Jump to content

Reviving a 69 Dodge Sportsman Van

Recommended Posts

This is Tuesday night, Jan 5th, 2016. I mentioned that I would organize and pull together some pictures of the heater that I restored some time back, the following covers the heater task.


First up are a few pictures of what I started with:
post-102138-0-98173700-1452045511_thumb. post-102138-0-30575000-1452045513_thumb. post-102138-0-45019400-1452045514_thumb.
I had went thru the blower motor some time back and covered this in an earlier post. I've included a couple picture just for reference:
post-102138-0-76832700-1452045515_thumb. post-102138-0-10431700-1452045517_thumb.
The biggest part of the task was to get a heater valve to work in its original location. The original valve looks like this:
The closest replacement valve looks like this:
post-102138-0-48583700-1452045519_thumb. post-102138-0-59910500-1452045520_thumb.
Not only was it short and the head would never fit within the heater box but the valve directional on/off function was reversed. So I came up with a plan to disassemble the new one and use the head from the original as the basic valve was the same. The internal valve body needed to have a bleeder slot cut into the opposite side and the body needed to rotate the other direction. This task is covered in the next set of photos:
post-102138-0-67569300-1452045521_thumb. post-102138-0-61269400-1452045522_thumb. post-102138-0-69458400-1452045568_thumb.
After putting it all back together I checked out the operation to verify that it was opened and closed when expected based on the valve lever location. I know who cares but I still took a few pictures to document it:
post-102138-0-70385000-1452045569_thumb. post-102138-0-03391300-1452045571_thumb. post-102138-0-92459900-1452045571_thumb. post-102138-0-98721200-1452045572_thumb.
Next was to clean up the heater box (glass bead) and then primed and painted it before reassembly. I did not take a picture of the clean and paint process so we'll jump to the assembly and the finished product.
The new heater core:
The new heater valve:
And the finished product:
post-102138-0-13842400-1452045576_thumb. post-102138-0-13888400-1452045577_thumb. post-102138-0-17252100-1452045578_thumb.
That pretty much covers the heater restoration. I have the duct pieces put away and they are thin plastic and I did not want to chance breaking them.  I'll post tomorrow night some pictures of the sliding side step that I also went thru. That's it for tonight. Scott...
Edited by Scotts_DG8 (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow Scott!  Nice work on the van.  I just came across your thread.  I know what you mean about the gazing part of the project.  Do it a lot my self.  Seems like life just always pops up when you want to do something on it.  Keep plugging away at it. Every part finished is a part closer to the final product.  ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all for the nice comments. As I mentioned it was hard to put this project on the back burner but I will get back to it. The only other task that I completed that was not posted here was the side step which I'll post tonight.



Wow Scott!  Nice work on the van.  I just came across your thread.  I know what you mean about the gazing part of the project.  Do it a lot my self.  Seems like life just always pops up when you want to do something on it.  Keep plugging away at it. Every part finished is a part closer to the final product.  ;)


One way that I managed to handle not working on my own project was to view other threads here and seeing the talent that is out there. I'm ok with what I've accomplished so far but see that there is still a lot that I can learn as I read/follow other projects. As far as the glazing, I learned about it from a neighbor who is a body guy and the PPG store guys where I get my supplies have helped a lot too. Scott...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2016. Again this is an update of activities performed some time back as the van project is currently on hold and I'm more than hoping to get back to it this up coming spring/summer. This task covered the the restoration of the sliding side step that allows passengers entering the rear of the van a step up into the passenger area.


The first thing to point out is always be careful when buying parts sight unseen. The van was missing it's side step when I got it and it took awhile to find one. I did see a photo before purchasing it but the photo did tell the entire story. Sorry but I do not have a picture as it arrived but two things became apparent when it arrived; 1)It had sat outside go some time and was rusted to where it would not move, and 2)I was damaged before it was removed from whatever van it was on, meaning it was racked as it appeared the corner of the step had encountered some firm object. Other than that it was in good shape.


