This is my build thread for Polar Bear 1
Last fall, I drove out to Lake Tahoe and bought a 4x4 1987 Ford E250 Van and drove it back to Boulder, CO. My girlfriend and I quickly named the van "Polar Bear". This was a quick stop in Nevada:
On the ride home, Polar Bear sprang a number of leaks. Turned out, the previous owner must have put some kind of additive in the fluids to stop leaks and cleaned up the bottom of the van. Once home, I found a lot more required repair work than I expected. The list included bearings in the rear diff and xfer case, engine leaks, steering issues, drive shaft issues, and much more.
While I was a bit bummed out, my girlfriend did a photoshop of many of the mods I had talked about. It raised my spirits:
We decided to give it a spin as a camper completely unmodified. We spent a winter night inside the tin can in the Colorado mountains. It was a bad idea, it was very cold. It was fun, but doing so without a good heater was not smart.
One day I went out to check the flex. This is the best spot I could find to try it out:
Up until the day I was required to register the van in CO (had 2 month to get past emissions), I tried like hell to sell it. Even with the mechanical issues, I got a good deal on the van. I just wanted to hand it off to someone with more time and expertise. Alas, after many near sells, the time came to register the van so I set out to make some improvements.
Thus far, I've done the following:
- New exaust + cats.
- Oil pressure sender.
- New IAC (to resolve engine stalls).
- Body repairs and Maaco paint.
- 32" BFG ATs.
- 16" teflon Mojave rims.
- Junkyard spare tire on steel rim.
- Junkyard tire swing.
- Rear diff rebuilt.
- Junkyard front grill painted black.
Today, Polar Bear looks like this:
You may have noticed some ugly road dirt splashed up on the side. Today I got my "Flexy Flares" in the mail and will be installing them on Saturday. Ironically, I finally found fitted black fender flares in the junk yard this last weekend. However, after holding the Flexy Flares up against the van, I think they're going to look much better.
In addition to the flares, I've also picked up some old GMC Safari seats and a junkyard steering column that I will be eventually installing.
As for the interior buildout, I'm making floorplans and learning as much as I can before I begin. I think the first thing I'll attack will be electrical. After that, subfloor and walls. I want to cover the walls and existing headliner with some glued on vinyl from the fabric store. I haven't decided what colors I want to use on the inside. Here are some snapshots of the inside currently:
As I progress, I'll post updates here. Unless, of course, someone decides to buy the project off of me. Right now, I'm bumping a total investment of $10,000. I hope one of my next investments is a big fat roof rack.
More to come.