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2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans
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shagginwagon83
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:33 am    Post subject: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

How did you do this year with your van upgrades/maintenance? Did you camp a lot? Did you buy another van just for the west coast? Brag about it here.

Top 3 upgrades:
1. 150aH LiFePo4 battery
2. CLK wheels with General Grabbers
3. Truck mirrors

2021 plans:
1. EJ22 (somewhat in progress)
2. Electric steering
3. Tint the windows (and finally install my new window seals).

I camped probably 30-50 nights. Had some great times.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:46 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

Hid in the house. You must be younger. Wink I've been addressing things on the syncro I'm building. Full AC restoration was probably the main task. Probably start getting the kitchen working next.

Looking forward to vaccines and my wife retires in the spring. Be the first time in our lives we can get on the road without having to get home for work. Looking forward to that.
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

2020 upgrades:
* Fiamma awning
* Inexpensive rifle box for luggage bin to stow all the awning accessories
* Made new rainfly
* Ramp levelers (still have blocks for serious leveling, but ramps are quick and easy)
* Removed Dometic fridge

2020 trips:
* BBB at Lake Havasu
* Lake Mohave
* Utah
* Wyoming
* Colorado
* New Mexico

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2021 plans:
* Re-tint the windows (ancient stuff is peeling off and turning purple)
* Replace all the tires & get alloy spare
* Rear disk brake conversion
* Drive to Montana and come back via Idaho
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GoEverywhere
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

Bought my first ever Vanagon after years of dreaming of them in September, a 1980 ASI Riviera.

Finally joined TheSamba after lurking for eons.

Pulled all the carpets, replaced with fake hardwoods.
Reupholstered the seats and bed.
Rewired the gauges to get them all to function.
Rewired and rebuilt the fridge, stove, and propane heater to get them to function.
Rebuilt the house battery system and wired it to charge from the alternator when running.
Took it out for it's very first run in mid-October.
Blew the engine.
Limped it home at 20mph 60 miles on 3 cylinders.
Bought two 2.0L aircooled engines off craigslist and robbed parts to rebuild the engine in it.
Tore down the other aircooled to begin building a fresh motor to replace the one currently in it.
Back on the road in November.
Started collecting parts to add air-ride.
Added a stereo to the van, and a ham radio for boondocking.
Enjoyed the hells outa the whole experience.
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:23 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

2020 was a different year compared to most:

Using the van differently...
- We put less than 5,000 miles on the van compared to 10 - 15K most years. The van was used for less than 30 daily commute trips (40 miles RT) compared to 150 or so most years. Recreational travel was primarily limited to direct routes from Seattle to Idaho v. meandering camping trips.
- Using the van as a WFH office, I've spent more time in it than ever. 200 office days x 8 hours = 1,600 hours wfh in the van. The van has been spectacular in this regard: a comfy bench seat with a good table near a stove (hot tea water) and a fridge.

Updates to the Van
- Warranty transmission rebuild: after a crappy rebuild at the start of 2019, the trans was sent to a reputable rebuilder for what appears to be a quality rebuild. Edit: The reputable trans rebuilder (IMHO) was German Transaxle in Bend. Ken and Kateka provided outstanding service and the results are noticeably better than the previous rebuild. Thank goodness we have several trans shops that people here trust and speak highly of. The shop who R&R'd the trans and jobbed the work was outstanding in taking responsibility for the first crappy rebuild and paying for the warranty rebuild.
- New wheels and tires: Replaced 215/65 R16 Nokian WRC3 tires on generic alloy wheels with 215/75 R15 BFG KO2s on 15" steel wheels. So far, the BFGs are equally quiet and handle nearly as well. I believe the Nokians are better in snow though due to their siping.
- New Renogy 80 watt solar panels and a Victron 500 watt inverter required for my pig of a laptop
- Countless smaller updates: Vanistan air control; aux. taillights.; Vanaroo hatch storage, interior hatch release, etc.

2021 priorities...
- LiFePo house battery update when I'm finally convinced they're the best things since sliced bread (that'll be easy). Very Happy
- Possible rear disc brakes, Zetec exhaust manifold updates, etc.

Goofing around with tire chains in the snow...
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Hauling a 1,300 lb trailer incl. motorcycle across WA...
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Seam rust Wink ...
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Thanks to the Samba for making it easier to keep an old van running.
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Current: 1990 Westy Camper - Bostig RG4, 2wd, manual trans w/Peloquin, NAHT high-top, Flash Silver, seam rust, bondo, etc., etc.

Past: 1985 Westy Camper - 1.9 wbx, 2wd, manual trans, Merian Brown, (sold after 17 years to Northwesty who converted it to a Syncro).


