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Snowcat Restoration & Modification Projects Forum Major Restorations, Upgrades, and Non-Stock Snowcat Modifications

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  #641  
Old 08-08-2020, 10:26 PM
Snowy Rivers Snowy Rivers is offline
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Got busy this morning and wrangled the dash back into place in the cab.

Seeing these done in video's of the factory building the rigs makes it look easy.....

Well, a hydraulic jack and a chunk of 2 X 4 (WOOD) really goes a long way to helping get that bad boy positioned and hold it so the bolts/screws can be installed.

Up by the windshield there are 4 sliding type nut assemblies that are made to allow the screws to move the nut into position and then the screw threads into the nut.

Cute little gizmo..

The lower dash bolts were missing, and that was not good.

Several other fasteners were either wrong or missing.

The glove box and door assembly as well as the radio bezel/cover were missing several screws.

Rocker area/carpet hold down plates (Plastic) was broken on the LH side.

Made a shopping list and we headed to the bone yard this morning.

The selection of 88 to 93 S10 rigs is well picked over now....but we got most of what was needed.....

Took the items off the donors and dropped then in sandwich bags with little tags..

Nice to get the factory stuff back in the mix....

The screw holes on the glove box area of the dash were all stripped out.

PLASTIC

Got some JB Weld

Mixed up a batch and forced the JB into the screw holes.....will let cure over night and the align the parts and drill a small hole in the screw bosses.

Hopefully this will allow the fasteners to get a grip again.....

Vacuumed out the cab WHAT A SUMP.....


Just about got the design for the Pseudo column done.

I can get the top column housing new for $21

This is the part that has the multifunction switch in it (Just below the wheel normally)

The new housing can be modified easily to allow the entire Muti switch to mount and work correctly.

Far easier to get this all put together and have a factory switch set in place and also one that plugs into the factory wiring harness....


The factory column mounting cradle (Right below the dash trim cover and has 4 bolts holding it to the column) is usable with the new set up....

The trim panel will fit back up and give an overall finished look to the arrangement .....

Tossed the ash tray and it's slider in the garbage .....it was just under the radio..... also removed the heater lower trim cover....Not really of much use, and just more screws to mess with.....

Keeping things neat and uncluttered.

The radio that was in the rig was junk.....tossed it.

Eventually a good AM/FM CD player is likely.

Still need a couple arm rests for the doors.....The RH side is still good, LH is Franken Color....and trash.

Will try to find a matched pair color wise...

Franken Color is fine....just want a decent set.

We are gaining on it.

Hope to be able to rig up and do a trial fit on the cat here soon.

Some 4x4 wood posts across the cat tub will work OK for a mock up.....

I am excited about seeing the cab on the cat.

Thinking about an Orange and black Zebra type paint scheme.....Will stick out for sure....


All for now......

Tired....been a busy day....
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  #642  
Old 08-08-2020, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Paint/wrap suggestion.
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  #643  
Old 08-09-2020, 08:24 AM
Snowy Rivers Snowy Rivers is offline
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

OMG....SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COOL

That would be sweet.....but wraps are not an economical undertaking..

We had a little "Smart Car" a few years ago....I looked into doing a wrap on the front end with just some flames.....it was going to be in the $500 range

I think this Cat is going to get a 2 or 3 color rattle can Camo job....

Actually, other than some very casual...fast moving thoughts the paint scheme on the cab has not been in the forefront of my thoughts.

Other than getting the tub sort of spiffed up a bit as I move forward...paint is just a distant idea......

Thank you for the cool ideas though......
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  #644  
Old 08-09-2020, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Hi Snowy, just spent all morning wading through all 33 pages of your thread - quite an epic - makes War & Peace seem like a little light bedtime read!
Seriously though, great posts, full of useful info and cool idea's - I particularly liked the N nut spanner - going to make one of those myself.
Keep up the good work, looking forward to seeing the end result.
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  #645  
Old 08-09-2020, 12:43 PM
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Thank you for the blessings.

Yesssss..this has been an epic journey for sure.

