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My 1963 Ford Econoline 4.8/6L80E build

 
Old 04-13-2013, 08:03 AM
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Default My 1963 Ford Econoline 4.8/6L80E build

I figure it's time to start a build thread for my Econoline Hippie Van.
I am 2 years in and still a very long way to go, but any progress is good right?

Here is what I started with:







After blasting:




And epoxy primer:


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Old 04-13-2013, 08:03 AM
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Next I bought a 4.8 and 6L80E off Ebay. It came out of a 2010 Chevy Express Van. The package only had 468 miles on it!!



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Old 04-13-2013, 08:07 AM
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Time to get the mounts welded in using a mock up block. I had a coworker figure out the placement and angle and weld them in since he's the master at it.



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Old 04-13-2013, 08:11 AM
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Now on to the real thing. This was quite a task getting the engine installed. Lucky I had access to a lift or I couldn't have done it. The original engines are removed/installed through the side door, but I couldn't lift the engine high enough to get it in the doorway without the arm of the hoist hitting the top of the door opening. So it went in from the bottom on the stand, then lowered the van onto it. Then rolled the stand forward over the engine mounts.






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Old 04-13-2013, 08:23 AM
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The radiator is for an early Nova. I wanted something narrow without sacrificing cooling ability. It is still wider than I wanted, I had to shift it a few inches off center toward the passenger side so I would have room for my leg to press the gas pedal! Make no mistake about it, this engine is way bigger than what was intended to be in this van. Plus, since I am lowering the van so much, that meant the drivetrain had to be raised about 6 inches so I would have the ground clearance I wanted. My seats are 5 inches narrower than stock and I moved the steering column 2 inches towards the drivers door to center everything up. IT IS TIGHT! But it works. The lengths we go to, to get the engine we want!!







Notice the 'bump out' for the radiator on the passenger side. It's not in the way of your leg, it just looks a little odd. I also cut out the floor in front of the engine and created a 'tunnel' for better cooling. There is a good size grille opening on these things, the flow was just cut in half by the floorboard/toe kick- so away it went. This will give me all the flow I need.

1963

1963 Econoline LS engine

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Old 04-13-2013, 08:34 AM
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Ok, so the shifter (out of a 2008 Malibu) is now where the radio used to be. As you can tell there is nowhere on the floor to mount it! Looks kind of wierd but actually is incredibly comfortable and exactly where you'd want it to be. It's an effortless reach just right of the steering wheel while you are seated. The steering column/wheel is out of the Malibu as well. It's a nice diameter and short column that will go to my Izuzu reverse steering box.



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Old 04-13-2013, 08:44 AM
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Next is the dash structure. I made a framework out of 1x1 tubing. This goes along the entire edge of the floor below the dash, up both sides welded to the hinge posts and across the bottom of the dash. This will tie everything together and give the front end a little more structure/strength.

Here is the section that goes across the bottom of the dash and has mounts for the new column, drive by wire gas pedal, and new shifter location





Here is the bottom section that goes accross the floor and is also tied into the tunnel I made for airflow.





A view of the DBW pedal mounted on it's new plate. You can see the base plate for the shifter mount too.



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Old 04-13-2013, 09:00 AM
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Now onto the wiring. I am using the factory BCM; gauges; tap up/tap down shifting; criuse control; etc. I got the dash harness from a salvage yard, the BCM off Ebay, and the column/wheel off Ebay. As you can see the column/wheel is not from the Express Van. It is from a Malibu, I wanted a smaller diameter wheel and this one just looks cooler than the van one. Another reason I wanted a Malibu wheel is for the tap up/tap down shifting for the 6L80E. Yes, the Express van has tap up/tap down but it's a little rocker switch on the end of the column shifter! Not very cool or user friendly. So the Malibu has nice paddle shifters that I will have to re-wire to the resistors that match the express van values.





Gauges are working. There are 2 items that stay lit and show up in the Drivers Information Center- Air bag, and Tire pressure warning. I have read that these can be deleted from the BCM? But I don't do any programming so we will have to see on that. Now I can just remove the l.e.d. for them in the gauges. That solves the lighted icon, but the text will still come up in the D.I.C. until you push one of the D.I.C. buttons to get it off that text and back to Odometer or whatever else you want to see.






Econoline LS factory gauges, BCM<br/>1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967

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Old 04-13-2013, 09:20 AM
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Rear framework:

I did a rear axle flip, so I have to make some suspension travel space. As the axle is now sitting on the frame. I cut out the entire rear floor to make the rear frame notch and structure for the gas tank and rear seat platform.