When I had time to tackle the step the dirst thing I did was to manually straighten it out and put it in the blast cabinet to clean all the pins the hangers swung on to free things up. It was at this time that I found the the swing arms and pins on the front side were bent. I tried to straighten it out without removing the pins but it wouldn't have it. This is where photos start. I took a picture before and after removing the two problem pind that allowed me to access the swing arm to straighten it out.

post-102138-0-01884700-1452129837_thumb. post-102138-0-57495200-1452129838_thumb.


I knew removing the pins were going to be a problem when putting it back together as from the factory they are like a large rivet. There is a large flat head that steps down to maybe a 1/2 inch barrel that goes swing arms swing on and drops down again to maybe 5/16 that goes thru the side and gets peened over. I had to have some made up and did a drawing that I took to a machine shop and they made them up with a threaded end where it would have been peened over. I also had to have a plastic/sillicon bushing on the lower portion of the swing arm to ride in the slot when the step slides open/closed. The picture shows the original and new parts.



I then assembled the step and tried it out.  The only way to be sure all was working correctly was to test mount it and opperate it, first without being attached to the door.

post-102138-0-86405400-1452129840_thumb. post-102138-0-83483900-1452129841_thumb.


And after being good with how it worked I tried attaching it to the door and confirming that all operated as expects.

post-102138-0-85740600-1452129842_thumb. post-102138-0-21532100-1452129844_thumb. post-102138-0-27218000-1452129845_thumb.


Happy that all was working well I could move on to blasting the entire step and painting it to finish. It is stucked away, as is the heater, until the final assembly begins.

post-102138-0-32405100-1452129846_thumb. post-102138-0-21400400-1452129847_thumb. post-102138-0-25682400-1452129876_thumb.


Sad to say but this covers all the updates that I have not posted here. Ending up with the step that needed a lot of work to make it work I'm reminded that I need to try harder to watch what I buy when I find myself buying needed parts. So, until some future update or need to respond this covers where things are at. Thanks to all that have the interest in looking/reading thru my thread. Scott...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's really a cool project Scott. Thanks for sharing your update.


Jason, I mentioned in an earlier post that if you would like to comment on what your plans might be for your van/pickup and post a couple pictures to feel free to dao so. I'm sure others maybe interested too. Scott...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Scott- haven't noticed any new posts in  two years,  and hope you haven't given up. Good work to date, I must say.  I have a '69 A108, 318, 3 on the tree, no side doors, that I bought in '84, still have,  and drove forever it seems.  Has some rust issues,  but is still mostly solid. I'm from SC, but currently live in WA. state and found another '69 (A100, slant six,manual,side doors, no windows drivers side, doors are a bit sketchy) that I'm thinking real hard about buying, so I've been researching parts and looking at restoration ideas. Unfortunately,  I live in a flat out here,  so no garage, and if I follow through it'll have to go to a storage yard - that will allow me to do work on it...

   Anyway,  my biggest question is this- engine removal: out through the door,  or out through the bottom? That had been my outstanding trepidation on a restore. 

   So,  hope see more posts soon, and look forward to any new progress.  Good luck. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Well,  Scott needs to step it up! I'm anxious to see what progress he's made in the last two years.  Also,  a tip when cutting slots with radiused ends when you don't have a rat trail file - mark the outer limit of the slot,  then come back half the diameter,  and drill the ends of the slots with a drillbit the diameter of the slot width. This will establish overall length and gives you a rounded slot terminus. You might also consider welding extra plate inside at the stress points where the hinges bolt into the door, as well as where the strap brackets bolt up to the door (or just building a reinforcement piece with holes drilled to match the bolt holes, like an inside rectangular washer to shore up the sheet metal) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I see that Keiser31 answered you question on removing/replacing the engine thru the door with no problems. I myself went thru the side door as it was an option and available along with working with my engine puller. Not much more to add, good luck with whatever you decide to do. I know somewhere back in my thread I reference the Vintage_Vans site which could also provide more specific info on just these old vans. As far as stepping it up, not's not going to happen in the near future as I have had my hand full with other projects, maybe next year I'll get back into it. Scott...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...