View Full Version : What engines?

07-29-2001, 05:27 PM
I am fairly new to the early van hobby. So new in fact that I do not yet have a van. I am trying to find out about engines. Elsewhere on this bulletin board was info about engines, but it did not address this question. When, if ever, was the 307 V8 engine offered in these vans? I have seen several descriptions of vans with this engine and was wondering if it was a factory engine option. Thanks in advance for the information.

Alan :)

07-29-2001, 07:14 PM
this is to answer your question,the 64-66 gmc and chevy vans were only available with the six cyl engine.the 230,250,and 292 inline.the engine box width would not enable a 8 to be installed.the 67-70 models had the larger engine box and thus an eight cyl was available.in 67 the only 8cyl was a 283 but the 68-70 had changed to a 307.according to the local auto parts computer and talking to a couple hard core vanners a 396 was actually available in 69.i can't verify this but i can tell you this much(they big block chevy fits) as well as any six or eight cyl.thats because my 67 chevy has a 396 in it.hope this helps.tom

07-30-2001, 11:22 AM
I recently learned that the 153 (6 cyl.) was offered as well in '64. The 292s weren't used in the vans. The head and block are too tall to fit in the confines of the dog house.

I too have heard rumors of the '69s with 396s in 'em, but have seen no proof as of yet. Talk about a factory-built death wish with drum brakes!

07-30-2001, 04:58 PM
So I guess that means the 502 crate motor will fit.....drool, drool.....

07-30-2001, 07:38 PM
I looked in my Motors truck manual and neither the 292 (as Smiley said) or the 396 were available stock OR as an option in the earlies (64-70). I'd bet the 396 would'nt even fit without radical modification.

07-31-2001, 04:48 PM
If you scroll down a couple, you'll see that Tom Schaner sez he has a 67 with a 396. I assume he installed it. I know Hooker lists a number for headers for a 396 in an early. Contrary to popular belief, the BBC is not much wider than the SBC. I doubt you could run tall valve covers, and the plugs may be a nightmare, but generally, if the small block will fit, so will the big block.

07-31-2001, 10:54 PM
The 292's came in the pickup. I have an uncle with a 292 block and pistons and a 194 head in a 63 pickup. He also put dual quads on it. The manifold came from clifford and so did the roller rockers. All I can say is, it really hauls *** . We can beat most small to midsize cars without a problem. The muncie 4 speed and posi rear probably help get the power to the road too. He said he can run low 15's with it.


08-04-2001, 01:14 PM
On the topic of factory engine offerings, chevy also offered a 4 cylynder motor in the first few years of production. Alot of guys are talking about hot rod v8s for thier vintage Chevy vans, and thats cool...but I like the idea of maximum possible fuel economy along with the classic cool look of the vc vans. Anyone ever actually seen a 4 cylynder powered early Chevy van? And speaking of fuel economy (in this age of 2 dollar a gallon fuel) what kind of gas mileage have you managed with your inline 6s and v8s? Talk again soon, Greg Coats. gycoats@aol.com St. Louis, MO

08-04-2001, 11:08 PM
It's been my experience that a properly setup small block V8 can get better mileage than a six due to the fact that you can run a lower numerical gear in the rear and still have enough torque to get rolling. Way back in the early 80's I had a 69 Chevyvan with a 307, 3 spd manual, and 3.23 gears. A friend of mine had a 72 Ford E-line with a 6/automatic. we both had similar sized gas tanks, in the 22 gal range, and on a trip to Angola Indiana for Midwest's truck-in I kept a constant 65-70 mph and a comfortable cruising RPM. My friend was constantly playing catch up and had to fill twice for every time I filled my tank.

