The Purpose of These Pages

My goal here is to tell others of my Astro V-8 Install and, as a bonus, perhaps help them avoid a lot of the pain and expense I went through.

Decisions, Decisions

Technically, I started this project in February of 2004, that is when I first started looking for either an Early Chevy Van ( Plan A) or alternately, an Astro Panel to V-8.( Plan B)

I had donated my Custom 79 Chevy G-20 to the Hosts at the Van Nats the previous year, the body was getting nasty so it was discarded but I saved the V-8, the shell stayed at the run.

Not having a custom anymore I was really looking forward to another project, the 93 Chevy Shorty van I owned at the time( and still do) was pretty, but a conversion, too many things to undo to make it what I wanted, and no way to make all those damn windows go away!

In either case, Early or Astro,I pretty much wanted a blank pallette to create on, I've owned several vans, some partially done up by other people ( not a good idea, start pulling walls, doghouses, and dashes and you find some terrifying things) some not worthy of even customizing, not that I still didn't try.

I also wanted to have a V8, the difference in MPG in a full size van with a V-6 is moot, I've owned both and the savings are not worth the loss in HP, torque, and towing power. Also, having owned nothing but full size vans I wasn't all that keen on owning a small one to begin with, that is, unless I could make it into a monster.

Plus, you get the added satisfaction of embarrassing Ricers. The rumble and roar of a 350 in an Astro minivan makes the weedwacker-like whine of the average pimped Civic sound even lamer then usual.

I searched for months for my first choice, an early Chevy,but everything I saw was rusty garbage or had been so poorly done I would spend more time and money
undoing then doing .

Plan B: Astro V-8 Project a Go

So, I went with plan B: an Astro Cargo

Objective: Install a 350 V-8

After ( again) looking at a lot of garbage, a lot of cockroaches, after 2 months I found a clean, one owner, 94 Astro cargo for 3 grand, the limit of my initial funds. Not bad, because at the time, book value was 4500 on the van. The van belonged to a little old lady that raised Rottweilers, she used the van just to take them to shows.( Yeah, I know, and she only drove it on Sundays when she took them to church)

Believe me, I peeked up over the dash to make sure none of her darlins were still in there before I test drove it. She wsn't lying, either, during the revamp of the interior I found enough wiry black dog hair to build a dog or two.

I wanted a no window slider and no rear cargo windows but had to settle for a panel with windows in the doors as all the vans I looked at were work vans and the door panels were awful. I am presently searching for a clean slider and rears now that the V-8 is about done.

Okay, enough of how the van project started, I am going to share my expensive mistakes with you, give you the
good advice I never got when I was doing this nightmare, I won't tell you what I think will work ( advice like that cost me at least an extra 3 grand and a lot of wasted time, and believe me, well meaning or not, I received a lot of absolutely wrong advice) I will tell you what actually worked and/or how I made it work.

Next: Old School or New School?

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