WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

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WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » May 24th 2017, 9:34pm

'Bout time I start this thread so I can create a wishlist and then hold myself accountable!

This is what I'm working with -- 2004 Astro AWD from PDX. 95K miles on it.

Anyways here's the WinnieVan II -- named after my dog, Winston:
front1.jpg
front1.jpg (31.63 KiB) Viewed 7247 times
front2.jpg
front2.jpg (29.11 KiB) Viewed 7247 times


After driving it for a few months -- it developed a misfire so I got new injectors, ignition coil, cap + rotor, plugs + wires. Amazing what that can do for the smoothness and responsiveness of the ride. Makes me want to start wrenching engines on my own.

My goal is to slowly turn it in to a fully functional RV that I can take camping/fishing/climbing.
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Extra Info: AWD

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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby jess » May 24th 2017, 9:40pm

nice one! looking forward to seeing more. you probably already know this but they don't salt the roads here (in PDX) so hopefully no rust!
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » May 24th 2017, 10:07pm

First things first -- make it camp-able. I decided to keep front rear bench and design a box that sits flush with it when it folds flat. The idea being -- I can use the van to transport my friends still, but can kick them to the curb when its time to set up camp. Just fold that seat down -- and enjoy the luxury.


Side structure..
1.JPG


Banding...
2.JPG


assembled, with a slot for a 2x4 in the middle for support
3.JPG


Testing the fit...
4.JPG


Putting it all together:
Capture.PNG

(here's my father in-law Tony -- the allstar of the build)
726.JPG

5.JPG

6.JPG


Get in the van...
7.JPG


Fits a full-sized mattress with the rear seat folded down. I've put a 3'' memory foam on top and it is pretty darn comfortable to sleep on.

Next step -- passenger swivel.
Last edited by WinnieVan on May 24th 2017, 10:11pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » May 24th 2017, 10:08pm

jess wrote:nice one! looking forward to seeing more. you probably already know this but they don't salt the roads here (in PDX) so hopefully no rust!


Yea she doesn't have a speck of rust underneath!-- love that about Oregon... except when we have those ice-storms.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WimpTech » May 24th 2017, 11:09pm

Hey alright! Thanks for starting a thread, looking good. I'm a fan of the big box build, what can I say.
Have you considered compartmentalizing or some 5-S organization? a place for everything, everything in its place... this was my own personal concern about a big box build as it can become disorganized in a hurry during use.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » May 25th 2017, 12:06am

Wimp... I've thought about it. As of now, I just use home depot storage containers to keep everything in place, but I've considered creating a pull-out kitchen (similar to yours I think).

I'm used to just setting up camp and staying put -- but the van changes that since its so easy to just pull up sleep and move along the next day -- having a pull-out kitchen might make that even easier.

I'm a fan of the flexibility of the box build -- but organization is fun too :). I just need to get more familiar with how I'm going to use the van so I know exactly what I'll need access all tghe time and what can be stored in a harder to access area of the box.

Plus, I might get rid of the back seat altogether... I didn't glue/screw the front panel of the box so I can remove it incase I want to expand the build to take up that space. Ideally, I'd like the electric components (inverter/such) to be nicely tied away in the back of the box so I can have electricity in either configuration... that way my expansion build will include space for a fridge/small counterspace inside the van that'll be easy to take out and remove when needing the extra seating...

So many ideas in my head -- I should probably get them down on paper someday (or learn how to CAD!!)
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby 1lowcab » May 25th 2017, 12:24am

Looking good! :thumbup:
:action-popcorn:
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby TurnNburn » May 25th 2017, 12:29am

If it is worth building, its worth over building. Liking what I am seeing so far.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » May 25th 2017, 2:07am

Just catching up on the stuff I've done in the last two months.