08-07-2001, 03:22 PM
i've heard about the 4 too. that would have had to have been the Iron Duke 153ci four, which was in production from about 1962 through 1970. apparently a very reliable engine, it was used in several different platforms and a lot of VW and Jeep guys got ahold of them early on. the later model Iron Dukes (151ci 2.5L) have almost nothing in common with the earlier models. however, GM still produces a 181ci version of the 153ci Iron Duke as a marine engine. you can see more info on it here: http://www.gm.com/automotive/gmpowertrain/engines_marine/30_main.htm
basically, it seems to be the same 40-year-old design with a few modern updates (bigger displacement, non-siamesed intake ports, higher compression ratio, etc.).
if you want a four, this would be the hot ticket because it slips precisely into the same mounts as the old four which means no custom parts it still provides better fuel economy than a six or an eight, it comes with a hp rating of 177 (180 w/TBI - both are better than the stock 250 six, which had 145hp at most) and it'll accept all of Clifford's hopup parts.
pretty sweet, huh?

[This message has been edited by queequeg (edited August 07, 2001).]

08-07-2001, 03:45 PM
That engine is cool as ****. Id definately think about sticking that in a an early.

08-09-2001, 10:07 PM
My '69 came with the 307 V8. I don't know what it's problem was, but it always overheated. I was in Southern CA and I ran pure antifreeze so it wouldn't boil over. Finally after about a year, it smoked so badly I was ashamed to be seen driving it. I replaced it with a rebuilt 283 and have been happy with it ever since. I get 15-16 mpg, but I have enough torque that I could run a higher gear in the rear. It is 3 on the tree and I always want to put it into fourth gear.

08-09-2001, 11:29 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Vanner68:
It's been my experience that a properly setup small block V8 can get better mileage than a six due to the fact that you can run a lower numerical gear in the rear and still have enough torque to get rolling. Way back in the early 80's I had a 69 Chevyvan with a 307, 3 spd manual, and 3.23 gears. A friend of mine had a 72 Ford E-line with a 6/automatic. we both had similar sized gas tanks, in the 22 gal range, and on a trip to Angola Indiana for Midwest's truck-in I kept a constant 65-70 mph and a comfortable cruising RPM. My friend was constantly playing catch up and had to fill twice for every time I filled my tank.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

08-09-2001, 11:59 PM
Thanks Vanner68 for your reply as we were on the topic of engines and fuel economy. By the way what kind of mileage do you think you got out of your 307 3-speed powered vc van on your trip to Angola Indiana?

08-10-2001, 02:03 AM
Thanks alot Queequeg for the useful and interesting information on the iron-duke I think with 140 or more "horse pressure" and up to 180 foot pounds of torque, it should pull just fine in , say, a shorty panel van. After all, these trucks only weigh on the order of 2700 pounds or so. The power to weight ratio theoreticly would be comparable to a modern 4 cylinder powered sedan like a honda accord, or a ford taurus. Although thought of as the origional "full sized" van (albeit lean in comparison to subsequent models), The fact is they hardly weigh anything more than most of todays mid sized CARS! Again, a testament to the intelligence of engineering that brought us the origional "cab-forward" Chevy vans. Other than the cars advantage in lower drag coeffecients, and probably lower rolling resistance of thier tires and wheels, the old vans (equipt with a very effecient engine and drivetrain) ought to actually be able to rival the fuel economy of todays "smaller to mid-sized" economy-minded sedans. Make mine a 4 cylinder powered 25 mile per gallon city 30 + MPG highway CRUISER with cool mags and a gleaming bright corvette yellow paint job thank you very much....... The economy of a twenty first century high-technology automobile, the practicality and cargo carrying capacity of 5 or 6 thousand pound truck, and the humble, lovable, and classic good looks of the most beutiful van ever made. We're gonna have alot of laughs and fun that van, my friends and I. And you know what? When I get it I'm gonna keep it with a smile on my face,and until the day I die, or even forever if there really is a "great-partyvan" in the sky.

08-10-2001, 09:37 PM
I don't know what the mileage on that trip was, but I usually got 15mpg combined hiway and city.

