Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our Next Adventure, Planning Edition

To the faithful who still follow our currently boring blog; I say Greetings!

To the new readers who have just stumbled here from the vast depths of the internet; Welcome to the great intermission between adventures.

It has been several months since we sold Chuck, it was sad to see him go, but we must continue; spurred ever onward by the relentless and dogged flow of time.


We have found Chuck's replacement!  The as-of-yet unnamed van is a 2004 Dodge Sprinter, here are the vitals.

Origin: Manufactured by Mercedes-Benz in Germany in late 2003

Drivetrain: 2.7L Inline-5 CDI (Common Rail Direct Injected) Turbo-Diesel | 154HP and 243lb-ft |  ULSD and LSD fuels | 5-speed automatic transmission

Body: Arctic White | 140" wheelbase | super high roof (72" interior hegiht) | 5 doors

Equipment: Base Cargo | A/C | Manual locks and windows | 2 seats | rubber and plywood floors

Condition: Good | 105,000 miles | fleet maintained | a few dents and scratches

We flew to Orlando Florida to pick it up and drove back to Tulsa over 2 days.  Besides some comfort issues the trip was uneventful (except for a bit of drama at the outset).

When we were first inspecting the van, I noticed that the turbo resonator was completely split!  This is a common failure point which results in low power and/or limp home mode (LHM).  Thankfully I had a roll of duct tape and the 2 tools required to change this part.

After applying a copious amount of 3M industrial duck-tape the van was mobile once more.

The resonator as we found it.

Some dirty hands for scale.

3M High Temp adhesive tape (great stuff!).

A really hot abandoned Florida parking lot.

We then proceeded to drive the van to a Freightliner dealer who had the part in stock!

mmmmmm fresh....

Then it was off to Walmart for a open space to park and swap.  Two bolts, a box of baby wipes, a well burned back and several clamps later, we were ready to roll!  Only a couple hours later than desired.  Not a bad delay all things considered.

Did I mention hot parking lots?

And we're off!

The rest of the drive was about 21 hours of uneventful-ness.  Although figuring out the climate control system was a bit of a challenge.  Something about European cars maybe?

We have been daily driving this van for several weeks now, and no issues to report (except really cold A/C). The plan as it sits, is to finish up some maintenance items, and a few minor fixes.  Then we will set upon doing upgrades.  Air suspension seats, cruise control, and power locks are at the top of the list.

Then, let the up-fitting commence!  Just thinking about the epic pile of hardware we will need is making me drool...  The final product will be something like Chuck, but so much more.  Giving a couple of engineers a blank slate, is a very bad idea (especially for the budget).  I hope to keep a somewhat detailed log of our build out progress.  The conversion clock is ticking, with approximately 18 months to completion, its going to be tight.

Until next time; make your plans big and keep your ideas grand.

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