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Thread: The great white fun hog (another white GM awd build)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
    Posts
    465

    Default The great white fun hog (another white GM awd build)

    Let me start off by giving a big thanks to everyone who contributes to this forum. It has been a great resource while planning my build.
    Specifically these threads were a huge help both before and after buying the Fun Hog.
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...uot-VanGo-quot
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...C-1500-AWD-Van
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...7398-Chevy-AWD
    http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...hp?f=24&t=5996

    Secondly these first few posts may take me a day or two to write. I have been working on this van for the last few months and need to get this thread caught up.

    My previous travel/camping vehicle was a 97 4x4 Cummins Dodge, while that was a great vehicle she was getting a bit long in the tooth. It had over 200k on the clock when I finally put it up for sale. I had big plans for it yet but decided that it would be more worthwhile to start a build from a newer lower mileage vehicle. When I found out that GM sold a fullsize awd van I was sold. The market the way it is now I did fairly well selling the Dodge which allowed me to pay off some other bills. This was in March.

    A few months went by with me driving my beater Jeep as my only vehicle. Then after over 10 years and 200k miles of faithful service the Jeep engine started a death rattle that I couldn't ignore. This left me with no cage to drive and I was taking the motorcycle to work. The search for a van went into high gear. After shopping rather hard and being ready to pull the trigger I finally found a van that met my needs for sale in Omaha. A few phone calls and some help from a member over on ADV and I was driving down to pick up my new to me van.

    Here she is somewhere in Iowa on the way back home from Nebraska


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    2010 GMC Savana
    Bare bones cargo model with about 68k when I picked it up on 8/3/13

    Now I had to get my *** in gear as the wife and I had a trip planned to Oregon about 6 weeks after buying the van.

    Phase one of the build was simple.
    -Get a platform built to create some division in the van for storage
    -Soundproof and insulate to make for a more comfortable cross country drive
    -Add a fan, We have two 70# Huskies that go everywhere with us so we needed to have airflow in the van if it got hot
    -Initially I had planned on adding some wiring for interior lights but I was unable to get that far before our trip

    It turns out I didn't take any pictures very early on. Here is the platform I built in it's first iteration.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    It is built from Strut and rivnutted to the walls. It has 3/4" plywood over the top covered in a cheap area rug from the hardware store. I have the plywood split down the middle for easy removal.
    The initial plan was to have dog crates below the platform and us sleep on top. However after my first night sleeping in the van solo I realized this was not going to work out and I would need to figure something else out. The platform was later moved down so dog crates would fit above it and we now sleep on the floor with our feet below the platform.

    This is where the platform eventually ended up. About 10" lower then the first installation

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    Even though it takes up a fair amount of room I like having it in there even for day to day use. It is nice to have some division rather then piling everything on top of each other.

    Pic from the first night sleeping in the van, over and a friends new homestead

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    Now with the platform built I moved onto soundproofing/insulation.
    At the recommendation of a friend I decided to use CLD tiles for sound deadening rather then a full mat.
    I purchased them from http://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/ Great service and great product I couldn't have been happier.
    While they don't look like they would do much they little guys took most of the hollow "thud" out of the doors and the walls of the van. The van sounds much more solid now then before.


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    The black spray you see on the bottom of the doors is a wax type spray undercoating.
    This van came from Colorado where they use far less (if any?) salt on the roads and I want to do everything I can to prevent rusting. Rust is what really kills most of the vehicles here in MN.

    For insulation I chose to start with 1/8" foil faced bubble wrap. I found this stuff on Ebay and it was far less expensive there then anywhere else. I was able to get two 125'x4' rolls shipped to my house for about $150.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    I used this tape to hold everything in

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    This proved to be a mistake in the long run as the tape is starting to let go in some places. So I will be going back soon and using spray adhesive to hold this layer of insulation up. I think I will still use the tape as a edge sealer to help create a vapor barrier.


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    Inside the doors I stuffed two layers of the bubble wrap inside of the door. Then I layered another one on the outside of the sheet metal before putting the plastic door panels back on.


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Last edited by boardrider247; 11-29-2013 at 11:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
    Posts
    465
    My next move was to get a vent/fan installed. i chose to go with a Fantasic fan after seeing them on a few builds.
    I was not sure I wanted to cut a hole in the roof of my new van just yet so I decided to install the fan in the rear door window opening. I am sure this was more work to do then putting it in the roof. However it is totally reversible, if I decide to take it out I can install a window again and no one would know there was ever a fan there.

    Step one was to remove the clear non-opening windows. I dug around pretty hard at all the local bone yards and found a driver side tinted opening window. These were actually harder to find used then I would have thought. But at $45 for a used part it was worth the hunt.
    The non-opening windows are just glued in. I simply took a few rounds with the x-acto knife and they popped out. The opening windows have a gasket that roughly covers where the glue was so I didn't worry too much about getting every last bit of glue off.


