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Meet Lorrie Van Haul, a 1967 Dodge P200 Postal Van

Discussion in 'Police, Taxis, Ambulances, etc' started by JCAllison, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. JCAllison

    JCAllison Member

    Hey All,
    Permit me to introduce myself, I am JC Allison, 73, caretaker, and caregiver of Lorrie Van Haul, a 1967 Dodge P200 Postal Van that came to live with me after being retired from delivering mail for the USPS in Houston, Texas, in 1975.

    This is how Lorrie presently looks:


    Lorrie is just weeks away from being finished after a two year refurbishment. Everything that could be fixed was fixed.

    After retiring from her career with the USPS, Lorrie got into Show Business, serving as the equipment truck for the "AllisonWonderland Concert Lightshow".

    On September 3, of 1996, she was driven to Onalaska, Texas from San Marcos, Texas where she had just finished a gig a the Aquarena Center, and was parked. And she hasn't moved since. Her caretaker became very ill, and was given only five months left to live on December 1, 1998, and was preoccupied with surviving to keep Lorrie from having to be let sit.

    Having finally had the illness go into remission, he decided that it was time to get Lorrie back up and running, and so in October of 2009 the refurbishment of Lorrie began.

    A week ago today, Lorrie's mighty 225 Slant Six was started for the first time in sixteen years. It ran for about one minute, and then the Holley 1920 Carburetor started leaking from the Float Bowl Gasket.

    Lorrie was shut down, and the Gasket Leak was attempted to be repaired.

    Lorrie was then started again, and this time ran for five minutes before the 1920's Float Bowl Gasket once again started to leak.

    Lorrie was shut down, and upon inspection, it was decided that the poor old Holley was toast.

    A search was begun for a NEW Carburetor, and one was found in Richmond, BC, Canada. It is an NOS Bendix Stromberg Model W, with no Gaskets below the Fuel Level. :)

    Anyway, Lorrie is a Model 28, Slant Six, Built in Warren, A727 Torque Flight Transmission, No. 39, Model RA36 Rear Axle, and has Right Hand Steering (thus the name: Lorrie).

    Lorrie has a bright future ahead as the Chase Truck for Ms. American 3.14159, the ONLY 1964 Ford Galaxie 500, Four-Door, Hard-Top, Fast-Back, Police Interceptor that Google finds on the whole World Wide Web who is slated for a major refurbishment. Ms. American was bought NEW by my father, and was my mother's daily driver till June of 1986, when my mother could no longer pass her driver's test. In order to keep her from driving without a license, my father called me and said: "You've always liked this old Ford, if you want it, come get it. It's yours for a buck."

    For more pictures of Lorrie, click here:

    For pictures of Ms. American 3.14159, click here:

    NOW, have a question:

    Lorrie's Serial number starts with a 28. Have been unable to find any VIN Decoder that lists a 28. They all jump from 25 to 29. Lorrie is a P200. and here is her Warranty Plate:


    You can't see the 28 in the upper left hand corner, but trust me, it's there. Would like to know what that denotes. Am suspecting that it is a "fleet" designation, but would like to know for sure.

    Would love to hear your comments, and will answer any and all questions.

    Anyway, thanks for reading, and hope you all are well.

    JC Allison

  2. TWX



    This is literally the first that I've seen one of these. Makes me wonder how complete the vehicle left a Chrysler plant and who upfitted it.
  3. JCAllison

    JCAllison Member

    Hey Mr. TWX,
    Since I last visited Allpar, Lorrie has been gotten up and running, and she is doing just EXCELLENT, except for having problems with the Battery not charging. Put on a NEW Alternator that was on hand, but that didn't change anything.

    Went out this morning and put the Battery Charger on Lorrie's Battery and brought it up to 12.79 Volts.

    Then the thought occurred that it might be something wrong with the Alternator Regulator.

    Fortunately there was a NEW Alternator Regulator on hand here. So this morning, the OLD unit was swapped out for the NEW unit.

    Started Lorrie's Engine and the NEW Alternator Regulator had no effect on the situation.

    Lorrie's Battery is not being charged when the Engine is running just like yesterday.

    Got to thinking back on all this, and all this has happened SINCE installing the NEW Fuel Gauge and Sender.

    Which brings us to THESE factors:

    There is a "WARNING" on the Alternator Regulator that says: "Do NOT short any terminals to ground".

    The Sender Unit in the Gas Tank has a Wire from its Flange that is Grounded.

    The Fuel Gauge is Grounded through its Mounting Bridge to the Dash Panel. It is most surely grounded because when one touches the Wire coming from the Sender Unit to the Fuel Gauge to the Dash Panel, the Fuel Gauge Needle "pegs" above "F" (for Full).

    In order for the Fuel Gauge to work only when the Ignition System is on, it has to get its power from a source connected to the Run Switch on the Dash Panel.

    There is a Wire connected to the Run Switch that goes to the "IGN" Terminal of the Alternator Regulator.

    A Wire was spliced into THAT Wire between the Run Switch to the IGN Terminal on the Alternator Regulator and subsequently was run to the "I" (for Ignition) Terminal of the Fuel Gauge.

