2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

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Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby ericstg » March 23rd 2019, 5:26am

I run out to Scappoose couple times a week for mountain biking, I'll stop next time I see ya.
2003 AWD Astro Cargo, 3+1(plus a shackle) lift, LT245/75R16, it's badass!

Update 12/31/20: It's dead!

https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 7&t=129113
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Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby AngryPunk » March 23rd 2019, 5:57am

Loving this. Keep it coming. :)
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Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » March 23rd 2019, 6:32pm

AngryPunk, thanks for the interest! I never did a proper build thread for my LC and always wished I had-- not going to make that same mistake with Van Francisco! It's been fun getting it set up and documenting so far!

ericstg, Rocky Point? I haven't been out there to ride in probably 3 or 4 years. Also, my only real street motorcycle crash was coming down RP... I need to take Francisco up to that clearcut with the view near Skyline--great spot. But yeah, stop and say hi! :wave:
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Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby ericstg » March 24th 2019, 7:47pm

Yes Rocky Point! So Rocky Point is currently closed to thru traffic due to a big crack in the pavement, big section of it is about to slide down the hill. The gates for the north and south MTB trails are still accessible but if you want to drive to the top you have to go a different way.
2003 AWD Astro Cargo, 3+1(plus a shackle) lift, LT245/75R16, it's badass!

Update 12/31/20: It's dead!

https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 7&t=129113
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Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » April 7th 2019, 8:33am

ericstg, I ended up making it up to the viewpoint/pull off last week.

IMG_20190331_191545.jpg
the view is still good!


In other news, I put some shackles on Francisco today. I ordered a set of 2" shackles from the auction site expecting that I had three options for sets of holes to adjust height. I went with the middle of the three, which seems like about 2" but I didn't measure.

IMG_20190406_153726.jpg
Before.


The van is already a little on the high side in the rear with just the third row and the tent. I bought it with coil-over shocks, so that probably gives it a little boost.

IMG_20190406_193105.jpg
After.


I got more lift out of this than I thought! I can go up by another inch, or down by another. I think what I'll do is put on a set of the aluminum coil spacers on the front. I'm not really looking to make it big, so I ordered the 1 to 1/5" set. After I get them on, I'll see what level to leave the rear at. I don't expect to need to drop the ball joints or get longer shocks with only around an inch of lift. Although my springs still seem pretty good, they were probably a bit higher seventeen years ago... Since I'm planning to start on the interior build out soon, and I'll probably add a couple of hundred pounds, plus camping gear, plus the tent, plus my family--and maybe my trailer--it would just be all saggy with all that weight. I think the springs are the 1700# ones, so technically they should be able to handle it, but it will ride poorly if it's too unlevel.

A tip about replacing the shackles: the tire iron/ratchet with the vehicle jack kit was awesome to get the job done! I just dropped the spare and used the 21mm ratchet (and another 21mm wrench). A floor jack to move the axle up and down, a few jack stands and the scissor jack from the van to move the leaf springs.

while it was on the jack I took a couple of picks of the wheel travel/compression.

IMG_20190406_154608.jpg
suspension compression

IMG_20190406_154521.jpg


My off road experience indicates that with a limited slip and a solid rear axle, this van should get me to all sorts of cool places. The coil spacers are coming on Wednesday, so I'll probably get them on soon. Looking forward to starting some interior stuff!
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
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Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 8th 2020, 7:07pm

I’ve had a few folks ask about my process during the buildout of Francisco, so I’m going to take another stab at sharing some of it. I dig the builds that gut the van and put in a bed and so forth, but my needs include having a five passenger vehicle so I had to leave the bench in (still has a bed). You may have gathered that I cut my teeth vannin’ in Westfalias, so the layout served as an inspiration in the Astro.