I have mentioned it a coupled times....rebuilding an existing design and getting it back to running order is a decent task.....Designing and building a Franken Cat is another story all together.

Trying to make all sorts of things work can be a daunting task.

As was probably evident in your read.....sometimes things sound great, but then there comes an entire flock of flies to get stuck in the ointment....

I was a field service engineer in the wood products industry for many years....

The term "Engineer" was a "Title" READ AS ....THE HAPLESS SOUL WHO GOES OUT AND MAKES STUFF WORK WHEN IT WILL NOT..

Goes sort of like this....

We the unwilling, are doing for the ungrateful....we have done so much for so long with so little....we are now qualified to do anything with nothing...


Been at remote mill sites and had to deal with making stuff work that was not made right and the engineers back at the plant have no clue....

Adapt, make due.....gitterdone.

This project has certainly made some twists and turns.....but I am pleased where it is now and how it is progressing...
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  #646  
Old 08-09-2020, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

yeah, know what you mean - I was a marine engineer - can't call for help in the middle of the ocean, just got to get on and fix it
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  #647  
Old 08-09-2020, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

YUP....THAT'S ABOUT IT



Today the new Pseudo column came into being.

With the lower 6" of the original column cut off and a piece of 2-1/4" heavy wall exhaust tube pressed onto the original stub....things started to grow.


Drilled and tapped 2 pieces of 3/4" x 1/2" bar stock and bolted them to the column cradle....

Tack welded things up and did a trial fit....SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET

Actually fit back in easier than the original column did.....

Yanked it out and welded things up good.

The tube is quite a bit too long at present.

Going to scare up a piece of 4" aluminum round stock tomorrow and start whittling on it.

I need the aluminum bar to fit inside the column tube and then back to about 3-3/4" so the turn signal switch housing (Multi switch) will slip over the aluminum.

The bar will protrude through the switch housing enough to allow a cover plate to go over the signal switch.

Then the mount for the steering valves and the rest of the operator station will bolt to the end of the aluminum stub.

Should end up with a very compact operator station that will be easy to service if need be.

Pics of the cab with dash back on (The glove box is all back together now)

The JB weld in the screw holes worked like a charm...Drilled out and screwed the original screws back in....

The new column in flux....

All bolted in....

Gotta see what shakes in the morning.....need some 4" aluminum about 12 inches long

Gonna make a lot of shavings with that bad boy.

But I think the design will work well and allow factory parts to plug in....

Just like Legos.....

Ignition wiring, Wiper wiring cut off due to the other crew trashing the plug.

Going to rewire the ignition to use a panel mount rotary switch and so the big plugs go bye bye....

The dimmer switch will get swapped to a big toggle switch or ????/


The multi switch set up for the dimmer is a tad iffy with my new column.....

OH...BTW

I discovered a LOKAR shifter the fastens to the tranny (TH350) and they offer various length shift levers.

Very very good chance that the cab will position on the cat so the shifter will sit right in the factory hole in the tunnel.

Far better than a cable shifter.....much easier to install and work on if need be.
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  #648  
Old 08-10-2020, 10:19 PM
Snowy Rivers Snowy Rivers is offline
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Yarded the column back out and trimmed it to the needed length.

Look closely at the one pic looking in the top end of the column and you can see the milled hole on the right hand side just above the column saddle.

This is to allow the air tubing to come up the column and out and feed the air valves that mount on top of the operator station.....


Turned up a "Spud shaft" to weld into the top of the column and allow the Signal switch and multi function switch to mount.

The sleeve collar that will end up being welded to the spud shaft.....need to weld 3 pieces of bar stock to the spud shaft and then get that unit back in the lathe and machine the unit to allow the sleeve collar to be welded on.

The slots past the bar stock will allow wiring to pass down through the area and connect to the dash harness......


The one piccy shows the upper column switch housing hanging on the spud shaft.

When complete the spud shaft will stick past the Signal switch housing by 1/16" or so.

