2001 RWD Safari Van

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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » May 1st 2017, 7:31pm

Making of front brackets, got this drill press local for $10
making_bumper_brackets.jpg

Installed
bumper_brackets.jpg


Got the missing rear running board brackets, so I have them all now
Running_Brackets.jpg

Had to re-position the van, they tell you you can't bring in a jack. I called administration and said I needed to get the rest of the parts, they said bring a jack, tell them you need to re-position the van. I did, brought the parts up front and got raped another $13 for the pair. Checkout wasn't going to hear my problems, lol. New old stock are $13 plus shipping each, I just paid my $5.99 each. I only paid $40 and a day for all the running board parts, so $55 all in, can't argue that.

Did the tear down on the running boards. Unlike GM, Ford made these with real washer nuts not the stamped plastic cutting style. I can remove them and reapply without damage. I took one of the deleted parts and over-torqued the plastic stud, it just took it, didn't strip, ruin or break. The plan is to bolt on the OEM GM brackets, straighten them, position the metal board, drill and cut to fit. Paint for rust. Then layout the plastic tread, trim as needed. Put them all together. I'm glad I chose these parts, again I just got lucky.
running_boards.jpg


Painted the rear spring bolts and clamps
rear_spring_bolts.jpg


Ran to other local yard, read they posted a new 1995 in the yard, has running boards and looked like it may be a conversion from the pic
white_conversion_top.jpg

It is a MarkIII conversion, already attacked, intake manifold open, someone removed running boards, ruined, they tried to remove window vent, ruined. Inside is a mess, parts and grease, seats do not swivel. The fiberglass roof is in great shape, curtains too short. I am looking at this stuff closely now. The MarkIII running board is basically fiberglass trim hanging on punched angle iron with a steel strap brace. Explains a lot, I've seen these busted and hanging, taped and sagged, the OEM is much better way to go. Even if it's Frankenbuilt like mine will be.
They quoted me $130 on the roof, carried out the gate by forklift. I was considering that until they told me without the trim, lights or A/V parts... smh and said I'll think about it. Thought about it, decided I may pull it apart, learn the process and parts, then blow all their minds when I carry it up front on All You Can Carry Day for just $75.
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Van Model Year: 2001
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby gavio » May 1st 2017, 9:13pm

decided I may pull it apart, learn the process and parts, then blow all their minds when I carry it up front on All You Can Carry Day for just $75.


Take a friend, those tops are heavy and awkward - they don't slide around, so any moving pretty much requires lifting both ends at once....

When I got mine (at Pick'n'Pull, $90), my buddy and I carried it out by resting one end on the wheelbarrow and the other held up by the guy walking in front.... All the checkout people crowded out to look at it, said they'd never seen anyone take one.... Thought it was a boat at first..... We were in the yard about 5 hours stripping it, figuring out all the attachments, removing it and carting it out... That's working at a leisurely pace with a lunch break.....

That style of top, where it fits inboard of the rain gutters you can take home in your van, it'll just fit within the door opening, stick out about 2.5 feet... I have dutch doors, so we just rested the end on the lower doors, strapped it down and tied the hatch to it.... Just in case that's useful.....

Good luck
2004 Safari, 4 inch lift, NP-231 t-case, 255/70/16 BFGs, home-brewed pop top, full camper, on-board propane, lions and tigers and bears, oh my.....
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby 1lowcab » May 2nd 2017, 3:06am

What did the steering wheel look like on that conversion van? Was it wood?
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » May 2nd 2017, 3:27am

Hi gavio, thank you, yes that is very useful to know.
I'm looking into different styles already, like the Explorer, found on a local van for sale.
white_explorer_top.jpg

I'll contact them, if they so choose to scrap it, I will make offer so as to pull at my leisure.

