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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here goes.
She started life as a plain jane 3.0/3-speed base model 94 Voyager.
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Over the last 10 years or so, she's been upgraded and updated to better suit my needs of towing, hauling, camping, off roading, etc.

This whole "build" started as a joke over a friend of mine looking for a push bar for his Subaru. I was in the middle of getting it ready for paint, had already dropped it 1.5", and had no plans of making an off-roader, but we built a bar to pick on him.
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This set the stage for insanity as I ordered the largest 14" ATs I could fit and finished the paint
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I ended up snagging a Jeep Commander roof basket and rolling like this for a few years, even snagging some awards at a few shows
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Then around 205k miles, the 3-speed decided it was done with the abuse and started losing 2nd gear. In no mood to continue with this driveline now, I swapped it for a 3.8l/4-speed out of a 94 Grand Voyager
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I fixed the slapped on intake and drove it like this for a few years. Then the 3.8L lost a PCV, pressurized the crankcase, and pushed all it's oil out while cruising down the interstate. With the 3.8 dead, I searched for another but ended up only finding a 92 3.3L.
Needing to be able to drive it, I swapped it in
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This engine combined with the 3.8 trans made the van even slower than the 3.0/3-speed, so I kept my eyes peeled for another 3.8 to replace it.
In the mean time, I got ambitious and designed/built a 2" lift kit, along with painting it once again as I grew tired of the color.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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With the new paint on and buffed out, I went back to driving it for a couple years, swapped the transfer gears in an attempt to make the 3.3L livable, until finally I stumbled on a steal for a 99 3.8L.
I rebuilt the 3.8L and freshened it up so it would be good to rock

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Then in it went.
This finally left me with the power/torque the van should have had from factory, so I was happy to cruise it as it was. Along the way I rebuilt/upgraded the rear suspension to handle the towing/hauling we were doing
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1,450lb rated springs from General Spring and a modified Curt hitch
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The added receivers gave me a place to build my spare tire carrier
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In the process of driving and enjoying it, I got feisty and built a new snorkel for it by modifying a Land Cruiser snorkel kit
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With the new-found power/torque, the poor 94 trans couldn't handle the abuse any longer, so I sent it out to Kutzler transmissions and had it built to handle what I throw at it. While I was awaiting the transmission, I decided to shed a new light on it's look as well. So I fixed up the couple small rust spots, got it all sanded out one last time , installed my freshly built transmission, then set into laying out the new color

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Got it all put back together
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And now we have been enjoying it since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have even been doing some local events having even more fun with it
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Even managing to bury it in 18" deep ruts.
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Now we enjoy driving it, camping with it, getting out to camping areas, and running trails. It handles heavy towing with ease and hauls everything we need.
Here's hoping to another 10+ years of enjoyment out of it
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Nice, awesome build. I run those type of tires on mine all the time. Would like to lift it some day as well. Looks like you may need to custom build a rear axle to get that ground (mud) clearance but thats about the only weak spot I see.
 

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We took a 4 speed in on trade in the early 90’s. Even at 19, I thought it was a blast to drive. As I recall it had the giant knobs in the ceiling for the rear quarter windows-and I remember questioning if that was genuinely a cost saving measure.
Fun ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice, awesome build. I run those type of tires on mine all the time. Would like to lift it some day as well. Looks like you may need to custom build a rear axle to get that ground (mud) clearance but thats about the only weak spot I see.
Oddly enough, the rear axle doesn't cause issue. It will drag it through trouble free until it packs enough mud/snow under it to high center on the body underneath.
 
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WOW, a lot of work and a lot of vehicle for it. One of a kind most likely.

Sure looks beautiful, all covered with mud. :) What's on it for brakes?

That generation lent itself to color schemes very well. I had a 1995 Caravan with a maroon upper and silver lower, after an accident (stolen, messed up a bit, fixed and repainted).
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What's on it for brakes?
I upgraded to Stoptech rotors with Akebono ceramic pads up front, the rear is just new OEM.
Suspension is KYB GR2 struts, KYB Gas-a-just shocks for a Venture, all Mevotech Supreme joints and bushings.
 

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Cool build, LV. I've been seeing you post on Jalopnik for years and always been curious about what you've done. That's a good looking van.
 
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I don't really like to see a raised minivan, minivans are ugly as they are, raising it make them look even uglier, in my opinion.

But, I have to admit, you did a great job for your intended use. It doesn't looks out of place among all other vehicles on those pictures.

Having only one slide door make it sturdier for off road use.

Great job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And in case anyone was wondering just how quick a 99 3.8L is in a 1994 Voyager turning 27" ATs........ 6.5-7 secs 0-60 is the answer:
 
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I don't really like to see a raised minivan, minivans are ugly as they are, raising it make them look even uglier, in my opinion.
They're ugly, for sure and I feel like the 4th Gen of these is particularly egregious; that said, there's beauty in the sheer utilitarian nature of them.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
They're ugly, for sure and I feel like the 4th Gen of these is particularly egregious; that said, there's beauty in the sheer utilitarian nature of them.


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Eh, they're no more ugly than the plague of CUVs clogging our roads.
 

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Eh, they're no more ugly than the plague of CUVs clogging our roads.
True enough, but I'd argue that the van is more attractive simply by virtue of that previously mentioned utilitarianism nature. I wasn't necessity disparaging our vans, just agreeing that they're not the most attractive vehicles.

I can't look at an CUV without thinking about what a compromised vehicle it is; when you can have a van that dispenses with illusions of grandeur and just does its job.

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If every Van had a push bar on front, they would look great. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nice write up!

There's something about that generation that (although it's a minivan) it still looks good!
2nd gens are by far my favorite generation. IMO it's the generation that got everything right without over doing it.
 
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