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artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/13/20 7:24 p.m.
Ian F said:
java230 said:

Following along! 

IIRC most of the 7.3 powerstroke IC bits transfer over. Its been awhile though.

From the pickup version? From what I've read (the Sportsmobile thread I mentioned is pretty extensive) almost nothing will work in the van without significant modifications. To the point it might be easier to do it from scratch.

Yeah, there's just not much room for anything.   Here's an underhood picture with the air box removed for reference:



 

the front of the engine is almost in line with the cowl. The only redeeming quality of this layout is you can remove the "doghouse" and have good access to the turbo, upper transmission bolts, backs of the heads, etc. 

 

 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/13/20 7:41 p.m.

Alright, on to some more interior pictures. I had the doghouse off and it's generally a bit of a mess right now, so I'll be sure to get some better pictures once it's cleaned up. 
 


 

I woman I bought this from had a dog that liked to flip the switches for all the cool ambulance stuff so she put up this little panel to prevent that. Here's what's hiding underneath:

I'm guessing that hole at the bottom is where a radio of some sort used to live.

I'll have to get some better pictures of the back once I get it cleaned up, but here's what I've got for now:


 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/15/20 5:57 p.m.

Got up bright and early yesterday and went on a shopping spree at the junkyard.

First part to go on the car was a rear axle I found with a 3.55 gear ratio in it, but unfortunately no more limited slip. Easily the heaviest axle I've ever had to deal with, so I'm glad I was able to recruit a couple buddies to help me get the job done. I'm delighted to say that the driveline noise is fixed. 

I also got a new rear door to replace this one with a hole cut in it for the window AC unit: 


 

Unfortunately this breaks the nice stripe the van had going all the way around, but I think I'll repaint the whole van at some point anyway. 


 

I was also noticing that I much prefer the grill and solid amber turn signals of newer vans, so the front end got a bit of a facelift. The grill lights are the first part of the ambulance outfit to be removed and they're much heavier than I'd anticipated 


 


 

Its nice to be working on a vehicle that's so plentiful at junkyards, and these vans share a lot of common parts from 1992 to today, albeit with a significant update in 2008.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/16/20 4:57 p.m.

Had a few minutes so I cleaned the van out a bit and came across this under the drivers seat.


 

didn't really have time to get the keys to start the van and mess around with it. Can anyone tell me what I'm looking at here?

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/20 5:01 p.m.

Auxiliary idle control (that was my guess and confirmed by google), for adjusting the high idle and I assume other functions based on the buttons. 

Also, very jealous of this. I have recently (again) been shopping for high roof vans for the same purpose. Especially after my trip this weekend to pick up a car and parts. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/16/20 6:24 p.m.

In reply to EvanB :

Yeah, I just did a bit of reading and apparently some people have them on the dash somewhere because the LCD is just a digital tach readout and the vans didn't come with a tach. I'm planning on trying out an android head unit and a Bluetooth obd2 scanner because it seems like they've been getting better reviews in recent years. I do like the idea of having access to it though because it could help with charging up the "house" electrical system. Maybe I'll just have to mount it somewhere a bit more convenient. 
 

Honestly, if you can get past the initial shock and discomfort of the fact that it used to be an ambulance, they are a great starting platform for this kind of thing. What'd you pick up?

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/20 7:47 p.m.

I bought the rx7 from Moxnix https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/cars-sale/for-sale-non-running-1988-mazda-rx-7-with-some-spare-parts-1000/159471/page1/

The reason for me wanting a van is mainly for towing to events that are two days or just farther from home so I would have somewhere to sleep and bring my dog along so I don't have to find someone to watch her. The other reason after this weekend is just throwing parts in the back without worrying about arranging them so they can be tied down and won't blow away or be damaged. 

tip
tip New Reader
3/17/20 7:57 a.m.

Sweet van!  In for more

Have you thought about a vinyl wrap rather than repaint?

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/17/20 6:55 p.m.

In reply to EvanB :

That's awesome, I'll be looking forward to what you do with it! 


In reply to tip :

Very briefly. I think it'd be relatively easy because the panels are big and flat, but I'll probably do a simple paint job with a foam roller. I was pretty happy with how it turned out on my previous rally car and it's really cheap/easy for something like this which doesn't need to be show-quality. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/17/20 7:04 p.m.

In today's edition of junkyard/amazon upgrades:

1. New mirrors. The ones it came with struggle to hold their own against sustained 70mph winds, and I just think the plastic folding ones look better. 

old:


new:


 


2. for the first time in my life, I'm voluntarily adding fake wood grain to the dash. For no reason other than to take the interior feel less like a disused ambulance and more like a conversion van.


 

After:


 

Still need to get the van near enough to some WiFi to download the torque app on this android head unit

java230
java230 UberDork
3/17/20 9:13 p.m.

How about a strip of black vinyl on that back door?

 

Looking good! Im interested to hear how you like that head unit.

