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Thread: The Lunchbox Build... 4x4 chevy shorty van

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
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    525

    Default The Lunchbox Build... 4x4 chevy shorty van

    ***EDIT*** If you can't view the pics because of the photobucket nonsense, here's a couple of plugins to download for your browser so you can see them...

    Firefox fix.....https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/fir...-recentlyadded

    Google Chrome fix.....https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...giikdkpmcpkaon


    I've been out of the 4x4 scene for a while, the last one was a SAS explorer about 8 years ago. My son and I want to explore out west, so I needed a vehicle that could cruise the highways, do some heavy wheeling, and make a good "camper" on the weekends. I thought about K5 blazers, suburbans, late model tahoe/yukon, etc.., but none of them really "did it" for me... I had "The Lunchbox" when I was a little kid, that monster van r/c car. That's all that I could think about, I just couldn't shake the idea of a 4x4 van. So long story short I decided to build a shorty van.

    My buddy had a rough old cargo van out behind his shop for the past year, and I see it every time I go over there. I struck a deal with the owner for $200 (owner keeps the motor), and started gathering parts. I located a low pinion Dana 60 up in southern illinois, 14 bolt from a 1 ton van, 43k mile mile motorhome for the tbi 350 (along with the dash/ac/steering column/radiator/etc....) We built a 700r4, and I sourced an NP205 over in St. Louis.... I'm using a 315/75/16 Mastercraft M/T on 16x8 aluminum wheels. 52" chevy springs for the front, and 64" springs out back. I set out to build a tank, so I hope this works!

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    Last edited by Lunchbox2; 09-29-2017 at 12:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    Here's the motorhome I'm pulling everything out of.... 43k mile tbi 350, dash, harness, a/c, condenser, radiator, doors, seats, etc..... This thing runs like a new one, and the a/c will run you out of the cab, so basically just pluck it and go straight into my van with everything....


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    I'm using a chevy Dana 60.... I bought a bastard dually axle with 5.38 gears and welded spiders, ford outer knuckles with dual piston calipers... The hubs, gears, and carrier gotta go, so I picked up a like new 4.10 ring and pinion, ordered a Detroit Truetrac from Summit, and picked up some SRW hubs off craigslist. It's taken me 2 months to get all this together, so I'm excited to finally be able to build my front axle!

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    I originally picked up a 14 bolt from a dually, then realized that they aren't wide enough. The spring perches were 40" center to center, and I needed 50" center to center to keep my leaf springs in the factory spot. So I sourced a G30 van with the correct full-float 14 bolt, and worked out a deal with the owner... I brought it home and pulled the cover to find 4.10's, which was a plus. I wanted 4.56's, but with my budget, the 4.10's were a welcome surprise. I just needed to match the front and I'd be ready to rock... So I put on my disc brake kit, which is basically some fancy brackets that hold a 3/4 ton 2wd chevy caliper and rotor. I had to knock the studs out and put the rotors on the stock van hubs, but it all lined up and worked out perfect! This axle will eventually get a detroit locker, but I'm trying to get this thing up on it's feet, so the money was spent elsewhere at first. They are easy to do on these 14 bolts, so it's not a big deal to drop that in a little later....There's a little teaser shot of the wheels/tires on the axle, this thing is going to be big man... lol

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    I'm using 52" chevy springs to hang the front Dana 60, basically just GM 73-87 2wd rear leaf springs. I'm building my own crossmembers and spring mounts, but have purchased 6" shackle sides from DIY4x.com for the rear mount on the front springs. I'm using the stock rear springs, but doing a shackle flip with DIY4x.com 1 ton shackle flip brackets, and 6" reinforced shackles. These brackets are friggin HUGE, and will make my life easy when lifting the rear.....

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    My buddy that's letting me use his shop for the fab work, is also a transmission guy, so that came in REAL handy. I ordered up a B&M transkit, MONSTER sun-shell, Corvette servo, Corvette governor, torque converter lockup kit, new tv cable, and tossed my buddy $300 to put it all together. I came out at $850 with a brand new, BUILT 700r4, so let's hope it holds up!

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    Last edited by Lunchbox2; 10-25-2015 at 09:48 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    I went with an ION Alloy 16x8 in matte black, with 4.25" backspacing, with a 315/75/16 mastercraft mxt. I needed the off-road capabilities, but still wanted good road characteristics. They look great, and the price was right, so that's what I went with...

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    I wanted to make my life a little easier, so I ordered up a cordless impact. At the recommendation of my good buddy who also happens to be a Matco tool guy, I went with the Ingersoll Rand W7150.... It has up to 780ft.lbs in reverse, with 1,100 ft.lbs. of nut busting torque. He said it smokes his cordless gun that he keeps on the truck. I hate to take up a bay in my buddy's shop until I really NEED it. So until everything's sitting on the ground, ready to be put together, I'll work out in the gravel driveway. This cordless impact is going to make my life MUCH easier... lol I'll let you know how this thing stands up, I'm going to put it through it's paces over the next month or two....

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    525
    At this point, I have most of the ***** work done, and I can start fabbing. I'm ready to get the springs and axles under the van, so I can figure out driveshafts and steering.... I hope to begin teardown on monday of my cargo van. Once I gut it of literally EVERYTHING, I will start on the motorhome. I'm using literally EVERYTHING from the motorhome, as it only has 43k miles on it. So THAT'S going to be fun, swapping all of that **** over.... UGH.... Oh well, I'm ready to wheel this beast so I better get started!

  10. #10
    You are off to a good start.
    14 Ram CTD 2500 CCSB 315/70/18 Toyo MT's,A.R.E. DCU

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