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Thread: Hopeful new Vanner skeptical of the local deal

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    Hopeful new Vanner skeptical of the local deal

    Hey guys, I've had my eye on a 69 108 that's available near me in the northeast for seemingly a good deal (talked him down to $2800). I'm not too experienced with cars except for routine stuff on modern vehicles of my own, and this particular deal has a few points that worry me. That said I am a machine tech for a local college where I fix old woodworking machinery, kilns, metalsmithing tools, etc. so I can wrench a bit. Some insight into the situation would be really appreciated.

    Basically this van (don't have pictures and the page was taken down, though it is not sold yet to my knowledge, sorry) from what I can tell has had significant repairs done to the rockers and who knows where else. I am told it has been stored indoors for the past ~12 years and that appears to be true. Dry rotted tires, busted windshield, but runs up and down the driveway, goes, stops, turns, lights work, etc., appears to be otherwise stock with the 307/powerglide.

    The parts I have doubts about are as follows:
    -the seller is a real piece of work and I don't believe a word he says. Bought the vehicle from an estate and is trying to make a buck
    -unsure of the extent of the body work, paint looks decent though. How well does bondo hold up to the elements? I don't have a garage but would store it in the winters
    -how wary would you guys be of buying a vehicle that works well enough to do a driveway test drive but the owner wouldn't allow for a road test drive (allegedly because of its relative amount of unknown factors and doesn't want it put in a ditch due to a blowout or whatever)?

    Any insight is appreciated! Thanks! Is there anything in particular I'm not thinking of that I should look out for?

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    Sight unseen -- $2800.00 is fair for a running driving 69 108. Powerglide is a nice option. But shitty metal work and lots of bondo, is not a good sign. All I can say is...There are probably worse projects available out there, but there also could be better ones...Post some pics if you can. The people on here will shoot you straight. But you're not getting killed at $2800.00.

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    That's the best I can do from an old screenshot of the ad. Interesting camper top which appeals to me despite not being in line with most people's desire for as few windows and doors as possible it seems!

    Doesn't give much detail in the way of the structure of it though.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Screenshot_2019-02-12-18-34-42.jpg  

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    VCVC Charter Member Vanner68's Avatar
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    $2800 is about average for what you describe. Unless you are getting a van that has lived it's entire life in the desert, it's going to have rust issues, especially rockers. Even if the rocker repairs were a total hack job, it's still not a difficult repair to get it right. Rocker patch panels are available from Mill Supply https://www.millsupply.com/auto-body...-70-chevy-van/

    The chief advantage, even if it is just a 'lot drive' van is that if it moves under it's own power, and stops, you know that nothing is missing. These vans are very simple machines, so they are not difficult to repair, but some parts are van-specific and hard to come by. Some VCVC members are making a few parts, others have a parts stash, so you are in the right place.


    As to this specific van- pics help, but if the seller is sketchy about it's condition assume the worst. Since vans have risen in popularity, the flippers have stepped in and some are honest, others not so much. Bondo is not going to last when exposed to salt, but there are a couple vans I know of personally with 30+ year old bondo that you would never know was there. It depends on how well it was done.

    Windshields are still available, VCVC member macsdoghouse deals in auto glass and can get you the info needed to order from a local glass supplier. Take a good look at the windshield frame for signs of rust, it is a common issue. Anything can be repaired, but be honest with yourself about your abilities and finances. I was able to repair what members here have said was the worst windshield rot ever, it was not fun but it sure was tedious. (see below) I am not a bodyman by trade, so I was able to fix this because I didn't have enough experience to know it was impossible, LOL.

    Welcome to the site, and good luck!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_20120527_153955_zpse93ed330.jpg   CAM00265_zpsdd4e7991.jpg  
    Gregg Groff


    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

    1968 Chevy G20 108 panel Now with 454 power!

    1965 Chevy G10 panel- OHC Pontiac inline 6

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    VCVC Charter Member Vanner68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repete View Post
    That's the best I can do from an old screenshot of the ad. Interesting camper top which appeals to me despite not being in line with most people's desire for as few windows and doors as possible it seems!

    Doesn't give much detail in the way of the structure of it though.
    It appears the the roof was made specifically for the body style, so that is good. You are correct that many prefer unmolested body panels, and fewer windows, but if you plan to camp in the van a high top is nice.
    Gregg Groff


    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

    1968 Chevy G20 108 panel Now with 454 power!

    1965 Chevy G10 panel- OHC Pontiac inline 6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vanner68 View Post
    $2800 is about average for what you describe. Unless you are getting a van that has lived it's entire life in the desert, it's going to have rust issues, especially rockers. Even if the rocker repairs were a total hack job, it's still not a difficult repair to get it right. Rocker patch panels are available from Mill Supply https://www.millsupply.com/auto-body...-70-chevy-van/

    The chief advantage, even if it is just a 'lot drive' van is that if it moves under it's own power, and stops, you know that nothing is missing. These vans are very simple machines, so they are not difficult to repair, but some parts are van-specific and hard to come by. Some VCVC members are making a few parts, others have a parts stash, so you are in the right place.


    As to this specific van- pics help, but if the seller is sketchy about it's condition assume the worst. Since vans have risen in popularity, the flippers have stepped in and some are honest, others not so much. Bondo is not going to last when exposed to salt, but there are a couple vans I know of personally with 30+ year old bondo that you would never know was there. It depends on how well it was done.

