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Discussion Starter #1
So... I am ashamed to say, it's been two years since I last posted anything about my progress on the 1950 Dodge Panel Van (http://www.dodgetalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4511109#post4511109). A ton has happened in my life since then that's kept me away from the van, but my Wife (one of the changes in my life;) has encouraged me to get the van out of the garage. So, I have been fixing a ton of things that I left kind of half-done. In the meantime, my original thread has been closed (no blame here... I would have done the same). Here's an update in the form of a new thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Intermittent Wipers

One of the road-blocks I hit was "wipers."

The PT Cruiser dash occupies the space previously occupied by the OEM wiper mechanism. The wipers are now located above the windshield. My first attempt at new wipers looked okay, but didn't have the functionality I was really looking for. That first attempt employed rear window wiper assemblies off of two Ford Explorers. I made a "box" for each motor and mounted them above the windows. However, I was pressing my luck to get them to rotate in opposite directions and park correctly and such. So... I moved onto the next option.

Several sellers on the web offer a "Hot Rod Wiper" setup that incorporates a pair of nostalgic looking motors. I bit on the offer and anticipated the arrival of the "answer to my prayers." However... They too can only go one direction. I won't stand for it... lol.

I started an exhaustive web search on wipers. The best option I looked at was a cable-driven kit that separated the motor from the wipers like an old MGB (but promptly said NO WAY when I realized the reliability issues of the MGB wipers). So I "tabled" the wipers dilemma and moved onto other issues.

Anyway, fast-forward a year or so. I was tooling around the local junkyard and realized that several Dodge minivans (1996 - 2007) have wipers that go in opposite directions. BAM! Oh Yeah! Here's my guinea pig! It helps that I get fantastic deals from my local junkyard! :)

So, with the OEM mech in hand, I happily headed home. After a lot of cutting, welding, changing (general fabbing)... I ended up with OEM style intermittent wipers that will work with the electrics from my donor vehicle of choice (the 2002 Dodge RAM that my engine was scavenged from). If the video uploads correctly, you can see it wiping while attached to our 2006 Dodge Charger (a car now deceased - another very recent change in my life).

http://youtu.be/VwOAQePGWyQ
 

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Awesome, nice work; you patient skilled creative types always blow me away!!
... License, tips, and dash are reral nice touches; but that grille, that's just simply "CLASSIC"!! ... Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
New Rear End & Rear Suspension

I have had too many rear-ends in the truck to count... Let's just start there. Each one had its own set of issues, but I finally have a setup in the truck that fills my "want" list. It had to have modern disc brakes at a low cost; It had to be strong enough to handle a lightly modded 2002 5.9L engine; Different gears had to be available (just in case); It had to have an integrated speed sensor. Ignoring the rear ends I did not use, I NOW have a 3.73:1 posi Ford 8.8" out of a 2000 Mercury Mountaineer. It gives me everything I needed and will (hopefully) hold up to the torque of my 5.9.

I went with a (modified) triagulated 4-link suspension that was purchased on that popular "online auction site" that everyone loves to get deals on.

Here's what I have... Oh, the rear anti-sway bar is off a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee (my previous rear end).
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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Discussion Starter #8
Sun Visor Build

I noticed a glaring issue as soon as I started to do the wipers... It looked hideous! Kinda like two half-horns on what could be a cool looking vehicle. And then it looked even worse with the wipers on! It looked like it had big furry eyebrows. ...I needed to find a sun visor.

So, I looked on the net. Um... Have you ever looked at the prices on vintage sun visors that actually look good? Ouch! After looking and looking, I found a cheap one on "an auction site" and waited for UPS to appear. Unfortunately, there was a reason it was cheap (what do you know!). It was vintage alright. But it was a fiberglass material that had lost its rigidity. I tried to make it work, but there was no way it was ever going to look right. And absolutely no way it was ever going to be steady at highway speeds. Back to the "electronic bay" it went. I got my $100 back and someone else gets the fiberglass visor (but I Actually Disclosed that it wasn't a metal visor).

