Alright, well a while ago I finally finished everything.
New lower control arms, new tie rods, new passenger front axle seal, new brakes, etc.
Next I did the radiator - drained the coolant, figured out how to take the old one off, replaced the thermostat, re-did my brass heater valve delete by removing the rear coolant lines finally and adding ball valves to the heater core doesn't get hot in the summer if I don't want it to. I also did new mounts for the e-fan since the way I mounted it originally didn't work with a 4x as thick radiator, and I replaced the crappy "American Volt" temp sensor from Amazon (2 failed in 3 months) with a temp switch from some VW I think that has the right on and off temps - like 97C on 92C off or something. It worked great! The switch I bought was Beck Arnley 201-1312 Amazon.com: Beck Arnley 201-1312 Thermo Fan Switch : Automotive
Then it was on to the engine. To my joy, I found that removing the oil pan was even harder than I remembered it being. I think I had the transmission out last time, which made it far easier. This time, I had to unbolt the idler arms, all the bolts but one on the diff, and then do a lot of wiggling to get the pan out. This wouldn't have been so annoying if I hadn't just put a lot of that stuff back in after doing the work in the wheel wells - and if I hadn't gone into it thinking it would be as easy as las time. Oh well.
Anyways, got the oil pan off, water pump, timing cover and did a new timing cover, sleeved the harmonic balancer for fun, and then reassembled it all. Cleaning the surfaces of everything was the worst as usual, but it eventually got done.
Next and finally was the power steering stuff - the pump was leaking so I replaced it, along with the high pressure lines. This video by OldSchoolNoe was very helpful -
One thing I did differently is instead of buying that heinously expensive "U" shaped adapter thing to compensate for removing the evo solenoid, I just got a hose from a 2003 van since it accounts for that thing not being there pretty much. I had to do a tiny bit of hand bending but overall it was no big deal.
The big deal was twofold - one was how hard it was to get the PS pump back into it's bracket by myself - geez that was hard! Second, and far worse, was that I somehow cross-threaded the hose into the back of the pump (idiot). When I realized my mistake, I had to take the pump out (undoing my struggle of getting the pump into the bracket by myself), and then figure out what to do next. I needed a new hose since the nut on the end of the hose was toast, but nobody had one so I had to wait a day. Then the threads in the pump were wrecked too, so I had to get a special tap called a "bottoming tap" to fix them since my normal m16 x 1.5 tap didn't get all the way to the bottom. Had to wait three days for that. Basically, what I thought would be a few hours to replace the PS pump and lines turned into DAYS of delays, which was annoying AF since it was the last thing after so many other repairs.
Also, a little side note as well - I spilled so much power steering fluid on myself and the driveway and my car and other people and parts and everything over the course of the power steering work - it was incredible. It was just the most unfortunate thing.
Eventually I got the tap and fixed the threads and replaced the pump and made it all hunky dory, but it was just another reminder of how I hate working on cars.
Well, after putting things back together and filling up the coolant, oil, power steering fluid and getting ready to bleed the power steering as the last thing - the van wouldn't start! Wow, what a bummer that was.
The fuel pump was working, I had started it after doing the tuneup and before I did the timing cover, so I knew it wasn't my new tuneup parts, it was cranking, just not starting. Starting fluid didn't help either. So, I tried to read the codes and thankfully got a p0336 and p0339 which is crankshaft position sensor stuff. The CKP sensor was taken off and replaced to the the timing cover, so I had no idea how that could have broken it, but after testing the connector and it seeming like everything was good there I coughed up the moolah to get a new one at NAPA.
And the van started - wooo! Thank Jesus it wasn't something more complicated, because after all the repairs I was so done. I used a clay trick from a South Main Auto Repair video to gauge the number of shims needed on the CKP sensor, bled the power steering, and finally the mechanical stuff was done!!!!!!
This was supposed to be done well before the end of June, but it finallly wrapped up after the 4th of July.
We were to leave on a roadtrip around mid-July, so we had a few camper upgrade things to do before leaving. I re-mounted the roof fan to make it not rattle on the highway, we got screens we can put on the doors/windows to keep bugs out while camping, we added interior lights finally, added storage in the slider and rear doors, and some other little bits. I just have pics of redoing the fan.
We managed to hit the road the night of July 13th - but when we got in the van to leave after packing it, the dash was dark when we started it! I had no idea why. Checked all the fuses, looked on the forum - eventually my wife found someone who made an offhanded comment on someone's thread about checking the dimmer switch by the headlight switch.
I hadn't touched the thing in years, but it was rolled down all the way - a flick up and all the lights worked - YES! Felt like an idiot, but thankfully it only cost us 20 minutes instead of much more. Once we had the dash lights back on, we hit the road for Montana.