Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meet Jupiter- a Camper van Build

Then there was that ad on Craigslist. As soon as I saw it I called the guy.
"Hey wanna go look at a van?" She was in.
I met the guy by the Museum on Northern Arizona and took it for a ride. The four wheel drive works, but he couldn't identify the conversion company. The brakes were a little wonky, and it leaked fluids from every seal. He wanted $8500.
 "I dunno. It needs about three grand in repairs. Hows about $8000?"
"Hows about 8200?"
"Sold." She says. 
I wasn't done haggling, but whats a couple a hundred bucks, when I'll be spending all my discretionary income to a hapless project with out ever any hope of remuneration for years to come...... or eternity!

Here she was:

There we have it A 95 Ford Econoline E150, 4wd, Dana 60s from a 3/4 ton, 5.8l gas engine. 187k on the clock. It was a conversion van done by Waldoch. It has two Flexsteel captains chairs. No back seats, but a cheesy bed frame made by the previous, previous owner. Rear Pro Air AC/Heat. CD player with Aux input, groovy flashing LED lights that pulse with the music (first to go). Those standard CRLawrence windows with shades. The brakes and the AC were both weak. Oh, and some hippy funk. It lived up in Durango, and made someone a really nice ski van. The salt on the road there wreaked havoc with the body and they Rhino lined the rockers to cover it up.
I'm not afraid to roll up my sleeves, and am pretty handy with a paint gun. I kinda detest heavy mechanical work though. So the first stop for the van was the mechanic. The first order of business was to fix all the leaks. Radiator, hoses, belts, oil pan gaskets, valve cover gaskets, tune up, and distributor. The manifolds were both rusted out and the EGR tube. Those were replaced. There runs purrrfect now. ($2000) "Well I don't know about the tranny, the fluid looks clean but it shifts hard 1,2 and slips 3,4." "Yeah the previous owner just had the fluid changed." "I wish I knew if there were metal shavings in the pan." "Is it going to leave me stranded?" "Maybe." Well that's not what I wanted to hear. I didn't think it shifted all that bad, but true, there were no service records except the last oil and transmission fluid change and alignment. That was done within the last year. Hmm hem and haw hem and haw. "If it aint broke don't fix it." She says "Maybe." He says Then I think back... that time we got stuck in the sand in the Vw Bus at Lone Rock. She freaked out and almost needed a valium. At least there my cell phone worked and could call a tow truck.... (long story). "Okay put a tranny in it." "We only use Jasper Transmissions." Cha ching. $3600
Here we go.......

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