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Old 06-22-2021, 11:10 AM   #1
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Minor tweaks on a 2010 Chevy AWD

Well, I've bought another van. I'm sure older members are surprised. I took delivery of Accrete's finely upgraded AWD Chevy a month or so ago.

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

I saw it posted here and on Expo about two hours after Thom listed and contacted him immediately. By the time we talked on the phone the next morning he had a long list of people behind me. Sorry people. I was looking for the right platform and have been for awhile now. We were very glad to get this particular van.

What is that platform I speak of? I just do not have the time, or honestly the interest, in doing big jobs like tops and drivetrain work these days. I don't know that I ever will again. This van, for us, is about 80% completely like we want it. I am possibly going to change it to more of a complete '50' layout with galley behind driver but that will be later. For now, a few small mods and moving in and we are done. In fact, that's all been done already. Rolling out to the Colorado high country Saturday.

Due to the insanely cheap cost of airline tickets these days I was able to fly direct to Vegas for peanuts. Thom picked me up at the airport and we rolled back to his place an hour away to finish the deal. I left Knoxville at 2 pm EDT that day and was watching the sun set at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley with the new van a few hours later. Always amazes me that one can can do that kind of stuff.

So, I had exactly 3 days to return to work so I put the hammer down east bound and drove 2k miles in 2.5 days. I think I logged my longest day ever on the way home. Somewhere around 970 miles from 0700 somewhere near Tucumcari NM to about midnight just east of Memphis TN. Thanks to those Starbucks triple shot canned cocaine drinks of course.

I did a whole lot of this running 76 mph across the country.

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

I actually set the cruise on 72 and not once remembered that due to oversize tires I was 4 mpg off. But, even so I still got about 14 mpg. I'll take it. I know it will go up when I slow down. The wind was awful during my journey as well. 50 mph gusts near Flagstaff. Motorcycles had pulled over several places and promptly blew over. Many RV awnings were lost. It was entertaining.

Oh, and this van is deceivingly tall. Somewhere around 9.5'. Here it is next to a mid roof Transit, which I formerly owned and can tell you is also tall.

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

To be continued.....
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Old 06-22-2021, 02:26 PM   #2
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I think you got a heck of deal on that rig; from all I read in last several years previous owners treated it exceptionally well, took no shortcuts, and pride of ownership framed their build.
You're a lucky man!
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Old 06-22-2021, 06:31 PM   #3
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Yeah that was a total deal on that rig. Good luck with it, Eric!
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Old 06-24-2021, 04:46 AM   #4
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So, got her home with no drama thanks to Accrete's excellent maintenance habits. We had a few immediate needs so I got busy on the to-do list hoping to get away for a week soon. First order of business was to go to work for a couple of weeks to support my Amazon habit. I love coming home to sights like this:

Blanco by 16Rhino, on Flickr

First improvement was the roof vent. The Maxxair had developed some rattles I couldn't get sorted and I'm also really a fan of the remote controlled type so I made the swap. I also went back in time on one feature. I'm completely sold, or was, on the 'Deluxe' style fans with the cover that you can run in wet weather. But, you can gain a few inches of roof height by changing to the old non-covered style. The 3-4 inches I gained plus remote control was enough of a reason for me. If I'm down to 9' I can make it through a drive-thru now and then. Also, it has a rain sensor. These older ones pull in a lot more air on ceiling fan mode than the hooded style. I had forgotten this and was pleasantly surprised.

New fan installed, nothing too exciting:

Blanco by 16Rhino, on Flickr

Also, for increased ventilation, I swapped out the fixed rear windows for pop out style. This is very easy on a Chevy. Maybe a 2 hour job max. The trick is using an oscillating tool with a flat blade to zip right through the old window glue. I heard horror stories. With the right tool it was a 5 minute job per window witih no broken glass. I hated to lose the dark tint and vinyl mesh Accrete had done on the original windows but I will get that fixed soon enough.

