VintAGE-Vans

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BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER.... A's, G's & E's


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austinmodhouse
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Old van for cross country trip???

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Guest
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Old van for cross country trip??? Empty Old van for cross country trip???

Post by Guest Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:08 pm

Okay, call me crazy.

My wife and I are moving to Philly from Portland Or in April and want to make the drive with our stuff. We don't have much, we've slimmed down to what we think we can fit into a van.

Now, we love the old American vans. I've had a few, a '67 Falcon van and a '65 Chevy.

I've never done more than up/down the coast with the '67, and neither van I had too long to know about long range driving.

Would we be nuts to buy a good old van and try to drive across the country in it? For example, there's this van: http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/cto/2177505453.html

Seems like a good one. Whatca all think? I know back in the late 60's if I had the chance I would drive one of these across the country no problem, but now, with them being all old and all, well, might be a gamble eh??

mark
Twinpilot001
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Post by Twinpilot001 Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:08 pm

id give it a try=Smile) seems nice =Think of the experiences you can talk about to the grand kids.
Magic Bus
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Post by Magic Bus Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:10 pm

I think if you pick the right van a long trip is very doable ....You just would have to be prepared for that kind of trip ....But that Dodge looks like a real good candidate.. Good luck... cheers
benwah
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Post by benwah Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:23 pm

I did just that nine years ago... 1965 Dodge sportsman 273 3spd. Paid 200 for the van put around 800 into new belts tires hoses ect. Drove from Sierra Vista Arizona to Dayville Ct. Four days of pure fun. Do it again in a heart beat. I took a small tool box with me and some extra parts just in case. Never needed them! The speedometer broke some where along hi way 81 in PA. Just make sure the motor box is well insulated. Mine wasnt during that 3000mi. trip and was kinda deaf after the third day! Very Happy
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Post by Guest Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:37 pm

Good to hear positive things. I talked to this guy and this rig seem SOLID.....he was a real friendly straight up guy, and when pressed with the question of whether he would drive it across the county he said it would make it no problem. He's had the rig for 8 years and bought it from the original owner, and has done some good work.

My two concerns: I need to get seat belts for the rear seat, he said there's threaded holes in the floor wear they would be, and I need to have a belt for my kid's safety seat.

The other concern is the single reservoir master cylinder. I know this was common during this era but its kinda scarry.

I mean imagine I would have the van loaded up pretty good and have to come down a few big passes in Idaho/Montana.....with the kid in the back. I'm a slow, cautious driver, i don't mind driving a slug around and having drum brakes, but......the single MC setup is a little scary dontcha think? Am I being overly cautious? Just get the handbrake setup tight and I'm good to go?

The plus side is that the rig is setup with a tow package and has the heavy tow brakes on it......and the cylinders and pads are pretty new and the MC is rebuilt......he's done a ton of work.......

Well we'll see where this goes!

mark
mcfly
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Post by mcfly Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:47 pm

I have put almost 12,000 on mine in the past year without one problem. I wouldn't hesitate to take it across the country.
Just bring along a good tool kit.
And always try to have access to this site in case you need to shout out for some help. Lots of vanners along the way


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mike
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Post by Admin Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:13 pm

Never pass up on "an adventure of a lifetime"... They are few and far between Wink
slowflapper
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Post by slowflapper Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:39 pm

That's a nice looking van, and a 108 to boot Smile

I've made a few "cannon ball runs" coast to coast in my early days, next time it will be in a motorhome Smile

Magic Bus
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Post by Magic Bus Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:47 pm

I wouldn't worry about that single master cylinder..... Back in the day thats all there was.... Crawl under it and if its not leaking and they work good...along with what you said about the E brake working good..your good to go!
donivan65
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Post by donivan65 Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:45 pm

It does not sound like a good idea to me,,,,,,,,you are going to trust your familys safety to a 40 year old truck that you don't know what condition it is in? If you are going down steep mountain grades, there is a chance the brakes will overheat and you will have no brakes,,,,,,,the engine will probably over heat and blow a head gasket somewhere on the road,,,,,,,the wiring can rub through and catch on fire,,,,,,wheel bearings burn up and lock up the wheels,,,,,,tires blow out and the van rolls over,,,,,so be prepared to be stranded out there and have a back up plan to get home,,,,,,,
DanTheVanMan
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Post by DanTheVanMan Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:30 am

As exciting as it all sounds abracadabra and it does sound like it would be an amazing adventure I really have to agree with Donivan. Safety first! I know we all take a chance or two from time to time but never with our families. I wouldn't take either of my vans as much as across the state before I completely went through the drive train and brakes. I couldn't fathom blindly driving across the country in a van I knew nothing about. And with my family, sorry would never "Roll the dice" with them on board.....

Just my 2c....

Dan


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Twinpilot001
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Post by Twinpilot001 Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:57 am

Many Views and all are correct. If you have the time & $$ - maybe buy it & drive it somke & check it out?? See if the seller will allow you to have a mechanic look at all the things? before the cash changes ?
southern man
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Post by southern man Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:16 am

I was right with you until you mentioned your kid and the baby seat. Seat belts aside, these vans will fold up like an accordian in a accident.

I took my '66 A100 cross country in 1976, and had the adventure I had always wanted. However, my brakes did overheat briefly on one of Colorado's steep mountain passes - not fun. And I had a couple of mechanical issues - overheating several times crossing the desert, alternator blew out in the middle of nowhere near Las Vegas, and water pump needed to be replaced at a camp ground. I thought I had prepared it pretty well for the trip but stuff happens. (Oh yeah benwah, my speedometer cable (new, and greased) broke about 1/3 of the way out to California, so I drove the rest of the way out, and all the way back, with no speedo.)