The angle operator station will fasten to the spud with one 3/8" grade 8 bolt on center and one 1/4" bolt near the top edge of the spud to keep the assembly from rotating...

The completed operator area will have the two air steering valves, the signal switch and the multi function switch, the dimmer switch and a rotary ignition switch to the right side....

Quite a bag of goodies to cram into the area.

After mocking things up it still allows good visual of the Fuel gauge, Oil pressure gauge, Volt meter and engine temp gauge...

Speedo was/is a waste of time....A tach mounted above the head lamp switch on the far left of the dash will be far more useful .....

One might ask about WHY SUCH A CONVOLUTED LASH UP to get the switch housing mounted...

I wanted a chunk of 4" aluminum bar to whittle down.

Nobody in the area had a short chunk of 4" alloy.....and they would not cut a bar.....


So I designed the thing again and made it a fabricated part....

Machined the spud shaft, the sleeve collar and then weld them together....

Cost was far and away cheaper to do it with a machined fabrication......

A bit heavier.....but such is life.

One more bag of worms to take care of.

This morning while sitting in the cab...the light was right to see that the the driver door hinge is shot.

Going to need to remove the door and weld up the outer part of the hinge pin holes on the top hinge and the massage them a bit and install new pins and bushings....

These bad boys are in bad shape....


Having the door fall off would suck....


Now is a great time to gitterdone.....


Very easy to grab the door by the widow casing and lift it off.....

The hinges on these older S10 are welded to the door and thew body....not serviceable as a part.....

Pins and bushings, but when they wear this far.... Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh
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  #649  
Old 08-11-2020, 08:47 PM
Snowy Rivers Snowy Rivers is offline
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

I waited on finishing the column housing adapter until the new one got here today...Glad I did.....

The new one was made on the left side of the pond.....and the internal dimension was a tad different.

Had to stick the sleeve back in the lathe and take about .030" off the OD

Also had to make a mill cut where the bottom cap around the signal switch lever slides in...

Tad bit of mods to the inside of the lower cover to allow the sleeve to fit.

All good to go

Tomorrow the Spud shaft gets mated to the sleeve and things will come together........


A few pics.

Really nice having all the parts fitting up together to make a complete package......


With a bit of luck we may see some major progress tomorrow to the operator station...
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  #650  
Old 08-12-2020, 10:20 PM
Snowy Rivers Snowy Rivers is offline
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

A great day today

The operators station is definitely coming together.

Finished the machining on the spud shaft and bored the bottom portion out to lighten the part (Portion that plugs into the column)

Decided to make the spud shaft a bolt in item.....

Getting the metal head assembly all cozy with the switch head assembly is not hard....but does take a bit of finesse to snake the wires down into the metal part....and having the ability to get it in your lap to fool with it seemed like a plan.


The aluminum valve mounting plate fastens to the end of the spud shaft with a bolt.....

The steering valve assembly bolts to the top of the valve plate.

There is a nice spot just slightly out from the original Key location to mount the new ignition switch.

Be close to the heater controls....sort of on and angle in the corner.......


I took the hand rest assembly and shortened it about 1-1/4" and it fastens to the valve mounting plate.

The soft foam noodle and dowel will be back between the brackets.

The S10 dash is a tad more compact than the original setup that I had for the Van.

Getting to use all the parts....Well.... most of them


A bit of trimming has to be done on the right side of the valve plate where it slips into the dash gauge recessed area.

The nylon air line will sneak up out of the column and curve around and into the valve ports... (Push in type/quick release)

The Orange hammer is sitting on a perfect spot to mount a tach....Right above the head light switch assembly.....Easy to remove the switch panel and access nuts/screws to hold the tach base to the dash....


Tomorrow the hand rest center dowel gets cut and then reinstalled with the black foam pad....


These little projects definitely take time.

Still waiting for a couple bearings....Coming out of Macedonia....(Super deal off ebay....hurry up and wait.....Two 6014 ball bearings)

Once these are here the dop boxes and gears can go back into the OC12


What a job these Franken rigs can be.....
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  #651  
Old 08-13-2020, 05:41 PM
Snowy Rivers Snowy Rivers is offline
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Pretty well wrapped up the operator station .

