile, feel free to reach out. I also have a $100 plus-nut riveter you can borrow (or buy).

Good times!

Note: Browser is acting up, will post pics later.
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Old 09-21-2020, 04:40 PM   #6
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Pics

Adding pics.
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Old 10-07-2020, 11:19 PM   #7
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Sportsmobile Awning Bracket Issues

I took the rig on a couple trips with a bit of off-road travel since installing the awning and just noticed that the Sportsmobile bracket became unattached from the gutter, see pic below. This means that the awning is only being held up by the plus nuts attached to the skin and likely will not hold long term. Anyone seen this before? It did hook on the gutter when originally installed but I guess had some preload on it. I think I have to figure out a way to take some of the bend out of these beefy brackets. That won’t be fun with only a bench vise and hammer...any other diy suggestions?
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Old 11-12-2020, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlimKiteGuy View Post
I took the rig on a couple trips with a bit of off-road travel since installing the awning and just noticed that the Sportsmobile bracket became unattached from the gutter, see pic below. This means that the awning is only being held up by the plus nuts attached to the skin and likely will not hold long term. Anyone seen this before? It did hook on the gutter when originally installed but I guess had some preload on it. I think I have to figure out a way to take some of the bend out of these beefy brackets. That won’t be fun with only a bench vise and hammer...any other diy suggestions?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlimKiteGuy View Post
Adding pics.
New Stereo and backup camera - what did you end of going with? any links?
I too just came into ownership of a 2013 AWD and want to install a stereo but also with a backup camera in the same stero dashboard
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Big5f303 View Post
New Stereo and backup camera - what did you end of going with? any links?
Here are the links:
Backup Camera - Red Wolf Integrated Tail Light Camera
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Stereo - Sony XAV-AX100
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Stereo Replacement Kit
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A couple thoughts. First, I like my setup but there are certainly cheaper options out there. My backup camera required tapping into the rear light wiring to power the camera. It also required running a cable to the stereo up front. I hear there are other options that use Bluetooth if you want to avoid running the wire through the van.

On the stereo side of things, I wanted a volume knob, so most of the stereos out there would not work. I also wanted both Android Auto (my phone) and Apple Car Play (the ladies phone) to work with the unit, so that limited my options even more. If you have fewer constraints, there are a lot of options out there.

Hope that helps!
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlimKiteGuy View Post
Here are the links:
Backup Camera - Red Wolf Integrated Tail Light Camera
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Stereo - Sony XAV-AX100
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Stereo Replacement Kit
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A couple thoughts. First, I like my setup but there are certainly cheaper options out there. My backup camera required tapping into the rear light wiring to power the camera. It also required running a cable to the stereo up front. I hear there are other options that use Bluetooth if you want to avoid running the wire through the van.

On the stereo side of things, I wanted a volume knob, so most of the stereos out there would not work. I also wanted both Android Auto (my phone) and Apple Car Play (the ladies phone) to work with the unit, so that limited my options even more. If you have fewer constraints, there are a lot of options out there.

Hope that helps!

Appreciate you getting back to me! Def! Will be posting soon and making a thread for my build
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