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Thread: My 2011' Airstream Avenue - Chevy Express Van - Locked & Lifted

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    30

    Default My 2011' Airstream Avenue - Chevy Express Van - Locked & Lifted

    I have been going back and forth on building a van for my photography adventures and weekend camping trips and road trips with my wife. I wanted something with basic amenities with AWD or 4wd. Not being very patient, I went ahead and bought this Airstream Avenue while I was checking out Roadtreks. It looked great inside and out except it was 2wd but I thought it would be easier and quicker to convert to 4wd vs building out a van interior and I could use the van for a while to see if 2wd would work for me. Sitting at stock height I only had 6"-8" ground clearance so first things first I decided to lift it and put larger tires on it. After extensive reading on different forums about lifting the Chevy Express van, I drove over to San Diego to talk to Jeremy at WeldTec and decided to start with his 3" lift spindles with Fox shocks and coil spacer. He delivered them as promised and I proceeded on having my 4wd shop, 4Wheeler Supply install them. I had Valley Spring build the progressive spring packs and install a rear stabilizer bar. I then had 4 Wheeler Supply install 4:10 rear gears with an ARB air locker and twin compressor with air up kit for airing up tires. The Airstream Avenue comes with 16"x7" Alcoa wheels and I installed 285/75Rx16 Cooper Discoverer AT3 tires on these wheels. After it was up and running and the test drive showed a brake sensor /abs sensor light we decided we would have to buy a Bully Dog tuner to dial the new tire diameter and gear ratio in. I was kind of hesitant about how well it would drive after this lift but I was pleasantly surprised and happy at how well it drove and handled! Now I need to get it out on some back roads and see how it works off the highway.

    stock-01.jpeg lifted-01.jpeg

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    stock-03.jpg lifted-03.jpg
    Mark
    2017' Ram 3500 DRW Megacab, Cummins with Aisin transmission
    2016' Arctic Fox 811
    2011' Airstream Avenue
    2017' Jeep JKU Rubicon
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnaz
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnusa
    www.flickr.com/photos/his_cross

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    57
    Great looking rig...those Airstream's are well built out. I only saw one of them when I was shopping and it was so overpriced I didn't really even consider it. The lift is just right; are you still looking at the 4x4 conversion?
    Len Barron
    2000 Chevy Express 3500 Hightop
    LBZ/Allison/SAS Swap in the works

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    54
    Looking good.
    I am considering doing the same thing.
    Why did the ABS light come on if the the tire size wasn't changed?
    2004 Chevy Express Roadtrek 190

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by Len.Barron View Post
    Great looking rig...those Airstream's are well built out. I only saw one of them when I was shopping and it was so overpriced I didn't really even consider it. The lift is just right; are you still looking at the 4x4 conversion?
    I thought I would drive it for 6-9 months and see how it does first. I'm thinking with all the stuff hanging underneath that I am going to be limited where I go whether I have 4wd or 2wd. It would be nice to have 4wd for mud and snow but don't know if I want to spend that kind of money for just that.
    Mark
    2017' Ram 3500 DRW Megacab, Cummins with Aisin transmission
    2016' Arctic Fox 811
    2011' Airstream Avenue
    2017' Jeep JKU Rubicon
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnaz
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnusa
    www.flickr.com/photos/his_cross

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by zip View Post
    Looking good.
    I am considering doing the same thing.
    Why did the ABS light come on if the the tire size wasn't changed?
    I changed from 245/75 to 285/75 tires, so about 2.5" taller. I thought re-gearing to 4:10 from 3:42 or whatever stock was would have brought me close to stock. I haven't read about this on other threads, so I wonder if others have run into this?
    Mark
    2017' Ram 3500 DRW Megacab, Cummins with Aisin transmission
    2016' Arctic Fox 811
    2011' Airstream Avenue
    2017' Jeep JKU Rubicon
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnaz
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnusa
    www.flickr.com/photos/his_cross

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    54
    Oh, my bad.
    I did notice you went with a different size tire, but I didn’t know it was taller.
    Last edited by zip; 12-15-2017 at 12:22 PM.
    2004 Chevy Express Roadtrek 190

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    2,484
    Looks good how is your power and MPG with the changes?
    "Knowledge without experience is just information"--Mark Twain

    Land Cruiser Products

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by LandCruiserPhil View Post
    Looks good how is your power and MPG with the changes?
    Power is good with the new gears, but I won't be able to check mileage until my tuner comes in and I can re-program the tire diameter and gear ratio into the computer, I can tell my speedo is off a bit. Just from past experience with numerous vehicles I have modified I am expecting less mileage then stock. I usually see approximately 1 mpg less with bigger tires and a lift.
    Mark
    2017' Ram 3500 DRW Megacab, Cummins with Aisin transmission
    2016' Arctic Fox 811
    2011' Airstream Avenue
    2017' Jeep JKU Rubicon
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnaz
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnusa
    www.flickr.com/photos/his_cross

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    casa grande, az
    Posts
    120
    I had the pleasure of seeing this van in person today, at a local shop I do Paintless Dent Repair for. Looks even better in person!!
    GpnAZ...
    I have been kicking around the idea of ordering the Weldtech kit, if possible I would like to take a ride in your van and feel how the ride quality is after the lift! I work right around the corner from the shop it is at.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by mykdee View Post
    I had the pleasure of seeing this van in person today, at a local shop I do Paintless Dent Repair for. Looks even better in person!!
    GpnAZ...
    I have been kicking around the idea of ordering the Weldtech kit, if possible I would like to take a ride in your van and feel how the ride quality is after the lift! I work right around the corner from the shop it is at.
    I PM'd you with my contact info.
    Mark
    2017' Ram 3500 DRW Megacab, Cummins with Aisin transmission
    2016' Arctic Fox 811
    2011' Airstream Avenue
    2017' Jeep JKU Rubicon
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnaz
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gpnusa
    www.flickr.com/photos/his_cross

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