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.