We now have a van for the weekender campervan project

General technical discussion and troubleshooting
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Topic author
bunce1260
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:57 pm

We now have a van for the weekender campervan project

Post by bunce1260 »

So we're now the proud owners of a 2004 Chevrolet Astro with 138500 miles. It has a few issues but was taken care of by the last owner, until recently it seems. This is our first American vehicle, I'm British so drove a bunch of little hot hatches, then when I mover over here we had Jap and Euro cars.

We intend to use this van to move across the country from Chicago to Portland OR and to then use it as a weekender campervan, set up like the VW's.

My thoughts after about 100 miles:-
Man is it loud going 70mph, we've driven plenty of hatchbacks and our current wagon is Volvo 850, but nothing we've had is as loud as this. Is this to do with the fact that half the engine is essentially in the van and that it's very truck like?
I do like being high up, there's so much more to see sitting about 3 feet higher. It'll get a little higher after a mild lift.

There's a few things that need fixing of course.
1. The wing mirror casing has a screw mount snapped off so is rattling around behind the mirror. I will probably find one at the JY.
2. Passenger wiper blade isn't in full contact with the windscreen and blows around a bit. Does it just need bending back?
3. The Stereo stays on even when the ignition is off and key removed. I think this is a big problem, if we drive out into the middle of nowhere, get out for a hike and come back to find a dead battery. Why isn't it powering off?
4. Quite a bit of surface rust. The usual corner of the front fenders and underneath. I'll be climbing under with a wire brush and converter and then spraying with some form of coating. But the rust on the panel, is there a company that does body color matched paint in a can?
5. The ABS and Brake lights are on, I will attempt to resolder the ABS module and hope that fixes it.


Other items on the todo list:-
1. Insulate the van. We're going to pull all the panels, liner and carpet to insulate. We're not sure if we're going to replace the panels or put up some form of board to gain a bit of interior space.
2. Build some form of bed while keeping the ability to carry 5 passengers.
3. 2" Lift, I'd like to do so using spacers and different rear springs to stay away from the issues with hangers and wedges and vibrations. Plus the old springs look pretty rusty and I may as well spend a few bucks for fresh, clean parts.
4. Slightly larger tires, probably some Yokohama Geolanders as I don't want to lose MPG.

I think that covers everything I've thought of over the last 100 miles, I'd love to hear your input on the issues we have, the search function is a little lack-lustre, I've tried.

Thanks in advance!
2004 AWD. S10 4" rear springs. 2" Body spacers. Prothane body bushings. Insulated. Ventline VP543 roof fan. Hella 500's. Tru-cool 4454. Bilstein shocks. Brembo. Hawk.LED bar. 235/75/16 Hankook Dynapro ATM
www.instagram.com/vango_life
www.VanGoLife.com

astrozam
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2769
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:57 am

Re: We now have a van for the weekender campervan project

Post by astrozam »

Welcome bunce... :cheers:

Is your need for insulation more for sound or temp's or both?

As these vans are about as aerodynamic as a brick and with the doghouse in the van there are certain limitations that you have to work with, If it were me looking to quite the van a little and keep it cooler or warmer I'd

1, Remove the headliner and use rigidfoam where possible then put the headliner back up
2, The side panels are a little more tricky, best to remove panels and spray expansion foam where applicable and use dynamat where necessary, I'd also try to line the inside of the doghouse with dynamat and add additional carpeting to the outside of the doghouse.
3,Take up the carpeting and add a thicker underpad, then put carpet back down.
4, For the windows I'd use Reflectix and cut to fit each window, spray the outside of the reflectix with mat black spray-paint, this won't heat up the van any more really but will help to conceal the material, and works especially well behind tinted windows.

Just a couple things to start you off...

Topic author
bunce1260
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:57 pm

Re: We now have a van for the weekender campervan project

Post by bunce1260 »

astrozam wrote:Welcome bunce... :cheers:

Is your need for insulation more for sound or temp's or both?

As these vans are about as aerodynamic as a brick and with the doghouse in the van there are certain limitations that you have to work with, If it were me looking to quite the van a little and keep it cooler or warmer I'd

1, Remove the headliner and use rigidfoam where possible then put the headliner back up
2, The side panels are a little more tricky, best to remove panels and spray expansion foam where applicable and use dynamat where necessary, I'd also try to line the inside of the doghouse with dynamat and add additional carpeting to the outside of the doghouse.
3,Take up the carpeting and add a thicker underpad, then put carpet back down.
4, For the windows I'd use Reflectix and cut to fit each window, spray the outside of the reflectix with mat black spray-paint, this won't heat up the van any more really but will help to conceal the material, and works especially well behind tinted windows.

Just a couple things to start you off...


The insulation is mainly for temperature, keep the heat out and when we can figure out a safe heat source, keep it in when it's cold.

I was thinking a layer of refectix on the van skin, then a layer of polystyrene then another layer of reflectix sealed with aluminum tape, on all surfaces. Possibly covering up the rear most windows. and then a thin layer of plywood on the floor covered in wood effect vinyl flooring.
2004 AWD. S10 4" rear springs. 2" Body spacers. Prothane body bushings. Insulated. Ventline VP543 roof fan. Hella 500's. Tru-cool 4454. Bilstein shocks. Brembo. Hawk.LED bar. 235/75/16 Hankook Dynapro ATM
www.instagram.com/vango_life
www.VanGoLife.com
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