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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And the beat goes on,,,,,

Workin hard on the early,

With all the the mounts welded up we needed to trial fit the engine and trans.

Fits like a glove... with the repositioning of the engine, there is a lot of space behind it. so..... I came up with the idea to shorten the engine hole and engine cover. Here John and Danny are cutting out the floor with the cover mounts.

The side panel had a big hump in it,to accommodate the alternator on the stock engine. The new one has a serpetine belt drive and we dont need that space, so we decided to take it out and make a flat side!
Wow ,, to look at it you would never know its 8 inches shorter than stock.. Also, started to plumb in the gas tank, and the new filler neck..

I got the door frame with the gas filler roughed in.

Spent most of the week finishing up the paint on the Nautilus.. should be ready for a trip to California next week. With the motor in, we get an idea where the van sits after it was lowered.. the stance is perfect. slightly lower in the front... It should drop even more after we get everything back in.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If you have been following my blog, you may think I spend all my time in the garage working on my newest van project. Well as much as I would like to do that, I need to do some work and make the rent once in a while.
I did this street rod a few days ago. A real nice one

I again have another van from Tom in California. He picked up the Nautilus from the last owner in New York. It needed some repairs to the body and paint. The bodywork done ,I am getting to it! This is the first color.. won't be done till next week.

Last Saturday I went to the Ohio State game with Wisconsin... It was one of the most exciting games ever!! The Bucks won 33-29. It was back and forth all game, and the Buckeyes won it on a bomb in the last 20 seconds. Lost my voice for 2 days

Last Friday was trick or treat for the grand
kids...I got to go with them. That was fun, even tho I ended up carrying Vada the last half of the trip. Little Vada was a princess. Damm she is CUTE!
Last Thursday I got some help from Danny and John with the doors and other welding projects on the van. Here we are cutting in the new battery box into the floor. The stock battery box is inside the van behind the driver seat. Not the easiest place to get to , and I don't want battery fumes or acid inside. Besides it's ugly. So were gonna hide it under the floor. Wow this is coming along just fine.
In earlier posts we sealed off the ugly gas filler on the side rear of the van.. the new filler is going in the side door jamb. Danny did this trick on his Astro ,so he is helping me with this one...VERY COOL!

Another trick I want to do is to make the front air vent intake to match the grill with the center vertical post removed. A very subtle change but it really does look good.

Another day , another color!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We've been going gang busters the last couple weeks. The doors are mounted and we are welding everything solid. Then its time to weld all the sheet metal back into place.

Got all the welding done on the driver side. Its time to grind!

2 days of mud work
and lots of sanding

A coat of primer and it's back where we started,,,,sans hinges.. Man does that make a difference.

Man , I want to start painting this NOW!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the early dodge gets even more complicated

Since the last post I have been fairly busy. Trying to make a living and working on the van as well as keeping up with the household chores. One day a couple months ago, shortly after I had the door pulled on the van I sat and looked at the van . What else could I do to make it look even cooler? The front end of the early Dodge has always presented a challenge. The grill opening can't be altered much as on a lot of other vans. The stock grill is ok. but, it doesn't have a lot of visual flow. There are a lot of conflicting lines on the front that don't lend themselves to a lot of custom tricks. But after a lot of thought I decided I wanted to do some cool things. First , to mold in the stock grill. and cut out the vertical center rib in the middle of the grill. Then remove the turn signals. they will be replaced with signals in special headlights ( I admit I stole this idea). Then after much mental wrestling I decided to shave door hinges and replace them with hidden box hinges. One of the problems with this kind of change on an early van is the amount of room around the doors. With the doors being so close to the front of the vehicle, the door frame in the body is on the very front corner of the van. The type of hinges needed must be installed from the backside of the frame support. meaning? I must cut away the front corner sheet metal to gain access to the area these need to be installed. This was the real wrestling part. To cut out perfectly good sheet metal. Believe me, I tried to come up with an alternative to this , but they all involved even more cutting and welding. so let the cutting begin.
After the door hinges are installed and working properly, the sheet metal will be welded back into place and finished off. A rather radical solution but not really that difficult.

After cutting access holes in the door jamb. the hinges were fitted aligned and tacked into place

The doors had mounting brackets that allow for adjustment welded to the inside.
Wow that is a neat affect.. now to fill the old hinge holes..... Another trick I am doing is a trick I saw 30 years ago in a hot rod mag. That is to round the door corners.... Corners square....................... Corners round!! This is where we are right now. A lot of finish welding and grinding.. nasty work but somebody has to do it.... next time... motor mounts , gas filler and hidden battery box....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Early Dodge,........................ Still

For the last several weeks, I have been gathering up parts for a conversion to disc brakes for the early Dodge. The original brakes were the drum type. Not the most efficient of binders. The guys from the A-100 group have worked out the conversion using brakes from other later model vehicles, The front brakes are from an 87 Dakota 4x4 pick-up. The rears are from a 98 Jeep grand cherokee. The toughest part is a mounting plate that needs to be fabricated from plate steel.

Picked up a piece of 3/8 steel plate, and designed a variation of the plate found on the internet and drilled it then cut it out.

Fits nicely, Now to finish assembling all the other parts.

The rear axles need to have different bearings. Took them to Vance and he pressed them on for me.. they didnt want to come off. but, he got them .Fits like a glove.

Rears all togeather, now to finish the fronts.