Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » March 31st 2020, 4:14pm

DaHonu wrote:SparkySteve!!!...very inspiring. I, too, live in NorthCounty and have just acquired an '05 Astro LT AWD to build out into an overland van camper...like a mini-Sportsmobile. And I, too, am in my 60s and plan to retire in 2-5 years and plan to take myself and my pup off-grid often and while being self-contained...kinda like extreme social distancing but on my terms lol. Lets hook up sometime so we can be like little kids and play the Astro/Safari show me your's and I'll show you mine game lol.


Hi DaHonu! OK let's hookup but how about we make vrooom vroom noises and pretend to race our vans instead?!! :think:
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby DaHonu » March 31st 2020, 5:54pm

You're on bruddah Steve! :driving:...as soon as our county release us from this covid-19 lockdown :handgestures-fingerscrossed: I'll be slowly going though what makes my 185K mile Astro LT AWD that I've bestowed upon the name of Eddie tick by attending to what needs to be attended to with some of the free time I seem to temporarily have now...and your thread on this site is leading the way for my education on mods and other stuff. I want to make Eddie as steady and reliable as can be so we can fearlessly go where my 2wd Silverado and I dare not go. In the meantime, seniors like us gotta stay smart, stay safe, and stay healthy...PM coming your way, sir!...Aloha!!!
"Eddie would go..."
- Mark Foo (Surfer)
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » April 6th 2020, 3:29pm

Over the weekend I put in the wire/hose raceways.
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And decided to drop the level of the sleeping platform 2" so I had to redo the unistrut attachment brackets.
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Then mocked up the 3 main sections of my sleeping platform with cardboard, then figured out how many sheets of OSB I would need from the store.
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By Sunday afternoon I got as far as being able to take a test nap on it! Snoozing occurred.
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » April 13th 2020, 3:36pm

More progress on the van. I added some birch ribs to the underside of the main section of the sleeping platform. Maybe I should start calling this a big cargo shelf?
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Some of the ribs are to stiffen up the shelf and the short guys are for attaching the shelf to the unistrut cross braces. The ribs were glued and screwed to the OSB.

The rear-most 18" of the shelf didn't have any attachment so it was a little bendy. I solved that by making two simple L brackets and tying the corners of the shelf into some OEM brackets that used to hold the factory interior side panels above the fenders.
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And then I got started on an idea I have for the way that the two extensions of the sleeping platform attach to the cargo shelf. I didn't know if my idea was going to work but I'm pretty happy with the first two sets. I need to make 2 more sets but I ran out of steel. I'll explain these more in a later post after I have some pictures of them mounted onto the shelf.
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby nonhog » April 13th 2020, 5:11pm

Looking good!
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My Slow build..... viewtopic.php?f=127&t=107426
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » April 21st 2020, 5:23pm

Thanks Nonhog!

So these experimental latches got fastened to the OSB boards using T-nuts.
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They are shaped so that the extension board slides into the latch while at the same time rotating it upwards. This locks up the latch and prevents the board from moving up or down or from sliding forward and un-latching.

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Time will tell if they work well or not. Then I added some larger speed holes in the middle of the extension boards to assist with latching and lifting.
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » April 22nd 2020, 3:29pm

More speed holes!
And 2 coats of urethane.
002.JPG


003.JPG


There's also an extra latch point on the cargo shelf so that the narrower extension (which is normally on the passenger side) can be moved to the driver side. This would be for a scenario where I had to spend some time inside the van for whatever reason and wanted as much open area as possible but needed a work surface - I can use the narrow extension.
006A.JPG


Time to add some speed holes and urethane to the cargo shelf. Then on to the support legs for the two extensions.
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby sixsix » April 22nd 2020, 5:30pm

Nice...Mad Fab Skills there now. Presentations skills ain't too shabby neither !!
.

"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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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » April 27th 2020, 3:34pm

Thanks sixsix!

A little more progress over the weekend. The main cargo shelf has speed holes too and now all three pieces of the sleeping platform have 3 coats of urethane.
007.JPG

008.JPG
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » May 11th 2020, 3:38pm

More progress on the sleeping platform. I've made up my legs for the two platform extensions. They are intentionally at an angle so that weight (people & gear) makes the legs want to tip rearward which keeps the latches closed where the extensions mate up with the big cargo shelf. I still have to put some kind of locking bar on the legs - probably similar to the legs on a folding table.
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby sixsix » May 12th 2020, 3:35am

That is "ONE HIGH BED".

You could roll right out the window into your shoes/shorts/boots.
.

"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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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Rod's Trucks » May 12th 2020, 4:38am

989 0022 3327arkDog,
I am glad you added that note about the leg locks. I was wondering what I was not seeing. I was trying to envision you trying to get out of you sleeping bag, with your head on the floor and your feet nearly three feet in the air; after the end of the bed hit the floor. :rofl: .
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » May 12th 2020, 4:00pm

sixsix wrote:That is "ONE HIGH BED".

