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Old 12-20-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
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Year: 1973
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1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

Alrighty, I figure I should do this right and give some pictures. I'm pretty pleased with this purchase and really excited to finally be doing this! Please, of course, feel free to tell me I'm being a dummy or offer some suggestions. Pictures always help as well, since I'm not so good with words writing reading.

8 days ago, my wife and I dropped a little money on a 1973 Chevy Step Van. Supposedly the guy's dad purchased it new in '73 and it had had a lot of nice improvements: power steering, new brakes, new exhaust with some dope chrome tailpipes, awning (that we found out is broken), spare gas tank that can be used for water (that we found out actually had gas in it), rebuilt engine, new battery, new tires - all in all, very mechanically sound. That has always been my biggest worry. I can take care of the interior and fittings, I just want something I trust driving and not stranding me thousands of miles from home.

Here she is is (although she feels more like a he.. might be the square jaw on the front).





Here's a sampling of the interior - carpeted walls, weird treated wood beams, and beds made of grubby couch cushions. Several beers and a crowd of encouraging people got us to start ripping in to it pretty fast before I could photograph it properly.


This is part way through the ripping out. The walls are covered in a super heavy concrete backer board.


Also, sorry for the junk quality of these pictures. I DO have a DSLR, but I've always been unprepared and we've been moving a mile a minute on ripping it all out.

Quality taillight and hitch assist wiring. I've pulled so much chopped up extension cord off of this van.


Here's my wife working on the glue that held backer board to the wheels wells. As you see more pictures, it looks like my wife does all the work, I just sit around and take pictures. It's kind of like that, but I'm on the hook for power and water, so you'll see more of me later on


Found a lot of rot in the back half. The back doors were held shut with a piece of angle iron, which created a beautiful little ledge for water to pour in when it rained. Brilliant. Thankfully, this is a big aluminum box and everything got scraped up and just had to dry overnight.


Flooring bracing with insulation starting to go in. We wanted to keep the diamond plate up at the front, but it was such a mess, it wasn't worth seeing.


End of another long day.


Beginning the metal priming. The door pockets, metal above the driver, and rear doors are getting a coat of primer and then a lovely color Glidden calls Fresh Guacamole.




A billion rivets holding backer board to the door were ground off and fixed up with bondo. Looks pretty nice now, even better with paint.


Super high-tech power cable management. Cabinetry and shelves will cover this up and it was impossible to get across the ceiling, so everything's just zipped up around the top of the walls.


Messy, but it's all in there. Flooring is going in as soon as we get a toilet and tank. Sooooon.


Got our sweet Camp Chef stove with oven. It'll be inside and available for burner use, but we'll take it outside for the oven. Still trying to figure that one out.


Over the next few days we'll get a sink put in with fresh water lines, the toilet and dump system installed, power finished up for the 110V and 12V systems, the driver area spruced up with some 12V outlets, fans, sweet sweet LED underlighting (we're so classy), flooring, walls, and figuring out a bed.

Thanks for looking!
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:03 PM   #2
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

thanks for the pics
and by the way..."are you lazy making your wife do all the work?while you lounge with camera in one hand and beer in the other?"
J/K (you deserved it tho' )

keep up the good work
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:42 PM   #3
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

Lookin' Good! --- But I get envious every time I see a unit that is flat walled & square. Compound curves complicate things about a gazillion times. Keep up the good work and keep the pix a'comin'.
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:46 PM   #4
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
Lookin' Good! --- But I get envious every time I see a unit that is flat walled & square. Compound curves complicate things about a gazillion times. Keep up the good work and keep the pix a'comin'.
I second that, all of it, lol
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:49 PM   #5
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

BTW --- the concrete backer board is about the weirdest wall treatment I've ever heard of on a coach or conversion. Right up there with aluminum foil hats weird.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:27 PM   #6
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

My only suggestion is that you weld that genny in lest it grow legs and go walkies! Tango, whata ya got against aluminum foil hats--some of my best friends wear them and most of them are still free to come and go as they please as long as they don't leave the grounds
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:11 AM   #7
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

Nice job on the van. I want a wife like yours.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:44 AM   #8
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by richlindquist
Wow, you guys are doing great work! Keep the updates coming.

About "the spare gas tank you can use for water" - don't. Water tanks and gas tanks are very different creatures.

What are your plans when you get done?

Rich

Yeaaaaah. Definitely not doing that. It was a suggestion by the previous owner who didn't really know what he was talking about. I'll probably rip out the gas tank and use the location for a fresh water tank at some point in the future, but for now, I'm happy running off of city water and shore power.

Plans..well, this is step 1 of several to get to full timing. We'd like to start getting out of the city on a regular basis and use this as our travel rig for a while. It's far too small for us to live in for longer than a week or two, but is a great learning experience. I think when we get finished we'll have some new insight in to how to do the next build in a bigger rig. We've never owned an RV before, so we're learning the systems from scratch by installing.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:49 AM   #9
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
BTW --- the concrete backer board is about the weirdest wall treatment I've ever heard of on a coach or conversion. Right up there with aluminum foil hats weird.
It was so HEAVY! We probably shed 300 lbs by ripping out that plus the "crosstimbers."
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:55 PM   #10
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Re: 1973 Chevy Step Van Conversion

300 pounds huh? That defeated the whole idea behind a "lightweight aluminum body" concept for sure. Which gets me to thinking about MPG so...what is the engine/tranny combo in that darlin'? (Personally, I think converted step vans are very cool.)
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