Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Jester [OP] » December 30th 2017, 5:04am

Hi. I'm John. And I'm addicted to my Astro. *Hi John** - says the crowd.

Been thinking about this project for awhile and lurking hard on this forum even before I picked up the van. The wife and I are missing the camping experience but the RVs we have owned are too hard to upkeep and a pain to move and park. So I started looking at a conversion van just for weekend trips and events. At the same time I miss having a 4x4 truck with oversize tires to bounce around on the beach. Dear Wife says I can only have 1 project at a time to the Astro became the perfect option. I started hunting around auctions and craigslist last spring and in Aug. found this one that seemed to meet my criteria. I wanted the full passenger windows, and the rear dutch doors. Most importantly had to be AWD so that I could do the 4x4 conversion. This one was owned by an asphalt company and the interior was completely trashed from hauling equipment. Most of all it had a n odor that would make you nauseous just standing next to it with the windows open. So first order of business was a complete teardown and sanitize of the inside. Every single bit of plastic and fabric from the firewall back to the rear bumper was pulled and deeply sanitized. Anything that couldn't be cleaned was replaced and large parts that had dried concrete and asphalt had to be cleaned with a grinder and painted. Many trips to the local junkyards and craigslist and I have the interior almost finished and will begin the off-road portion once I get over my fear of the cold.

So as far as work done, lets start from the front and work our way back. LED Light bar flush mounted into he grill. The defrost didn't work so the the resistor replacement. Thermostat and coolant flush and now the heat is AMAZING! New seats from a Mazda van in the junkyard with nifty fold out tray for the co-pilot. New door panels and a 7inch touch screen in the dash courtesy of our friends at Amazon that sell cheap Chinese stuff. New window motors and door look actuators. Before installing the interior I prepped for the camper component by insulating. The floor gets a roll of reflectix with a 1/2 inch foamboard over that. Then 2 layers of indoor/outdoor carpet to finish it up. Same reflectix and foamboard goes on the walls as well as the ceiling. Then all of the ribs, rear doors and holes in the body are stuffed with blown insulation (the broken cotton stuff you blow into attic spaces). Interior panels are finished up with leftover floor carpet to bring it all together.

Next wired in a deep cycle house battery and persuaded it to live in the rear corner where the jack used to live. For the time it is wired to the alternator but will be doing a battery isolator in a few weeks. No need for solar right now as we do not expect to be parked without running the engine for only a day or so.

I found some nifty LED closet lights that are normally powered by AA batteries and wired these directly to the house battery to give a nice bright interior at the touch of a switch. Also mounted some LED Pods on the rear that are wired to the reverse lights as well as a switch in the rear cargo area for those strange noises while boon docked out in the middle of nowhere.

Doesn't seem like 4 months of work now that I write it our but it has been a steady project and I'm sure I'm missing something. We finally got to the point where it was road worthy and ready for a name so Vanakin Skywalker became the latest member of the family!

Already ready to go is the 7inch JOR lift and a set of 33x12.50 Dick Cepek tires. I know they won't fit without extreme mods or a SAS. This isn't a show queen or a daily driver so I will hack the crap out of the fenders and can stand a bit of rub.

Pretty much everything I have done is either based on a thread from this forum or YouTube videos that I have shamelessly taken ideas from, but any questions and I am happy to offer up what I have done or help in any way.

Oh I guess this is useless without pics too. More available on request or if you'd like details and closeup just let me know.

Capture.JPG
Day 1

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Strip

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Yuk Stinky

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floor

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Front seats. Lumbar is comfy!

IMG_20170927_212211.jpg
Do you even lift bro?

IMG_20170929_094534.jpg
Stubborn enough to make this work

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It likes to be touched here

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Interior Rear

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Interior Side

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Juice

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Rear Lights

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Headliner

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Up Front
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Big_kid » December 30th 2017, 5:25am

Nice! Welcome aboard! What part of the state are you in? I'm in the Southeast corner.

