minivan into coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by canesisters, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2011
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    Hi All.
    I have an old Ford Aerostar minivan rotting into the ground behind my barn. (I think I've mentioned that on here before...) Anyway, I want to turn it into a chicken coop. I've talked with a few mechanics about how to strip the engine compartment and they've mostly been pretty discouraging. For the most part, it seems that this is something I'm going to have to PAY a garage to do. I have tools but little know-how. I contacted the local vocational school to see if the shop dept would like it to take apart - no go. I've got a call into the local auto recyclers to see if they'd strip it and return the shell... no response yet but I'm betting that they're not going to see it as a donation of parts.....
    Question - has anyone done this before? Someone suggested using the engine compartment for nest boxes (if I can manage access from the inside of the cab) - and I like that idea a lot... But, if the removing the engine/trans/etc isn't feesable, do I HAVE to get them out in order to have a safe environment for my girls?? It's been sitting over there for years - any harm to just letting it sit as is?????
    (although, I really do like the idea of nest boxes under the hood....)
     
  2. Young Heritage

    Young Heritage Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It should not be that difficult to remove the engine and transmission. Just start taking bolts and screws out untill everything but the moter and transmission mounts are left. Cut any wires. Scrap out the radiater and any copper and make a few bucks back. You can get a Chilton's manual for about $20 for the van and it should tell you how to remove anything on it. Biggest thing is getting the engine and transmission lifted out of the van. A come-along attached to a strong overhead tree or you can rent a cherry picker "engine hoist" pretty cheap. Just takes time and some banged up hands. I like the idea of turning it into a coop and making the engine bay the nest boxes.
     
  3. wattsjadajoe

    wattsjadajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Quote:Where are you located?

    I have been looking at vans for the same Idea!!!

    I have performed major mechanical work for years including building racing engines! I could help you if you are in my area. I'm in Colorado. Removing the engine and transmission is not that big of deal as long as you have a way of lifting them out of the van. Remember to keep them together to make things easier. I agree with all the above comments, and in addition..remember the fuel tank!! It should be under the rear of the van.

    Joe
     
  4. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd love the help!
    I'm in South East VA...... feel like taking a vaca??? [​IMG]
     
  5. wattsjadajoe

    wattsjadajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Quote:oops! A bit toooo far for me![​IMG]

    Another idea.... place an add on craigslist to see if someone wants the combo for the effort of removing them. Here in in my area people are stealing fence wire to scrap for cash! It is worth a try!

    Sorry I couldn't help.[​IMG]


    Joe
     
  6. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

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    There is an image of a van that appears sometimes on this site. It is adorable!

    I also have an old van that I have considered converting, but I had planned to leave the engine since the van runs (in low gear only). I figured I could move it around and drive it onto a hill to hose it out. I also liked the idea of cracking the windows at various times of year.

    I don't understand why you have to strip the engine out. Why not just gut the passenger compartment and put down rubber mats or something.
     
  7. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If anyone comes across that pict, I'd love to see it.

    I'm planning to cover all the windows and the passenger & driver doors with hardware cloth from the inside. That way I can open the windows and doors in nice weather for ventilation - even overnight. If I strip out the carpet then it should be easy to rake bedding out the back 'hatch' (ha ha) to clean it. The back seats are already gone since this was the tool truck for a construction company. I wonder if I can get the local fire dept to come by and remove the steering wheel with their 'jaws of life'? It would be easier to reno the inside withouth that thing sticking out there. hummmm..... wonder if the girls would like it hung from the roof as a perch?
    Any clever ideas for feed and water inside a van?
     
  8. wattsjadajoe

    wattsjadajoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2011
    Avondale, Colorado
    My Coop
    Quote:The steering wheel is easily removed. Should have 4 to 8 bolts on the inside under the dash and a bolt on the steering splines on the engine side of the firewall. Slide the entire assembly out from the inside of the van.
     
  9. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What a good idea, I hope you post lots of pics of your progress!
     
  10. Renthorin

    Renthorin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've stripped a few cars in my day (legally) and it's not difficult, just boring and very dirty. If you plan to use the engine area for anything I'd suggest you invest in a few cans of engine degreaser as it's probably slimed. Also, be careful removing the gas tank and lines. Brake lines can be messy too.

    Other than that...enjoy [​IMG]
     

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