Resurecting my, no longer abanoned, retired and rusty old relic.

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by bwalsh, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    25,162
    Location:
    Helltown
    That's right, I've given up on Craigslist and started shopping for vehicles in the Abandoned, retired and rusty...old relics thread! At least I know exactly what I'm getting. Er...well somewhat know.
    It all started when inmate @Thumpism(Stephen) made this post in that thread....
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    "This A100 has been planted here for years. Looks like the house has been sold, so I wonder what will become of the van.
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    A little background...
    I've owned three Chevy vans over the years, a 1979 1/2 ton cargo(no windows), a 1979 1 ton shorty Pathfinder 4X4 conversion that had been paneled and carpeted on the inside and taken to shows by the original owner...

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    and a 1994 3/4 ton cargo I converted into a nice camper.

    I've been looking for another van since I sold my last one a few years back. Everyone seems to thinks their ragged out 280,000 mile POS van is worth a fortune due to the "van life" BS.
    Anyway, I've been looking for something older(and reasonably priced). Something easy to work on! I was having no luck with the normal vehicle sales sites.

    When Thumpism made the above post I replied back, "Location?".

    He messaged me the address. I looked on that Counties GIS map(interactive tax map) and found out who the owner was. I contacted him and left a message. Within ten minutes he called back. We spoke for over an hour.
    It's a 1967 Dodge A108(van), the long wheel base version of the A100(short wheel base)...not to be confused with the A100 pickup. It was the owners, fathers van, who purchased it new. He took it to the dealer or other service shops for all of the servicing. He drove it until he passed away in 1978. The Son drove it less than 100 miles a year from then until December 2000 when it needed an inspection.
    He had new brakes and a clutch installed sometime not too long beforehand. It failed due to the windshield glass(plastic inside) fogging up. He wasn't into vans and only kept it due to sentimental reasons, so instead of putting more money into it...he parked it, luckily on pavement. Where you see it in the photo above is where it sat from December 2000 until March 2019.
    He said, over the years he'd had numerous people asking about the van but never wanted to part with it. But now they were getting ready to fix the house up and put it on the market. He said, "I just want it to go to a good home so I'll tell you what, I'll just give it to you."!

    Needless to say I was there two days later with a trailer! Remember, I'd only seen that one photo but who can refuse free? This is what it looked like when I got there. Mold, moss, rust stains, rust and lichen covering a good portion of the outside. It was looking a little rough around the edges...

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    The previous owner(on the right) and I, shaking on the deal!

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    He told me the speedometer quit working some time before he parked it but it should be under 150,000 miles.

    Stay tuned!
    #1
  2. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Helltown
    I am an old MOPAR freak from way back! My first vehicle was a "65" Dodge D100 pickup. It had the same drive train as this van! I've also owned a "73" Plymouth Satellite, two "64" Dodge 440 coupes. The number denotes body style, not engine displacement. But one of them had a "70" 440 police interceptor engine in it with a high lift Racer Brown cam and Holley carb. That thing would rise straight up and GO when you punched the gas peddle!

    I wasn't really looking for a project but couldn't turn down the offer! The van was located about 2 hours South of me.
    When I got it home and washed it...

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    It cleaned up nicely and looks a LOT better now! As I did research on it I realized it was missing a few things. One was the belly pan, another was the spare tire. I contacted the seller and asked when he cleans out the garage to keep an eye out for them. Long story short he found both! I drove back down to pick them up. While I was there he asked if there was anything in the garage I'd like. He didn't want anything out of there and was more than happy to give me anything I wanted out of there!
    I picked up some older power tools that still work, some extremely heavy duty clamps, a huge old galvanized funnel(which I've used a lot so far) and other miscellaneous things. The spare tire was in another garage. It was mostly empty except for a large steel frame with an old flat head 4 cylinder engine and radiator bolted to it. He said I could have that too!
    His dad was a painter and had used the van for his business. I don't know what he would have used that engine/radiator for but it's real cool. I didn't have anyway of moving the flat head but I'm going back with a engine hoist and a trailer to pick it up! I'm trying to make a place for it in my garage.