Will need to install the new switches into the column head and do the final fit on the new ignition switch. (The original switches were used as mock up's)

Got the ignition switch mounting plate done today and installed the foam pad.....

Pretty happy with the layout and overall feel of this set up....

Getting the air tubing into the valves will not be at all bad either....


The one caveat was getting the head lamp dimmer switch to operate as it did in the original layout.

The original rod was missing....so not going to sweat it.

Likely add a single pole double throw toggle switch just to the left of the LH steering valve.....

Don't figure I will need to worry about much traffic.....


Gotta get the ignition switch and install it.....


Some pix
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  #652  
Old 08-14-2020, 01:50 PM
Snowy Rivers Snowy Rivers is offline
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Had to mend the fence in one of the horse paddocks this morning. 100 F weather coming starting later today through Monday ARRRRRRRGH

Now onto more fun things to do.

Cat cab has a real bad set of hinges on the driver door.

Bushings are totally wasted....and the hinge too.

This may get UGLY.

Got the Skid steer over by the cab and rigged to hang the air hoist on...

A little lift on the door and tap out the old hinge pins and then see what we have to work with.

From what I can see it is going to involve some serious fooling to get this fixed.

I hope it is only the top hinge.

The bushings are gone and the hole is totally elongated to the point of NOTHING LEFT.

Likely make a new piece to replace the old end where the hole is and use the remaining side of the hole to locate the hole in the new part.

Machine a slab off the new piece to allow it to blend with where the old part was.

Bolt the pieces together before drilling the new hole.

Once things are fit and aligned....cut off the old chunk and lay ion the new pieces.....weld in place.

Sounds good....WE SHALL SEE....
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  #653  
Old 08-14-2020, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: Astro van cat conversion

Good news.

After getting the driver door off the cab (Little skid steer holding the load)

The hinge bushing holes were not as bad looking as I originally thought.

Worn ????? YES...But not nearly as bad as I thought they were.....

Peened the holes after getting the new bushings in.....

Not spiffy new looking....but quite usable..

The pins were the ones the cab came new with back in 93.

The lower bushing in the upper hinge was a tad sketchy.....there was concern that the bushing could slip down as there is no "thrust" on the bushing head.

I decided to make an aluminum "C" SPACER.....and pinch it closed to keep the bushing from dropping......

Door closes nicely...WITHOUT having to swing it from Montana to get it latched.

A gentle shove and "CLICK" all good.

With the door repaired I am looking at a trial fit onto the cat chassis....Maybe tomorrow.....


The extension I built to set the engine will work well to set the cab onto the frame.

Need to cut some 4x4 (Wood) to sit across the cat tub and rest the cab on.

Several things will be in focus once the cab is REALLY IN THE POSITION IT IS GOING TO LIVE.....

Wiring, other plumbing, location of the cab Vs the engine, transmission in relation to the hole in the floor (The LOKAR shifter looks promising)

Just a lot of stuff can be looked at carefully to see wasssssup and how things are going to work together.....


This part of the program has been getting me excited for quite a while.....

Actually seeing THE CAB on the cat frame will be a milestone.....

Had certainly hoped for the Astro van....but the S10 cab is going to make the build and subsequent servicing much much easier.....

This afternoon the though of the pickup box getting into the mix started creeping into my mind ......

The rear wheel house areas (Right and left) will be a fine spot to mount air tanks for the steering.....

Some creative sheet aluminum can direct warm air off the big azz exhaust pipes to warm the air tanks....

Just a thought.......



Ahhhhhh....the little silver tool......SPRING COMPRESSOR

Worth every penny of the $20 it cost.

The door detent spring is a beotch to deal with....this tool makes it a snap.

GM used this spring in many vehicles.

Some folks use 3 zip ties and a C clamp ...../clamp the spring and then zip tie it....insert and cut the ties...

The tool is much easier........

Overall....a great day.......
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