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NoS Van Build

30587 Views 172 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  nosxjeep
My van is with the Tranny guy and I miss it a little, so I thought it would be a good time to start a build thread. I really want to get some video going once I do some more custom work, but for now I'll kick it off with a catch up post...

Purchased 2005 Astro LS AWD on Jan 17, 2017:

I took some better stock pics, but those aren't that interesting.

The first thing was taking it by the mechanic to have it looked over and install lift. Did a basic tune up, most things looked fine, even oil change can wait, but needs engine mounts so I'm having the $40 Napa mounts and OEM Trans mount being installed today along with a 4590 trans cooler and Xcase encoder motor (I had the Service AWD light).

Anyway, here is how I got it back from the the first mechanic and after JOR 3-5" lift (sitting at 4") and ProComp shocks:


It got a black grille along with the bumper relocation, ext bump stops, brake line extension and all other lift needs while it was with the mechanic.

Ordered a set of 265/70x16 (30.5x10.5x16) ProComp AT Sports:

The first time I went to Firestone to mount, balance, and align, they wouldn't let me drive home from the bumper rubbing. But they did leave me with these on all 4 corners:

I figure its not structural, so perhaps not a huge deal? Was going to get some input from you guys on that.

I enjoyed driving the van for a few days and got some parts in:



There is a 6" memory foam mattress, that I didn't take a pic of, nice an comfy. The headlights got LEDs on all spots and I tinted the lowers for now to go for the full black out look. Eventually I want to run a steel bumper in those locations and replace the parking lights entirely, so it wasn't worth spending too much on them. I also got some flat black vinyl to run a strip between the tail lights so the back will also have black stripe running across tying the lights together and "hiding" the license plate housing. While taking out the housing, I figured I will install speakers and a backup camera since I'll be pulling a seal I believe.

Eventually, I did some trimming up front:


And got the tires mounted and aligned:



I still had rubbing on the back side of the front and just from eyeballing, figured I'd hit in the rear too, so the plastics were the first to go and more rub tests coming this weekend:

So that's where it sits right now.
I also did some LED bulbs on the interior domes and maps.
I have this thread going about swivel seats: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=112706
But I'll pick that up in this thread once I have some parts.
I also started this thread about spray on bed liner: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=112002
That also will be brought in to this thread if I ever get there.
I replied to this thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=112538 with an idea for side mirror replacement and I'm looking into ordering the sportage style signal mirrors that I linked there.

As per usual, lots of big dreams... so more to come!
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Thanks Wimpy!

If all goes well with the Tranny/Xcase work this week, I'll want to flex it out on the trail this weekend.

I don't know how concerned I should be about the pinch seam damage done by Firestone. I wanted to do a load of complaining and maybe still will.
You are a MADMAN! Take your time, enjoy your build! I don't even have the TCase mod yet, neither does Paul so its all good. That trail is basically a dirt road and even if you got the tcase, none of us can follow ya haha.
I don't know how concerned I should be about the pinch seam damage done by Firestone. I wanted to do a load of complaining and maybe still will.
I would definitely get on them about that..... Maybe it's not as bad as it looks in that picture, so maybe not a big deal... But even if it isn't, it's just plain WRONG.... The van has places where it's safe to jack or lift without damage, and those guys are supposed to know where they are....

will also have black stripe running across tying the lights together and "hiding" the license plate housing.
I was thinking of doing that, never got around to it... I'll be interested to see how it looks...
Thanks Gavio, I'll definitely post pics when I get to the vinyling.

I'm giving Firestone a call right now, I just kept forgetting.
If someone crushed my pinch seem I would be pissed.... with that being said, I crushed mine when doing my first set of 2 inch pucks since you have to drop the sub frame I couldn't put the lift under that and I didn't realize those pinch seams are not considered lift points like they are on every other car... lesson learned.

Those lights are kind of neat, are those LED as well? Spider?

So far so good, keep up the good work. What are your plans for the t case?
Looking good mang!

How are those headlights? I was thinking of doing them as I have the matching lower signals but I heard they are really bad at night, they say the reflectors aren't aligned right and the beam just scatters and you can't see far.

