'00 Chevy Astro Cargo stealth Camper project

Darkrider

Adventurer
I picked this van up on the 9th with the intent of just using it for work and possibly participate in a road rally in July. However during the process of stripping away the decals and shelving the idea of making it into a stealth camper started to take hold in my mind...so as of late I have been researching various builds on the net as well as researching battery setups using an isolated house bank for running the camper electrical.

With that said here are the pics I seen before buying the van to give an idea of the "before"





And pics of how the van is currently.
Note: I do have narrow Chevy rallys that match the wide Chevy rally's in the rear but they do not have tires on them and I need to decide if I'm painting them black or painting the wide ones silver.




The build will be slow going at first as I gather items as I can afford them.
 

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Darkrider

Adventurer
Wow, no back glass at all! That's kinda rare.

Roll on bed liner will make those bumpers look a lot better.
It definitely takes some getting used to manoeuvring without the rear glass to rely on to check blind spots.

As for the bumpers eventually the rear one will be replaced by one built from square tubing and it will have two hitch receivers and flush mounted led lights in it.
 

ihatemybike

Explorer
I've seen somewhere on the web where someone mounted three cameras on a cargo van for backing. One camera on each door mirror and another above the rear doors with the windshield mirror replaced by a monitor roughly the same size and all three camera views being visible at once.
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
I've seen somewhere on the web where someone mounted three cameras on a cargo van for backing. One camera on each door mirror and another above the rear doors with the windshield mirror replaced by a monitor roughly the same size and all three camera views being visible at once.
I will def give that idea some thought, though most likely I may end up doing a two camera system using one flush mounted in the new rear bumper and one mounted just above the plate box. Otherwise I may end up using just two flush mounted.

Pulled the rack completely off over the weekend leaving just the mounting tabs that were bolted through the roof to use for a new roof tray at a later stage. Most likely going to end up using the flat spot in the roof for a roof vent and building the new tray around it.

 

Darkrider

Adventurer
Well sadly this project has come to an end due to a reckless driver earlier this month. It was declared a total loss on Tuesday.
 

Grabow

Adventurer
Man, sorry to hear that. I actually just picked up an Astro a couple of weeks ago to build a stealth overlander out of and was excited to follow your build for ideas.
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
Man, sorry to hear that. I actually just picked up an Astro a couple of weeks ago to build a stealth overlander out of and was excited to follow your build for ideas.
Yea i was quite choked when it happened...still have the van though since they did offer it back at a low enough buy back price to keep it as a portable shed

Damn, another one off the road. Planning on finding another?
I have a Chevy G20 factory conversion van that i got from an old friend that im going to be redoing in a more tall person friendly lay out for the bed set up.

Man that sucks

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Yea it does...
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
So...there is a slight chance I may be picking up another Astro in the spring from an old friend. I believe its a '98. Either way its the same generation as this one. Plus the biggest bonus is that it is an awd. This one has a rebuilt rear diff with the G80 limited slip in it so if the gear ratios match and if the awd doesn't already have a G80 I will be swapping the rear axles. Plus I might end up swapping over the work style front end which will allow me to install some LED headlights. And most likely I will be doing a 2" lift to upgrade to 235/75R15s.
 

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Darkrider

Adventurer
Correction on the Astro i was looking at. It is a 1999 with a G80 rear diff in it. However the engine doesnt sound all that healthy so i am probably going to pass on it and focus on my 1980 Chevy G20 to build a 2wd expo van. It already runs on 235/75R15 tires so that side of things is already covered. I may look into the idea of trying to lift it somehow or just leave it stock height and fit it with some good all terrain tires. But when i start on that build i will start a new thread.
 

Darkrider

Adventurer
Bringing this thread back from the dead as i will be picking up an astro in a few days. I mentioned a '99 Astro Awd when i let this thread die off. I am getting that van. It turned out the sound that worried me was a rotting off cat converter shield making a ton of noise. The van that i started this thread with has gone on to be a parts donor for a Toyota project. I did end up getting the wide Rally wheels back for one of my two Square body trucks. Anyways a bit more info on the van i am getting and the start of plans for it.

1999 Chevy Astro LT AWD
4.3 V6
4L60E transmission
3:42 gearing with G80 rear locking diff
Has quad bucket seats and did have a rear bench but the rear bench was removed early in the vans life.

Plans as of this time:

Torsion bar crank to level the front end.
235/75R15 tires if possible with no further lift. From what i have read it can be done. I may just need to do some trimming on the lower body cladding and front bumper cover. Mostly on the cover it seems.
Replacing the front bumper with a fabricated bumper for a small winch and light mounting. Will more then likely end up with a sort of a Prerunner style/winch bumper hybrid.
Rear bumper replaced with one from square tubing with a tire carrier and gas can mounts on it.
Replace the stock rear hitch if needed. May just try to get the rusted in insert out of it then modify a hitch extension to move the receiver out far enough to clear the new rear bumper.
Bed in back with futon mattress. Not sure if it will go across the body or go lengthwise just yet.
Cut out the middle of the cargo floor to add battery box. This will mount the batteries a bit lower. May also use this space for an Onboard air compressor. If so the rear bumper will possibly end up being built up to act as an air tank.

This is just an early stage plan. It remains to be seen how much of the above gets done.
 
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