Hi 1lowcab, the steering wheel is stock black
white_top_front_inside.jpg
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » August 16th 2017, 9:41pm

Been a while, fighting fatigue, rain and heat. I manage okay.
Didn't get to use the axle clamp parts shown above.
Pulled the axle, did some cutting, grinding, sanding, wire brushing, welding and rattle can painting.
Relocated shock mounts.

IMAG07420.jpg

Replaced pinion seal.

IMAG07439.jpg

Ordered 1/2"x11.5" u bolts from RoughCountry and Grade F flange top lock nuts from Fastenal to install rear blocks.
I would rather have used hanger bolts than u bolts and plates with the HD springs because off road they hit. Will find some bump stops, cut bolt ends and stay on road for a while. The 4" HD springs would not have this issue.
Tapered blocks, not a big deal, 75 ft lbs, this van isn't going to see the kind of action that would raise concern :driving:

IMAG07550.jpg

IMAG07618.jpg

Then I got to work on the running board brackets, cutting them just to 67", drilling new bolt holes and trim the plastic to fit behind the rocker panel seam. Only real problem I encountered was the bracket hanger parts were bent, they're no longer available. I replaced them with closed eye bolts placing a nut on either side of the bracket locking it in place, same holes. I'm in no rush to cap the ends, probably just angle aluminum to keep the dirt and tire spin off out.

IMAG07619.jpg

It rides well, new outer wheel well fender heights are 32" front and 34" rear.
Totaling 2-1/2" front and 4" rear lift from 29-1/2" and 30".

IMAG07609.jpg

IMAG07611.jpg

There's more to do. I'll keep going, but for now it's where I want it, comfortable to get in/out, capable to tow the trailer and do the shows. Swap out the A/T 215's for H/T LT 235's down the road. Time to focus on the tuning and other maintenance. I learned a lot, I learned GM never intended for the M/L van to be swapped or modified at all. I am beginning to weld, finally purchased MIG and TIG welders, have a lot to learn there. If I could do it again knowing what I do now I would pull the axle, cut off all OEM perch/clamp/bump stop mess and weld a normal one on the axle and install the 4" HD leaf springs for what I needed to get out of it.

Thanks again everyone, happy driving.
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby TurnNburn » August 16th 2017, 10:30pm

Looking good so far. Your not interested in the high top? I wish my local yard had that top in it, would snag that thing in a heart beat.

Just learning to weld and you ponied up and bought a TIG, dang man, talk about sending it. Cant wait to see some cool fab work coming through here. No pressure.
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » August 16th 2017, 11:11pm

Thanks TnB
I was looking at high top for aerodynamics, I think just a roof rack and deflector or trailer nose cone.
Truth is the welders are Harbor Freight 170 MIG modified and 165 TIG/Stick with a ton of consumables, carts, tank for $300 craigslist deal.
It was really an "about damn time" kinda moment for me.
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby TurnNburn » August 16th 2017, 11:15pm

Crazy... I didn't even know harbor freight made TIG stuff. Good find either way. Should be good enough for learning on.
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby 1lowcab » August 17th 2017, 2:59am

Good job! :thumbup: Rearend looks great.

I didn't even know harbor freight made TIG stuff


They make everything!
I've heard good things about their TIG machine, I'd like to get their Plasma Cutter.
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » March 13th 2020, 6:19pm

Been a long time, got busy with work, driving up and down east coast a lot.
We all got this virus to hide from now and so I thought I should share an update as I'm guessing we will all be online a little more and need interesting things to read. I have decided to finally lift it further just a little. Hindsight is 20/20 should've just got the full size lift spindles or caprice donk spindles, my van was shoe string budget, for my own business, only needed to do what I needed to do in my driveway and basic tools, never because I was a pussy as I was called... but enough of that, I've gotten myself into some purdy wheels I can not cast aside as I've done too much work with them and my focus is clear. Still building a very capable lightweight van but now it's for myself and my own needs. When I needed new tires I switched to Michelin LT Defender 235/75-15 for better highway driving because I rarely get off road except grassy fields and hard pack for shows. When I do go off road I get stuck because I love driving through mud and sugar sand, a big no no for open differentials, it's okay after the hand digging, rugs dragged across the world and anxiety attacks I generally find and make friends and get unstuck. I did find some 70's style Jimmy 8 hole aluminum with rally caps down in South Florida for only $300, coming off a 90's Suburban. I had a lot of fun putting the massive 265/75 wheels on to see how they looked and lifted the truck up.
IMAG1795.jpg
Playing with 265/75-15

