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  1. #1
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    Default The great white Fun Hog (my awd "westy" build)

    I copied this over to here from another forum.
    Originally I didn't think anyone here would have much interest and I didn't really want to maintain two threads.
    But in a effort to help create some more activity within EW I thought it would be a good idea to start this thread.
    That being said the first posts may not always make sense as I tried to only pull the pertinent posts from the other thread.
    hoping some people find this interesting enough to follow along.


    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; 01-23-2014 at 08:25 PM.
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  2. #2
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    Default

    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
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  3. #3
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    Default

    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:coffee: 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
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  4. #4
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    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:Wow1:

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  5. #5
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    As per usual I am behind where I wanted to be after the weekend.
    I was able to finish the sheeting and lights in my little home shop.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr







    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    And the fun hog rolled into the shop to get warmed up for surgery

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  6. #6
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    I was able to break free for a few quality hours out in the shop with the fun hog.
    It was enough time to swap out the front shocks and torsion keys. That took about 2hrs.I was able to use my ball joint press as a torsion bar tool.


    Then I set her back on the ground to take measurements and see how we ended up.


    Front wheel arch before

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Front wheel arch after(sorry about the blur, it's harder then it looks to hold the tape and take a pic)

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Right now she sits about 2" higher in the front then before. Which is right where I thought things would shake out. I do still have some adjustment in the bolts so I could crank it a bit higher. But I'm going to save that in case she settles.


    The rear had about 1" of rake before

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    The blocks that came with the rough country kit are 3". It should end up with 2" of rake. I think I'm Ok with this as I still am going to be installing interior features and I tow fairly regularly. I'll deal with a little bit of extra rake to keep things level with a trailer on.


    My wife is working nights rest of the week leaving me free to work in the shop.
    Tomorrow after work I'm going to attack the rear and hopefully get that all buttoned up and ready to get back out on the road.
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  7. #7
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    I ran into a small issue with the rear shocks.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    As you can see the upper mounts are different. The bar in the stock shock is too large to fit through the metal sleeve in the new shock. From my reading others who have done this lift were using skyjacker H7017 shocks in the rear, these are listed as a eyelet on both ends as well.


    Anyone who has done this lift that may be out there, please chime in on how you fit the upper shock mount on the rear.


    Thanks!
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  8. #8
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    After mulling it over all day I had a few ideas in my head how to fit the rear shocks.
    When I got back into the shop though and looked at all the parts laying around I saw that the stock shocks had all of the parts I needed to fab adapters for the new shocks.


    First a few cuts

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Then clean with the grinder

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Dab a little weld on with the tig machine

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    A few coats with the rattle can

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    And final product ready for install

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    I apologize for the blurry pics again, trying to one hand these and hold parts is not working out so hot.


    Here is the rear wheel arch after all is said and done.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    She definitely has a bit more rake then I would care for. We will see how she sits after a few miles I may yet swap out the 3" blocks for some 2"ers.


    Some more pics coming tomorrow out in the sun.
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  9. #9
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    Here is the Fun Hog after the lift.
    About +2" in front and +3" in the rear

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  10. #10
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    Ugh.....the last couple days have been very frustrating working on my van:ar15::ar15:
    Lots of trial and error on my part attempting to panel the walls. Mostly error....
    Right now the $1000 that Adrian steel charges for their wall kit doesn't sound so bad. There isn't one square, straight, flat or even surface on this damn van.


    If anyone is still reading after my rant here are some pics.


    I decided to build ribs of wood which would be screwed to the vans steel ribs. This is supposed to even out some of the variations in the factory ribs. The holes you see are meant to hold tee nuts that will attach the wall panels.


    First attempt at the wood ribs was done with some 1/2" cdx I had leftovers of. The cdx was worthless and broke almost immediately when trying to bend it to the vans walls. No real loss as it was already leftover rips from another project.


    Second attempt was with 1/4" luan ply. This seems much better. Though I have my doubts on its durability.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    On the back side of the luan I ran a strip of gasket material. This will do two things. Hold the tee nuts in place while drilling the wall panels and hopefully stop any rattles from developing between the steel and wood.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Here is a shot of where I re routed the factory wiring. It was originally on the outside of the upper roof brace, placing it directly in the way of type of wall panel.