I bought a rear frame 'hump' from Alston and then modified it. I cut the bottom of each end off, and flipped them around and welded them in front and back of the hump to give it about 5 inches on each end that was parralel with the frame. The frame on the Econoline is tapered on both sides- wider on top than the bottom. So I added sides out of 4"x 1/8" plate steel to it that allowed me to slide it into the factory frame and weld my new tapered sides to the original frame.










Here is the finished rear frame/gas tank/seat platform structure:





The tank is from Tanks Inc. and is for a 1953-1954 Chevy. It is a fuel injection tank so it has the sump in the bottom of it.

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Old 04-13-2013, 10:14 AM
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This is badass.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by tired2valve View Post
This is badass.
+1

Andrew
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:34 AM
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subscribed, I do believe the power and reliability of the 4.8L are overlooked!
if you don't mind posting, what did the engine/trans/harness/speedo ect cost ya?
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:06 PM
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Engine/trans/harness was $2,750 shipped. Speedo was $60; dash harness was $150; BCM was $75
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:19 PM
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Here is what the exterior looks like right now. The front will be MUCH lower. I still haven't decided if I am going to do a dropped axle or a Mustang II clip. 90% sure I am doing Mustang II. The original suspension/steering/brakes on this thing is a joke and I am going to be driving the heck out of this thing so it's got to be safe and reliable.It's got Boss 20" on back and 18" on front. Doing hidden hinges on all 6 doors (yuck!, tons of work). Has late model Corvette door handles on front where you reach around and push the sensor pad. I have notched the body similar to the Corvette so you can fit your hand in there.





1963 Econoline <br/>1962 1962 1964 1965 1966 1967

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Old 04-13-2013, 12:22 PM
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Front body mods:

Here is a shot of my planned front body mods. The grilles on these are ugly and the parking light corners don't thrill me either.
- Narrow the grille opening about 4 inches on both sides and round the corners.
- Cut out an air dam under the grille
- New parking light corners
- Small split bumpers at the corners


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Old 04-13-2013, 12:31 PM
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Front body mods:

Here is the starting of the mods.
- First I had to replace the drivers side lower headlight surround since mine had been dented and hammered out to death.
- Here is the air dam cut in and welded up.
- You can see the passenger side grille opening support bar and how much narrower it is from the original support





Here is the starting of the new parking light corners





I will be making a recessed area to give it some depth and a fog light hole




Here is the start of the recessed area. Tacked on the back side, then cut out and fully welded on the front.






Welded to the body, grille corners welded on, and body work done to drivers side



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Old 04-13-2013, 12:44 PM
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Door / step mods:

I am lowering the van 6-8 inches in the front- so no more need for the step to get in. Also it gives me more floor space and since my seating/column is shifted a few inches towards the drivers door, the space is much needed. Taking out the step also means shortening the door to match!







Now on to the hidden hinges. Not only are the external hinges ugly as heck, there is no way to keep paint on them since it's metal on metal, and there is a huge 1/8"+ gap that is seam sealed both on the door side and body side. This will not do! Not going to spend tons on a paint job and have it looking like crap in no time. So only one solution:

Since this is my first time doing hidden hinges, I wanted to make sure the geometry worked before I hacked anything up. Luckily a friend had a parts van that I used to mock the hinges up and make sure it cleared the body. The hinges work best on a flat body, and unfortunately there is a huge curve in the body around the headlight bucket right where the hinges need to go. I had to bring the hinges MUCH closer together since there are certain restrictions on how far the hinge can be from the outer edge of the body. Here is the hinges, notice how much farther up the lower hinge had to be. Used some paper as a door edge mock up and everything cleared just fine.

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Old 04-13-2013, 12:52 PM
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Hidden hinges:

OK so the mock up worked, now on to the real thing! I made a template from the parts van for the hinge slot locations.





Then I cut it out, tacked the hinges in, then made sure they where parralel so they would not bind when swung.





Still wanting to make sure everything would clear good- I made a mock up of the door edge so that I could swing the hinges and check for clearance. Also you can see the added floor space from the deleted step.




Success! Everything cleared by a mile, no chance of anything rubbing or chipping paint off in the future.





Here is a shot of the deleted step/shortened door; hidden hinges; and shaved door handles/corvette notches made.



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Old 04-13-2013, 08:18 PM
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lots of custom work going on here!!
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:34 PM
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Very cool build, looking forward to more progress pics.
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