After giving up on the cheap visor, I definitely did not want to spend mucho $ on a nice one just to find out it wasn't going to work either. So, I started to fab up some mounts and go to town building some framework for my own sun visor. Here's what I came up with.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sun Visor Build (2)

More Visor Pics
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Awesome, nice work; you patient skilled creative types always blow me away!!
... License, tips, and dash are real nice touches; but that grille, that's just simply "CLASSIC"!! ... Thanks for sharing!


Thank you txwooley, Key99 and ScarredKnightfn! I have an issue... I can't leave anything alone! Just haven't found a support group yet;) From bumper to bumper, this is definitely a custom truck. I'm excited to get the body sanded out and see it all come together. Just a few more things to tackle first.

I'm beyond "ready" to have this truck out of my garage and on the road! So, next thing to tackle is the hood latch system. I had it all set up with a pair of hood latches from Dodge K-cars (yeah, I've had this truck for almost exactly 13 years:( )... But they just didn't work well. I didn't like how difficult it was to close the hood. My fear is that the impact of closing the hood will affect the bodywork. In my mind, the hood should shut just as easily as shutting the doors. I snagged a pair of trunk latches from a late-model car that would allow easy shutting and even provide a "pop-up" feature that would raise the hood just a tad when the release is pulled. BUT... Trunk latches are meant to be mounted out of the weather. That's an issue that I just can't seem to get over since I don't have inner fenders in the works. I'm going to hit the junkyard later today to "interview" other latch ideas.

I really wanted the front end to be automated... So, at one point, I had taken the mechanism from the automated back door of a Dodge minivan. But, the forces acting on the lift gate are different than the forces acting on the tilt front end. With a lift gate, you have to apply a constant force in order to lift and hold the gate up. With the tilt front end, you apply a force to lift it to a certain point. But then you have a apply a pulling force to keep the front end from slamming forward. The Dodge mechanism doesn't allow for this. Nor do simple gas struts since they also just apply a force in one direction. In fact, the Dodge lift gate mechanism would "freewheel" at the point where the front end balances and the front end would be sent crashing forward (because the lift gate mech is meant to be defeated when you choose to lift the gate without the aid of the auto mech).

The whole automated deal is just tough! It would easy if I only wanted the front end to open to roughly 45 degrees (about the point where the thing balances). But that just isn't good enough. I designed the hinges to open to roughly 80 degrees and I'll be cornswaggled (I like that word) if I can't use them as designed!

Anyway, I've been pondering a multi-stage setup that incorporates a gas strut for the first 45 degrees and then a shock absorber of some sort (maybe from a motorcycle?) to take up the remaining 35 degrees. It just seems too complicated though. My mind pictures an end result of a hood that weighs roughly 10 to 20 lbs. to lift from either direction. Wouldn't it be nice?!
 

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Just a spitball here, but what about an electric motor (and gear) mounted at the front hinge and a limit switch to stop it when the hood is fully open? A push-button or toggle switch (reversible motor?) could supply constant voltage through a relay until the limit switch opens the circuit. Maybe a limit switch in the fully open and another in the fully closed positions with a reversible electric motor for a fully automatic hood.
 

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BDL said:
I designed the hinges to open to roughly 80 degrees and I'll be cornswaggled (I like that word) if I can't use them as designed!

Anyway, I've been pondering a multi-stage setup that incorporates a gas strut for the first 45 degrees and then a

My mind pictures an end result of a hood that weighs roughly 10 to 20 lbs. to lift from either direction. Wouldn't it be nice?!
Use first part of multi stage.

... Build a "false push arm" that pivots on/with hinge pin centerline, but is not attached to hood; use gas strut from frame to push arm to assist opening till hood is "20 lbs before balance point";--

-- after that hood opens by hand to 80 ish degrees (or to angle that 20 lb force is req to start closing it); spring dampened cable restraint attached anywhere from rad support to firewall provides the stop at full open, or--

--DK what their called; but SOME "gravity activated" sliding arms that lock when opened and are used on the side panels of compressors/welders/machinery etc could be used for stops, and would "automatically lock hood SAFELY in full open position", simple finger flip to unlock.
 

