Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Forum rules
Build topics only! Members are allowed one topic per vehicle in this forum. Topics may only be started by the vehicle owner but all are welcome to reply to the authors project thread.

Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 24th 2019, 6:35am

**Photos Updated to this Post Regularly**

Greeting fellow Astro-nauts,

December 7th marked the beginning to an exciting new endeavor for Vivian and I; converting a 1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite to a stealthier and more efficient spaceship.

The Good:
- Virtually Rust-Free
- Decent Fuel-Economy (16MPG Highway)
- Modest Size
- Gorgeous Looks (Exterior)
- Seems to Run Well
- Has Power-Steering

The Bad:
- Redundant/Inefficient Appliances
- Poor Layout
- Soggy/Leaking Roof
- Broken A/C (Van & RV Systems)
- Water Damage
- Layers & Layers of Wall Coverings
- Power-Steering Leak
- Weight

We drove 6 hours into the middle of Oregon from Boise, ID to pick up this rig (since named "Brewtus") and plan to spend the next few months demo'ing & rebuilding the camper portion with hopes of a creating a functional and aesthetically pleasant home to live in. I hope to document the tear-down & rebuild process in this thread as well as produce a video series to accompany it for anyone interested in following the project.

We would love to connect with those interested in the project through this thread and look forward to your ideas and help! I hope to update this thread weekly with frequent photo updates.


Warmly,
Dylan
Attachments
20191209_122100.jpg
1987 Chevy Astro Aerolite (1986 Model Year)
Interior (Front).png
Interior (Front)
Interior (Rear).png
Interior (Rear)
Back.png
Back
Roof.png
Roof
Demolition.png
Demolition
AC Removal.png
AC Removal
New Skylight.png
New Skylight Courtesy of AC Unit
Last Cupboard.png
Removing the Last Cupboard
Last Interior Wall.png
Removing the Last Interior Wall
Last edited by Brewtus on December 25th 2019, 5:08am, edited 3 times in total.
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

  • Similar topics
    Replies
    Views
    Author
  • 1987 Astro Quigley v-8 build
    by Kps396 » December 5th 2020, 2:55pm in Projects/Builds
    38 Replies
    1393 Views
    Last post by sixsix View the latest post
    January 31st 2021, 9:40pm
  • 1989 Cargo Rebuild
    by Slime » December 4th 2020, 8:21pm in Projects/Builds
    2 Replies
    209 Views
    Last post by AstroWill View the latest post
    December 4th 2020, 8:40pm
  •  
    9
    29
    Last post by AstroSafari.com View the latest post
    April 20th 2021, 6:30pm

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby scorean » December 24th 2019, 7:37am

Looks awesome, congrats! Boise... that's where I bought my van a few yrs ago! (Currently undergoing a bit of an overhaul: https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 7&t=112066 )
Attachments
20191107_233749.jpg
scorean
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Years of Membership: scorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 1182
Topics: 13
Joined: August 2016
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Sam
Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 24th 2019, 7:56am

scorean wrote:Looks awesome, congrats! Boise... that's where I bought my van a few yrs ago!


Thank you haha. The outside of Brewtus looks awesome to me! The inside is in desperate need of love, though.

How far was your drive to Boise for your van? Thanks for sharing your link. I checked out your project and photos. You have done a tonnnn of work! It looks great!

~Dylan
Last edited by Brewtus on December 25th 2019, 12:07am, edited 1 time in total.
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby scorean » December 24th 2019, 8:41am

Not too far for the initial leg. About 4 hrs over to idaho falls. After a brief stay there, I've pretty much took it all over the place. Southern CA, all over the southwest, east coast, key west, etc. It's seen some miles.
scorean
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Years of Membership: scorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 1182
Topics: 13
Joined: August 2016
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Sam
Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Astrofarian » December 24th 2019, 1:48pm

Hi and welcome from the centre of Canada. Nice starting-point, you should be able to build a lot of function into a space like that. As for it being pre-OBD2....concentrate on what you CAN do to it, not what it can't tell you as far as diagnostics. Worst thing is some places won't register anything OBD1 that's been a total loss on insurance; title gets branded "Irreparable" and you got a parts vehicle. Most places have an arbitration process and exceptions for seasonal and recreational vehicles.
Make sure you can title/register it before putting a dime into it. Hope this thing treats you well!
-M!ke-
Move along....all is well.....return to your homes.....nothing to see here.
User avatar
Astrofarian
Firing on 6 Cylinders (L3)
Firing on 6 Cylinders (L3)
Years of Membership: Astrofarian has been a member for 7 full yearsAstrofarian has been a member for 7 full yearsAstrofarian has been a member for 7 full yearsAstrofarian has been a member for 7 full yearsAstrofarian has been a member for 7 full yearsAstrofarian has been a member for 7 full yearsAstrofarian has been a member for 7 full years
Posts: 2680
Topics: 14
Joined: February 2014
Location: R.M. of Armstrong, Manitoba, Canada
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): M!ke
Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: Someday......

