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78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build #736355
May 16th 2018 11:56 am
May 16th 2018 11:56 am
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
L
liftarc Offline OP
stranger
liftarc  Offline OP
stranger
L
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
I didnt end up buying the 89 v6 5speed van. I found a super clean and straight 78 instead that I like much better. Has a 318 2bbl and 727. Also had an 8.75 rear swapped in. Still has original paint, front seats, rear bench, dash is unmolested and plaid accent door panels. I gutted the truckload of plywood, fiberglass and carpet from the back to have access to the few bits of rust and do some other work.

My goals are to be able to live out of the van while working out of town, haul my tools (roughly 2k lbs), provide myself running water and 110v power, and maintain the late 70s aesthetics.

The welded on hitch reciver had torn the rear spring mount on the passenger side and the 8.75 is less than ideal for dragging weight around especially with a 2.94 gear set so I installing the heavier mounts and a 3.54 d60 from an 86 b350. I will keep the lighter leaf springs for ride quality and install air bags for load carrying.

Im curious if anybody knows how much of the front I need to swap out to fit the 8 lug hubs up front. Are the ball joints the same or do I need to swap conteol arms also? Going back to the jy for the feont end parts today or tomorrow.

Attached Files 20180504_184115.jpgScreenshot_20180503-073758.png20180513_113216.jpg

75 Plymouth Voyager build in progress: 5.9 Magnum with Demon 4bbl, built 727, al radiator, custom dash, custom kayak/canoe rack, solar/inverter/deep cycle setup, helper airbags, on board air, forklift-proof rear bumper....toolbox hauler/steath camper/long drawn out project.....
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #736356
May 16th 2018 12:45 pm
May 16th 2018 12:45 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,760
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
Maniac
Reed  Offline
Maniac
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,760
Fircrest, WA
You removed an 8 3/4? Unless you are towing houses that axle is plenty strong. Swapper gears is a breeze, too, because it has the removeable carrier. But I guess that ship has sailed. I bet you can sell that 8 3/4 axle for a good price to another vanner or to someone who will narrow it for a hot rod.

If you are getting junkyard parts I recommend just getting the control arms and everything in between. Then completely rebuilt the assemblies.


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #736358
May 16th 2018 2:39 pm
May 16th 2018 2:39 pm
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
L
liftarc Offline OP
stranger
liftarc  Offline OP
stranger
L
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
Yeah I pulled the 8.75, I know its plenty strong in the diff and I'd likely never break it but I wanted a full float axle with better brakes. Whoever swapped the 8.75 in didnt adjust the driveshaft to fit and the slip yoke was nearly burried so I planned to hack the driveline either way. Plus I intend to sell the 8.75 for sure.

I read that the 86 b350 can have the same ball joints if equipped with the 3600# axle or different with the 4000# axle so to be safe I'll do as you've suggested and grab the control arms too.


75 Plymouth Voyager build in progress: 5.9 Magnum with Demon 4bbl, built 727, al radiator, custom dash, custom kayak/canoe rack, solar/inverter/deep cycle setup, helper airbags, on board air, forklift-proof rear bumper....toolbox hauler/steath camper/long drawn out project.....
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #736411
May 18th 2018 11:05 pm
May 18th 2018 11:05 pm
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
L
liftarc Offline OP
stranger
liftarc  Offline OP
stranger
L
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
I got the parts for the front today, all 4 control arms, everything between them and the trailing rods. I also got the stock front sway bar with mounts and hardware. I paid under $400 for everything to swap running gear and replace rear spring hangers/shackles, still need to get soft parts like ball joints and bushings though.

I found a lot more crap in the trans pan than I expected so I plan to use the 727 I was building for my 75 Plymouth van with a bunch of tci goodies. At this point Im debating putting my built 360 magnum with an edelbrock dual plane and 650 street demon in the van. I want to also install a gear vendors unit but that will be next year.

This may seem like overkill but thats what I need. Imagine hauling 2500lbs of pipefitting/welding tools 2500 miles from home and having your ride break down costing not only the tow and repairs but a loss of $300-400 per day in wages and losing per diem too. Overkill becomes well worth it.....