Last edited by jimf909 on Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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tjet Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

jimf909 wrote:
2020 was a different year compared to most:

Using the van differently......Using the van as a WFH office, I've spent more time in it than ever. 200 office days x 8 hours = 1,600 hours wfh in the van. The van has been spectacular in this regard: a comfy bench seat with a good table near a stove (hot tea water) and a fridge....


That's really a great use for these already useful vehicles.

I'd like to eventually get mine setup like that to use as a spare room or home office.

Yeah I really like the 15" steelies too Cool
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mikemtnbike
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

Very limited camping, maybe 8-10 nights. Cancelled lots of plans d/t covid restrictions and the fact that I'm high risk to others (work in an ER), left last effort early d/t the lack of social distancing, masks at the venue.

Anyway, mechanically, main highlight was a full-on suspension overhaul, all bushings,schwenk springs all that. Very nice.

I turn 50 in 2021 and hope to do a two week trip around or about my birthday, early November. Looking at either FL or working my way over to Bentonville AR Or, may head to the Upper Peninsula earlier in the year, I grew up in Northern MI and really want to go there in my van.
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:26 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

What did I do to the van in 2020?
Dang what didn't I do to my van in 2020.
January of this year I started to reassemble the whole thing after many rebuilds and upgrades.
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At this point I have rebuilt and replaced nearly every mechanical component on it.
Hope to drive it for the first time before the end of the year.

Obviously I have not camped in it yet but strangely enough (or maybe not) I've probably done more camping this year than nearly any other year.

2021 plans:

Moving from Ohio to Colorado in March so a lot has to happen between now and then.
Unfortunately one of those things is thinning out the vehicle herd a little bit.
Alas the 2wd van will probably be on the chopping block.
I will drive it as much as I can to work out the bugs but then I will probably have to post it up for sale along with my old Jetta that I built for the twisties.

Beyond getting the house ready for sale I also have to do some work on my 4x4 van so it is at least rolling so it's not as much of a trick to move it and get it on a trailer.

With other distractions out of the way the hope is to get the 4x4 van driving in the first half of 2021.
Of course I say that I have eliminated some distractions but then I went and bought an old Tacoma in the hopes that I can build me a rig to do some more serious off road exploration once I get settled out west.

Going to try the 4x4 van on a bunch of it but it was never really designed for technical, rocky terrain.

2021 is going to be a big year for me.
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SCM
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

I installed a South African grill and did a bunch of camping within a few hours of home.

Next year I'm going to address some leaky evap system hoses and some tune-up items. We're kicking around the idea of a 1.5 - 2 week mountain bike trip around southwest UT/CO but I'm not sure if that's going to be a van trip or not. We really enjoyed using our Alltrack for a road trip for once over T-giving so we may do that again.

Other than that, I'm sure we'll do plenty of weekend trips close to home as we always do. Hopefully my wife's escrow job slows down a bit to allow that. Real estate in Montana, and the Rockies in general, has become absolutely insane.
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cellerdoor
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 4:22 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

Had the van out of the garage only 3 days this past year and now its resting comfortably for the winter.

Had big camping plans and reservations but Covid shut that all down.

Planning on brakes and suspension update over this winter and then back to camping next year. Looking forward to my first tailgate at WVU where my son started this past year.
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dougass
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

2020: no camping trips, some progress on loose ends...
Happy purchases:
-vangaroo
-Gary Lee ladder
-Marco Mansi 1.25 rockers (purchased 2 years ago before I got married, installed them 2 weeks ago)

2021 wish list:
-rear wheel bearings
-tires
-1 camping trip
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Syncronoid
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:20 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

So many upgrades to speak of, it was an expensive year (but who cares, what the Syncro wants, the Syncro gets!). Here are the main items.....

1) R&R Front Diff and Trans with New 5.43 R&P's, New Mainshaft, Porsche Gears and Aluminum Billet Gear Carrier (GTA and GT Gears)
2) New (Reman) Alternator
3) New Rear Disc Brake setup
4) New RMW Aluminum Coolant Reservoir
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:24 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

tjet wrote:
jimf909 wrote:
2020 was a different year compared to most:

Using the van differently......Using the van as a WFH office, I've spent more time in it than ever. 200 office days x 8 hours = 1,600 hours wfh in the van. The van has been spectacular in this regard: a comfy bench seat with a good table near a stove (hot tea water) and a fridge....


That's really a great use for these already useful vehicles.

I'd like to eventually get mine setup like that to use as a spare room or home office.

Yeah I really like the 15" steelies too Cool


We have a small house so two folks working in it all day was getting cramped. Plus, I like the commute to the van where I can leave work at the end of the day. We also use the van as a guest room. First, the house is small, second, most of our guests would prefer to sleep in the van even if we had a 3,000 sq ft house. Like grandparents visiting kids just to see the grandkids, I think we have visitors who stop just to camp out in the van parked in the driveway (birds of a feather and all... Very Happy ).
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Abscate wrote:

Do not get killed, do not kill others.


