Build Thread Harley Orange, a 1969 camper van build

Pontus

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This is my project, a 1969 Ford E200 camper van with a turtle top. Her name is Harley Orange because that's what the previous owner called it... although he was making a point to say the paint was cool, but it seemed a perfect fit. I bought her with the original 240 with only 80k miles, 3 on the tree, manual steering, manual drum brakes, and no rust (other than surface stuff mainly around the battery). I'm planning to build up a 300 engine to replace the old 240, which is what my thread will be focused on. I'm mostly finished with all the repairs and mods otherwise, which I'll cover in the next post along with the story soon.
#vanlife.jpgvan.jpgIMG_20210312_170541914.jpgIMG_20210312_170643969.jpg

I'll update this as changes are made, but here are the current engine plans:
  • $75 (and rising) - '92 300 block, hopefully just needs freshening up.
  • $110 - Speed pro hypereutectic pistons
  • $20 - Clevite 77 bearings (just rods so far)
  • $56 - Mahle rings, high carbon steel w/plasma moly top, cast second (is this a good budget choice?)
  • $35 - Melling HV oil pump (normal volume, HV not necessary)
  • $50 - Steel timing gears
  • $32 - Felpro gaskets, incl permatorque head and possibly using a .020" copper shim
  • $550 with shipping - Promaxx stock replacement head with DIY light runner porting, no chamber porting
  • $310 - Stock rockers Scorpion 1.73:1 roller rockers
  • $50 - Qualfast high perf retainers
  • $70 - Crane 96803 springs
  • $160 - 3/8" 10.25" Manley push rods
  • $100 - Howards cam 280026-08 .448”/.448”, 209/209°@.050, 263/263°actual, 108°LSA
  • $450 - MSD 6AL (motor came with a new DS2 and MSD coil, but no module)
  • $200 - Offenhauser DP intake (already cut out the runners as much as possible)
  • $370 - Edelbrock AVS2 1902 500CFM
  • $80 - Low profile intake system from a '92 Caddie.
  • $100 - EFI exhaust manifolds
  • 2.5" stainless exhaust, potentially running a stack up the side behind the driver's side door. If I need to run it at a campsite, I don't want to be polluting the area with exhaust, and it can be really bad for cars behind me. I know I hate being behind a car with old/bad exhaust, as my car sucks it straight into the cabin.
  • I'm going to try to keep the serpentine belt system and tensioner, but it might be tricky without a power steering pump, smog pump, or AC. I'm thinking I'll simply mount an idler pully on a plate where the PS pump should go which should allow me to use the tensioner. I'll have to find the right size belt for it.
  • I'd also like to ditch the noisy fan and replace the original radiator with something wider, lower, (for better engine access) and with electric fans.
PLEASE feel free to advise me on anything you see I'm doing wrong as this goes down. I've always done all my own mechanic work, and I know my way around an engine, but I've never rebuilt one before, so this should be fun! I appreciate any and all advice.
 
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pmuller9

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I know we discussed compression before.

I'm assuming you are going to run on 91 octane pump gas?
Why no chamber porting?
 

Pontus

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I know we discussed compression before.

I'm assuming you are going to run on 91 octane pump gas?
Why no chamber porting?
Yeah, 91 at least. If I have to, I was thinking of using a 0.020" shim. I don't want to port the chambers for a couple reasons, a) I don't want to screw them up (or the valves) on a brand new promaxx head, b) I can't afford the $1400 version, and c) I want to keep the compression high. I'm open to being encouraged otherwise, maybe just a light sanding?
 

pmuller9

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That's all good.
Please CC the combustion chambers when you get the head.
If the block deck needs to be decked for straightening just take off the minimum amount that you can get by with.

With the fast burn chambers the maximum timing is about 30 degrees BTDC before any vacuum advance.
 

pmuller9

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Promaxx stock replacement head with light runner porting, no chamber porting. I have a question in to Jason to see if he'll do just the runner porting for me.
It just occurred to me that the CNC program for runner and bowl porting is based on the bowls being enlarged for the larger valves.
You can certainly ask but I suspect it will not be feasible to run that part of the program for the stock valve sizes.

Keep us posted with what Jason says about it.
 

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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I like your game plan.

Unless you already have the Offy DP I'd go with a C model.
Instead of electric fans I'd go with a factory clutch style fan. They only engage when needed and I actually like the distinct moan they make when the clutch locks up - its a comforting sound to know its doing it's job.
Lots of racers in RVs at the track vent their generators up a stack and out above the crowd. Do you have a generator? It might be wise to just put a cutout on the exhaust and attach the vertical stack when you are camping. Otherwise route the exhaust out behind the van.
 

Pontus

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I like your game plan.