This post focuses on the structure of the cabinet and how I secured it in the van.
* First, I measured the space it would need, leaving room for the rear passenger legs.
* The sides are made with 3/4” plywood attached first with right angle bar with “Plated Steel Perforated-Round Angle” attached with heavy bolts and lock nuts.
* Additional reinforcement comes from framing with 1” Superstrut attached with heavy-gauge right angle brackets and more bolts.
* To attach the cabinet to the floor, I used trailer hitch tighteners bolted to the anchors for the middle row seat. These anchors are through the frame and stronger than just through the floor’s sheet metal. These tighteners meet my needs for strength and also fit through the anchors, but are expensive.
* Though the floor is the same 3/4” plywood as the rest of it, I elected to use some thick gauge sheet metal to run the bolt plates over to reinforce and keep the unit from tumbling around the van in a bad accident. These sheet metal straps are connected with four bolts each to the floor and Superstrut.
The unit is heavy, but quite strong. I've seen camper interiors after accidents and built it as well as I could.
Attachments
IMG_20190523_120103.jpg
IMG_20190517_101433.jpg
IMG_20190517_092937.jpg
IMG_20190523_155801.jpg
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IMG_20190523_113356.jpg
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
Fueling (1/4 tank)
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Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby bbradh789 » January 8th 2020, 9:04pm

Thanks for the build-out details RDD.

5-seater capability is a must for our family adventure rig also, so its great to get some inspiration for our build.

Looking forward to more!
2004 Astro AWD
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No Front Spacers, But I Got Hellwig Helper Springs!

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 9th 2020, 6:34am

I was planning to put in spring spacers a while back. I'd done this before on my Land Cruiser as well as a Suzuki Sidekick, so I felt I'd be up to it. NOPE. I spent a bit of time attempting to disassemble the IFS to install, but ended up deciding to send them back. I'd read the IFS on these is a bear to work on and it seems true to me. I like the look a bit higher in the back on this van, and my experience with my Cruiser and correcting the castor angle after a full lift led me to expect that a higher rear would serve to tighten up my steering response-which it has-significantly. I don't know how other Astros drive, but mine was a little sloppy in the steering department when I got it and that's something I don't like at all. I expect that the AWD version has a different setup and response, what with the torsion bars and such, but I would think that getting proper (or really good) steering after an IFS lift would require at least as much effort as on my live axle cruiser. Anyway, with the good approach angle and fair front clearance (due to IFS), I have been able to get around pretty well in the wilds of the west with a stock-height front end-and my steering is quite good.
As far as the rear suspension goes, I've done more to it in the last year. After loading the van with the camper interior and when underway, with camping gear, water and people I was still at a decent height; however, I found that I had a bit more body sway than I would prefer and after going over a big bump it would bounce a little more and longer than I would like (shocks are good). I decided to install some Hellwig helper springs. I went with the 550# set, as they are the simplest to install, fairly priced and suitable for my needs. I've found that the outcome with the Hellwigs is just what I'd expected and hoped for. It seems properly sprung for the weight and has much less sway when cornering and on the highway-just right. So, I've got a slightly jacked up, good steering van that doesn't sway!

You may notice the tires are on the small side. I picked up some studded tires (215/60R16 XL) that were on a 2011 Accord in great shape for $100. I just did a 1500 mile road trip with them and it was great. With the limited slip and these tires, the van did quite well in the snowy mountains! Plus, with my 3.73s and the additional effective gear reduction of small tires, the Astro feels downright motivated to move! 2WD snow capable Astro? CHECK!
Attachments
Helper_Springs_post_3.jpg
Flattened under load
Helper_Springs_post_5.jpg
Better!
Helper_Springs_post_4.jpg
Helper_Springs_post_1.jpg
Before Hellwigs
Helper_Springs_post_2.jpg
With Hellwigs
van snow copy.jpg
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
Fueling (1/4 tank)
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Van Model Year: 2002
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Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Latches and Doors:

