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Old 07-26-2015, 06:44 AM   #171
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Re: Accrete's AWD Chevy Van project

It hits me as a bit hilarious and quite revealing in the Freudian way we have to define such terms........
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Old 07-26-2015, 02:30 PM   #172
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Re: Accrete's AWD Chevy Van project

JWA : totally !

Update on rig and adventures.
We find ourselves going back to basics on occasion. "Basics" as defined to include the simplicity of traveling to BLM, USF or ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry) areas with van only. The addition of the hammocks and having the option of spending more time outside the van has shown us that the "Van" as a vehicle can be enough for us.

Explanation...At one point in 2012 we had accumulated the typical camp items such as a kitchen tent and bug-screen room etc. If it rained, typical nearly year round in our native PNW, camp time was still enjoyable as we were under cover...but breaking down camp was a yucky mess!

Fast forward to 2013...the arrival of the Parkliner TT towed behind the van gave us an all season solution to screen rooms. But at a cost. We found our trips to be less spontaneous. The van is nearly always packed for a week of adventure (food, water, personal items, and hammocks/tarps) so getting away is as simple as my wife arriving home from a day's work at supper time and us hitting the road for a few days away (I work early bankers hours and am home by noon. yea, i'm spoiled).

Now even though the TT is a dream to tow behind the overkill-tow-vehicle, it takes a bit more planning due to remaining mindful of current forestry road & camp conditions. With van we'd just head up the trail. Not so much with Van+TT. I've had to back down a one lane road due to a fallen tree once. Never again if it can be helped.

These days we set up a large camp tarp between trees or tall poles and if the rain comes it is now just a tarp to pack in a stuff bag to be shaken out once home. High quality bug repellent has replaced screen rooms (van has bug screens on slider, barn, and cab doors thanks to my MacGirlver wife : )

The icing on the camp set up should arrive this week. As mentioned elsewhere we ordered two Amok Draumr v3 Hammocks... sure we enjoy our Hennessy and Warbonnet... but the Amoks can also go into lounge mode! I will update with pictures. This week's adventure will be the last official regular-hammock hang, and the Hennessy/Warbonnet hammocks will be reserved for our kids when visiting.

Here is a picture of the Amok from their website... Oh yea!
I wish my wife hadn't thrown out my Larry-The-Lounge-Lizard polyester leisure suit. I'd be styling in camp ; )
Have to settle for my Selk'Bag Patagon.

: ) Happy trails,
Thom
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:13 PM   #173
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Re: Accrete's AWD Chevy Van project

We've been spending a few nights for the past two weeks at an Oregon Dept. Of Forestry dispersed area near our home on the Oregon Coast.

The river is peaceful and the bears and kitty cats are still up in the hills (they start showing up in ~November-February~)...
so hanging outside in our hammocks is also non-eventful ; )

Here is one of our reading rooms riverside:


Here is a shot from inside one of the "Amoks"...bug free and in camp lounge mode after a restful nite's sleep.


I took this shot from the kitchen setup under the FIAMA awning on the van looking toward our two "Amok" Draumr v3 hammocks:


We set up the Kelty Noah 16 to catch falling leaves and as a reflector for the bug candles we like to keep lit at night for a nite-lite : )

Here is a close up of my Amok. It goes from sleep mode into camp-lounge mode with two easy adjustments while inside the hammock/bug screen.


Happy Trails,
Thom
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:54 PM   #174
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Re: Accrete's AWD Chevy Van project

Just a 2015-end-of-season ramble.

As many of you know we typically were traveling about with our 15 foot fiberglass trailer in tow behind the van. We would use the van for Bed/Bath and then entertain/relax in the expanse of the trailer.

This season was a bit different than the 2013 & 14 seasons. We only took the trailer out twice!
Once was our first trip out and we didn't know better ; )
Second was when our two adult kids visited and we wanted to have the option of them sleeping inside the trailer if the weather turned...

BUT... on every occasion we could, we slept outside in hammoks! Even the kids when they visited. The van's bed saw a total of _maybe_ 5 nights use. Otherwise it was sleeping under the stars.

Soooooo..... We decided to put the Parkliner 15 up for sale and go back to basics utilizing the gear we have for outdoor cooking under the van's fiama awning (works great even in rainy weather) and relax with the Alite chairs and small folding aluminum table.

We plan on some winter dispersed camping in van alone (trailer should sell easy & quick IMO) and get geared up for more outdoor-under-starry-skies nights next season.

Enjoy the adventure,
Thom
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:58 PM   #175
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Re: Accrete's AWD Chevy Van project

Greetings ladies and gents !

I've been following this thread for quite a while, and wanted to say a huge THANKS to Accrete for keeping the dialogue alive.

I've finally pulled the trigger on a 2011 Chevy Express, 5.3L v8 AwD. The vehicle came with a Sportsmobile pop-top installed, and an American Racing wheel-set. Unfortunately, I think this wheel-set doesn't actually fit the vehicle properly, and I'll either have to get a leveling kit, small lift to accommodate, or just get some different wheels. I got it with 89k on it, so for my modification I'm going to keep it lean and Spartan. No plumbed gas or water. I'll just use a coleman double burner and some water jugs. Works for me !

Next steps -

1) Insulation - I'll most likely go with a Reflectix BP48050 Bubble Pack insulation, then add some Wise Industries Pro Van liner as the "siding". I'm trying to go light, so I'm staying away from wood walls here.

