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Check out my passenger window minivan to utility van custom conversion.

Discussion in 'Chevy Truck Accessories' started by tomkat, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. tomkat

    tomkat New Member

    Hello, my name is tomkat and I just joined. I have owned my 99 safari since 2005. I use it as a work van. I beat the snot out of my work van. I always have had utility bodies to work out of. I switched to my safari to get the improved mpg 7 years ago. My old van got 7 mpg but was a dream to work out of. It was a utility service vandually. I finally got around to customizing the safari. It was a XLT passenger van. I gutted the rear and put in a bulkhead when I first got the van. It was always a challenge to keep it organized. I load it up most of the time and carry lots of parts onboard. My solution was to remove the side windows and build doors and bins. Now its a dream to work out of. I have used it for 4 weeks now and I haven't had to spend hardly any time digging thru things or straightening out the truck so I can work. I can get to my parts from the outside. No climbing into the van to get tools. I estimate I save 5 hrs per week along with not being pissed off each time I need a part and have to dig under things to find my part. My tools are also being saved because they go into a bin rather them on the floor under a pile of other tools. I cannot get another utility type truck that gets 18 mpg and drives like a minivan. Its just not sold in north america. Its like driving a car. Because its a XLT the passenger section is loaded with comfort features. Any way here it is. Now its still a work in progress. I only have it roughed in so all you body work critics please be nice . I have the skill to make it look factory. I just don't have the extra few weeks to finish it off. Also I need to work the bugs out of it. When I am happy with the functionality of the bins I may finish out the body work and paint her. The finish and paint may be a pipe dream though. Because I beat the snot out of my vans I don't see the point. I do have some design improvements if any body wants to copy the idea. I won't do the changes on this van. But if I were to do this job again I would tweek the design. My only metal working tools were a stump, hammers, a piece of railroad track, angle iron, sheers, english wheel, and a bead roller. You can do it without the wheel or roller. It would have been nice to have a brake though. I have pics of the build if anybody wants to see em. It's nice to be here. Enjoy

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  2. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Moderator 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Nice work....:great:
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Super Moderator Staff Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Looks functional, did you set-up interior access to the storage compartments too?
  4. tomkat

    tomkat New Member

    Not exactly. I did step the bins in at the top. I use it as a shelf to hold baskets of supplies most of the time. The shelf was designed into the bins to hold 4x8 sheets of sheet goods . I unhook the 7 baskets then slide the sheet goods in. It holds 8 pieces of 1/2 " material. The material sticks out the back by 1'. The van has dutch doors. I keep the 2 bottom doors shut and leave the top door open. The only other mini van that can carry 4x8 sheet goods is the new ram. But you have to slide it flat into the bottom. You need to remove your supplies from the back and load the sheet goods on the bottom which is not practical. On the inside only I have a shelf under each bin. I store more inventory and tools on those shelves. I also have space under the bins in front of those shelves to hold buckets with dividers in them or hold my fold out ladders. The buckets hold my hardware, fasteners, appliance repair, vacuum, and lock supplies ect.. I run a home maintenance repair truck. I carry supplies to handle many different repairs on residential buildings. Each time I go to the supply house it takes 1 hour. Carrying such a wide selection of supplies, tools, and the material needed for each job left the truck in a state of clutter most of the time. I figure I save 1 hour each day just managing the truck so it can be productive. I save my tools from being destroyed by having their own spot. And I an not upset from digging thru supplies and climbing over stuff to retrieve the part I need. The bins also have been designed to be shrunk down with little effort. I could do that if I find the need to have the full width of the van to haul wide payloads. It would be more work to remove the supplies from the bins then to shrink them. Another feature I installed is a compressor and airbag helper springs. I run the van at close to its max gvw most of the time. While it is not a good practice to overload any truck. I can carry a heavy load for short trips on those times I need to do so. Tom

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