bluetweedsuit New Reader
9/3/19 6:16 p.m.

Hey Guys,

Long time viewer here. First time poster. I had a build thread for a 53 chevy pick up that I was building on a different site, but thought some folks on here might also enjoy my new project. While doing my pick up build, I  started my own business and ended up have to sell of that project. Then, after I few years of running my business, my wife and I sold everything and moved on to a sailboat. We travelled for a couple years and now we are back on land. Of course for most of the time we were gone, I had my eye on the next project for when we came back. Luckily, I was able to scoop it up and get working on it. I have always wanted a old style van and the delivery style had always had a practical appeal for me. My business was building furniture and I always wanted covered trailer to protect my projects while in transport. I had settled for a truck with a canopy and that worked (with many limitations) but I always disliked it. And who wouldn't want this van! 

So, the plan so far. I really just want to get it running and usable before I do anything too crazy. First off, I am going to do a chassis swap on it. I have a 91 chevy 2500 2WD that I bought on the cheap. It needs to be shortened to fit the van body. While doing that I'll be lowering (hopefully to bags eventually) before fixing up the body. Dream plan would be to swap a diesel power plant into it to make a real nice tow/haul rig. But we will see how it goes.. 

Anyways, should be fun project. I have started up a youtube channel documenting the progress. Check it out if you are interested. If you like it, I hope you consider subscribing and giving it a like.

eastpark Reader
9/3/19 6:29 p.m.

Cool project, subscribed!

bluetweedsuit New Reader
9/6/19 10:48 a.m.
eastpark said:

Cool project, subscribed!



Well, another weekend down on the Van! Plan for the weekend is to hopefully be able to get the donor truck frame cut and shortened. I haven't done a project like this so I am not sure how people go about welding back together but, how hard could it be.

First up I have to get the frame back in the shop

Plan is build an inner C channel, which should help aligning the frame when welding back together, and then an additional out plate as well.

Luckily, I have a cnc plasma cutter which makes quick work of the plates. Because I don't have a bender, I slot cut the plates so I can bend them up in a vice before welding them solid. The halfmoon cuts should allow for minimal stress build up. Also the inner plate is longer than the outer which should also minimize and stress.

After measuring the Van and Truck wheelbase, I figured that I needed to remove 6" from the frame. I marked the frame for the cuts. Then, in easy to access space, I marked both sides of the frame at 16" so I could use those same marks to measure 10" when welding back together. I also did the cuts at opposite angles to again, minimize stress.

Once it was cut, I slid in the C channel supports. Got the frame ready for welding and did I final wheelbase measurement. At that point I realized it was too long. Did a quick google to find out what the 2500 truck wheelbase is recorded 1/2" longer than I had measured.... So, I took everything apart. Cut another 1/2" out and put it all back together. Measured to confirm and welded back up.

Check out the project on youtube!



stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
9/6/19 1:23 p.m.

Neat project.  The van's body looks pretty clean, but that front bumper has to go.  smiley

bluetweedsuit New Reader
9/13/19 2:50 p.m.
stuart in mn said:

Neat project.  The van's body looks pretty clean, but that front bumper has to go.  smiley

Hahah yeah it's pretty clunky.


Getting a little further on the van build. Last post I finished off shortening the truck frame. Which I then rolled out of the shop for the week while I wasn't there. It, of course, rained most of the week. So, when I got back in to the shop, the frame section was COVERED in surface rust. Not a big deal. So I spent some time cleaning off the rust with a wire wheel and gave it a fresh coat of tremclad.

So, with the truck frame done for a minute. It was time to start ripping and tearing the Van floor apart so I could see what the actual structure looked like. Van had a bunch random parts in it so I had to clean it out and then start the breakdown.

The van was pretty rusty underneath the floor. A few of the crossbeams were completely rusted though and no longer attached to the van. Also, the van had been turned in to a "Motorhome" in 1968 and I think it might have been a bit of a rush job. Lots of odd "repairs". Lots of old bed frame in there, a fence post and other random things! Also looks like someone tried to get it going not recentlyish, as there was a new electric fuel pump straped to the frame and it had newer lights and some newer wiring.

So with it the van ripped apart it was time to start measuring and planning. The truck frame is a good 6-7" higher than the original frame.

So, I have to lower the frame quite a bit just to get it to the original height.... for now, I think I'll do an axle flip. Which should get me most if not all the way there. Also, the floor structure is built from 3.5" tall C channel which if I switch out with some 1"x2" Rec tube will get me a few inches lower as well.

Also, frame is about 6" wider that the orginial.

So I'll have to cut out some of the steps so the frame can slide in.

Time to get some materials ordered up and get ready for the next step

Check out the videos on the build!


bluetweedsuit New Reader
9/29/19 5:51 p.m.

Getting a little more work done on the Van project! So the truck chassis, stock, sat quite a bit higher than the stock van chassis. Of course the ultimate goal is to get it quite a bit lower than stock, but I have to start somewhere. So, I figured it was time for an axle flip. I searched online and kits actually seemed to be more expensive than I really wanted to spend so I figured I could just make my own. I got some new u-bolts bent up by a local 4x4 shop and had my steel supplier bend up some lower plates. It was about half the cost of a kit before getting it shipped out. Luckily, everything went smooth and it was relatively simple. For now, everything is just bolted in and I'll weld in the perches later once I can get the pinion angle set right.

Also, side note, I have been watching Dirt Everyday on motortrend. They often shorten frames and the literally just cut it vertically and then butt weld it together. So, I am feeling pretty good about my frame job!



californiamilleghia HalfDork
9/29/19 6:41 p.m.

Cool project ,  your back doors are pretty wide , that seems to be the problem on many old work vans  , many just have one door , 

Keep up the good work :)

bluetweedsuit New Reader
11/10/19 8:52 p.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :



Next step. This took way longer than expected but I got it done!

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