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For The Love Of Sport – Van Life #2

The van project is in full swing, unintentionally.

I am laid up with some sort of back issue and parts came in for the van. There is some sort of noise going on undrneath the driverside that needs to be corrected, mainly for my sanity. A guy I work with, Nate (pretty much my 2nd father), is pretty incredible when it comes to mechanics and has helped me out a ton and is my go-to for anything with this van (or anything else machanics for that fact since I know about nothing when it comes to vehicles). In fact, he is who steered me toward an Astro. So the first plan of attack was to replace the sway bar bushings and links.

I am not one that likes to sit still so I decided to figure out how to take out the annoying seat belt that kept swaying and hitting everything that was hanging from the ceiling. There was a plastic cover that was forced off to reveal 2 bolts. Pretty easy. Thus lead into taking out ALL the seat belts (except the two up front of course). You would think this would be an easy process but some were in spaces that made even my little hands wish they were smaller.

The seatbelts were out and Nate was still working on the sway bar stuff. I had also purchased a new head unit and rear speakers but not all parts came in to install the head unit, so I figured I would hook up the rear speakers. I had never done this before. No time as now right? With the guidance of Nate, I learned something new today.

All these things needed to happen but here is the part I had no idea I was going to get into; ripping out the plastic on the inside of the van. This was actually a fairly fun part where it felt like the demolition stage of remodeling a house. I hesitated on doing this because let’s be real, my time is limited and now this means I have a bare bones van with no intention to complete this project for a long time. I went ahead with it.

Now that this is complete, my back is drastically yelling at me. I guess I still managed to do too much. But whatever. A lot got done today. The sway bar bushings were the wrong size, so this part of the project is not complete. The noise still exists even those the sway bar link has been replaced. Nate has a pretty good idea what will stop the noise but that will be discovered as time goes on. This is the fun (maybe some sarcasm) part of buying a used vehicle.

The sway bar bushings were the wrong size, so this part of the project is not complete. The noise still exists even though the sway bar link has been replaced. I am okay with this because they needed to be replaced. Less to go wrong when I actually hit the road. Nate has a pretty good idea what will stop the noise but that will be discovered as time goes on. This is the fun (maybe some sarcasm) part of buying a used vehicle.

The next thing I plan to do is build a crappy bed platform that I do not intend to keep. Here is my reasoning: I want to see if I want a bed platform that is out all the time or make a murphy bed. I feel I know what I want, but this will confirm my desire for the bed.

Also, Nate is going to build a custom roof rack for me. Honestly, the facory rack is good. Far better than I thought it would be. The point of something custom is to make a rack that would extend the bars to hold more boats. I also intend to lift the van, add larger tires and take off the factory running boards. I have found truck running board that I think are bada$$ but they would need to be fabricated.

Exciting things on the horizon for this van project. Any input is greatly appreciated as the next real step is figure out the power needs for this van and then really, I can install the subfloor and start to make this van look more like an apartment than a vehicle.

Crystal.Gustin

I started kayaking in Wisconsin of all places, because this is where I am from. I then moved to San Diego and took on kayak surfing along with heading to the Kern River when water was available. I then made the move to Asheville, NC and have been hooked on this sport since my Wisconsin days. With whatever it is that you do, do it because you love it, not because society tells you should or for other outside factors. Don't simply exist, live!

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