ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Fluff > Shiny things
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 11 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 10-25-2013, 01:44 PM   #1
Parepin OP
The Filthy Nomad
 
Parepin's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: That's... a tough one to answer
Oddometer: 1,066
The Struggle Bus - A 70's 4x4 van build

I've been dreaming of getting myself a solid adventure camping rig for several years, now. I've looked at retired school buses, short buses, vans, and trucks. I was pretty dead set on the longest time towards a small 4x4 pickup with a cap on the back. I'm not looking to build an RV to live in, but more a mobile base camp to live out of. I wanted the ride to be short and high, able to tackle some narrower trails and not have a half ton of shit hanging off the back axle. I was also looking for something which would allow me to transport my KLR or similar bike with me, which kind of contradicts my last point. I didn't like the idea of a van, as I didn't want to feel like I was driving around in my bedroom. The separate truck bed/cap combo would give me this bit of a divide. The living is in the back, and business is up front.

Anyway, so I scrapped that idea. And I got this.


What we have here is a 1976 Chevy G series short body panel van with a 350 motor, turbo 350 transmission, 205 transfer case, and two straight pipes that dump out the side through some "Performance" cherry bomb exhausts. Manual locking hubs, 8 lug wheels, discs in the front, and a four barrel Edelbrock under the hood. The odometer reads just over 90k miles, but it's only got five digits so you could easily add another 100k. Not that any of that matters, as the odometer doesn't work, anyway. It's pretty clean, runs like you'd expect, and screams potential as far as an overland rig goes.



















So this is how the story of my acquisition goes, though it requires a bit of a back story. I've been staying in San Diego, doin some side work and helping my buddy out at his shop, for the past few months. I've recently come into an opportunity to move up into southwestern Oregon to take care of some property and carry on the way that I do. With that in mind, and only a few motorcycles to my name, I was in need of a way to move my shit north. I could rent a U-haul, but I considered that just kind of throwing my money away. Why piss money away on a rental when I could buy something I've been wanting, and come away on top in the end. That was the plan, at least.

I'd been hunting around on Craigslist for a few weeks for a 4x4 van. Most of what I was finding were either severely overpriced or rust buckets. On a whim, I did a search up north and found this diamond in the rough, otherwise known as Seattle. I inquired on it and sat on the idea for a while. After working my ass off for three straight months, 16 hr days, working weekends, etc., I was about ready for a break. So this was my excuse. I would ride up at the end of my contract, load the bike up, and drive back down. Fun times.

So I made some calls and managed to get a good buddy of mine, who lives just outside of Seattle, and asked him to check out the van. He drove up, poked around, drove it, and declared it rough, but solid. Good stuff. The seller offered to hold it for me, refusing a down payment until I could get up there. A few weeks later, with a wad of cash in my pocket, I spent three days riding along the coast, through the mountains of Oregon, and up to Seattle.

The ride was wet, but the van looked solid. I had a big grin on my face. We chatted, I drove it around, and noted a few things. The throttle was stiff as fuck, the shifter needed coercing to get into park, and it rattled like the tin lunch box that it is. The owner told me how he came to acquire it, and some of the stuff he had done to the motor, and made mention of the transmission needing a flush. He had just put a new pan on it with a drain bolt, so a flush should be easy. He made mention of the transmission two more times, so I straight up asked him:

"You've mentioned it twice now. Is there something going on with the transmission that makes you think it's in need of a flush?"

To which he replied "No, not really. It's just an old rig, it's about due."

Alrighty, then. We finished off the paperwork, I handed over some cash and drove into the night. I made it just over forty miles and halfway into my first spliff of the trip when the transmission dropped.
Parepin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2013, 03:18 PM   #2
Biebs
BMW Airhead
 
Biebs's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Cave Creek AZ
Oddometer: 430
Laugh WOW - What did you expect ???

He told you the transmission had to be flushed but did he mentioned flushed down the toliet???
Biebs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2013, 05:41 PM   #3
broncobowsher
Beastly Adventurer
 
broncobowsher's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Baking in AZ
Oddometer: 1,164
Interesting home made (probably a custom fuel tank shop) gas tank.
Looks like the common 350/350 combo. 350 Chevy V8 with a turbo hydromatic 350 transmission.
The driver's side drop on the transfer case is interesting, they didn't use off the shelf GM parts for that. GM didn't go to driver's side differentials until '88.
The transfer case looks cast iron. What does that tag on it say? Random guess, New Process model 205?
I am questioning what is going on with the angle iron attached to the front tie rod.
Front axle looks like a Dana 44. Being of that vintage and the setup, probably a custom built part made for the conversion shop. I also see it is an 8-lug set up. So ¾ton setup. I see a bit of ID tag on one of the bolts holding the front cover on. What are all the numbers on it?
broncobowsher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2013, 06:57 PM   #4
troidus
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Oddometer: 11,309
Obviously you have bigger near-term problems with a dead tranny, but if you're going to take this thing out in the sticks and want it to be reliable, I'd put a factory air cleaner housing on it (with a functioning heat riser and cold air duct) to keep water out of the filter element and to keep the carb from icing at altitude. Then get some skidplates.
troidus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
DirtyDog
Lust for dust.
 
DirtyDog's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Tulsa... it's OK
Oddometer: 7,205
That van is you, dude. Hope this story has a happy ending.

