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Dash Swap from Express/Savana Van?

1297 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Izzy_Brittin
Hi - new to this forum - just picked up a 2007.5 Topkick to convert to a 4x4 RV - was extremely happy to discover this forum area and the depth of experience here..

Curious if anyone has attempted a dash swap from a GM full sized van since "in theory" the sheet metal is identical.

Reason being is I hated the soft edged plastic dash/controls style GM used in the 90's and would prefer to update the interior to a more modern feel as we're looking at this build as a long term family member.

Ironically for my feelings on the Topkick interior feeling dated is the Van interiors are largely unchanged from 2004ish to present but I'm sure a lot has changed out of sight.

Idea is to swap in a 2007ish van door cards, dash top and facia, keep the Topkick gauge cluster and steering column.

Major issue would be relocating the gauges (pillar?), center information panel and all the switches.

I'm aware my Topkick doesn't have a body control module/CANBUS, I'm assuming this would have to be from a donor van before they moved the vans to CANBUS and BCM's if anyone knows what year that happened.

The idea of somehow adding a passenger side airbag is appealing as well but that is indeed a whole kettle of fish just by itself.

I'm ok with complex wiring and modifying harnesses is well within my skill set & can design and 3d print gauge / rocker switch bezels / panels inserts etc. if needed so it looks "stock" & not a kludge. .

Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Automotive design Steering wheel


So am I nuts or with the right year parts choices could this be pulled off?
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As I have been searching for parts lately, door panels, steering wheel with radio DIC controls, dash vents and misc interior parts, I have been wondering what the interchange is for the G vans myself. I haven't had a look at the 2000 up van interiors myself but I think you are on to something here. Smart idea! I like the idea of upgrading the dash to the new style. I think this will open up a whole can of worms when it comes to athletically pleasing dash upgrades, upgrades that are available for converted vans that are no longer or were never available for the Kodiak/top kick models.

I was going to start a thread asking what the actual differences are between the Kodiak and van cabs as I am having difficulty finding much of anything available.

I wonder also about the CAN and body control issue, I think, my opinion and hope add I do not actually know, is that if you bought the proper van dash wire harness you could incorporate EVERYTHING into it that the van had. I have seen only one van with a duramax conversion but I have no idea what would be involved.

Get it done and take lots of notes, when its working 100% I will bring my truck over so you can get it done also馃
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Why would the bcm kill it? Couldn't you literally take everything from the firewall to the seats from a van and stuff it in a Kodiak? Including the bcm and EVERYTHING? If the entire dash wire harness plugs into the factory under hood fuse plane or the pinout was not too difficult to figure out seems like it would be a plug and play dash swap with all the updates as you mentioned. I could see where some of the vans standard features wouldn't work as they are just not present on the Kodiak, like parking sensors...

I have done the compete wire harness swap / install several times on 99-06 silverado, Tahoe and my personal 03 escalade without major issues. My son is driving an 03 Tahoe I installed 03 escalade dash harness in. Only things that don't work are the parking sensors and traction control as they are not present on the Tahoe.

I wish I had the time and a spare Kodiak, I would be all over this.
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