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Old 10-11-2008, 01:45 PM
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hot rod van

I know the trend now is to more and more unusual vehicles for hot rods. I've been thinking for awhile about doing a Ford Aerostar van. Plans would be to drop it down, tub the rear end, put in a healthy V-8, etc. What do you think?
I'm really curious about how much size difference there is between the 302 and the 351W? I think the 302 is similar in width to the 4.0 that some vans have, but is the 351 much wider? Also, I'd like to use an AOD transmission. I'm guessing the one from the 351 also?...

I had one in the late 80's and liked it very much. I drug my race Jeep and trailer all over the countryside with it, and never had any trouble. They don't seem to be real heavy. And for whatever reason, I always kinda liked the body style. I've never seen one rodded, but saw one once that was made into a truck puller. It was pretty cool, considering. There are also quite a few of them around, and the price is reasonable.

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Last edited by dalesy; 10-11-2008 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:31 PM
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go for it!!!

a tubbed out aerostar would be a sight to see. i think it would be pretty cool to do and wouldn't be that hard to find parts for. i love those old vans...i guess its cuz i grew up i one of them. good luck with it!
ryan
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:09 AM
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The 351w is a bit taller than the 302 but not to worry as Ford put the 351 in a lot of vans..I have seen some nice ones and sometimes i wish I had mine back..

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Old 10-16-2008, 05:24 PM
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I'm curious as to what problems, if any, I may have from the computer. Is this something that you use the computer from the donor car, or is there a changeover setup available? Also, do the 302 and 351W use the same or similar motor mounts?
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:36 PM
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You said...Aerostar van..........Aerostars didn't come with V8s.......and from what I have seen of them, the V6 is a very tight fit in them. Not saying it can't be done, but I think you are going to be doing a lot of cutting in that doghouse area.....
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:01 PM
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Both the Aerostar and Chevrolet Astro/ GMC Safari have been used for that kind of swap before and there are web sites dedicated to these small vans to support those interested in doing the same.

If you are interested in all of the particulars of doing this swap, there are websites much like this one that are dedicated to supporting it.

I had a 350 in a Chevy Astro at one time, and I had once raced a Aerostar at Kalava with it.

The Aerostar won but overheated by the end of the day and had to be towed home.

It looked like it had a 351 in it.

Cooling is a serious issue with both Astro and Aerostar vans.

I took my fenders off and louvered them to vent the heat.

I was experimenting with the hood when I hit a deer and killed that project.
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:11 AM
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Before you try stuffing a V8 in an Aerostar, do me a pretend favor; pretend like you are going to change the cap, rotor, plugs, and wires on the stock V6 and then try to rethink your V8 plans. A simple tune-up on one of those things is the single worst nightmare I've ever seen, and I used to maintain a fleet of 53 vans.

Like I always say, anything can be done with a torch and a welder, but there is no such thing as dropping it in. You're talking major surgery. The Ford Factory shop manual outlines simple tune-up procedures that involve removing engine mounts, so a V8 is a huge undertaking.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:11 PM
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How much room is there behind the seats??

K
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis73
Before you try stuffing a V8 in an Aerostar, do me a pretend favor; pretend like you are going to change the cap, rotor, plugs, and wires on the stock V6 and then try to rethink your V8 plans. A simple tune-up on one of those things is the single worst nightmare I've ever seen, and I used to maintain a fleet of 53 vans.

Like I always say, anything can be done with a torch and a welder, but there is no such thing as dropping it in. You're talking major surgery. The Ford Factory shop manual outlines simple tune-up procedures that involve removing engine mounts, so a V8 is a huge undertaking.
As you are alluding to, both vans are miserable to maintain in their stock configuration; and that issue only becomes worse with a larger motor if you do nothing to change the van to accommodate your needs for maintenance accessibility.

I suspect that Dalesy knows about the maintenance issue since he said he owned an Aerostar in the past and liked it.

I know of a guy in Canada that has a Chevy 454 in an Astro.

He said that he has to drop the sub frame to change the spark plugs.

You can see his build on www.astrosafari.com
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:47 PM
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Sounds like a grand undertaking. However I think you could deck out a V6 and get away with it. My sons camero has a 2.8 liter V6 that we rebuild and it runs! Quite the little motor that one. If you are in fact wanting that V8 than you have some work to do, but I am sure you could get one in there. You doing anything with the frame and rear end? I would think you would need to put positive rear end, or does it already have one?
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:14 PM
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I believe the Aerostar vans have a real frame and many come with a good rear end.

The transmission and motor could use upgrading, but everything else should be refurbishment as is unless you feel like you need more.

The biggest problems I have with Astrovans are:

1) Rust.

2) Break lines (rust)

3) Fuel lines (rust)

4) Electrical (rust)
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