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mgfoster New Reader
7/6/20 7:55 a.m.

I'll just leave this here: 


mgfoster New Reader
7/6/20 10:41 p.m.

As suspected, new fuel pump yielded great results. Got that installed yesterday. Today I installed the joiner for the lower rad hose, extended the MAF wiring, and tackled the rear axle. 

I was able to remove the rear wheel bearings effortlessly with the right tool and slide hammer. Installed new "repair" bearings, they have an integrated seal and move the bearing surface out an inch. I am happy to report there is almost zero side to side play now after reassembling the diff.

Tomorrow I'm gonna drag the axle out, clean it, and shoot it with some paint. The new brake components should be here any day now. Then I'll be able to put the axle back in the car and measure for the driveshaft. 

mgfoster New Reader
7/8/20 1:49 a.m.

Big push tonight to finish the axle. Got the rest of the brake parts in, so i just had to suck it up and do it. 

First, I got some 3/8 hose to extend the brake booster hose. Notice the new pcv hose too, i had forgot about the hole in the intake on first start.

I dragged the axle outside to scrub off all the mud that had been caked on from sitting for 3 years in the weather. 

Next i cleaned the off the flange and installed the new diff cover gasket

Then i stared at this mess for a little a little while.. 

It took me a full 2 hours to reassemble the first side properly with new cylinders, shoes, parking brake cables, and hardware kit. I did the other side in under 30 minutes 

And the greatest challenge of them all, balancing it on the jack to install it by myself. 

Next I'm going to modify the trans mount to try and match pinion angles as best as possible, modify shift cable bracket, and exhaust stuff comes in tomorrow too. 

mgfoster New Reader
7/10/20 11:10 p.m.

We're close!!! Power steering is a hurdle i don't feel like jumping over right now, but i didn't want to cry the pump from running it with no fluid in it.  This is the belt you need for truck accessories with no ps. 

Finally wrapped up the cooling fan wiring. Hopefully it works? 

Went to hook up the new rear axle brake hose to the hardline... error. Wrong size on that end? Rock auto let me down. Advance auto had one for triple the price.  That's sorted now,  brakes ready for bleeding. 

I had to tackle the trans mount now because I need it to be in a final place to measure for the driveshaft and make the exhaust.  

Here you can see just how much higher I moved it up.  It can't go any higher without hitting the cab,  but it's within one degree of the rear pinion now.  

Laid some nice flux core beads. 

Trimmed the ugly (and dangerous) corners off of the mount. 

Next i got to work on the shifter bracket while the paint was drying on the crossmember. Drilled and tapped this hole.  

I added a half inch spacer on the bottom to help align the column shifter indicators. Cut the top mounting point off of the bracket and bolted it on one of the trans bolts.

After some cutting and welding,  we have this contraption. 

Some resemblance of corrosion protection.  

Crossmember installed. 

Went to go install my freshly painted shifter cable bracket and.... it hits the ribs on the trans... a little trimming required. 

It fit after that and shifts awesome. 

I'm waiting on an adapter now for the transmission before I can get the driveshaft made,  and I'm gonna take a stab at the exhaust in the morning.  After that.... bleed brakes, install driveshaft, test drive!

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
7/11/20 1:38 a.m.

It's looking vantastic!



mgfoster New Reader
7/11/20 6:21 p.m.

In reply to bgkast (Forum Supporter) :

Lol nice one. 

Made some progress on the exhaust this morning. Some more proof flux core gets the job done 

the goal is to tack all the stainless in place and get it all tig welded. 

need to do the other side and get it back to the merge. 

mgfoster New Reader
7/12/20 8:43 p.m.

Awesome progress on the exhaust tonight! Minus not having the right bit for the o2 sensor bungs, it's done! 
modern problems require modern solutions.

Here’s an exhaust clip for those curious. 
Finally got the driveshaft parts in. Hopefully going to get it made tomorrow. Here's the piece that we will use to convert the auto flange to u joint. 

I'll update when there's more progress!

dj06482 UltraDork
7/12/20 9:11 p.m.

That sounds amazing!

mgfoster New Reader
7/15/20 12:29 a.m.

So. Close. Im already almost 50% more time into this project than I estimated. 