    More to come!
    #2
  3. Cilantro

    Cilantro Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 29, 2018
    Oddometer:
    90
    Location:
    North Alabama
    Score! Whats the plan? Camper? Moto hauler?
    #3
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  4. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    I think there may have been someone messing with the van since he parked it as there are a few things out of place but all in all, it's pretty complete including the hub caps! He also had given me an extra set of hub caps when I went back for the belly pan and spare.
    I took the dog house the rest of the way out(quite a few bolts were already missing) for easier access to the 225 ci slant six. It has the A 745 three speed and I'm hoping it has the sure grip rear. I haven't jacked the back up to check yet. Fingers crossed!
    I have no doubt this engine will fire up so I've been spending some cash on odds and ends.
    I pulled the plugs and sprayed Marvel Mystery oil in the cylinders. The plugs were black from the engine running rich. I pulled the distributor cap. It, the points, condenser and the rotor button look like they are brand new! The PO also mentioned replacing brakes and the clutch not too long before it was parked. I dropped the fuel tank and it looks to be in usable shape.

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    It needs a good cleaning. This is a photo looking thru the sending unit slot...

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    There is a soft area on the top left side in the photo below, under a leak from the bed seam at the back of the wheel wells.

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    The area that needs attention above the gas tank...

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    The interior has been getting some water intrusion from a lack of door seal rubber on the back doors and has rusted thru a bit. The gas and brake lines have zero rust on them and the frame and underside of the bed looks to be in real good shape! I sprayed brake cleaner into the fuel line up near the engine and blew it out with my air compressor. No contamination in the line. I ordered a new sending unit for the tank. I found a new tank for $175 so if this one is too far gone I'll buy a new one. I'm going to take it to a radiator shop and have them cook it to clean out all the crud.

    I rebuilt the Holley 1920, replaced the fuel pump and cleaned out the other fuel lines going from the pump up to the carb. The fuel system should be good to go once I get the fuel tank cleaned! I replaced the spark plugs.
    The radiator was still full(almost) with a dark green(old) anti-freeze in it! I drained that and replaced with water for the time being. I'll most likely take it to the radiator shop and have it checked out too.

    Besides the rust on the sides you can see in the body photos, there are two spots,, one at the bottom of each back door pillars and one place at the back, side door pillar that you can stick a finger thru. The front floor pan has a few rust holes too. The frame and underside are in good shape except for two/three spots that will need some welding.
    The passenger side rear spring mount at the back of the van...

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    The support bracket off the frame under the battery box...

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    The inside corner under the gas cap...

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    There are a few other minor areas of rust but the rest of the underside looks surprisingly good! Passenger side looking back towards rear. The mud dauber nests are gone now...

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    It has some kind of undercoating that seems to have done it's job very well!

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    Above the driveshaft...

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    The engine is a little oily...

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    Spider webs...

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    Drivers side looking back...

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    I'm glad he parked it on pavement!!!
    #4
  5. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

    Joined:
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    I can't tell just how much rust there is because I can't get the two front doors to open! I have taken the panels off both doors and can get to the locks...with difficulty. I'd need to be a contortionist to get comfortable for any length of time doing this. After about fifteen minutes I need to get out of the van and move around.
    The doors seem to be in the unlocked position but they wont budge.

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    I can get the(for a lack of a better term) "latch mechanism catch" off the star wheel but I can't get the wheel to turn and can't get a good grip on it. Both sides are like that.

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    The inside latch will lift the "trigger" off the star wheel but the door won't budge...

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    and I'm almost positive the door is unlocked...

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    But neither door will budge.

    More to come...
    #5
  6. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

    Joined:
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    I finally got those doors open! A big wooden mallet of my Grandfathers and a 2x4 against the door did the trick!
    I got the passenger door opening, closing and latching, The drivers door latch is stuck open.
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    Passenger side rust and crud...

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    Looking at the space between the drivers door and the roof in the next photo you can see thru the pillar to the inside in a few spots. Even the inside metal piece that the head liner attaches to on the inside has rust holes in the drivers area. Strangely enough, the headliner is in real good shape.


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    The window pillars seams are rusted pretty badly. ONe edge is sticking out about a 1/4" due to the rust. The rain gutters are rusted in the front pretty badly too. This is the best photo I have of the seams(one side) right now....

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    The floorboard isn't in too bad a shape but does have a few small rust holes...

