Vanning is a compulsion, an obsession, an occupation, an affliction, a fascination, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it, must. Those who don't, think it's a waste of time. For me it is a calling.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's been warming up. been workin like a fool!

As you have seen in earlier posts, I have a digital dash in the stock instrument cluster. It is a very cool addition but trying to hook it up to the trans has been a pain.  It requires a pulse to drive.I also want to hook up the stock Chevy cruise control. Dale found me a solution.
Dakota Digital has a unit that will drive any digital speedometer. The ultimately cool
thing is that it doesn't hook to the trans or drive train at all. It uses GPS satellite technology.
It picks up the signal and uses it to determine movement and turns it into a pulse to drive a digital speedometer.  It only needs  hot and switched 12v, a ground, and a lead to the speedo. It also has a separate hook up for a cruise control unit. You can program the pulse number to drive any unit from 4000 per mile to 32000.Once you get it set it will put out a test pulse to check the display. It will read 60 mph. Programed and tested without leaving the garage.  Worth every dollar!!!
Since the unit should be able to see the sky for the best results I decided to mount it on top of the dash, where the stock ashtray was.
and of course I had to take most of the stuff in the dash out. It's getting crowed in there with the stereo head unit ,air conditioning, and assorted wire and hoses.
Here it is mounted. I made a wood plug to cover it and it will be covered with the same leather as the interior.
I got the door panels covered and door pull assembled. I will wait to finish mounting them till later.
Another quandary has been the headliner over the front seats. There is no structure there to hold up a board, so Ron suggested gluing it all into place. 
I masked up the area and sprayed contact cement to both surfaces and wrestled the material into place. 
worked like a charm.
Got the overhead console mounted and all the electronics hooked back up.
 Interior lighting,power window switches,Sirius radio dock, and camera monitors both sides and rear. 

             THE SEATS ARE HERE!
  I've been waiting with great anticipation for the seats to get finished. Ron Petrella,an old club member has been busy working on them. He did the interior on Rick Swanks' van, that won best interior at last years Nationals.  He is quite good at it.
The stitching design was done by Rick's wife Elaine Swank, before the panels were sewn into the seats. Awesome job,.  
I couldn't wait to see what they would look like in the van.
O man I'm digin' it!!
I also did a mount for my Ipad under the dash.I have all my music on it and it can be controlled thru the alpine head unit. This makes it look built in and the Ipad wont be flopin' around while driving.

I am at the point where I need to take EVERYTHING out and start covering it all with material!   I'm done building and its time to assemble it all.     woohoo !

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Been to cold to work?

I recently came back from our winter council meeting in Nawlins, Lewzanna. It was a great time. But the day before I left to come home I dropped my phone and broke the screen.  I didn't realize how much I rely on the damn thing, or how much of my life is contained in that little box!  A number of pictures,,phone numbers,and texts will have to wait till it gets fixed.   waiting on parts as I write this.  One of the cool things about the Big Easy,is the street cars,

 They have antique street cars that are restored and operate just like they did decades ago.  A day pass is 3 bucks and you can go all over town, all you want.  We didn't drive anywhere.  The street cars went every where we wanted to go.
We went to one of the  companies that make the floats for the Mardi Gras parades...

and the famous cemeteries,  Quite educational, and a little creepy. 

 I came home to frigid temperatures,and snow. It was time to get back on the van,

I had the idea of doing embroidery of a pinstripe design on the seats. I wanted something fairly large.
 I did a stripe design and scanned it into the computer,then had a friend, Elaine Swank, do the design on a piece of material that will be sewn into the seat panel. Ron Petrella ,an old club member is doing the seats for me.  
This gives you some idea how it will look.  This isn't one of the seats. its a spare so I can move the truck around
Ever since I put the air conditioning unit under the dash I have been trying  to figure out how I was going to finish off that area.
I decided to jump in and try a couple ideas.
I started with 2 panels to cover as much of the front wall as possible.  There is a lot of hoses and wiring that needs to be hidden
cutting and fitting all this took about 2 days.
Got to figure out a way to cover the steering column ,then its time to cover these with Material. cant wait.  Also there will be LED lights under all these panels. and a bracket to hold an I pad.that hooks to the stereo. Digital tunes you know...
so the next step is to cover the panels with material.

vents for the air conditioning on each side.
 All done, and I installed led lights underneath .  lookin cool!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What does one do when it's -10 degrees

This time of year it gets this way. Trying to paint becomes a little more of a challenge. This 53 pick up stake truck is owned by one our local dealerships. I was asked to do the dealers name on the doors.
They wanted something a little retro.
Looks pretty good to me.
Just don't take it outside for a while!
the door panels are coming along.  I wanted to give them a little character.
Since there is no inside door handle,there isn't a door pull or armrest.
I cut these designs into the panels and they will have a recessed panel with the orange leather on them.
I need something to pull the door shut.  After hunting the net for some ideas I decided to get out my trusty draw knife and carve my own. 
After the panel is covered the pull will be painted green and installed.

The rest of the door panel will be covered with the tan leather material.
I hope to have the door panels covered by the next update.
And speaking of the tan material, Ron brought me the first pieces he covered. He sewed the material to fit the front and rear engine cover sections.  He did an awesome job!

He is working on the seats now. I have some surprises in store for them.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

   I did a show In Daytona and ended up doing some more striping after the show.  Here are some of the cars 

   From there I made my annual trip to the Brush Off party. A gathering of striping, sign, and custom paint artists.  There is always some excellent  work there.  Here are some of the panels in the exchange.

  James Jenson from Utah did this Rat fink on a Quarter.  This is insane!  lol

   When I'm out there, I stay with Jimmy C.and Dena,  He did this box for the Moon show and I had to have it. It will be my new paint kit.  What a great piece of work.

I got a call from Mr. Green. He had a coke machine he restored for a customer and needed the lettering put back on..

                                                O what fun ......
  I havent had a lot of time to work on the early  but I have been getting wound up to work on it.    I have made the overhead console and installed the electronics. I wanted to put it togeather without any visible screws.  Got it this far. now I need to figure out how to do the front headliner.
   The door panels have been bugging me for a long time.   the stock panels (seen here in black) don't come close to covering the inside of the door.  Even the panels on the window vans with full interiors are 2 parts and still only cover about half of the door.  The problem is the inside of the doors are a very irregular shape.
   I have been mocking up a trial panel and I think I have the problem solved. More on this one later. I have a lot of cool ideas for this .
   The outside of the van was smoothed out, handles & chrome trim removed , Seams filled.  The only thing I left was the Dodge script emblem. I had several of these. Picked the 2 nicest and had them chromed.  They came back today. Excellent work from Advance plating in Nashville!.   

  An extremely classy look.  I love it.  Next time the interior update.