They were a bit rough, I used Zinsser Magic Strip Citrus-Action to remove the clear coat, soda blasted, painted the back and inner holes, sanded and polished the fronts to mirror like finish.
Here's a pictorial walk through, it was a lot of hard work and time as I learned.
Pulled off the tires.
IMAG00111.jpg
Pulled off the tires

Beginning with Zinsser Citrus Strip.
IMAG00649.jpg
Beginning with Zinsser Citrus Strip

Learned this requires a lot more.
IMAG00677.jpg
Learned this requires a lot more.

Wire scrubbing the grooves GM put on these to give the clear coat something to grip.
IMAG00680.jpg
Wire scrubbing the grooves GM put on these to give the clear coat something to grip.

Clean and ready for blasting.
IMAG00693.jpg
Clean and ready for blasting.

Blasting is messy.
IMAG01355.jpg
Blasting is messy.

Pretty, sanded away all the grooves, damages and corrosion and removed the residue at the seal flanges.
IMAG01398.jpg
Pretty, sanded away all the grooves, damages and corrosion and removed the residue at the seal flanges.

The backs, looking well.
IMAG01399.jpg
The backs, looking well.

Back and hole inners soda blasted.
IMAG01440.jpg
Back and hole inners blasted.

Back and hole inners painted.
IMAG01845.jpg
Back and hole inners painted.

Sanding was messy, done with ordinary dual action orbital sander, regrettably inside the garage, it was over 100 degrees outside. I started with 180 grit, 240, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 to 2000 grit, sometimes not in that order, it was tough removing the grooves, getting dirt, keeping the surface cool, it was challenging. Most looked like this, ready for polishing.
IMAG01915.jpg
Sanding was messy, most looked like this when done, ready for polishing.

During the polishing. I didn't use the awesome expensive wheels, just cheapos, highly unrecommended.
IMAG01984.jpg
During the polishing. I didn't use the awesome expensive wheels, just cheapos, highly unrecommended.

However they came out great.
IMAG02001.jpg
However they came out great.

I was quite pleased. This is how it looked after the new tires were mounted. To this day I have not sealed them with POR-15 or ceramic finish. It doesn't bother me to clean them every couple months.
IMAG02156.jpg
I was quite pleased. This is how it looked after the new tires were mounted. To this day I have not sealed them with POR-15 or ceramic finish. It doesn't bother me to clean them every couple months.

This is what it looks like today.
IMAG00471.jpg
This is what it looks like today.

I removed the cladding it rubbed, didn't look right to me any more, added the front fender trim and had to trim them as well. Then I finally got around to 3M taping the window vent and mirror covers along with the bug deflector which was also drilled and I used some body retainers to ensure it stays put.
Then I emailed Mike at Journeys Off Road http://journeysoffroad.com/index.html to ask his suggestion on the front lift to level this out. After reading about experiments with springs, coil cross references, the reinforced control arms, I looked to the coil spacers and ball joint talks, not just here but all over the internet. It does not seem there is a if you lift with upper or lower 1" spacer you will get 1-1/2" lift, it's all over the place, some get 1/2", some get 2" and it varies, so I'm in search of information. I'm thinking an upper 1" coil spacer and ball joint spacer. I know if I go 2" spacer I NEED a ball joint spacer, please don't educate me on this anymore. I would like to also get the rear shackles to adjust it. I'd really like to get the Hi-Po front hangers and frame connectors, traction bars, front lift spindles, giant tires, AWD front subframe... because it happened. The same thing that happens to many, lift, bigger tires, more lift and so on.
Anyway, those with experience on RWD front coil spacers feel free to share your knowledge or paste a link to your post as a comment.
Everybody keep rollin' stay healthy and sane.
Thanks Dave
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby WoodButcher » March 13th 2020, 7:48pm

