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I've been searching, but it's hard to get the terms just right and all I've found are (plenty of) examples of smaller vehicles with the kind of conversion I have in mind. I'm wondering if anyone can link me to examples of a large unibody van (a late 80's Dodge B-series camper, in this case) being mounted on a frame. The motivations behind this project are twofold:

1. The van has severe chassis rust, to the point that the front subframe is held on more by wishful thinking than anything else. The owner has had it for ages and doesn't want to give up the interior amenities, but the work required to repair the existing body is beyond what any body shop thus far has been willing to take on. However, at first blush it looks like the severe rust is lower down at the suspension mounting points, while the floor and up are quite intact.

2. This would make a 4wd conversion much more straightforward.

I've seen stuff like this...



...and what I'm talking about is pretty much the same, only with a bigger body. I know it's technically feasible. What I'm after is links to existing projects, specifically using a Dodge B-series. Any pointers?
 

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blatant asshole
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Ive replaced body mounts in cabs and added a could of rollcages to various things.

Add a large 3/16ish plate to the area and make it work. Its about all you can do without major sheet metal construction.
 

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blatant asshole
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Some one was wanting to do exactly this earlier this year. But he couldnt even be bothered to get off his ass and read a tapemeasure.

Get the body off your chassis and the chassis under the van, figure out your lowest/easiest mount and work from there.
 

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I've been searching, but it's hard to get the terms just right and all I've found are (plenty of) examples of smaller vehicles with the kind of conversion I have in mind. I'm wondering if anyone can link me to examples of a large unibody van (a late 80's Dodge B-series camper, in this case) being mounted on a frame.
I did a bit of research quite a long time ago, what I did was simply type in "4x4 vans", clicked images then weeded thru dozens of photos of 4x4 vans that looked like they were sitting on a frame. In particular look at Dodge and Chevy vans, as they both used the unitized type chassis.

1. The van has severe chassis rust, to the point that the front subframe is held on more by wishful thinking than anything else. The owner has had it for ages and doesn't want to give up the interior amenities, but the work required to repair the existing body is beyond what any body shop thus far has been willing to take on. However, at first blush it looks like the severe rust is lower down at the suspension mounting points, while the floor and up are quite intact.
Rust is a game changer for me. I wouldn't even consider this on a rusted van chassis. But if you insist, this will complicate the conversion and add many more hours of work to do this right. I'd start by investigating how far and deep the rust has spread. Although you plan to put the body on a frame, the original chassis has to still be intact otherwise this thing could fall apart and kill someone. On any unitized chassis, the subframes must be structurally sound because you'll be using it to bolt your new 4x4 frame to that. The fact that a body shop has refused to tackle the project is concerning. They could either look at it like it's not worth the job, or the rust is severe enough that no amount of work can make it safe. Installing a frame under it may seem to extend the life of the van, but the reason rust sucks so much is once it sets in, it spreads until there's nothing left, so to do it right means you have to cut out all the cancer, grind it out or chemically convert it. If you can't address all of it, then don't bother to take it on, because in the long run, it will end up as a big waste of time when new rust forms.

2. This would make a 4wd conversion much more straightforward.
Not necessarily. The idea is straight forward, but there is no existing truck frame that's going to mount cleanly under a van. A truck frame will have various bends and shapes that will not coincide with the underside of a van chassis. That means you'll have to customize every mount, and/or create new mounting points. If you don't use an existing truck frame, you'll have to make one from scratch, which will be a big job and require extensive bending and welding. Thats not to say that it can't be done, but the question really should be, is that van really worth that much time, money and effort?


...and what I'm talking about is pretty much the same, only with a bigger body. I know it's technically feasible. What I'm after is links to existing projects, specifically using a Dodge B-series. Any pointers?
Yes, these are pretty much the same idea and you don't really need to focus solely on vans to get the general principal on how it's done. Im sure it may seem to help see how others have done it specifically on a Dodge van, but what you need to see is how others addressed how they mounted the body on a frame.

Ed
 
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