08-12-2001, 01:02 AM
My `65 Display (TurboVan) originally came with the 153 Iron Duke,and I hated it! I couldn't wait to get a V-8 and automatic. The mileage sucked and it wouldn't rev out cleanly,and every time I tried it, the valves would start clattering,and it would be misfiring for a while. Also,it vibrated so much it kept breaking those "unique to the four cyl" engine mount brackets (not surprising,the way I drive). So in `71 I pulled it out, and adapted to a V-8 lifestyle: an aluminum Powerglide behind a used 327 Corvette motor. Since then I have had four motors and six trannies,but that's another story! --- TV
ps- that new Iron Duke sounds like a good deal, in fact I recently worked on one in a boat. It was an OMC conversion with an outdrive...

08-15-2001, 08:04 AM
For some odd reason, it doesn't come as a huge suprise to me Turbovan that you were less than thrilled with a 4 cyl. powered early Chevy (or anything else). Why might this be? Could it have something to do with the fact that you're currently driving a large displacement, v-8 and turbocharger powered van around with on the order of SIX TIMES the horsepower and torque of it's humble and far lesser powered four cylinder bretheren....Perhaps satasfied with nothing less? Could be.

[This message has been edited by partyvanbeagles (edited August 15, 2001).]

08-15-2001, 08:11 AM
Thanks Vanner68. 15 is about the # I've usually seen, too.

08-15-2001, 08:50 AM
Actully, I've had an early Chevy van project/idea in mind for a while. The goal being absolute maximum fuel economy and reliability.... Install a modern and very effeceient powerplant and drivetrain in an early Chevy. I'm thinking a 2.2 liter 4 cylinder Honda Accord motor and tranny (5-speed manual, or maybe even for convenience sake, the 4-speed automatic) Another motor I have in mind might be the new factory turbocharged 1.8 liter VW motor out of the new Beetle, the jetta and the pasatt. Or even the factory souped up 4 out of the Nissan Se-r. Each of these motors are super reliable and effecient. Yet at the same time they make good power and torque (on the order of 125-150 Hp, with similar amounts of torque.) We've owned a Honda Civic for years and by god these cars (and motors, and transmissions) just do not break or wear out! I have 110% faith, particularly in the hondas, although also know the VW motors, while perhaps not quite as reliable as some of thier japaniese counterparts, are exceptioally well designed to perform in the real world (delivering, for example, unusually strong torque throughout the most "everyday usable" portion of the powerband. I think one of these drive trains in a lightweight, otherwise all origional (except for cool mags and paint), early Chevy would be SO cool! the one thing I would need to figure out would be linking the transaxle shafts to the rear end of the vintage van. Being that transaxles are transversely mounted and are designed to link, and power, both wheels in a front wheel drive car or mini-van....It presents a challenge. How do you deliver the full torque and power of the motor back to a single drive shaft once it has been internally split by a transaxle? Simply to tap off of one half of the transaxle, would be a poor idea in that it would be attempting to pull all of the power and torque of the motor from only a side designed to deliver under normal circumstances to carry half of it. A bad idea, particularly in a case such as this where the motor and transmission will be being called upon to work fairly close to its design potential (in powering a van that, while in the ball park weight of many modern "mid sized" cars, is nonetheless heavier, probably by around 500 pounds). Anyway, in meeting this, and all of the other design and instalation challenges involved with this project, I think the final result could be SUPER cool. A clean, classic and origional vintage Chevy van with mags, cool paint and an ultra modern and effecient 4 cylinder powertrain... QUITE CAPABLE, in the work place, and able to deliver 25 MILES PER GALLON OR MORE in the real world.

[This message has been edited by partyvanbeagles (edited August 15, 2001).]

08-15-2001, 10:17 AM
you know, on any other board that kinda suggestion would be blasphemous. it still might be blasphemous here. but let me address a few of your questions.
if you want to put one of these four cylinders in your van, you've got a couple different options. a) you can figure out how to adapt the entire transaxle to drive the front wheels. heh heh, good luck. b) you can turn the engine 180 degrees (longitudinally instead of transverse) and adapt it to some rear-weel drive transmission. Adavance Adapters is a company that can figure out what adapter plate you would need for pretty much any kind of swap like that.
the second option is the one i would recommend. it's much more straighforward and involves less van hacking. however, why not use a GM four cylinder such as the early Iron Duke or the one i mentioned earlier in this thread? you can achieve all your goals if you build it right - which means HEI, EFI, a manual/overdrive transmission and a light vehicle. PLUS, the swap would involve little more than collecting the right parts, all of which came stock - no fabricating, no van hacking.
i'd give major props to anyone who would undertake the swap for a GM four. hell, if you're on the West Coast, i'll help you with that swap.