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 9th 2020, 7:25am

I used good quality brass latches. The fellow at the store said it looked like I only wanted to buy them once-they were a bit pricey. All were not lacquered, simply oiled, so they should take on a nice patina over time. They don’t match the zinc hardware used in the main structure, but it’s function over form here. The spring latches with knobs are for ease of use and a quality feel, while the window latches are to ensure they remain closed while driving and don't rattle.
For the doors, I cut two openings and the doors are again ¾” maple veneer plywood. I used the table saw to cut a notch running the length of the rear of the door to recess the hinges, careful not to make it too deep and leaving enough space for the screws (not careful enough, I had to use some spacers)
For finishing, I used shellac. I brushed it on, no sanding, probably about 4 coats. I used clear, but Zinners makes an amber as well. Shellac is food safe, and easy to use. It smells of ammonia, but I like using it.
Attachments
IMG_20190518_01.jpg
IMG_20190518_02.jpg
IMG_20190518_03.jpg
IMG_20190518_04.jpg
IMG_20190518_05.jpg
IMG_20190518_06.jpg
IMG_20190518_07.jpg
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
Fueling (1/4 tank)
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Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Shelving and the back side relief:

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 9th 2020, 7:04pm

While the cabinet’s outside structure is made of ¾” plywood, I went with 1⁄2” for the shelving. Also, though the exterior is held together with heavy hardware, the shelving uses smaller screws and in some cases, just gravity and friction.

The interior is divided into two main left/right segments. The divider is ¾ ply, held in place by wood strips attached to the front/top/bottom of the cabinet body. There are no nails/screws holding it there, but it is tight. The shelves rest (plus friction) on top of similar strips screwed to the sides of the cabinet. Due to the steel structure I mentioned before I had to make a second “floor” atop that business to get a flat surface for the lower shelf. I made a couple of holes in each one for the tops of the u-bolts, as they protruded a bit too far. Likewise, I had to notch the sides of the shelving to accommodate the steel structure.

The back of the cabinet is more like the shelves, as it is a thinner ply, and is held on with lighter screws-it is not significantly structural. The back was necessary to keep things from falling out and you can see it through the side window, and it looked sloppy with no back.

Speaking of the back, I kept all of the van’s interior paneling and stock equipment-ie. the rear A/C and heater. To accommodate this wasn’t hard, but I had to do some measuring to determine what of the cabinet back to cut out and what to leave. Additionally, so I wouldn’t have an undue gap between the wall and cabinet, I made the countertop overhang the structure in the rear. I’ll cover that more later.

I'm on Instagram @the_being_place if you're inclined to follow more of Francisco's and other adventures.
Attachments
cabinet3_vanbuild_01.jpg
cabinet3_vanbuild_02.jpg
the strips on the bottom that hold the main divider in place.
cabinet3_vanbuild_03.jpg
notches and shelf supports
cabinet3_vanbuild_04.jpg
notches and holes for protruding u-bolts, plus the back of the shelf area.
cabinet3_vanbuild_05.jpg
cutout for paneling. The hose was routed internally, but the heater and pump pressure colluded to create a water system explosion, This works, but is temporary...
cabinet3_vanbuild_06.jpg
see the overhang of the counter top-it would look weird without this.
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
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Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 10th 2020, 6:39am

A few other exciting (for me) things I've done to the van include a new stereo head unit to power those new speakers, having the ABS module repaired (sent it off for $50 then installed it myself-I tried the re-solder, but it only last a couple months), new door hinge pins for the drivers door and new front turn signals (and those little do-nothing "lights" by the headlights)
I did these things one by one and am stoked with the results!
A couple of things I had done include new cap and rotor, idle control valve, front rotors, brakes and wheel bearings-no pix for those-just took it into the shop. Running like a champ!
Attachments
small update_2.jpg
small update_1.jpg
small update_3.jpg
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
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Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Finishing up the main cabinet.

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 10th 2020, 7:36pm

So, the counter top will finish up the main cabinet. A couple of key considerations included a sink basin and faucet, having enough space to use a two burner camp stove, and leaving space for the window latches to be easily opened.

