The engine rebuild is “done,” in the same sense that software is done.

It took six weeks and cost almost $3,000 including replacement parts. Ron Larsen and Ted King at Portland Engine Rebuilders took care to track down the right rod bearings and then discovered a major issue:

Basically the cylinder head was cracked. This 223 had been rebuilt more than 15 years ago and the crack was welded. But the weld had failed some time ago. So PER tracked down a replacement head in pristine condition and all should be good now.

So tomorrow Brett from McFarland’s Mobile Mechanics will do the install and hopefully the RETROvan will be drivable by happy hour.

My dad and I also got a good start on the helm console, or power station. We installed both Blue Sea Systems traditional metal circuit panels, one for AC and one for DC. Each panel is overkill, but they light up and have analog gauges. And that’s important.

Next, I modified and installed a cool iPad mount on the helm where a pontoon boat steering wheel would normally go. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching old TV shows on that iPad while my mom made her world-famous coconut meringue pie in the kitchen. This helm will serve as a safety bulkhead, and will also be a super cool design element for the passenger seat while driving, working or camping.

My retro JVC “Teeny Vision” TV also arrived from a collector on eBay, circa 1971 and in mint condition. It took a ton of research but I found an iView digital converter box that also serves up modern media attached via USB and routes it over an RF antenna cable. So imagine watching your favorite old TV shows on a tiny B&W screen with all the pops and buzzes.

Shows like The Twilight Zone, The Andy Griffith Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Outer Limits, Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan’s Island, The Addams Family, Get Smart, M*A*S*H, Star Trek and so on…

Much more to say, and more photos to add. The design is really coming together in SketchUp. I have the electrical system, the galley and the diner/berth mostly figured out. The berth will form a queen bed, even.

Stay tuned…

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