75 Plymouth Voyager build in progress: 5.9 Magnum with Demon 4bbl, built 727, al radiator, custom dash, custom kayak/canoe rack, solar/inverter/deep cycle setup, helper airbags, on board air, forklift-proof rear bumper....toolbox hauler/steath camper/long drawn out project.....
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #736828
May 31st 2018 8:53 am
May 31st 2018 8:53 am
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
L
liftarc Offline OP
stranger
liftarc  Offline OP
stranger
L
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
Just a small update....

I tore down the d60 brakes and hubs, ordered a bunch of parts and expect to have it ready to install shortly.

Upper control arms from the 86 donor are not compatible, 78 uses eccentric bolts for alignment whereas the 86 uses sliding blocks. I need to dig more to see how different the ball joints really are.

I ordered some parts for cabin power, a smart battery isolator, cutoff, voltage monitor with usb and 12v outlets, and also ordered a really nice roof vent with fan and rain guard.

Been planning my interior layout, thinking murphy bed type setup hinging down from driver's side with my electrical mess below and storage cabinets above. Sink and such on pass side.

Not an exciting update, I only have 1 day a week at home and a portion of that for the van build... Still lots to figure out too... Moving along though!


75 Plymouth Voyager build in progress: 5.9 Magnum with Demon 4bbl, built 727, al radiator, custom dash, custom kayak/canoe rack, solar/inverter/deep cycle setup, helper airbags, on board air, forklift-proof rear bumper....toolbox hauler/steath camper/long drawn out project.....
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #736833
May 31st 2018 11:12 am
May 31st 2018 11:12 am
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,619
Van Diego California
frscke1 Offline
frscke1  Offline

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 13,619
Van Diego California
A little at a time ...a little at a time

Before you know it its done .....


SUNSHINE VANS-VAN DIEGO
ADRENALIN BY THE GALLON & CHASIN RACIN
ONE FOR THE DIRT & ONE FOR THE STREETS
'93 CHEVY G30 454 4X4 SPORTVAN EXT 146" WB
'92 CHEVY G30 454 BEAUVILLE EXT 146" WB
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #737890
July 04th 2018 2:47 pm
July 04th 2018 2:47 pm
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
L
liftarc Offline OP
stranger
liftarc  Offline OP
stranger
L
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
I got the d60 rear installed and the van off the jackstands. Still need to redo the driveline, hook up the brakes, cut the excess off the u bolts, install the airbags and get tires. The big mud tires out back and little tires up front look wierd as hell. Now Im trying to decide what to do about the front, I very well may end up cutting off the tabs for the eccentric bolts and installing slots for the later style adjusters but I still need to compare the ball joints first. Also, if anyone knows where to get bushings for the 86 b350 leaf spring shackles I'm all ears. I couldn't find them so I reused the old ones for now.

Attached Files 20180701_181748.jpg20180701_181807.jpg20180701_095232.jpg
Last edited by liftarc; July 04th 2018 2:51 pm.

75 Plymouth Voyager build in progress: 5.9 Magnum with Demon 4bbl, built 727, al radiator, custom dash, custom kayak/canoe rack, solar/inverter/deep cycle setup, helper airbags, on board air, forklift-proof rear bumper....toolbox hauler/steath camper/long drawn out project.....
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #739091
August 06th 2018 5:47 pm
August 06th 2018 5:47 pm
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
L
liftarc Offline OP
stranger
liftarc  Offline OP
stranger
L
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
I spent a few min on the front end 8 lug swap and made some progress there. The 86 b350 lower control arms go in just by drilling the bolt holes out to the larger diameter of the b350's hardware. The tapered bore at the top of the b350 knuckle engages the 78 b200's ball joint stud and vice versa. Biggest issue is putting a 16" wheel and tire combo in there with the shorter b200 springs. Granted I have big ole mud tires that are garbage awaiting replacement, but the sheetmetal rests on the rubber before the jack gets an inch or so from dropping away from the frame. So my plan, or reckless hope maybe, is to run the 78 upper control arms with the correct 78 hardware and ball joint, 86 b350 springs (that are 2 inches taller), shocks, lower control arms and lower ball joints and a more fitting tire size/type. I also plan to swap over to the b350 steering parts, too. Im hoping alignment wont be an issue with this cobbled mess...

