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  #1  
Old 09-27-2011, 10:07 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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My Bad Ast Astro Van Project

I have been "working" on this van for while now. Design actually started in '04, had a few false starts building the frame and really got serious this spring. At this point the frame and front suspension are 90% complete and I am sneaking up on the rear suspension at 75%.
As an over view this is an '88 Astro van that will have a new full frame, re-designed front and rear suspensions, a BBC moved rearward and down and a 9" with True trac and 3.75 gears.
The frame is on the rotisserie and we have been fabbing rear suspension brackets the past couple of weekends.
Here are a few pics as it sits right now.
The chassis

The front LCA build. We made this fixture board to build all four control arms on. Worked very well.

Upper and Lower Control Arms mocked in place.

This build has been going on since Memorial Day weekend. There are a lot more pics and fab work if anyone is interested.
Thanks for looking
Mark
"Just because I did it... Doesn't mean it's possible."
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2011, 10:44 PM
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Blind Studios Blind Studios is offline
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Sick project.

Looking forward to seeing some more pics.

-Jeff
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:58 PM
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entropy entropy is offline
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Nucking Futz!
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2011, 11:03 AM
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CarterKraft CarterKraft is offline
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more please!

what is the purpose of the van, autocross, drag, just cause?
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2011, 04:46 PM
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Sounds and looks like a cool build. I would like to see some more pics......
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  #6  
Old 09-28-2011, 07:04 PM
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AgitatedPancake AgitatedPancake is offline
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Haha this is definately a Bad Asstro! Work quality looks pretty dang nice, can't wait to see more!
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  #7  
Old 09-29-2011, 11:13 PM
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Red Rhino Red Rhino is offline
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Looks good post more pics
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2011, 09:37 AM
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Cool. Id def like to see more. :tup:

Dan
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:34 AM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Thank You guys, how detailed do you want me to get? I have documented most of the computer design and probably 95% of the fab work so far. This update shows some of my design work on the computer.


I moved the upper shock xmbr rearward about a half inch and plated it with the panhard bar mount. You can see i also gloved the rail with the rear plate. This should keep rail twist to a minimum. I also added a bit of fore/aft strength with a close out plate on the outboard side of the mount.

The axle mount will see some bracing also, I just haven't hit on a good solution yet.

Thanks for looking AND responding, much appreciated!
Mark
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:38 AM
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Here are some pics of what I've been doing in the shop at night... Making axle brackets! Making brackets,ESPECIALLY ones with a lot of holes in them, takes time.
Here are the 4 upper housing brackets. These will carry the upper link bar.

These are the two "big" plates all laid out. They will carry the lower links, lower shock brackets and, on the drivers side, the panhard bar bracket.

This is the drivers side with all of the holes drilled. The large expanse of metal on the right is what will carry the panhard bar bracket.

This is the front lower Johnny Joint. 2 1/2 x 1 1/4 thrd. I sure hope they are strong enough...

Here is a shot of the weld bung and a short piece of mock-up tubing. This will make up the two lower bars. I will use the mono-balls in front with a rigid poly bushing in the bar, on the housing.

I still had to do a lot of clean up work on the brackets. Rounding corners and straightening up bandsaw cuts but that's the easy part...
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #11  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:41 AM
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Got all of the housing brackets cleaned up, radiused and beveled.
These are two of the upper bar brackets.

The lower right hand bar and shock bracket mocked up with the matching inner bracket.

The LH lower bar, shock and panhard bracket and it's matching inner to the left.

All of these brackets are now welded to the housing. I hope to be bringing it home this weekend.
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:44 AM
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It seems like we haven't been getting a lot done because the build is to a point where things just don't go as quick. The last two weekends were spent working with Pat McCarthy of McCarthy Performance in Kawkawlin, MI. We have been installing the 4 link brackets on the 9" and getting it ready for narrowing. His shop is an hour and fifeteen minute drive north for me so we do as much as we can in a day. It took two full days to get all of the brackets installed but I'll tell you right now they are right and won't be falling off any time soon. :)
Here are a few pics from the two days we spent on the brackets.
A week ago Sunday we got the two sets of upper brackets installed and called it quits about 4 or so.

I had cut all of the brackets for the 3.25 dia. tube.... We had to do some "finagaling" with the two inside plates to get them on the "square" shoulder of the punkin.

This took some time as they also had to sit square and still line up with the outer plates.

We did good. After welding the bolts slide out easily.

last Saturday was spent sticking on the lowers.

These went pretty quick compared to the uppers. No "finagaling" to do...



