Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

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Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » October 14th 2015, 3:58pm

Hey guys,

I'm starting a build/project with a 2004 AWD Astro.

I bought the van in Colorado, even thought I live in Houston, because I'm planning to have Colorado camper vans put a roof on it in a month or two.

I had the van moved over to a mechanic and I got the inspection checklist/cost list shown below back from him. Now, this is a trusted mechanic so I don't mind paying a bit more than average for the repairs as he is also storing it for me for a few months. However, I wanted to get the forums input on what direction you guys would go with.

I'm concerned with the codes: P0101 MAF out of range, P0622 Generator control problem.

Possibly the induction service would solve the P0101 MAF problem. What would cause the P0622 code?

The biggest ticket item is the Engine Intake Manifold & Valve Covers w/engine block heater plug . $ 980.00 This is to clean the intake/repair some oil leaks and seems like it would be a PITA for me to do on my own.




Inspection:

Year 2004
Make Chevrolet
Model Astro Van AWD
Mileage 115820

Used Vehicle Inspection Checklist
Done? Check Notes
x CHECK ENGINE LIGHT/CODES P0101 MAF out of range, P0622 Generator control problem.
x ENGINE OIL CONDITION Dirty
x ENGINE OIL LEVEL 1 1/2 qts low.
x POWER STEERING FLUID Good
x BRAKE FLUID Low and Dirty.
o CLUTCH FLUID
x COOLANT Good to -40 degrees F
x RADIATOR HOSE CONDITION Good
x HEATER HOSE CONDITION Good
x BELTS Good
o TIMING BELT
x AIR FILTER AND FUEL FILTER Needs Fuel Filter Replaced.
x SPARK PLUGS Worn
x SPARK PLUG WIRES/COILS Original Equipment
x DISTRIBUTOR CAP & ROTOR Corroded and worn
x BATTERY/CHARGING SYSTEM Good at 13.6v 70amps
x EXTERIOR LIGHTS Working
x INTERIOR LIGHTS Working
x GAUGES Working
x AIR CONDITIONER OPERATION Working
x WINDSHIELD WASHER FLUID Good
x WINDSHIELD WIPER OPERATION Working
x WINDSHIELD WIPER BLADE CONDITION Rear blade is torn
x FRONT WINDOW OPERATION Good
x REAR WINDOW OPERATION Good
x FRONT PADS Good
x FRONT BRAKE HOSES Good
x FRONT BRAKE CALIPERS Good
x REAR BRAKE SHOES/PADS Good
x REAR BRAKE HOSES Good
x REAR WHEEL CYLINDERS/CALIPERS Good
x PARK BRAKE OPERATION/ADJUSTMENTS Working
x FRONT SHOCKS/STRUTS Shocks, Leaking
x REAR SHOCKS/STRUTS Shocks, Leaking
x BALL JOINTS Good
x STEERING LINKAGES Good
x FRONT DIFFERENTIAL FLUID Good
x REAR DIFFERENTIAL FLUID Good
x TRANSFER CASE FLUID Dark
x TRANSMISSION FLUID Cooler lines are leaking, Transmission pan leaking
x EXHAUST SYSTEM Good
x FLUID LEAKS Engine oil cooler lines/Valve covers/Intake/Ft cover/Oil pan
x TIRE CONDITION/WEAR Good
x TIRE PRESSURE Good
NOTE: Left Rear corner dented/ Right Front door outer molding is loose/Right Front lock actuator is weak.
Rear hatch support is weak/block heater is leaking. Recommend Induction Service.


Cost Estimate:
Recommended Repairs:
Lube, Oil and Filter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 40.00
Remove & Replace fluids in Frt & Rear Diff. and Transfer Case . . . . . . $ 250.00
Induction Service Kit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 120.00
Engine Intake Manifold & Valve Covers w/engine block heater plug . $ 980.00
Remove and Replace Distributor Cap, Rotor, Wires and Plugs. . . . . . . $ 490.00

Total for Recommended Repairs: $ 1880.00

Other Repairs:
Replace Oil Cooler Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 450.00
Replace Engine Timing Cover and Oil Pan Gaskets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 820.00
Replace Transmission Pan Gasket. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 210.00
Replace Right Front Door Actuator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 220.00
Replace Rear Hatch Supports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 68.00

Total for Other Repairs: $ 1768.00
Original Poster [OP]
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby Lumpy » October 14th 2015, 5:58pm

$3600 in maintenance.


