Battle Wagon project ideas

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Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by doctor_ocks » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:30 pm

So a couple of years ago a guy owed me some money...so I took this 78 Econoline off his hands for partial payment.

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I used it a couple of times for surveillance in some shitty neighborhoods, but I was always afraid it was going to leave me stranded in a bad part of town. Now it just sits in my driveway pissing both my wife and my neighbors off. So some friends and I were talking yesterday about turning it into an urban assault vehicle. It's a cargo van so there are no seats in the back. Just blank canvas.

Here's what I'm thinking so far.
1) Get it running well. It doesn't have a ton of mileage on it, but could use at least a decent tune up, change plugs, etc.
2) Either bondo up the rust holes or cut the rust off and bolt metal plating over the holes - which would look pretty tough, I think.
3) Pull all the emplems, hub caps, and paint it flat OD green.
4) Put some kind of monsterous brush guard on the front.
5) Cage up all the glass.
6) And MAYBE cut a gunner's turret in the roof. The dream would be to put a mount that would accomodate a Browning 1919 replica (the semiauto kind).

I'd love to hear some other ideas and feedback!
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by bookshop » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:55 pm

OD Green!!!

also some spiked hubcaps.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Loquinho » Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:51 pm

If you think an old Econoline van pisses off your wife and neighbors, wait until there's an OD green assault vehicle in the driveway. :)
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by velojym » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:07 pm

Aw, man. I gave my '88 Club Wagon up for charity not too long ago. The idea did cross my mind to turn it into a
ZAV, but methinks the wife would have strung me up by my tender bits.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by andygates » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:21 pm

Jack the suspension up?

I've been craving a turret for my campervan ever since I got over the shock of cutting a vent-hole in the thing (aiee! a hole! in my car! the sky! aiee!) -- a nice sling-seat and a rotating mount, what's not to love?
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Paladin1 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:47 pm

Thats exactly the kind of plan I have for my '95 Astro AWD. A lift kit with some decent tires is the starting point. Then add a safari rack to the top. I'm going to add the "sunroof" towards the middle so you can stand up and clear the roof line for line of fire in all directions. I'm going to add a serious wedge shaped brush guard to the front so to be able to get through obstacles as opposed to just crashing IN to them.

Of course, I'm adding a sheet metal box under the rear bumper full of road spikes with a cable running to the drivers seat for deployment. An additional food for thought idea is to get a couple cans of bear OC spray (there pretty big) also mounted next to driver, and plumb them into some brake line running to the front. sides and rear of the van. With a push on the button you could clear the outside of the van, I mean Urban Assault Vehicle, of any unwanted hangers on.

Round out the UAV with some blinding lights, extra gas tank, and an external cage frame to bolt on some strategically located heavy plate when needed and your good to go. :D
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by doctor_ocks » Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:14 pm

Honestly I hadn't even thought about the lift kit. I love it!
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Zombie Hunter 007 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:19 pm

Before you do any work (other than tune up motor) to the vehicle outline your goals. Because your suspension could suffer due to extra weight from after thoughts. So if you plan on really doing a heavy duty bumper front and or rear plus what they call an Exo cage, with plating, windows protection, number of occupants and of course guns and ammo. Figure out what all that extra weight will be and build your suspension, motor, transmission, brakes and axle/s accordingly.

Now again if your totally serious I would find a garage, shed or shop that this project could live in. Because lets face it if the SHTF and it's been sitting in your driveway for all your neighbors and their friends to look at. Where are they going to go if and when it does happen. I would want it concealed as much as possible.

It looked like it was a two wheel drive van and if so I wouldn't raise it up to much. Enough to clear curbs is one thing but anything higher is trouble. 1st it's off road capabilities are very low and with any major extra weight it would get stuck easier. 2nd being raised would make it easier to tip and seeing how it's not a 4x4 way risk it.

Now let's say you wanted to go through the process of making it a 4x4 vehicle I still wouldn't raise it higher than being able to clear tall curbs mostly for the previous problems mentioned. The other reason is the higher the vehicle the harder it is to load. I have a 89 toyota that is off road capable and the bottom of my doors are 34" off the ground. Real pain in the ass to get in and out of. And loading things in the bed are equally a pain in the ass. I realize a van is different but something to keep in mind.

