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Old 07-03-2021, 12:28 PM   #1
OldCarNewTricks
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Default 245 Camper

Good morning,

I recently found my friend a 1990 245, clean title, 146k miles, M47 all for $150. We have been looking around for a car for him that would be a good camper, as we are both trying to get out into the great outdoors more. Me with my RWD '99 F-150, and him with a 245, what could go wrong??

So I wanted to bug you all about ideas for building his wagon into a moderate offroad camper. We are not looking to rock crawl or go way off the grid. Easy trails only. We were looking at a small lift and a small upgrade in tire size. So what is our best option with all of this?

I also am aware of tire size affecting gearing, and I did take the power trans course for my automotive tech degree last semester, so I'm 100% comfortable changing gear sets. I also think that for what we are doing, the popular G80 may be an excellent choice. Any opinions on the G80 vs a more conventional LS diff?

Thank you all, have a safe and happy 4th weekend.
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Old 07-03-2021, 01:05 PM   #2
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I have used my V8 wagon many times as a camper. I take the bottom rear seat out, fold the seat back down and support it with wooden dowels to hold it flat. I'm 6' tall and have plenty of room in the back. I've been to Carlisle twice, Mid Ohio twice, [for racing] and Elkhart Lake also for the SCCA National Run Off's. Yes you will need ground clearance, but know your limits. Years ago we saw a stock 245 take the Old Maverick Trail at Big Bend NP Texas, There only issue was that they ran out of gas, lucky that some one stopped to help them. The Old Maverick Trail can get pretty rough, we did it one year in a Ford Focus.
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Old 07-03-2021, 01:36 PM   #3
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I think a stiffer spring rate (not too stiff) and a stock front sway bar with no rear bar is the ticket. 200# front, 150# rear (x1.5=225#) but not taller than stock. I know there are plenty of threads on lifted 240s here, i could guesstimate a length of spring to get you close. I think i did that once a while back. 15” rear, i think. 11”? Front.
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:57 PM   #4
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Good information, thank you guys! He is willing to put the money towards BNE coilovers and rear adjustable spring mounts, if that is the best way to go.

Is there a different car model that uses springs like that, MikeP? Would it be good to do a quick disconnect style sway bar for the rear to keep on road performance decent?
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Old 07-03-2021, 08:28 PM   #5
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You'll have good on road grip with no rear sway bar and properly rated springs like mike has suggested.
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Old 07-03-2021, 09:23 PM   #6
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The rears are just a little under 5” ID, pigtail on one end. That style used to be available, but mostly in 5.5” ID. we usually add a pair of upper centering cones on the lower trailing arms. For a tiny decrease in height, a 250# 5”x13” stock car spring works. 225# for a sedan. I figured a softer 15” with camping gear in back would be maybe a bit taller.
Use the coilovers in front to get the ride right. I personally would like sways, my favorite is 23mm front and 19mm rear. But i thought you might like more articulation. The stock rear bar is really wimpy because the length of the trailing arm from front pivot to axle is the effective sway bar arm length. But I think the effect ramps up as it articulates due to pulling (the reason why that style has all the bends).

Last edited by mikep; 07-04-2021 at 01:20 PM..
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Old 07-03-2021, 09:44 PM   #7
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Sell the wagon for a large profit and buy a chevy express.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:12 PM   #8
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185R14 4 ply Vanagon tires & overload springs out back.
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how psi stock cna sprout?


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Old 07-03-2021, 11:25 PM   #9
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Dodge or Plymouth mini van, better driving characteristics and way more room in the back with the seats out than a 245. I had a queen air mattress in the back of mine.
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Old 07-04-2021, 01:25 PM   #10
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MikeP, great information. On Rockauto there is the Husky brand spring P/N RV217. 155 lb./in, 16" free length. That's pretty close to the described rear 150 lb. you described.

Redwood, you're talking about 185/80r14, correct? Do those clear just fine?

dl242gt, that's true. We will leave it disconnected

Any recommendations on limited slip or a G80 for his wagon? I was also thinking Bilstein B6 for the rear for improved traction in offroad scenarios.
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Old 07-04-2021, 01:27 PM   #11
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We prefer the Volvo over a minivan or a full size van. Besides, even with selling off the 245, we would be far off having enough money for a Chevy Express or a truck, as the automotive market is insane right now. We've been shopping around for awhile, and this was cheap and they are easy to work on.
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Old 07-04-2021, 01:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCarNewTricks View Post

Redwood, you're talking about 185/80r14,
Yes the '80' full profile is implied, and the 'R' stands for radial.

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correct?
Yes it's the stock size.