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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby WoodButcher » October 14th 2015, 6:38pm

If you trust the wrench I would consider that fair. While you may be able to perform a lot of this work yourself many items like the dizzy are just "on the way" to other fixes and worth doing at that time.
Things like the leaky shocks are things to put on your personal hit list and while you're there inspect / treat rust and undercoat.
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » October 14th 2015, 8:58pm

WoodButcher wrote:If you trust the wrench I would consider that fair. While you may be able to perform a lot of this work yourself many items like the dizzy are just "on the way" to other fixes and worth doing at that time.
Things like the leaky shocks are things to put on your personal hit list and while you're there inspect / treat rust and undercoat.


Thanks, that's kind of what I was thinking. I'll probably start with the recommended and then work through the other stuff on my own. I'll replace the shocks when I add the 2" lift and larger tires.

What do you think of the codes, the MAF and generator ones, any thoughts on those?
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby Corsemoto » October 14th 2015, 10:01pm

For the MAF, clean with specific MAF cleaner spray and replace if code continues after cleaning/clearing code. You don't really want the MAF going bad on a trip or in the middle of nowhere as you can damage the catalytic converter as well.

For the generator code, I'm not sure I'd worry about unless you are having charging issues/batter light illuminated. You can check the connector and wiring to the alternator as that can be problematic at times.
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » February 12th 2016, 7:20pm

I finally picked up the van in mid January from Colorado Camper Vans (CCV) in Loveland Colorado. They took about 6 weeks longer than originally anticipated to get the top put on, but I'm pretty happy with the quality of the work otherwise.

It's electrically actuated, and includes 4 LED lights and zip down windows with screens. Probably 6' 6" of headroom inside with the top up.

As you can see, I had them install a fantastic fan and a 180W solar panel up top. Also included some Yakima rails up there.

My current plans are a basic westfalia-style interior setup, with a fabricated fold down third row seat that will make into a full size bed (more on that later), rotating passenger and driver seats, battery, solar power, shore power, smart solenoid,

Here she is on the day I picked her up:
Image

Reverse angle:
Image

Top up:
Image

Top up, reverse angle:
Image
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby ssbf1 » February 12th 2016, 7:41pm

I love it. What was the total turn around time, from order to completion?
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » February 12th 2016, 8:04pm

ssbf1 wrote:I love it. What was the total turn around time, from order to completion?


Ha! Forever. Well, actually let's see, I put down a deposit in late September of 2015. I was originally quoted a completion date of December 1st but the van was ready the second week of January. So something like 4 months.

Derek, over at CCV, is a nice guy and they do good work as far as I can tell, but he's a little disorganized. It's a small company and they have a lot going on.
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby Lumpy » February 12th 2016, 8:23pm

dmilamj wrote:
Derek, over at CCV, is a nice guy and they do good work as far as I can tell, but he's a little disorganized. It's a small company and they have a lot going on.


I have found that small, seemingly disorganized shops, vs large, several employee, more assembly line looking shops, do better work. The bigger shops have higher overhead and need to push cars through as fast as possible. Cut corners, don't go back in and re-do something that may have looked a little questionable etc. But the smaller guys don't have to worry so much about "get 'em through to pay the bills".

Same way with stealerships. They've got a hundred or more employees just in the service dept. You see 2 or 3 people before your car ever sees the mechanic and you probably never actually see the mechanic. They've got a waiting room with donuts and popcorn and big screen and free shuttle service. And they're in a huge, 5-10-20 acre lot in the high rent district. It's no wonder they have to charge you 500 bucks to tighten your flux capacitor bolts. Those 30 mechanics all have to pay for the loan on their $175,000 Snap-On tool packages.


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Folding Rear Seat Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » February 12th 2016, 8:49pm

So I was looking for a folding rear seat for the van. Most of the junkyard ones from custom vans are pretty small, only about 33" deep when folded down. They also seemed pretty cheezy.

I looked into a folding seat from qualitex, and it would have worked better, but still only 44" folded down. I need something 6 plus feet when folded down. Also, the Qualitex seats are on the order of $1100.

I came up with a plan that should create a folding seat, full width, that folds into a ~ 6' 4" bed/platform using:
    2 bench seats
    some jackknife sofa hinges
    assorted steel
    some hinges
    plywood 3/8" and 3/4"
    other hardware

So, I headed to the junkyard and picked up a good ol' 3rd row bench seat for $40. Brought it home and took it apart.

Image


My plan is to use the seat base and original mounting feet, so that it will lock into the OEM seat mounts. Also, all seat belt mounting locations will be maintained.

Here's the seat base with the back unbolted and the spring supports cut out:
Image

Cut off both ends:
Image

Weld in some 1x1 tube steel extensions to attach the folding hinges to:
Image


Test fit the hinges:
Image

Image

With the hinges welded in, weld in the back:
Image

Image

Image

Test fit the back in the van:
Image


Stay tuned for more seat build photos...
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby CopperFiremistCopperFiremist is online! » February 12th 2016, 9:09pm

Looking good :action-popcorn:
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby Lumpy » February 12th 2016, 10:40pm

Nice job.