I wanted/needed to use the same 3/4 plywood for the top to keep everything structurally sound, and I wanted to put another surface over that to give it a decent appearance and durability. I had some Marmoleum left over from another project, so I decided to use that for the counter top. I used the same hardware to attach the top to the base, so I used a spade bit to recess the bolts so I could apply the Marmoleum. To finish these recesses and secure the bolt heads, I use construction adhesive. I used the usual adhesive for the Marmoleum (what they sell), and left it under pressure to dry.

The sink basin is designed for marine use, and has foam padding attached to the underside to make it quiet and not resonant. I went with a smaller one, as I figured I would mostly use this sink to wash hands, get drinking water, and pour stuff out while driving. It's possible to do dishes here, but I had something else in mind for that, as it's kind of a pain to wash dishes in a space you can't stand in.

Although I considered making a propane system for a catalytic heater and a stove, I decided against it, as I'd rather just cook outside and can either run the van for heat, use my Big Buddy, or maybe get another Wave 3--if I'm serious about winter use. Since I might occasionally have a need to cook inside, I wanted to leave enough space to use my camp stove-so I did.

Finishing it up is some decorative trim (quarter round-ish) installed upside down, so as to create softer corners and hopefully avoid bumps and bruises on my sometimes rowdy boys. This main cabinet has worked out great for us so far, with about thirty nights camping in the van, including a twenty-four day trip with me and my boys. Next, to the rear cabinets, the interior bed and water system!
Attachments
finishing_cabinet_01.jpg
finishing_cabinet_02.jpg
finishing_cabinet_04.jpg
finishing_cabinet_06.jpg
finishing_cabinet_07.jpg
finishing_cabinet_09.jpg
Original Poster [OP]
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Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Rear Cabinetry 1

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 13th 2020, 7:34pm

The rear cabinetry has several important purposes for my build: Storage for gear (in back and under seat), housing the water system/auxiliary battery, and working as part of the bed system/storing extra bed/camp table parts.

The rear cabinet system also needs to be strong and securely attached; so, like the main cabinet, I built the main components with maple veneered 3/4 plywood and used heavy steel components to attach them. At first I thought I might get some utility from having the side walls of this cabinet extend past the bedding surface for a little shelf, hooks, or something (see pix), but decided against this and cut it level with top surface. I removed the rear cargo anchors and used grade 8 bolts (longer) to attach the 3/4 ply floor to the van's cargo anchor threading. (not pictured)

Since I didn't want to pull the carpets, I decided to floor the entire area behind and underneath the bench seat with 3/4 ply. In order to do this, I cut two main slots to accommodate the seat supports, with this floor area terminating right at the front of the forward support. I used right angles to attach a barrier that may one day be part of a door system under the rear passengers' legs. This gives it a quasi finished lok and helps to keep the stuff inside the under seat storage.

For the rear area, I boxed it in a basic rectangle, but leaving the forward wall of this cabinet open for the time being. The rearward facing panel was to have doors, so I cut the openings in a single sheet of 3/4 ply. The top has several elements I'll get to later, but here I'll mention that it is too wide to be unsupported, so in a similar fashion to the vertical separator dividing the front cabinet, I divided the rear cabinet. This separator also serves as a support for the top of the cabinet/bed.

During these steps, I was keeping in mind the other things I needed to have space for, water system, extra battery, the bed extension/table. The floor has a "tab" section that extends on the rear passenger side and into the cavity in the van panelling (jack storage) that I used for strapping the auxiliary battery down. As you can see in the last photos, the surface of the rear cabinet is also usable as a countertop for cooking at the rear of the van.
Attachments
Rear_cabinet_first_01.jpg
The sides didn't end up being this tall.
Rear_cabinet_first_03.jpg
underseat floor and slots from the front.
Rear_cabinet_first_06.jpg
overview of the rear floor slots and the tab for the battery tie downs.
Rear_cabinet_first_07.jpg
Before I cut the door openings.
Rear_cabinet_first_04.jpg
the rear cabinet divider.
Rear_cabinet_first_09.jpg
It's way easier to use the underseat area with a smooth floor and front fascia.
Rear_cabinet_first_10.jpg
attaching the front of the underseat storage.
Rear_cabinet_first_08.jpg
Rear_cabinet_first_12.jpg
Camping with the unfinished cabinetry at the Gorge Amphitheater
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Rainy_Day_Dragon
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Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby AstroWill » January 13th 2020, 11:51pm

