Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

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Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AlpineVan [OP] » October 23rd 2020, 5:50pm

Introductions are always awkward, but I'm Alpine and I live in the Sacramento Area. Been into cars for all my life, primarily GM and British makes which must mean I'm a glutton for self inflicted pain.

I had been daily driving and road tripping in a 2001 S10 for a long time (pictured), until I got a company truck.

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So an opportunity came up to sell the truck and fill-in the blank with a dedicated road trip vehicle. Seeing as I had grown up riding in the back of Astrovans, I just had to get into the van game, so I found this one in Oregon where used vehicle prices aren't insanely inflated (I didn't even pay the sticker price shown). Comes to me with a minty fresh interior, lovely blue paint, AWD, and 120,000 miles.

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So anyways, welcome to my build thread for my van. The general plan is to have a mildly offroad capable living room, with space to haul mountain bikes and camping gear, while towing a teardrop trailer. The constraints are to keep the van as original appearing as possible, by making any modifications seamless such as to appear factory-equipped.
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Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: SLX AWD

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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AlpineVan [OP] » October 23rd 2020, 6:08pm

The first order of business is a set of all terrain tires. I had been running 29" A/T's on all my Chevy S10's for a long time, and it seems like the perfect tire size for regular driving and mild offroad use. According to blind research, 29"s simply do not fit on Astro/Safari vans without a lift.

My van needed tires....bad. I didn't have a lot of money to throw down on a lift kit (I just bought this thing!). I also I didn't want to shell out for a set of boring commuter tires to get me by, while I saved up for the lift kit.

Fortunately, my local tire shop came through and didn't mind test fitting a set of 29" Goodyear Wranglers for free. Turns out they fit, with minimal rubbing! So the deal was sealed, but boy is it a tight squeeze.
photo5519622923934083013.jpg


I did have to take care of what little rubbing was present. I lifted the torsion keys, trimmed back the rubber/composite inner fender liner, and took a sledge hammer to some of the metal portions of the inner fender well. I may post specific photos of what I did if you guys are interested.

But all in all, I've been on a few offroad trips and it only rubs under extremely strenuous situations, which is something I can live with.
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Sprinter van? Never heard of her..
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Van Model Year: 1995
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Extra Info: SLX AWD

Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby doogaloo » October 23rd 2020, 7:27pm

Welcome to the forum. Looks like a nice clean van. You may want to consider a mild 2" lift. Have fun with your build. There's tons of info on this sight.
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AstroWill » October 23rd 2020, 8:39pm

Welcome to the site and nice find!

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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby sixsix » October 23rd 2020, 11:43pm

Color seems so familiar - heck the whole Van does...
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... Anyone that condones the actions of the American People during the Storming of the Capitol are as complicit as the Assholes themselves.
But no way does this let the Democrats or the MSM off the Hook.

.
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby SportsBoy » October 25th 2020, 2:15am

Looks good - my intake manifold gasket, fuel pump, and transmission went at about 120k, also my rear end started growling. I hope you avoid those, but keep it in mind as you do your new-to-you vehicle inspection stuff.
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby jimi_lee » October 25th 2020, 11:19pm

Great find. I moved from Oregon and spent several months trying to find a "low" mile van at a reasonable price. So, a little jealous.

I would like to see some photos of trimming the wheel wells.

I ordered a set of 29.2" toyo at3s and am crossing my fingers they fit. I have preemptively cut away some of the plastic bumper cover and cut and hammered back the fender area following journeyoffroads instructions for 31". A mock up seems like they will now clear but am still a little nervous.
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AlpineVan [OP] » December 15th 2020, 10:45pm

Sorry for the late reply, I hope you got your tires to fit. Here's a picture with some annotations of how I did mine...

-At the red arrow, I trimmed away that corner of sheetmetal, and hammered it out some more.
-The blue circle: I partially removed the rubber inner fender liner that normally goes here, and routed it behind the metal inner fender to gain every centimeter of clearance. It does make a difference. You can see I made a relief cut on the top of the rubber liner going down, so it'll fit behind the sheetmetal. It is attached with the same 2 OEM plastic retainers from behind.
-In the area of the orange arrow, I bent the metal inner fender backwards. This not only adds more clearance, but it tightens up the slack on the rubber inner fender that is now routed behind, preventing it from getting caught up by the tire. You can see there's still some tire rub on the rubber fender liner, so it isn't perfect.

