View Full Version : 1987 4WD 5 Speed Camper Conversion with Many Spare Parts

02-18-2019, 09:12 PM
Theres more pictures and captions here: (https://imgur.com/a/0PsojmL)https://imgur.com/a/0PsojmL

Some of this information will be redundant for TVT regulars, im pasting it from my craigslist ad:

This van started life as a windowless cargo / panel van and was upfitted by a conversion van company. I believe the first owner bought it and drove it in Colorado, probably where any of the fender rust came from, after that it lived in the sierra outside of Sequoia before it came into my hands in the bay area. The undercarriage and frame areas are solid and no serious rust issues (these vans are unibody design). About a year after I bought the van a tree limb fell on the roof and dented it, insurance totaled it, I bought it back and now the van has a salvage title, I kept going with the project and took it up and down the west coast border to border, to Idaho, etc no problem.

I haven't seen any Toyota Van with a camper conversion like I have built, and I have looked at everything I could find for the past 5 years. There is inspiration from the westfalia camper layout with the folding bed/bench seat and cabinetry along the driver side of the van. This is a unique build with a lot of thought put into it. Its not a slapped together sleeping platform with a loose battery sitting under the bed. I didn't spare expenses when I built this and I built it with weight savings in mind, thus you won't find full flooring like you see on many instagram van people's builds. You won't see redundant wall paneling that is going to be covered up by cabinetry anyway. I used lightweight 8020 aluminum extrusion for the galley. The fridge rides in a cradle that doesn't waste a bunch of weight with excess wood and also allows the fridge compressor to breathe. There's venting in the rear closet to allow the fridge to exhaust as well. The bed/bench seat is supported by a welded steel tubing frame, no 2x4's or excess heavy plywood here. I varnished all the wood with Ecos Woodshield non off gassing / no voc wood varnish. I made sure you can still open the engine lid (driver's seat folds back to access engine) as well as the van's factory battery compartment which resides under the galley sink. I used high quality marine grade wiring and connectors from brands like Ancor and 3M. Thinsulate insulation lines the ceiling and walls of the van, it's hydrophobic and has good sound dampening ability, this is automotive industry grade insulation, not hardware store stuff manufactured for a different use case.

You can cook outside on the bumper swing out or inside on the galley counter. The rear hatch of the van shields you from rain should you still prefer to cook outside in the weather. Haul your propane in the locking ammo box or on the tray on the bumper swingout so you have the peace of mind that it isn't in your sleeping / living space. Either way there is an RV carbon monoxide and propane leak detector wired to the auxiliary battery system. 7 gallons of fresh water ride in the back under the bed and all plumbing is food grade / NSF / FDA approved to the Ambassador folding marine faucet. Wash up or do dishes in the Dometic / Smev European RV sink or attach the included extended shower hose and head to the dripless quick disconnect for outdoor showers or cleaning wetsuits or other gear. Relax under the pack and stow awning. Charge computers, phones, cameras etc with the USB and 12v charging ports. The rear bench seats two people and has seat belts attached to the factory mounting locations. The high quality Vanagon hinges it is built with allow it to lock in bench mode or fold down to a bed, nearly the size of a twin mattress. The cushions are Lux Foam HQ which is made to last at least 16 years without beginning to degrade. The cushion covers are custom made by a marine seamstress out of durable and washable outdoor fabric. There is a flip up, legless table/desk that accommodates dining for two - one person seated on the bench/bed and the other on the engine hump. There's a storage cabinet in the rear above the bed, a drawer and two shelves/compartments in the galley area as well as under the sink storage. Open the rear hatch to access the large pullout drawer under the bed on heavy duty drawer slides. Back here is also the cupboard holding the 100 amp hour prismatic LiFePO4 Battery and fuse panel and the fill hookup for the 7 gallon freshwater tank. The rear bed platform actually contains a lot of space for bedding, pillows and other gear. Theres enough solar and battery capacity to run the fridge for days without good sun, you could really get away fine with just 200 watts of solar (there's three 100 watt Renogy Eclipse premium panels on the roof rack).

The Toyota vans are amazing machines, but they are all 30+ year old vehicles and bring with them all that entails. If you are someone that, for instance, never checks their oil or aren't motivated to do or learn maintaining the van, you may be sad. Thankfully, www.toyotavantech.com (http://www.toyotavantech.com) has the answers to all your questions and more, truly an invaluable community of experts and enthusiasts just as excited about Toyota vans as you are. Know that, to some degree this is a project. I have done a lot of work on it, but there are things that I didn't get to yet.

Van has 287,650 miles on it, engine was replaced with lower mile engine by previous owner and should have roughly 150,000 miles on it. I religiously changed the oil every 3,000 miles. Shifts well through all the gears and the 4wd functions as it should.

