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 > My Chevrolet Express van Class B- camper

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Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 12/21/14 05:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been camping in my 1990 Chevrolet Silverado Blazer 2-door for the last 20 years. When I removed the back seat there was just enough room for a 3/4 sized (Hollywood, as some people called them) mattress to fit between the wheel wells and from the back of the console to the tailgate.
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After all those years with my wife and I getting older, she decided we needed a little more room so she found me a 2001 Chevrolet Express van with low mileage on the internet. After checking it out and taking it for a test drive we bought it on the spot. It was a nice passenger conversion LT model with all the bells and whistles available in 2001. I will chronicle the changes I made to transform it into my Class B- motorhome in the next few postings. I call it my Class B- (B minus) motorhome because it is just a regular van without the raised roof.


Camping at Custer State Park, SD in February, 2015.
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Camping and visiting Scott's Bluff National Monument, NE in October, 2014.
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* This post was last edited 07/26/19 07:43am by Black'95 *   View edit history

azrving

Oatman

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Posted: 12/21/14 05:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks great for an 2001 but then, your Blazer looks fantastic too! I guess I lived in a very salty state.

Neverhappy

Europe

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Posted: 12/21/14 10:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wonder why you don't buy for the same price a nice old comfortable rv


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rexlion

Broken Arrow OK

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Posted: 12/21/14 10:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We don't know what the OP paid. A class C or B of the same price probably would be a fair bit older than the van, I'd guess.

Those full size vans are plenty useful. My dad rigged his Chevy van for sleeping, back in the '80s.


Mike G.
--for now, using a cargo trailer for camping--
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... (Ecclesiastes 3)
Yosemite Valley view from Taft Point


dks

Mississauga

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Posted: 12/22/14 05:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will be very interested to see how you design your RV. Good luck with the project and please keep us posted.

Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 12/22/14 05:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Neverhappy wrote:

I wonder why you don't buy for the same price a nice old comfortable rv


I already have a 23 foot rear bath trailer that I use for most of my summer camping. I used the Blazer and now the van for my long distance trips (1500-3000 miles) to the east coast or west coast, etc. I wanted a vehicle to tow the camper to our local in state camping spots as well as go on long distance trips. Much more fun going in the Blazer or van than pulling a trailer 2000 miles.

* This post was edited 08/28/16 06:30am by Black'95 *

Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 12/22/14 06:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rjxj wrote:

Looks great for an 2001 but then, your Blazer looks fantastic too! I guess I lived in a very salty state.


I had the Blazer since new. Put 132,000 miles on it and the last time I had it on the lift the local dealer told me it had no rust underneath. It was always garaged, seldom driven during the winter (I have a Jeep for that) and always serviced and repaired at the local Chevrolet dealer to tip-top shape. Got a good price for it when I sold it so it didn't cost much to upgrade to the newer van. Happy wife - Happy life!

* This post was edited 08/28/16 06:31am by Black'95 *

drsolo

Milwaukee

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Posted: 12/22/14 06:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I got a conversion van, gutted it and put in what I wanted. I like being able to stand up inside. I call mine an "RVan" not quite an RV, no longer just a van.


Ingrid and Dan Retired teachers from Milwaukee, WI
1992 GMC Vandura conversion


Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 12/22/14 07:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My first modification to my van after removing the rear seats was to build a bed frame/storage area. I divided it in half front to back. The front area consists of two shelves. Each, the top and the bottom, has space for four Shopko canvas boxes 6" x 6" x 12" and eight 6" x 12" x 12" canvas boxes. That gave my wife 24 locations for storage.
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Below are the canvas boxes from one of the shelves. The second shelf holds the same amount of boxes for a total of 24. My wife had to make a picture map and an Excel spreadsheet to remember all the stuff she put in the boxes and their locations.
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The rear half of the underbead storage is accessible from the rear doors of the van and I consider it my "basement" storage. It is divided into two lower chambers and two shelves on top. One stores our green popup tent that we occassionally use. The other shelf stores our blue rain tarp that we use with clamps and poles. Three 12" x 12" x 12" canvas boxes provide more storage for my outdoor items. In the second picture you can see the storage behind the canvas boxes and the LED light below the top shelf. I store our campstove, tire step, extension cords, and other outdoor items here.
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The right edge of the bed storage has special hooks for storage of my blue rain tarp poles and our two custom made hiking sticks.
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Here is an early build picture of the bed frame before I added the top to hold the mattress. You can see that the front half is for my wife's canvas storage boxes and the back half is for my tent storage shelf, tarp storage shelf, area for hooks for walking sticks, and underneath is my large "basement" area accessible from the rear van doors.
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All of the windows, from the front windshield to the back door windows are covered with Reflectix insulation. I cut it a little larger than the windows so that I can just press it into place and it will stay there. When not used it is stored on the left side of the bed frame, out of sight. The picture shows the Reflectix used in my old Blazer as I haven't taken van pictures of it yet. It insulates and makes it totally dark inside at night for peaceful sleep.
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The next posting will cover other small lighting and electronic changes I made to the van.

* This post was last edited 07/28/19 09:22am by Black'95 *   View edit history

stan909

San Bernardino,Ca

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Posted: 12/22/14 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A reversible powered roof vent could make living inside even more comfortable. Put it right above the bed to help cool you while sleeping in warmer weather. Spend the little extra and get the thermostat kind. You will of course need a deep cycle battery (AGM, non gassing) and isolator to charge it from the alternator. Do you plan on a fridge or ice chest?. Thetford Curve portapotti would really wow the wife and be living in high style. Very interested in DIY projects. Thanks.

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