Author Topic: Ultravan Rescue Gone Wrong  (Read 177 times)

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Ultravan Owners

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Ultravan Rescue Gone Wrong
« on: October 09, 2018, 10:01:13 AM »
Coming this winter.
I will be posting my story of an Ultravan Rescue that did NOT go according to plan.   :(  :'(
It all took place in August 2018 and Iím now able to talk about it.
It will also have pictures and videos to go along.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 10:27:37 AM by Ultravan Owners »
Tony - US Army and ASE Mechanic, Retired.
Location - Ottawa, Canada

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Re: Ultravan Rescue Gone Wrong
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2018, 08:53:48 AM »
If you don't already know what started all this..
In 2008 Marie and I purchased our first Ultravan along with a damaged one to help restore the first one.
Shortly after Marie and I got into Ultravans we decided to try to have a working Ultravan Museum.
We really liked the Ultravan and the history of how it came to be.
So we purchased our farm in 2010 with an older house and lot of space.
I would like to have a car show on our farm every 3 to 5 years to help raise funds for Habitat for Humanity and Hospice.
The working Ultravan Museum would be an extension of the fund raiser and our way of becoming snowbirds too. 

A couple of years ago I made a deal to purchase another Ultravan for our collection that happened to be in the mid-west.

It was a V8 that someone decided to do a conversion on.  Why I have no clue.
We already had UV520 with an Olds Toronado conversion.
I had hoped to take the best of, or the easiest one to do, of these two V8 units and put it back to original condition.
This is because I had yet to close a deal on an original V8 Ultravan for our collection.  I'm still looking for one!
FYI - What I personally refer to as a late model Ultravan (which includes the V8 units) are known to have an issue with corrosion due to the spray in Styrofoam that was used. 

On with the story of: Ultravan Rescue Gone Wrong

In April of 2017 I purchased a 2001 G3500 Cab and Chassis as close to the Ultravan that I had agreed to buy and needed to haul home.
I had hoped to get away that summer to go recuse this Ultravan. But that did not happen.
With the purchase of the truck I would not have to sit in a vehicle and drive both ways with my bad back.
Plus this truck would not have the rust we are so use to seeing where we live.
I could keep it and use it or I thought if I needed the funds I would I have a better chance of selling a rust free diesel truck to get the funds back.
It also would shave a couple days off my trip as I would not have to drive both ways.
I would use my flyer miles and fly out there get the truck and then drive to the Ultravan.
Attached is a picture of that Diesel Truck that I purchased and the Ultravan sitting in the field that I agreed to buy years before.

More to come soon.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 09:23:32 AM by Ultravan Owners »
Tony - US Army and ASE Mechanic, Retired.
Location - Ottawa, Canada

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Re: Ultravan Rescue Gone Wrong
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2018, 09:58:20 AM »
UPDATE POSTED: November 30, 2018 

On August 9th, 2018 I finally started off on my Ultravan rescue. I took a flight to Sioux Falls, SD. It was a connecting flight and the second leg of my flight was delayed a couple of times. I began to think I was going to have to spend the night in that air port. Thank GOD I got the last flight out. That airport has night restrictions and has to shutdown every night by 12midnight EST. I did not arrive to the hotel until 1am with the central time change. It so happens that the crew from the plane used the same hotel and we all took the shuttle service there. That made me feel like I picked the right hotel.

The morning of August 10th I got up, had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and waited for my ride. The owner of the business was kind enough to pick me up at the hotel, at 11am, and we drove 45 minutes back to his place so I could pick up the truck from there.

I checked the fluids, started it up and check things out before driving to the gas station to start my trip. As I was driving to the gas station I had noticed how much the back of the truck would bounce or dance around without the extra weight of a bed on the back. After I filled up with diesel fuel, I found out that the tires were maxed out so lowered the air pressure on the four rear tires and checked the front ones while I was at it.

From the gas station in Rock Rapids, IA, where I picked up the truck, I drove to Sigourney, Iowa with one stop in Des Moines, IA to pick up some thin 4x8 flat stock so I could close up the opening of the large broken window. I arrived at the hotel (recommended to me) in Sigourney and checked in just in time before they stopped receiving check-ins. What a long day it was. The restaurant I wanted to go to had closed early that night. So I went to Subway and took my meal back to the hotel room to sit quietly and watch some TV. When I opened the door to the hotel room the odder hit me. It was musty. Like nasty mold. As I sat there eating I could not believe the condition of the place. After I ate I went into the bathroom to clean up and that is when I lost it.  The sink was dirty (as if they cleaned the room days or weeks before) and then I saw the mouse droppings on the floor in the corner. I contacted Marie and she was kind enough to call the hotel across the street while I loaded up my truck. She was able to get me a room there so I drove across the street and checked in there. It cost double of what the other place did. But I'm so happy I ended up staying there instead.
 
 
       
Tony - US Army and ASE Mechanic, Retired.
Location - Ottawa, Canada

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Re: Ultravan Rescue Gone Wrong
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2018, 09:59:09 AM »
UPDATE POSTED: November 30, 2018

The Next day (August 11th, 2018) I got up and went to check out the Ultravan. I wanted to size up the task ahead of me. FYI - Weeks before I was to leave on this rescue I wrote PowerNation Driveway Rescue for help. I knew it was going to be a long shot. But I had to try, because I also knew it was going to a lot of work and more so, working out side, at my age, in the heat of summer. And the summer heat did not help at all. It was hot!!! 
 
The Ultravan had been sitting in the field for years. The rims and tires were buried in the ground half their diameter deep. I was shocked that 3 out of the 4 tires still had air in them after all these years.

I started digging out each tire so hopefully it would not cause any damage when I went to pull the coach out from where it had been sitting for so long. A short while later that morning a relative of the owner that I was buying the Ultravan from, came over to help me finish digging out the tires. We got the tires all dug out and then aired them all up. I attempted to pull the Ultravan out from where it had been stored for so many years. But I was not having any luck with that and I did not want to cause any damage to the Ultravan, so I stopped for the day. I think it was 2pm and by then it was over 100degs with the heat index.

August in Iowa was extremely hot when I was there.

On August 12th, I went for breakfast early and then stopped by a farm supply store, a block away, to purchase a come-along and some tow straps, before heading over to the Ultravan in the nearby town. I then drove over to where the Ultravan was and crawled under it to hook up one of the tow straps. I backed my truck up behind the Ultravan and then hooked the come-along to the back of the truck. Using the come-along I started pulling the coach out of the holes that the tires had made from sitting so long in the dirt. I was both happy and surprised that it rolled easily.

When the come-along would no longer work, I disconnected it from the truck and moved the truck farther ahead. I then extended the come-along and hooked it to the back of the truck and repeated the process. After doing this twice I saw that the Ultravan was rolling without any issues. So I left the come-along there and used it like a tow chain and started driving the truck while pulling the coach towards the top of the hill. Getting out from time to time to steer the Ultravan. By lunch time I had the coach at the top of the hill in a cleared area where I could get it ready to be able to ground tow it home.

Pictures and more to come soon..
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 03:22:16 PM by Ultravan Owners »
Tony - US Army and ASE Mechanic, Retired.
Location - Ottawa, Canada