But I was young, single, and had no agenda other than to explore this great country of ours. I'm all for making the trip, but I would do so in a newer vehicle. Maybe a conversion van from the 90's - A/C can be real nice out west!
G-Man
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Post by G-Man Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:49 am

I also agree with Donivan, if you had this van for years and knew it's history it might be a different story. Still would like to see you get a vintage van, but also want you to make it where you want to go safely. Buying even a very nice van there always could be problems not knowing how it was maintained before you got it.
benwah
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Post by benwah Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:02 am

Ya safty first all that could happen to a 4-5 year old vehicle too. Head gasket went south on my Mom and Dad in Texas- 09 jeep grand cherokee. Headed home to AZ from MS visiting my lil sis for the hollidays. When I found my van it was sitting at least 10 years and used as a shed. I went through the van no mechanic just me. I felt after I dumped 800 or so into it she ran like a top, drove it around town a few days before my departure. And she didnt look like she does in my avitar! HOWEVER This is my forth or fifth A van. To me there an old friend. The van thats in portland looks like it was cared for. If it was me Id load up the family n' go! Wait maybe you shouldnt a metior might fall from the sky and land on you somewhere in Nebraska! Shocked
donivan65
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Post by donivan65 Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:05 am

And there is always a chance that the exhaust fumes could be sneaking in all the way along the road. I think I would rent a U haul and drag the van across the country.
Mr Hill Billy
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Post by Mr Hill Billy Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:59 am

I could give you a 1000 reasons not to and a 1000 reasons to do it Just do it!! and share the experience with us!!
austinmodhouse
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Post by austinmodhouse Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:14 pm

I hav crossed this land several times in odd vintage european vehicles. mostly good times, but when times are bad they can get real bad.

these vans are fairly simple and most parts are common and cheap. carry spares and tools and get the most AAA coverage you can. we have 100 mile towing and have used it many times. they lose have lost money on us for a few years.Old van for cross country trip??? AMH0000

the pic above is when I threw a fan belt in the middle of west tx. luckily I had a spare belt and the porsche specific fan belt tool. I lost ten minutes.

but when the wife and I were driving a vintage bmw and volvo from coast to coast, that auto trans in the volvo quit about 800 miles into the deal. spent a week in a bad motel and still ended up leaving the car. we continued with everything crammed into the tiny two door bmw, including a cat and a daughter and a whole bunch of stuff. that was bad, real bad.
donivan65
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Post by donivan65 Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:53 pm

Here you go,,,,,,,getting over the Rocky Mountains,,,,,,,Vail Pass, Colorado,,,,,,a slow 10,000 foot climb up,,,,,,,a real fast drive down,,,,,,,,,


Old van for cross country trip??? Vail_p10


Old van for cross country trip??? Vail_p12


Farmer
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Post by Farmer Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:12 pm

Mark, you're crazy! So, GO FOR IT!! Plan it, prepare for it and just do it. If you're going to be passin through west TN, let me know we'll catch some burgers somewhere.
Thank goodness the pilgrims had some balls and traveled!! If one of their oxen died along the way they'd eat it.
Twinpilot001
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Post by Twinpilot001 Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:35 pm

love the vail pass foto- Eisenhower tunnell is the one i always enjoyed on that road- 11,000 feet up @ 70 mph & going thru a mountian tunnell - whoopieeeeeeeeeeeeee
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Post by Guest Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:45 pm

i would jump in my van right now and head for new york, florida, cali, any where and not have a second thought about it.... but i know my van.
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Old van for cross country trip??? Empty Lots things to ponder!

Post by Guest Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:19 pm

Well I hear all the people who are being cautious here.

Mechanically I REALLY fell like the guy who has the van has done some good work, rebuilt heads, he's gone over EVERYTHING in the last 8 years or so. He's a real honest seeming guy, and he's not hard selling the van either. Believe me when I say I've bought and sold LOTS of vehicles, I'm very cautious when I'm looking and can tell a dishonest person a mile away.

So, yeah, things could go wrong, but I think as far as buying a vehicle that I know nothing about (at least its mechanic history, repairs etc,) this is an ideal situation to be in. The dude really loves the van and when he says he would drive it across the country I think he honestly means it.

Now, the safety issues, thats another story.

It turns out the MC is in fact the double res. variety. Better. The breaks are in good shape, trailer brakes, good pads newer cylinders.

The safety of the van, that fact that they crumple......well, I trust these old heavy slow vehicles much more than the new plastic fast vehicles any day. We won't be pushing over 55 for sure.

The exhaust fumes though, out of all the things I've read that one is the scariest really with my son in the back.

We're going over to the fellas house tonight to really give the van a good look/see. Drive it, get under, ponder things. He's not in a hurry to sell and we are looking at other vans too, like mid 80s Toyotas etc.

I'm good with tools, I would carry spare parts, we would drive slow. If the rig is as good as the guy says it is, I think we would be fine.

Although, any tips for coming down the steep mountain passes? If we do this, I would want to be sure the brakes don't heat up.

And luckily the radiator was recently recored so I think overheating shouldn't be an issue if we take it easy.

Well, we'll see what happens!

mark
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Post by Guest Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:08 pm

Sounds like an adventure. I would do it. Make sure that dog house is sealed good and if the van has rear pop out widows I would keep them closed to keep the fumes out unless you have the front windows down. Check the exhaust too.
dix
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Post by dix Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:39 pm

from what i understand the exaust coming in from the rear pop out windows is when the exaust pipe comes out in front of the tire?? does anyone have anything differnt on this ?? mine exit behind the tires and i have not smelled any exaust at all running to norwalk from pittsburgh a 4 hour run each way.although i agree keep them closed with a kid in the back.you are running in april so it will not be hot anyways

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