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    In the interest of being able to remove my faux window panel and fan at a later date I also used the gasket for a pop out window as a sealing surface.


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    After some research I chose to use 3/16" Starboard to make my faux window panel. It is UV stable and heat moldable. But not cheap I think it was $75 for a 24x30" piece.


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    I trimmed the gross excess off of the Starboard sheet with a circular saw so I could get the clamps to bite. Then I used all the clamps I had available to clamp the Starboard to the recently removed rear window. The dremel tool was useless for cutting the Starboard. In the end I found that a reciprocating saw was the best tool.


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    After 45 minutes heating the Starboard with my trusty harbor freight heat gun I then trimmed it even with the window glass using the reciprocating saw. As a final finish for the edge I went around it with a sureform. And then a bic lighter. The lighter melts plastic just enough to give the edge a smooth look without having so much heat that you need to worry about melting and destroying your part.

    Here it is test fit on the van

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr

    Turned out to be a good fit.

    I cant seem to find any pics of the rest of the install process.
    What I did from this point was I drilled holes through both the door and Starboard and installed aluminum pop rivets to hold everything in place.
    At that point I cut the hole for the Fantastic fan. To hold the fan to the Starboard I used stainless hardware and 3M marine adhesive/sealant.

    Installed fan as it is today

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Last edited by boardrider247; 11-29-2013 at 11:20 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
    Posts
    465
    At this point the build portion was over for a bit and it was time to use the van.
    My wife was hesitant at first about sleeping in the van. I had found a futon mattress that folded up out of the way under the platform to use for this first trip however she still insisted that we bring the RTT.

    The Fun Hog and my wife at beartooth pass

    IMG_8515 by boardrider247, on Flickr

    Our first night of the trip somewhere in MT we slept in the RTT

    MTvan copy by boardrider247, on Flickr

    You can see in that picture the installed Fantastic fan in the rear passenger side door. I spliced a cigarette lighter plug onto it for this trip and we plugged it into a jump pack when needed. Not a ideal situation but it worked OK for the time being.

    The second night of the trip it was raining and we slept in the van on the futon mattress. My wife was happy, and we didn't open the RTT up again for the rest of the 3 week trip She is now convinced that selling the truck to buy a van was the right thing to do.

    For fun here is a early pic of our old truck. This was our first big surf trip. Loaded for bear with way too much sh*t


    And the two huskies that will play a big part in how I lay out the interior of the van moving forward
    Last edited by boardrider247; 11-28-2013 at 02:14 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
    Posts
    465
    I know it is sloppy but I think that brings me up to date. I am going to make a real effort to document this build better and in more detail moving forward. I want to have a reference to come back to in the future.
    Since returning from Oregon I have spent most every weekend working on a remodel of my home shop. That should be mostly finished after this weekend and I will be able to dig back into the van

    Plans and goals for the Fun Hog moving forward
    -Finish insulation and install carpeted wall panels
    -Install a interior storage system that works for hauling cargo and camping
    -2" lift kit (ordered last night)
    -Water system including a heat exchanger for hot water, most likely a outdoor shower option
    -Westfalia pop-top (I want to have both upper and lower sleeping options)
    -Homebuilt rear bumper with tire carrier and ladder
    -Interior electrical (lighting,fan,water pump)
    -Build a pellet/wood fired heater

    For fun here is a pic of the Westfalia top sitting on the Fun Hog. I hope to have this installed before the first of the year, that is probably wishful thinking

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Last edited by boardrider247; 11-28-2013 at 02:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
    Posts
    465
    Place Holder #4

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Monroe, WA
    Posts
    2,317
    Look forward to the build!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Newberg, OR
    Posts
    1,166
    Awesome!! I love the look of the GMC vans!

    If you're anywhere near the north end of the Willamette Valley while in Oregon, stop by and show off the new ride!
    Expovans.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    FLORIDA
    Posts
    429
    Cool start! Subscribed. I'm always amazed at the amount of ADV people that are here too. I travel with two white fur kids in my white van!


    Sent by wing, prayer & ATT

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Bountiful, UT
    Posts
    87
    Another ADV person checking in. I like your van, I really enjoyed the one I had for a work vehicle. I know another ADVrider who has a similar unit, with a westy top on his. Vinyled it WTFalia. Spent a few days crashed at his place in Wyoming when my bus broke down.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bay Area, California
    Posts
    147

    Default Did you insall the Westy?

    Do you have the Westy installed? I want to see photos of your interior as I am looking to insulate my E150. I don't like the cheap stock interior covers.

    Mark

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