Looking good man! Thanks for bringing us on the journey with you.

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Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 14th 2020, 5:27am

AstroWill wrote:Looking good man! Thanks for bringing us on the journey with you.


Thanks AstroWill! Just trying to give back a little bit...
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Re: Water Tank and System

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 14th 2020, 7:05pm

The passenger side of the rear cabinet is home to my water tank. A 10 gallon tank was the biggest that I could fit with room for other storage. It is inside of a section of the unit that is bolted closed, and also has 2 heavy cam straps holding it down. There are two holes in the floor of the unit that the straps go through on the forward side of the tank (see floor overview above) and the straps wrap around the floor and come in between the rearward wall and floor. There is a 3/4 ply by 2" strip on the forward side of the tank to help keep it in place (not pictured). The tank outlet is forward on the bottom and I put a wood strip under the rear of the tank to give it a little tilt. This tilt also serves to allow the tank to fill maximally, as the vent is on the rearward top.

IMG_20190716_190100.jpg


The tank filler is on the rear passenger side of the cabinet and is an off-the-shelf RV unit. I used flexible water filler hose (heat ends in hot water to get on fittings) and hose clamps. After my water hose explosion I bought braided hose, which I used for venting the tank as well as the pressurized lines.

IMG_20200114_084010.jpg

IMG_20190725_092101.jpg


I have a Bayite 1.2 gpm 80 psi pump with auto shutoff pressure switch. The pump is mounted on the wall in the same cabinet as the tank near the inlets. I used a sturdy on/off toggle switch in addition to the internal pump switch and it is mounted in the cabinet under the sink. (originally by pump, but it's nice to be able to turn it off quickly in case something happens) On our 24 day trip, I left the main switch on most of the time with no problem, but for the occasional momentary (maybe every other day) blip on, to top off line pressure-so long as the faucet is properly closed.

IMG_20200114_084249.jpg



Speaking of the faucet, I've had a system similar to this in a vintage trailer so I knew a single spigot like on the old timey sinks with two faucets was what I wanted. I thought of something taller with more clearance, but they are less sturdy, more likely to get damaged or caught on something. I picked up a vintage faucet of high quality at Hippo Hardware, as this type was hard to locate new. This way I can leave the water pump on and still manage the flow with the faucet.

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Since I used a small sink inside, I wanted a sprayer on the rear. I use this sprayer for doing dishes, filling pots, and rinsing hair/feet etc. This sprayer is a simple kitchen sink type and I built a little cubby for it on the drivers side rear. The pump has more than enough pressure to run the sprayer and I have it turned all the way down. The sprayer was a great addition.

IMG_20200114_083952.jpg



All of the hoses after the filler inlet are braided, high-pressure type--gotta use them. pro-tip: make sure to use new hose clamps that are just the right size! All of my connections are brass. I think I used one double male connection, one "T" with three male barbs to split to the faucet and pump and one male to threaded going into the faucet.

The drain is a simple Camco Flexible Camper Drain and I ran it through the floor of the cabinet. I cut a flap in the van's carpet and then drilled a hole under through the floor for the drain fitting. I used a foot long piece of old garden hose under the van on the fitting so the water drains cleanly below the frame.