You could roll right out the window into your shoes/shorts/boots.


Hey there's an idea! I could rig up the sleeping platform with either a side or rear dump mechanism! :think:
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby sixsix » May 12th 2020, 4:01pm

989 0022 3327arkDog,

sixsix wrote:Nice...Mad Fab Skills there now. Presentations skills ain't too shabby neither !!


Now that we know what the plans are...

Well, maybe I spoke too soon. Those legs, even w/ the "Leg Lock", look extremely 'Spindly', kinda' unsteady and ready to bend apart. I certainly hope not, just LOOKS like it.

Did you say you are building for 2 adults... ? whew.
.

"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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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » May 12th 2020, 4:07pm

Rod's Trucks wrote:989 0022 3327arkDog,
I am glad you added that note about the leg locks. I was wondering what I was not seeing. I was trying to envision you trying to get out of you sleeping bag, with your head on the floor and your feet nearly three feet in the air; after the end of the bed hit the floor. :rofl: .
Rod J


There are a couple of big pieces of the van layout puzzle that are missing from the build at this point. Once I get a little further along I hope what I'm doing now will make more sense. There's the stowage area for the bed extensions which drove how high I placed the platform height that is not made yet. There's the 2nd row bench "module" that I want to be able to easily remove and use as a campsite bench chair. And there's the kitchen drawer/module which will burn up a lot of space under the cargo shelf area. Once all three of these things are brought to life it should be a good first generation camping system.

This past weekend I bought a set of seats for the front and 2nd row bench. Stay tuned for more fab work. :rockon:
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » May 12th 2020, 4:21pm

sixsix wrote:989 0022 3327arkDog,

sixsix wrote:Nice...Mad Fab Skills there now. Presentations skills ain't too shabby neither !!


Now that we know what the plans are...

Well, maybe I spoke too soon. Those legs, even w/ the "Leg Lock", look extremely 'Spindly', kinda' unsteady and ready to bend apart. I certainly hope not, just LOOKS like it.

Did you say you are building for 2 adults... ? whew.


You are right to ask about the strength of what you see in the pictures. I should mention that I'm divorced and have three adult daughters and no grand kids (yet). Between myself, my girls and their boyfriends - none of the males are over 190, the females are under 140. So the grand kids are not likely to be line backers. And I'm only going to invite skinny people to sleep with me! :dance:
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby AstroWill » May 13th 2020, 4:22pm

Sparkydog wrote:And I'm only going to invite skinny people to sleep with me! :dance:

LOL
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » May 19th 2020, 3:23pm

Over the weekend I pulled the trigger on a used EU2000.
006.JPG


And started gathering up all my other camping s### and playing with where it will stow.
007.JPG


And worked on the frame/base for the 2nd row seats.
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And here's the matching front seats waiting their turn for install.
008.JPG
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Rod's Trucks » May 19th 2020, 4:06pm

Looks great!
I've got to ask...What are the seats from?
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Re: Sparkydog's 2003 Safari AWD

Postby Sparkydog [OP] » May 19th 2020, 4:30pm

'01 Hyundai Santa Fe. They were suggested on a thread on another car forum where the title of the thread was "What are the most comfortable seats?" There were several makes/models mentioned so I made some preliminary notes based on photos from the web and then went on a scouting run to the wrecking yard and narrowed it down to these.

Some interesting "Pros" I've discovered about them:
Easy to remove - 4 bolts per seat and easy to access unlike many other makes/models.
Female Santa Fe seat belt buckles mate with GM male belt buckles.
Seat cushions for front seats are 95% symmetrical from one side to the other. So in my case the drivers seat cushion was ripped but there was a 2nd vehicle in the yard with the same color upholstery so I grabbed the passenger bottom out of it and swapped out the bad one. Again the seat bottom removal and access was easy and the bolt pattern from each side was the same.
Driver's side has manual lumbar, rake, recline, height and fore/aft.
Still TBD is if they have heaters in the seats - I mean there's wires but I won't get around to that detail for some time. The drivers side may have heated lumbar too.
Also TBD is how to adapt from the GM seat base into the front seats. I'm going for the swivel passenger side.

2nd row will recline fully flat so it could be a "bed" for grand kids or small (& skinny) people but that's only if I mount the 2nd row far enough forward to clear the rear cargo shelf when the backs fully recline. And 2nd row seat backs stow flat when pushed forward and when the seat bottoms are tilted forward. Yes the stock Safari 2nd row folds flat too but at a much higher elevation inside the vehicle - almost has high as my cargo shelf.
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