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Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/9/19 5:22 p.m.

I had a productive afternoon on the van. First of all, it fits in the garage. Yay!

 

Though im not sure it would if there was 1/4-tank or less of fuel...

 

See those leaves above the rear door? They were on the roof before I pulled in. I heard a very light scraping sound when I pulled in, as the door header gently wiped them to the rear. 

One of our boys came over & helped me get the rear seats turned around & facing forward. Actually, what ended up being easier was taking the other 2 seats(which had their pedestals oriented the opposite of the seats in the van), unbolting them from their pedestals, unbolting the seats in the van from their pedestals, and swapping the pair of seats while still attached to the rails. 

 

The only extra steps required were drilling 2 mounting holes on the opposite side of the pedestals to attach the seatback support bolts, and grinding down the slight bevel where the seatback supports needed to attach.

 

I set the other pair of seats in place just to confirm they would fit, and to ponder whether I’d likely be better off with the extra seating, or extra cargo room. At this point I’m thinking extra cargo room, but I’m 100% sure yet.

 

We also mocked up the cargo partition mounting. It’s several inches narrower than the van, but that’s ok. I need to trim the bottom corner of it to clear the bulge for the fuel filler neck, then I can slide it up against the driver’s side wall. I’m also going to remove the trim piece from the passenger side - that should allow me to reach behind the partition easier from the side doors(and possibly even be able to squeeze through), and have a gap where I could slide in 12’ lumber or piping, if I ever need to.

 

Ben_Modified
Ben_Modified HalfDork
11/15/19 5:54 a.m.
Pete Gossett said:

I had a productive afternoon on the van. First of all, it fits in the garage. Yay!

 

Though im not sure it would if there was 1/4-tank or less of fuel...

 

See those leaves above the rear door? They were on the roof before I pulled in. I heard a very light scraping sound when I pulled in, as the door header gently wiped them to the rear. 

One of our boys came over & helped me get the rear seats turned around & facing forward. Actually, what ended up being easier was taking the other 2 seats(which had their pedestals oriented the opposite of the seats in the van), unbolting them from their pedestals, unbolting the seats in the van from their pedestals, and swapping the pair of seats while still attached to the rails. 

 

The only extra steps required were drilling 2 mounting holes on the opposite side of the pedestals to attach the seatback support bolts, and grinding down the slight bevel where the seatback supports needed to attach.

 

I set the other pair of seats in place just to confirm they would fit, and to ponder whether I’d likely be better off with the extra seating, or extra cargo room. At this point I’m thinking extra cargo room, but I’m 100% sure yet.

 

We also mocked up the cargo partition mounting. It’s several inches narrower than the van, but that’s ok. I need to trim the bottom corner of it to clear the bulge for the fuel filler neck, then I can slide it up against the driver’s side wall. I’m also going to remove the trim piece from the passenger side - that should allow me to reach behind the partition easier from the side doors(and possibly even be able to squeeze through), and have a gap where I could slide in 12’ lumber or piping, if I ever need to.

 

Its coming along!  I like the idea of a cargo partition for those rare but unexpected moments.  Cool bumper stickers!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
11/15/19 6:15 a.m.

The cargo partition in the middle also fascinates me. I've been trying to figure out how to build a motorcycle van that seats more than two and this might just be the ticket. I'll be following this. 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/15/19 10:55 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

I’d been eyeing a van in northern MS that was setup exactly for this. The seller had installed a rear bench seat, then built a fully enclosed wooden partition wall that blocked all access to the rear from the side doors - essentially creating one larger front passenger compartment, and a slightly smaller rear cargo area. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
11/15/19 11:01 a.m.

Pete, 

 

great project. How difficult is putting windows in this thing ? 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/15/19 2:38 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Do you mean cutting in window openings where there presently aren’t any windows? I’ve never done that, but I’d guess it’s as easy on a vehicle like this as it could be. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
11/15/19 4:14 p.m.
Pete Gossett said:

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Do you mean cutting in window openings where there presently aren’t any windows? I’ve never done that, but I’d guess it’s as easy on a vehicle like this as it could be. 

Yes sir . I was wondering if these cargo ones can have the windows put in from the passenger ones :) 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/15/19 6:36 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

I’ve never looked at a stripped-out passenger van to confirm it, but I bet you could do it.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/17/19 3:26 p.m.

I decided to forgo modifying the cargo partition windows & just install it - I know it would have taken me a year+ to finish it otherwise. 

I had to remove the E-track on the floor first, since the partition mounting holes were right on top of it. Of course that would have been easier while the seat was out last weekend...

 

I need to get some seam sealer(or something?) and plug the screw holes though. 

 

But the partition is in, the gap on the side is easy enough to reach into so I can store stuff behind it, and there’s just over 8’ of cargo room behind it. 

 

I did have to fab up one brace for the passenger side. I only had 1/8” aluminum, so I may replace it with 1/8” steel at some point. 

 

I’m also considering adding a brace to the passenger’s edge of the partition. I’d like to stiffen it up enough that I could add a grab-handle to the partition. 

 

Next project: if you read Tom’s article in the mag this month you saw that he had to do rust repair along the drip rail on the roof. He & I discussed that I should probably seal the whole area with bedliner(or something similar). I thought I remembered that Herculiner or someone else offered roll-on bedliner in colors(white, specifically), but I can’t find anything now?

