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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The early Dodge build begins......

The weekend after the new year, we started the new van project. Those of you who have been following my blog,know I have this 1970 early model Dodge van and what I want to do to it.If you haven't, check out the post from July 19,2009. After moving everything around to make room, we started taking the van apart.

Cleaning it out and removing the doors.

We cut out the spare tire rack. Not gonna use that one. There is also a recirculation tank for the gas tank. Both of those came out.

gonna move the filler neck too.

Yep, the engine comes out too.

Measure and mark, measure and mark and measure it again.

Here we go.. hack away!!! that's Danny my "other" son. He's helping me along with Vance. It looks like he's doin all the work. lol

With the side out we move onto the roof. Precise cuts will pay off in the end.

We cut the center out with the plazma cuter, then used the sawzall to make the final cut. looking good so far.

Did the same thing on the floor to expose the frame rail.

Ready to make the final cut...

THE CUTS LOOK VERY GOOD..... lets see...............
wow a couple grinds and line it up. COOL!
A few tack welds all the way around and we can roll it around! MAN THIS IS GONNA BE SO MUCH FUN!!!

I am going for the smooth look by filling the rear doors solid. I've always liked that look,and it will make the van look even shorter. Gotta fit and clean the rear sheet metal so all the welding can be done at once.

It fits pretty well but ,before we weld all this togeather, I want to tunnel the talilights.

now for the back plate and its ready for mud.

3 inches deep should be enough
Another trick I've wanted to do is to change the stock grill slightly. the stock grill has a verticle support in the center . The grill would look so much better if that were removed. A little sheetmetal fabricating,and a weld or 2,,,,,,
Yea!! in all my vanning years ,I've never seen this little trick... oooo baby

with no rear door I need as big a door as I can get on the side. I cut out the correct amount of side metal to get a door frame 6 inches wider than a standard side door then cut out the jam. moved it over and we started to weld it all up.

Also had to fabricate the door frame lip so the door would fit equally all around.

Best thing, it is square and straight. The door will be fabricated later. then it was grind weld, grind weld, grind weld,........

don't look at me like that!

We welded up all the seams also.....smooothe all over...............grind grind grind

Looks like all that welding is done.. time to bang out some dents and cover the welds with some mud!! After some filler work, I decieded to add a plate cut in the rear. We were going to put a hanger under the rear but when the van is lowered it will drag on the ground.

Fits well... dont you think??? now more mud , and sand , sand, sand, sand..............

I want to be able to pull my little astro trailer, so we hid a hitch reciever behind the plate. Then pulled the rear axle,and started the lowering process. The rear was a snap. next is the front so we can mock up the motor and radiator locations. After sanding till my arms were sore........ I finally got some primer on the van... it is looking good so far! not bad for 4 week-ends of work...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

After dropping the kids in Vegas, I headed back to L.A. Ended up paying a visit to Mitch at his new job directing the cartoon series ,FAN BOY & chum chum, at Nickelodeon. Got the grand tour and popped in to say Hi to our buddy Jeff DeGrandis..HEY MO!! He sketched a quick Spongebob for my grand daughter. The man is a TRIP!! Headed back to Jimmy C's for the rest of the trip and then back home.... ( I'll be back for that in-n-out burger next month!)

Woah, That yours truly in a Blackhawk helicopter! Would love to learn how to fly one, but I'm here to do a job for the guys in the blackhawk squadron. Jim gave me the tour of the facility. IMPRESSIVE!. These guys were in Afghanistan last year,and had some stories to tell. They deserve all the respect we can give them!!

These choppers were getting their scheduled maintenance

This is the helmet I did for one of their members who is retiring....thanks to all of you!

Matchstick got the doors finished for the chevy I'm doing for Tom. They turned out quite well.

A little finish work,& some primer and she's ready for a paint job!