Got a memory foam pad and borrowed (permanently) some pool chair pads that together with the memory foam make for one comfortable bed:
image1.jpeg


Added a back-up camera. I decided to do a stealthy install and put it in the area that (I think) would be a keyhole on barn doors:
image2.jpeg


New head-unit + Sirius receiver + cup holder from Pop (thanks Pop!)
image5.jpeg

Back-up Camera in action -- ya that is my roommates Syncro in the rearview...
image6.jpeg


My favorite mod so far -- a seat swivel from Johny over at ExpeditionalPortal Forums:
image3.jpeg

image4.jpeg


LEDs -- although I think I'm going to replace them again with some "warmer" lights
IMG_3759.JPG

image7.jpeg


Going to Plasti-dip some interior trim this weekend... I like the idea of having a black dash bezel -- I think I'll do the interior door handle trim and speaker covers too. How hard is it to remove that handle above the passenger airbag? I think that'd look nice if it were plasti-dipped too.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby TurnNburn » May 25th 2017, 2:15am

I wasn't aware someone over there was still making swivel seat bases. What is something like that going for anyways? I have been contemplating building one, but I haven't gotten around to it yet, for the right price I would rather just buy it.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » May 25th 2017, 2:31am

It wasn't cheap -- $330 USD + shipping from Canada.

It's a really nice build.. I'll probably try and fabricate my own once I get to spend some more time up at my in-laws place. He wants to teach me how to weld -- so I'll probably make that our first project.

After that -- I'll probably flip this swivel for ~300 or so. Seems like there is a lot of pent up demand for these things -- especially for people like me with little know-how when it comes to working with metal.

I feel fine hacking together things usually -- but when my wife is going to sit in that seat while we're barrelling down the freeway -- I'm not sure I'd trust my handiwork in case of an accident.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » May 25th 2017, 4:12am

Some photos from the inaugural journey down the coast from PDX to Bay Area

743.JPG


744.JPG

742.JPG
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » June 1st 2017, 11:53pm

On the todo list is a house battery + solar system to power some appliances.

The idea is to feed a battery through 2 100W solar panels and the alternator. I was going to do those things separately but decided on the CTEK D250S, which is expensive, but takes dual inputs. I picked up a 100AH AGM Battery yesterday and plan to mount it in the sleeping platform box I've built for the van.

My goal is to run a fan, fridge, lighting and a few USB/12v outlets directly from the 12V system and have an AC inverter for charging my laptop and other misc. AC appliances.

Below is my wiring schematic followed by a few questions regarding wire gauge, wire routing and the AC inverter:
Note May 30, 2017.jpg


Have an ongoing thread in electrical outlining some questions I had regarding the build:
viewtopic.php?f=76&t=118737

I'm off to India for 3 weeks, but when I get back I'll start documenting the process of adding electricity!! I promise lots of pictures.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » July 21st 2017, 8:08am

Here's some shots and a link to the solar schematic thread:
viewtopic.php?f=76&t=118737&start=40#p1269321

I'll update this shortly with pictures of the final build! See that above thread though if you are intrigued.
Attachments
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby 97cargocrawler » July 21st 2017, 4:06pm

I reallly like those black framed panels!
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » July 21st 2017, 5:09pm

Yea they are pretty slick. They are the Renogy Eclipse panels.

I managed to get them on Amazon like 160 each. No idea why they were that price that day, but I took the money and run.


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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby Sardiver3 » July 21st 2017, 5:27pm

Awesome build so far, thanks for sharing :thumbup: Cant wait to steal some ideas.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby jess » July 21st 2017, 6:51pm

whole build's excellent! thanks for sharing and taking the time to thoroughly document (not just in this thread but in your other project-specific ones, too). it's a huge help to clueless newbies like me.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WinnieVan [OP] » July 21st 2017, 7:35pm

Thanks Jess.

I'm still a clueless newbie too. Although I think that solar schematic will be helpful for people in the future it was basically stolen from Renogy just using my own components.

Feel free to ask some questions around here if you get stuck. I'm happy to help if I can.
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Re: WinnieVanII -- 2004 Astro AWD Build

Postby WimpTech » August 5th 2017, 3:40am

Lookin real good Derek, keep 'er goin man! Would love to get a breakdown on that solar system there, I will have to copy you
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