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Old 12-17-2016, 01:31 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2016
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Help needed

I'm new here. Bought a conversion van back in April and a coworker told me to visit here for ideas on what to do with it. being ambitious and naive, I gutted a perfectly good El Kapitan conversion to redo it with mountain bike adventures in mind. Now I'm way over my head and looking for any experience someone has had with feeling overwhelmed with their project.

I've installed a solar panel, roof fan, passenger swivel seat and awning. Upgraded the head lights, stereo and shocks. And now I'm considering two options.

1. Sell it and buy a van that's built the way I want

2. Trudge through it and get things done

Option 2 get's harder and harder the more I trudge. I seriously lack the skill, experience and tools. To make things worse, I'm finding a lot of the things Ive already done, were done pretty bad and need to be redone (sub flooing, awning installation, etc..). Just this morning I noticed the roof is leaking. I suppose there is some silver lining to that. I now have an excuse to go to Fiberine and get a taller top. Giving me a chance to correctly install the vent, solar panel and awning.

My end game is something much simpler than a sportsmobile. Just storage, a bed and table.

any thoughts and or advice would be much appreciated

(sorry for the sideways attachments)
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:32 PM   #2
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Location: Santa Maria, CA
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Have you seen something that looked like what your desired end product would be? How much was it selling for? How much do you figure your current van is worth, and what would it cost to finish? What is the finished product worth to you?

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Old 12-17-2016, 05:22 PM   #3
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Good questions

I've seen vans that have my desired builds going from $5000-$14000. Figure my vans in the $7500 range as is. It's probably less than $1000 in material to finish it, but at least 100 hours in labor. Having it done to my exact needs is worth a lot to me, hence why I'm a little conflicted with my choices.
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Old 12-17-2016, 06:35 PM   #4
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Simple questions first...
2001 E350 PSD w/ a bunch of stuff.
And had three other E350s...
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:14 PM   #5
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If you can draw what you want, there's someone out there who can build it for you.
2003 Astro AWD
2005 Tacoma Access cab 4x4
1999 E350 RB 7.3 "Al B. Tross" aka "Exxon Valdez"
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:16 PM   #6
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Sounds like your build is similar to what I am doing. I am in Utah where are you at I have the tools and some skills if you want a hand send me a message it looks like you may be in Cali though.
"The problem with common sense is, its not that common." Mark Twain
1999 F-250SD XCab 4x4 5.4 170k
1998 E-350 LWB (Being converted now)
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Old 12-18-2016, 12:09 AM   #7
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So, do you just want a van, or are you happy to use the van as a learning experience?

The cost of tools won't kill you in all of this. In fact, unless you can turn your spare time, and all of it, into pretty serious cash, you're likely to at least break even.

'99 EB ex ENG KSWB news van, low rent 4x4 conversion (mostly fixed by now), home built interior.
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:29 AM   #8
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Are you in So Cal? Forum member wickedMikey has built out several interiors and does great work. He build out my last van and is working on another forum member's van now. I would shoot him a PM if you are in So Cal.

Since your van already has windows and a top that will save you money. Do you know the history of your van? Seems like a reasonable base van to me for what you are looking to do. Unless there is something you don't like about it or something totally different you want I would lean toward keeping it.
2006 Ford E-350 V10 Agile 4x4 SMB EB50 - Sold

2000 Ford E-350 7.3L Quigley 4x4 hard top with custom interior by Xtreme Fab - Sold
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:37 AM   #9
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Think of it like a house. If most of the basics are solid, it can become anything you want. Does it have an engine you can live with? Is the body rust free? Are you looking for an RB, or an EB? Do you prefer a cargo van or a fully windowed passenger van?

Everything else is secondary. While the basics can be changed, there's a significant financial premium to make it happen.

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:35 AM   #10
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Thanks guys!

The van is solid, so I'm gonna keep it and get it built out. I'm going to take it one step at a time and not get all worked up over parts of the build I'm not even on yet.

As soon as Fiberine opens up at the beginning of the year I'm going to put the 24" top on it. That's really the only thing I'm not satisfied with. I'm sure with some more research, good direction from people with experience, and some patience, I'll have the van built just as I want it.

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