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I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

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Waldoman41

Number of posts : 5
Location : North Richland Hills, TX
Registration date : 2015-02-20

I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by Waldoman41 on Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:28 pm

Ok Guys, I bought my first vintage van (1967 GMC Handybus Custom G15) a few weeks ago and I'm working through the major systems to make it safe to drive with the kids in it.  I'm going to completely overhaul the brake system and replace the shocks.  That's the easy stuff.  I think I need to replace at least the front leaf springs.  They seem worn out.  I would also like to lower the van and I've read that you can install the springs on the other side of the axle to lower the van a little.  Where can I get the new leaf springs?  And what do you think about lowering the van by installing the leafs on the other side of the axle?  Below is a picture of the van.  Thanks for your help.

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wideload
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Number of posts : 1329
Location : Kevil, Kentucky
Age : 64
Registration date : 2008-05-11

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by wideload on Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:39 am

Welcome to VV Waldoman41 !!! Nice looking van!!!

As far a  new springs there is no source for new ones. The springs on the 67-70 GM vans were specific to those vans only and no one is reproducing them. You can have them re-arched by a spring shop to get them back to original specs.

Mounting the springs on the other side of the axle will lower the van a little but you might run into tire clearance problems. Maybe someone who has done this can give you a better idea of how it actually works out.

Just some info on posting pic's here, if you'll select the 640px size the forum won't chop the pic's off when posted.

Good luck with your project and keep the pic's coming.


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econopoor
Econoline Guru

Number of posts : 1741
Location : Jackson TN
Registration date : 2010-04-18

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by econopoor on Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:06 am

Jim at St Louis Spring tells me he can make a set of springs for your van. He can't reproduce the stock tapered leaf like your original springs but can make a set of conventional leaf springs with oversize bushing ends to take up the difference in widths. He quick and very reasonable too. He can also set the ride height by custom arching the springs. He really knows his business.

St Louis Spring.
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savage

Number of posts : 1855
Location : Where Rust Never Sleeps in Ft Wayne IN
Registration date : 2008-05-15

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by savage on Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:06 am

Welcome Nice van to start with,  like your wheels,mines also a 67 but from IL & beat up. More pics when you have a chance.
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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1385
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by Vantasia on Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:35 am

Yeah! Join the club!  Nice van to start with.  They all ride a little soft after 50 years, put in the new shocks first and see how it rides.  IMHO, Changing spring height and lowering the stance is a bit drastic unless you are doing a full custom rebuild.  You will run into problems with tire clearance, even the steering linkage will be affected.  Flipping the springs means you may have to notch and reinforce the frame for axle clearance too, major work, search the threads for pictures on this, but most are full custom builds with new subframes.  Another way to do it is with drop spindles if they are available for these vans, but they lead to all sorts of custom brake modifications.  These vans look cool at factory height and half the fun is sitting up high and driving a "bus".  You can alter the stance and look by using a smaller front/larger rear tire set up like most owners of these vans do, but personally I wouldn't mess with the suspension geometry.  I'd re-work what you have.  Van looks pretty good overall and welcome!
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Twinpilot001

Number of posts : 6186
Location : spokane ,Wa.
Registration date : 2009-09-28

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by Twinpilot001 on Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:05 am

as ur in texas = There should be many =spring companys there. I know i used to always use -Alamo spring co. in san antonio for like 25 years . they are great & have all the old info on any type spring -yet thats been a few tears too for me - just look up spring companys auto in ur area. here u go

http://www.wcsupplyco.com/shop-services/springs.php

http://www.hotfrog.com/Products/Leaf-Springs/TX

http://www.citysearch.com/profile/10089277/san_antonio_tx/alamo_spring_co_.html
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Bruce67Econoline

Number of posts : 809
Location : Charleston SC
Age : 58
Registration date : 2014-01-25

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by Bruce67Econoline on Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:25 am

Nice van! Wish I could get a hold of a set of trim like you have for my econoline. I'd figure out a way to make it fit for sure. Welcome to VV these guys are amazing fountains of knowledge.
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dougtappan

Number of posts : 254
Location : hopkinton ma.
Registration date : 2014-08-19

Springs rebuilt

Post by dougtappan on Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:01 pm

Plenty of places still have our spring blueprints and can build them.
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dougtappan

Number of posts : 254
Location : hopkinton ma.
Registration date : 2014-08-19

springs rebuilt

Post by dougtappan on Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:13 pm

Need to amend my last post.You can have replacement springs built the original tapered springs are not available.
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donivan65
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Number of posts : 11462
Location : San Diego, California
Registration date : 2008-05-12

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by donivan65 on Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:53 pm

2nd Gens have weird springs,,,,,,,they are 3" wide at the frame and get squeezed down to 2 1/2" to go through the U Bolts,,,,,,peoples buy normal 2 1/2" springs that fit the U Bolts but put fatter bushings on the ends to make them fit the 3" slots,,,,,,flippen aint easy,,,,,the axles are drilled for U Bolts and the center pin,,,,,,you got your work cut out for you trying to mount the axle on top of the springs and get the Caster setting right,,,,,,



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vanny
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Number of posts : 8878
Location : Ashburnham, MA
Age : 58
Registration date : 2012-09-22

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by vanny on Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:43 pm

Welcome aboard Waldoman! Great looking ride! This is THE place for old hoodless vans and their proud owners! Plenty of friendly helpful folks on this site. Don't be afraid to ask anything. We love pictures so don't hold back! Very Happy cheers


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67VanHelsing

Number of posts : 73
Location : Los Angeles, CA
Registration date : 2014-03-04

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by 67VanHelsing on Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:08 am

Nice ride, welcome to the club! Looks like you found one that has a good starting point. Good luck on the build
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Waldoman41

Number of posts : 5
Location : North Richland Hills, TX
Registration date : 2015-02-20

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by Waldoman41 on Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:13 pm

Thanks for all the input guys. I'm going to start by doing shocks and rebuilding the steering linkage. This van has a ton of play so highway driving is an adventure. I'm also going to do a complete brake rebuild. Eventually I plan to do the front disc brake conversion, but for now my goal is to make is safe and reliable.
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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1385
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: I just bought my first Vintage Van. Lots of questions

Post by Vantasia on Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:35 am

Those are always the first rules of vintage vehicle ownership! 1) it has to stop, 2) it has to steer and then 3) everything else like go and comfort! Best thing to do it make a big list, that's what I do every time I get a new 'old' car. Mechanical, cosmetics, electrical, etc. and try to do one thing at a time, no matter how small like replacing a missing screw or loose knob or a bad bulb, makes it very rewarding....

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