__________________
And when you asked for light, I set myself on fire
And if I go far away I know- you'll find another slave
DirtyDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2013, 07:56 PM   #6
klp
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Andover, Ma
Oddometer: 227
__________________
Lots of old Hondas, 2 Yamahas, 2 Kawi's.
klp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 07:09 AM   #7
sailah
Lampin' it
 
sailah's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Turning expensive metal into scrap
Oddometer: 5,229
Awesome I love vans. Only owned one. I was brokeass broke in Bozeman MT and got a early 80's ford creeper van with a 300/6. 2WD, bald tires, couch in the back, it was so right. I'd like to say I was slaying tail in it but the reality was I was fishing and duck hunting more than getting laid.
__________________
We're not out here to rough it. We're here to smooth it . Things are rough enough in town.

Nessmuk
sailah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 08:25 AM   #8
1911fan
Master of the Obvious
 
1911fan's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: North Central Washington
Oddometer: 2,495
If you've got the cash, contact your local GM dealer for a SERTA transmission. GM reman and great warranty at dealers nationwide, and competitive w/aftermarket rebuilds. Unless you want it beefed up in the rebuild process. TH350s are simple transmissions. Flush & filter every 30,000 miles or few years if you don't use it much.


1911fan
__________________
Read The Patriot Post -- It's Right. It's Free.
http://patriotpost.us/subscribe/

Sometimes the light to see your way forward is provided by the bridge burning behind you.
1911fan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 09:11 AM   #9
9Dave
Bazinga!
 
9Dave's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Central Ohio
Oddometer: 12,583
I would expect nothing less from you, Alex.

Hope you get it back on the road soon.
__________________


dunno.....
9Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 09:33 AM   #10
MacNoob
Beastly Adventurer
 
MacNoob's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: The mosquito-y Center of Canada
Oddometer: 1,505
I see a Seca Turbo and a sailboat (?) in the background. You can haul those with the van.

Turbo 350? If it needs a trans you can probably get a good one almost free at the pick n pull.
__________________
Quote:
"Ignorance, you see, can be out thought. Arrogance can be outmaneuvered. But ignorance and arrogance combined are unassailable."
82 Honda C70, 71 Honda CL175, 08 Kawasaki KLR650, 85 Honda GL1200 Goldwing
MacNoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 10:49 AM   #11
troidus
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Oddometer: 11,309
If you're willing to do a bit of work, you could put a 4L60 (no E) in it.
troidus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 12:35 PM   #12
beemerkid
Do you ADV
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: North to Alaska
Oddometer: 690
Quote:
Originally Posted by troidus View Post
If you're willing to do a bit of work, you could put a 4L60 (no E) in it.
So a 700R4. But is the back of a th350 the same as a 700r4? The motor is an easy matchup, but how do the output shaft and flange compare?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Grumpy View Post
I swear to God that I will beat you senless with a Sanka can before I die.
beemerkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #13
broncobowsher
Beastly Adventurer
 
broncobowsher's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Baking in AZ
Oddometer: 1,164
Before you go all crazy about the transmission there is the fact that the transfer case is NOT a standard GM unit. An off the shelf (or junkyard) transmission may or may not work. At this point there is no telling what transfer case bolt pattern or shaft spline count you may encounter.

As for the 4l60 (more commonly known as a 700R4) suggestion, you really need to know the axle gearing first. If it is already too tall adding that overdrive will be a big expense and added complexity for no gain.

As for the air cleaner bits... He did mention he brought it into California. Getting all the California emissions stuff on it and working good enough to get it registerable will probably be the next big challenge after getting it to drive again. Part of that will be the correct air cleaner.
broncobowsher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 07:43 PM   #14
xymotic
Beastly Adventurer
 
xymotic's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Federal Way, WA
Oddometer: 8,364
Quote:
Originally Posted by broncobowsher View Post
As for the air cleaner bits... He did mention he brought it into California. Getting all the California emissions stuff on it and working good enough to get it registerable will probably be the next big challenge after getting it to drive again. Part of that will be the correct air cleaner.
Are you gonna need to do this on a 1970?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Sean
Oh for ***k's sake Aaron. Please link us to my fascist, racist or homophobic posts.
"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either."
Albert Einstein


Baja trip to the tip
6:10 to Yuma
trials and tribulations in the Mojave
Baja Blitz Yard sale
View Current Location via Spot Tracker
xymotic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-26-2013, 09:58 PM   #15
broncobowsher
Beastly Adventurer
 
broncobowsher's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Baking in AZ
Oddometer: 1,164
Quote:
Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
Are you gonna need to do this on a 1970?
Maybe. I am not current on all the California laws. Considering the complexity of red and green stickers for bikes. Never seen them happy with any modified vehicles unless there is a CARB exemption sticker on it somewhere. And it came in from out of state. Good chance it will need inspection, but not going to guarantee it.

I am in Arizona and they just ended emission testing for motorcycles (was the only county in the nation that tested). Here (in 2 of the counties anyway) they test everything back to '67. Although depending on year (and car or truck) they don't do an equipment check. I had a built, stroked, 5.0 mustang engine in a '90 Ranger that passed the visual and tail pipe test. But a bone stock '74 Pontiac with a sticky EGR valve failed.

I have heard of the pre'75 not needing testing anymore, but my understanding is that is for current California registered vehicles only.
broncobowsher is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 07:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014