[This message has been edited by queequeg (edited August 15, 2001).]

08-16-2001, 01:26 PM
Thanks Queenqueg, Dan, for your reply. I figured I might draw possible concern from General Motors, Chevrolet, or even Vintage Chevy van loyalists with the idea I have in mind of transplanting a Japanease, or perhaps German manufactured powerplant into an early Chevy van. Although you must admit that great ideas do sometimes begin with a break in tradition. I love the old Chevy vans, and am a big straight 6 cylinder fan as well. These motors are bullet proof and silky smooth with the perfect balance inherent to thier design. I believe the straight 6's are the most indestructable, and longest lasting motors the 20th (or 21st) century automotive world has ever known. And, not unlike the vintage Chevy vans themselves, the straight 6 might well be thought of as classic.

On the other hand, the world has changed mightily in the 30 or more years since the production of the early Chevy vans. Gas is no longer 20 or 25 cents a gallon, but nearly TEN TIMES that amount. With the great number of technological advances that have come, particularly in the way of engine design, "moderately effecient" in today's world might mean 25 to 30 miles per gallon or more. Whereas in the past 6 cylinder fuel economy on te order of perhaps 13 to 17 mpg was considered very good (in comparison to large displacement high horsepower V8's in production at the time that might have averaged nearer to half these figures) These days, gas milage in the mid-teens is far from exceptional, with no disrespect to the classic 6 or its's affectionate, myself included!

Although I am a huge fan of the vintage Chevy van, I'm not an "across the board fan" of it's manufacturer, General Motors. GM designed and manufactured many of the most attractively styled, and highest quality cars and trucks throughout the 50's and 60's, but also many of the WORST throughout the 70's and 80's.

It seems to me that GM is content these days to the middle road with improved quality, but often uninspired design, and styling. Yes, they have moved forward, but in the mean time the entire automotive manufacturing world has also advansed, often remarkebly.

Funny thing about General Motors, while they are big "bean counters" content to build moderate quality albeit unexceptional automobiles, affordably priced for the masses.....they, on certain occations end up figuratevly speaking, hitting one out of the park. The world class Chevrolet Corvette, full sized Chevy and GMC trucks, and, of course, the intelligent and eminently practical "forward-control" Chevy vans of the mid-sixties are examples that come to mind.

I can't say that I share the same degree of faith in General Motors "Iron Duke" 4 cylinder as I do either of thier 6 and 8 cylinder motors, or the proven effeciency and reliability of the japaniese/german 4's

In owning a Honda Civic for many years now, I have to say those guys dont miss when it comes to designing and building practical, effecient, affordable and long lasting cars. I've admittedly grown spoiled with driving a car whose engine religiously returns 35 miles per gallon, will run 100's of thousands of miles sewing machine smooth, without overhaul or anything beyond routene service and timely oil/filter changes.

But, while the hondas may well one day be thought of as true classics, at this time they are not...certainly not in the sense that the early chevy vans are. So this is why I have the idea, why not combine the best of both worlds? Modern, super effecient-high gas milage drivetrain in an otherwise all origional and cool vintage van (with aluminum slots, raised white letter tires, and a perfect Corvette yellow coat of paint)

Agreed, Dan, nomatter what engine swap is completed, it would have to be longitudinally mounted and driving the rear wheels. I wouldn't even want to consider a front wheel drive conversion unless 1) I had a great deal of money and free time on my hands 2) perhaps owned a manufacturing facility, and 3) possessed a very advansed degree of some sort in the field of mechanical engineering.