Blanco by 16Rhino, on Flickr

I love many things about this van. Full time AWD on a half ton chassis (with independent front) makes for a very smooth ride. If you are used to heavy, solid axle vans it's like driving a Lexus. Also, Thom improved things by adding a Boulder Off-road rear sway bar and Bilsteins. The van is also lifted but you'd never know this by the drive. It corners flat and inspires confidence.

Two biggies for me were the fixed 24" Fiberine top and Aluminess. I just couldn't stand having a winch ready front bumper sans winch for long:

Blanco by 16Rhino, on Flickr

I won't be doing any serious crawling with this rig so the winch and some recovery boards pretty much sum up my recovery gear.

To be continued....
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Old 06-25-2021, 07:16 AM   #5
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Next I gave the dash some love. It only had 2 power points so I added several USBs charger points and a digital voltmeter. Also, labeled some switches, etc. These voltmeters are bright and I don't always need it so I gave it an on/off switch so we can make it dark in the van when we need to.

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

I also added a back up camera. For the first time I tried one of the wireless ones that are getting popular and have been really surprised. It is super clear and crisp. It gets a little woozy when you are driving over 40 (picture gets kind of choppy) but these are certainly easier to mount since you don't have to run a cable the length of the vehicle. I made a mount out of some scrap metal.

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

Blanco by K A, on Flickr
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Old 06-25-2021, 07:37 AM   #6
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Another thing we really needed was a table. I'm completely sold on the Lagun table mounts and had one on my Transit. It's a 'day one' addition to a van IMO.

Unfortunately the Chevy doesn't have a flat solid wall to mount to inside the side door so I had to get a little more creative. I was happy to find some useable meaty metal on the floor inside the B pillar.

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

I fabbed up a mount but didn't have any material on hand thick enough. For anyone building a mount for a table it really needs to be 3/16" at least. 1/4" seems like overkill but probably not if you want a solid table. Here is attempt one, Rivnuts through the floor:

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

It was WAY wobbly so I had to extend it a bit and add a couple more bolts with spacers to make it work:

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

I should add that my questionable material choices are driven almost always by a complete lack of foresight. I always seem to get started on a project on the weekend when everything is closed. I'm not even sure Amazon drones could help. Anyway, it is solid now thanks to some flat bar I had around, just doesn't look as smooth.

Here is the finished product:

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

You might notice I destroyed a closet door to make the tabletop but it was available and I didn't see reusing it for anything. I removed the closet doors/closet from the original build because we had nowhere to put our fridge. It won't fit under the bed platform. I used the other closet door for an impromptu counter top above the fridge. Until I build a proper cabinet with doors, sink and porta-potty storage this will have to do:

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

Blanco by K A, on Flickr

My temporary list is more or less complete. Time to go use this thing!
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:27 AM   #7
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Looking good, sometimes it is the simply things that make such a big difference.

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Old 06-25-2021, 09:02 AM   #8
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Love the camera mount. I've been struggling to fashion one myself.
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:39 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone

Quote:
Originally Posted by N147JK View Post
Love the camera mount. I've been struggling to fashion one myself.
Well, I tried to bend the cheap one that came with it and promptly broke it in two. I have made a couple of these over the years out of this roll of thin strapping that I have leftover from building my shop. It is actually reinforcement strapping for the metal rafters, purlins and such. I'll have to measure it but it is about 1.5" wide and the perfect thickness (or should I say thinness) to bend by hand with a bench vise. For creases/breaks I use some pieces of angle to hold it in the vice and hammer the break or bend that I need, then tweak it by hand. It is very, very crude and basic as far as metalwork but it's all I have.

It's simply held on the top of the 3rd brake light with rigid velcro and can be easily bent to adjust the camera.
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Old 06-25-2021, 10:12 AM   #10
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Love it, nice tidy well thought out stuff as usual. Glad to see some Chevy van action for inspiration. And I mean “Chevy van action” in the most wholesome sense by the way......
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