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Old 06-17-2013, 05:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default '85 carry campervan build

Hi all,

So I got a 1985 Carry ST90V van with the 800cc 4 cyl engine. The basic ideology behind it (at least how I presented it to my other half who presids over part of the budget) is to turn it into a small campervan or sleeper, so we can do shorter-longer trips with the dog. Long story short, I managed to find a fairly good base for the project and here it sits on my front yard.

It is hard to find an old Japanese car without mayor rust in Central Europe as they were not really well prepared for out heavy winter and salting of the roads. This car survived the last near 30 years with undercarriage and body nearly too good to beleive. Engine is sound too, if a bit too weak for the rather agressive and impatient Polish drivers.

Here are pictures:

and here are my questions:

- steering: as of now it feels to me like my steering coloumn would be made of rubber. Rather sluggish and heavy steering. took the car to an inspection station before purchase and all seemed to be ok. Possibly greasing will help...?

- breaks. this is a 4 drumbrake modell. with what modifications could I swap to the disc brakes of the later super carry? I guess wheel hubs. Apart from that? Master cylinder is the same?

- engine power. So far I say the engine is tip-top. reaches 60kph (40mph) quite soon and able to cruise between 70-80 kph (45ish mph) without problems. reaching 90 is a challenge, takes time, tailwind, gentle slope. I can beleive though that given the time it could reach 100-105 on a straight road.
Still with CE driving culture I'd need a stable a 90kph not to be killed. I wonder if slightly bigger wheels would help. (right now it's R12 with normla tires on (I just do not remember the exact tyre size... ) as a sidenote: I plan to drive the van light in most times, a mattress, a tiny gas coocker a tiny fridge, light "furniture" mattress, 2 of us plus dog. Say together with the living meat load about 230kg?
Also I would remove the direct driven fan from the engine freeing some resources and replace with an electric fan/thermoswitch setup. I'd not like to get into bit tuning of the car becasue that is a never ending battle.

- noise. we drove it yesterday a 130kms and my other half compained of noise. (well, she is not that much into older cars. ) We drove it full naked though, anly bare metal showing everywhere as I threw out a crap from the back. I'm guessing that the following would help with noise reduction:
- some foam insulator (say 10mm) on the floor with 8-10mm OSB panel (glued wooden panel used for constructions) on it to form a level surface on which I can glue the vinyl floor or carpet.
- I gotta fix the interior sidepanels. say a thin layer of foam under the new false leather upholstery.
- Again some insulation on forward cabin floor under the rubbermats.
- Maybe some heat resistant insulator sheet glueg into the engine compartment...?
Please tell me about materials I should use or they actual effectiveness as I never did anything like this before.

Jobs I gotta fix before starting to use the van (got it only on saturday):
- oils, filters, colant, belts, plugs change.
- I guess that the right front wheelbearing needs attention. (what else could make noise from there??)
- cleaning the brakes, the inspector measured big difference between the rear breaks. Maybe new brake shoes.

so far so much only, I'm pretty happy with what I got specially for what I paid for it.

A new painjob will come to it later by the way.

Thanks for all the ideas and recommendations. All help is appreciated.

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Old 06-17-2013, 05:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Greetings! I am in the Philippines. We have very few of the ST90's here. That is an export vehicle, so it should be supported by Suzuki there. We have 3 cylinder F6A'a mostly here built from scrap.
Noise from the wheel area can be many things, dragging brake, loose bearing, tie rod.
I thought about a camper also, not full time, but quick change as my seats in back fold into the floor, but hot weather make getting any use out of it a problem, and we do not have many safe areas to park after dark here.
I have pictures of campers in England, they seam to do fine there, no autobon I guess, so speed is not an issue. Some bridal vale material will work for folding screens in windows, and a tarp and poles for rainy days to cook and sit under. Should be fun.
Good luck.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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well, here the speed is an issue unfortunately.
Outside of inhabited places the limit is 90km/h which makes most drivers to do like 100. I'd be happy with 80-ish.

Figured out that my gearbox is just simply not good for this job. I'd need the supercarry's 5 speed gearbox. the one fitted to the 1.0L engine.

would anyone would know if they are replaceable?
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi all,

I'm trying to find out the biggest wheel which would fit into the wheelarches. Not wider, bigger in diameter. The aim is to raise the cruising speed. (right now the van would do 65kph around 3300rpm) with bigger wheel, like 155/80-14 I could raise that to near 80 whihc would be ideal for our traffic.

could anyone let me know if such tires would fit at the rear (and in best case to the front too) without lifting/modifying the suspension?

I need to replace my left-front seat. If possible I'd like to do it with as small modifications to the seat panel as possible. What seats would go in the best? (like samurai, or other small vans...?)

I noticed that the oil pressure builds up slowly if the van has been left sitting for long. (a week) yesterday I run it on idle for about a minute before the oil lamp went finally off. Of course, It could have been that it was on idle... as soon as I touched the accelerator, the pressure was ok. Still it's no sign of healthy lubrication...

I'm converting the van to electrical cooling fan set-up. Would you be able to tell me if placing the thermo-switch in place of the drain plug on the cooler would work? In out climate cars would go 90% with the fan off. No need for having it on continously.

thank you.
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think running bigger tires will let you run quicker but, instead give you a false reading on your odometer. However, on a straight away, on the same RPM i believe you run a few % quicker. There's a conversion you can find online to measure your speed basing it from different tire diameters.

on your seats, do you have access to upholstery shops who can customize your current seat frame to your liking?

your oil pressure should keep a constant pressure. I'm referring to my old nissan patrol I used to drive, pressure goes down which means there's compression issues. Try to have the compression checked.

You can replace the drain, or you can have your radiator modified to fit the thermo-switch. However you an option to go manual switch. By the way, did you check if there's another thermo switch located somewhere? your engine temp meter should be getting feedback from somewere.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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There are a few Carry camper van owners here:

Suzuki Forum, News, Gallery. Suzuki Online Community.

I think there is a thread about soundproofing too.
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