figured I’ll do a quick write up on my van’s journey.

This is the day I brought her home, roughly 6 years ago (parked next to our 95 SW):

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It was in great shape other than needing a coat of paint (yay paint peel) and valve cover gaskets.

So I started in:

Started sanding her out, smoked out the lights, and had my friend airbrush a set of Spirit wheels I had painted to match:

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I kept on with body work, getting everything prepped, then built the push bar and laid on the black:

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With the black laid on, I finished prepping and pulled her in to finish the paint work:

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Believe it or not, the paint was originally Ford Shadow Gray and Jet Black. We added Blue pearl to the clear coat, which completely changed both colors.

Then got my bar back on, cut down the roof rack cross bars, and painted it to match:

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Then I (the wife actually) decided it needed a snorkel to complete the look. Not being one to have anything that isn’t functional, I set to building my Snorkel:

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Made a “mold” out of hardware cloth, then wrapped it in parchment paper, and coated it with fiberglass (I will use fiberglass mesh instead of filler next time):

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Snorkel was sorted out, so I got it mounted:

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I don’t have a good pic of the intake, but it was routed like this, minus the cone filter:

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I drove it like that for over a year, daily to work, out on weekends, beating on trails, etc when the transmission finally started acting up at 195k. I was going to have it built, but then I stumbled across this (107k original):

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So I tore the driveline out, freshened it up with some newer top end parts (more power), mild porting, all new gaskets, and a new look:

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With the drivetrain ready, I set to work tearing mine apart for the transplant:

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Which also required swapping the complete engine bay harness (which we did not save from the donor):

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Got the harness swapped and set to work installing the new drivetrain:

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I completed the whole drivetrain swap in a day. I drove it to work Monday, took Tuesday off, drove it to work Wednesday!

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Since then we’ve been enjoying driving it. It’s an absolute riot with it’s newfound power, while still being a perfectly reliable daily. I’ve been adding things here and there ever since, most recently adding lights:

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I still have to rebuild my snorkel, as my old setup won’t work with the new drivetrain, but I already have a plan for that.

Started into rust repair this fall:

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While I was at doing body work, I needed new tires, so I decided to get my wheels redone before having tires mounted:

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I used this to get them stripped, worked like a dream:

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Then I started laying down color:

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Once they were dry I got my new tires mounted:

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This is the current state of her for the winter.

Had a local shop do some dual exhaust for me, which took some sorting to get the sound right, but now it’s done and sounds perfect:

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Also working on building a 2" lift after looking at her “lifted” at my friend’s garage:

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So come spring I’ll be installing the Spacers I’ve designed/built for the front, adding a leaf+Spacer to the rear. Once the suspension is out of the way, I’ll be finishing up body work, then getting her resprayed.

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1/14/19 Update:

Got ambitious last week while I was slow at work, so I designed and made up my strut spacers for my lift:

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Then I ended up off Friday, so I decided it was the perfect time to dig into the lift. I started with the rear:

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Got everything tore apart, then added 2" blocks:

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I was planning on adding a leaf at this point too, but my springs are looking a little sketchy, so I decided on just getting new rears instead. Here it is with the rear all done:

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Then I set into the front:

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Got the strut out, compressed the spring so I could pull the top mount, then knocked out the studs and welded in longer bolts:

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Got everything back together:

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So far I like it, drove it around some this weekend and to work this morning. It’s a little tighter than it used to be, but not overly tight/harsh, I think I’ll be very happy with it.

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Now with that done I just have to finish up sanding once it warms up and get her repainted.

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Update:

Drove her most of the winter until a random oil issue caused my motor to let fly. So I picked up a different motor from MasterMario and went to work on that. I tore it down and checked all the tolerances, did some porting/polishing, then put it back together with all new seals/gaskets.

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With the motor ready it was time to put it in:

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With the new motor all in and sorted I set back into the body work I got cut off on last winter:

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Got my bar all redone while it was off:

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And I got the body completely ready for paint:

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Now I’m working on getting my new hatch ready. I’ll hopefully be putting that on tonight. I plan on laying down the black for the 2-tone tomorrow night, weather permitting.

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Update, Paint Done/Buffed:

Since the last update, I got her painted/wetsanded/buffed, got my basket reinstalled with custom fairing, and got my dash pieces done and reinstalled:

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Now I just have to find a pair of rock sliders and finish rebuilding my snorkel and she’s complete.

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More Pics:

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