    Windshields are still available, VCVC member macsdoghouse deals in auto glass and can get you the info needed to order from a local glass supplier. Take a good look at the windshield frame for signs of rust, it is a common issue. Anything can be repaired, but be honest with yourself about your abilities and finances. I was able to repair what members here have said was the worst windshield rot ever, it was not fun but it sure was tedious. (see below) I am not a bodyman by trade, so I was able to fix this because I didn't have enough experience to know it was impossible, LOL.

    Welcome to the site, and good luck!

    That's a whole lotta weld! I saw that picture on a different thread, props. Thanks for the tips on the glass/rockers too. I knew there were windshields available but not rockers, I had thought everything body wise had to either be fabbed or grabbed, so that's good news.

    I think I have a grasp of what the body would take, ie. not much as long as I don't drive it in the winter salt, but what about the mechanicals? With ~100k on the clock what can I expect in terms of longevity out of that drivetrain? Will it likely need a major rebuild soon or more likely just the essentials (fluids, points, distributor, clean gas, etc.)? I know they're simple but they are old machines. What's the typical lifespan I guess is my question, as obviously there are unknown factors?

    Thanks again

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    VCVC Charter Member Vanner68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repete View Post
    That's a whole lotta weld! I saw that picture on a different thread, props. Thanks for the tips on the glass/rockers too. I knew there were windshields available but not rockers, I had thought everything body wise had to either be fabbed or grabbed, so that's good news.

    I think I have a grasp of what the body would take, ie. not much as long as I don't drive it in the winter salt, but what about the mechanicals? With ~100k on the clock what can I expect in terms of longevity out of that drivetrain? Will it likely need a major rebuild soon or more likely just the essentials (fluids, points, distributor, clean gas, etc.)? I know they're simple but they are old machines. What's the typical lifespan I guess is my question, as obviously there are unknown factors?

    Thanks again
    A 307 and a powerglide is probably the most reliable drivetrain combo there is. The powerglide is damn near indestructible behind a stock engine, and the design has been built to handle 2000hp for drag racing, so no worries there.

    The 307 is a really good engine. Boring, yes, but very reliable. do an oil change and coolant flush, replace all the rubber and you should be ok. If it smokes, it's like valve stem seals. If the engine is toast, a 350 is a direct drop in replacement and can be had brand new for a couple grand.

    Having a small block Chevy is honestly like having your cake and eating it too. They are durable, but even when they do break they are easy to work on and parts are cheap- case in point:

    I have a 89 GMC K2500 plow truck that sat most of it's life, only 45k on the clock. I started driving it 50 miles per day on the highway and the radiator popped. New radiator, ($100) and then the water pump died ($40). Replaced that, hoses and then the head gasket blew from all the overheating (and I mean driving the last 20 miles home stopping every 5 miles to fill the radiator and still pegging the gauge) Top end gasket kit, $60 and back on the road. I'm getting a bottom end knock that comes and goes, but a new crank and bearings is only $150 so I'll probably pull the engine and fix it this summer. It's a bit of work, but there is no way I can get another plow truck cheap enough to junk this one.

    The only downsides to owning an early are:

    AutoZone doesn't believe these vans exist. Their computer lumps them in with 3rd gen vans, and very little crosses over.

    The stuff that is hard to find, is hard to find. Silly things like wheel cylinders can drive you nuts. If you need a part, post up here first, someone might have it or have a 'good' part number so you can order one.

    They are 50 years old. If it doesn't have electrical problems now, it will soon. Most of them are due to corrosion in the 'big round plug' that goes in the side of the doghouse.
    Gregg Groff


    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

    1968 Chevy G20 108 panel Now with 454 power!

    1965 Chevy G10 panel- OHC Pontiac inline 6

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    VCVC Member Russell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repete View Post
    That's the best I can do from an old screenshot of the ad. Interesting camper top which appeals to me despite not being in line with most people's desire for as few windows and doors as possible it seems!

    Doesn't give much detail in the way of the structure of it though.
    I like campers and lots of windows. Looks like you can stand up inside, cool. Post more pics when you get it.
    1966 Sportvan Deluxe 230 3 on tree (work in progress) Now 283 small block
    1965 Sportvan Deluxe 250 powerglide (Sold)
    1965 Chevy Van Panel (Project)

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    Welcome RePete

    Welcome aboard! Campers are cool. Post some pics, we like that.
    108VanGuy...
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 Spd.with OD, 3.36 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
    1967 Chevy Panel, 230 CID, 3 Spd. 3.36 "UtiliVan" 292 TFI coming. Owned since 76
    1964 GMC Panel, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "CrunchoVan"
    1965 GMC HandiBus Custom, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "MilkVan" Seized Engine
    1965 Chevy Panel 350 CID, 3 Spd. "RustoRoof" Runs but wiring bad
    1969 Chevy 108 Display 307 CID THM 350 Power Brakes 3.73 Posi
    1965 Chevy Panel, V8, 3 Spd. "Gold Hills Van" Best body of my 65s
    1965 CamperVan, V8, 3 Spd.

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    New Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russell View Post
    I like campers and lots of windows. Looks like you can stand up inside, cool. Post more pics when you get it.
    Ha, love the confidence in my buying abilities! Anyone have a truck/flatbed in the WNY area? Otherwise going with uhaul and they're a real pain to deal with.

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