Now more importantly is the bumper/s and exo cage. All of this should be welded on and not bolted. I worked at an off road shop for awhile I'm not saying I'm an expert but I did see somethings. We had a customer bolt on an ARB front bumper with a winch mounted in the bumper. Now ARB makes a nice product. But with it being bolted on he almost pulled his new bumper off trying to help a buddy out of some mud. The forces just ripped through the mounting locations on his frame and it was installed correctly. Here is a link to Pirate 4x4 which is a great resource for building they have a way to test designs in the computer before you build. Great help in saving time. Plus lots of tips on welding and cutting tubing.

http://www.pirate4x4.com

Lastly it sounds like a great project and as long as your capable with a welder or a buddy is you should have fun doing it. Aso keep in mind doing this could be a money pit. I have a couple things left to do on my truck and I've dropped 25k or more and I kept my receipts so I'm not exaggerating and that doesn't ever include the price of the truck. Just a heads up before you start a project that will take on a life of it's own.

Keep us posted if it gets a go.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Zombies And SlimJims » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:33 pm

How about throwing some solar panels in there with some AC adapters? Oh, also you should paint it up like this (Even though it's not a GMC) :

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And constantly have the A-Team song playing as you mow down zombies!
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by SamuraiBobX26 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 4:18 am

I would re-build the engine or get a donor engine if it has that many miles on it. Just tuning it up would not be sufficient if you are going to add all of that extra weight. I would also recommend re-building the transmission and beefing it up a little to help out as well. You could try to make it 4 wheel drive, but from my understanding makeing a 2WD vehicle off road capable is a real pain in the rear.

I also agree that you should work on the suspension as well. Adding the equipment to the van will change how it handles. This could make the difference in how much of a load your MAV could handle.

Then you could add an extra gas tank, flood light, crash cage, and all sorts of goodies. The sun roof gun port sounds awsome, but the side door gunners chair with a mini-gun just sounds a lot better :twisted: . Then add some light armor, spiked hub capps and you are ready to be MAd Max.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by USMZ » Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:22 am

I think beefing up the suspension and the engine is a good place to start.
Add a second Fuel tank - for sure.

Caging the windows and putting a turrent on it - I think the local police are going to stop me every time I go down to the corner store for Milk. Maybe just have a sun roof mounted to allow a shooter a good vantage point - maybe just behind the front seats?

And if your wife is pissed at a Van parked in her driveway all the time - she will go POSTAL at an Assault Van in OD Green.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Paladin1 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:25 am

I'm building my UAV as a "offroad camper", so any inquires will be answered. I've done some off roading, road racing, etc. and am handy with a sawzall and welder. You can keep costs down if you can do a lot of the work yourself. You can get a hydralic tube bender for $100 from Harbor Freight/Northern Tool, etc. There cheap but can do the job. I'm not planning on using DOM tubing ($$$) that you would use for a internal cage on a race car. This a SHTF UAV, uh, I mean "camper". Use heavy walled pipe (sched 40) and hvy. conduit with lots of gussets and tie everything into the frame. Predrill the holes/brackets for the plates and window mesh, but don't mount them. Have them in the garage and ready to hang into place when SHTF.

2wd can work a lot better with the lift (2"-4" body) plus some taller tires (pick up another 2" of clearance) and a locking rear end, I'm guessing yours is an open diff. You won't be a rockcrawler, but be able to get around blockages on the berm and be able to roll over the bodies without them getting hung up in your drivetrain. Most lift kits consist of heavy duty springs and shocks so in doing a lift you will be increasing the capability of the system to carry extra weight. There are pneumatic systems that basically add an air bag between your suspension and frame for $100-$150.00 bucks that can add significantly to your load bearing capacity.

One other thing I will throw out there is I'm researching the diesel to vegetable oil conversion. Looks like for less than 2K you could run your diesel engine on used veg. oil. Oil that can be had for free from many places. I recently met a guy who had converted his dodge ram 3500 to the system and drove to Yellowstone and back to the midwest for the cost of a $12.00 filter.
I'm thinking of getting a used diesel engine and installing it in the Astro, then converting to the veggie oil system. This flex fuel system can save you money now, and get you options in SHTF.

Yea, I've put some thought into this. I started with a Ford E250 cargo van, but with a family of five seating needed, fuel mileage, make it everyday usable, and wanting AWD/4WD, and yes, really camping with it, I sold it and got the Astro.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by jamoni » Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:15 pm

I'd keep it looking damn near like it is. Put a heavier bumper front and rear, with trailer hitch mounts. Get yourself a good winch and keep it in the van. There's all the offroad help you need.
Frankly, I'd rethink it from a tacticool machine into a mobile BOL. Store food, water, commo, first aid, etc in it. All the gear you need to survive. Extra fuel. Then I'd add official looking decals to make it look like some sort of city or utility service vehicle, to make getting through roadblocks easier. For instance, "EMERGENCY ELECTRICAL SERVICES" or "COMMUNICATIONS REPAIR UNIT #47", etc. Store matching coveralls and a cap in it, and nobody's going to be checking your references.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by M1aMatt » Sun Sep 14, 2008 4:08 pm

Make sure and cut a hole in the floor with a door over it and park above a manhole cover at night so that you would have an emergency escape route when they are surrounding your Mad Max Mobile. :lol: .