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    I will take a couple more tomorrow of how the wall panel turns out. Right now I'm not very happy with it and I am thinking about taking a different approach. I need to sleep on it and try to finish up the wall panel so I can get a real feeling of how it's going to end up.


    I'm glad I decided to do a test subject before installing the rest of my insulation. As the final wall decision will impact how I work the insulation.
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  11. #11
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    I forced myself to finish up the section of panel I started.


    Failure.......



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    I have another sheet of luan and more plastex. I think I'm going to glue up a fresh sheet of plastex to the luan and use this test piece as a template to drill holes (using way less fasteners).
    Hopefully that process will yield better results.
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  12. #12
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    I've been able to put in about ten hours insulating over the last couple days.
    This is the material I am using between layers of reflective bubble wrap. (1.5" foil faced duct wrap)

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr





    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    I removed the fiberglass from the edges so the majority of the material would fit into the space between the ribs, not on the face of the ribs.



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr





    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    To install I stapled through the edges where there was only the facing paper. Then foil taped over all the staples to create a solid vapor barrier



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    All the material I have been using for this build comes in 48" wide rolls. This works out pretty well as the roof of the van is about 48" wide and the walls are about 54" tall. Of course on the walls this left a 6" tall area to fill at the bottom. I chose to use 1" thick closed cell rubber armacell in this space so it would be impervious to any water that would end up there. I used spray adhesive to stick it to the wall of the van.



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    And here it is mostly finished up and covered with another Layer of foil faced bubble wrap.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  13. #13
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    I've been able to put in about ten hours insulating over the last couple days.
    This is the material I am using between layers of reflective bubble wrap. (1.5" foil faced duct wrap)

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr





    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    I removed the fiberglass from the edges so the majority of the material would fit into the space between the ribs, not on the face of the ribs.



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr





    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    To install I stapled through the edges where there was only the facing paper. Then foil taped over all the staples to create a solid vapor barrier



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    All the material I have been using for this build comes in 48" wide rolls. This works out pretty well as the roof of the van is about 48" wide and the walls are about 54" tall. Of course on the walls this left a 6" tall area to fill at the bottom. I chose to use 1" thick closed cell rubber armacell in this space so it would be impervious to any water that would end up there. I used spray adhesive to stick it to the wall of the van.



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    And here it is mostly finished up and covered with another Layer of foil faced bubble wrap.

    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  14. #14
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    My fabric for the walls showed up earlier this week. It is a "hulliner" fabric which is woven with no grain/direction or backing. Very flexible and it conformed to the surfaced extremely well. I would use this fabric for any type of interior finish again in a heartbeat. The only downside is there is not many color options.



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    I also covered the wheel wells with some more closed cell foam. I'm using scraps leftover from jobsites so they don't look the best as I have to deal with whatever shape scrap I have at hand. It doesn't matter in the long run as they will be covered with storage boxes.



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Final project this weekend was installing the "Mullet" headliner to add a bit of color. The business section will eventually be removed when I cut the opening for the pop-top



    Untitled by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Next on the build agenda is building the wheel well storage boxes. Then things will slow down for a bit while I pour concrete countertops for my home and work on fixing up the fiberglass VW top getting it ready to fit onto the Fun Hog:wings:
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

  15. #15
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    I made up my mind to just stop shopping for tires and buy some:coffeedrink:
    265/70/17 Cooper ATP



    Meaty Fun Hog by boardrider247, on Flickr


    Also started to build my wheel well storage boxes today. Drivers side is constructed should be able to build the passenger side tomorrow. Then I have to wait for the deck hatches to arrive from china to finalize the install and decide how to finish the outside of the boxes.


    Pics of that process tomorrow
    Some day I'm going to build an airplane/Then I'm going to die in a plane crash
    The motorcycle is a work of art, a testament to the corner gods, and as with all religious endevours, requires a bit of ceremony and respect.

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