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Old 09-25-2015, 01:32 PM   #1
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Hello, I stumbled across this forum while looking for some info on a new project I acquired a few days ago. It seemed like this would be a great place for some info and insight. That and it still seems to be an active forum. Almost every forum I'm on has slowly been dying out and people have migrated to Facebook. That's a whole other story though.

I had went with my uncle a few weeks back to look at a 1973 Chevy step van that was being auctioned off locally. It has a gas 350 that was "rebuilt shortly before it was parked", which I took with a grain of salt, and an auto trans. It is an all aluminum body with swinging rear doors. All 6 tires were dry-rotted, but held enough air to roll it down the road. The seller said it was parked 4 years ago, but I had noticed it the plate tags were 2007.

He is wanting to fix this up to use to serve his gelato out of. He retired a few years ago and has a gelato shop/market and italian pizzeria with a legit brick oven that will be opening up in the next few months.

When we first went to look at it, I saw they had it running when we pulled up as there were a few others there looking at it as well. It idled a little rough and eventually died before we got up to it. It was obvious that it had an exhaust "leak" (as they called it) as soon as we step out of our vehicles haha. More on that in a little bit. It had old gas in the tank, so that wasn't helping at all. The truck is a little rough, but nothing that some time and TLC couldn't fix.

He ended up purchasing it in the auction for not too much at all. Less than $1,500 I'm pretty sure. We went out there Thursday to see if we could get it back home across town. We tinkered around with it for a little bit and put some Stabil and a couple gallons of gas in it. Eventually, we got it to crank over and run. Once some of the fresh gas got into the engine, it ended up idling fine on its own. I was able to find the "exhaust leak" pretty quick. The passenger side manifold has a nasty crack that I missed. I put it in drive to see if it would move under its own power and I was amazed that it worked and the brakes would stop it. I drove it around a field to get a field for it. We packed up and made it down the road to the gas station to top it off. We made it back across town without any issue.

It's getting tires today. While it was there, my uncle asked the shop to look over it and get a quote on how much it would be to fix any issues. I laughed when he emailed me the invoice. $4,500 haha. We will be bring it back to my house house and I will be tearing into it shortly. I already have a set of used manifolds sourced from a buddy that has them just laying around.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the project.










The first fill-up








The "exhaust leak"

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Old 09-25-2015, 02:06 PM   #2
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Cool man, welcome.

I look forward to more pics.

Nat
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:01 PM   #3
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One of those pictures looks like the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville (my old hometown). Am I seeing that correctly or just wishing I was seeing it? I used to live in Fort Branch, just up the road from Evansville......
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
One of those pictures looks like the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville (my old hometown). Am I seeing that correctly or just wishing I was seeing it? I used to live in Fort Branch, just up the road from Evansville......
You sir, are correct. Impressive. We picked the van up on the west side off of Shutte Road near USI. The picture on the Lloyd was near the west side Walmart. I love me some Sandy's Pizza up in Fort Branch.

Progress may be a little slow on this van right now. I'm actually finishing my last few classes for my engineering degree at USI. I've been working full time for over 3 years as well. A wife, 3 year old, house, and dog keep me busy on almost all of my free time.
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Old 09-26-2015, 04:25 AM   #5
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I've heard that the 350 is a rare engine and parts are very hard to come by.
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:48 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by oooo2stang View Post
You sir, are correct. Impressive. We picked the van up on the west side off of Shutte Road near USI. The picture on the Lloyd was near the west side Walmart. I love me some Sandy's Pizza up in Fort Branch.

Progress may be a little slow on this van right now. I'm actually finishing my last few classes for my engineering degree at USI. I've been working full time for over 3 years as well. A wife, 3 year old, house, and dog keep me busy on almost all of my free time.
For me the dead give-away was the Ritzy's sign.......

I used to live at the apartments south of the Lloyd and South Red Bank Road about 20 years ago, then bought a house on John Street in Fort Branch in '99. I miss the Wednesday lunch buffets and the marinated red bell pepper pizzas.... Sandy's IS the BEST!!!!!!!!
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