None of those being the case, the rear drive swap is the way to go. I have to say the simplicity of the iron duke transplant is very appealing in comparison to other 4 cylinder engines that have a split transaxle as opposed to a single output shaft transmission. I agree with you that if it were done RIGHT the final product could be very desireable, if not quite as advantageous in the areas of smoothness, noise, vibration, and harshness of the other more technologicly advanced powerplants. In a way though, even on this topic the GM 4 might philosophicly be a better fit in that it is this more "truckish" (if that's even a word) in character. It would after all be going into a early Chevy van which we aught not forget is a truck.

Thanks Dan for the information you have given, and for you offer in extending help with the instalation of a 4. Ps- DO I assume that the offer stands if installing a GM 4, but if I go with one of "them foriegn jobs" i'm on my own?

"Partyvanbeagles." Greg Coats, Saint Charles, Missouri. Phone: 636-724-3240

[This message has been edited by partyvanbeagles (edited August 16, 2001).]

08-16-2001, 02:38 PM
the offer to help stands on any vehicle, even Dorfs, but not for any location Oregon to Mizzou is a bit of a drive.
good points all around. i can tell you've put some thought into this. the only reason i suggested the Iron Duke either version is because of the simplicity of the swap and how it would fit your needs. when it comes to vehicles, my philosophy is the simpler the better. thus, i'm not much of a fan of turbos (sorry, TV. your ride is awesome, though), nitrous, AN fittings, new cars, etc. that flows over into modifications that use anything other than easily available parts.
figure you put a Honda engine in your van. you've figured out the adapter and custom motor mounts and all the other custom parts needed for installation. then you break one fo those motor mounts in BFE, Missouri. that's where i'm coming from (not BFE, but philosophically. you understand).

[This message has been edited by queequeg (edited August 16, 2001).]

08-16-2001, 05:48 PM
Uhmm Guys...
Not to be a wet blanket here, but you do realize that if you put a 35 mile per gallon Honda engine in an early van...it is NOT going to get 35 miles per gallon.
I don't know what the weight of a Civic is but I doubt it's anywhere near that of a van. So to start off you're moving more weight. Then figure in the streamlined shape of the Civic vs the brick-wall-in-the-wind shape of an early's front end. On top of that many of these earlys are rather low geared. Given all these factors, things start to look bad from my perspective.
If you do ever haul a load, or do any towing, forget it.
I think you'll find that the engine that works well in a Honda Civic, will be overworked, underpowered, and (due to the abuse it was never built for) ultimately undependable in a van.
I could be wrong. It's bound to happen someday http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/smile.gif but I personally think it sounds like trouble.
On the other hand, a six or even eight cylinder doesn't have to be that bad for gas milage. Get an overdrvie. Get a high geared rearend. Keep a really well tuned engine. MPG can get pretty good. I had a 79 Cutlass Salon a few years ago. I believe the weight bone dry and empty was something like 4200 pounds. It had a 350 in it, carburated. No mods to get better milage. I got 20 mpg general driving with that car. I've had any number of half worn-out six cylinders that got in the high teens with bad plugs and a lead foot.
I've a had a Nissan Sentra with a four cylinder and a five speed that got 30 mpg, but I could probably almost park the thing in the back of my van. That's not comparing things fairly. It's comparing apples and oranges. You can't paint an apple and call it an orange. An apple is an apple. A van is a van.
For my 2 cents, an engine needs to address the vehicle it's in. If the engine has to work too hard, you're shooting yourself in the foot.
If you really need to get 35 miles per gallon, you should probably drive the Civic.

08-16-2001, 08:16 PM
good point on aerodynamics. these things definitely wont cut through the air with the greatest of ease. but they are pretty light; i believe they're even lighter than modern Astro vans and the Stros regularly get minimums of 20 mpg with their V6s.
but those are helped along with modern EFI, HEI and overdrives, none of which came on an early. swap em over (everybody's doing it) and you cant help but increase the mileage in an early.
and that's what we're trying to do here, right?