:chevy:
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby 1lowcab » December 30th 2017, 5:47am

Good job so far, welcome to the forums!
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby WimpTech » December 30th 2017, 6:04am

HAAA! Love it Jester, welcome to the big show!
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Jester [OP] » December 30th 2017, 3:53pm

Big_kid wrote:Nice! Welcome aboard! What part of the state are you in? I'm in the Southeast corner.

:chevy:


Thanks! Southeastern VA as well. :snooty: Currently in Portsmouth
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Big_kid » December 30th 2017, 4:51pm

VB here. I'll keep my eyes out, I have customers out your way.
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby markmitch » December 30th 2017, 5:04pm

welcome to the forum, my nickname while in the Army was Joker and I have an actual Jester in my family bloodlines from the English side of the family. Nice to have another member come join us. markmitch
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby AstroWill » December 30th 2017, 7:35pm

Welcome to the site!

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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Leeann_93 » December 30th 2017, 9:09pm

Welcome!
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby srdragonusa » January 1st 2018, 6:27pm

Welcome! Love the van and what you have done so far!

markmitch wrote:welcome to the forum, my nickname while in the Army was Joker and I have an actual Jester in my family bloodlines from the English side of the family. Nice to have another member come join us. markmitch


Well THAT explains a LOT! :lol:

I'd like to know more about the front seats. 8-)

I'll be watching closely now. Oh and Happy New Years! :cheers:
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Jester [OP] » January 3rd 2018, 1:19am

srdragonusa wrote:Welcome! Love the van and what you have done so far!

I'd like to know more about the front seats. 8-)

I'll be watching closely now. Oh and Happy New Years! :cheers:



Sure thing! I was at the junkyard looking for replacements to the original that were beyond cleaning and repair when I saw a newer Mazda minivan with near perfect seats. I snatched them up and used square stock steel to fab them to the floor bolts. Just a few hours hours of moving them in and out to get the measurements since I wanted to keep the original under seat heat vents that go under the front seats. They fit well and are a bit taller than the original so you really look down on traffic.

IMG_20170924_123037.jpg
Front Seats


IMG_20170924_175341.jpg
Front Seat back
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby AstroWill » January 3rd 2018, 1:30am

Jester wrote:They fit well and are a bit taller than the original so you really look down on traffic.

I always look down on traffic :)

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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby 1lowcab » January 3rd 2018, 1:47am

What did you use to change the color of the interior panels? Paint?
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Jester [OP] » January 3rd 2018, 1:49am

1lowcab wrote:What did you use to change the color of the interior panels? Paint?

Yes I used a no VOC interior paint and brushed it on.
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby 1lowcab » January 3rd 2018, 1:51am

Hows it holding up? I'd love to have a full black interior.
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby chevymaher » January 3rd 2018, 1:59am

1lowcab wrote:Hows it holding up? I'd love to have a full black interior.

I have had black interior for 10 years now.
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby Jester [OP] » January 3rd 2018, 2:00am

1lowcab wrote:Hows it holding up? I'd love to have a full black interior.

2 coats worked surprisingly well! There are a few of the "bendy" parts on the trim that flex that I still need to touch up. It's not going to stand up to a contest judge or anything but if you have a lot of miles and want to cover up stains or scrapes it works pretty well. I can say use quality brushes does make a difference. I used a Rustoleum interior and 2 quarts (about $20) covered every panel from the seats back twice. It has only been a few months and no activity yet so I can't say how durable it is just yet.
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby WinnieVan » January 3rd 2018, 2:08am

Noice! Love all the pictures. That headliner is pretty trippy.. in a good way!
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby 1lowcab » January 3rd 2018, 2:30am

I have had black interior for 10 years now.



Details!!!!!
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Re: Please allow myself to introduce.... myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postby chevymaher » January 3rd 2018, 3:04am

1lowcab wrote:
I have had black interior for 10 years now.



Details!!!!!

Pm'ed you as not to hijack this thread.
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