This is my 1990 Dodge B-Series conversion van, Love and Heartbreak.
The name is a reflection of my feelings about owning an older vehicle. The second owner was rear ended by a commercial truck which caved in the rear doors, so he sold it to me in 2019. I thought replacing them would be easy. What a fool I was.
Bought a van = Love.
Discovering how hard it is to find parts = Heartbreak.
This is my first van, but also the first time I've tackled bodywork. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I love to dive headfirst into an over ambitious project in order to learn new things. The results are never perfect, but the work is always satisfying.
It’s been a gradual process of de-converting many of the conversion van features. The tire carrier and ladder were destroyed in the accident, so they wouldn’t be returning. The roof rack was removed when I realized it wouldn’t fit through my garage door. The running boards were trapping grit and hiding rust, so off those came.
The roof had considerable rust, and with the onset of the pandemic, I could take it off the road long enough to strip and KBS Rust-Seal the whole thing (basically POR-15, just a different brand). Whether that works long term, only time will tell.
With time on my hands and a cheap flux core welder at my disposal, I began teaching myself to patch the rust spots. Welding is hard, and I am not good at it, but I soldier on. This is where mission creep starts to set in.
I don't care for conversion van RV windows. The ventilation is great, but I just don’t like how they look on my van. I dig that classic Boogie Van era aesthetic; murals and bubble windows. But conversion package RV windows prevent that. Now that I have a welder however, I don’t have to settle if I don't want to
So here’s the plan for this spring, finish replacing the rear RV windows with sheet metal harvested from another Dodge. But for the front driver’s side window, replace it with a factory pop-out window cut out of a Ram Wagon. That way my rear seat passengers can enjoy the view, have a little ventilation, and it helps a bit with driver visibility. Last fall I closed up the passenger side window, but then moving and renovations put the van project on the back burner. Now I’m finally ready to continue the project, so stay tuned for that.
Until then, enjoy a van I came across in BC: