So this project began with a 1997 Astro Van with 110K Miles/177k Km on the clock. Some surface rust on the roof as the GM paint is crap to begin with, but overall no deep rust and I could only find one spot with bondo on the rear driver side fender arch.
Previous owner had already replaced the following:
* fuel pump,
* power steering/brake pump,
* new alternator,
* new accessory belt
Tossed out the 2nd and 3rd row seats and decided that the only way I can see the state the floor is in, the carpet has to go.
Since the carpet has to go, I decided to toss the sides too to see if there were any leaks in the window seals or if there was any trapped moisture or mold in the sides.
Bone dry... Dryer than Sahara...
Didn't take too long to completely gut it.
Helps to have air tools and power tools to speed things up.
Since I tossed out the carpet, something has to cover the floor. Say hello to Amdry Thermoquiet 5 in 1.
I know... I know... some of you will undoubtably say shit like " There's literally no R value in that, blah, blah, blah..."
Well, guess what? Since I'm building this for me and not you I'll give you 3 chances to guess where you can stuff the " Has no R Value" opinion of yours, ok?
Since we can't just have the Amdry Thermoquiet there and call it quits I used the carpet to trace the outline on 3/4" plywood. I layed it centred on 2 sheets of plywood since 1 sheet won't cover it all. Word of advice... get a Kreg Jig.. well worth the cost, trust me... You'll see why later...
Anyway, I Kreg Jigged the two pieces together and it is snug as can be.
Nevermind my buddy Greg, he's stoned and mesmerized, admiring the hell out of the wikkid awesome floor lol
I guess we can't just drive around like this...
We need floor covering of some sort.
OK, so I settled on a big sheet of vinyl flooring. Why not use laminate planks, hardwood, whatever...? Cause there are times when I spill my beer, drink, coffee and the damn dog might think that in the middle of the night when I am passed out drunk and can't open the door so he can water my tire, he is allowed to water my damn floor. Now, in the event of something being spilled on my floor...
Gotta have something in the ceiling otherwise it will get mighty hot/cold inside.
1" sheets of foam boards takes care of the insulation. Some places gets additional layer of 1" foam board.
I decided to block one of the windows, so I tossed foam board into a black plastic bag and tape it up so it would cover the window. I did make sure that it didn't touch the window as I'd like to have some air between the foam board window.
Made a couple wheel well boxes, which will also be a part of the bed structure.
Now, what do I do with the heater?
I build around it and make a new hot air vent so I can use it in the winter time while driving....
First I cannibalize the plastic heat shield as that will be the new base for the new vent.
Faceplate done, now time to test fit...
Build the new sides...
Notice how the sides are angled like that?
You need velocity to create a decent airflow, so I have to make a step down to force the air to flow faster so it pushes the air out faster than what it did stock.
Since I can't just have the new hot air channel sitting there like that I might as well build it into a cabinet.
This is where that Kreg Jig I was talking about earlier comes in handy. You can build the entire cabinet with it and not have to make a frame of 2"x2" to make it square, etc.
Toss a door on it and now I have a compartment to store my wife's favorite camping item... The wonderful flushable porta potty lol
Her compromise for coming along camping... she ain't gonna get outside in Grizzly and Cougar country to pee or take a dump lol
Gotta have a drawer for stuff... installed sliders so I don't have to fight to get the drawer out.
Turned out pretty good considering I'm a trucker and not a carpenter lol
Time to work on the walls...
Used 1"x2" nailers for frame and used self tappers so it would stick to the metal studs.
Used my nail gun to attach the 5/16" Knotty Pine beaded boards.
Yup, I had a few after that part was done...
Decided to salvage the plastic cover, but ran into a problem as the lower part couldn't be used..
So I had to get creative with a belt sander and shape a block of wood to fit.
Now for the bed... I made 2 boxes and put them back to back. Front box has one big drawer even though it looks like two. That is the bed extension for when I want to sleep lengthwise with doors open and wake up to the sun shining on my old wrinkly face. When I pull out the drawer I slide a piece of plywood on top of the drawer, twist the mattress around and stuff the body pillows between the
The rear box contains my pullout "Kitchen" and the collapsible fire pit grate along with BBQ stuff. Between the box and the driverside wheel well box I stuff longer items like camping chairs, adjustable poles for the awning, etc.
Made a "Prepping station" that slides out first.
Stove slides out and I drilled the holes in the drawer face plate so I could attach the fuel pipe from the propane bottle.
Installed a swivel base. Direct fit/Bolt on, all I had to do was to drill out the rivets holding the slider rails on the stock base and bolt the rails to the new swivel base.
Increased living quarters as I now can sit like a normal human being in a reclining seat and stretch my legs.
Since it will be a bush wagon it needed the proper color, so 20 cans of Rust-Oleum Camouflage paint later...
Also tossed Journeys Off Road 2-3" lift kit on with General Grabber ATX in 235/75/15 on black painted stock rims
Added super cheap awning.
I simply put 1 strip of industrial strength velcro on the roof and sewed another strip to the edge of some cheap tarp I had laying around. Used 2 old collapsible poles I found in my garage, old tent pegs and paracord as guy ropes. Voila... cheapest awning ever lol
And there you have it...
Escape Pod Pandemic Edition V.1 is now a reality.
How much did it cost?
$3800 CAD for the van
$750 CAD for the wood
$235 USD for the lift kit
$600 CAD for the tires
$120 CAD for the paint
Being able to escape the madness.....