AWD Chevy 1500 Adventure Van

SBaircraft

Observer
Update on the Camp Pro Wifi Repeater:

The first unit was defective. The router frequently lost connection with the modem and kept me very frustrated! The vendor rushed me out a free replacement and this one is working fine so far. I'm currently working in my van and my laptop sees ZERO networks without the wifi repeater. With the Camp Pro turned on, I can see 9 networks. Fortunately, one of them is fast and free!
 

SBaircraft

Observer
Nice setup! Where did you find the sink unit?

Everything is so BIG in the US, so I ordered a small sink/stove combo from Grassroutesleisure.co.uk It's the CAN 1 Burner Hob/Sink Combo, FL 1323
It was a couple hundred brittish pounds, including shipping.

The aluminum cabinet came from modulinecabinets.com. It's a wall cabinet, so it's open on the top and back, which was perfect for my purpose. After trimming a little bit off the upper flange, the sink/stove unit dropped in nicely. There's just enough room below for two 4-gallon Aqua-Tainers.
 

SBaircraft

Observer
I recently purchased a retired NASA motorglider from a government auction. It will take me a few months to get her flying, but it's also time for some van changes. I'm going to need to haul a lot more equipment and gasoline for my upcoming soaring safaris. I decided to order a massive aluminum roof rack from Prime Designs. The general game plan is to move my solar panels to the front, and then I'll add some storage boxes, bike racks, and Rotopax gas cans. I'm also planning to install an aviation radio and build a rack for my oxygen bottles.

20200406_173444.jpg

I originally thought that I was going to get a Thule box, but now I'm having second thoughts. The main reason is that I don't feel comfortable storing expensive equipment inside of a plastic box. Has anyone installed an aluminum truck box on their roof? Also, is it worth the extra bucks for the Weather Guard brand? It seems like it would be more draggy than a Thule box, but by the time the airflow reaches the back of the van, I imagine it's so f!*ked up that it doesn't matter too much.
 

whith

Active member
Packasport here in Oregon makes a really nice roof box out of fiberglass. They are very low profile Profile as well. Could be worth taking a look at.
 

Scotty D

Active member
I recently purchased a retired NASA motorglider from a government auction. It will take me a few months to get her flying, but it's also time for some van changes. I'm going to need to haul a lot more equipment and gasoline for my upcoming soaring safaris. I decided to order a massive aluminum roof rack from Prime Designs. The general game plan is to move my solar panels to the front, and then I'll add some storage boxes, bike racks, and Rotopax gas cans. I'm also planning to install an aviation radio and build a rack for my oxygen bottles.

View attachment 583477

I originally thought that I was going to get a Thule box, but now I'm having second thoughts. The main reason is that I don't feel comfortable storing expensive equipment inside of a plastic box. Has anyone installed an aluminum truck box on their roof? Also, is it worth the extra bucks for the Weather Guard brand? It seems like it would be more draggy than a Thule box, but by the time the airflow reaches the back of the van, I imagine it's so f!*ked up that it doesn't matter too much.
I am sure that glider is very light , but remember that the 4l60e transmission in our vans is amazingly bad at towing. I would not tow anywhere near the recommended tow capacity , and I would not tow anything in mountains at all
 

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SBaircraft

Observer
I am sure that glider is very light , but remember that the 4l60e transmission in our vans is amazingly bad at towing. I would not tow anywhere near the recommended tow capacity , and I would not tow anything in mountains at all
That's too bad to hear! Fortunately, the loaded trailer is only around 2,000 pounds, but I will need to tow it over the Sierras often.
 

SBaircraft

Observer
Here's a sketch of the roof rack. I was trying to choose between Alurack and Vantech:

Alurack: The crossbars attach to a T-slot on the side rails. Accordingly, they can be moved forward/aft to miss my roof vent and such (Yay!). However... the crossbars don't have slots, so it would be annoying to mount everything (Boooo!).

Vantech: More sturdy because it mounts with 6 gutter mounts instead of 4. The cross bars have slots (horray!), but their fore/aft positions are fixed (Noooooo!). They insert into milled pockets in the side rails, so moving them would require a bit of machining.

In the end, I decided on a bastard cargo rack: Vantech gutter mounts, Alurack side rails, and 8020 crossbars.