Hey Dave! :wave:
welcome back, healthy and sane are good things, your van's looking good.
Can bare aluminum go 2 months w/o corrosion? where is home base for you?
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby tonydobbs » March 13th 2020, 7:51pm

WoodButcher wrote:Hey Dave! :wave:
welcome back, healthy and sane are good things, your van's looking good.
Can bare aluminum go 2 months w/o corrosion? where is home base for you?

Aluminum oxidizes in minutes, but the outer oxidation layer prevents further oxidation, so it's not quite as noticeable as corrosion on other metals.
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » March 13th 2020, 8:42pm

Thank you, good to be back on here. Yup on the micro corrosion, you can see the last two pics difference, the second to last pic has shiny ones had just been polished while the last pic is 3 months of dirt, salt from New England road deicing and the entire van is filthy from off road sand and so on. Needs a bath and wheels get cleaned with Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish which protects them fairly well for a month or so regular driving :)
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby 90safari » March 13th 2020, 11:56pm

I haven't seen a set of those rims in a long time, like since 2005, on a friends 87 Chevy pick up truck. It's amazing how much something so simple as that can change the look. And removing the lower cladding really changed how it looks. :D
Bob 88 Astro cs and Sue 90 Safari
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » March 19th 2020, 2:09am

I've seen only two rides in town with them, one dull and the other clean, both stock and two on this site. One is another Florida antique dealer white cargo van that says LaLaLand and the other I can no longer find or changes his rims/avatar.

Talking with Mike at Journeys he suggested not using lift spindles, doing the 3" pucks, changing my coils because the CC640 are a pain in the *** so for now I'm touching up and thinking a lot on the Moog 9012 coils and PROFORGED 101-10020 "tall ball joints" they're 1/2" taller than standard. I read Shad0wXCalibur installed them reporting having liked them and the lift given, as well as doublebass from Italy a few days ago. Several combinations, just need to choose, I was hoping for the cheap and easy; just new shocks, coils spacer, maybe ball joint spacer when Mike made me remember how much of a pain in the *** those CC640 are.

I searched for a few hours over last couple days on those rim pics from this site, can't find them again.
Enjoy this beast I ran into last December, I figured he was on this site, doesn't seem to be though. Jeep wheels and looks like coil lift, definitely V8 in there.
IMAG03045.jpg


IMAG03046.jpg


IMAG03049.jpg


IMAG03050.jpg


He had a great big heavy welding rig trailer attached, the rear wasn't sagging it was loaded, funny, his OEM Safari rims were on the trailer.
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » July 14th 2020, 4:21pm

Well life keeps us all running in circles and the van work gets put off until something needs to be fixed. I am now facing a radiator leak, but before I go there, there's the build story to continue. Any further lift has been decided against, I am just going to finish what I started, windshield visor, bumper and grille guard as well as aluminum running boards because I already have those parts and really need to get them on. I did research posts here during Florida COVID lock-down month as well as write ups all over the internet to help decide towards a transmission and lower engine rebuild.
I did purchase 4L60E rebuild kit/parts:

World Wide Parts Outlet:
GM 4L60E Transmission Powerpack Rebuild kit 1997-2003 Stage 5 With 3-4 Powerpack W261420587326

Global Transmission Parts:
1247A Check Ball in Capsule, 700R4/4L60E
SK4L60E Shift Kit, 4L60E/4L70E/4L75E, Transgo*
1099C Upgrade Kit, Hard Part, 4L60E (1996-2006) TransGo* Separator Plate/HD Hardened Sunshell/Corvette Servo
1198 Valve Body Spacer Plate, 4L60E, 1996-2006, TransGo*
1011C Sungear Shell, Extra HD (Beast Style), 700R4/4L60E
1000 Corvette Servo, 2-4, 4L60E/700R4
*The Transgo parts that arrived are ALTO