Yesterday I dropped off the driveshaft parts I had to Driveshaft Services in Marietta, GA at around 2pm. Told him what joints I wanted on either end and that it was 70" joint to joint. He called me 8:30am the next day and said it was ready. Super cheap too!

Tossed on a coat of black

Finished Jerry rigging the headlights

O2 sensor bungs got welded in. 

Driveshaft and exhaust in place for good.

I had to remove the intake manifold and change the steam vent tube thing. I think it was a corvette one that was installed, but it interfered with the alternator bracket. I grabbed a truck style one at the junkyard last time I was there and I threw that in tonight. I just need to plumb that into the top of the waterpump. 

My remaining list. 

I'm guessing test drive tomorrow and maiden voyage back to owner Thursday 

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/15/20 10:37 a.m.

Nice work. You've made quick progress with this one.

mgfoster New Reader
7/15/20 11:18 a.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks! yeah it's been quick, but I also have about 90 hours in it over t he last month. On top of my full time job. I'm tired, but its possible with the current work from home ordeal. 

mgfoster New Reader
7/16/20 12:04 a.m.

I thought I would drive the thing tonight, but ended up chasing my tail a bit. Should have expected that..

First order of business, drill and tap the water pump and install the brass fitting I got for the steam port. Nice and tidy. The radiator has no provision for a small high pressure hose so this will suffice. 

I then filled the diff with fluid. Another thing off the list. 

I bugged my mom to be my second person for brake bleeding since she was the only person willing. Brakes bled. 

This is where things got annoying. I lowered the front of the car so I could fill the cooling system warm it up and check trans fluid. The first time I let it warm up I couldn't get the heater core to flow. The blower motor and heater controls weren't working. Had power at the big plug under the hood, so i went hunting in the dash. 

WRONG. I finally unplugged the plug on the heater box under the hood and realized one of the tabs was bent over and not going in its slot in the plug. Bam, heater works. Finally the thermostat opened and the radiator burped pretty good. Temps fell and it ran pretty solidly at 95°C. Fan came on too! 

Trans took way more fluid than I thought it would, so i ran out before it was full. Primary reason I didn't try to drive it. 

I did drive it off the ramps for fun though. 

Lugs torqued and tires filled up ready for burnouts! 

rustomatic New Reader
7/16/20 4:46 p.m.

Dude, nice going--you are now GM-famous (no pun intended) as a front-(Web) page feature!  Somebody must really like that van!

Chesterfield Reader
7/16/20 10:52 p.m.

This looks like a really interesting project. I am glad followed the link from the front page. I enjoyed reading about your build.

mgfoster New Reader
7/16/20 11:01 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

Thanks! Yeah, I was a bit surprised considering this thread hasn't gotten a ton of comments and such, but i love to see it! 


Anddddddd.... TIME. I put the van in the garage June 13th, and i just delivered it back to the owners July 16th. 

I ran the car a whole bunch to make sure the cooling system was good and there weren't any leaks. Found one transmission cooler line leak and remedied that. No other leaks, temp never gets above 95C after idling for 30 minutes in a hot hot garage. 

Once the trans was completely full,  I put the engine cover on,  vacuumed the interior,  wiped out the spider webs,  and made sure everything that needed to go back to them was in the van.  This thing is a behemoth. 

Then i filled the tires.  

Then i pulled out of the garage and did this. 

burnout vid

Despite bleeding the brakes like 3 times, they still went to the floor and couldn't hold it still for a bigger burnout. I say success though. 

Just a quick pic before it leaves the house. Burnout marks in the background. 

Took a little acceleration video. Really doesn't capture anything other than some decent sound. This thing is faster than it has any right to be. And the 6 speed helps it pull at any speed. 

acceleration vid

Made it about 40 miles down the highway cruising at 70 with no hiccups. Very impressive. 

Sad to see it go, but excited for the next projects. chz-wgn and my bmw will get some much needed love.

Thanks for watching!

03Panther HalfDork
7/18/20 12:58 a.m.

The lack of comments may be 'cause folks are drooling at the great witeup and pictures. Great job... Ya ready to do MY van, now???

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/18/20 4:41 p.m.