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    I have the original sales receipt and also the owners manual I got with it! The van was purchased on April 24th 1967. The bill was $2587.55!
    On April 28th the owner had these racks custom built, installed and had the top half of the van painted white. I have the sales slip for that too. The grand total was $120.53!
    I used to paddle whitewater Kayaks a LOT and used my other vans to camp out of and carry Kayaks. These roof racks should do nicely, once I clean them up! They aren't ideal but I can't bring myself to get rid of them.

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    I will remove them when I address the roof though. The guy was a painter by trade. The rear rack has a piece added in the back that still spins(looks like heater hose over a steel rod)to slide ladders(or Canoes) up onto the racks. I just so happen to have an old 40 wooden ladder(extended) that would look cool tied on top! Retro baby!

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    #6
  7. Solaros1

    Solaros1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,062
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    Very cool project! I spent some time as a surveyor in the 1970's in an A100 van owned by a guy who had helped lay out the Chihuahua railroad in Northern Mexico. So glad to see someone who wanted the van saved and didn't try to get a bunch of money out of it. You need to do something nice for him in the future.

    Looking forward to seeing the progress. Maybe find another similar van and see what parts of the door latch that are supposed to be moving aren't?
    Kroil and a little heat might free something up.
    #7
  8. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2018
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    Wnc
    What a great score! I love these old vans. I look forward to following along. Thanks for sharing!
    #8
  9. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

    Joined:
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    I finally got it to the point of it being ready to fire up and found time Memorial day Monday to do just that.

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    It started right up! In the first video I couldn't reach the choke to drop the idol. That's why I climbed in the back. The starter drive sounds like it's sticking some. I'll pull the starter, clean and lube.
    Like I said in the video, I replaced the fuel pump, and spark plugs, rebuild the Holley 1920 carb and changed the oil.

    I forgot about replacing both motor mounts..with a floor jack, from underneath, in gravel. I guess I wanted to forget that part! What a huge PITA that was. LOL...

    I left the rest of the tune up stuff for later after I confirmed the engine ran. The plug wires need replacing but don't look too bad. The rotor cap, button and points all looked like new! I didn't even check the points gap!
    I put it in gear and moved it back a little against the wheel chock. The clutch seems to be working too! It's all mechanical. Next up will be the brake system, which I may be able to get by with just rebuilding the Master & brake cylinders and replacing the four cables that make up the emergency brake system.

    The body work is going to be slow. There's a good bit of rot on the windshield/drivers door pillar and a few other places. I'm trying to get this road worthy so I can drive it some while working on it.
    More to come.
    #9
  10. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Helltown
    I think I found the reason the starter drive in the van sounded like it was sticking...

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    That pile of debris was stuffed in there next to the starter drive. It looks like shredded acorns or similar. How a rodent got that stuff up in there is a mystery to me. I know mice can get thru incredibly small openings but doggone, with that cover in place there is virtually no room to get inside...

    Both electrical connections were loose going into the plate and were a pain to unbolt. After I got the starter out I noticed the battery connection stud was askew.

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    I looked at the service manual and noticed that the base of that stud is at an angle to the stud, which explains the weird angle of the stud because it was not aligned properly. I tried to get the stud lined back up, and got it real close(close enough), but it wasn't moving easily and when I tightened the nut in the photo the seal(washer) beneath it started to disintegrate. I seriously doubt I can remove that nut on the stud without damaging something else and to disassemble the starter requires removing and replacing solder on a wire and just wasting time on a easily replaceable part. I'll just run it until it dies.

    I have not tried the starter since I bolted it back.

    Slowly chipping away at the project. I need to get working on the brakes next.
    #10
  11. marret

    marret Transient

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
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    594
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    FL and MO
    Wow, awesome, great story and rescue. Look forward to following along. Thanks for posting.
    #11
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  12. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    I got into the rear brakes today to see what they looked like. They didn't look bad except the retainers for the brake nails and springs. This is the left rear corner that was frozen for a couple feet the day I winched the van onto the trailer.

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    The front and rear have one snapped off lug bolt each. Left hand threads will cause that when an unsuspecting person tries to remove the rims.

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    The brakes look to be in adequate condition. I'll clean everything real good while I am rebuilding the brake cylinders.