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Do those clear just fine?
See above.
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Old 07-04-2021, 03:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCarNewTricks View Post
We prefer the Volvo over a minivan or a full size van. Besides, even with selling off the 245, we would be far off having enough money for a Chevy Express or a truck, as the automotive market is insane right now. We've been shopping around for awhile, and this was cheap and they are easy to work on.
I mean, you're kind of wrong. A 90+ manual 240 wagon is worth a ton of money right now and the price of cargo vans hasn't really gone up...further, you are talking about spending money to modifying a 240 to go offroad...you either spend very little and you might as well have left it stock or you spend a lot of money and have it to "decent". Shoot, an 'okay' set of tires is going to be $400-500 for some General Grabbers.
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Old 07-04-2021, 03:09 PM   #14
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Also, the G80 sucks. They are very unpredictable for when they lock and unlock.
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Old 07-04-2021, 03:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by RvolvoR View Post
I mean, you're kind of wrong. A 90+ manual 240 wagon is worth a ton of money right now and the price of cargo vans hasn't really gone up...further, you are talking about spending money to modifying a 240 to go offroad...you either spend very little and you might as well have left it stock or you spend a lot of money and have it to "decent". Shoot, an 'okay' set of tires is going to be $400-500 for some General Grabbers.
Don't think a 27" Ø wheel will fit the front.
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Old 07-04-2021, 04:00 PM   #16
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Don't think a 27" Ø wheel will fit the front.
he's talking about a small lift. Extending the front strut tubes slightly (or BNE coilovers like he was talking about) will make a 205/75-15 fit easily. I was with 3 people over last weekend who had that exact setup.
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Old 07-04-2021, 04:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCarNewTricks View Post
MikeP, great information. On Rockauto there is the Husky brand spring P/N RV217. 155 lb./in, 16" free length. That's pretty close to the described rear 150 lb. you described.

Redwood, you're talking about 185/80r14, correct? Do those clear just fine?

dl242gt, that's true. We will leave it disconnected

Any recommendations on limited slip or a G80 for his wagon? I was also thinking Bilstein B6 for the rear for improved traction in offroad scenarios.
4”ID might be like a Jeep Wagoneer spring.
I’ll have to do some measuring, i might have mis-spoken when i said 5” was the ID of stock car springs. It might be the OD.
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Old 07-04-2021, 04:01 PM   #18
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Also, if youre serious about any of this. Take a look at Jerd or Ansel+'s project threads.
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Old 07-04-2021, 04:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RvolvoR View Post
I mean, you're kind of wrong. A 90+ manual 240 wagon is worth a ton of money right now and the price of cargo vans hasn't really gone up...further, you are talking about spending money to modifying a 240 to go offroad...you either spend very little and you might as well have left it stock or you spend a lot of money and have it to "decent". Shoot, an 'okay' set of tires is going to be $400-500 for some General Grabbers.
Sorry, I should have been more specific. He was interested in a 4x4 truck (9th gen F150, or a mid 2000s Silverado) or a Tahoe/Suburban. All of these vehicles he has interest in are very expensive.

If we use reputable parts like what is offered through BNE and don't resort to shade tree butchery, it shouldn't hurt the value of this car, right?
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Old 07-04-2021, 04:35 PM   #20
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Also, the G80 sucks. They are very unpredictable for when they lock and unlock.
Good to know. Perhaps a clutch style limited slip case is a better option.
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Old 07-04-2021, 05:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCarNewTricks View Post
Sorry, I should have been more specific. He was interested in a 4x4 truck (9th gen F150, or a mid 2000s Silverado) or a Tahoe/Suburban. All of these vehicles he has interest in are very expensive.

If we use reputable parts like what is offered through BNE and don't resort to shade tree butchery, it shouldn't hurt the value of this car, right?
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Old 07-04-2021, 07:49 PM   #22
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No. Bolt-ons will only insult people at brickboard, and this one little-known curmudgeon…
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Old 07-04-2021, 08:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
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No. Bolt-ons will only insult people at brickboard, and this one little-known curmudgeon…
^ This.

Part & crush it's the TB way.
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Old 07-05-2021, 06:31 AM   #24
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Good to know. Perhaps a clutch style limited slip case is a better option.
have a look at a TruTrac diff. It's a torque sensing gears-only diff, no clutch pack inside.
If your Volvo has a 1030 axel / Dana30 rear end there are options from the Jeep aftermarket that will fit.
http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=55095
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Old 07-05-2021, 07:45 AM   #25
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I did a quick search to see what’s out there. The 912A-585 seems to be the one they sell for jeep fronts.
The first ones i saw were clearance 912A398, low preload for jeep front. I am guessing that new number is low preload but with the harder case and 6 case bolts.
The 398s worked great in snow, not great for racing. They are part of the reason for the bad early reputation.

The old high preload number was 912A411. 3 larger case bolts like the 398 suffix diffs.




The new (2007) high preload diff with 6 bolts and harder case is 912A588.



https://www.summitracing.com/parts/dtl-912a588

*edit: it will say “3.73 up”. Ignore that. The one case size fits all volvo ring gears for 1030 and 1031.
Regarding that early post: I have a collection of several variations on pinions now. I haven’t posted pics, but i can do that with this info too.

Last edited by mikep; 07-05-2021 at 07:56 AM..
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