View Full Version : Doghouse options

11-04-2001, 06:58 PM
OK, I'm confused!
All I have ever owned has been 65 and 66's.
These were 6 cylinders. Standard, uncut doghouses and they worked pretty good.
I have looked at later V8 dog houses and am
confused about how you get to your spark plugs. I have not examined them, but I think they look like a one piece doghouse with "projections?" to allow for the two heads and exhaust manifolds. Is that right?
Right now one of my early's has a Chevy Small block put in, and the PO cut the floor boards and the bottom of the dog house to accomodate the heads and exhaust manifolds. He then screwed thin sheet metal "covers" over the area. Yeah, I hope I have your sympaties at this point.
Anyway, since this van is not stock in many other ways, I do plan on putting in a 350 with an automatic. Nothing wild at first, but what do I do about the doghouse?
I recognize that the doghouses are welded to the floor, but I wouldn't mind cutting and welding to make the whole doghouse removable. I remember seeing a Falcon Van like this. I realize that I would have to mount the radiator and some other minor things differently, but that is the fun of the project.
I guess what I am really asking for is advise from those who have "been there, done that". At worst, I will fabricate better "covers" to cover the holes in the floor and lower doghouse.
Thanks a lot.
Ross, in Boulder CO.

11-05-2001, 03:47 AM
Ross, I own a 69 and have helped friends with their older vans. In the old days, we would take a hammer and chissel to a late sixties (67,68,69) doghouse breaking all the spotwelds between the doghouse and the floor and unbolt the bottom of the radiator frame from the gravel shield and disconnect the wiring harness where it comes through the doghouse under the driver's seat. disconnect the voltage regulator wires and the doghouse and radiator frame should come out in one piece. Then take the doghouse,less the top, and place over your engine,(after removing front seats,doghouse and radiator and fan), patch floor as needed, straighten out the bottom lip of the doghouse, center doghouse around engine, drill pilot holes for self taping screws through the bottom lip of the doghouse and through the floor. Mark all for corners of the doghouse on the floor and remove doghouse. Run 1/2 to 1 inch wide weatherstripping along the edge of the floorwhere the doghouse will sit,(when finished there will be a sandwitch consisting floor,weatherstripping, bottom lip of doghouse)put new doghouse in, run screws through holes, connect wiring harness, install radiator,install fan,fill radiator,put top on doghouse, install seats, and you're done.

11-09-2001, 01:00 PM
in my constant curiosity of old vans in the junk yard,ive noticed alot of homemade wooden doghouses...mostly in the 64-66 vans.
thares quite a few of them in hagerstown Md,but sadly this place loves to stack the trucks and the earlys make a good base for a 3 truck pile up.and i guess thare not as valued as other trucks they save,so they take a beating.
anyway....one of the homemade doghouses was realy cool.basicly the front part that the choke,emergency brake and radiator support was stock with wood coverings,the rest was homemade but the whole thing fliped up(it had a V8)and was held down by what looked like jeep CJ hood straps and weatherstriping
at all the seams.i couldent say wheather it worked out for daily driving,but you`d have to admit,someone put some thought in that one

11-09-2001, 04:37 PM
OK, Turbovan's probably going to disagree, but I don't think wood is a good idea for an engine cover. Not much fire protection, y'see. If you get a small mig welder you can fabricate dang near anything!

11-09-2001, 04:45 PM
Heck, a $300 Lincoln wire feed welder has served me for 4 years now. It's really all you need for general purpose.


<A HREF="http://www.oldchevyvan.com" TARGET=_blank>OldChevyVan.com
</A>If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving's not for you.

11-09-2001, 05:45 PM
ive used them welders....thare great.and i cant realy say id want or recomend a wooden doghouse.....but i have seen some pritty cool ones.
he he he i can just imagine if some of them vans did catch fire....all that shag carpet going up in flames.....thats scary
take care

11-09-2001, 07:21 PM
I have a Clarke 100 amp gasless wire feed that I've owned since 94. It's run close to 200 of them little spools of wire and getting a little tired.....I have my eye on a used Miller 135 with a bottle i can get for $350, just needs a cart and a new regulator. Of course, I'd love to have the Lincoln Power Mig 225 Digital we just got a work......

11-10-2001, 12:29 AM
Ah yes, wooden engine boxes.
Well, the fact is, it really IS a dumb idea, but mine was only supposed to be "temporary".
Yeah, right, it's only been , what, SIX YEARS now.
I wasn't going to say anything, but my luck finally ran out several weeks ago.
Remember that charred spot next to the right manifold? (see TV tour) Well, I was on my way to the desert for the umpteenth time, going up the Grapevine (Interstate 5 toward Gorman) when the "cooked wood" smell got stronger than usual, then wisps of smoke started drifting up from under the seat.
"Holy S***! I'm on fire!
I pulled over and ran around and threw open the side doors, and there it was: a glowing ember-lined two inch hole in the engine box.
I threw some bottled water on it and took off the box to ponder my next move.
Luckily, right next to the van lay a flattened tall beer can, perfect for covering the hole. So I screwed it on the inside and continued on my merry way.
Why it didn't flame-on is a mystery to me, but if it had, I would have been had, because directly above it sits the carburetor.
Needless to say, the beer can is still on there, five weeks after the fact.
Will I ever learn my lesson? I think not!
Seriously, I really need to do something about it, and soon. --- TV

11-10-2001, 12:20 PM
Hi TV,

This is just why I always have a fire extinguisher located on the front of the dog house. It is very handy at this location as you can grab it quickely and use it. So far I have not had the opportunity to use it on any of my vans but had to use it twice on other rigs on fire.

My thoughts on this is to keep one handy as you are sitting right next to the gas line. This is another "preventive" measures that I use like a full set of tools, 2 gallons of water, extra oil, alt belt, etc.... that way they never break. Something else always comes unglued, but never what I have planned for.


11-10-2001, 06:46 PM
Swingin this topic back to the original question, If I were putting a V8 in a 64-66, and a 67-70 doghouse weren't available, I'd do the holes in the side and removable covers thing, but I would try to make them thick enough to support the seats, and also to reduce heat transfer. A well thought out fabricated cover can look "stock" if enough thought is put into the design and once you get the hang of working in steel, you'll enjoy it more than woodworking.

11-16-2001, 08:33 PM
ahmen to that brother.

11-16-2001, 09:24 PM
Sure, just make those covers out of finned aluminum heat sink stuff. http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/smile.gif That'll look real sharp. he he
Metal working is it's own reward... litteraly.

11-17-2001, 04:08 PM
I just got a 67 Handi-Van. Anyone know what insulation material is used on the underside of the doghouse cover? What's a good replacement if its worn?

11-17-2001, 05:14 PM
It's an aluminum faced fibreglas blanket about an inch thick, most auto parts chains carry it, as does JC Whitney.

11-17-2001, 09:32 PM
ive since found a local supply house that has on the shelf, almost my entire front end. so far. drag bars, tie rod ends, all brake parts, etc. ok, ok, stupid question.
i'll never say the f word again. all apologies lol.