2003 Chevrolet Astro Van AWD
≈ 120,000 Miles
4.3 L V6 Engine – MPFI
After years working in the manufacturing world I became a huge believer in continuous improvement. Big blue has provided us with ample opportunity to put this philosophy into practice as we are always asking ourselves, how can we make this better? Now that we find ourselves ready to find blue’s new owner, as sad as that is for us, it is necessary to amend our original car description.
- Sleeping platform – 48”x75” RV mattress on a custom built pulley system.
- Custom kitchen – Unit contains a 40,000 BTU camping stove and cutting board, along with storage space for kitchen supplies. The unit is stored in the vehicle on 1” castors and deploys collapsible legs when in use.
- Retractable awning – 8’ ARB awning with mosquito net
- Fridge/Freezer – Engel MT17
- Propane tank – 20 lb bulk tank with securing strap
- Water Reservoir – 7 Gallons with hand pump
- Auxiliary Battery – Optima 31T deep cycle AGM battery. Powers stereo, amplifier, refrigerator, GPS, and inverter.
- Battery charging unit which allows plugging auxillary battery into 110 VAC outlet
- Inverter – 1000 w DC to AC modified sine inverter
- Amplifier – 5 Channel amp (4 being used) powering a component system in the front and 6.5” spearkers in the rear.
- CD Player – JVC with usb and two auxiliary inputs. The rear aux input is wired to the rear compartment of the van as part of the entertainment system.
- Interior Lighting
- Reading Lights x 2
- Side door
- Rear Hatch
- Privacy curtains
- Zombie Proofing – Partition from Cargo van installed. In addition, expanded steel welded to the interior of the car over the five windows in the rear compartment.
- After market car alarm
- Door lock disconnect switch to isolate rear compartment if someone were to break into front compartment.
- Locking gas cap
- Starter kill switch
- Hide a key lock box mounted to underside of van
- Full size spare tire
- Exterior lighting – While discretely parked allows visibility outside the van and passive signaling that the van is occupied.
- Hella Fog Lights
- 4″ Suspension Lift – Kit purchased from overlandvans.com
- Upgraded tires -Hankook, 265/70/16
- Custom cabinetry made for aux battery, tools, shoes and miscellaneous items .
- New floor – 1/2″ ply wood with industrial floor mat
- Roof rack – Stock roof rack obtained from a local U-Pull-It.
In addition the word document below contains a list of all miscellaneous items which are included in the purchase of the vehicle. These items will make for a more comfortable and safer journey.
We have loved our home, and our planning has paid off in spades. Our life living out of a van has been extremely comfortable. We have had confidence in its security both in leaving everything we own parked on the street in a busy city and camping discretely in every country we have visited. Our rate of pirate camping for the entire trip is above 59%. This means that we only pay for a room or a place to park 4 out of 10 nights. The outdoor kitchen we have found to be a benefit much more often than a detriment. An indoor kitchen may seem like a good idea until you realize how much smoke is given off without adequate ventilation. We have had only a handful of occasions when the weather is so awful that we wish we could avoid cooking outdoors, and we’ve done a lot of travelling during rainy season. With our awning a even a good amount of rain won’t get in the way. During our nights on the beach and travelling in the jungle, the mosquito net has proved to be invaluable. We don’t use it every day, but we have said to ourselves on numerous occasions that if we were to have only needed the mosquito net for tonight alone, bringing it along would be worth it.
The primary goal when designing the van was to ensure that the vehicle was never the limiting factor in deciding where we wanted to go. Without the 4” lift and 31” tires we certainly couldn’t have driven everywhere that we have. With the AWD we have never been stuck. We don’t seek out off roading as a sport but we have been creative in where we wanted to go, and blue steel has never let us down.
As hard as this is to say, she’s not perfect. If we had an unlimited budget are there things I would do differently? Of course, but while staying within our budget she has everything we could want. She has been lived out of for two years and has accrued some battle scars. Almost all are cosmetic. Mechanically she’s in great shape and has a long life ahead of her. We hope to sell her at the end of our trip in Argentina at the end of April. We have some flexibility in terms of location and timing depending on the buyer. Contact us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org