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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just realized that I never started a project thread so here it is. 馃槂

Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Car Vehicle


A brief history. I bought it with a broken torsion bar and fixed that. A couple months later I had to put a new spider in it and at the same time I put a new Skip White distributor and a monster coil in it. I went with Accel 8mm wires and plain old AC Delco copper plugs. I tried those E3 plugs and it wasn't happy.
Electrical wiring Cable Gas Electrical supply Auto part


At some point the main power connector on the firewall got corroded so I replaced that with a heavy duty bus bar and all new fusible links.

The tailpipe rusted off the muffler so I put on a brand new Walker tailpipe and a MagnaFlow cherry bomb muffler. The rest of the exhaust is still in pretty good shape.

It has gotten new brakes all around including calipers and rotors on the front and new wheel cylinders on the back. At the same time it got new Monroe shocks all the way around. Last year it got a set of Toyo Open Country A/Ts that still look brand new.

I put in a 5 pane racing mirror and stuck a dashcam where the stock mirror attaches to the windshield.
Car Vehicle Plant Tire Wheel


I've rebuilt the transmission, twice. The second one is built for the 305 Vortec engine that's going in this spring.

Most recently I got sick of fighting with getting the sliding door to close so I found a new latch on GM Parts Giant for a very reasonable price. It was about $45 with shipping. It was easy peasy to change and now the door closes like new.

There's a few other minor things but all in all it's still pretty solid mechanically. It does need a bunch of cosmetic work that will come later.

To be continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice van always nice to read when someone is making things better. Mark
Thanks. It's a bit of a beater but it passed emissions, starts right up in below zero weather, drives straight and stops. That last one is important. 馃槂

We've put almost 80,000 miles on it since we got it about 6 years ago but the interior has suffered through a few camping trips and messy "adult" children and grandchildren so it needs to be cleaned up. It needs new seats and door panels in the front and a dash cover. The back seats and carpet just need a good shampooing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After noticing that the driver side brake light was out I found that there's a big hole in the lens. While looking for a replacement I asked my wife what she thought about these, she liked them so that's what I went with. With some LEDs I think they will look pretty good.

Automotive parking light Automotive lighting Product Automotive tail & brake light Rectangle
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The lenses came in and it was a nice day so here it is.

Automotive parking light Automotive tail & brake light Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Vehicle

Automotive parking light Car Land vehicle Tire Automotive tail & brake light

Automotive parking light Automotive tail & brake light Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive lighting


Everything works and they are nice and bright. I can't wait to see them after dark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Saturday we took about a hundred mile mountain drive. It was our first trip up the hill since we put the transmission in and it worked perfectly.

We stopped for lunch at a little picnic ground in Left Hand Canyon and enjoyed the nice weather.

Sky Plant Cloud Mountain Natural landscape

Sky Plant Plant community Natural landscape Cloud

Cloud Sky Plant Natural landscape Tree

Sky Plant Mountain Slope Bedrock
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't know where I got the idea that my van had a GU6 3.42 rear end, because there's no sticker with RPO codes. Since the decision has been made to go with a 5.7 Vortec no matter what, I need the correct PROM chip. Since gear ratio is important to engine management I wanted to be sure.

I looked around and ended up using the $5 compnine.com VIN decoder. I was definitely glad I did because it came back with this pleasant surprise.

GT4AXLE,REAR,3.73 RATIO 3.73R(GT4)

G80AXLE,REAR,POSITRACTION,LIMITED SLIP POSITRACTION L/SLIP R/AXL(G80)

As an added bonus the chip for the 3.73 gears was $5 cheaper than the one for the 3.42 gears.

The parts are mostly in hand, now I just need the engine. 馃槂
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not van related but today we started the lawn tractor/plow project.

A couple years ago I bought an old Craftsman 42" lawn tractor carcass. No deck, no hood, but it has a good engine and gearbox. I already had a Craftsman plow blade that I couldn't mount on my Murray mower without a lot of alterations.

So finally I decided it was time to put it together and get it running. Part of my motivation is I would rather build the plow than spread the giant pile of wood chips in my yard by hand.

Today we managed to put inner tubes in the front tires and roll it out a couple feet when we discovered that there is a yellow jacket nest under the dash. That ended the day.

Tomorrow we'll get a battery for it, evict the yellow jackets and get the engine running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So today my wife went to go to the grocery store and when she started the van it revved out of control. She shut it off immediately so no damage thankfully. When l looked at it I found the throttle cable is shredded where it comes out of the casing under the hood. I ordered a new one but it won't be here until the end of the week.

While it's out of commission I think I'll put in the new turn signal switch and rotate the tires. I keep getting stalled on those things because it seems that when I have the time to do it somebody needs the van. I'm hoping that my daughter's Honda gets out of the shop tomorrow but I'm not holding my breath.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We got the turn signal switch put in today. We didn't put it back together though, I'm waiting until the throttle cable gets here. With the trim and the steering wheel off there's lots of room to work under the dash.

Tomorrow I want to get the new door latch put on the drivers side and rotate the tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It was pretty hot today but we did manage to get the door latch changed. It was uneventful.

It's amazing what a difference it made though. I greased all the hinges and now the door closes like new. No more squeaks and rattles or needing to slam it to get it closed all the way.

I ordered a new latch for the passenger side and it will be here Saturday. Now I need to find some door panels. One is just shot and the other is completely bottomless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Finally got the cable and got it installed. We haven't done the door latch yet because it's been raining, but at least we're back on the road.

This puppy was literally hanging by a thread.

Wood Flooring Hardwood Plank Auto part
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So, as the van still languishes with it's puny V6 we have made progress on the yard tractor.

The yellow jackets have been evicted and a brand new battery is in it.

The winch and plow have been installed with a little metal fabrication.

Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting Automotive exterior


Bumper Grass Automotive tire Automotive exterior Gas

Our part.

Plant Working animal Wood Road surface Carnivore

The original part.

We used some conduit and made some additional braces. It's solid as a rock.
Automotive tire Bumper Bicycle part Automotive wheel system Wood


Automotive tire Motor vehicle Wood Bumper Automotive exterior


It goes up.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Tread


It goes down.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Tread


It still needs the inner tubes put in the back tires, a new carburetor, and some other minor stuff but it's coming along nicely.
 
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