I would just keep it close to stock. Def. dont paint it. Too much attention. Just heavier bumpers, maybe throw some 1 ton rear springs in it, make it reliable. You just make yourself a target when you build some extrvagant thing like that. Kind of like putting a 10,000 stereo system in a car, then putting huge stickers on the window of the brand they are. Be like a blue light special to some thief.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by andygates » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:12 pm

I wonder how much caged-up glass messes with the gas mileage? Granted, bad-assery and aerodynamics are always opposed, but I can't help wondering..?

An inverter is a godsend for a camper or BOL-on-wheels. Even if it's just for charging up the day-to-day kit or keeping a laptop running for hours, it's nice to have. When I installed mine, I put in a 500W unit that is way under-powered (the startup load of, for example, my huge TV, espresso machine and breadmaker all trip it - boo hiss); stick in as much as you can afford if you want creature comforts back there. Um. Breadmaker. I fail at mall ninja.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Zombie Hunter 007 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:20 pm

Here's what this project really needs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOyt6imlgLo
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by doctor_ocks » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:41 pm

Thanks guys. Keep the ideas coming. Originally we were just talking about making it a novelty thing. Something that looked so over the top that it'd turn heads and get a chuckle. We're currently rethinking all that. I don't have the means to replace the engine, so if it can't be made to run decently, then I'll just srap it. You guys have already thrown some great starting points out there. Keep it up!
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by doctor_ocks » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:29 pm

Hehe

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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Impus » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:13 pm

Paladin, if you want to do up your Astro or Safari, check these guys out....

http://www.overlandvans.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Paladin1 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:05 pm

Impus wrote:Paladin, if you want to do up your Astro or Safari, check these guys out....

http://www.overlandvans.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks for the link-I'm all over that. I'm starting with the 2" lift/ 29" tires. Finding that site is what made me pick the Astro in the first place. I wrote down the attributes I wanted, then researched vehicles that would meet the need. There's also forums for Astros with lots of info on tricking them out. Who would have thought?
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by MarkTBSc » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:05 am

Most of the weak spots I'd want to look at are under the bonnet... Sorry, "hood". The vital part - the engine - is surrounded only by thin sheet metal and is exceedingly vulnerable to even small arms fire. The usual technique for protecting that area in an armoured vehicle is to use Kevlar sheeting but that's hard to come by and expensive. You may want to consider adding some sort of stainless steel liner to the vital sections of the front and adding in a labyrinth of Stainless slats in front of the radiator grille to prevent it being ruptured. The petrol tank is - as proved by the mythbusters - less of a problem... Although I understand you can get self-sealing tanks.

On that note - remember Run-Flat tyres. Very useful in an emergency.

(Edit: Just remember to watch your weight and weight-distribution!)
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Browning 35 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:16 pm

Unless it's important that it be camoflauge for some reason, I was thinking about maybe something like this in Black or some other Earth tone color (camo vehicles usually draw too much attention/unless that's the whole point of doing it) with an....
  • Offroad brush guard.
  • A Winch.
  • Maybe a roll bar inside.
  • Run flat tires.
  • A GPS system.
  • Two way radio.
  • Two police spotlights on both the driver and passenger doors.
  • Bullet resistant windows.
  • Some kind of bedding in back.
You don't have to cut a hole in the roof if you have firing ports on all four sides.

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There's some film that you can apply to the windows that will make them smash and bullet resistant, that way you don't have to put a heavy mesh screen on it (that's kind of a draw back as it would limit visibility and it wouldn't protect you from bullets).
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by velojym » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:56 pm

Ah, yeah. I drove (and rode) in a few of those on an ATM route for a while.
Better than the boxy armored trucks for getting around in town, but not quite as
well armored. Beats stock sheet metal, though.
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Re: Battle Wagon project ideas

Post by Sig_Ocelot » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:18 pm

I'm sorry, but plumber vans creep me right the fuck out. They always have. Add some armor plate, a turret roof, and an extra gas tank; what do you have? An unstoppable child molester.

Jk, kinda... My dad used to have an old VW 91' shaggin wagon and I thought it would be cool as hell to turn that into some sorta APC. If you do wind up going through with this project, post a ton of pictures. Also, you will get epic amounts of man points.
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