08-16-2001, 09:00 PM
Ok, now we're touching on a swap I proposed over a year ago to general apathy. Put the Vortec V6 in an early! It will bolt up to stock V8 motor mounts, can use the TH200R4 trans, you can relocate the radiator further back in the doghouse to improve cooling, the HP and torque ratings exceed those of the stock 307's and many forklifts use these motors, and never once have I seen one fail. Our forklifts are running 20 hours a day, 6 and 7 days a week, and with the ultra low gearing, are usually spinning around 3000 to 3500 RPM's hauling around a truck that weighs 14000 lbs carrying 12000 lbs payload!
I think that addresses durability.
With EFI and an overdrive 25 to 30 mpg is probably attainable, and the GM EFI has been proven to give 200,000 trouble free miles. My 87 Chevy van has a 305 TBI with 120,000 miles and the only non-original EFI component is a coolant sensor that broke this year.
The only obstacle to this swap I can see is mating the in-tank electric fuel pump to the early's tank, and SERIOUSLY upgrading the electrical system. You would want no less than a 75 amp alternator, 100 amp ideal. Weird things happen to computers when supply voltage drops.

As far as a Japanese/American hybrid, I have no moral objection, but why not use one of the excellent 4 cylinder engines from a Nissan Pathfinder? It's already setup for rear drive. A co-worker has over 300,000 miles on one. Any 2wd Nissan pickup could be a good donor vehicle, and they are cheap and plentiful. I'm not real familiar with Honda, is thear a rear drive/AWD vehicle that would give the correct orientation? I would say that any such hybrid should be truck based as has been stated before, trucks and cars are two different animals and put different stresses on engines.
Or how about going diesel? GM has had a small truck diesel V8 for a few years now that's been proven reliable. (no- not the gas Olds 350 V8 based one) They are usually found in Chevy/GMC dually pickups. Diesel torque and mileage, plus durability, and think of the big rig exhaust note!

These are a few ideas off the top of my head, but remember, even the relatively easy V8/L6 swap has it's headaches in our vans, so be prepared for some engineering challenges. Your best friend in any swap is a tape measure!

08-17-2001, 07:48 PM
Dan. The Iron-Duke 4 is an intriguing thought. The idea that it was in a sense "made for" the van.... That it could possibly be installed and running within a week, or less.... That replacement parts would be readily available....And I especially like the idea that it would mate up with any number of rear wheel drive style transmissions (avoiding the "transaxle delema", good also in that General Motors IS known even worldwide for thier exceptionally smooth and reliable(automatic)transmissions. I couldn't agree with you more on "keeping it simple", ironicly, and at the risk of being severely ostracized, I mention Honda's theme for many years was "Honda we keep it simple". I'm not trying to convert you Dan, honest, just a mere observation. Thanks again for all of the great info, and for your offer to help at least, that is, if the definition of "dorf" isn't close to that of another very similarly spelled 4 letter word beginning with a "d" and ending with a "k"! Talk to you soon, Dan "beagles"

[This message has been edited by partyvanbeagles (edited August 17, 2001).]

08-17-2001, 09:44 PM
Thanks MadElf for your input. I weighed my Civic at 2020 pounds. It has a 100 Hp 1.5 liter 4. Honda accords typicaly weigh 2700-2800 pounds and are most often powered by thier 2.2 liter 4. Whats interesting to me is that the early chevy panel van was suprisingly light, also at 2800 pounds. And, when powered by the popular straight 6, the "DIN" horsepower translates very closely to the 4 cylinder Accords 130 HP "SAE" rating. With near identical weight and power the two other factors in determining fuel economy and acceleration comparisons would be aerodynamics, and rolling resistance. In these areas,to be sure, the honda has a distinct advantage, but how much could it possibly bring down the fuel economy when the motor is just as powerful (as the 6) and its not being called upon to carry any more weight than when installed in the mid-sized accord? With a honda engine and transmission (which, with its technology is always "overdrive oriented") and, of course, the tallest rear end gearing availible, I'd bet mpg #'s in the upper twenties is a realistic possibliity.

08-18-2001, 01:30 AM
Id think youd get sick of starting up your van and having it hear like a honda. Or just thinking that one is in there.

08-18-2001, 01:55 PM
Dorf = Ford
i realize you're not trying to convert me. nor am i trying to convert you. we're just swapping ideas, which is what it's all about, eh?
so does anybody else have any input on this topic?

