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Discussion Starter #141
I've been doing some short test drives around the neighborhood to sort things and await my upcoming state inspection appointment. I'll need tires to pass but our mechanic agreed to inspect as it is and fail me for tires while also giving feedback on anything else the van might need, then let me get tires and reinspect for free within ten days. Don't want to spend 700 bucks only to have something more massive and daunting land on me.

One weird thing I've noticed in the drives is the inconsistent behavior of the oil pressure gauge. At first it was not registering at all but the warning light wasn't on so I figured the gauge was bad. Then on one drive I noticed the needle above the halfway point, evidently showing decent oil pressure. However, it rises and falls seemingly independent of engine revs. Might be rock steady at mid-gauge during idle or driving, then slowly drop to nothing (still with no warning light). Don't know if the gauge is bad or the pressure is, or the sender. I figure that if the pressure is really bad I'd know for sure by now by the sounds of an engine in distress.

Here it is in the Neutral Zone (not being worked on or having money spent on it).
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Discussion Starter #142
Grinding noise during a test drive led me to check the differential which was low--dare I say OUT--of gear lube. Began adding it only to find it coming out the front of the diff. Pinion seal leaking. Did not want to drive it to the shop like that so figured I could replace it myself and have found myself deep into the third member.

Is the pinion shaft supposed to have 1/4" movement side-to-side? I'd have expected it to be better supported inside and it looks like the bearing in there might be shot so a rebuild kit might be in my future.
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When you take the yoke off, you have unloaded the bearings and they will be loose. Must have no play when tightened
 

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Discussion Starter #144
I'll replace the seat and retest, then proceed as necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #145
Seal. Is the Edit feature gone now?
 

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Discussion Starter #146
New pinion seal installed with new gasket for the rear cover and three quarts of gear lube installed. Test drive revealed greatly reduced noise but it's still there so the bearings might already have been damaged. I'll drive it for a bit and decide on how to proceed.

I also bought a new trans filter and gaskets and some ATF+ so that'll be next if the nice weather holds.

My wife has only ever sat in the van so far, so I guess I need to take her for a spin and let her drive it to see how "normal" a van this size can feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #147
First run at state inspection resulted in the expected fail for the tires but also for front brake pads. Rear shoes squeaked by. Mechanic Jeff also test drove it and says the rear end is going out despite my seal and lube ministrations so I'll need to find a replacement. Once up and legal I'll give it a full tank and see how driving it goes.

The ABS and Brake dash lights are lit when running and he says that is the result of broken wires from the rear wheel sensor, wires I noticed while working on the diff. Van is back in the driveway after its big outing on Thursday.
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Discussion Starter #148
Well, this beast is finally street legal and road ready. I bought used tires, not something I've ever done or wanted to do this time, but that roaring noise is the sound of the rear end on its way out and I'll need the money for repair or replacement so decided that used tires would have to do. They cost less than half of what new would be and I'll put that savings to good use. Meanwhile, I also replaced the brake pads today and got successfully reinspected.
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There's still plenty to do mechanically. The diff needs fixing, or course, and a couple of gauges are inop (fuel, oil pressure), and those BRAKE and ABS dash lights need repair, plus several lesser things. Plenty to keep me busy, but the important thing is that this van is back from the dead! And it only took me two and a half months. Hooray!
 

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Discussion Starter #149
I finally began collecting camper pieces for the van today. Found a '70s carpeted conversion van and grabbed the swivel seats out of that one and the door-mounted spare carrier from another. Cold rainy garage kinda days coming, so I'll be able to clean them up.
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Discussion Starter #150
The swivel seats have been test-fitted. I de-rusted them and will paint then when everything comes back out for my upcoming interior attack on insulation and flooring. I also de-rusted the spare carrier and installed my new doghouse/console combo. The third seat is for the ten year old dog who is not expected to last forever, so we're building with an eye toward having that space available sooner rather than later; shower stall, maybe?
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I had only planned to post about the mechanical portion of the build and not the camperization, but what the heck.

Still trying to decide on how to progress with the differential rebuild. The howl from the rear end improved only slightly after installing the new pinion seal and fluid so I'm looking at repair or replace next.
 
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