In the 2 and a half years I have owned the van I have put around 15,000 miles on it and performed the following preventative maintenance or repairs with OEM Toyota parts wherever possible:
* New upper control arms, upper and lower ball joints, outer tie rods, and all sway bar bushings
* New rear coil springs (slight lift)
* New Bilstein shocks all 4 corners
* New OEM rear sway bar, van didn't have one when I bought it
* Changed gear oil in transmission, transfer case and differential with Royal Purple Synthetic
* New throttle position sensor and cleaned throttle body
* AFM cleaned
* New spark plugs, spark plug wires, spark plug seals and tubes, distributor cap and rotor, coil, PCV / grommet / hose, air filter
* New belts
* New starter
* New ignition switch and ignition lock cylinder
* Refreshed fusible links
* New clutch master and slave cylinders
* New front flexible brake lines
* New front brake pads
* New rear brake drums, shoes, hardware
* Replaced parking brake cable
* New water pump
* New radiator cap
* New thermostat
* New upper and lower radiator hoses
* Coolant flush
* New fan clutch
* Custom fabricated lower radiator shroud made by carbonized from toyotavantech.com
* Power steering reservoir flushed and cleaned
* New catalytic converter
* New General Grabber AT2 205/70/R15 All Terrain Tires on 15" Tracker / Sidekick wheels and Alignment
* Passed Smog October 2018

Things that need attention:
* Windshield washers not hooked up but all the parts are there.
* Windshield is cracked
* Fuel gauge only registers when tank is full, after about 20 miles post fill up it starts going down to below 'E' where it resides for about 200 miles until it bumps up again to show you that it is getting low. It has to do with the contact points on the sending unit in the tank. Most Toyota vans are afflicted with this annoyance, I bought the van this way and the previous owner said to just watch the odometer or tripmeter and make sure to fill up around 250 miles (the tank holds about 14 gallons IIRC). There are informative threads on toyotavantech.com about the fuel gauge issue everyone seems to have.
* Passenger side window regulator is a little stiff but fine. I replaced the driver side recently and its nice and smooth.
* No air conditioning components, so light and less points of failure..but no A/C
* Toyota recalled the steering bevel gear due to corrosion way back when and you can still take the van into a dealer and have the service completed free of charge if your vin shows that the service has not yet been done. I plugged my vin into the recall website and it shows that my van hasn't had the recall service performed yet. I haven't noticed any issues with steering, but it could be nice to have them take care of it and maybe you can get a whole steering rack service out of it for free
* Burns some oil, like a lot of these vans do. Previous owner told me it burns some while engine braking downhill.
* Leaks some oil
* There's a couple rust holes at the bottom of the wheel well/rocker panel areas
* The rear hatch has primer on it from fixing rust
* Paint condition is commensurate with a well loved 30 year old vehicle. There's some chipping of the white top paint above the windshield, easy to fix by taping off and spraying some white rustoleum or foam rolling thinned rusto
* Some of the interior still needs to be trimmed out, see photos

Quick Facts:
* LiFePo4 100AH Battery bought from Batteryspace in Richmond California December 2017, kept in balance since new, 100% capacity. Cost $615 new
* 3 x 100 Watt Renogy Eclipse Premium Solar Panels, Bought July 2017. Cost $219.99 each new
* Electrodacus SBMS40 LiFePo4 specific charge controller and battery management system, Bought July 2017. Cost $200 new
* Blue Sea Systems fuse panel
* Marine grade wiring and connectors (Ancor, 3M, etc)
* USB and 12V charging ports by Blue Sea Systems
* Engel MR040 Fridge / Freezer Bought Mid August 2017. Like New. Costs $849.99 new
* Dometic / Smev RV sink
* Quick disconnect Shower Head / hose for outdoor showering
* Shurflo Revolution Water Pump
* 7 gallon fresh water tank - all plumbing NSF / FDA approved
* 3 gallon Reliance grey water jug under sink
* Custom 8020 aluminum extrusion galley - lightweight, removable
* Vanagon / Westfalia bench/bed hinges
* Dimmable Led light strips running down both sides of interior enclosed in aluminum channel strips with diffusors
* Ecos woodshield no off gasing / no voc wood varnish
* Gimbaled reading light
* Maxxfan Deluxe roof vent / fan
* Thinsulate SM600L insulation (whole ceiling and walls)
* Noico Sound deadener
* Durable, easy clean, non slip coin flooring
* Yakima Roof rack with working key
* Awning slides in to roof rack and folds up to stow away when not in use (made from Tepui components)
* Security System
* Hard to find window vent visors
* Bull Bar with PIAA Lights
* AISIN Manual Locking Hubs
* Custom dual swing out rear bumper with trailer hitch receiver. One side holds the spare tire (with locking lugnut) and the other has a tray with locking metal ammo box - use for hauling water, gasoline, propane, anything dirty you don't want inside the van, firewood, a generator if you want, pretty much anything.
* Factory spare tire location open in case you want to carry 2 spares
* Auxiliary Pusher fan on manual switch
* Original OEM Tool Kit and Jack with Case in great condition (hard to find)