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For filling the tank I use a flexible filler hose attached to a simple open/closed valve. I keep a 25' rv drinking water hose in the van also. I usually use a kitchen towel at the base of the rear cabinet while filling, as my current configuration would allow water to get under there if I spill it. I have found that the 10 gallon tank is a good size and I can go for several days with just that if we're careful. My old Westy only had a 7 gallon, so I'm good!
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
Fueling (1/4 tank)
Fueling (1/4 tank)
Years of Membership: Rainy_Day_Dragon has been a member for 2 full yearsRainy_Day_Dragon has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 34
Topics: 2
Joined: February 2019
Alias (AKA): Rainy
Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Auxiliary Battery and finalizing the rear cabinet

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 15th 2020, 7:08pm

The auxiliary battery is in the cubby for the scissor jack on the rear passenger side (I have a bottle jack now). I flattened out the top of the stamped sheet metal bracket that the jack secured to and built a little platform to the same height on the floor base of the cabinet. I mentioned previously that I made a little tab on the floor base to extend into this cubby for the battery, and on this tab I mounted the OEM cargo tie downs from the floor of the van. I used these with a heavy ratcheting tie down as part of the battery securing system.

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IMG_20190629_172145 - Copy.jpg
The tab with the cargo tie downs



I also used the traditional battery tie down with a long bolt, hooked on the end and butterfly nuts. These hooks are attached to the sheet metal bracket, not the floor base. The cross-battery bar for this is a piece of superstrut. Double tied down, it should stay put.

IMG_20190716_190045.jpg


The battery is placed on a plastic pan, in case it leaks-which they usually do somehow. I needed to vent the battery outside of the van as it is in the passenger compartment. I drilled a hole in the floor and ran a piece of clear tubing out under the cubby-it is hose clamped on the battery vent. The battery is attached to the hot terminal main battery by a 20' piece of wire from a heavy duty set of 4 gauge jumper cables. (cheap way to get it). The main battery has a simple disconnect to isolate the aux battery.

IMG_20190629_122403.jpg
the loose wire is from the aux battery, just not yet connected. It goes under the wing nut


I routed this cable carefully (watch that hot muffler and don't damage the cable sheathing) through the undercarriage and through another hole into the cubby. The positive terminal of the aux battery is shielded with non-conductive material in the off-chance something gets in there it won't make a spark by accident. The aux battery is grounded to the frame in the rear of the van. When camping, I disconnect the aux battery and run off of the main for the lights, water pump and sometimes stereo. I reconnect the aux in the morning to help restart the van if needed. So far, I haven't killed the main battery like this, but I have had to use the aux to start the van on other occasions and it works fine. Using the 4 gauge cable makes for safer throughput for a starting battery. As I'm not really running them down that much, or that regularly, both batteries are just starting batteries of very similar capacity (identical would be ideal I imagine). I usually keep both connected via the cutoff.

As far as finishing up the rest of the rear cabinetry, I created a shelf to close in the water tank and the battery.

IMG_20200114_084317.jpg


I had to get creative about this, since I wanted to maximize the space-which I use for water hose, propane tanks, other odds and ends.

IMG_20200114_084501.jpg


At the back of this area I put a little barrier to help keep stuff in, similar to the main cabinet. I also did this in the other rear cubby and under the seat.

IMG_20200114_084549.jpg
Main rear cubby (mostly used for clothes)

IMG_20200114_083723.jpg
under seat storage (view of rear barrier)


The rear cubby has some reflective insulation stapled in to keep contents from falling out forward. (I use this forward space, as I'll share later). There is a little boxed area in this cubby that encloses the fragile water filler hose that goes through the partition into this area (maximizing space while getting the bend to make hose work).

Finally, I finished off the back with the doors in the same fashion as on the main cabinet-same hardware and finish. I do plan to put some more coats of shellac on the back as it gets wet a lot when doing dishes and filling the tank.