    Could it be that THAT setup has possibly shorted the "IGN" Terminal of the Alternator Regulator to Ground through the Fuel Gauge System?

    So this morning, the Fuel Gauge "I" Terminal Wire was disconnected from the Wire that goes from the Run Switch to the IGN Terminal of the Alternator Regulator, and the Engine started. There Ammeter showed no charge. The measurement of the Battery with the Engine NOT running is 12.79 Volts. With the Engine running it is at 12.69 Volts.

    Have posted the Wiring Diagram for Lorrie's Ignition System on SlantSixForum, but have had no responses.

    Anyway, Lorrie's Engine is running EXCELLENTLY.

    There are some slight puffs (misses) at the Tail Pipe WHILE the Engine is reaching operating temperature, but as soon as the Thermostat opens, and the Choke is all the way open, they go away and the Engine runs REALLY well.

    NOW, if we could just get this lack of Battery Charge issue resolved, Lorrie would be ready to test drive.

    Didn't make it to Livingston on Saturday morning because the weather guessers have changed their forecast from rain on Monday and Tuesday to rain on Wednesday. So will be heading for Livingston tomorrow morning. Am going to take the OLD Alternator, and OLD Alternator Regulator to AutoZone to have them tested.

    Anyway, this is where Lorrie stands at the moment. Pretty much "dead in the water".

    As far as can be determined, Lorrie is the last of her kind. One website even listed the 1967 Dodge P200 Postal Van as "extinct".

    It was one of 3,500 made at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant, and was complete.

    That would be me. Lorrie was acquired in 1975, and has been undergoing an almost continual "upfitting" ever since. Had I known that she was going to end up being the last of her kind, I would probably have tried to keep her all original. Alas, hindsight is 20/20.

    Anyway, am trying to figure out just what is wrong that the Charging Circuitry isn't working.

    Have posted questions on a number of forums, but have not gotten any responses so far.

    Hope you are well.

  4. TWX


    I'd recommend posting in "Tech Support and Help" at the top- Fleets doesn't get a lot of visits comparatively, and there are several very smart people read that one.
  5. JCAllison

    JCAllison Member

    Hey Mr. TWX,
    Hey All,
    Monday Morning Update:

    Was out of here by 8:00 a.m. to Livingston. Took the OLD Alternator, and one of the Alternator Regulators with me.

    First stop: AutoZone.

    Had them test the Alternator.

    It FAILED the test.

    Second stop: NAPA.

    Ordered two NEW Alternator Regulators ($31.41).

    They will be in tomorrow morning, and my neighbor will pick them up on the way home from work.

    They should be here tomorrow evening.

    Got NAPA's price on their Alternators. All they can get is re-manufactured units for $60.00 plus shipping which would be another $40.00 (estimated). But the counter guy at NAPA said to stop by Smith Auto Electric because they rebuild Alternators.

    Did some other errands, and headed home, but stopped by Smith Auto Electric on the way, and told them what had happened, and about the NEW Stewart Warner Fuel Gauge/Sender Unit installation, and the tech at Smith confirmed that what had been done would result in a burnt Alternator Regulator.

    Asked him if that would ALSO burn up an Alternator? He said it shouldn't.

    Told him that AutoZone had tested the Alternator, and that it had failed the test.

    He and a couple of the other techs at Smith rolled their eyes, and shook their heads sadly, and one of them asked if the Alternator was available for them to test, which it was.

    So Smith Auto Electric tested the Alternator, and Alternator Regulator and concluded that there was nothing wrong with the Alternator, but that the Alternator Regulator was burnt.

    Anyway, the upshot of all this is:

    Am going to install a NEW Alternator Regulator.

    Am going to remove the Fuel Gauge/Sender Unit Circuit entirely from the Start/Run/Charge Circuit.

    Am going to disconnect the Tachometer entirely from the Start/Run/Charge Circuit.

    Hopefully this will solve the problem, and Lorrie can be gotten back on track to being finished.

    Will keep you all updated as events occur.

  6. Cpt.Salty

    Cpt.Salty Member

    This is my first post on the forum, and i just want to say how awesome it has been to read and see of Lorrie's adventures, and your bringing her back to life. My interest stems from the fact that i recently acquired a very similar step van and in fact a p-200 as well! It is in fairly rough shape (will post pictures soon), but by no means ready for the salvage or scrape yard. The engine looks solid but i can't tell if it is frozen or not, im putting new tires on and hopefully it'll roll (at least that would be a start). If anyone has any advice or questions I'd love to hear 'em, this is my first restoration project on a car (I have been working on honda cubs up till now) and it seems like a big undertaking.
    PCRMike likes this.
  7. AnnaMarie

    AnnaMarie Member

    She is awesome!! I just picked up a 1968 P200 today. I am so excited to get started restoring her. Upside is she runs and the body damage is minimal. Downside is she needs brakes and there is something wrong in the fuel system somewhere... clogged tank, line, maybe broken fuel pump. I may have to pick your brain as to where to get parts. The whole brake system in mine is crap.
  8. Jeff Phillips

    Jeff Phillips Member

    I was a fleet mechanic on these in 1975. If you don't finish this 1968 Dodge p200, I would love to have another one.