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, 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....


Gear_Shifter said...

Love the new grill...very cool. Almost a smilie face! ha! Rounded doors...nice and the turn signals fit just perfect. Wonderful job.

Greg "COOP" Cooper said...