This is a pic of the area & one of a few cracks that have developed. If white bedliner isn’t available, what else could I use?

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/17/19 6:11 p.m.

Hmm...I was discussing the drip rail situation with a friend & he suggested I use Flex-Seal. He uses it on his house gutters & gets 5+ years out of it - he only has to touch up areas that get worn through. 

Is any reason I shouldn’t try Flex-Seal on the drip rails of the van?

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/24/19 3:13 p.m.

It was a beautiful day & I had a few hours, so I picked up some 3M 4000 UV sealant & started filling in the rain gutter around the roof. At almost $32 per tube, and knowing I didn’t have time to do the whole roof at once, I only picked up 2-tubes. 

 

My my goal was to get the back end & both corners done today, since they seemed to be the worst areas with the most precious repair work done on them. 

 

I made this “spatula” to help spread the sealant so I could try to fill & level off the gutter. It was pretty much like icing a cake(I suppose, I’ve never actually iced a cake before...) but fortunately I remembered not to lick my fingers when I was done. 

 

I ended up using about 3/4 tube today. With the tube I have left I think I’ll need at least 2 more to finish both sides. I’ll use what I have & see how far I get next time - hopefully I’ll have enough to almost finish one side. 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/25/19 2:21 p.m.

Santamazon brought a few goodies for the van today. 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/26/19 12:09 p.m.

I got some of the goodies installed. The magnetic paper towel holder, decal & French fry holder were easy enough. 

 

The compass/thermometer was physically easy to install, but the lack of detailed instructions made it a bit challenging.

For example, you need to calibrate the compass. The instructions state to slowly rotate the compass 360-degrees after pressing the calibration button, but it doesn’t state which axis to rotate it in. I tried all-3, but after a short drive I confirmed it’s not working at all. 

The unit has a hardwired sensor on a ~3’ lead, with adhesive on the back of it. The instructions don’t mention it at all. Being an indoor/outdoor thermometer I presumed it must be for the outside temp & that it likely goes on the inside of the windshield. Both the indoor & outdoor temps are working, but they appear reversed. It’s about 70* and sunny here, but the inside temp shows 70* while the outside temp shows 84*...and it’s definitely warmer in the van then outside. 

Note that the pic below was before I calibrated the compass or attached the sensor to the windshield...

 

Oh well, details...

slowbird
slowbird Dork
12/26/19 12:57 p.m.

Oh my gosh the french fry holder is priceless! laugh I need three or four of those. And the turtle sticker is great too.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/26/19 2:38 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

My daughter got a nugget sauce holder that clips into the vents too!

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/27/19 5:56 p.m.

I put the fry holder to the test - it does the job! 

 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/6/20 2:53 p.m.

I finally got front & rear steps for the van. Now I can save my knees & actually reach the whole windshield to clean it. 

 

I also picked up a pair of 1970’s bubble side windows. I’m not sure yet that I actually want to cut holes in the side of the van to install them though. 

Ben_Modified
Ben_Modified HalfDork
1/11/20 7:23 a.m.

Wow, where did you find those windows?

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/11/20 8:45 a.m.

In reply to Ben_Modified :

Aeromoto was parting out a '78 Chevy short wheelbase van that was completely rusted from the top down, but somehow these windows survived. 

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/11/20 2:51 p.m.

You don't have a hair on your ass if you don't install those. 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/11/20 10:08 p.m.
Stampie said:

You don't have a hair on your ass if you don't install those. 

I don't have much hair anywhere besides my face. Remind me to show you at the Challenge this year.

Really, I think these windows are too cool to be used in this van. So obviously I need a second vintage custom van...

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/8/20 3:37 p.m.

Since I'll be taking a road-trip next weekend to pick up AnthonyGS’ Laser project I went ahead & installed the radar detector I had in our old Town & Country. Not that anticipate doing 20-over, especially on the return trip, but you never know...

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/25/20 4:28 p.m.

Fun fact: This van has a 86-mph speed limiter. I'd always suspected it was easily changed, then I was bored one day and scanned it with HP Tuners. I could have typed anything I wanted to into the "speed limit" box, but then I stepped back and said "Is it really a good idea to go faster than 86 in this van?" Then I closed the laptop and walked away before I did something stupid. 

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/25/20 4:59 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

I've been meaning to ask you how the trip went in the van.  Was this it's first real test?

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/25/20 7:08 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

Yes it was! It went well & I learned a few things:

It doesn't really like towing up steep grades(Tom has told me that & it's not surprising being a 4.6).

After talking to Tom, I likely had a bit too much tongue weight, but with the helper springs on the back axle it's hard to see or feel it most of the time. There were a few times when the front end felt light, but I never lost steering.

I get right around 12-13mpg empty, regardless of whether I'm in town or on the highway. Pulling an empty trailer returned between 11-12mpg, and the trip home loaded was 10.5mpg. At least it's consistent.

It's one of the most comfortable vehicles I've driven, despite the slightly noisy & rough ride. For reference, when driving our old T&C the 850-miles to IL I'd find my back & knees getting sore when we'd stop after about 9 or 10 hours. I drove ~1150 miles in a single day picking up the DSM and didn't get fatigued or sore at all.

I think I have a tensioner getting noisy, though it's not consistent. I need to check & see if there's more than one, but I plan to get the parts & take it to a shop. I really don't want to try & work in the right confines of that engine bay.

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