Rebuilding The Bear

Almost 3 months ago, I posted that I was gutting Polar Bear. The saga continues, and much has come to pass. I ripped out the flooring, headliner, seats and dash. I cleaned, painted, and started rebuilding. I’ve started migrating from brown to gray. I even added a rotating seat mount for the passenger. The new seat and a giant bean bag turned out to be rather useful.

On the outside, I’ve added a roof rack, rear ladder, and spare tire cover. Mechanically, I’ve had the transmission replaced, transfer case and front drive shaft rebuilt, a/c leaks fixed, rear brakes fixed, and other odds and ends. I attempted to have a leaky front windshield fixed and am still fighting that battle. Inside, I’ve installed a new stereo system. I fabricated a few doors panels to mount speakers on. I am replacing lights with leds. I also got some really neat new seat covers.

I’ve taken Polar Bear backpacking, offroading, and to a crazy party at the slopes. I’m really enjoying the benefits of owning a 4×4 van.

I’ve grossly underestimated the amount of time it takes to do each modification. I’ve invested a lot of time and a fair sum of money working on this van. I very much enjoy it, but I do wish it was going a little quicker. I’ve been posting Polar Bear photos along the way and maintaining a more detailed Polar Bear build thread on the Sportsmobile Forum. I also ran into the owner of the other lifted Econoline with the orange strip I keep seeing. We talk vans a bit, he’s got a nice rig and some interesting build plans.

Next up, I will be: finishing off the front speaker installation, adding bedliner coating around the base of the exterior and the entire interior, fabricating an adapter to install the new driver’s seat, building a subfloor, and installing a house battery. I also have a new visor in the queue. So much to do, one bite at a time.

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