Van Life – Rehabbing a rusty 22 year old Dodge Ram 1500 Van, Part 5 of Many

We’re getting the old paint stripped, the rust sanded down, and has gotten the hood and doors primed. Next up is finishing the roof and then getting everything primed. The paint arrived today, so once she’s primed, she’ll be ready for paint! The front speakers arrive on Thursday and her new rubber stripping for the windshield/windows should be here early next week.

Van Life – Rehabbing a rusty 22 year old Dodge Ram 1500 Van, Part 4 of Many 

Lots of work on the van in this update, we took off the hood and rear doors, the hood required the most work besides the roof due to the level of rust and neglect.

Lots of sanding was done and paint stripping, we took the drivers side, the hood and the rear doors down to their original primer sealer or bare metal in some spots where necessary.

So far we haven’t spent much money on this project, just a lot of time and effort. We hit the bad paint with 80 grit on the DA sander and then we used a bulk material removal wheel around ~60 grit to pull off the old decals and bad rusty spots on with the grinder.


Van Life – Rehabbing a rusty 22 year old Dodge Ram 1500 Van, Part 3 of Many

Strippers… no not that kind.

Paint stripping that is, but not before a little fun with spray paint ?. We used “aircraft remover” both in brush and spray can form to start stripping the paint down to the primer on one side. It’s a pretty neat and easy process. Either brush or spray the aircraft remover on, wait 20 min while it bubbles up, and use a plastic scraper to remove the paint. Ultimately, she will be sanded down to the bare metal before paint.

Otherwise, some new wipers and washer fluid was purchased and perhaps some cassette deals in the works!

Van Life – Rehabbing a rusty 22 year old Dodge Ram Van 1500, Part 2 of Many

First things first. Changing out the fluids. Added coolant, changed the oil, charged the a/c with Freon and changed the air filter.

She already got one “new“ tire today. When we picked her up from the school district, one of the front tires was already split. Fortunately, there was a tire shop that had a used tire right across the street, so we were able to get that on her to drive her home. I was also able to find another brand new tire at the local Dirt Cheap Store for $33! and that will change out the other pretty bad tire. The other two tires are not as bad, but should also be replaced soon.

Radio works, but the front speakers are blown out. We’ll have to pick up some cassettes to test out the cassette player! Definitely need some old-school Metallica or AC/DC for her.


Van Life – Rehabbing a rusty 22 year old Dodge Ram Van 1500, Part 1 of many

My wife has been documenting this but I figure I would post it here for a more permanent place and accessible place than Facebook. Hopefully it helps someone or, you get a good chuckle out of this project that we’re taking on.

“A 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 Van with only 67K miles that I won from a government auction (was a Ocean Springs School District Child Nutrition Division van) for pretty cheap. Now, she looks a bit worse for the wear, but the rust is all surface, so with a new paint job, changing out the fluids, new tires, and other general mechanical things, she’ll look brand new.

I wanted to get a van to ultimately have an adventure vehicle, especially in my upcoming retired life. Something that can be boon-docked for camping, carrying stuff, road tripping, and would have less of a likelihood of getting stolen or broken into while parked for a while compared to my BMV (which is not quite the adventure touring car anyways) and something smaller and more manageable than our RV, Sheila.

Anyways, excited to start working on this project and I’m going to be documenting it along the way as we transform it from this is a #VanLife van.”