Hyperdrive build - 6" Expovans conversion

Hyperdrive

New member
I have learned so much on this forum, thought I would document my build thread. I certainly don't have skills like many of you but hopefully, it can be useful.

I have been wanting a van for years. We operate a river rafting business and have been getting into trouble for years on our trips. We are a family of 5 and typically head to the desert a couple times a year for MTB and River trips. Stuff like this was not uncommon.



As Plan A was to go with U-Joint for the conversion. From the forums, I quickly learned I wanted something in 05-06 range to not have to deal with RSC issues and get the torqshift 5r110. Plan B I went with an Expovans, so the RSC part was irrelevant and I could have searched for a newer van. I can't tell you how many hours I spent looking for a v10 5-speed van, but it was many many months. I could not find what I wanted and was about to pull the trigger on a van on the east coast and ship it. 2013 with 88,0000 miles. Kind of sketchy buying a rig sight unseen but I was ready to go as we were going to use this rig for our 2016 summer season. Then what falls in my lap from a good friend about 40 miles away, a 2006 EB v10 with 5r110. 84,000 miles. Body has some clear coat issues but otherwise it is in good shape.





Used it for the summer with the only problem being deer. I have to say I am super happy that I went gas and EB. Looked for a diesel for so long but I am impressed with the V10. Got home in the fall and started on basic stuff new stereo, speakers, tow mirrors and 08+ console. We took the van on a 2-week road trip in October with a very basic layout just to see how we would use the van, using coolers and dry boxes with a platform as a bed for us to sleep on and kids on paco pads up front and on the 2nd-row seat. One thing we don't know how to solve is seating 3 kids in a layout. 16 hours sitting next to your siblings can be rough on anyone.

During the summer I was introduced and talking to Michael decide to switch gears and go with an Expovans front and springs and the other stuff from Chris. We plan on using this van for extended trips and then to Baja. Tank limitations were a big deal and decided to get a 55-gallon tank install as well. Ordered stuff up. Springs took the longest and then life does what life does with a van buried in snow in the yard and all my parts sitting in my garage. Agonizing but a good lesson in patience. I got to look at this everyday for months.





Dealing with MG has been nothing short of spectacular. He has been always available and ready to answer any question I have and I am sure I have had some dumb questions. His knowledge about vehicles in general is pretty crazy.

Leaving for Portland started out getting stuck in my driveway which was really fun. On the drive up to Portland I was in a crazy storm the whole way and more than ever realized how bad these things drive in stock form.



Got the van up to MG and started work. One word Jsweezy is a beast, he tore the van down that night. I am not sure I have ever met a harder working guy. They had the install done in about 2 days. This kit is designed to be easy to install. I have a new respect for step bits, that is for sure. That being said, I can't believe people doing this stuff in their driveways.

Hands down one of greatest parts about working with MG was his attention to detail. I learned in this process if you had someone you did not know or trust doing your conversion, steps could be skipped or just not done right. It seems every van can be a bit different and there are some subtle things that need attention. One example, that hit it home for me was when they were putting on the shifting linkage he backed the bolt out realized the hole was full of mud. He took the time to get it all out and do it right. Instead of just getting it tight to move on.

Here are some pics of the install. One reason I like the coil conversion is the ability to change springs if I want. If anyone has driven from McCall to Stanley they would know what a windy road it is. I love the idea that I can switch springs out for a stiffer ride as I go back and forth in the spring and fall.















The van now drives awesome. It is a complete night and day difference. I am able to take corners faster than stock, the ride is smooth and tight. I think the best way to describe the ride to me is everything feels tight. It is like a new rig to me. I drove home at 80 mph with no feedback from the wheel whatsoever. I could take my hands off the wheel and no wandering or weirdness like the stock van. I have been driving it now for two weeks and love it. Friends that have driven it and even my wife love how it drives. It is hard to believe that a rig this heavy on 35"'s can ride this nice. Really happy how it turned out and I can't wait to get in the dirt for an extended trip.

One thing I am so glad I did was get the 55 gallon tank. It will really will give us range. I drove from Portland to my home in Idaho on one tank and filled it up around 540 miles. Filling up in funny because most pumps shut off at $85 or $100 around here but totally worth it.

How she sits now.



My over all plan is to integrate some sort of L Track so the van can be used in different configurations. Would love to have a seating, cargo and camping layouts so the van can be useful all year long. Next step is the interior. Pondering flooring.
 
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bad luck

Observer
I like it!
I have contacted MG and will be taking my 2wd up to Portland for him to do his magic on this coming summer.
 

djbonsu

Adventurer
Sweet!! That 55 gallons tank is a monster and lifesaver im sure! Good looking van! Cheers to Exopvans! MG, will the 55 gallon tank fit in the RB vans?
 

stormlover

Adventurer
I like the wheel choice as as well. 17" or 18" Method Grid wrapped in BFG's?

Nice looking rig! Have spent a bit of time in Stanley, mainly mtn biking but great country for sure. I've only done the Main Salmon (guided a trip with Yellow Jacket) but would love to get back there one of these days. I mainly do Grand Canyon trips and mostly science trips at that.
 

Hyperdrive

New member
I like the wheel choice as as well. 17" or 18" Method Grid wrapped in BFG's?

Nice looking rig! Have spent a bit of time in Stanley, mainly mtn biking but great country for sure. I've only done the Main Salmon (guided a trip with Yellow Jacket) but would love to get back there one of these days. I mainly do Grand Canyon trips and mostly science trips at that.
18" Grids with BFG's. Super happy with them. Really grippy and quiet to boot. The folks at Yellow Jacket are friends. Good people.
 

Hyperdrive

New member
Sweet!! That 55 gallons tank is a monster and lifesaver im sure! Good looking van! Cheers to Exopvans! MG, will the 55 gallon tank fit in the RB vans?
MG can answer more definitively, but I don't think so without modifying the cross member. It is tight on the EB.
 

brian94ht

Chateau spotter
You know some say that Idaho has all the cool vans, (wasn't it something like that?)

Congrats on the new van, and cheers to the expovans crew on a job well done.
 

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