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Thread: Engine Crossmembers and Driveshafts

  1. #11
    VCVC Member No1rascal's Avatar
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    So back to the question posted by VanSandy.....which cross member works best in a 1st gen with a 2nd gen doghouse & v8?
    1966 GMC Handi-Bus Custom (project)
    1968 Chevy 90 panel
    1968 Chevy 108 Sportvan

  2. #12
    Van Addict
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    I used the 1st generation crossmember in my 66 conversation. I also used the doghouse out of a 69 van. The van had the V8 so I was able to use the engine and bell housing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by No1rascal View Post
    So back to the question posted by VanSandy.....which cross member works best in a 1st gen with a 2nd gen doghouse & v8?
    I've not done any conversions as you describe so I couldn't say which is better. I believe it's not as critical if you have a V8 since they are much shorter. When you read the posts of 66BeachCruiser, it sure seems that a six cylinder could benefit from the extra space that a 2nd gen crossmember would provide in the 1st gen. I would think that conversion would need a revised transmission mount if the original underfloor mount location was used.
    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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    VCVC Member panelmanrd's Avatar
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    I used the first gen cross member when I went with a small block in the first gen
    also using a second gen dog house. 700r4 and a shortened driveshaft.
    54 chevy panel truck 355 tpi 700r4 325/9in
    64 chevy 90 5.7 tpi 700r4 336 8.2
    69 chevy panel van 5.7 tbi 700r4 336 8.2

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    VCVC Member kookykrispy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by No1rascal View Post
    So back to the question posted by VanSandy.....which cross member works best in a 1st gen with a 2nd gen doghouse & v8?
    When I built Hella Sunshine, (1965 with a v8) I used the original 1st gen crossmember in the factory location, with the 2nd gen doghouse and floor tunnel. I also used the factory th350 hanger, which bolted in place and the first gen driveshaft did not require modification.

    There was adequate space between radiator and fan, but just barely. I can see how an inline six would have problems. Note in the pic the electric fan motor was very close to the engine pulleys.
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    Last edited by kookykrispy; 09-04-2019 at 02:23 PM.



    64' wikivan 230/4 onda tree/2.56 posi
    '64 Red Baron no engine/trans
    '66 "Lucky" 230/3 onda tree/project

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    Fitment Issues with Electric Fan in a 1st Gen/six cylinder

    I checked the 1st and 2nd gen crossmembers against each other and they line up perfectly. This means there is no issue being able to install either crossmember in either 1st or 2nd gen van. The V8 install in the 2nd gen is pretty straightforward since they came with V8s as an option. V8 in a first gen is possible with the 1st or 2nd gen crossmember from what members report but the doghouse from a 2nd gen helps very much to access the spark plugs and wires. Many have welded in additional "boxes" to their 1st gen doghouse to help with access there. Seems to me, that the problem comes in when installing an electric fan in a 1st gen with a six cylinder. I spent a good amount of time trying to install the 18" Mark VIII fan into the 66 FreakyVan. There was just not enough room between the radiator and water pump. There was also not enough room to install it in front of the radiator which was my second choice. If a 2nd gen crossmember is installed in a 1st gen, the additional room would probably allow for the big electric fan installation between the radiator and water pump. IMHO, this is the preferred fan in the preferred location. I believe a smaller 16" fan could possibly be used without a 2nd gen crossmember but I didn't try that option since I had too many other fish to fry and Bill wanted to start driving his van sometime this year. Anyway, if a 2nd gen crossmember is installed in a 1st gen which gives you 3 more inches up front, where does that leave you on the back? The 3" rearward push will make it a lot tighter between the valve cover and the back of the doghouse. I'm not near my vans right now so I cant make a measurement but there may not be enough room to move a six cylinder back 3" in a 1st gen doghouse. This could mean a doghouse modification is required.

    My ultimate goal is a 292 in a 1st gen with the Mark VIII electric fan, hopefully without a tunnel or a scoop. That would keep the clean body lines when viewed from the front, a clear floor space inside, dramatically lower noise levels at freeway speeds (from removal of fixed fan) and increased fuel economy.
    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.

