Shopping for Parts for My 1967 Chevy Van 350 Engine Conversion Project

Tuesday July 12, 2016 Guerneville CA.

Parts for the Chevy 350 V8

Today, the plan was to go to Santa Rosa and get all the parts and stuff I need to install my new V8 engine in my 1967 Chevy van. Since I’m converting it from a 250 six cylinder inline, to a 350 V8, I need all the parts that go on the engine as they don’t come with the crate engine I purchased.

It takes a lot of parts

When I ordered the engine from the Chevy Crate Engine Depot guys I  purchased all the Chevy parts that they had for it, but there’s lots of stuff they just don’t carry anymore on old style engines, so it’s necessary to go somewhere and try and get all the other stuff.

So, after I got it going this morning, I headed out to Santa Rosa. I decided to go to a place called PepBoys auto parts or something like that. I wanted to just look through their merchandise which I did. While I was there I remembered this was the place I bought some weather stripping I used on the van awhile back. I need some of this stuff to seal up the engine compartment once I cut it in half. Seems I bought something else there too, but darned if I can remember what. :O)

Home depot was right next store and I wanted to look for latches to hold the cut in half engine compartment back together, so I had a look at their cabinet stuff and the stuff in their fasteners section but didn’t find anything I could use.

Ok, so I bought some chocolate too

Wally’s was right next door to that which at first I thought I didn’t need to go to, but then I was thinking I’m going to need some black spray paint to repaint all my undercarriage stuff as long as I have it all opened up, so in I went and bought four cans of black and two cans of gray for repainting the engine compartment. Yeah, ok, I bought two chocolate bars too.

Since I wasn’t successful finding any latches for the van engine compartment I headed on over to a big hardware store called Freemans’s Hardware. I had some luck and found two latches called draw latches or over center latches that I will use to pull the two engine halves together to seal them up and give them some support.

Johnny Franklin’s Muffler Shop

Next I continued on up the road to my muffler guys called Johnny Franklin’s Muffler. I saw Bobby, the original owners son behind the counter. He’s about my age and has been around for a bit and I know him a little so I approached him and asked what he thought of me putting on pipe headers as compared to what most cars have, cast iron ones.

He told me the ins and outs of the pipe headers and said since I’m not racing, I’d be better served with the cast iron headers that the exhaust exists out the back side as compared to exiting from the center.

My next question was, since I’m past my younger state, loud mufflers aren’t in with me anymore and I’d like the van to be more on the quiet side. He drew me pictures of all the different types of mufflers stating how loud and what kind of performance they had. I settled on the one that had the least noise for the best performance. They had a demo muffler exhaust system put together up on the sealing. I had him tell  me how they would do each part on my van and be sure not to block anything from a mechanic taking a part off. They seem to have it pretty well together.

I asked him if I should have my van brought to the shop with my AAA tow truck or just drive it in staying off the fast roads. He said there is no problem with driving it down as long as we stick rags in the ends of the manifold when I arrive to let things cool more slowly. He said if a CHP gets you they usually follow you to the shop. :O)

I did it last time

I drove down without an exhaust system last time I had to have an exhaust system installed and as long as I stayed off the fast roads, I didn’t have to run the engine very fast and it didn’t really make that much noise. At least I didn’t think it did from inside the van. I prefer that instead of lining up a tow truck and using up one of my four tows I get a year in the AAA Plus package as I might need them later. :O)

I thanked him and headed off to the parts place where I was going to spend some money.

Smothers Parts International

I just had to drive down the road a bit to a place called Smoothers Parts International. Steve sent me down to see Cindy and use his wholesale account. He considers Cindy the best and will only use her when he does business there.

So anyway, I drove down and parked and went in and went around the front counter guys to the back where Cindy’s desk was along with a few other guys that handle the wholesale side of business.

Having a list is helpful

I introduced myself and told her what I needed and luckily I had a list of what I thought I needed which is always helpful. Right away she said she couldn’t cross reference the GM part numbers I had written down for her, but I sorta suspected that was going to happen, so we pushed on. Everything isn’t real straight forward when looking for parts for these engines, especially for gong into  something as old as my Chevy van. We hunted through her books and made some progress. When she got stuck, she asked one of the guys and they started hunting for parts too. We had to go out in their store more than once to find parts on the selves. One of the times while out in the store,  she apologized for not knowing more about this and I replied that most of the people that did are dead and I should of said some are retired too, but I think most of those older guys have passed on.

In the end we found most of the stuff and had to order only two items, motor mounts and a dual water pump pulley. Things I purchased from this store where a clutch kit,  thermostat and housing, oil filters, exhaust manifolds cast iron, intake manifold aluminum for a four barrel that my TBI unit adapts to and a gasket rebuild kit for the TBI as it’s leaking,  Platinum spark plugs, spark plug wires, a one wire alternator as I’m upgrading from the external regulator one as it’s just time to do it. I also got a pulley for the water pump and one for the damper that I think might not work. And a block off plate for the mechanical fuel pump I don’t need. I see I missed the intake and exhaust gaskets which I’ll get when the ordered parts come in.

I wasn’t able to get the brackets for the alternator yet, I may be able to adapt the one from the old six engine. The bracket has to be either on top or on the bottom as there’s no room on the sides. I left that open as I need to see the new engine to see what I need.

Overall, Cindy and her guys did a great job of finding the stuff for  me.

I paid out something like nine hundred and fifty dollars for the stuff and headed out for Costco as it was on the way home where I shopped for a few items and went on home from there.

I was beat when I got home and a long nap was in order.

River’s mouth has opened up

On another note.

I heard from Steve who was down at Jenner kayaking for the day. He said the river’s mouth was wide open. Remember what I said about someone breeching the sand bar with a shovel and the mouth would go out, well, it did.

That was my day. Very productive.

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2 Responses to Shopping for Parts for My 1967 Chevy Van 350 Engine Conversion Project

  1. Bob says:

    I got mine at Wal-mart in the auto section, but most auto parts places carry them for six or seven dollars. Despite what some people say, I have found them effective in stopping most deer from crossing in front of me. Most either just stand and watch or leave.

  2. kayakerboy says:

    did you buy deer whistles at pep boys? that is where i got 2 sets for my subbie and jeep

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