The Struggle Bus - A 70's 4x4 van build

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Parepin, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    Few things please me more than someone willing to pull the inner workings out of a car/motorcycle with little or no prior experience. It shows a faith in self. At best, you will learn you are good at this, have a better understanding of how your rig works, end up with a better vehicle, have saved (lots) of money, and have fun doing so. At worst, you'll completely ruin everything, be out a big wad of cash, and we'll get to laugh at you in the process :lol3

    Either way, I congratulate you
  2. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    Oh hell yes. This is awesome carry on. :clap
  3. DaFoole

    DaFoole Erudite inchoate...

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    I'm IMPRESSED!!!!


    :eek1



    :clap
  4. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    On GM breaker-points systems, the wire running from the starter solenoid to the coil + was a special resistor wire and if you were a stupid kid who didn't know that and after a starter harness fire replaced it with some plain copper wire sitting around, you'd discover that it would roast the points and otherwise make the engine run like crap. :baldy

    I don't know if GM HEI also required a special wire, but it's something to keep in mind if you have to make major harness repairs since the starter yanked on it.
  5. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Now is the perfect time to tackle suspension and steering work and to inspect the brake and fuel hard lines. Also check the frame rails for cracks. Oh, and if the heater blower is now accessible, you can pull it out to inspect/replace it and maybe have the heater core cleaned and pressure tested. Check the forward body harness and the engine harness for cracks, chafing, and corrosion, too. It's nearly 40 years old, and even the best wiring will wear out. It won't get any easier to repair/replace than right now while the engine is out.
  6. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

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    That's... a tough one to answer
    This is all that I could hope for.

    Yeah, I think the wire actually went to the distributor. I'll have to see what I can do about getting a wiring diagram or something. I found a large Chilton manual out in the shop, but it's one of those generic, all encompassing manuals that covers every make and model truck of a certain decade. Chock full of vague information and poor illustrations.

    There's a lot that I'm not happy about with the wiring setup on this. I had planned on going through it all and cleaning it up. New wire and a new fuse box with mini blade fuses rather than the glass fuses.

    This is the kind of info I needed to hear. I poked around a few spots that I remember people mentioning on this thread, including the portion of the frame nearest the power steering... thingie. Where I'm on the fence is, how far do I dig NOW? Do I just do a quick lookie loo, throw the motor in and drive it through the winter? Or do I go all in, rewire, rebuild, strip, and undercoat? This could easily become a winter long project. And, to be honest, I'm alright with riding my bike through the winter so long as I don't have to encounter any more cold snaps like this past week. The ice on the road made the whole experience absolutely nerve wracking.

    What experience do you guys have with an undercoating? Born and raised in the rust belt, I want to get the underside sealed up nice and tight. The metal looks good, short of some surface rust. I REALLY want to just flip the van on its side, sandblast, and POR15 or Bedliner the entire underside. But that's, you know, kind of a big deal.
  7. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I would do as much as time and finances allow while it's apart. Once you start driving it again, you're going to be less inclined to tear back into it, especially if it's good riding weather. And you really won't want to pull the engine back out to get to things that are easy to get to now.

    I'd remove the steering gear to thoroughly inspect the frame in that area. It's easy to get to now, and if you have to do any welding, it's actually possible to get to the engine side of the frame.
  8. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    What kind of I.F. pulls a motor out without first, fucking FRIST, disconnecting the battery. And so you could listen to some tunes ?

    So soon old, So late smart.

    Just sayin'....
  9. lstzephyr

    lstzephyr Solo con rambo

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    I'm with Baker. Disconnect the battery so you don't light yourself on fire. Especially before pulling something high current like a starter. There has to be some crap old radio sitting around you can listen to instead.

    I don't think I would bother taking much apart. I would get it working and fix stuff as needed. I like your van and your attitude man, keep on keeping on.
  10. rawdog

    rawdog Been here awhile

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    This thread just got GOOD! :clap Keep the pics coming! :thumb
  11. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

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    That's... a tough one to answer
    The silence around here is deafening.

    For what it's worth, I DID have the forsight to pop the neutral terminal when I got to disconnecting the starter. I never once arced across to anything during this whole surgical procedure. When I went to throw the terminal back on after pulling the starter, I noted the lack of power to the tunes. I knew the risk, took the chance anyway.
  12. discochris

    discochris Long timer

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    First of all, this thread is all kinds of awesome. Thanks for sharing!

    For the engine bay, I'd look at something like POR-15 or Zero Rust. I have an old trailer that sits outside in Minnesota 365 days a year, and POR has held up well on it. I used Zero-Rust (similar product) on the frame and floorpans on my 66 F-100, and it's really held up great as well. A lot of the things I've used store-bought bedliner on have been hit or miss.
  13. Cogswell

    Cogswell Spudly Adventurer

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    Good on ya for jumping right in on it. :clap

    I will enjoy following your progress.


    Mike
  14. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Good job with the tie down straps.:wink: But you'll probably need the lifting hooks that GM always leaves on their engines to install the new one. I'd give you a couple but I am too far.

