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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Some times you just have to take a break.......

     Things happen in life to change your direction ,attitude or your enthusiasm. Usually when you don't want it to.  I have jumped into this van project with both feet. I figure it will be the last van I do from scratch and I want it to be the best thing I have done or can do.,  
      So far I have shortened the van, stripped it to a sheet metal shell. Done most of the body work on the body with lots of custom body mods.  The new motor is in.  A full custom install , with a lot of modification to the many to mention now.
     I haven't got a lot done in the last month. I've had a lot of distractions with things happening that have kept me out of the garage.  I don't want to drag it all up here.
 So here are some of the things that have gotten done since the last post.

  The county fair is a big deal here.  There is a category for art and photography competition. I have always wanted to put a Fink painting in the fair... so this is what I did for this year...   It ended up on ebay and sold right away... went to

And yes, it's football season.Anyone who has been around me knows I am a big Ohio State fan. Thanks to one of my club members, Paul, I have access to season tickets, I also belong to the Quarterback club that meets every week during the season, and we get a visit from the coach. Quite exciting.

I got a call from Dan Wright, the model A guy.  He had another A that needed striped.. I need to keep my striping skills sharp.
ok  Back to the van 

Got the radiator and the condenser for the air conditioning mounted. Mounted the dryer and measured for all the hoses.
They fit at an angle just like in a Corvette..   this works so well I can't believe it hasn't been done before. But I haven't see anyone do it.

You can't see it very well but I also had a time making a bracket to hold the throttle cable ,trans kick down cable, and the cruise control cable.  They all needed to be in a specific place to work properly. I started with a stock bracket, since it already had the proper holes for the cables to attach to.  Instead of the stock dodge throttle linkage I used a Lokar aftermarket throttle cable. After several modifications I think I got it all aligned. 
The wiring for the alternator was also a mystery.  The schematic I have for the Astro wiring harness,doesn't show all the wires that I have to hook up.  Thanks to Dale I got that solved also. 

Got the hoses made for the air conditioning. Had to made a couple more holes in the floor to pass them through. Amazing, they all fit to a T!

Ran the hoses from the water pump and the block for the heater and the unit is ready to go back under the dash  There is a small amount of wiring to finish.. want to make sure I got it all right.  So far it seams to be working. Hooked up the battery and none of the smoke leaked out!  LOL

  Vance is in the process of making me an all aluminum shroud for the radiator. He wants to use an electric fan from a Ford Crown Vic cop interceptor. Says its better than the POS fans I already have. lol  ..cant wait till I get that! 
    After that, the radiator needs plumbed. Then Vance wants to make me a stainless steel exhaust system... Wonder what that is gona cost me?   haha.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer is over time to work even harder...

   The last month has been ,  well different  .. . The old saying about the devil being in the details, is right. The major work goes fast then the assembly will eat you up in minutia. Replacing lost bolts. Pieces don't fit.You assemble a bunch of stuff only to discover you forgot something and have to take it all apart.
  Got the master cylinder in and before the engine goes in the brakes need to be done.
Dale brought down his magic flair tool and bent up some serious brake lines.  we installed an adjustable  metering valve and bled the brakes.. work like a charm!

  In goes the engine!!
   The custom radiator mounts worked better that I hoped. I don't know why this hasn't been tried before.  The problem with the early vans is the lack of airflow.  With the radiator in the engine cover its hard to get air thru it.. this increases air flow and the air from the radiator goes under the van and not thru the engine cover..  gona get a shroud and electric fans on it yet.
    While searching ebay, I came across the ultimate license plate for the van. In Ohio, you can run a year plate on a vehicle with historical plates.  Since I am putting a Rat Fink on the van. This plate is perfect..the correct year,in great shape.  RFA.  Rat Finks of America?  Rat Fink   Had to have it 
      Got a call from Mister Green. The man who restos the horse drawn vehicles.  He wanted some wagon wheels striped...those things had the snot striped out of them.
   Another call from my good customer Dan Wright, the model A restorer.. did this 29 for him.
This one was a stripe job with a bad spot on the door..customer thought a daffy would cover it nicely....  LOL
Mike at skinner diesel built me a drive shaft that fit like a dream..It's a tight fit but it should work... guess we'll find out.  lol
  When we did the gas tank and filler neck we used two different sizes of pipe.. close but different enough that a hose wouldn't fit over both.  So I made an adapter so a 2 inch hose would connect them.   sucess!
With the engine back in I could put the serpentine system on.  then connect all the wiring.   This is a March performance kit and it is really well made.
    Instructions are clear and easy to follow, and everything fit exactly as it was supposed to.        
  The wiring to the trans and gas tank will be run thru a conduit that I'm putting thru the center of the cross members under the floor.  I'll paint it to match the floor and it will be unnoticeable.
 I didn't want to paint the drive shaft till I made sure  it would fit.                                    

