TWELVE QUESTIONS WITH BRIAN MORRIS.
|The Morris boys and their dad's van, which they affectionately refer to as "The Box".|
|Note the extended stock headlight grills. About 5" were added to each side. Subtle but tasty.|
|Note the relief in the wheel well? It cleverly allows for the Econoline's front windows to roll down completely.|
|Note the marking on the the underside of the door. This gives you an idea of how it was notched for the wheel well.|
A: We used a 1993 5.0 Mustang GT engine with a A4OD auto trans. We had to move it back about 2.5 feet so that it would fit. I basically moved the motor back as far as I could until the drive shaft was about 18 inches long, the minimum possible to allow the Air Ride suspension enough travel.
|The driveshaft ended up being about 18" in length.|
|Note the amount of setback of the engine itself.|
A:The front suspension was the toughest part. I decided on a Mustang II front end.
I was told over and over that it wouldn’t work, even by big suspension companies that have been building Mustang II front ends for years.
#6: What are you running out back, rear end and suspension-wise.
A: We went with a Ford 9-inch that we narrowed in my garage. It has 4:56 gears and positraction. Then, we set-up a triangulated 4-link with full Air Ride suspension.
|Note the rear wheel widths. We're not sure whether this is the 9" or the original rear axle used for mock up.|
A: No trade secrets as far as I’m concerned. We're all in this together, and I applaud anyone who attempts this kind of build. As we looked, we knew that steering was going to be our biggest challenge. Usually, when putting a rack and pinion in a car that did not have it from the factory, you are sitting behind it. I needed to be sitting in front of the rack. Why not flip the rack upside down? That’s what we did, cutting the mounts off the cross member and making new ones to work upside down.
|This is a great tip. Make note of this if your're lowering an Econoline.|
This is where Army of Six Vic from the Vintage Vans site was a big help. He’d used an Isuzu Amigo Steering box that is just a 90 degree in and out, with 1-to-1 ratio. That info was a lifesaver. I was able to cut the bottom of my steering column off and put a small bearing in it. Then I was able to use Borgeson joints to connect the Isuzu box, then some more joints to connect to the rack and pinion. It works perfectly.
#8: Didn’t you originally intend to make your Econoline like a Country Squire with wood inserts? What became of that plan?
|Brian used the dash from a 1956 Ford F100 in his van. We like.|
|This should give true Econoheads an idea of just how much the headlight buckets were extended.|
|Before and after.|
|About a foot of length needed to be added to make the dashboard work.|
|Note the Air Ride gauges and controls, the floor shifter and shortened steering column. It's a lot of work!|
Brian cleverly re-purposed stock Econoline switches for all functions, including the Air Ride suspension. Nice work,
A: I ordered the seats custom from a guy in Ohio. He built the four for me. I really just wanted it to be functional for me and my kids. We had to have the seats custom made because after the body drop, I needed the head room. Had to have seats with just 2 inches of seating cushion. I built the rest of the interior myself, did the carpet, the door panels, and I’ll be getting to the headliner this winter. The doghouse was a fabricated by my buddy Devon Larson.
A: I picked up a 1957 Mercury Travel trailer. It was about 14 feet long when I got it. When I put it behind the van, it looked way out of proportion, too tall and long.