Astro Cargo Van to Camper Conversion

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A couple weeks ago, I purchased a 1998 white Astro van for the purpose of converting the van into a camper van. These small cargo vans can be fairly inexpensive but strong vehicles for their age. My used Astro van is the perfect candidate for a van to camper conversion. The engine only has 104,000 miles which is pretty low for a 17 year old van. Wow! That’s just a little over 6,000 miles driven per year. Awesome!

In a previous post, from back in Oct of 2013, I was trying to decide between a Class B RV, a Full Size Van and a minivan. Well, the minivan prevailed. If you missed it, check out my Living in a Camper post which happens to be the most popular post on this site.

My van was an ex-phone company commercial van which was taken care of with regular maintenance along with all the other fleet vehicles. Looking at the carfax report, this van actually served the area where I grew up. It showed locations of repair work, maintenance and registrations at places I’m familiar with. I’m happy to take over the reins of this Astro work van and turn it into my cargo van camper conversion.

My 98 Astro Van

My 98 Astro Van

Van to Camper Conversion – Step 1 – Interior Demo

After doing a little maintenance check up work, it was time to do a some demo work in the cargo area of the van. In order to build a camper, I needed to remove the phone companies shelving and partition. The shelving was a no-brainer. It had to go, but the partition could come in handy for safety and security. I opted to go ahead and remove the partition because I hope to convert the passenger seat into a swivel seat which will turn around to the back and give me more interior room in the van.

Here is a video of the cargo area demo:

I started on this demo project at about 2 pm on Thursday and planned to take the weekend to complete the project. To my surprise, I was able to finish the whole demo project by about 6:30 pm as it was getting dark. I first removed the Astro van shelving which was bolted to the van to anchor bolts in some areas and also screwed into nuts in other areas.

1998 Astro Cargo Van - Shelving

Shelving Side View (click to enlarge)

A look at the shelving from the back:

1998 Astro Van - Back View

Shelving Back View (click to enlarge)

Here is a look at the partition:

1998 Astro Van Partition

Bulkhead Partition (click to enlarge)

Here is what the van looked like after the shelving was removed:

Astro Van Shelving Removal

Shelving Removed (click to enlarge)

This last picture is the van with everything removed in the cargo area except for some loose cabling and flooring.

Cargo Area Demo

Cargo Area (click to enlarge)

Now that all the big items are removed from the cargo area, I will focus on the excess wiring situation and removal of the flooring which appears to be riveted to the van. I then want to do a thorough cleaning of the cargo area and get measurements of the future living area.

So far so good on this van to camper conversion. I have a whole lot more to do, but I’m excited to get to work.

To follow along with my progess, make sure you “Like” my Facebook page to get updates:
Traveling Troy’s on Facebook

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6 Responses to Astro Cargo Van to Camper Conversion

  1. interiors March 17, 2015 at 10:50 AM #

    Nice van conversion demonstration. Also seems good interiors work.

    • Troy Wiedeman March 17, 2015 at 10:55 AM #

      Thanks! The work is moving along slowly, but I’ll get this thing looking pretty good soon. 🙂

  2. Kent M March 20, 2015 at 6:07 AM #

    Cool idea for a build. I hope the van is big enough for what you want to do with it. Have fun!

    • Troy Wiedeman March 22, 2015 at 1:14 PM #

      Hi Kent. The van size is small so it will be a challenge fitting everything I want in the van, but the small size also is a blessing. Less room, less junk! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Michelle July 26, 2015 at 8:13 PM #

    This is outstanding! I came across this because we just went looking at a similar van; the only real difference is ours is 10 years older but because it’s owned by a mechanic, all the parts that care about mileage (motor, alternator, that kind of thing) are considerably newer than the body, which itself is in great shape. I’m excited to see what you’ve come up with in yours.

    • Troy Wiedeman July 26, 2015 at 8:37 PM #

      Hi Michelle! The Astro van is a dependable vehicle if taken care of properly. Many of them can make it to 200-300k, though they will need some parts replaced and repaired along the way. What great vans for the price and potential longevity.

      I’m currently adding posts to my site based on my current van build videos. Take a look at My Videos page to see the build videos.

      Thanks for checking out the site.

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