  7. #17
    VCVC Member 66BeachCruiser's Avatar
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    This is the dilemma I'm at right now. Keeping the six cylinder engine but wanting a 2nd gen crossflow in a first gen not only is there minimal space between a possible electric fan but even the stock fan. Since I'm not currently using a 2nd gen crossmember and driveshaft I decided to move the crossflow bottom bracket forward to move the radiator forward and gain inches in clearance. Moving just slightly forward means I'm taking over the space where my sway bar is supposed to go. I already drilled out a hole on each side of the bottom radiator bracket to line up with one sway bar mounting hole for each side. Im trying to see if maybe I can install my swaybar right on top sharing the same bolt holes. If so, I'll go ahead and drill another 2nd hole on each side of the crossflow radiator bottom bracket to do so. And get this, even with that movement forward I mocked up the radiator, took off the stock fan, mocked up the Mark electric fan and still not enough room. I only gained enough to make it safe for my stock fan. Getting a 2nd gen crossmember and a shorter driveshaft will be the ticket if wanting more room when staying with an I6 on a first gen
    1966 Chevy Sportvan seafoam green/white
    Sliding ragtop
    230 straight six
    HEI distributor
    12SI alternator
    2bbl 32/36 Progressive carb upgrade with 1 to 2bbl carb adapter
    200r4 w/stock auto shifter, custom hanger, 96 suburban trans cooler
    3:36 rear
    Front Disk Brake conversion with Dual master
    Recored radiator to 3core
    5 blade fan
    belly pan.

  8. #18
    Certifiable Vanatic Leroy Jackson's Avatar
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    If it helps the conversation, on my second gen, I was able to stuff a 4l80e in my van without needing to massage the body. I did need to relocate the trans mount, shorten the drive shaft and re-route my exhaust....couldn't keep the x pipe, went to an h pipe setup.

    From my understanding, the 1st gens are basically the same dimensions at the rear of the dog house.

    Running a full sized HEI required some trimming of the dog house to get it to fit, so that may be the biggest issue if you push the engine back.
    The Raped Ape
    1970 G-20 Krylon black
    Swing up cargo doors
    Supercharged 383
    4L80E transmission
    Detroit trutrac rear limited slip

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 108VanGuy View Post
    Anyway, if a 2nd gen crossmember is installed in a 1st gen which gives you 3 more inches up front, where does that leave you on the back? The 3" rearward push will make it a lot tighter between the valve cover and the back of the doghouse. I'm not near my vans right now so I cant make a measurement but there may not be enough room to move a six cylinder back 3" in a 1st gen doghouse. This could mean a doghouse modification is required.

    My ultimate goal is a 292 in a 1st gen with the Mark VIII electric fan, hopefully without a tunnel or a scoop. That would keep the clean body lines when viewed from the front, a clear floor space inside, dramatically lower noise levels at freeway speeds (from removal of fixed fan) and increased fuel economy.
    108VanGuy...
    Having recently had a first and second gen in the driveway, as I recall, the second gen doghouse goes back farther, i.e. the hole in the floor is longer. If you moved your six banger with either the stock three speed or powerglide, you would no longer line up with the trans hanger, and need a shorter driveshaft. Not so much of an issue with a 108, but 3" shorter drive shaft on a 90 would be an issue? That's what she said...

    I just measured and there is only 2 5/8" between the valve cover and the rear of the the 66 doghouse. But the potentially bigger issue is that it looks like the top of the bell housing would butt up against or go into the rear of the dog house.

    As far as design flaws go, it has always seemed to me the 1st gen box is too much of that, a plain box or cube. It needs a tunnel, and would also seem to benefit from a sloped back wall for better air flow. But that would cut into interior space. The second gen is engineered so much better from a doghouse perspective, six or V8.

    The more I weigh options the more I like my 66 bone stock (except it has a replacement 250 with HEI). It moves just fine down the road, but I do want to convert to auto as soon as possible.

    Pictures, because six bangers are cool.

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  10. #20
    VCVC Member joyrde's Avatar
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    GREAT PICTURE and INFO!!!!

    My first Van was a '64 GMC, 194 c.i., 3-speed stick;

    I put a 283, then later a 327 in the Van. Using a stock short V-8 water pump, the 283, bolted right in - - - all I did was take out the factory 6 cylinder engine to motor mount adapter.
    - - -
    I reused the stock 6-cylinder runner engine mounts - - - the same bellhousing, clutch assembly, trans, and factory driveshaft. I did have the 6-cylinder radiator re-cored with a thicker radiator core. I also dropped the front of the bellypan 4 inches.

    I also kept the stock Doghouse - - - yes, I did cut the sides of the doghouse out just above the stock exhaust manifolds, and boxed them in with sheet metal.

    Sorry no pictures - - - that Van went down the road - - 45 years ago

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