In reply to mgfoster :

Whenever brake pedal travel sucks in a car with rear drums, start by adjusting the drum shoes until you can hear and feel drag when turning drum by hand. 

mgfoster New Reader
7/18/20 7:53 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

Thanks! Bring it on! I'm pretty cheap! 

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

Good to know! I was totally unaware of how the self adjusters worked. I just assumed they did just that, adjust the drums. I'm realizing now that I didn't know if that was just for e brake adjusting or normal brake adjustment. I did find out the replacement master cylinder was for hydroboost brakes and the van is vacuum booster, so that could be a major factor. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/19/20 10:26 p.m.

In reply to mgfoster :

MC for hydro boost will have larger diameter bore, so less pressure for a given pedal force input.

and those drum brake adjusters only work when brakes are applied in reverse *after* being applied going forward, and only one click at a time! Best practice is to adjust them through the knock-out (either in drum face or in backing plate) until you can feel an increase in drag when rotating the drum by hand.

11/28/20 8:01 a.m.

Hello all, I am the owner of the van mgfoster has so skillfully finished for us. Sorry I am late to the party, but I will try to update this thread as we continue to work on the van. The van has been running fine so far and gets daily driven about 5 miles every day + being used to haul tools and materials to work on a rental house. It's a mess inside currently.

I apologize if the following lists are long, this thread has been very helpful for me and my dad to keep track of the build.

List of what I have done to it since getting it back from mgfoster: 

- replaced brake master cylinder with correct non-hydroboost unit. Bled brakes and seated drums. Brakes work now.

- finished power steering (reservoir and AN lines). Stock on-pump reservoir did not fit, had to go external.

- fixed leak from passenger exhaust outlet flange with some high temp RTV. Each side is a 2.5" vband welded onto cast stainless truck manifolds. I probably welded it a little too aggressively and warped it.

- replaced water with real coolant

- directly attached a hose from passenger valve cover breather to intake manifold port to act as an interim PCV system

- read the OBDII codes. Got P0171, P0174, and P0315. These are "bank 1 lean", "bank 2 lean", and "crank pos. system variation not learned" respectively. Engine seems to run very well, but I do not have wideband or EGT data (yet).

- changed oil, $300 in gas, traveled about 1500 miles, no explosions or puddles yet.

Press-IN 90 Degree -10AN Power Steering Pump Resivoir Inlet Fitting – LSX  Concepts

press-fit fitting used for type II power steering pump.



reservoir I used. $30 on ebay



far right intake port is where I connected the hose coming from the passenger valve cover port.


Here is a list of what still needs to be done, in order of importance.

- new rear tires (lol)

- emergency brake cable. I lost the Y-bracket that connects the main cable from the body to the two cables on the axle when I first removed it. I can't seem to find the piece on rock auto or really anywhere online. I may just be bad at looking. Our local junkyard went out of business unfortunately around September.

- fix back left wheel wobble by replacing axle. Face of the axle is all smashed up and the wheel doesn't seat properly. Can't even remove by hand. Still need to determine the exact axle length to order on rockauto.

- change front brake pads

- determine reason and severity of bank 1 and bank 2 lean codes (incorrect MAF placement?)

- TIG weld up a good aluminum tube intake to replace flexible high-temp silicone ducting

- figure out why serp. belt is getting slightly chewed up on one side (alternator)

- fix minor power steering reservoir cap leak and add inline filter. refill with ATF fluid.

- rebuild PCV system with an actual catch can, or use 10AN exhaust venturi sucker thing

- build coolant reservoir and proper drain plug

- convert rear axle to disc brake, or acquire newer gm van axle with disc brakes

- functional dipstick for 6L80E in a van

- add longer range focused LED spot lights to inner headlight location

- re-attach fairings and front bumper

- relocate oil cooler to safer location

- initial design of new AC/HVAC system

- fix severe rear door rust at hinge lock location

- replace external fuel pump with internal (I like the sound but my dad hates it)

- speedometer


AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/28/20 10:41 a.m.

Glad to see brakes were at top of the list!

russian Reader
12/5/20 10:04 p.m.

LS engine? this needs an open source ECU.

Aaron_King PowerDork
12/6/20 11:27 a.m.

My Grandfather had one of those he bought new, brown and tan.  He and a buddy of his took my down to Winston Salem from Canton OH to pick up a motor for my Spitfire.

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