Unless you already have the Offy DP I'd go with a C model.
Instead of electric fans I'd go with a factory clutch style fan. They only engage when needed and I actually like the distinct moan they make when the clutch locks up - its a comforting sound to know its doing it's job.
Lots of racers in RVs at the track vent their generators up a stack and out above the crowd. Do you have a generator? It might be wise to just put a cutout on the exhaust and attach the vertical stack when you are camping. Otherwise route the exhaust out behind the van.
Yup, already have the DP. Got it for $200 including the water pipes. It looks like anything except a weber 2brrl will have to mount with things sticking out the side where it will be ever closer to the doghouse which I'll have to bump out anyway, but it could be the difference between beating it out with a hammer and totally restructuring it. I'd prefer the former. But if I cut the bottom out from under the carb of the DP, I can mount an Eddy with only vacuum lines sticking out a bit. Otherwise, any 2 or 4brrl carb would have to be mounted with the bowl sticking out, the throttle linkage mounted backwards (pulling from the bottom) or sticking out, etc. etc.

Is there any reason why a stack would be bad? I thought it would also look really cool with a stainless vented guard around it, insulate it from the side of the van, and keep things within 4" so it doesn't block the mirror. Put up a stainless plate at the top so it doesn't damage the fiberglass. Maybe even do a dual 1.5" stack (when I have the money)! That'd probably be silly though. I will be running a genny, so it's probably not a big deal if I can't or shouldn't. Maybe I'll just run it out in front of the drivers side tire.
 

bubba22349

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Really nice Econoline will make a very nice RV. I think it will be much easier plus not as many bends in your total exhaust system which would give you better flow, if you run the exhaust on the passenger side of your Econoline since that's the side the exhaust manifold is on. Best of luck
 

Big six Farmer

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First off, i think your Econoline ( every thing else is just a van ), is way cool. I say go with the stack for the exhaust, but put a flapper on top like an old tractor would have, and tap in for a generator like FTF said.... You need to be honest with your self and all of us here on how you intend to run your Econoline. It makes a difference on the parts you pick... Assuming you will use it like a Camper van, this is my opinion... I would like less duration on the Camshaft, less than 260 degrees. And a wider LSA of more like 110-112. Many knock the Offy DP, but it does work very well for more of a lower speed torque. gas mileage build. I would not grind on it at all, put a 1 inch 4 hole spacer under your Carb. Your Edelbrock Carb should work well. The Pro max head for your needs ? I would go with the Engine quest replacement head, stock valves. Or a used EFI head checked over for cracks by your Engine shop. I would for sure smooth the chambers, take all the edges off before its bolted to the Short block. hook up the coolant plate into heater hoses for sure on the Intake... This is a small Motor home, you need lower speed torque to push this Box down the road. With the speed limits any more, and that they like to run over 80 on the Interstates. Some of the parts you lay out there, might work against you ? Pulling a grade at 70 with a stiff head wind. Alot to think about here on your parts.
 

pmuller9

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The 108 LSA on the Howards cam shortens up the power band but heaps a bunch of torque in the 1500 to 3500 rpm range right where the van needs it to be.
With the intake lobe center at 104 degrees ATDC the really early closing intake valve also insures plenty of torque from an idle.
The Howards cam actually closes the intake valve earlier than the stock cam at both the .050" and the .006" closing points.

Too many have lost money trying to find a good junkyard EFI head to the place where we quit doing it.
The Promaxx replacement EFI head doesn't cost any more than the EQ head and in most cases it cost less.
I trust Promaxx quality over any of these other outfits selling the completed EQ head.

The Edelbrock DP manifold has not shown any advantage in low end power over the "C" when a switch was made.
The only discovery was how much the DP was killing midrange to upper rpm power which is needed on the highway for grades and passing.
A true dual plane for a straight six divides cylinders 1-3 from 4-6 instead of runner divisions.
I see no problem in removing some of the runner dividers
 
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Pontus

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First off, i think your Econoline ( every thing else is just a van ), is way cool. I say go with the stack for the exhaust, but put a flapper on top like an old tractor would have, and tap in for a generator like FTF said.... You need to be honest with your self and all of us here on how you intend to run your Econoline. It makes a difference on the parts you pick... Assuming you will use it like a Camper van, this is my opinion... I would like less duration on the Camshaft, less than 260 degrees. And a wider LSA of more like 110-112. Many knock the Offy DP, but it does work very well for more of a lower speed torque. gas mileage build. I would not grind on it at all, put a 1 inch 4 hole spacer under your Carb. Your Edelbrock Carb should work well. The Pro max head for your needs ? I would go with the Engine quest replacement head, stock valves. Or a used EFI head checked over for cracks by your Engine shop. I would for sure smooth the chambers, take all the edges off before its bolted to the Short block. hook up the coolant plate into heater hoses for sure on the Intake... This is a small Motor home, you need lower speed torque to push this Box down the road. With the speed limits any more, and that they like to run over 80 on the Interstates. Some of the parts you lay out there, might work against you ? Pulling a grade at 70 with a stiff head wind. Alot to think about here on your parts.
So yeah, I'd call this a torque/durability build that never goes over 3500RPM and lasts forever... or until I can't buy gas anymore. I'd like to be able to cruise and mildly accelerate at 75 on the highway in 3rd OD without breaking 2000RPM and be able to accelerate when needed in 1:1 3rd. I installed a Borg Warner overdrive manual transmission, so in 3rd OD, it's 0.7:1. I currently have 3.25 3.5 in the rear diff, but I may someday go for a Torsen with 3.73... although playing with the RPM calculator, doing so would mean shifting into 2nd OD (at least 30mph) at a much higher RPM (2500vs2k), so that might not be good. It's nice to be able to get into 2nd OD easily at 30mph around town. I'm not a lead foot, but I expect power when I need it. I installed a dash switch so I can get out of OD into 3rd very quickly without shifting if I need power, and that's at a max of 3100RPM @80mph. It won't be packed heavy though, and I'll only ever have 10gals of water on board. I'm planning to build the cabinets and seating out of corruplast (plastic cardboard that I get from work by the truckload). The heaviest thing I'll be loading is the motorcycle on the back deck I plan to build, so with a small genny, 650lbs hanging off the back.

