A nice day in Portland! It’s early May here upon writing, so it’s hit or miss on the weather this time of year. With a day and a half of not-rain, it’s time to finally get started. Goal is to get the van striped down to bare bones and to fully wash out the inside cargo area so it’s ready for priming and painting.
My van originally had a metal shelf in the back along with a wooden divider between the cab and cargo area. Removing the divider and the rear shelf was quite simple and straightforward. I had noticed a musty smell in the van after I removed all of my stuff from the back. After removing the black mat that was on the floor of the cargo area, I realized the mildew smell was coming from underneath that mat. There was soft cushy layer under the black plastic and it had gotten wet over the course of the months I had been sleeping in there. This was due to condensation build up on the ceiling and walls that dripped down to the floor and got under the mat and then never dried. (You’ve seen a car with the windows fogged up before… sleeping in a car in the winter creates a lot of condensation!) The plus side of this mat is that I now have a template of the floor of the van, which is going to be very useful later when cutting insulation and plywood for the floor. There was some random insulation in the ribs of the cargo area that I cut out with a box cutter and then took the wire brush to.
I then moved the van to a friend’s driveway that had a nice downhill slope and a hose. Here I sprayed out the cargo area and wiped down all surfaces using rag and degreaser/cleaner. Having the van on a slope for this process was really nice so I could really go to town with the water and not worry about it soaking into the front cab area. The doors were quite annoying to get clean. There were quite a few sharp pokey parts as well and I cut each of my hands :(. Overall the whole cleaning process took about 4.5 hours with me being very thorough.
Learning Moment: I learned that my van does not like to start on a steep hill. I had to roll down the hill in neutral to level ground and then she started up. I probably have a problem in the fuel distribution system somewhere. I’ve suspected this for a time because my gas gauge is wonky and changes depending on if I’m going up or downhill. At least that’s my guess. I’m going to bring the van into a mechanic for a basic check-up/tune-up/fluids change soon, so hopefully I’ll learn more about this problem then.
Take aways: Parking the van on a steep slope which allowed me to spray inside with a hose and spray nozzle saved a ton of time and allowed me to really get a deep clean without too much effort.