2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby 1lowcab » November 9th 2016, 3:21am

Sears has a nice little right angle drill attachment and stubby bits for not much money. Thats what I used to drill out the heads on my abs module, that and a mechanics mirror...took all of 5 mins and it popped right off.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » November 10th 2016, 2:53am

Re-drilled my front spring hangers on the rear spring per Lumpys suggestion in his DIY spring thread. Since I have lift shackles set on the second hole.

I drilled down 1.5 inches down(hole to hole)and centered in the bracket (about 1 inch up from the very bottom) to center the wheel and to match the 1.5''(?) lift that the rear shackles were providing. Also, since I don't have pinion shims, this was an attempt to reduce/remove a vibration I suspected were coming from the shackle lift because of messed up pinion angles. Not bad, like an out of balance tire, but since I had seen this done and there is more then enough room to try it then why the heck not.

PS. I don't know how the hell you are supposed to take the hangers off without dropping the gas tank and the muffler to gain ability to remove the bolts. It's not easy to drill the holes with without dropping the hangers but i did.

Tweaked the torsion up front to even the front out a bit so I am sitting right at my intended goal of 6 inches. 36.5'' from ground to top of wheel well arch in the front. And 38'' in the rear. Dang! Need some new exhaust hangers now! These things are stretched as far as I would like to see them.
Last edited by TurnNburn on November 10th 2016, 8:14am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » November 10th 2016, 7:46am

Looking back just now to the "build your own spring pack" thread that Lumpy started, it only suggests re drilling the holes. Well... I did it anyways and so far it works. I have to re measure, maybe a bit to far set back?

Has anyone else done this? After doing my alignment (close but not perfect in the rear, toe wise, camber was one point) I would like to hog out the holes a bit to dial in the rear alignment to avoid the"dog walk" look of the full size lifted vans I see driving around town...

It's close enough and drives straight. The vibration is gone but I still have a dronning noise(but I know that's from pitting on the spider gears).
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby WoodButcher » November 10th 2016, 1:13pm

The shocks have absolutely nothing to do with rear axle alignment.
The front mount of the spring pack and the clamshell or "U" bolt are what keeps the axle 90 degrees to the body.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » November 10th 2016, 4:29pm

I actually didn't say anything about shocks moving my axle, because I know they don't. What I did say is that I did changed the hole in the front mount for where the spring pack gets bolted through. Which did move my axle.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby WimpTech » November 10th 2016, 7:06pm

...well said.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby WoodButcher » November 11th 2016, 1:09am

Gotcha,
If you drilled parallel and square your good. If you loosen the u-bolts while allowing the axle to hang free, you should be able to move the axles on the spring just a little. I've used ratchet straps pulling tension in opposite directions on each side the a few raps with a BFH on the clamshell or u-bolt plate to nudge them It doesn't take much, 1/8" on each side,, I'm sure you drilled within a 1/4" of parallel, right? Retighten, let go the straps and done. I've replaced the rear end in my '97 three times.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » November 11th 2016, 4:07am

Thanks for the centering suggestion! I will definitely do that. I'm only off by -.3 degrees of toe in one side and positive .2 on the other side so this method should ideally get me pretty damn close to zero.

Yeah I was pretty careful with measuring to transfer the holes. I had a long enough drill bit I was able to go all of the way through both sides and when it hit the other side it was spot on my mark.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby WoodButcher » November 11th 2016, 1:52pm

:thumbup:
I was never taught or researched much about alignment of the rear end just out of necessity had to change them so there may be more to it but I've had no troubles. Seems to me the axles are pretty much fixed in relationship to one another so you look for the happy medium as you are.
The ratchet strap deal is just like a cheater bar or pipe on a ratchet, you fight with something long enough a light bulb comes on even in the dimmest of brains, there has got to be an easier way... :lol:


As we get older our collection of cheater bars grow in an equal and opposite proportion to our physical abilities...


:think: maybe I'll become a philosopher in my golden years,,,
does it pay much???
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » November 11th 2016, 5:45pm

Cant say that it does bud. In fact most of the really famous philosophers through out time where thrown in jail for heresy or banished.

With a long enough cheater bar you can move the world!