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    Not in bad shape at all but I did notice the axle seal had been weeping some oil. Oh boy...

    I'll get to the front brakes in the next couple days. Then I'll figure out what I need to order.

    EDIT: Pulled the front drums and found everything in good shape!

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    #12
  13. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    OK, I've had some time to dig into the brake system. I removed all brake components from the drivers side front and rear. All brake shoes look new. The wheel cylinders, not so much.
    Front...

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    Rear...

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    There's pitting in both cylinders I've removed so I'm going with new/re manufactured all the way around. The rims look a little sketchy. I may have replace them too...

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    I hate it when people who have no clue as to what they're doing work on vehicles...but that may partially explain the broken lug studs.

    Moving underneath, I removed the master cylinder, Hydraulic safety system switch, some block with two electrical sending units that directs the lines from the master cylinder up to the safety switch, along with the accompanying lines...

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    Looking at those lines up front convinced me to just replace all the brake lines and be done with it. I found a rear brake hose easily but the fronts are harder to come by. The top one is a front line, the lower is the rear...

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    The rear is about 1.5"-2" longer than the front. Same fittings on each end. I'm tempted to get two more rear lines and call it a day. I'll play around with it some to make sure there is no rubbing or interference.
    Speaking of interference, I noticed this when I removed the rear...

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    So I reinstalled it to see what it was rubbing against...

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    Hmm, it's rubbing against nothing. That's got me scratching my head...

    I wanted to see what the clutch looked like so I removed the inspection cover...

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    Nuts...er...shells!

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    Looks good enough to me!

    Stay tuned, there will be more coming!
    #13
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  14. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    I was going for camper. I hate to panel the insides though. It's too cool looking inside the way it sits! There's not enough head room to get a full size bike inside. I was thinking of installing a trailer hitch but I haven't got nearly that far yet.
    #14
  15. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    Damn Surveyors, can't get away from them!


    I was in the profession for about 25 years. :D
    That would have been a cool project to work on!!
    Yes, the previous owner is one of the nicest guys I've ever met...and I'm not just saying that because of his generosity towards me. He's one of those interesting folks you just like to hang out and spend time with. So is Stephen...as are most of the inmates here I've had the pleasure to meet!

    The latches are rusted. I know what part(s) is(are) sticking. I just need to remove the latches to get them freed up.

    This has proven invaluable so far!

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    If anyone needs an old repair manual for whatever, these folks may have what you need.

    https://www.repairmanual.com/
    #15
  16. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    You're welcome, I love older vans too!
    I've had numerous inmates tell me I should start a build thread so here it is!
    #16
  17. Liko

    Liko Got probe?

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2016
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    2,659
    Location:
    Roswell, NM - Box Elder, SD
    Well ain't this a good time.

    I think that in this city there is an area where the abandoned vehicle project comes with the house. I see some real groovy stuff here but I'll admit I'm not brave enough to drag something home.

    As you were, don't let me interupt.
    #17
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  18. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    I am very happy you got the van, Bob. I'd go by to check on it a couple of times a year since finding it but was never closer to it than in that first photo until you came to pick it up. While the van can be saved, I'm not the guy for the job and you are and I was certain of that once I saw it close up. I'm okay with that, having a string of projects of my own including a Dodge van purchased months ago that needs attention and it's way down the list of priorities. I'm talking about the merged marital list of priorities; while our Dodge might be high on my own list, when you blend my list with my wife's the van slides several notches.

    Anyway, seeing a find like this get a new life makes my day. I like finding stuff for people. It gives me the satisfaction of a successful hunt with no expense greater than a little of my time and energy. You get the busted knuckles, you get to spend the bucks to get it rolling again and you get the glory. Carry on!
    #18
  19. Pete Behn

    Pete Behn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2019
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    Location:
    Cartersville Georgia
    Cool project. What's the deal with the spoiler on the passenger side dash?
    #19
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  20. Nailhead

    Nailhead Inclusion Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    9,898
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    Neat project!

    I love those old vans: there was a really nice one about ten miles north of the Wyoming town I lived in some years back. No visible rust or damage, and some sort of A/C or something above the cab area. I wish I could have gotten it, but someone else did.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes.
    #20
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