Here is a couple pics of the 3rd member. Yukon case and gears, TrueTrac, HD pinion support and a 1350 yoke


Things are coming together. Just slowly...
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #13  
Old 09-30-2011, 04:32 PM
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Captainfab Captainfab is offline
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Lookin' good

Keep the pics coming.....
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2011, 05:18 PM
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bullnerd bullnerd is offline
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Hard to tell by the pics but it looks to me like there is some serious undercutting on those tabs?
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:16 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bullnerd View Post
Hard to tell by the pics but it looks to me like there is some serious undercutting on those tabs?
Good eye. There is a little under cutting right out at the ends on the tall upper brackets. It's really not as bad as it looks in the pics. I didn't even think twice about it. That was my fault because I beveled both sides of the brackets right out to the points and that 1/4 inch got real warm...
No worries though. There is a cross-car gusset that goes in on top of the brackets and I will clean all of that up before the gussets get welded in.
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #16  
Old 10-03-2011, 09:41 PM
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The rear suspension is well on it's way. have a few things to tidy up so I can get the rear hung and the frame brackets finalized. i am hoping to have a full suspension under the van by the end of the day Sunday.... we'll see how it goes.
Last Saturday was spent in Kawkawlin wrapping up the housing mods. This time Pat and I finished up the narrowing, getting the bearing ends welded back on and figuring out axle lengths.
I will be ordering axles this week.

We also borrowed his neighbors lathe to bore out the upper bars to except the weld bungs I got from Currie.
Bored out bars and bungs... The upper bars are 1.5" OD

Brought everything home Saturday afternoon. Finished housing and brand new Yukon 3rd member.
I stopped at Withers steel on my way home and picked up a 24 x 36 piece of 3/8ths steel to start building a "Big Boy" welding bench. I also picked up a 4 ft piece of 1 " OD x 1/8 wall DOM for the panhard bar.
Sunday I spent hurting my back unloading all of that steel. (If you have never juggled a freshly built 3rd member you are missing out on a fun time) I got the upper bars built. Cut to length, fishmouthed and tack welded.
Fitting the bushing sleeve.

Tonight I got the lowers cut out, fishmouthed, beveled and tacked.

That's a tape measure for scale...

Tomorrow afternoon I am taking the bars out to EVI so Brett can weld them for me. I REALLY need to learn this TiG stuff better...
Thanks for looking at my junk
Mark
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  #17  
Old 10-03-2011, 09:52 PM
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astroracer astroracer is offline
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I ordered Corvette C5/C6 disc brake brackets from Kore3. I mocked them up on the housing tonight but didn't get pics. I'll post some up tomorrow...
Mark

Last edited by astroracer; 10-03-2011 at 09:55 PM.
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  #18  
Old 10-10-2011, 09:17 PM
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Got some work done this past weekend. We were making more brackets... Lower shock brackets and a couple of extensions that I added to the rear axle shock brackets so I can use my 6" inch travel Vari-Shocks in the rear.
We also got the rear axle mocked into place. Clamped some scrap tubing to the frame and set the axle on that to get the height established.



I cleaned up and painted the 4 link bars tonight. I used Rustoleum primer and "Hammer" gray. I think they look pretty good for a rattlecan job.

I masked off the monoballs rather than take everything apart.

I'll get some better pics when they are dry and I can lay them down.
Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #19  
Old 10-29-2011, 10:26 PM
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I worked on trimming down body mount bushings during the week and got the chassis centered up and aligned so Mel and I could get the mount brackets finished up and tacked on today. We got all of that done AND pulled the chassis out and put it back on the rotisserie AND took the van off the lift and rolled it over to the cold side of the shop so I can putter with it this winter. I hope you enjoy the pics.
Trimming the mounts. I set them up in the horizontal bandsaw and trimmed them down to one inch high.

This 7 of the 8 I did. I still need two more to finish them up.

After squaring up the chassis we measured how much we would need to notch the body mount brackets. 1" by 2" was the magic number.
Running the tubing through the verticle saw.

After getting all of the brackets ready I tacked them to the frame. We re-used the 6 old cradle mounts and added 4 new (two per side) towards the rear.


We fabbed up the rear mounts from 1/4" plate and some short sections of 2 x 3 tube.

These are just tacked right now. I am going to start the finish welding tomorrow.
As they look in the van.


We got the van off the hoist and onto the body cart. It sure did roll around nice.

My wife had a good time taking us for rides...

Once we got it rolled back in the shop we raised it up off the cart and set it on some jack stands.


The chassis is back in the shop. With body mounts! Have a few additional brackets to make and finish the welding. That will be tomorrow.

Thanks for looking
Mark
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  #20  
Old 10-30-2011, 02:20 AM
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josh hennen josh hennen is offline
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yay! another van project! Now I don't feel so alone. I must say that's some really nice fab work. You never did answer what the final purpose was going to be but by how stout that rear end is I see a lot of horsepower in the future! Keep it coming as the OFN has been kinda dull as of late.
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