Amazingly I didn't do anything on the front bumper for clearance.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AlpineVan [OP] » December 15th 2020, 10:54pm

One of the things I really wanted to have with this van was a decent stereo, but I didn't want to compromise the classic look of the original headunit. I decided to go with a mini amplifier that does not require RCA inputs, but actually has its own AUX input that I can play my phone directly through. The original headunit also feeds the amp, so I can still play the radio and original tape deck (as if I ever would lol [but hey it still works so maybe!]).

In the below photos you can see where I installed the mini amp under the seat, and wired through the insulation so there wouldnt be a noticeable lump, and up to the head unit. I finished off the installation with a metal throttle kick plate to help tuck in the wires more securely. A full set of Rockford Fosgate component speakers in the doors and dashboard were also installed. The sound is simply lovely now.
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AstroWill » December 16th 2020, 3:52am

Nice clean work, looks great!

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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AlpineVan [OP] » December 17th 2020, 4:57pm

Thank you!

I've been enjoying this van so much. Between mountain biking trips, helping my mom move...it even tows my autocross car (a B18 swapped honda civic wagon) like a CHAMP.

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(My friends have...an eclectic...taste in cars.)
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Riiiiiight up until the dang spider injection went out.
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The "doghouse" engine access setup in these vans is nice because....I bring all my tools in the cockpit, and do all my work INSIDE the van when its cold and rainy out! Keeping the interior clean while working isn't really that difficult if you remove the seats and watch where you put your grubby hands.
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For good measure, I threw a bunch of other sensors at it with a new CPI spider injector. The IACV looked like it had seen better days.
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Runs and idles better than any car I've owned, now.
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby Brewtus » December 22nd 2020, 7:36pm

Alpine, we have similar stories! I started out with an S10 camper, too. I had a single cab long-bed, which was actually the worst vehicle to road trip in haha (I am 6'2" and there was 0 room to recline). The full length bed was nice for sleeping, anyway. I have included a couple photos of my old setup. The "camper" lid only weighed maybe 20 lbs, so it was a fuel efficient and stealthy option (in the closed position, at least).

The sledge hammers sure work great for fitting in over-sized tires haha. Do you live in Oregon? I live in Boise, ID and it seems we may have some similar interests (fixing, building, mountain biking, cars, taste in vehicles, and probably other stuff).
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AlpineVan [OP] » December 23rd 2020, 5:09pm

Brewtus wrote:Alpine, we have similar stories! I started out with an S10 camper, too. I had a single cab long-bed, which was actually the worst vehicle to road trip in haha (I am 6'2" and there was 0 room to recline). The full length bed was nice for sleeping, anyway. I have included a couple photos of my old setup. The "camper" lid only weighed maybe 20 lbs, so it was a fuel efficient and stealthy option (in the closed position, at least).

The sledge hammers sure work great for fitting in over-sized tires haha. Do you live in Oregon? I live in Boise, ID and it seems we may have some similar interests (fixing, building, mountain biking, cars, taste in vehicles, and probably other stuff).


Those S10s are great trucks. They do exactly what you need, but exactly nothing more. Myself at 6'-0" my single cab was getting cramped for sure. But with the 4.3 V6 they can hustle since they weigh nothing.

I live in California, unfortunately. But I'd love to get out to ID, I've seen and heard great things about that state!
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby Brewtus » December 25th 2020, 5:08am

AlpineVan wrote:Those S10s are great trucks. They do exactly what you need, but exactly nothing more. Myself at 6'-0" my single cab was getting cramped for sure. But with the 4.3 V6 they can hustle since they weigh nothing.

I live in California, unfortunately. But I'd love to get out to ID, I've seen and heard great things about that state!


They certainly are! Mine had a 2.2L 4-banger haha. It was the appropriate amount of power for me, though (unless there was wind). If you're ever in the area, let me know and I'd love to meet up to ride or something. Depending on some job opportunities, Vivian and I are talking about moving to a coastal area. If we do, maybe I'll be closer by. Good luck on the rest of your project!
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Re: Alpine's 1995 AWD Safari Adventurevan Build Thread

Postby AlpineVan [OP] » January 13th 2021, 8:34pm

As with any good build thread, action pics are a must. Here's some photos from climbing the Sierra Buttes Trail.

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It definitely needs 4-lo, as the engine was working hard to fight the 3.42 gears just to make the 29" tires turn. I won't dare to imagine how warm the transmission may have gotten after climbing nearly 4500ft in 8 miles.

At the locked gate, we hiked to the lookout. The final climb is a dizzying but wonderful experience. Even if it was smoky on that day.

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Van Model Year: 1995
Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: SLX AWD


 
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