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Old 06-16-2010, 03:02 PM   #111
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Took a few minutes during a meeting this afternoon to throw a paint of coat on "Mini Polar Bear"



PS: It started as green.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:11 PM   #112
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Fixed the windshield at a new shop altogether. There's still a lot of crud around the window from the sloppy job the previous shop did. I also got the new visor on... sans the fancy visor attachment.

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Old 06-16-2010, 11:59 PM   #113
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Love the visor

Ron
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:56 AM   #114
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Cold Feet

So an idea crosses my mind often, but increasingly so lately. The idea is about switching vans.

I'm getting a lot of attention because of my van lately... and I love that. Still, Polar Bear has a long way to go to be usable for my intended purpose: an extended tour. The hope is to travel for a year or two around the US, Canada, and Mexico.

There are some hangups that won't go away. Polar Bear is a 3 speed and that's fine for all cases but highway driving. My tour would ultimately have a lot of highway driving. Polar Bear has no warranty other than the rebuilt transmission. If I wander from my local shop while on the road (they stand behind the repairs they've done), I'll have to worry more about breakdowns. This makes me a little nervous.

I don't want to sell someone a van full of problems and I don't want to lose too much money on the project. So I'm thinking about cutting the build short and trying to go for a sale. In my imagination, that would include:

- Rock sliders and bumpers... I think it will have a huge impact on the appearance of the van and it would bring a cohesive and finished feel to the offroad package.

- Bed liner coating... This would be inside (all over) and outside (just the bottom, where there's a little bit of rust bleeding through). This would insulate, protect, and not cost much. I've already purchased supplies.

- Water tight... I have new door seals to install. I think the windshield is right now. The rear door needs some alignment...

- Upstairs... Add the tent, platform, and storage boxes in a secure and reliable way.

- Insulation... Floor, walls, roof, dog house.

- Floor & Paneling... I have all the doors but the slider cut. I would panel everything and cover with the vinyl I've already purchased. I would lay down a good floor and cover it with pool side carpet.

- Mechanically sound... I'm very close. I have a fuel flow issue that's been tough to figure out and there's an adjustment needed on the transmission. Otherwise, the van is actually really straight now.

- Mirrors... Swap with black, because it'll look really good.

- Driver's Seat... Have the seat, just need to get it mounted like the passenger.

- Odds and ends... I've got lots of small projects started and parts strung out here and there. For example, I was gifted a set of screens (thanks Ron!) that would be super nice if I replaced the magnets... stuff like that.

I think, at that point, the van will feel really solid. Once I cross that line, I may be too in love with the project to let go... However, it's a mile marker in my mind that says... if I WANT to sell and move on to something new... that would be an optimum time to do it. It would give someone a helluva van that they could use straight away... and a platform that's totally ready to have any interior built out.

Any comments or suggestions on the value impact, viability of selling, etc. would be nice. Even if I don't sell, I think that might be a fine time to get the van appraised. I worry frequently that someone will total my van and the insurance company sees it as a generic 1987 e250 Econoline.

If I did switch, my desire is to have an 08+ Ford Turbodiesel. I dream of a modern interior and a quiet yet powerful engine. I just don't love the body style between my van and the current style. But then I start thinking about the cost... and I'd probably still have to do a build up... and wonder if I'm good right where I'm at.

I'm rambling a bit now...
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:28 PM   #115
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Since you're looking for opinions, here's mine. Finish up any loose ends but don't do any more work major work on the van. The van's too old for you recoup the additional monies you're planning to invest. I'm sure someone will be happy to buy the van with the improvements you've already done. When you go to sell it just be honest about it's problems. You'll have nothing to feel guilt about. Its a 20+ year old van. There are bound to be some issues.

I've started with a 1999 Ford van but most everything I'm adding (especially the Penthouse Top) can be moved to a newer van in a few years. With a van as old as yours you don't have that option.

Consider everything you've done so far as a learning exercise because if you're like me you already learned quite a bit that you didn't know before.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:53 PM   #116
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Doing projects like this, whether it's building a camper van or a race car or restoring a classic motorcycle or whatever, is never going to make you any money. It's not about money, it's about having fun and the feeling of pride you get from completing a project that was born out of a passion for whatever it is you like. If you like the body syle of your van and your still having fun doing the build, then I say go ahead and finish it. Don't worry about engine driveline stuff, that can all be changed later. The nice thing about an older rig is you have options. Drop in a high pro. 351 and a C6 and you'll be golden. Keep in mind in five or ten years the money you spent will be long forgotten, but the experience of building your own campervan and going out and exploring the continent will be with you till you die.... good luck with your decision.... Luke
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:04 PM   #117
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Free Opinion: (first a disclaimer- I have bought and sold nearly 1 car per year for the last 10 years. All of them were projects to some extent. I seem to get sucked into the "potential" of a project car or van and scurry around quite happily working on it for a period, and then I start feeling the pangs of "am I making a mistake?, will I ever recoup my money?. Of course I never recoup my money, and the person buying from me generally stands to do well. The fun however is in the project for me, apparently.)

1. I agree with cmprvnbtvn that you should enjoy the project foremost.

2. I agree with WVVAN that you will not recoup money on this or ANY van camper homebuild project. I think I would not do any tent mods if I were going to try to sell the van- keep the market open a little wider.

3. I will add this- In todays economy (which I believe will take a major stumble again before it gets better) it is wise to travel light in terms of debt load. If you own a van and can make expenditures as money allows with no debt versus taking out a loan on a newer van and then...

4. Here's the fellow van builder support part- None of your listed van problems seem that large individually. Remember you CAN eat an elephant-one bite at a time. (please remind me of this when I start waffling on my project)

good luck!
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:20 PM   #118
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by campervanbeethoven
The nice thing about an older rig is you have options. Drop in a high pro. 351 and a C6 and you'll be golden. Keep in mind in five or ten years the money you spent will be long forgotten, but the experience of building your own campervan and going out and exploring the continent will be with you till you die...good luck with your decision...Luke
351 and a C6; nice...blkjak
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:49 AM   #119
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Re: Polar Bear 1

It wasn't until I spotted this one that I even knew what an AMC Eagle was:



After learning just a little bit, I was very impressed.

Reliability is the biggest issue. If I was just going to go camping from time to time, I'd be far more confident... but I'm planning to visit my parents in Mexico and my friends in Alaska.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:36 PM   #120
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by blkjak
351 and a C6; nice...blkjak
I've got a C6 now... I was trying to source an e40d in hopes of having an overdrive. That was more important to me than upgrading the engine.

I did find several options for a 460, but none were EFI. I wanted the power, but my EFI i6 has epic mpg in comparison.
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