first off, wanna say thanks to everyone whos taken the time to post thier projects. this site has been invalueable with my research for one of these builds. big thumbs up
second a little about my wife and i. we love camping, period. however we are sick of setting up tents and loading up a toyota to the hilt each trip. weve wanted something dual purpose as we arent really all that well off. just scrapin by most months. our other intrests are racing cars. all thats available around here is autox, rallyx and hillcimbs. ive been racing for about 14 years and enjoy it, but really want to travel and hit some lapping days and a few other hillclimbs that i generally wont go to due to not having a tow rig. we also love mt biking and snowboarding and would gladly give up a day in a racecar for some fresh powder turns without a flinch.
we talked about a fullsize pickup and getting an rv trailor, but that defeats the purpose of being able to tow a car. we talked about a slide in camper, but the layouts never really suited me and the looks are terrible and i really dont enjoy putting them on and taking them off to use the truck for other things. we also discussed an rv, but they are bulky, get terrrible mpg's and really cant get to where we like to camp...AWAY from the dumbfounded dipshits we are forced to share the city with.
i started talking with a friend whos 97 f350 i borrow when i needed a real truck. he suggested a campervan. my first thought was the old westfalia vw's. great little campers, but thats about it. he mentioned that you could do a poptop on a fullsize van. this got my attention and off to the nets i went. started looking around and was oh hell yes! now, i just needed to convince the wife.
i had my 88 sr5 toyota for 18 years. was a great pu and only left me stranded maybe twice...and i was not nice to that thing, lol. the wife actually fell in love with the truck a few years before we even met (i lived around the corner from her). i mentioned the van idea to her and got some smartass comments about molester vans, free candy, etc...so i figured the best way was to test drive one and go by her work and show her how much room was in one. I test drove a rb quigley passenger that had 4 captin chairs. she got in and said wow. the for sale sign went in the toyota that night. if we had sold it sooner, i would have bought that 5.4 rb, but someone in utah bought it sight unseen 2-3 days after i test drove it.
we sold the toyota a few weeks later. i had been looking for 3-4 months prior for a van, but once the toyota sold I really fell slave to craiglist and google. i searched everywhere. had dealers looking, friends from all over etc. we had got to the point of not finding what we wanted and i actually sat down with the wife and told her we were gonna have to not be so picky. we decided that the first 4x4 van in our range we would buy. no matter what motor, rb or eb, passenger or cargo, color, whatever. if it was 4x4 we could deal with the rest. i decided to do one more random ass search and about page 8, I found our van...across the nation of course.
i did research on shipping vans by truck, trailor, and train. this beast was too big and we ended up taking a plane there and driving back. cost us 830 bucks in fuel. cheapest shipping we found was 1900. our plane tickets were 20 bucks due to the graciousness of a pharmicudical rep we know that has gobs of miles banked. the journey was fun, but we are glad to be home. anyway, on to our project...
our 2003 eb e350 7.3 4x4:
wife and i are really happy with the van. we never imagined we would own such a freaking huge vehicle and we are both super excited to get our conversion completed. it will be slow going as I will be doing most of the work myself (and of course roping friends into the mix too). we also want to use it a while to figure out exactly what we do and dont want in the van. it will be a simple build, but with the ideas ive got from builds on here, I think i can make a pretty usefull setup on the cheap.
im all ears with suggestions as im a total rookie to this, but i have decided that i will be using a ccv top. i stopped and chatted with derek on our way home. he was the only person i talked to that had the time of day for me. i dont think he realizes how much help he was in the few conversations we had prior to me going to his place and while I was there. super nice guy, and very down to earth. either way, i like the way he thinks and after seeing his work in person, ive decided to go with his products when i get the money to do so.
i still need to decide how i want to power things, what all we want inside etc. so overwhelming, yet so exciting. just wish i had a bunch of cash to get it rolling, lol. i hate being poor