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Discussion Starter #15

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Just a spitball here, but what about an electric motor (and gear) mounted at the front hinge and a limit switch to stop it when the hood is fully open? A push-button or toggle switch (reversible motor?) could supply constant voltage through a relay until the limit switch opens the circuit. Maybe a limit switch in the fully open and another in the fully closed positions with a reversible electric motor for a fully automatic hood.
I may incorporate something very similar to that... In fact, that is essentially what Dodge used on their Minivan lift-gate setup (and I happen to already have one in the garage). I just can't seem to make it look good.

It may be best for me to just go with a pair of linear actuators and be done. Anyone have experience with them? Are they reliable?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Use first part of multi stage.

... Build a "false push arm" that pivots on/with hinge pin centerline, but is not attached to hood; use gas strut from frame to push arm to assist opening till hood...
The false push arm idea is one I've contemplated too. Great minds think alike ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
LOL!!!! Cool beans. Will you hire me, then? Please!?
I got a kick out of your reply... My wife and stepson make so much fun of me for saying "cool beans" and it's nice to know I'm not the only one! I'd hire you just because of that!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So, a little about the way I work... When I get stumped, I switch tracks. Quite literally at times. I have a few projects in the works and it helps my mind to get lost in something different for a while to think about the issue I'm having. So... I've been working on a house that my Wife and I need to get on the market (should have been on the market by March 1 :( ). The house is nearly ready now and we have a potential buyer. Hooray, because now I can get back to the Panel van a little more.

When I left the van a week or so ago, I had a few issues with the front end.

1) It didn't line up and I was afraid to touch it because I royally messed it up the last time I "adjusted" it.

2) I didn't like the latch setup I had come up with years ago and just couldn't come up with a good alternative.

3) I wanted to "actuate" the opening and closing.

Well... I've made progress (some literal progress and some just in my mind ;) ).
1) I am happy to report that the front end lines up perfectly now. I took some time and just tackled it. I don't know why it didn't adjust this easily before, but it worked well this time and I am pleased with the outcome. So I began to form some 1/4" steel rod to weld in so the back of the fender will actually keep its shape now. (sorry no pics yet)

2) While shutting the tailgate on my 2000 RAM the other day, I had a "DUH" moment. Um... TAILGATE LATCHES you idiot! They are already set up to be low-profile. They are already setup opposite (so one can be mounted on each side). They are definitely made to withstand the water and gunk that sprays up from tires (it's got to be less harsh than the sand and gravel and dirt and gunk that gets into tailgate latches every day!) So, I swung by the junkyard yesterday and dismantled the tailgate on a late 90's Dodge truck. Score!

3) Actuating is still up in the air because I'm not sure I want to spend $160 on actuators ($80 per side from ebay). I'm cheap sometimes... Sue me.


And here I go onto something new... While at the junkyard yesterday, I peered into a 2003 PT Cruiser and realized the error (one of many, I'm sure) of my ways on the Panel Van. I was never really happy with my choice in steering columns (2001 Durango). I just didn't like the ergonomics. ...it's a personal thing. Anyway, I also didn't like the column shifter. Well, this particular PT Cruiser had a 8-ball type shifter on the floor and had the electronically coded key still in the column. SCORE. So I started into her. After 30 min or so, I had the column out and was eyeing up the floor shifter. Yup... Decision was made. Another 15 min and I had everything in hand from the 2003 PT.

I took home the loot and set it in place after hauling the dash up from the basement. Now I need to redo the steering linkages to go with the new column and then set up the new shifter cable. But OKAY. I like the way it's going to look. I'll raise the shifter up so it's in a good looking custom center console. I also need to put the seats in the truck so I can Make that custom center console and be sure everything works well together. But I'm excited now. It's gonna look more like my dreams now ;)

Here are a couple quick pics...
 

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