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby markmitch » December 24th 2019, 2:57pm

welcome and nice starting point. I personally prefer OBD1 its easier to work on less computer crap. When your ready to get into the engine side of thing I can get some info on the fuel system mods and such from my records I have an 89 and I kow a few tricks to get it running better bit more horse power and better fuel economy.
User avatar
markmitch
AstroSafari Pioneer
AstroSafari Pioneer
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L6)
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L6)
Years of Membership: markmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full yearsmarkmitch has been a member for 13 full years
Posts: 5958
Topics: 629
Images: 21
Joined: March 2008
Location: California
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): 1st gen or frankenvan
Van Model Year: 1989
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: RS V8 AWD

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 25th 2019, 12:09am

scorean wrote:Not too far for the initial leg. About 4 hrs over to idaho falls. After a brief stay there, I've pretty much took it all over the place. Southern CA, all over the southwest, east coast, key west, etc. It's seen some miles.


Idaho Falls is a decent jaunt. Do you live in Idaho now? It sounds like you have been all over the place with your van.

~Dylan
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 25th 2019, 12:13am

Astrofarian wrote:Hi and welcome from the centre of Canada. Nice starting-point, you should be able to build a lot of function into a space like that. As for it being pre-OBD2....concentrate on what you CAN do to it, not what it can't tell you as far as diagnostics. Worst thing is some places won't register anything OBD1 that's been a total loss on insurance; title gets branded "Irreparable" and you got a parts vehicle. Most places have an arbitration process and exceptions for seasonal and recreational vehicles.
Make sure you can title/register it before putting a dime into it. Hope this thing treats you well!
-M!ke-


Thank you for the warm welcoming, Mike! I really appreciate your information regarding OBD-I vehicles. I will be sure to register before Vivian and I invest more money into it. I'll also avoid ever having it be "totaled" if there is an accident to avoid the issue of not being able to register it.

~Dylan
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 25th 2019, 12:22am

markmitch wrote:welcome and nice starting point. I personally prefer OBD1 its easier to work on less computer crap. When your ready to get into the engine side of thing I can get some info on the fuel system mods and such from my records I have an 89 and I kow a few tricks to get it running better bit more horse power and better fuel economy.


Thank you for welcoming us, Mark. I am starting to think I will enjoy the simplicity of OBD-I the more I read, especially with less computer crap, as you mention. I really want to install a device similar to a Scan-Gauge (for fuel economy and other readings), which is my favorite device for OBD-II vehicles. I did a bit of searching and came across the MPGuino and SuperMID but have had troubles finding anyone still making them. I would be open to creating one myself but am not familiar with coding/programming. I will be ready to get into the engine soon. Vivian and I purchased a new OE Bosch fuel pump w/strainer and ACDelco fuel filter to start on the fuel system. I would love to know more about your mods as I may end up returning those items, depending on the nature of your advice haha. Fuel economy is certainly a driving force with this project.

~Dylan
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild (Update)

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 25th 2019, 5:00am

Hey there everyone,

Here are some update photos on the demolition! So far Vivian and I have gutted out nearly all of the interior of the RV. After removing many layers of wall-coverings, discovering major water-damage, and breathing in plenty of 30+ year old dust, we have an almost empty interior. Another day of work and I should have the rest of the appliances and water tank removed. Then, I can begin on removing the rest of the interior wall-coverings as well as the flooring. Each and every bit of material we have taken out of the van has been weighed and recorded in Google Sheets to provide a sum of the weight removed (we know there are easier ways of accomplishing this, but this is the method we chose). As of now, we have removed a total of 1,648.9 lbs and hope to reach 2,000 lbs before we finish the demolition. Our new floor-plan will be minimal and constructed of much lighter-weight materials. I can not wait to see how much of an impact the weight reduction has on fuel economy and handling. The rear suspension looks and feels bottomed out, so I foresee a suspension upgrade in the future. Any tips or ideas are greatly appreciated! Thank you!

~Dylan
Attachments
Demolition.png
Demolition
AC Removal.png
Roof-Top AC Removal
New Skylight.png
AC Skylight
Last Cupboard.png
Removing the Last Cupboard
Last Interior Wall.png
Removing the Last Interior Wall
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby AstroWill » December 26th 2019, 9:12pm

AWESOME!

I am definitely subscribing to this thread to watch your progress. Probably won't watch the videos, but it looks like there will be lots of pictures to be posted!

Love seeing older rigs like this being saved!

Trolls take away from productive work, best to ignore & go about your business. See: Dark Tetrad
Report terrorists and anyone inciting violence to FBI @ fbi.gov and 800-CALLFBI (225-5324)
User avatar
AstroWill
Technical Director
Technical Director
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Years of Membership: AstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full years
Posts: 11749
Topics: 109
Images: 473
Joined: February 2009
Alias (AKA): Critical Thinking+Common Sense
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: I love peaches

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby scorean » December 27th 2019, 12:34am

Looks great! Demo is always fun and tons of great progress can happen quickly. You guys look like you're having a blast!
scorean
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Years of Membership: scorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 1182
Topics: 13
Joined: August 2016
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Sam
Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 27th 2019, 6:56am

AstroWill wrote:AWESOME! I am definitely subscribing to this thread to watch your progress. Probably won't watch the videos, but it looks like there will be lots of pictures to be posted! Love seeing older rigs like this being saved!