Our astro hive mind is smart, even if some of us aren't. I learn something new every day on here.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby WimpTech » November 11th 2016, 6:16pm

Wimpy has a growing assortment of cheater bars, although my favorite is still the floor jack handle... it has padding ;)
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » December 28th 2016, 8:23pm

Its been a while since i have updated this build. Until recently there has not been a whole lot of building. Just lots of camping and exploring. Over thanksgiving we visited 8 hot springs in 5 days. Finally got to use 4x4 and 4LO! what a blast. And a little bit of time dialing in the interior accomedations by removing unessential additions and fiddling with the space that we have.

It has been pretty cold around here for the last couple of months but that hasnt stopped us. The insulation has been doing a great job at keeping us warm. Although when its windy outside it interior can be pretty drafty(especially around the dutch doors) and really sucks the heat from inside. Also we discovered that covering up the windows is a must when its cold outside! Makes a huge difference, probably around 15*F warmer then without.

I addressed the leaking steering box seal using this thread as a guide
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=98809" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I didnt really notice a difference in the way the power steering felt but i was definitely surprised on how different the brakes felt. Took less effort and felt more linear then before. And while i had everything torn apart to get at that seal i installed my longer (1.5 inches) second gen rwd steering shaft. And with easy access to the front of the steering box i thought i would dial in the slop of the steering to post pone buying a new box. i used this video as a reference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5Ck4eANgII" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

and turned it in about 540*. And the slop in my steering went from about 5 inches down to 1-2. Much better. In the future i might attempt more but i dont know how much more i could turn it in without it causing binding issues. For now i am happy what this free adjustment has done.

Now onto the gravey! The 3 inch body lift! With the addition of the longer steering shaft i now had the ability to get and use 3 inch pucks in the front. That part went just as well as the 2 inch pucks. Except.... The trans cooler lines were deffinitely stretched way to far and would most certainly start leaking. I just used my brake line bender and angled the radiator side down and the trans side up so that both of the ends faced each other instead of being forced apart. I dont have a picture of this, but wimpy does and i am sure he will post his results when he is done. Another thing that needs to be addressed is the power steering line that goes from the pump up to the hydro boost. On my lift, that hose was pulled into a position that it actually slightly rubbed on my P/S pump pulley. The metal protective layer that is wrapped around the hose right there made a horrendous noise. But again was easily bent out of the way. On wimpys lift he had a ton of space right there so i am not sure if that clearance problem was from my torsion keys or something else.

While i had it up in the air i also decided to address the over worked exhaust hanger bushings. These poor things were stretched to thier max and forced the exhaust to come so close to the rear spring that it would hit it while going over speed bumps and most annoyingly while shifting into reverse.

Now I just need to figure out how to make 33's fit and then I will be happy!
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby WoodButcher » December 28th 2016, 11:51pm

That looks great!
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » December 29th 2016, 12:18am

All of that hot water or the van ;)

Thanks Bruce! I had initially tackled the 3 inch body pucks in order to turn the torsion keys back down to lessen the front end preload... so I put the new pucks in and didn't turn them down... I like it better this way!
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby Lumpy » December 29th 2016, 1:26am

Yes, it is looking good. Nice tire size.

Um, scenery is pretty nice up there.


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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » December 29th 2016, 5:29am

Thanks Lumpy. Means a lot coming from you. Eastern Oregon is an amazing place. Lots of beautiful nature and tons of no name gravel roads to get lost on. Good for visiting, not so much for living. And basically zero scorpions!
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby WimpTech » December 29th 2016, 5:57am

Yup, looking damn good my friend!
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby 1lowcab » December 29th 2016, 6:00am

Nice! :thumbup:


lovin the front bumper, looks wicked.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby TurnNburn [OP] » December 29th 2016, 6:20am

With the 3 inch body lift the "wings" actually look normal. But the front gap between the grill and the bumper is just asking for a light bar... Will post a pic of the front head long tomorrow.
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Re: 2000 Astro Camperized Battle Van

Postby a1959birdman » December 29th 2016, 12:19pm

Hey Turn, The Battle van is a great name for your beasty! I was looking into an AWD van but it was in cruddy shape and when I found this RWD I was done looking. The closest to AWD I'll need is to get the van close to the lake when fishing.

I REALLY like your idea for the side pipe for tarp and poles! That is a very cool idea compared to buying an aftermarket awning set-up! Also the spare tire/ jerry can mounts are first rate! Very nice ideas on your vehicle for sure! I'll be watching for what you do next!
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