Hooked up the trans shifter...connecting a Dodge cable to a Chevy trans...lots of fabricating..but it works good.   I got a Chevy throttle bracket from the yard. As you can see nothing lines up as it should.. more

I'm running lines for the air conditioning, trans,radiator wiring for heater box,cooling fans ,and on and on.         The devil is in the details....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Been workin!!

       I've been working feverishly under the van for the last couple weeks.  Got the front axle out and have been grinding, sanding, and priming the parts and the underside of the van.  Last weekend,  John showed up to help me get the steering column finished.  It's been in limbo, waiting for parts and Dale putting it together.., if you forgot.. i'm putting a tilt column from a chevy into the early.  The boys trial fit it several months ago and all that is needed now is to fabricate a mount to hold it in place.
    Dale got me the cover from a Camaro, to eliminate the column shift lever.even tho it goes around the outside we had to take the column completely apart to get it on. what a job.  I know I wouldn't have been able to do that without his help! We made a steel tube to go over the lower part of the column to bolt to the stock mounts on the column. That was then welded to the stock Dodge bracket that held the original steering column. With a little modification of course.
This is what we ended up with...,.,...,
You would hardly know it came out of an Astro!
Only thing here is to finish the wiring and this part is DONE! !!

   Been musing over how to finish off the headlights.  I wanted to do away with the ugly stock trim rings. I modified the light buckets to set the lights back several inches similar to the sunken taillights. In a previous post I tapered the sides inward and now finished them off with a trim ring from a 56 ford f-100 pick up.  Man I love this look! 
 It reminds me of the turbine car that Chrysler built back in 1962..   you think that the van Dodge built right after that, might have a little of that influence?
   Last weekend we went to Van Slam.  Took the Flying Eagle and won Best of show!. But the best news of the weekend was when our old friend Woodstock showed up. Woody has been battling cancer the last several years and it is now in remission.  That is great news!  Hope to see a lot more of you woodstock!!!
  So it was back to the garage to sweat over (or under) the Dodge
Got the front axle painted and replaced the spring bushings.
Finished painting the underside.  its time to start putting things back togeaqther.
  Got my serpentine system for the engine.  Can't wait to get the motor back in and start playing with this!

 Boys were here to help fabricate the mounts for the radiator..
Gonna put it in at an angle ala Corvette.. it is a Vette radiator after all  lol.
                                          Vance's weld.  Isn't it Purrdee.. Haha.
The engine is ready to go back in... by next time it should be back in the van.  Till then.........

Monday, July 30, 2012

 I've reached the point where I need to start painting . I got the engine out. The trans needs to be painted. And the underside is getting painted too. Along with the rear axle and springs.., The rear end is out and needs sanded and cleaned up.
    The underside needs cleaned and sanded.....still can't get over a 40 year old van with no rust on it.. I'm in  heaVAN!!
 After a day and a half of sanding and scrubbing I got the parts painted. The green is going to contrast nicely with the black on the underside
 the bottom of the gas tank gets a little finkizing before it goes back in.
 Time to start putting things back togeather.,.,.,what fun!!!
 One thing I hate is layin on my back gettin dirt in my face.... but it looks so good when its done!!
 Tank went in easily
 Damm this is heavy
  Axle back in
 gota put on brackets for the disc brake conversion

All for the front half