TORCO(Amazon):
TORCO GM Chevy GMC Stock 12" Torque Converter 1985-1997

Transmission Parts Now:
GM 4L60E 7 Piece Solenoid and Wire Harness Kit EPC TCC Shift Manifold 3-2

Manuals
ATSG 4L60E Transmission Repair Manual
GM Automatic Overdrive Transmission Builder's and Swapper's Guide
Chevrolet Engine Overhaul Haynes TECHBOOK

These parts were checked for accuracy and placed in my garage because my entire world has gone insane.
I do look forward very much to doing this and carefully considering doing the crankshaft bearings, timing gears, chain, timing cover as well. I did consider a re-ring kit, but I really don't have the facilities to do all this. As imagined I had to read a lot, read my Service Manuals, these books listed above, watched videos, prepared my garage space.
As I said world gone insane over the last few months, so I put off things.
Now I'll be pulling it apart soon and ordering the TYC radiator (1" core) hoses, water pump while I'm at it, I'll need to confirm sizes for rear main seal as well as the front according to Rock Auto, might be a good time to get that number off my engine lol

I will probably need to ask questions soon on related posts I've read, reaching out PM or asking here, just a heads up and update on this van, I still have it, it still runs, I'm still sane and healthy, I'm hoping you all are too. Later, Dave.
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Years of Membership: Ironsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full years
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Van Model Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: RWD Custom HD

Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby sixsixsixsix is online! » July 14th 2020, 11:12pm

Where'd the awesome pic of the "Bat Van" go?

Shoulda' copied it when i had a chance...
.

"Ban gerrymandering" out 1 side, then says, "We really need to get rid of the electoral college for starters, there is no way in hell that the person that receives fewer votes wins, simply crazy."
So only CAL, ILL & NY Elects??
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Firing on 7 Cylinders (L5)
Firing on 7 Cylinders (L5)
Years of Membership: sixsix has been a member for 6 full yearssixsix has been a member for 6 full yearssixsix has been a member for 6 full yearssixsix has been a member for 6 full yearssixsix has been a member for 6 full yearssixsix has been a member for 6 full years
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Van Model Year: 1992
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Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » July 15th 2020, 1:12pm

sixsix wrote:Where'd the awesome pic of the "Bat Van" go?

Shoulda' copied it when i had a chance...


My bad, not ready to share the vision yet.
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Ironsides
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: Ironsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full years
Posts: 233
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Van Model Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: RWD Custom HD

Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Ironsides [OP] » July 16th 2020, 1:01am

Took a while to find the leak, already knew it wasn't pump or hoses, I only seen some coolant leaking to the ground.
I pulled the air box and fan shroud top looking for obvious leak, couldn't find anything, let it dry and the cracks appeared, the housing is literally failing.
IMAG00318 (2).jpg

The cracks are on the opposite of the radiator inlet or upper hose, so no more racing allowed or it'll burst. May be original, the engine did overheat and ruined the intake manifold before I purchased it.
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Ironsides
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 2 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: Ironsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full yearsIronsides has been a member for 6 full years
Posts: 233
Topics: 5
Images: 0
Joined: January 2015
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Van Model Year: 2001
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: RWD Custom HD

Re: 2001 RWD Safari Van

Postby Leeann_93 » July 17th 2020, 11:50pm

Absolutely common place on that radiator to crack. Happened on my '93 Bravada, happened on my '00 van, happened on my '99 van, happened on my '02 van....
'05 Astro AWD vin X
'02 Astro LS AWD vin X
'00 Astro LS AWD - WIP
'99 Safari XLE AWD - broke
'93 AWD EXT vin W - real broke
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Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Years of Membership: Leeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full yearsLeeann_93 has been a member for 12 full years
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