The donor van became a donor when involved in the frontal collision that totaled it. The computer took a direct hit, and the mount for it was destroyed, along with 3 of the 4 pin connectors. Somehow it still ran, even though it sat for nine months, and the computer connectors would not stay plugged in.
While at the junkyard getting the dipstick tubes and valve cover previously mentioned, from one of the very well picked over 1992 Caprices came the pin connector end of the wiring harness.
Today I spent a couple of hours with a scratch awl and small screwdriver, dissassembling these, and pushing the cut Caprice wires out, and plugging the van harness wires in. It was a success. No spliced wires, and the computer is ready to plug back in correctly. Now all I need to do is get it flashed.
A full size van as a donor vehicle didn't set me up for the world's quickest, easiest engine swap. I have lots of problems to solve before I get to the normal parts of this operation.
Note the transmission dipstick and tube for the van protrudes well above where the hood will be when the car is assembled. The situation is the same with the oil dipstick, and the oil fill tube.
I drew a quick diagram of where a vacuum hose and the oil fill tube were located on my engine, and my usual approach is to go yarding looking for the answers to solve problems like these. My first thought was to look at the 90s bubble Caprices and Roadmasters, but they were of no help on the oil fill problem. Some of them had the oil fill on the other side, but most of them were pretty picked over and the parts I wanted were long gone.
I found the valve cover I needed on a 1995 Chevy truck, so the oil fill tube problem was easily solved. I returned to the Caprices and Roadmasters again, looking for the dipstick tubes. Most of these cars in the Pick N Pull were extremely well picked over (as advertised I guess), so the oil dipstick tube actually ended up coming from an older, square body 1980s Impala. I found a newly arrived Roadmaster that still had the transmission dipstick, so I bought that too.
At home, the oil dipstick fit fine, but the transmission tube was entirely different, and I couldn't use it. I ended up using the van tube, and cutting it way back. I mock fit it, then used a piece of tape to mark where I ended up cutting it. I also cut the dipstick, and carefully brazed it together. It doesn't look pretty, but it will do "for now", wink, wink. It will be good enough for this driver car.
The neighbor gave me an old medical lab cabinet. Shown in the first photo standing on it's side, on a furniture dolly. It's very heavy, has nice roller drawers, and is much cheaper than a real roll-around toolbox. If it's for free, it's for me.
I ground and sanded the drawer fronts, and scuffed the interiors. I bought two quarts of Rust Oleum paint, Sunburst Yellow, and Hunter Green. I combined them, and thinned them 1:1 with enamel reducer. I HVLP sprayed them, let them dry and reinstalled the handles. I found a scrap of plywood for the top, aerosol'd it black, screwed it to the top of the cabinet, and welded some Harbor Freight casters on the bottom.
It seemed like forever, but I finally have what I've never had, a permanant place to keep my tools.
The '63 project continues as I made a new crossmember out of some scraps I had around here. Time will tell if it will be sturdy enough. But for now, it's bolted in. The shortened driveshaft is also installed.
The side sleeves were made from some old 3/4" iron gas pipe. The center bar is the top rail from an old chain link fence. The mount tab is made from a scrap of square tubing that a friend gave me. My welding is not technically beautiful, but it should hold.
I'm working on a nice list of problems to solve next:
finalize engine location and fabricate front engine mount extensions
remove van oil fill tube and both dipstick tubes, probably replace with 90s Caprice parts from the local Pick N Pull.