08-18-2001, 07:51 PM
Oh is that what its all about?

08-19-2001, 06:24 PM
OK, if we're throwing ideas around...
And we like Honda... (We do like Honda don't we? I got that impression anyway)
Here's a hare-brained scheme for ya.

Build a gas/electric hybrid.

Honda is the first to put it into production, but the idea has been around a long time.
I read in an old Mother Earth News magazine about a guy who put a high power industrial electric motor (from a fork lift if I remember right) in a pick-up truck & had enough oomph to do what it needed to do, hauling, etc. (I don't know what kind of juice you'd need, but there are electric trains so the motors definitely get big enough to move a van. It would take someone who knows a lot more than me about electric moters to give you the right size.) He ran it off storage batteries, but lets go on to another article about someone who ran a generator to charge up the storage batteries in his home-made electric car with a lawnmower engine. He had it set up so that when the power in the batteries dropped to a certain point, the lawnmower engine would start and charge them up. When they were charged, the lawnmower engine would shut off and the car would run on the batteries.
So what someone needs to do is get an electric forklift moter, and old lawnmower engine, and some storage batteries. Why go for 30 miles per gallon when you can shoot for 90?

On the saner side... I think that Vortec V6 swap sounds like a sensible idea.

08-20-2001, 06:01 AM
MadElf. Cool idea on the hybrid powered early. Or... we could even do all three. The forklift electric motor driving the fronts, Vanner68's vortec 6 powering the rears, and the lawnmower motor/ battery charger mounted in the glove box.

Any official engineers among us that might be interested in offering your services?

08-20-2001, 08:18 AM
How about a plain old 409 Chevy like Taz has in his van. It gets okay mileage, and scares the life out of you.

08-21-2001, 09:21 PM
Don't hold me to this, but I remember reading up on aerodynamics and that something like HP required increases at the square of frontal area or some such....basically it takes a LOT more power to push a brick thru the air than a wedge. The Lambhorgini only requires 7hp to hold 55mph on the freeway, but takes 50hp to hold 120, and 400 or so for top end. (again from memory, maybe not exact numbers, but in that area- but the 7hp number sticks in my mind as I could imagine a briggs n stratton powered Lambo doing freeway speeds)
More power=more fuel=lower mileage so the whole Chevy six vs. Honda four could end up a wash.
An interesting sidebar- anything you do to increase engine torque increases horsepower, the determining factor is RPM's. Anything you do to increase power will increase fuel economy as a specific power output can be acheived with less throttle opening. If you build a hi torque/relatively low RPM small block Chevy, and resist the temptation to floor it, you could see an increase in gas mileage. But do you really want to build a 350hp motor and granny shift it?

08-26-2001, 08:04 PM
Not to tick anyone off, but I'd rather granny-shift a 350 than be caught dead trying to push an early with a honda engine.
When I fire up my van at the cruise-ins, heads snap around as people realize I don't have a wheezing old six-banger in there. I let it roll out of the parking lot at an idle, and half the people there watch me go.
One guy stopped me after the show at the grocery store to ask what I had in there for an engine.
You'll never get a reaction like that with a four-cylinder straining to get up to speed.
I guess it's just a matter of deciding what your priority is.

08-26-2001, 09:25 PM
Ya didn't tick ME off, but I was just playin Devil's Advocate for the minimotor set....
My view is this: If you drive a van, gas mileage obviously is not an issue. If gas mileage is paramount, go get a Toyota Prius hybrid and get 50 -60mpg.

Sounds to me like the old cake and eat it too thing.

09-03-2001, 09:46 PM
My priority is to have a cool looking early Chevy van, with nearly the economy, and all of the reliability of a modern mid-sized automobile. It wont sound as cool as yours, MadElf, but it will cost perhaps several THOUSAND dollars less per year to operate.

[This message has been edited by partyvanbeagles (edited September 03, 2001).]

