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mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 11:57 a.m.

Well I sold my  1961 Ford Falcon last fall, I had thread on here about it that was a lot of fun:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/1961-ford-falcon-fun-factory/179396/page1/

I've been looking for another car to play with this year, and this hoss caught my eye for sale on FB marketplace in January. I snapped it up quick despite a lot of competition.

It's a 1972 Dodge B100 Tradesman shorty van, and I figured I'd build a rad old motorcycle hauler. Rough plans are make it a little more comfortable inside, be fun to drive around, and fit my XR650R inside for some overnight camping/riding in the local mountains.

I already posted some of this on my favorite motorcycle forum, so I'm going to copy what I've already written here to get it up to date. 

Here's some more pics of what I'm starting with:

Fairly straight body, no rust, 4k miles on a completely rebuilt 225 slant six with a 3 on the tree. What more could you ask for!

And my dude loves it already:

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
3/28/23 12:00 p.m.

I'm in for this one ! I'm retired and have been getting pretty heavy into swap meets so I've been seriously looking for a shorty van myself. You've got a gem right there !

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 12:01 p.m.

First up, I removed the electrical tape that was outlining the large stripe on the body. It was already falling off. I will probably paint in outlines on the striping this summer, but for now I just used some better quality pinstriping tape that doesn't fall off in the sun.

At some point I'll try to shine up the paint a bit more. Not going to bother with any bodywork or dent repairs on this thing. It's had a long life and lots of use, it's earned those bumps. No rust repair needed either, and very solid floor, so all good!

The seats are completely trashed. I don't have a reasonably priced local upholstery shop, so I went with a set of these Rugged Ridge Jeep CJ seats, and some sliders for them. They will attach to the stock mounting pedestals with some new holes drilled. Cheap at $180 each from Summit.

Next up is the interior plan, which is pretty simple.

Coat the floor with black Herculiner bedliner to give some grip for tires and make it look a little nicer. The walls will get some foam board insulation, and 1/4" wood panels and some stain. Some speakers, and a bluetooth amplifier, and some lights inside. That should get it looking pretty decent and ready to use. I'm not sure where I will go from there, but I'm sure I'll keep modifying as i use it. I'm thinking a removeable wheel chock on the floor as well.

Here's how the floor is coming along.

Start:

And first coat of Herculiner down:

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 12:01 p.m.

And the second coat:

I actually did a third coat, but still have some yellow showing through around the floor corrugations. Hard to cover up bright yellow!
I used some black rustoleum spray paint along the endges and it fills in and covers nicely.
It's all drying overnight, will post some more pics tomorrow.

As soon as the floor is totally cured later this week, will start on insulation and wall panels.

I like my tunes, so will have 2x 6.5" speakers in the ceiling, and 2x 6x9" speakers in the driver side wall. I'm using a 500W bluetooth amp, so I can just play music off my phone.
Will make a radio delete plate to cover the hole in the dash, as this van doesn't have a radio currently.

After all that's done who knows! Might add a mini fridge or something.

Would love any ideas, tips or feedback. Never built out a van interior before! Hoping for a fun super rad old vintage moto hauler to have a good time with.

And a video I made the other day:

https://youtu.be/T9--CHtr5ck

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 12:04 p.m.

Made some good progress this weekend. Everytime I any work with wood I'm reminded how bad I am with it. Give me metal any day. Oh well, it's turning out alright!

I used some reflective insulation on the ceiling. It was out of the budget to do the whole interior with it, but hopefully will help where the sun hits the worst.

Then added 1" foam board insulation between every panel.

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 12:06 p.m.

Then started adding the 1/4" plywood panels. Using 3/4" self tapping screws to secure it to the ribs.

Looks like those got out of order, but you get the point.

Now to work on the door panels, wood panel above the seats, and transitions from the wall/ceiling. Not sure how I'm doing that yet as the plywood is not flexible enough I think. Any ideas?

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 12:08 p.m.

OK now this post brings us up to current as of last night:

Got my new seats in this evening.
The Rugged Ridge Jeep CJ5 seats look and fit great. Used some universal bucket seat slider bases from Speedway Motors. Drilled a few new holes and everything fit with the original seat bases. Got some Retro style seatbelts back in it. Now to finish up the walls!

jfryjfry
jfryjfry SuperDork
3/28/23 4:34 p.m.

I would run whatever wires you need now. and maybe even some conduit to pull some later.  
 

Wiring for:

speakers?

backup cams:

third high mount brake light

phone chargers/usb plugs 

Any rv-type stuff (fridge, hvac, etc)

madmrak351
madmrak351 Reader
3/28/23 5:28 p.m.

Wow! This takes me back to the shop van at the Yamaha dealer I worked for in the mid 70s. I agree with Jeremy, now is the time for wiring and provisions for anything you might want to add in the future. For the ceiling and transitions to the side walls the thin plywood use for floor overlay available at Lowe's etc is more flexible and less expensive.

