The Fun Hog Build Thread: 2007 Chevy Express AWD

On Belay

Observer
Water tank arrived yesterday and I was able to do a quick test fit. It tucks nicely into the cubby space I built. This space is obstructed by the kitchen cabinet in the front and rear drawers in the back. I could have designed an access hatch from the top to use it for storage but an otherwise awkward spot made a perfect location to store 15 gallons of water. Once the cabinet is painted I'll pad out the dead space on the sides with foam.


 

On Belay

Observer
The last several months have been a bit of whirlwind and I've been rather remiss in my updates. Scooby is finished and I've been living in the van full time and traveling since June. In the end, I'm very happy with the result. There are a few small things I would potentially change if I had to do-over, but overall it's been wonderful. The project ended up being a far bigger undertaking than I initially anticipated, had I known then what I know now I'm not sure I would have taken on building a rig versus buying a finished van but ultimately I'm grateful to have a rig built my personal needs and preferences. I've learned a lot along the way and have grown as result of taking on 99% of the project myself. Now it it's time to get out and explore and enjoy the vanlife.

Raptor-Lining the cabinets:



Finishing the interior and paneling:





I used 3M spray adhesive to attach a layer of Reflectix then a layer of tan Hullliner carpet, and finally the cedar tongue and groove.







I then installed the LED puck lights and Maxxfan trim.

Cabinets:

With the paneling installed and the last of the wiring finalized I was able to complete the final install of the freshly painted cabinet carcasses. The bed cabinet in held down with 4 10mm stainless bolts to riv-nuts in the floor and the kitchen with 2 10mm bolts.



Freshly painted cabinets with a birch butcher block top on the kitchen cabinet (sold as a workbench top).





You can also see the mounting location for the Propex furnace in the above photo.



I also installed an AC Affinity AV cabinet fan with an automatic temperature trigger in the kitchen cabinet to keep airflow with the Truckfridge condenser, solar controller, and furnace all mounted in the same space.



Water Tank Fitting:



15 gallon RV tank with the fittings installed.



Mounting location. This utilizes what would otherwise be dead space obstructed by the kitchen cabinet.



Cover panel installed.



Inlet and vent holes tucked away behind the drivers side rear door. This location keeps them tucked away cleanly and restricts access when the doors are closed, so that you need a key to fill or access the water supply. The upper hole is original the lower had to be drilled.



I used a stainless garboard drain plug for my water fill and a differential breather vent plug for my vent.





Water hose routing on the inside, eventually covered by the wheel well wing.
 

On Belay

Observer
Hooking up house batteries:







With my house batteries mounted in the factory spare tire location it was easiest to run the wiring through into the vehicle through the rear pillar. I modified the factory cover with some bulkhead fittings and pillar with some holes and grommets and ran the wire. I have a Rigrunner fuse panel for 12v distribution and an inverter for AC power.







My parents were getting rid of an old dishwasher that had a stainless face so I recycled the metal into switch covers.





Working lights were a big mental victory.

Drawer Install:

Then came the time to install all of the drawers. It was rather painless but I had to clearance the rear drawers a bit to fit and it quickly became apparent the tiny levers on the 500lb locking drawer slides on the rear offered insufficient grip to pull the drawers open so i added spring loaded handles intended for road cases.








Propane:

The final project was installing the custom propane hoses, regulator, and instake and exhaust for the Propex furnace. Which ultimately required dropping the propane tank, which sucked.


 

On Belay

Observer
And here's the finished rig:











And a few from my initial travels:








I've only really made one mod to the initial build and that was adding Suburban rear leafs. The factory leafs with the lift block were really sagging under the weight of the cabinets and all of my gear so I went with the larger spring pack. It's the only item on the entire project I didn't do myself, on the road with no vehicle lift I opted to have Fort Collin 4x4 Center do the install.

Here's how Scooby sits with the new rear leafs:



See y'all out on the road!
 

whith

Member
Good work and a great looking van. Love seeing it out in the wild being used. How long could you smell the fumes from the liner on your cabinets after they were installed? Love the idea, just not sure about the off gassing.
 

On Belay

Observer
Good work and a great looking van. Love seeing it out in the wild being used. How long could you smell the fumes from the liner on your cabinets after they were installed? Love the idea, just not sure about the off gassing.
The cabinets were out of the vehicle for a week and a half after painting. After installing the fumes were noticiceable for about a week (it was also high 90's) after the van had been sealed up during the day. By the time I was actually living in the van it had been about a month since painting and was not apparent at all. I did use the low VOC compound Raptor for the interior.
 

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Raul

Adventurer
Great job, beautiful van. Great idea covering the metal with carpet before the cedar planks.
 

JakeC

Member
I just went through your entire build and your craftsmanship is impressive. What a beautiful build, and it definitely gave me some ideas for mine. Cant wait to see where you take it.
 

On Belay

Observer
Got to enjoy some good beer and meet some other cool vanlifers at Upslope Brewing's Apres Day van rally. If anyone's a Front Range local and wants to check Scooby out we'll be out at the Van-Demonium rally at the American Alpine Club in Golden on Saturday!

IMG_3829.JPG
 

snoozy

New member
Beautiful job! Wow!

One question: When installing the Maxxfan, how did you deal with the ridges in the roof metal? Extra butyl tape? Extra plastic to fill in the lower portions? Some kind of premade adapter?
 

On Belay

Observer
Beautiful job! Wow!

One question: When installing the Maxxfan, how did you deal with the ridges in the roof metal? Extra butyl tape? Extra plastic to fill in the lower portions? Some kind of premade adapter?
I did an extra layer of butyl tape and covered everything with Eternabond tape. At the time Hein didn't have an adapter for the Express. I gave them my measurements to work from so they may have something out now.
 
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