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Jimmy's pair of '00's

660 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Jimmy H
Hey Gang,

Jimbo chiming in. While taking some pointers from Dr. Straight and from Astro/Safari, plus so many YouTube videos and various suppliers, I have decided the van life is for me.

I've realized the fate of my pair of 22 year old stock Astro LS extended vans. My RWD has 344K miles and my AWD has 219K miles and both are purring like kittens. I have them both sitting now just itching to get out to explore and do some off-roading. They both go down the road just fine and aren't broken down yet. So I've been starting my shopping lists.

My ideas include teaming up with someone, like a Dr. Straight, who would like to work on this together with me. Til then, I've got to make some video for you all.

But first a few pics, as I am getting them cleaned up pre-conversion. These have been taken over the past ten years. Then I had massive kidney failure, and the project is just now coming back from being on hold.

Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Vehicle Car

Thinking lift kit, already flushed out Dex-Cool to and moved to regular, new water pump, new radiator, lots of new parts. All wear items are replaced. Have always run Mobil1 full synthetic high-mile oil, all new light bulbs, everything in working order except the the few things yet to do in this dual van project.

Automotive tire Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Bumper

Both are blue cloth interior in mint condition.

Tire Automotive parking light Wheel Car Vehicle

Both are no rust, seldom used in winter. Both had been detailed, clay barred and polished to get rail dust taken off, so there is virtually no rust.

Tire Wheel Automotive tail & brake light Car Automotive parking light

So, with lift kits, wheels, tires and accessories, we will be stylin' as we take up the van life.

Car Tire Land vehicle Wheel Vehicle

Taking everything apart to clean, when it seems so new, is going to definitely be restorative and curative.

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This was after cleaning and painting.

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This is what both look like inside, before vacuuming and shampooing.

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This was on maintenance day outside the shop. Lube, oil, filters, grese

Any Astro lovin' women on the planet out here, who are into the van life? HMU! We can cruise the countryside and have tons of fun. These are the W code with stock 190HP Vortec v6's. Let's end up with two 4.3 performance builds approaching 320 HP on 3" lift kits, new transfer cases, floor shifters, etc. Then we can expand from there. This will be a ton of fun planning and making it happen. Some of you might want to see me put in an LS package.

I think upwards of $12K for engine & drive train if I replace everything on the RWD and up to $6K on the AWD to keep them staying identical. Interior plans include camper conversions with streaming studio outfits -- getting by simple and low budget. What do you suppose these could sell for all finished?

Anyways, c'mon along for the ride! Thanks for taking a look. Would love to see your comments.

Over and out,

Jimmy on the prairie
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Am preparing a new rear axle for the RWD van. Having difficulty locating replacement leaf springs and mounting plate kits. Want to rid this van of as many rusty parts underneath as possible. Getting new shocks, leaf spring bushings, bump stops, all new brake hardware, seals, bearings, etc. What supplier and do I need alternate part numbers to use 3/1 springs in place of 3 plate springs? The 3 plate sag too much under load, bottom out too easy.

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Dorman 722-014 rear leaf spring axle plate seems to be for original 22-1195 3 plate leaf springs. What is the correct supplier & part no. to upgrade to 22-1195HD 3/1 leaf spring (one plate taller) to fit the spring under the plate kit?
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