Sunday, 3 June 2012

Van complete and on the road!

It took about 2 months in all to do all the Body work, Painting and Interior work. Happy with the results. Many small details to do but they will happen when they happen. Only major job left is a complete new Aircon system, front & rear blowers. As it is a very large expense it will also be done when it can be done or not at all. No Aircon, still can jalan jalan. Please have a look at the restorantion of this old workhorse of 27 years and remember the begining starts at the bottom of the Blog.
Here's a condensed video of the rebuild over the last 3 months:
 I have started a new page to document our travels with our reborn "Dragon Wagon".
All this said and done, I have purchased a new "Foton View" 14 passenger Van. Click upper left of this page for more info.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Interior Work Begins

Next phase, Interior, a blank canvas. Wall Panels, Carpet, Cabinets (Mini Bar?), Headliner, Curtians, Stereo, Speakers, Aircon System, Insulation. Lighting, Bed/Cushions, Seats recoverd .
Interior progress! Rear cabs w/center piece for Table/Bed conversion. Stereo, Sub woofer power amp, (4) 3 way Speakers installed and (2) 10" Bass/Sub woofer Speakers installed, Insulation behind panels in the wall. Some wood panels will be stained with walnut color w/Polyurethane finish, others with brown carpet.
Rear Baffel boards Stained and Polyurethained, ready to mount back in van and......ROCK OUT! Carpet and Headliner work start on Monday. Right now like ridin in an empty metal barrel! 
Bought this shoe cabinet (Kit form), do some mods on it. Countertop with raised edge around it, stronger plywood back that can be secured to the van. Removable when seats or cargo space is required.The color even matches my stain!
Instant Mini Bar!!!
Finished the center panel that converts 2 cabs to a bed. Also doubles as a dining table outside the van. Tomarow van goes for final interior work for a couple of days and then.....Road Trip!
Last minute change on the headliner! Tiger skin! My Granson inspecting the workmanship.
Van's interior almost finished! Seats are being recoverd and modified a bit and should be ready by tomarow.
Basicly finished now, 3 seats with seat belts to be installed. Then all the small details - Curtains, Lighting and touchup.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Main Body Work

1st week of body work underway, finding all the rust (mainly along the roof) cutting it out and replacing with new sheet metal. Drivers floor has been replaced and primed with anti rust. All unnecessary wiring will be removed. Too much cut and snip over the years with Stereos & Alarms. I will use phosphoric acid based anti rust treatment (unheard of around here) to neutralize new metal before primer / paint / undercoating. The body man tells me the last body shop just welded plates over the rust and did'nt cut it out. That was about 12-13 years ago.
Here's a video after 2 weeks of body work

All the rust has now been removed and all the new metal has been treated with Loctite Extend Rust Treatment.
This chemical neutralises all rust and seals the metal to prevent rust. No Body man or car paint supply store had even heard of this here. Should help keep rust from coming back. Had to order from Johore Baru and came in one day by courier. Body work done, goes to paint shop on Monday!
As the paint shop is not able to start on the van for one week, I will have a welder put in the steel angle iron frame for the back storage/bench seats that with a board/table in the middle they will convert to a bed. These will be covered with plywood or MDF board and carpeted afterwards. Here's the plan.

Below is the finished job, done in about 2 hours! Welded in and solid.
Now the van is at the paint shop. Paint work will start 1st April and will take about 3 weeks.

Preped for primer
Primed and ready for Paint!
We have color!
Outside Finished!
On the road again!

Monday, 5 March 2012

My Motivator!

 A very special thanks to TJ Chang and his site "A Malaysian Campervan Journey"! Malaysia, with all it's wonders around, has got nothing on camping/campgrounds and how to organize your road trips. Very sad.
Google earth has helped me find those lakes & Rivers and ways to acess them. Mr. Chang has done more for the Campervans / motorhomes in Malaysia then anyone else. He has sourced much information and documented his trips. His site got me re-interested in the use of my van.
I will also do my best to contribute to this micro-used mode of seeing Malaysia.
Road Trip!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

My Hiace Van New in 1985

My new Toyota Hiace Van back in 1985. Did it up and took it straight out for a trip all around Malaysia for 10 days. Pahang, Trengannu, Perak, Kedah, Perlis, Penang and back to Kuala Lumpur. My 2 kids there are now 28 & 30 years old, one married with 2 children (grand kids!) Wow! I was alot slimmer/younger then too! Used it for many fishing trips & picnic/outings around Malaysia.
This van must have around 250,000 K's on it now. Engine, steering, brakes, radiator, suspension have all be rebuilt. Now to do: bodywork, cabinets, console box, Benches/bed, seats, paint, carpet, curtians, complete new front and rear aircon system, sound system, 220 volt hookups, roof rack/ladder with fiberglass box. Maybe a watertank w/electric pump underneith (for outside use/showers). I had it undercoated when I bought it and may have saved alot of rust problems.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Floor Plan

My first van (1973?), was a Dodge Tradesman 200 panel van from my dad's company in Baltimore Maryland. Don't remember the year of it but it had been well used. Just put panelling, a bed & carpet and drove all around the U.S in it. Lived in it in Tucson Arizona for a couple months! (I was young then). My Ford Transit in Belgium was 3 seats across and a bed which turned into 2 bench seats in the rear with the centre removed. I pulled a small caravan/camper trailer behind it as well. Cold weather would happen and we could cook, eat and clean up and use a toilet/shower in that.
For me, I think cooking, washing up, showers and toilet needs to be done outside a van. Here in Malaysia the weather is always warm so a nice canopy out from the van and some folding chairs / tables / BBQ and portable gas stoves are the way to go. Carry most things in modular boxes. I also have to carry band gear sometimes so wide open space is also necessary. Not going to be living so much in it. Mostly for day trips and a rare camp out on my own. On a long trip, Hotels are still a very nice option now and then, especially for the ladies! It's still just a van and not a motor home. That's gonna be another project! :)
Here's my plan for this van, Passenger and Camper mode. Also can remove all but the rear bench seats and have a large area to carry band gear. Plan revised March 26, 2012


My Journey begins!
Actually it started when I was born I guess! I'm an american living in Malaysia more then 35 years, lastly own a Restaurant in Melaka called My Rock & Roll Blues Cafe. Have spent the last 15 years running it.
Well it's time for a little more fun and a break now and then! In 1985, 27 years ago, I bought a new Toyota Hiace Van for RM21,000. first of the locally assembled Hiace's in Malaysia.Took a chance and I'm still drivin it today! Ran my kids & friends around Malaysia in it for years. Moved to Belgium, sold it to a friend who ran fishin trips to Kenyir lake, then he sold it to another friend.
I moved back to Malaysia and brought back a Ford Transit Van, used it around europe camping for 2 years, left hand drive at that!
Well, long story short, 5 years later my local wife and I divorced, I lost almost everything. She got the gold mine and I got the shaft! Sold all my toys and the Ford van. Bought back my old toyota van in 1996 and managed to open my Blues Cafe in Melaka and been bouncing along ever since. Life is good now and it's time to do up the old van that has been so good to me. All the mechanics have been rebuilt over the last  3 years. Now it's time to do the Body, Paint and Interior. This time it will be a purpose built camper van!
This Blog will be about the rebuild and our travels afterwards. Road Trip!!!
I have completly gutted out the van for a fresh start. The Van has gone today to the workshop for rust removal and body work. This will take 6 weeks.