Many original, new, and hard to find spare parts included:
* Complete 5 speed manual transmission with transfer case
* 4YE Cylinder head with many attached parts
* 4WD 5speed Radiator (very hard to find, any 4WD radiator found in a salvage yard should be rescued no matter the condition - radiator shops can do a high performance recore, see toyotavantech.com)
* Complete set of 5 original OEM 14" wheels (tires have tread but are old)
* Intact / zero cracks Rear Hatch Window with rubber gasket
* Rear hatch latch mechanism
* Stereo Bezel trim Piece (hard to find intact)
* Fan
* Power Steering Pump
* Intake Manifold
* throttle body
* Rubber Intake boot (hard to find intact)
* interior and exterior molding and trim pieces
* OEM lug wrench
* Spare tire cage
* Cornering Lights with no cracks (hard to find intact)
* Sliding door handle / latch assembly (hard to find intact)
* Spare Driver Seat
* Original Windshield Molding (Hard to find)
* Automatic Hubs
* Head lights
* Head light bezels
* Side mirror
* New Valve Cover Gasket
* New fuel filter
* New assorted bushings and hardware
* Exhaust Y pipe
* Original rear springs
* Brake drums
* Spare maxxfan roof vent assembly (without fan or electronics)
and more

"I'm tall"
If you are over 6 feet you will probably want to extend the bed at some point, totally doable. However, if you are REALLY tall, a bigger van might suit you better. There's no getting around the fact that these vans are no sprinter in size. And that comes with advantages on the trail off-roading, in tight urban areas, and parking garages.

"How long have you had it and why are you selling it?"
A little over 2 years. I am selling it because I moved into a house and want to focus on building projects with the house, thus I have bought a truck for hauling lumber etc. Will i regret it? yes, most likely. It's hard just writing this ad, but its time to pass the torch on to someone worthy of caring for and utilizing one of these fantastic machines to the maximum.

"Smoker or non-smoker?"
I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs and I didn't travel with any animals. I also have only cooked inside a few times, so there isn't grease build up or anything like that.

"Is the factory engine lid holding strap intact?" (ok no one has asked this, its a nod to anyone that has owned or worked one of these though ;)



Price is negotiable but I will keep spare parts or things like the refrigerator, solar, lifepo4 battery, rear bumper depending on price. You can not build out a similar, offroad capable, van cheaper than my asking price.


02-19-2019, 01:43 PM
Good luck with your sale man - this is a very cool rig. And I think very fairly priced.

02-19-2019, 01:48 PM
Thanks gambit, I think you are the one that came and looked at the bench seat i was getting rid of a year or so ago.

Sale preference is given to toyotavantech people of course.

02-23-2019, 08:56 PM
ratatouille, your inbox is full, trying to send you a pm

02-27-2019, 04:29 PM
Willing to drop the price considerably for forum members if spare parts and/or amenities (solar/fridge/etc) are not included. let me know!

You could fit a wide range 12v compressor refrigerators or ice chests in the cabinetry, the Engel fridges are known to be bulletproof though (only 1 moving part).

02-27-2019, 06:33 PM
what Gambit said. Nice rig.

02-28-2019, 08:21 PM
I did a conversation on a short bus, and I can tell you definitely did yours the right way. I'm interested in buying if it's still available. PM me your info if so.

03-08-2019, 07:47 PM

03-17-2019, 03:13 AM
roflroflroflrofl man I saw this on Craigslist. You donít know how badly I wish I could get it right now. I love mine but I really want a 4x4..

04-11-2019, 03:20 PM
Ready to sell, with valid smog certificate. Registered. New battery. $6500

04-11-2019, 10:32 PM
Ready to sell, with valid smog certificate. Registered. New battery. $6500

Ugghhhh oh my god dude youíre killing me with this van. I keep seeing it on CL and Iím even considering selling mine to get it... sheeeesssshhhhh

04-13-2019, 12:17 AM
would you be willing to sell the extra 4wd radiator you have? my baby might be done for if I don't find one :( i live out of my car and travel and am trying to fix it up asap. was extremely bummed, to put it lightly, to find out that replacements are NLA

04-14-2019, 09:04 PM
Van is sold, spare 4wd 5spd radiator went to the new owner. dirtritual, if you can't find one it is possible to make an aluminum racing radiator work. see posts elsewhere on this forum.

04-18-2019, 04:53 PM
no worries, thanks for letting me know. think I'm just gonna bite the bullet and pull the radiator, pay the $400-500 to get it re cored / fixed at a shop, and put it back in myself.

04-26-2019, 03:19 PM

did the transmission and transfer case go with the van?