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Old 06-22-2020, 05:35 PM   #1
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New guy here - just saying hello...

Discovered these forums a couple of weeks ago as I started doing some research for ideas of what to do with my van...

My current van is my trusty old 2004 Chev Express 3500 cargo van. I've owned it since 2008, and until a few years ago it was my work van for my personal business (I was running a small sound production business, as well as doing various types of contracting work). I am no longer running my own business, so the van hasn't gotten much use - or attention - over the past 4 or 5 years. Still, it just fires up and runs, even in the middle of winter in Canada even after sitting for three months at a time. It was starting to get kinda rusty too - pieces of the rocker panels falling off every time I slammed the doors.

I was considering - over the winter, before this whole pandemic thing changed everything - of possibly getting rid of the van and replacing it with a 4x4 truck (once I sold off some of my sound equipment I no longer use), for pulling my boats, and general personal use (one of my boats is a 24' SeaRay).

Then, this spring, I started re-considering. I ended up driving the van quite a bit more for various reasons, and realized (once again) that I really do prefer a van over a truck. I've owned a total of 9 vans since high school, and two trucks, plus who knows how many cars... My first van was a '69 VW that I bought for $50 when I was in high school (the guy was using it for a storage shed). Completely rebuilt it and drove it all through University and then sold it for $3000...

Some of the pictures I saw here have inspired me to revive my work van and make it better than it's ever been... it's helped me see past the "work van" image, and see what it could be...

So... I've started fixing up the old Express. Starting with getting rid of the rust. The factory radio barely works, so I have been accumulating the components I need to upgrade to an Android head unit, along with an amp and new speakers. I'm taking care of the intermittently squealing fan clutch that has been driving me crazy for the past couple of years.

I've been looking at the photos - on this site and elsewhere - for ideas of what I could do with the interior. That won't actually happen until next year at the earliest - I have too much work to do on my boat and my son's Vette restoration first - so my focus now is on the mechanical stuff and the rust.

The one thing I am wondering about though... I don't have finances to do a 4x4 conversion on it, and if I really want to go off road I have a '49 Willys CJ3A sitting in the garage ready to go, but I want to get better traction for boat ramps and even trying to back up a hill on loose surfaces...

Have any of you guys put a locker differential on one of these vans? How does it behave?

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Old 06-22-2020, 07:22 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum.
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Old 06-22-2020, 10:53 PM   #3
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Old 06-23-2020, 11:23 AM   #4
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Unfortunately I'm unable to provide any insight or answer to your last question, but will extend a for joining! Good to have you on board.
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Old 06-23-2020, 02:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for the welcome!
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:04 PM   #6
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Welcome. My GMC has an OEM auto locker, G80 code. I do not have a recommendation for a locker unfortunately.
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