 

Adn yes that is an idle speed controller.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/17/20 9:16 p.m.
java230 said:

How about a strip of black vinyl on that back door?

 

Looking good! Im interested to hear how you like that head unit.

 

Adn yes that is an idle speed controller.

That's not a bad idea! I might have some black vinyl laying around in the garage, I'll have to give it a shot

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
3/17/20 9:19 p.m.

The trick to the IC is to pull the front clip and update it to the next generation.  According to the interwebs it bolts right on and gives a lot more room.  Makes all the neighbors think you have a much newer van too.

java230
java230 UberDork
3/17/20 9:38 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

It does in fact nearly bolt on.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/18/20 9:47 a.m.
A 401 CJ said:

The trick to the IC is to pull the front clip and update it to the next generation.  According to the interwebs it bolts right on and gives a lot more room.  Makes all the neighbors think you have a much newer van too.

Interesting! I'll have to look into this. Unfortunately, I've only seen one van from the next generation at a nearby junkyard and it was pretty well picked apart by the time I got to it. Still seems like the clearance between the top of the engine and the wiper cowl would be a limiting factor, but I'll definitely look into it

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
3/18/20 12:38 p.m.

A large part of my youth my mother was an EMT, so we got to spend a lot of time at the station in and around these vehicles. Just a few weeks back a mountain biker that was visiting had a pretty rad rig I snapped a couple pics of. Didn't get a chance to really look it over, but from what I could tell it was CLEAN. So here's some inspiration.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

 

 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/18/20 12:51 p.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

That's awesome, thanks for sharing! I'm surprised he was able to keep the red lenses on the flashers, I thought those usually get removed when they get decommissioned since they can't be used by civilians. 

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
3/18/20 1:01 p.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

I honestly don't know what the running legalities of the lights are. I always assumed that red or blue was a no no.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/21/20 6:28 p.m.

One of the first days I had the van, I was cold starting it with the doghouse off and noticed some pretty substantial exhaust leaks at the up pipes. Took a closer look and there are a number of areas that have soot buildup:

 


 

I suspected things like this are likely contributing to a boost leak, so I swapped out both up pipes, and the collector. This is one of the few times having a van is advantageous over a truck with the same engine, I had great access to everything:
 

 

and I only broke 3 of the 4 bolts holding the up-pipes to the manifolds:


 

also replaced this chewed up compressor wheel while I was in there:


 

luckily there was virtually zero play in the shaft, so I didn't dive into a full rebuild of the turbo. Here's everything all buttoned up:

 


 

The new up-pipes fit great, and there's a noticeable improvement in the vans responsiveness. It's still not fast, but it's also a 7500# van, so I guess it feels about right. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/22/20 12:03 p.m.

The oil capacity of big (by passenger car standards) Diesel engines is amusing. 15 quarts per oil change.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
3/22/20 12:08 p.m.

Put an 80 hp Economy tune from DP on it.  Better mileage with an additional 80 hp as a nasty side effect.  I've read it's really closer to 100.  No smoke.  I've have 20,000 miles on mine.  No issues at all.  I wouldn't tow 20,000 lbs with that tune but just driving around it should last basically forever 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/22/20 1:14 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

Right now a tune is pretty low on my priority list because it should be able to handle towing and everything I need it to do as is, but it's definitely on my radar. Also a bit concerned about adding a tune to a non-intercooled engine. The added fuel economy is certainly tempting though

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
3/22/20 5:47 p.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

The thing about the DP is that it’s a custom tune and they won’t even work with you without the vehicles VIN and another number that’s printed on the computer IIRC.  So they build the tune knowing it’s a van and non intercooled.  It’s not a one size fits all thing.  Those exist and I wouldn’t use a pre-canned tune.  I don’t want to turn my 7.3 into a steaming pile of metal.  The difference though is stark.  Mine was sluggish as heck when stock.  With the tune it feels easily twice as strong.  It will smoke for about 1 second if you’re really getting on it but it clears right up as soon as the turbo catches up.  The stock one does that too.  I would avoid the available 100 and 120+ tunes they offer.  80 is enough for a daily driver.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/23/20 7:12 a.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

Sounds pretty tempting, thanks for the feedback! Does it alter shift points or anything with the transmission? I've noticed my shifts are a bit sluggish sometimes. I'm hoping changing out the fluid and filter will help a bit, but I'm guessing a tune/valve body would do more for helping with shifts.

ntsqd
ntsqd New Reader
3/23/20 6:25 p.m.

About the shift points, does this van have the PSOM type of speedo? If it does you need to check the calibration of the speedo. Since the PSOM's draw their input from the tone ring in the diff the R&P ratio change that you made makes no difference. But any tire size change DOES make a difference. AND the PSOM then feeds the corrected signal to the ECU/PCM which controls the shift points. I just went thru this on my '96 OJB. Correcting the PSOM made a huge difference in the way that it runs and drives.

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