Side Rails: The stock Chevy Alurack uses 120" siderails. You can buy just the side rail module (PN PD-AR-2104) for $346.65. However, I'm going to use their 128" rails for $401.15. The extra inches will allow me to fit the longest truck boxes that I could find.

Cross Bars: 8020 is half the cost of factory cross bars. For example, a Vantech H3 (1.5"x3"x65") crossbar is $120.12 while an equivalent 8020 extrusion is only $53.30. I'm using 5 cross-bars, so I'll save around $300.

Flooring and front Catwalk: It seems that folks are really happy with Farmtek chicken coup flooring. A 4ft x 2ft panel is only around $25. Most people attach this with zip ties, but I might attempt a flush and I'll hold down the edges with overlapping L-track.

Truck Boxes: The sketch shows two 62" Weather Guard boxes. These are a little pricey, but still comparable to Thule boxes of the same volume. I'd certainly feel more secure about leaving my climbing gear in the Weather Guard. They're also sturdy enough to sit on, so why not grab some marine cushions and a removable pedistal table? I'm still concerned about my gas mileage and I may try to find a lower box.

Solar: I'm going to reuse my existing 100W Renogy panels. However, I'm going to mount them subflush to the crossbars. That way, the cross bars are still available to support lumber and surf boards!

Girl: The girlfriend is a possible future addition, but probably outside of my current budget ;)



Rack 3-view.jpg
 

SBaircraft

Observer
Work is slow at the moment, but I'm finding time to work on the glider! I made myself a new blank instrument panel and I can't wait to cut some holes.

I ended up clamping the old panel to a sheet of waxed glass. From the back side, I fiberglassed over all of the holes. After a little sanding and finishing, I had a finished plug. I pulled a mold off this, and then used the mold to make my new panel.

The new panel will have a lot more bells and whistles than the original 1970's junk that it came with. I also just found a great deal on a used altimeter. The original was only calibrated for 20,000ft but sailplanes can get a lot higher than that in wave life. The new one (well, newer) is calibrated for 35,000ft :) The only instrument that I'm still missing is the digital engine monitor. Evidently, the factory is still closed due to the pandemic.




Panel Layout.jpg



20200422_230454.jpg20200423_165311.jpg20200504_234051.jpg
 

Willsfree

New member
Here's a sketch of the roof rack. I was trying to choose between Alurack and Vantech:

Alurack: The crossbars attach to a T-slot on the side rails. Accordingly, they can be moved forward/aft to miss my roof vent and such (Yay!). However... the crossbars don't have slots, so it would be annoying to mount everything (Boooo!).

Vantech: More sturdy because it mounts with 6 gutter mounts instead of 4. The cross bars have slots (horray!), but their fore/aft positions are fixed (Noooooo!). They insert into milled pockets in the side rails, so moving them would require a bit of machining.

In the end, I decided on a bastard cargo rack: Vantech gutter mounts, Alurack side rails, and 8020 crossbars.

Side Rails: The stock Chevy Alurack uses 120" siderails. You can buy just the side rail module (PN PD-AR-2104) for $346.65. However, I'm going to use their 128" rails for $401.15. The extra inches will allow me to fit the longest truck boxes that I could find.

Cross Bars: 8020 is half the cost of factory cross bars. For example, a Vantech H3 (1.5"x3"x65") crossbar is $120.12 while an equivalent 8020 extrusion is only $53.30. I'm using 5 cross-bars, so I'll save around $300.

Flooring and front Catwalk: It seems that folks are really happy with Farmtek chicken coup flooring. A 4ft x 2ft panel is only around $25. Most people attach this with zip ties, but I might attempt a flush and I'll hold down the edges with overlapping L-track.

Truck Boxes: The sketch shows two 62" Weather Guard boxes. These are a little pricey, but still comparable to Thule boxes of the same volume. I'd certainly feel more secure about leaving my climbing gear in the Weather Guard. They're also sturdy enough to sit on, so why not grab some marine cushions and a removable pedistal table? I'm still concerned about my gas mileage and I may try to find a lower box.

Solar: I'm going to reuse my existing 100W Renogy panels. However, I'm going to mount them subflush to the crossbars. That way, the cross bars are still available to support lumber and surf boards!

Girl: The girlfriend is a possible future addition, but probably outside of my current budget ;)



View attachment 583693
I'm reconfiguring my rack set up to make room for my maxxair. How has your rack come together? I'm thinking about the weatherguard boxes.
 
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