Current: 1990 Westy Camper - Bostig RG4, 2wd, manual trans w/Peloquin, NAHT high-top, Flash Silver, seam rust, bondo, etc., etc.

Past: 1985 Westy Camper - 1.9 wbx, 2wd, manual trans, Merian Brown, (sold after 17 years to Northwesty who converted it to a Syncro).
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:42 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

Bought a lot of parts...no time to install them!
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ZsZ
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:21 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

This year the main upgrade was finding and installing the poptop roof that I was hunting for around 12 years. Beside that minor repairs, TLC and preventative maintenance like suspension bushings before the state exam, brake fluid change, coolant change, coolant hose change, rust preventation, etc. Next year some rust repair, paint, winscreen change and window re-tint is planned beside the neverending story of fine-tuning the mtdi (or giving up and converting to e-tdi)

Travelwise this year was under the expectations. One longer trip collecting the roof, a week long holiday to the Czech rep. and a few weekend trips. Definively need more than that in the next year. Although the end of the strict restrictions is not visible yet, so only dreaming instead of planning.
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syncropatrick
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 3:09 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

2020.
Slept in the van for two nights on the drive to test the OE multivan RnR bed I'd installed the previous year.
Finished the engine swap which'd taken years.
Had a bunch of structural and cosmetic welding done.
Taxed, insured, MOT'd to get it road legal.
Drove it for first time in 5 1/2 years!
Not adventured in it, as have been working from home for 9 months and barely left the compound except for victual shopping, due to covid restrictions and being a good citizen. I work in health care IT and hear scary stories, plus our tiny island nation is at breaking strain from covid.

2021.
Get vaccinated.
Install new homemade camper interior.
Install new heating system.
Get it registed with DVLA as a campervan (insurance benefits).
Get new engine registered with DVLA, and remove LPG fuel registration (meaning it can in the Chunnel).
Have a bloody holiday away in it. Dunno where, don't care - just need an adventure.
Endlessly fiddle/improve - opinion depends if it's my wife or I answering!
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pnwkayaker
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:10 am    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

2020:

a. Overhauled house battery system: new GW Li battery, new charger, new DC-DC/solar controller (very happy with overall performance)
b. installed rear-view camera (awesome mod)
c. Replaced dead VSS sensor in my Subaru conversion (no more sudden engine hiccups while driving in the highway)
c. Just finished rust treatment and paint work (needed due to the winter salt that attacked our van in our ski trips)
d. A week-long Idaho camping trip with family and a couple more extra camping days
e. COVID cancelled lots of big camping plans this year, due to closed border and closed campgrounds (plus we were super cautious too)


2021

a. Hoping for some extended camping trips (and many) to compensate for 2020
b. Remount solar panel using Thule tracks (easy to remove), and perhaps install a second one
c. Need to give a hard look to a potential gasket problem in my engine (every year there's always a big-ticket item!)
d. Have lots of additional mods to make, just need to prioritize them (must-do, have-to-do, want-to-do)
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doctorsemaphore
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 12:02 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

OK, Brandon...I'll bite on this:
2020: Blew my syncro trans while waiting for inspection in line at inspection station in Vidal, California, while on a 9,000 mile, four month trip from Maryland to Joshua Tree, Ca. (oh yea...It was my birthday, too). 130 mile tow to my old Joshua tree desert cabin my girlfriend and I own (thank you AAA 200 mile tow!!). This, followed by several months locked down in a half-built, drafty, off grid homestead cabin due to covid...while waiting five weeks for a trans rebuild!
My girlfriend, Michele and I attended Busses by the Bridge Az., High Country Bus Festival NC., Vanagons in the Valley Pa., Granny Groses Busses Pa.

2020: replaced dual battery bank in kind (batteries getting old), replaced FAILED new flexible solar panel with conventional type (roof mount), new OEM shocks all way around.

Note: 2020 was a year of adventure...and that is what I thrive on!
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campism
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:46 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

No camping for us this year, but with the donation of our old minivan the Westy stepped up to (occasional) daily driver status. That required a trailer hitch in order to perform minivan tasks so I added this item and then bought a shiny new hitch ball.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Instead of going camping the Westy has instead hauled gravel and mulch and lumber and compost and firewood.
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Wolfram
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 10:25 pm    Post subject: Re: 2020 Year in review - upgrades, trips, 2021 plans Reply with quote

A tragic year.
Unable to get from New Zealand to the East Bay of SF in May to resurrect the van and continue our journey.
2021 is still looking grim, and we have now decided to sell our 20-year owned van as it's all getting too hard.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


End of a memorable era.
On the other hand: alive.
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Either van-less on Waiheke Island in New Zealand where we spend the Southern summer, or Wolfram is in Seattle/Olympia in storage.
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