So I'm buying a van...

Cole

Expedition Leader
The thing about an empty van is that its a whole LOT MORE WORK AND MONEY than you initially think it is to make it nice inside. Even a basic passenger van with carpet and interior panels can make a HUGE step towards a comfortable place to hang out.
 

HoboJen

Adventurer
The thing about an empty van is that its a whole LOT MORE WORK AND MONEY than you initially think it is to make it nice inside. Even a basic passenger van with carpet and interior panels can make a HUGE step towards a comfortable place to hang out.
yeah i got in a passenger van today (though not one i would buy) since i like what graham has done, which is a really simple setup.
 

John W

Observer
it's a nice van though... wish i could have driven it! they wouldn't let me since they just got it and it hasn't been through a mechanical inspection yet.
That sounds like a load of horse manure.
A dealer bought it from a seller without a mechanical inspection, and are listing it for sale without a mechanical inspection?
A healthy dose of skepticism is in order here.
 

grahamfitter

Expedition Leader
yeah i got in a passenger van today (though not one i would buy) since i like what graham has done, which is a really simple setup.
Thanks :) Its ghetto for sure. I think the whole interior cost less than $300 and took a weekend to put together. The rack I bought from a kayaker friend when he sold a similar van, I think he made it for about $300 in hardware and lumber.

Pros and cons of a passenger van (you can decide which are which and if it actually matters whether its a passenger van anyway):

The nice thing about retaining factory seats is you get seat belts for your passengers. We have kids so it was essential back then but its still good peace of mind. The disadvantage is the space under the seat is hard to use efficiently. We found plastic boxes that fit ok and jammed them in, using bungees or something equally inappropriate to hold them in place.

The plastic interior paneling isn't flat or straight so it wastes space and is awkward to attach things to the walls. I took some of the panels off with the intention of screwing plywood sheets to the walls with simple cutouts for the windows but it looked like it would be a tricky job to make it look reasonable around the windows, the back corners, the front where it meets the cab, and the roof. (And my bar is set pretty low.) So I put them back on again and made everything fit around it. The bed platform took some scribing and a jigsaw to fit cleanly. I think I reused holes in the floor (from removing seat hardware) to bolt stuff down where I could.

The table was handy but the column required a raised cone on the floor that prevented anybody from sleeping down there with any level of comfort. There weren't any walls to attach it to but there must be some better flush floor mounted options than the standard RV setup. Also its a bad idea to leave the table deployed when driving because sooner or later it flies off and hits something objectionable.

I put climbing bolt anchors everywhere in the roof where I removed a seatbelt and probably other places too. Very handy for all sorts of things including lines for damp smelly stuff to fester.

The large storage area under the bed and behind the seat was a huge plus because the stuff in there doesn't get in the way or (more importantly) fly around the van.

Good luck!!!
 

weezerbot

Glamping Society
Not a turbo diesel=slooooooooooooooooooow!
Don't drink the kool aid…..everyone warned me about buying a N/A Diesel van…how horribly slow it will be, etc. Now, perhaps I got lucky, but I do not consider my van slow. Is it a corvette? No. But I get 30+mpg and can pass 99% of the rigs out on the freeway cruising 70+….and mine is a 1.6. I thought about getting a Subaru converted van for a while, but at the end of the day I wanted the gas mileage, not horsepower. Driving this van is no different than it was driving our Tiger….perhaps even a little better since its a manual. If I'm in a hurry, then I just take my moto. Braaaaappp!! :roost:
 

Cole

Expedition Leader
Don't drink the kool aid…..everyone warned me about buying a N/A Diesel van…how horribly slow it will be, etc. Now, perhaps I got lucky, but I do not consider my van slow.
:
Most of the accounts I've read are about not even being able to hold 65 mph. Low elevation and mostly flat roads may be in your favor though. My own experience with NA diesels is that they are dogs...

My TDI Sprinter on the other hand hauls ***!!
 

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HoboJen

Adventurer
Don't drink the kool aid…..everyone warned me about buying a N/A Diesel van…how horribly slow it will be, etc. Now, perhaps I got lucky, but I do not consider my van slow. Is it a corvette? No. But I get 30+mpg and can pass 99% of the rigs out on the freeway cruising 70+….and mine is a 1.6. I thought about getting a Subaru converted van for a while, but at the end of the day I wanted the gas mileage, not horsepower. Driving this van is no different than it was driving our Tiger….perhaps even a little better since its a manual. If I'm in a hurry, then I just take my moto. Braaaaappp!! :roost:
well it would be easy to tell if i could test drive it... but that one is on ebay. thanks for throwing in your opinion - it's appreciated...
 

weezerbot

Glamping Society
Most of the accounts I've read are about not even being able to hold 65 mph. Low elevation and mostly flat roads may be in your favor though. My own experience with NA diesels is that they are dogs...
Yes, yes, you must assume I only drive around Phoenix in the van and never actually go anywhere else! ;) Safer that way.

I dig that older SMB posted above!
 
Skip that eBay Vanagon and just buy Nicks Vanagon. He's just over in Gig Harbor and it already has had the Subaru swap done to it.

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/122761-85-VW-Vanagon-Weekender-with-2-5-Subaru-swap
This is a great rig our new-to-us E350 replaces a subie vanagon. Subie Vanagon is so nice - reliability, a decent amount of power, decent mpg (we always got ~20mpg). And the weekender poptop is the best. You don't need all that kitchen stuff hoggin up room. Throw a butane burner on the table to heat your tea in the morning. And his price is right in line. B
 

HoboJen

Adventurer
This is a great rig our new-to-us E350 replaces a subie vanagon. Subie Vanagon is so nice - reliability, a decent amount of power, decent mpg (we always got ~20mpg). And the weekender poptop is the best. You don't need all that kitchen stuff hoggin up room. Throw a butane burner on the table to heat your tea in the morning. And his price is right in line. B
yeah i'm going to check it out tonight. His old thread also reveals everything he's put into it for cost.

my only concern is that there seems to be a lack of good storage space compared to other builds... I think I'll know how well it will work for me once I check it out...
 
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