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 11:32 p.m.

Thanks guys. I'm running all the wiring along the driverside floor/wall edge. It will be covered with some molding so it is accessible in the future. Not planning on adding any RV stuff, keeping it pretty simple inside.

I ended up doing the transitions with the plywood. It'll work for now but I don't love it. Will probably use some vinyl floor roll like you mention in the future to make it better, but good for now.

That's about it for the interior wood other than doors and a few small filler pieces I'll do soon.

Took her out for a cruise around the neighborhood with the kid this evening, and finally got a few shots of the whole rig:

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/28/23 11:34 p.m.

Very far from perfect, but sure is a fun cruiser and it drives very well. Will get the door panels done in the next few days, and then get the stereo, inside LED lighting and USB charger installed. Since I'm not using a head unit, I'll probably put a few gauges in the radio hole in the dash too.

DrMikeCSI
DrMikeCSI Reader
3/29/23 8:21 a.m.

Looks great reminds me of the 70s, just missing the portholes and flashy paint. What is the bed liner going to smell like when it's 90 outside?

jimgood
jimgood Reader
3/29/23 8:56 a.m.

That thing is in really incredible shape for a 50 year old van.

iansane
iansane GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/29/23 10:10 a.m.

That thing is slick! I love it!

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/29/23 11:29 a.m.

In reply to DrMikeCSI :

I am a little worried about that. It is pretty much fully cured now and doesn't smell too bad, but that could be an issue this summer. We'll see!

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/29/23 11:29 a.m.

In reply to jimgood :

I agree, it's well used but has held up nicely.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
3/29/23 12:10 p.m.

Very cool build!  When I was Moto-Xing years ago, I had a '66 GMC van while my buddy had one like yours.  We built fold down beds hinged at the wall that drop down on top of the wheel well.  I only put in one while the Dodge had one on each side.  I was this close [  ] to buying an old Econoline painted in Gulf livery until I saw the Frontier I have now.  Following this closely.

BTW:  Hard braking in one of these while stoned and you think you're falling out the windshield.  I'm told.

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/29/23 12:18 p.m.

In reply to 914Driver :

Right on! That GMC is awesome. I don't do motocross anymore, but lots of trail riding in the mountains around me (Northern Colorado). My thought is to set this up to carry my XR650R and have my gear and an air mattress. Should be comfortable for overnighting in and carry a nights worth of beer.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UberDork
3/29/23 12:21 p.m.

Cool van , I have always had vans starting with VWs and then going to full size vans , 

What are you doing for tie down hooks ?  More is better ,!

if you are planning on moving other stuff  , put some tie down hooks near the seat bases so you can connect a come-a-long or winch to pull in the "dead bodies" that do not roll.

and some 12v plugs in the back corners for lights or a 12v tire compressor.

Have fun

 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/29/23 12:59 p.m.

I dig this! I would go for mid-70's buckets for the head and neck protection of the higher backs and headrests. 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UberDork
3/29/23 1:20 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

I dig this! I would go for mid-70's buckets for the head and neck protection of the higher backs and headrests. 

Captains chairs so you have arm rests  , helps on long drives.....

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/29/23 1:26 p.m.
californiamilleghia said:

Cool van , I have always had vans starting with VWs and then going to full size vans , 

What are you doing for tie down hooks ?  More is better ,!

if you are planning on moving other stuff  , put some tie down hooks near the seat bases so you can connect a come-a-long or winch to pull in the "dead bodies" that do not roll.

and some 12v plugs in the back corners for lights or a 12v tire compressor.

Have fun

 

I ordered this e-track wheel chock/tie down setup. Should work fine and be out of the way on the floor.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0881XK6SD

Good call on a 12V cigarette lighter plug in the back, I will add that. The seat bases would work well for an anchor point as well.

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/29/23 1:29 p.m.
californiamilleghia said:
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

I dig this! I would go for mid-70's buckets for the head and neck protection of the higher backs and headrests. 

Captains chairs so you have arm rests  , helps on long drives.....

I went with the cheap CJ5 bucket seats for now to get it back on the road.  They are not reclinable, but are on sliders. They work fine but are not the most comfortable. They will do the job for now and look nice, but I may swap them out in the future.  The original buckets are certainly rebuildable too, but need new foam and covers and some spring repair.  

Honestly I will likely not be driving this more than an hour or two distances, so I'm not too concerned about more seat comfort right now. We'll see once I get to using it this spring!

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
3/29/23 5:12 p.m.

Also consider a drop curtain behind the seats.  It takes forever to heat up all that space, then you hit a red light and all that cold air rolls forward!

mickpiston
mickpiston Reader
3/29/23 11:09 p.m.

The curtain is a good idea, I'll look at doing something like that.

Put some lights in tonight.

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