IG: @the_being_place

IMG_20190725_144009.jpg
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
Fueling (1/4 tank)
Fueling (1/4 tank)
Years of Membership: Rainy_Day_Dragon has been a member for 2 full yearsRainy_Day_Dragon has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 34
Topics: 2
Joined: February 2019
Alias (AKA): Rainy
Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby WoodButcher » January 16th 2020, 1:03am

RDD, you have done a very nice job. Well thought out and executed. I particularly like the sink faucet and your thoughts on the how and why.
Stay awake much thinking out details? I'm an old carpenter and still lose sleep once in a while, wake up with an aha moment... I try to avoid that stuff these days...
Real nice, enjoy it!
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WoodButcher
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Years of Membership: WoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full yearsWoodButcher has been a member for 10 full years
Posts: 5556
Topics: 30
Images: 514
Joined: October 2010
Location: Woodbury CT
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Alias (AKA): Bruce
Van Model Year: 1993
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: 5.7L RWD

Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby MechBob » January 16th 2020, 1:45am

Your work is beautiful, and your layout seems logical. I am terrible with finished wood,lol. I could see, getting older, doing an astro camper, but only if it is a cargo,no windows, and AWD, because of where I camp. But, I love your workmanship, and the great pictures/narrative. Thanks.
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MechBob
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Van Model Year: 1994
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4x4

Re: 2002 2WD LS intro and beginning of camperization

Postby Rainy_Day_Dragon [OP] » January 16th 2020, 6:58pm

WoodButcher wrote:RDD, you have done a very nice job. Well thought out and executed. I particularly like the sink faucet and your thoughts on the how and why.
Stay awake much thinking out details? I'm an old carpenter and still lose sleep once in a while, wake up with an aha moment... I try to avoid that stuff these days...
Real nice, enjoy it!


WoodButcher, thank you for the compliments--especially meaningful from a carpenter. :D I don't know if it keeps me awake, but I vacillate between ruminating on various project ideas and just waiting until something comes to me. :0) Thanks for the thoughts on the faucet as well. I've found these old single spigots to be ideal for this. The store owner charged me $40 for it (from a bin of unmarked faucets), which I thought was a bit steep--and I had to redo the gaskets--but it'll last forever and it's definitely the oldest thing on the van (maybe 100?)

MechBob wrote:Your work is beautiful, and your layout seems logical. I am terrible with finished wood,lol. I could see, getting older, doing an astro camper, but only if it is a cargo,no windows, and AWD, because of where I camp. But, I love your workmanship, and the great pictures/narrative. Thanks.
!

MechBob, I appreciate your appreciation! I rekon keeping it simple and quality is a good tack for me. I'm not particularly good with finish work myself, but I'm learning! Aside from just needing the van to have five seats, I wanted to have a place to hang in the van if its cold or rainy--which directs the overall thrust of the project.

I totally get the AWD thing. We have an 80 series cruiser all built for exploring. It used to have the roof tent on that, but wanted to try it on the Astro--which gets me around pretty good with the LSD. I've found that almost all the mountain roads in western Oregon are paved, or good gravel--or at least bad gravel, easy jeep roads. If I'm in need of 4wd it is likely a very deliberate off road experience. My experience in CO was quite different, as there are tons of places you need 4wd to access. Here, not so much. As far as the windows, I like being able to see out most of the time. I can see out of the Astro way better than I ever could out of my old Westfalia.

I'm glad you guys liked checking out the write up. I've gotten so many ideas from this forum and others, and I'm happy that some folks appreciate my efforts! I've got to take some more photos of the way I constructed the inside "bed" and I'll try to get around to that soon. Otherwise, I've got a few more things to share and still to do, but most of the custom stuff I've covered already.
Original Poster [OP]
Rainy_Day_Dragon
Fueling (1/4 tank)
Fueling (1/4 tank)
Years of Membership: Rainy_Day_Dragon has been a member for 2 full yearsRainy_Day_Dragon has been a member for 2 full years
Posts: 34
Topics: 2
Joined: February 2019
Alias (AKA): Rainy
Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: RWD TrueTrac 3.73s

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