Will,

We are happy to feel your shared excitement, and there will certainly be plenty of photos for you to follow along with! I am excited for this beauty to be reborn and live a meaningful life.

~Dylan
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 27th 2019, 7:04am

scorean wrote:Looks great! Demo is always fun and tons of great progress can happen quickly. You guys look like you're having a blast!


Thank you, Sam! The demo has been a lot of fun so far and progress certainly flew by! We have been having a good time so far and are eager to start redesigning and building!

~Dylan
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby scorean » December 27th 2019, 8:20pm

Brewtus wrote:...eager to start redesigning and building!
~Dylan

Careful what you wish for... ;-)
Sam
scorean
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Years of Membership: scorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 1182
Topics: 13
Joined: August 2016
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Sam
Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 28th 2019, 6:37am

scorean wrote:Careful what you wish for... ;-)
Sam


I hear you, Sam... We were on the road heading to the DMV and a large roof panel began peeling away. I had to stop, climb up there, and tear it off. I nearly fell through the roof while I was up there! The roof is a sponge.

~Dylan
Attachments
Roof Panel Tear-Off.jpg
Safely Removed
Panel in Containment.jpg
Cleaned Up!
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby AstroWill » December 28th 2019, 7:11am

That stinks, going to be a bit of a project in itself to get that roof back into shape.

Trolls take away from productive work, best to ignore & go about your business. See: Dark Tetrad
Report terrorists and anyone inciting violence to FBI @ fbi.gov and 800-CALLFBI (225-5324)
User avatar
AstroWill
Technical Director
Technical Director
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Firing on 8 Cylinders (L7)
Years of Membership: AstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full yearsAstroWill has been a member for 12 full years
Posts: 11749
Topics: 109
Images: 473
Joined: February 2009
Alias (AKA): Critical Thinking+Common Sense
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: I love peaches

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby scorean » December 28th 2019, 5:43pm

And there it is... I'm telling you man wishes like "I'm eager to start building" are like something straight out of the monkey paw! Good luck dude, that's going to be a bit of an undertaking but you'll get it!
scorean
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L2)
Years of Membership: scorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full yearsscorean has been a member for 4 full years
Posts: 1182
Topics: 13
Joined: August 2016
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA): Sam
Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: AWD

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Leeann_93 » December 28th 2019, 8:49pm

Ooof.

A lot of guys on the RV.net forums have gone to the EPDM rubber stuff for the roofs on their Class Cs. I doubt you'd be able to find a premade plastic skin for that particular rig at this point, but you never know.
'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
User avatar
Leeann_93
Team Leader
Team Leader
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
Posts: 13813
Topics: 44
Images: 17
Joined: December 2008
Location: MD
Gender: Female
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 2005
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: LS AWD

Re: Brewtus: 1987 Astro Aerolite Rebuild

Postby Brewtus [OP] » December 29th 2019, 10:45pm

AstroWill wrote:That stinks, going to be a bit of a project in itself to get that roof back into shape.


Absolutely! Vivian and I plan to remove all the old material (wood, insulation, & paneling) before heightening the metal ribs by 6 inches to make room for my big head in there. Then we have the opportunity to use much more efficient materials.
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Brewtus
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Fueling (7/8 tank)
Years of Membership: Brewtus has been a member for 1 full year
Posts: 97
Topics: 4
Images: 17
Joined: December 2019
Alias (AKA): Vivian & Dylan
Van Model Year: 1986
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 1987 Aerolite Resto.

Next

 
  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Projects/Builds

It is currently April 20th 2021, 6:30pm

Projects/Builds Forum
Projects/BuildsEach members' project build thread. Post details and photos, past and present, of your projects coming together. Restorations, modifications, or customizations of a vehicle and a sequential history of the progress. Build-up threads only!
To create a new topic in Projects/Builds, click this button:
Previous topic Next topic
Recent Image Attachments
Attached by:
backinabox
in Projects/Builds
Views: 2408
Comments: 47
Date: Today
Time: 3:24am
» Read last comment
Attached by:
backinabox
in Projects/Builds
Views: 2408
Comments: 47
Date: Today
Time: 2:38am
» Read last comment
Attached by:
Attached by: sixsix
sixsix
in Projects/Builds
Views: 52304
Comments: 407
Date: Yesterday
Time: 11:40pm
» Read last comment
Attached by:
pmou
in Projects/Builds
Views: 5250
Comments: 106
Date: Yesterday
Time: 5:26pm
» Read last comment
Attached by:
pmou
in Projects/Builds
Views: 5250
Comments: 106
Date: Yesterday
Time: 5:09pm
» Read last comment
Sponsors

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests