As y'all can see, I didn't cut all of the rad support out. The contour of the inner fender on both cars are the same. However, the inside panel is not. So it cut around the inside panel and retained what you see in the welded area. Welding that crap is like welding paper. Stitch is ugle, but it didn't burn holes in the fender panels. The panels overlap.
The late model front end has solved on of my big headaches. Now the belt, hoses, and other bits will be available for service. When the '94 front end was in place, I couldn't reach between the fan (Black Magic 150) and the water pump. There's plenty of room now.
Yeah, the headlight wiring, park light wiring, and horns have to be grafted onto the OEM harness. I have not done so yet, but the wiring is ready to be installed.
The window washer plug is the same for both years.
Be advised that the engine and transmission cooler lines require alteration too. The '94 lines are 5/16" while the '97 is 3/8". The engine oil cooler lines, which I'm not using, are not long enough to reach the wider '97 radiator.
Had to make up some new radiator hoses too...due to wider '97 rad.
Got to looking around for the upper radiator mount today. Couldn't find the sucker...finally did. Its part of the upper fan shroud. Duh.
Don't need a fan shoud with an LT4. Plan to cut off the upper rad retaining part and use that.
The above pix don't indicate such, but the fenders are not bolted on tight. They ended up pretty much fitting.
This fit is going to be fixed by proper location of the donor rad support. Screw that up, and you'll have to cut it off and start over. And obviously, keep the weigh off the front subframe when setting these dimensions.
I made a small hook to bolt into the front hood hinge mount and attached a ratchet strap so that I could pull the rad support up to where I wanted it. A comealong would work too..but the increments of adjustment are too great.
Major alignment of the hood and fenders is retained by using the donor rad support. Since it's bolted to the subframe, you are only working on one plane. lateral and fore-aft at the lower section of the rad support is done with the subrame bolts. That makes this much easier than say welding a front end on a car.
It's about driveable again. Take it and steam clean everything, disassemble the fenders and hood and paint. For the time being, I'm going to try to match the OEM paint. This might not work. The sides of the van are good. The original hood has clear coat issues....so something was going to get painted either way.
Now if anyone needs some pretty decent front parts for an early body style, feel free to make offers! Even the rad suport is useable.
I posted another pic that shows the location of the spot welds...this is sorta tedious to sort out. There's one weld that you won't be able to access. Just have to pull out the old rad support. These body panels were not built to removed.
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