2) Upgrade the front bumper & lights. Lots of critters on the road here in the Tetons, especially at night, and I'm ALREADY starting to see some rust from rock chips in the bumper - Anybody have any recommendations for bumpers aside from ARB ? How about lights ? I'm looking for something bright. Seems like you have been happy with those Truck Lite LED's, eh Thom ? Would you go a different route or stick with those ?

3) Storage - I think I'm going to get some stuff made from these guys -> http://www.truckvault.com/ Looks like a legit option.

4) Swivel base for shotgun seat

5) New speakers =)

6) Deep cell battery to keep things charged !

That should keep me set for a while.... At least till I can afford a real Sportsmobile - hehe

Questions -

How has that 3m carbon hood wrap held up ? I'm tempted to just cover mine in Rhino-liner instead. Thoughts ? ( I only ask cause I already see rock chips in my hood )

Also - Rhino liner on the "running board" area vs raptor liner ? Any benefits to going Rhino ? I really like the look, plus the benefits of protection.

I'll post some photos as I build her out so you folks can follow along.

Cheers to van life !
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Old 09-30-2015, 04:17 PM   #176
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Re: Accrete's AWD Chevy Van project

Quote:
Originally Posted by TetonVan
Greetings ladies and gents !

I've been following this thread for quite a while, and wanted to say a huge THANKS to Accrete for keeping the dialogue alive.
...Questions -

How has that 3m carbon hood wrap held up ? I'm tempted to just cover mine in Rhino-liner instead. Thoughts ? ( I only ask cause I already see rock chips in my hood )

Also - Rhino liner on the "running board" area vs raptor liner ? Any benefits to going Rhino ? I really like the look, plus the benefits of protection.

Greetings TetonVan. Thanks for the build-thread kudos and for your post with pictures! Looks like a great platform and look forward to seeing the tweaks and progress reports.

So to your Q's

The 3m carbon hood wrap is holding up surprisingly well. We do put on the vinyl spray cleaner ~once a month and it shines right up. IF we ever have a Van2.0?? I might go with the Rhino liner on the hood also if I can talk Cari into it.

The Rhino liner is fantastic! Yes the look is nice, and as you stated the benefits of protection. It was certainly worth the $$ (About $700 for our rig). Any future build will have similar treatment right off the showroom floor, or at most within a week or two of delivery.

On tire size, I wasn't able to grab the size from your pic, though we have gone with the 265/70/r17 size since the van has been lifted ~3". No rub and it FINALLY looks like the tires "Fit" the van!

Oh, and on the LED headlights! AMAZING. Luv'em.

Yes... "Cheers to Van Life"
Thom
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Old 11-25-2015, 04:06 PM   #177
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Re: Accrete's AWD Chevy Van project

Having fun at the dunes.... Oregon Coast.
On an amazingly sunny day!!

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Old 12-23-2015, 08:18 PM   #178
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Thumbs up

Greetings and Happy Holidays to any who pass this way!!

Update on our thoughts on the _van_ : )
a ramble for only those who are in the nearly-always-tweaking-rig mindset like my wife and I are. . .

As I mentioned elsewhere this past summer we only used the Parkliner on a couple of outings. While we liked the extended living space the trailer provided we did not like the fact that it was putting a damper on our style... which is taking the van up a given forestry trail and pitching camp wherever the mood strikes. The Parkliner was sold in late fall and has a new out-of-state happy owner.

We spent some time then researching off-road capable trailers such as the "Canyon" by vmi offroad and also the "Teradrop" by Oregon trailer.

During the research, as a modus operandi : ) we did a lot of day dreaming. In the dream time we put ourselves in the van pulling a tiny off road capable trailer up the trails, and well... some of it was not to pretty! We remember often coming to a place in the forestry road where it would turn into more of a quad-trail than a "road". And so we would make some umpteen point U-turn in the van. . . and that would not be doable with anything behind us.

Soooooo.....
Back to trying to figure out ways to get more organized in the van, we luv.
One way to do it might be to add something like the boxes seen on the rear bumpers by builders like Aluminess. After again, more research, we've entered into having both rear and front bumpers fabricated, shipped, and installed (by Van Specialties, a local Aliminess dealer).

The plan is to have a dual swing arm rear bumper. Locking Jerry Can box with rail on the street side, and Galley Box on the curb side. The galley box will swing out and perpendicular to curb side of van and under the currently installed Fiama awning. This way we'll have a quick and easy little galley area.

We'll then have a matching front bumper with brush guard and extra cross member all upgraded to the 2" tubing (hopefully never need the extra protection but we do live in an area with plenty of wildlife.) and fog lights.

End of ramble. I think we've got to be true to ourselves and go van alone, and optimize the room we have as much as possible.

Holiday cheers,
Thom
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:01 AM   #179
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2" lift and handling kit

I really have enjoyed this thread. I just recently scored a 2009 AWD express van
that we love. The problem is the previous owner installed 33" tires and they rub a bit when your trying to do a tight turn. I'm wondering if the 2" lift will help with this. Also did you install the handling kit with rear sway bar and rear shocks from boulder off road. Im thinking about both and input on the way the van handles would be helpful. Thank you.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:07 AM   #180
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2009 awd

Here are some pics. We are having a blast in it.
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