I have a question about springs though. I've been looking at Napa's springs for 86 b350 with 4k lb axle and theres an option for with rv package and without. With rv seems to be same dimensions but higger spring rate. Im thinking to get the springs for the 4k lb axle w/o rv package for ride quality. Am I on the right track there? Ideas? Suggestions? If anyone has experience with the mid Dodge b350 springs I'd appreciate some insight? My van will be heavy but not class b motorhome heavy and lower center of gravity.


75 Plymouth Voyager build in progress: 5.9 Magnum with Demon 4bbl, built 727, al radiator, custom dash, custom kayak/canoe rack, solar/inverter/deep cycle setup, helper airbags, on board air, forklift-proof rear bumper....toolbox hauler/steath camper/long drawn out project.....
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: liftarc] #739096
August 06th 2018 7:59 pm
August 06th 2018 7:59 pm
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,354
Dundee, Michigan
Ram4ever Offline

pooh-bah
Ram4ever  Offline

pooh-bah
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 4,354
Dundee, Michigan
Impressive work!

With that much rake it's going to interesting deciding just where a normal rest position should be!

I'm not at home with my parts books right now, but I think that Natural State had told me when he lowered his van that the lower control arms were all the same above 1/2 ton rating. I vaguely recall the upper arms were what changed the most between ratings. I'll look in my books when I get home this evening.

It might be worth giving Laura at ESPO Springs 'N Things a call to ask about those rear springs ratings. Super knowledgeable and friendly folks there, who specialize in suspension parts. She helped me when I uprated as high as I could on my B250. She likely has the shackle bushings if you still need them; be sure to ask.


-It's been such a LONG TIME... BlueShift>> 1981 Dodge Ram B250 Custom Sportsman Maxi Van


[Linked Image]

It's what you learn after you know it all, that counts...

Are you living to work, or working to live?

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Learning from my own mistakes is good, learning from yours would be much better! [Linked Image]
Re: 78 Tradesman 200 work/camper van build [Re: Ram4ever] #739109
August 06th 2018 9:19 pm
August 06th 2018 9:19 pm
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
L
liftarc Offline OP
stranger
liftarc  Offline OP
stranger
L
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 21
State of Jefferson
It'd be great to find the shackle bushings, but out back I'm running the stock 78 b200 rear leaf springs with firestone rideright air springs to help out as needed. If I find that I need stiffer springs in the rear it will likely wait till my probably never gonna happen 4wd conversion happens. Up front is where I'm trying to decide between the severe duty coils and the extra stiff "rv package" springs. Either set adds two inches of compressed height to the front which together with matched 16" wheels and proper tires will address the rake and hopefully sit me pretty level with the permanent weight that will be installed, ie: interior/utilities/etc.

As far as control arms, idk about changes within model years but I know that after 78, probably in 79 or 80, the mounting of the upper control arms completely changed from eccentric lobed bolts for alignment adjustment to a sliding block type system. I havent yet compared the arms themselves to see if the early bushings will drop into the mid arms and enable swapping from the arms out but I do plan to. The lower arms are also completely different between a 78 b200 and an 86 b350. Obviously the later b350 lca's are much beefier with a larger mounting bolt, larger bushing, more metal overall and a more reinforced design.

On another note, got the beginnings of my cabin electrical system: a smart battery isolator, a marine and flash rated disconnect, a really slick partitioned 12 circuit fuse panel, a little usb charger/ digital voltmeter/12v socket panel, a lexan sheet to mount this hot mess and about 20ft of 0 gauge neoprene jacket welding lead. Need some amp hours and photovoltaics..... Also need to start figuring out interior insulation and paneling.....

Anyone interested in my original seats? 2 low back buckets and one fixed bench all matched brown vinyl in really good shape save for a few blemishes in top rear of the bench. I can post pics

Last edited by liftarc; August 06th 2018 10:12 pm.

75 Plymouth Voyager build in progress: 5.9 Magnum with Demon 4bbl, built 727, al radiator, custom dash, custom kayak/canoe rack, solar/inverter/deep cycle setup, helper airbags, on board air, forklift-proof rear bumper....toolbox hauler/steath camper/long drawn out project.....
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