808Build: Overland Prep

808Build: Overland Prep

But wait, thereโ€™s more! Over the past few years the 808Van has left me stranded on the road a few times. Sometimes due to old parts breaking, other times due to debugging new upgrades. Getting stranded on public roads is unfortunate. Getting stranded off-road is dangerous. So before taking the 808Van anywhere too remote I wanted to make sure it had the basic overland gear to deal with recovery. This had been a lower priority but now with the van running well I could turn my attention to properly outfitting it. Updates included:

  • Refurbished 1970s Warn Front bumper with 12,000lb winch and vintage KC Daylighters
  • Rear spare tire carrier with Hi Lift Jack
  • Rhino lined lower section of exterior
  • KC HiLites LED headlights
  • Back-up camera
  • New windshield
  • Toolbox and air compressor

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I love searching Craigslist and other classifieds for unique vehicles or parts. Searching on eBay for “4×4 van” is what led me to find the 808Van in the first place! I knew at some point I would need a proper winch bumper, but I wasn’t interested in the newer styles and going custom can get expensive! About six months ago I started searching for old bumpers online. I’d check all up and down the West Coast, even searching old 1980s F-250’s in hopes of convincing owners to sell me their bumpers. Then, one week I came across someone local in the Bay Area selling a perfect vintage Warn bumper complete with working 12,000lb winch and old KC Daylighters! I could not have spec’d a more perfect set-up. It took my shop a few days to refurbish the winch and fab up the mounts. A fresh coat of paint brought it back to new state and I could not be happier with the results!

With the front bumper mounted the van was nearing completion. One of the last required elements was a full size spare. I researched a few options and ended up with a Body Armor rear swing out. This was an affordable solution that could mount to my existing rear bumper and offered flexibility in attaching additional accessories, like a HiLift jack.

Lastly, sometimes the smallest upgrades make the biggest difference. Replacing a pitted 50 year old windshield and upgrading the headlights to LED KC HiLights brought visibility to a whole new level. Before, driving at night or in the rain felt dangerous. Now, it almost feels like I am driving a modern rig!

I love coming back to SF after a weekend of adventures. Yes, for now I am a Weekend Warrior, but I’m looking forward to some longer road trips and excursions in the future. I am already planning a much-needed return to Utah and the Escalante region in 2021. For now, its about getting to know the van and its capabilities – and enjoy the 3 years of work.

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