I bought the engine when I found a Howards "torque/RV" cam (as it was advertised) for sale near me for super cheap, and when I called about it, he said he would sell the motor and all for $175. I'm only just learning about cam specs and whatnot, so if this is the wrong cam please let me know.

The motor did come with a head, but after pricing out the machine work, parts, etc, it's not much more to just go with a known good head like Promaxx or your Engine Quest suggestion.

I currently have a new single barrel YF on the 240 that works good, plenty of power up into 60-65mph, but if I ask it for more than mild acceleration or 3rd OD, I'm in bog town and it seems to choke itself out. But maybe the HEI doesn't have a good curve or something. It's smooth as silk otherwise and starts first crank. I just don't think a 1brrl will be good for the 300. I thought about doing a weber or 2100 conversion on the 1brrl manifold, but it's just as expensive as going the Eddy route on the Offy I already have.
 
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guhfluh

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I don't see a need for 3/8" pushrods or HV oil pump, and a catalytic converter can still be used on a carbureted vehicle.
 

pmuller9

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Please read my post above yours
The cam is a good match for the job since you are using the EFI exhaust manifolds.
Gutting the Edelbrock DP is also a good move.
 
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pmuller9

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I don't see a need for 3/8" pushrods.
If you need longer pushrods the 3/8" pushrods are readily available in .050" increments which make them less expensive than the 5/16"
The 5/16 pushrods need to be custom ordered in most cases.
Do you know of an inexpensive source for "off the shelf" 5/16" pushrods in predetermined lengths?
 

Pontus

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Regardless of performance, if I use the Offy DP, Imma have to open it up it under the carb because of carb mounting restrictions. Wouldn't matter in a truck, but in the van, I can't mount anything to it with the primaries on the inside like they're supposed to be. Even if I severely restructured the doghouse and wasn't worried about carb bits sticking out, the throttle would have to pull from the outside or else somehow fabricate a way to pull from the bottom/backwards.
 

bubba22349

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The 240's are good engines and they like to rev and need lower rear axel gearing but you will also find out that even a stock 300 six with that same 1V Carter YF will have much more low end torque and can handle and seam to like taller rear axle gearing. You probally will find out that your 3.25 depending on tire size (height) just maybe is about perfect too though with your OD unit it might work good with a 3.50 or the higher 3.73 my 65 F350 was orginally a 240 truck when I went to a 300 it was great except on the freeway the rear gearing was to low, back then couldn't afford an OD or a new set or lower gears. Best of luck
 

guhfluh

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If you need longer pushrods the 3/8" pushrods are readily available in .050" increments which make them less expensive than the 5/16"
The 5/16 pushrods need to be custom ordered in most cases.
Do you know of an inexpensive source for "off the shelf" 5/16" pushrods in predetermined lengths?
Good to know, I did not know that. I also didn't know a different length than stock would be needed with stock rockers and valves.
 

Pontus

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If you need longer pushrods the 3/8" pushrods are readily available in .050" increments which make them less expensive than the 5/16"
The 5/16 pushrods need to be custom ordered in most cases.
Do you know of an inexpensive source for "off the shelf" 5/16" pushrods in predetermined lengths?
Will I need custom length pushrods with the howards lifters and stock rockers on the stock promaxx head? I was going for the durability aspect of 3/8" rods since I'm increasing lift and heard reports of stock rods bending. The rods were missing from my engine so I need new anyway.

As for the high volume pump, I figured it would be better at low RPM high torque applications? It also seemed pretty ubiquitous in builds I've seen and a cheap upgrade. Is there a reason not to?
 

bubba22349

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With a Offy Dual port they were desined for the carb to set side ways with the 4V primary's next to the valve cover a simple cable throdle linkage (that I think you should all ready have) will pull the throdle open with out any problems.
 
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