More Updates to Ol’ Rosie

Last month we spent a fair amount of time working on Rosie during our long holiday break, fixing rust spots and sealing her up from the elements, and adding a few little extra touches here and there. It’s nice to be able to really customize the inside of your vehicle!

We removed the awful window A/C unit that was attached to the back. We filled it in with a sheet of metal.


We cleaned and filled in a number of rust spots, including some gaping holes that really needed attention.


A portion of the passenger (rear) side door jamb was brittle and weak so we cleaned it up and filled it in as well, which provided additional stability to the door frame.


The seal on the outside had worn away which had led to the deterioration on the inside so we cleaned up the outside and filled that in too.


She’s not pretty but she is functional. We don’t have the resources to do an immediate overhaul. But we’ll get there. Don is itching to have the exterior all one color – army green. Eventually.

We had been having problems with the gas gauge so we pulled the gas tank off and adjusted the fuel float and checked the tank for leaks or other problems.



We added some conveniences inside: a safe for valuables, trash can, and drink holders. All bolted or attached in one fashion or another so they don’t move around.


We added an old-school Jerry Can to the back for keeping a little extra gas on hand. (Always a good thing, especially with older, somewhat unreliable vehicles. LOL)  Don really wanted one. It suits his personality and the final look he’s got in mind for Rosie.


We also finalized our registration and title (after a few hiccups and delays) and received our new plates in the mail so we finally felt official. An added bonus to that was that I could finally peel all the Texas State inspections stickers off the windows!

These are just a few of the many things we’ve accomplished, not all of them interesting enough to photograph. We have lots more to do but she’s coming along nicely. 🙂

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
~ Abraham Lincoln 

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We have dubbed the van, Rust-Oleum Rosie! And we’ve been putting in a lot of project time this past week.

Some of the work was too menial to photograph like removing water and propane tanks we don’t need, adding weather-stripping to the doors to reduce rattling and make sure they are tightly sealed, and re-caulking the side windows to ensure no leaks (we plan to remove/replace them eventually but since it will be some time before we can do that we wanted to make sure they are water tight.)

We also painted the dash black and army green and installed a new stereo. (Pictures show before and after.)

dash before and after

We added the drink holder to the front of the “doghouse” (the large green section between the seats) which covers the motor. (Makes for easy motor work!)

We then removed the old door paneling and used it as a model to make new panels covered in black vinyl.


We also purchased new wheels and tires and had side exhaust pipes installed.

wheels and exhaust before and after

It was all a LOT more work than the photos can illustrate. We spent half a day going round and round with the tire company over wheel and tire options. We almost went to another company after some serious frustration, but in the end it was going to be more headache to start over with another shop. The first company truly did cut us the best deal, even if we had to take our second choice for wheels because they initially quoted us a product that turned out to not be available until some unknown time in 2014. We couldn’t wait because we found that the rear tires on Rosie weren’t even rated for the vehicle, which made for a rough ride and could potentially be a hazard at high speeds. We think it all turned out in the end. We do like the wheels we got. Here’s a closer look at the pattern.

Lots more little touches on our list but most of the big, immediate work is done. (I think, lol.) Everything else will come with time.

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
~ Winnie-the-Pooh

Introducing Our Latest Adventure

She has been dubbed many things by folks in the last couple of weeks…the mystery machine, shaggin’ wagon, creeper van, A-Team van…you name it, we’ve probably heard it. I suppose it would be fun to actually choose a name. So far we’ve just referred to it as “she” or “the van” when discussing plans.

She was an opportunistic purchase two weeks ago.

van before

She is a 1978 Dodge 1-ton Tradesman van, complete with camper conversion inside with bed, stove, and cabinets. She has a new (second) engine installed in 2010 so she runs like a champ although she does have quite a few creaks and squeaks and needs a bit of TLC in other areas. As for interior, well, it’s original, and very 70’s. (You’ll have to wait to see that another day.) We do plan to renovate everything. Eventually.

Today, I want to show off a few of the initial cosmetic changes Don has made so far.


They may be hard to spot at first glance. You might scroll back up to the first pic to see the difference. He removed the steps, the funky PVC pipe antennae holder that had been attached to the rear of the passenger side, and replaced the side mirrors.

Here’s a close-up before and after look at both mirrors. The hardware was quite old and the placement of the supports was odd.


He also replaced the steering wheel.



We have many, many more plans but all in good time. There are a few minor mechanical items that need to be tackled first like repairing the fuel gauge (Don already ran out of gas last week, luckily just as he pulled into a gas station so he coasted right to the pump), replacing the exhaust system which is about to fall off, among other things.

A bit of elbow grease and good times ahead!

As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.
~ Winnie the Pooh