    Got that radio hotwired yet????....may just be a matter of finding the fuse and powering it with a jumper in a shade tree kind of way, should work. But yes clean up the wiring, lots of smoke came out from under the plywood floor in one of my vans. Darn POs running unfused powered "stereo" wires under the plywood floor.....was fine until one morning when I put some weight over it.:eek1

    Another one I bought, the PO told me...."When I need a wire I just run another one!":huh Holy crap the fire hazards I found in that one and all Yellow wires he must have bought a big roll, I sure haven't bought yellow ever since.:D
  15. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I've bolted the lift chain straight to the accessory bosses in the heads if the lifting eyes were gone. The PO probably ditched the lifting eyes when he installed the aftermarket manifold. Maybe they didn't fit, but most likely he didn't think they were necessary. (Ha!)
  16. xymotic

    xymotic Long timer

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    See, it's one thing to be an idiot and not know better.

    But it's a whole nuther thing Fully knowing 'wassup' and just deciding to rock on anyway!:super As I was reading the starter-for-music part I was laghing thinking that's something I would do.

    This has potential to be best thred evah!
  17. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    I'm lucky to have 2 friends with these lifting plates, they work well. Not necessary, but nice to use.
    http://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS-Performance-Products/555/80044/10002/-1?parentProductId=752798
    [​IMG]
  18. KSJEEPER

    KSJEEPER Long timer

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    Just to cheer you up, when I first pulled a motor out of a new to me 67 Firebird, I had never done such a thing and went about it using common sense.

    And it all turned out great, I learned alot, and its a burn-out machine :clap

    Good luck!
  19. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

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    I overhauled an 85 FJ60 land cruiser in my carport a few years ago. Pulled the engine on a pea gravel/dirt driveway. Granted, it wasn't winter but it was the summer we had over 100 days straight of 100 degree temps.

    You are doing a great job!

    This will end well.
  20. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

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    That's... a tough one to answer
    I spent a massive amount of time doing some research as far as a coating goes. In fact, I've still got the window open with something like twenty or thirty tabs. I even found this bad ass experiment that someone did:
    http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=131753&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    I'm torn between one of two options, both with plenty of pros and cons. I figure I could hit it all with a good truck bed liner, like I had mentioned. I found a few that really appealed to me, including:

    U-Pol: http://www.tptools.com/U-Pol-Raptor-Spray-On-Truck-Bed-Liner-Kit,2600.html

    Al's Liner: http://www.realtruck.com/al-s-liner-do-it-yourself-spray-on-bed-liner/

    Moonstaliner: http://www.monstaliner.com/

    All of these are two part liners, which seem to make a huge difference as far as durability, chemical resistance, and UV resistance goes. I like the idea of having a thick, rubberized coating to not only add protection but to help deaden the metal and add a bit of soundproofing to the whole rig. They're all pretty comparable in pricing, at roughly $100-$150 per 50 square foot. The downside is that they don't stick to anything that's even the slightest bit rusty, and all insist that if there is a rusty surface to be coated, it should be hit with a rust encapsulator first, like Por-15, RustBullet, or Chassis-Saver. That brings us back to the paint.

    The paint that I've seen that seems ideal, listed above, which are also all comparable in pricing. Somewhere around $30-$50 for a quart, which covers something like 100 square feet. From what I've heard, they all have a tenacious bond when the surface is treated right, and are fairly flexible. Application differs, anywhere from being sprayed on to rolled on to brushed on, and all seem fairly durable. But, then again, they go on thin, probably wouldn't take to a beating all that well, and will offer nothing to help soundproof any of the body panels. And POR-15 is shit when it comes to UV resistance, though that may not be an issue so long as I can keep the van on it's wheels for days at a time.

    Then again, I've also seen a couple of forums where people insists that the best way is to buy a case of Rustoleum Rattle Cans and go to town, then forget about it. I know from experience that, while it holds up okay, it'll melt if it even smells any sort of chemical. These are the kind of posts that make me thing that maybe I'm over thinking all of this. I'm trying to walk a fine line between a budget build, and "Doing it right". I could easily dump several grand in a coating that just scrapes of with a finger nail, but I'm trying to find the one that won't break the bank and will get done what I need it to do, once I figure out exactly WHAT that is.


    The radio fiasco... Okay, here's the deal. I found some speakers kicking around here and hooked them up to this surround sound unit that I fished out of a dumpster at work, back in Cali. They're blown. I found a CD/Tape deck stereo in the loft, but the CD player doesn't spin (DaFoole left a wicked stash of CDs here). The radio works, but the only stations I'm getting in the valley here is Gospel. And, of course, the speakers are toast. So I had my MP3 player hooked to the stereo in the van. I, for whatever reason, cannot STAND silence. I need to have something going at all times, even if it's just a fan.

    I eventually went way into CoosBay and picked up a tape deck adapter, which now seem to be worth their weight in gold, and am listening through the piece of shit stereo.

    And as far as the wiring goes, yeah, it's probably 50 percent add on at this point. A mix of glass, blade, and mini blade fuses. Plenty of two strand stereo wire, twisted together at both ends, and crimped together. One wire that I traced from the fuel selenoid was comprised of four different length of wire all crimped together, run through the frame, wrapped around the dipstick tube like a candy cane, and stuck through a hole in the firewall that was then sealed with orange RTV. Fun stuff.


    I found a short length of chain in the trash. I may throw some big washers behind a couple bolts and see if I can get them mounted right to the block. If not, I'll fall back on the ratchet straps.

    Didja like how I used that as an excuse? As if it made it all okay. "Pff, yeah, I knew it was going to do that."