My van must have been at Firestone at some point as may pinch seams are mashed like that too. LOL!!
Ya, I talked to Firestone and I'll swing by for the manager to inspect next week. We'll see what happens. I may see if I can get a free collision shop repair estimate first.

As for the lights...
Spyder, yes, got them on ebay: ... Eh&vxp=mtr

I have LED high and low beams from Hikari: ... UTF8&psc=1

With halos and markers wired in to the lower marker. They don't light up the way I thought they would and most of the time the halos don't even come on. Only when hazards are on and headlights or off? Could be my wiring? Perhaps I need to wire it in series instead of parallel?

As for light output, they do shoot some random beams to the sides, but the forward beam is comparable to stock if not a little better. Now, the housing says that it is NOT HID compatible, so I got lucky that I ordered LEDs. BUT! I had to trip the plastic mounting bracket to get the low beam bulbs to fit, since they aren't meant for a bulb that bulges out so far. NOT HID compatible also makes me think that they are designed for Halogens and that using HIDs or LEDs will not produce the best outcome.

I think they are fine, better than what I had, and the high beams are good too. I'm sure its a personal thing too, and if someone was picky about having that perfect cast of light, then I'd stay away from these housings. I don't mind much as I'm planning on some LED light bars for those truly critical times.

I'll get some pics/video posted once I get everything working properly. But now that I think of it, I should have taken some pictures when I was half done, for comparison. The beams they put out have a nice cut off and strong center so they are easy to aim.

I'm curious about the lowers you mention 1lowcab... I searched a bit and couldn't find nice replacements, just mostly stock stuff. There is one with a black outline, but I'm thinking something more blacked out.

As far as the Tcase, the only reason I mention it so far is that I had the Service AWD light when I bought it and the wonderful folks here on the forum pointed me at the Encoder Motor first. So I'm having one put in right now so that this weekend I can test the AWD out a bit.
I'm gathering info on the NP236 swap though... and have bookmarked some posts here. I got to have that low range selectable! I put an Atlas Tcase in my Cherokee and can't live with out my selectables!
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Old van or not. Diminished value, they damaged your car and you need to be compensated. My 2cents.
Cool build!
x3, make them P A Y !

Hey, its usually the position sensor on the encoder that goes ummbubbye, not the motor itself.
Oh! Thanks Wimpy, I'll hang on to the original then and perhaps rebuild as needed. I'm guessing the sensor is serviceable then?
Ehhhh, kinda and not really at the same time. Here is a write up from a Silverado, similar thing for us. ... ent.39654/
I'm curious about the lowers you mention 1lowcab... I searched a bit and couldn't find nice replacements, just mostly stock stuff.
These here.

It took me awhile to find them, I'll see if I can find them again and post up a link.
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The shop has insurance. You go to a reputable auto shop and get an estimate. They need to pay that. Cash.
Thanks guys!

Those lowers look interesting... Perhaps if they had them in black... but, eventually I'll be taking them out completely, so I'll probably save the bucks as long as I don't get too many fix it tickets.

The switchback LEDs I have in there now are pretty nice though. Parking light is white, then goes amber on/off for signal. Once the signaling is done, it turns off and fades back to white. So I'll feel bad getting rid of those bulbs, but I'm thinking of building something like this into some tube bumpers: ... EBIDX%3AIT
So after our big bear trip, I'm trying to sort out the AWD to see if its worth hanging on to since it doesn't seem to be doing its job.

I've replaced the encoder motor (before the trip) which solved the Service AWD light, sort of, as now it comes on/off depending on the situation, but definitely limited to no AWD performance.

Ran Car Gauge Pro on my van and the only thing related to ATC was:
Definition of check engine code U1026:
GM: Loss of ATC Class 2 Communication
and am reading this: ... and-u1041/

Looks like the ATC missed a communication to the ECU at some point in time (this was a historic code as currently it doesn't pull this code and there is NO Service AWD light currently on).

I'm trying to think of where to look next...

Or... if any of those will be costly or timely endeavors then maybe I'll accelerate my NV236 plans.
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So the front wheels aren't engaging at all or very little? Have you drained the transfer case, and if so, what did the oil look/smell like?

Heres the reason I ask...

And here....
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