Sunday, July 1, 2012

Plans for the Van

When I bought the flea van I told myself I would not accessorize it.  It was a van with a job to do and when its job was done it would be going away.

* cough *

So as I mentioned a couple of posts ago I just got back a little while ago after completely emptying the van.  That was so I could get out there and work on it.  I didn’t notice that it had a roof vent in the photos of it on Craigslist.  Once I did notice the vent I didn’t realize how badly it was installed.

Can you guess the problem from this photo?

Why yes!  The id10t that installed it mounted the vent on a stiffening rib!  I didn’t notice it until the first time it rained after I’d bought the van…

“The captain wired in: He had water coming in 
and the good ship and crew were in peril.”  
 - Gordon Lightfoot The wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald

My plan, now that I can get at it, is to remove the vent entirely and cover over the hole in the roof with sheet metal.  To that end, last week I bought a nice piece of steel from Lowes.  Yesterday on our way back from the barn an hour and a half away we stopped at Harbor Freight.  There I bought the 30” bending brake.  That set me back $29.95 with no tax because the store’s in New Hampshire.  They had a less expensive break that is 18” long but you only save $2- and get a significantly less useful tool while you are at it.

The right way to do this job would be to for the steel to match the roof exactly and weld it in.  I even have an arc welder that would be perfect for the job.  But I don’t know how to use it.  I don’t think the first bead of weld I ever attempt should be in the roof of my van…

So instead the plan is to form the steel as a patch to go over the hole in the roof and seal it in place with silicone and secure it with pop rivets.  Not ideal and not pretty.  But if it stops the leak I will be satisfied.

I may eventually reinstall the vent – back on the flat portion of the roof that is there for the purpose of installing this kind of vent.  It is clearly visible in the picture and obvious that that is what it is there for to anyone with half a brain.

Please pardon my irritation.  I'm just a little annoyed by the whole thing.

Another thing that may get installed in this van is my truck air horn.  I have a lovely (and loud!) chrome trumpet air horn that came off of a Peterbuilt.  I also have a compressor, accumulator tank and valve set that came from another air horn that I have in storage.  That one is a dual trumpet horn, but only one trumpet works.  And it’s kind-of ugly.

If the van had A/C (the ad in Craigslist said it did – the lack of an A/C compressor in the engine compartment says otherwise…) I might do more with it.  I like having something with this kind of cargo space.  But its gas mileage is horrible, it needs a CV axle and it has over a quarter of a million miles on the clock.

If I was going to accessorize it here’s what it would get:

  1. Steering wheel cover
It’s like the previous owner worked at a garage all day but never learned how to wash his hands!  (Probably the same twit that installed the vent.)
  1. The air horn
  2. The vent reinstalled properly this time
  3. Window vent/shades
  4. replacement seats that don’t feel like I’m going to roll off onto the floor as I’m going around a corner
  5. a trailer hitch so I could tow my boat with the van
  6. CB Radio and Scanner
  7. 12v fridge

With those changes – and the CV axle and a couple of lesser maintenance items taken care of – this could be a really nice van.  Will any of it actually happen?  I'll let you know...

UPDATE: I just removed a blank video link from the top of this post.  WTF is that all about?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like the flea time is over. Shame!

HerrBGone said...

I haven't entirely decided. But I am leaning that way. There are other options that I'm looking at. I'll keep you posted.