09-04-2001, 10:16 PM
Several thousand a year? I don't think I've invested that much into the van (gas, repairs, and purchase price icluded) in the 3+ years I've owned it. Of course it doesn't leave the garage in the winter, and if I'm making a long trip I take the '95 Escort.
So you see, I don't have anything against newer cars, I don't have anything against foreign cars. I've owned literally dozens of vehicles and liked them all (except for the '82 Omni, that was just junk) for various reasons.
The van with a 350 and rear-end gearing like a tractor isn't good for everything, I admit that. I've never found that perfect vehicle for all uses, I don't think it exists.
My solution is to own more than one vehicle. I currently have three vehicles on the road, and three others under (or awaiting)restoration. (We won't get into parts cars)
I plan to get more as the opportunities arise. That way when I walk out of the house I get to choose what I want to drive today. If I need gas milage I drive the car that gets it... if I want to look cool I drive the van that does...if I'm hauling garbage to the dump, I take the pick-up. When I get my Jeep Dispatch, and my wife's Falcon fixed up, I'll have even more choices.
So that's my solution. If yours is to try for one vehicle that is the best off all worlds, then I wish you the best of luck.
I think you have a worthwhile idea, I hope it works.
I just have one last thought to leave you with...I havn't checked the exact figures yet, but I've been driving the van quite a bit more lately and I noticed something that surprised even me. My gas milage has improved signifigantly with the new 350 compared to what the original 6 cylinder was getting. There is something to be said for an engine with more than enough power for the job, it just doesn't work as hard.

09-05-2001, 10:24 PM
gas mileage realy hasnt improved much in the last 20 years if you think about it.yea ,you can get a 5 spd overdrive trans in your EFI 350 V8 and compare it to an 82 truck/van....but its not realy all that drastic.a jump from say,13-15 vs maby 18-21 doesnt say much for a hundred years of technology.personaly,id be all for swaping a hybrid motor into my van.........if it was a practical swap.i doubt it would be.if it was id think thared be alot more kits avalble.im not a mechanic,im a bodyman/painter but i bet them hybred cars are beyond light and wouldent have much effectiveness if it was under a load. wow can you imagine towing a trailer or even taking a heavy load to the dump with a motor thats ment to haul basicly nothing (4 people is about all you could fit in them things) seems to me by the time you spent all the time and money to do the swap youd sorta end up with.....uh....uh
an underpowerd forword control van.....?????
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! its gona be a volkswagon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09-15-2001, 02:11 PM
Thanks MadElf for your input. A big part of the challenge, for me, is to come up with a "go everywhere-do everything " vehicle. The early Chevy van already has an awful lot going for it (cool look, classic status among vanatics at least, amazing "effeciency in packaging" with its forward control design. Of possible interest...last week I took my 91 civic to columbus Ohio (from St Louis) at 2200 pounds I average 35-38 MPG highway. On the return trip hauling a steel utility trailer (loaded with my motorcycle a "dual-sport" Honda xr650l). The gross vehical weight w/loaded trailer was 3800 pounds. My fuel economy went to 21.8 a big drop, but interestingly almost exactly proportional to the weight increase. Ive always been more of a cruiser than a racer. Dont need to go real fast. I'm, in part, very curious as to just what kind of fuel economy could be coaxed out of an early chevy...with maybe a honda motor or an "iron duke chevy 4...as a challenge...And (if Smiley will permit my saying so online), because I'm a self-admitted cheap basturd.

09-15-2001, 07:11 PM
Go for it! Don't let me stop you!
Your van should be your van.

Iron Crow
09-27-2001, 07:04 PM
What you do with a front drive transaxle in a van is bring a driveshaft/halfshaft out both ends/sides to make a four wheel drive early. The transaxle is your transfer case, if you will. You want different? There you go!

09-27-2001, 07:23 PM
You guys are scaring me. I think the beauty is in the simplicity of these trucks!

09-27-2001, 09:25 PM
i think kustom is the way to go i dig most anything kustom

10-02-2001, 06:55 AM
How about that cadillac motor, The V-4-6-8? I think that is a neat idea.


10-02-2001, 07:27 PM
Heck, it didn't even work in the Cadillac....