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Old 04-11-2011, 11:34 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 55
4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

here is a description of the van i'm working on.

it is a giant 15 passenger quigley diesel from alaska, year 2000. i won the van on ebay, flew to AK and drove it back to tahoe. it ended up needing a new rear end, but otherwise it was alright. its pretty huge, and my best tank back from AK was only 16mpg. i thought the diesel would be more like 18mpg. i get about 13-14mpg usually.

i have just started building the van now that the ski season is wrapping up and its a little warmer and lighter in the evening.

i am installing a westfalia pop top, and revamping the interior. i'll see if i can get some pictures posted.

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Old 04-11-2011, 11:40 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 55
Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

some shots from the trip of the van.


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Old 04-11-2011, 11:58 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

all i have really done so far is put on some tint and started a pop top. i'm waiting for it to warm up so i can use this epoxy i got. almost warm enough now...

i used a belt sander to get the top to form to the econoline roof. the top is from a vw eurovan weekender.

i marked where i wanted to trim to using masking tape.

here its just sort of sitting on the roof. you can see the tent doesn't fit very well. it seems that the uprights need to be about 1" lower than the hinges for the tent to fit snug all around

i drilled the spot welds to move the roof trusses.

theres also some sticky stuff which i made unsticky with a blowtorch. then the truss slides out and you can weld it where you want.

i ran a piece of 3/4 square stock directly under the roof trusses and welded it in place after i moved the trusses. i moved the 2nd from rear back about 12-2ft and the 2nd from front forward about a 1-2ft as well. i cut the middle one out, but leaving the spot welds on, and tacked the roof panel to it.
i ended up mounting the hinge onto the roof and the uprights onto the 3/4" bar, cutting the roof out. there are pictures below.
you can see about where i moved the front truss to. i used cardboard to protect the tint and the seats from welding and cutting sparks.
the epoxy is to fill in the rain channels. i'm going to use the suggested marine tex. i already bought it. it is pretty expensive though, i wonder if i could have used pc7 from ace hardware, but the marine tex is supposedly good for really thick applications like 1.5" thick!
i got some new sticky goo stuff for the bottom of the tent which i haven't put on yet because i need to do the epoxy. it is called 3m strip-calk and i got it at napa.

i'm also working on an interior re-do. what are you using to make the carpet stick to the walls? i am going to use only sections of the original interior around the windows, because the lower section cost me 3" of room on each side (6" of girth total) so i am going to use just the window plastic trim, and wood panel on the bottom so i don't lose the girth inside. i'm going to cover that plywood/plastic panel in either fabric (like velvet, woohoo!) or automotive carpet(yahwn), or maybe astroturf to match the green strip ahaha... then i could name the van club wagon for the putting green inside. i don't know what the best glue to stick the material onto the panels would be though, if you had any experience with a certain one which is good for fabric, or another one which is good for carpet.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:23 AM   #4
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Location: Parker, CO
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Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

Excellent excuse to head to Alaska. Good writeup thanks, reminded me of this:

it was good to be back
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:59 AM   #5
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Location: Bend, OR
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Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

Nice progress. Where did you get the top?

I too was unpleasantly surprised by fuel mileage. I have the 5.8 gas and haven't driven much yet but so far seems to be 9-12 mpg with an empty van! Mine does have a huge fixed high-top on it though. I think there is a human tendency to report optimistic fuel economy, which leads to us who have researched before buying, then being disappointed with real world performance.

As for adhesives for your interior, 3M makes a range of spray adhesives that are very easy to use. They have a few different "strengths" of adhesion. Your hardware store should have them. Could get expensive if you need a LOT though. Maybe you could buy a case online at a discount??
For Sale: 1992 E-350 EB 4x4 High-Top
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:46 AM   #6
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Location: SE Washington
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Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

3M Spray 77 - get a case at an upholstery shop or maybe online.

Might want to consider non-porous fabric like vinyl for walls. (naugahyde?) Easier to clean, will not absorb dust and dirt.
2009 E250 RB 5.4L "SilVan"
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:54 AM   #7
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Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

I HIGHLY recommend "TAC-IT" High-Temp spray adhesive. Where a couple of us live in 110 degree weather all summer, this stuff supposedly wont come undone. It's made by Lindsey-Hall.
"Keep your blade sharp, and your wits even sharper..." - Role Models
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 91
Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

I saw that van on Ebay and flirted with bidding on it, then realized that driving from Alaska to the east coast in an unknown vehicle is not something I would be able to stomach. Glad it found a good home!
2005 Chevy 1500 AWD
4x4 conversion, Ultralight RB50 floorplan,
Firestone Destination A/T, Silverado wheels, 3000w inverter, PIAA lighting
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:01 PM   #9
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 55
Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

haha yeah, i was a bit skeptical myself. like i said it needed a new rear end which wasn't disclosed in the auction, but it did make it back. i won it by a dollar. i wasn't going to bid higher than 7300, but i entered 7301 which took it. i've always wanted to drive from AK, so that was fun for me.

so it was 7301 for the bid, 250 for airfare (i had a travel partner but she paid for her own airfare), 800 bucks in fuel, and 1k for the rear end. so it cost me about 9300 to get it in my driveway in road worthy condition. fuel has since gone up almost $2/gallon.

it has probably been stuck in deep mud a few times, i pulled a gallon sized jug full of dirt out of the rear fender well, between the interior and exterior panels. if i were to do it again, i don't know if AK is the best place to buy a vehicle from, but probably better than minnesota or wisconsin (where i'm originally from) as far as rust, from what i can tell. it has snow tires, but it didn't come with a spare. so we made the whole drive back from AK on 3 good tires, one spare on the road, and no spare under the body. so we didn't venture really far off the beaten path unfortunately. plus we had a timeline. if i was going to drive to AK again from tahoe i would allow more time, at least 1-2 weeks each way and a couple weeks extra.

i got the pop top from a volkswagon van junkyard up in reno. the top fit inside the van for the trip back down to my house. i saw a couple tops posted on the samba, but they were in kentucky or east coast somewhere. for me the pop top is awesome because i'm relatively tall (6'2"), but it is still fairly streamlined on the highway.

non-porous material on the interior is a good idea, easy to clean... definitely something to keep in mind.

i have a whole bunch of extra tin sheet metal, has anyone covered the bottom of the chassis on a vehicle before to make it smooth? i thought it may help with wind resistance. well, i have all this sheet metal sitting around i may have to try it at some point. anything to save $ on fuel, i got the diesel so i could potentially run biodiesel... i also should have considered a gasser with a propane setup though.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:07 PM   #10
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 55
Re: 4x4 15 pass. stormchaser

also, we landed in anchorage on the 25th of september. there was an early storm up in palmer, but once we made it past whitehorse it was fall colors the entire way through BC. very nice time of year to drive, not so many RVs clogging the highway.

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