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Thread: Herbie's Chevy Astrolander/ZMB Build Thread

  1. #101
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Elgin, IL (Chicago burb)
    Posts
    1,265
    As the owner of Grumpy, I definitely suggest putting your money towards the road trips.

    How far off the beaten path are you wanting to get?
    Aaron

    2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 140k+ miles
    1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
    2016 Patriot (MaK - Her Jeep) Painfully stock
    1980 KE100 (Bessie) - 100cc of fury

  2. #102


    I saw this guy's 2 wheel drive on astrosafarivans.com and it gave me hope. I think his username was 9dawgs. He has done a great job with it so far.
    @Aaron: I drove my 2003 ford taurus on a coast to coast road trip with mountain bike and camping gear attached. I was determined to get in some primitive camping spots and actually made some of them, but couldn't go as far as I wanted. Thank God I did break my little car or get stuck, but I did scratch along the bottom some (dumb determination). I have never been to the Northwest, so I'm sure my "dumb determination" will kick in once I see the beauty of the spots I want to get in.

    This road trip is projected for next July, lasting about three weeks. We will start in Memphis and head all the way west to Southern Cal, then all the way up to BC or Alaska. Then back down the East side of the Rockies (Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, etc). Along the way we will be hiking the Grand Canyon again, Zion, Utah, camping on the beach, tons of hiking and camping further North, fishing, kayaking, cliff diving.... the list goes on and on. It will definitely be documented as well. I promised a friend I would take him on a trip like this when he gets done with chemo... which means I will be doing this twice so he will get a chance to do it 1 1/2 year or so from now. Pretty awesome memories await us!

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bellingham, Wa
    Posts
    1,816
    9Dawgs certainly has one of the best looking Astro vans. It's served as an inpiration for many a build, including mine.

    What did he say regarding his 2wd experiences and the vans off road abilities?




    ...looks like it's time to give this thread back to Herbie and start a Kenny Johnson thread.
    Last edited by T.Low; 09-09-2011 at 12:37 AM.
    Life is short, Paddle often
    '03 Chevy Astro w/ NP233C 4x4 electronic shift transfer case, 5" Overlandvans lift kit, 4:10's w/ Detroit Locker, Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks w/ in-dash remote & onboard air compressor, 245/75 16 Cooper Discoverer STMaxx, GTRV pop top w/ sleeper, Carefree Awning, Coleman Fridge, and tons of Thule

    2010 Gas Gas EC 450 plated, 2005 Gas Gas FSE 450, plated

  4. #104
    woops... right. Sorry. I'm new to this thread thing. I will start a new one. If it is possible to delete the previous ones to the point of Herbie's, we can definitely do that. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sandy Eggo
    Posts
    1,283
    Mike.
    I may have missed it or skip over on accident, but how difficult was the lift to install?
    Did you do it yourself? Was it the overland vans kit.
    Robb
    KI6OVI
    1994 fzj80-sold : 1970 fj40-sold : 1998 UZJ100-sold : 1995 SMB-sold
    2003 Dodge QCLB Cummins 4x4
    Bella Adventures


  6. #106
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,015
    You didn't miss it, I'm once again behind on posting updates...

    The lift wasn't terribly difficult, it can mostly be done in your driveway (if it's flat) and you have the normal assortment of tools. Yes, it was the Overlands 4" kit, although I might have gone piecemeal if I were to do it again.

    I didn't use the re-indexed torsion keys as I didn't want to do too much life with the bars, so I just maxed the stock keys. The front body/subframe lift went in easy as pie. The rear lift is via a new spring pack which works pretty well, but gave me more lift than I anticipated so I switched back to the stock spring shackle (vs. the lift shackle). I'm going to give it a few trips to settle and then re-measure to see if I need to put the lift shackle back in.

    I still need to do the ball-joint relocation (involves drilling out the factory rivets and moving things underneath - I'm going to do new Moog ball joints, etc. at the same time. Bigger job.

    The only welding was to install the new shock tabs higher up on the rear axle so that you can use stock-length shocks. The tabs OLV sent me weren't very fancy and weren't really even very well radiused for the axle, so I'm not sure I'd spend the money on those again.

    I'll try to post an update on that whole deal soon.
    ChooseAdventure.net
    "My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
    2003 Chevrolet Astrolander 4WD Van - DIY GTRV PopTop, 4" Lift

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sandy Eggo
    Posts
    1,283
    Thanks!
    I need to check their website and see what I, um... my friend... would need to lift his 1995 Tiger xl. And go check out overland vans site right now.

    Also does the kit include a bigger/thicker torsion bar or it is just the key?
    Robb
    KI6OVI
    1994 fzj80-sold : 1970 fj40-sold : 1998 UZJ100-sold : 1995 SMB-sold
    2003 Dodge QCLB Cummins 4x4
    Bella Adventures


  8. #108
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,015
    The kits for the later vans just include the keys (and the body pucks). Earlier vans also need a longer steering shaft, I think. The interchange for the different size/lengths for torsion bars is a bit beyond me, but I do know that 1995 was a crazy transitional year, so I'm not sure what goes under there.
    ChooseAdventure.net
    "My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
    2003 Chevrolet Astrolander 4WD Van - DIY GTRV PopTop, 4" Lift

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Palm Springs CA
    Posts
    1,453
    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie;
    The interchange for the different size/lengths for torsion bars is a bit beyond me, but I do know that 1995 was a crazy transitional year, so I'm not sure what goes under there.
    The 95 was supposed to be the last year with long (worse) torsion, but my 1996 had them. It's also supposed to be if you have the early long torsion, you also had the worse monoleaf setup in the back. Mine had the late steel multileaf in back with the early front setup. Bottom line is check your setup before ordering. I strongly recommend upgrading to the late shorter front torsion because the long design isn't available aftermarket any longer. The keys are different inner diameter between the two. Hope that helps. I also strongly recommend Loopies solid puck body lift.design over.the hollow nylon OV setup, both stronger and cheaper. Get them fast before he figures out he should be charging more for them than he currently is.

    Sent from my HTC Thunderbolt.
    Terry Baker
    Desert Hot Springs, CA
    ...it's not hell, but you can see it from here!


    Life is Better Off Road!

  10. #110
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sandy Eggo
    Posts
    1,283
    Quote Originally Posted by Herbie View Post
    Yes, it was the Overlands 4" kit, although I might have gone piecemeal if I were to do it again.

    Care to share details how you would piecemeal the lift?

    I found another site that sells replacement steel springs, but just stock height. RocKrawler had a good suggestion for using Dorman Torsion bars.
    And I guess Loopie's body lift pucks, but is that just for tire clearances? I am only looking at running a 29" tire (that sounds funny).

    Also what shocks did you use on your lift?

    Thanks!!!
    Robb
    KI6OVI
    1994 fzj80-sold : 1970 fj40-sold : 1998 UZJ100-sold : 1995 SMB-sold
    2003 Dodge QCLB Cummins 4x4
    Bella Adventures


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