Always great to see people fabbin' up stuff.


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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby WoodButcher » February 13th 2016, 12:11am

Where did you find the hinges?
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Re: Folding Rear Seat Build

Postby HotWire » February 13th 2016, 1:51am

dmilamj wrote:So I was looking for a folding rear seat for the van. Most of the junkyard ones from custom vans are pretty small, only about 33" deep when folded down. They also seemed pretty cheezy.

I looked into a folding seat from qualitex, and it would have worked better, but still only 44" folded down. I need something 6 plus feet when folded down. Also, the Qualitex seats are on the order of $1100.

I came up with a plan that should create a folding seat, full width, that folds into a ~ 6' 4" bed/platform using:
    2 bench seats
    some jackknife sofa hinges
    assorted steel
    some hinges
    plywood 3/8" and 3/4"
    other hardware

So, I headed to the junkyard and picked up a good ol' 3rd row bench seat for $40. Brought it home and took it apart.

Image


My plan is to use the seat base and original mounting feet, so that it will lock into the OEM seat mounts. Also, all seat belt mounting locations will be maintained.

Here's the seat base with the back unbolted and the spring supports cut out:
Image

Cut off both ends:
Image

Weld in some 1x1 tube steel extensions to attach the folding hinges to:
Image


Test fit the hinges:
Image

Image

With the hinges welded in, weld in the back:
Image

Image

Image

Test fit the back in the van:
Image


Stay tuned for more seat build photos...


Nice van! I like where the seat is heading. I originally thought of doing something along those lines,but in the end used an existing conversion van sleeper/sofa and narrowed it. I still need to do cushions.

Good luck! Hope it turns out well.
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » February 16th 2016, 4:07pm

WoodButcher wrote:Where did you find the hinges?


I couldn't find a supplier for these hinges so I ended up buying them off an ebay seller who was selling an entire jackknife sofa. I emailed him and made an offer on only the hinges.

I can't find any make/manufacturer info on them at all, but I have a feeling they come from Atwood in Indiana or a similar manufacturer.
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Folding 3rd Row Seat Update

Postby dmilamj [OP] » February 16th 2016, 4:19pm

To make the new seat base, I cut the front edge off of a stock seat base so that I could reuse the upholstery mounting points and the nice radius edge. The rear needed to be an inch narrower to fit inside the 47" hinge spacing, so I used 1x1 square tube to fab up a new back half. The front half is ~48" wide, stock seat width.

The base is about 22" deep, so somewhat deeper than the stock seat base.

Image

Image

Image

I added some supports for the 3/8" plywood seat base, I inset these so that the plywood would be flush with the top of the edge tubing.

Image

Image

Here's the base clamped into place in the frame, I'm holding off on welding it in until the end.

Seated position
Image

Folded out, it's about 43.5" deep.
Image

Image


Next post, I'll get started on the folding platform.
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » February 16th 2016, 5:03pm

dmilamj wrote:
WoodButcher wrote:Where did you find the hinges?


I couldn't find a supplier for these hinges so I ended up buying them off an ebay seller who was selling an entire jackknife sofa. I emailed him and made an offer on only the hinges.

I can't find any make/manufacturer info on them at all, but I have a feeling they come from Atwood in Indiana or a similar manufacturer.



So the hinges look a lot like these (click on Jacknife Hinge):
http://clcinternationalinc.com/seating.htm

Also, looks like the hinge on this sofa:
http://www.factoryrvsurplus.com/product ... ct_id=1842

I have a feeling it is made in China, and that the manufacturers are buying massive quantities of them.

How much do you think that type of hinge is worth? If I were to say, buy a container of them and market them?
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby WoodButcher » February 16th 2016, 9:17pm

Maybe at retail $25 or $30 but to find a market, that would be the tough part.
Say you were able to sell 50 or 60 to those of us thinking to do what your working on, what would you do with the other 3,550 pair?
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby dmilamj [OP] » February 16th 2016, 9:46pm

WoodButcher wrote:Maybe at retail $25 or $30 but to find a market, that would be the tough part.
Say you were able to sell 50 or 60 to those of us thinking to do what your working on, what would you do with the other 3,550 pair?


Ebay! For years and years. Yeah, if I have to buy that many it's not going to work.
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Re: Dave's '04 AWD Camper Build

Postby Lumpy » February 16th 2016, 9:52pm

WoodButcher wrote:Maybe at retail $25 or $30 but to find a market, that would be the tough part.
Say you were able to sell 50 or 60 to those of us thinking to do what your working on, what would you do with the other 3,550 pair?


Start a website called MrJackKnifeHinge.com


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