Winter Project 2010/2011,

Little Red Van

Well the J69-T-25A had to get a new nesting place.
My wife and I spend a lot of Summer weekends
going to antique engines shows around Indiana
and most we have to spend the night. We have
slept in our box trailer and also have slept in a
tent. The wife suggested (demanded) that we get
a camper for the truck to have a bit nicer place
to spend the nights. Alas, that kinda spoiled my
fun with the Big Red Truck Jet Project, but an
air conditioned camper helps beat the hot and
humid Indiana nights.

My first thought was to get a small truck, like a
Chevy S10, but it would provide no protection if a
rain came up (also typical of Indiana Summers).
I then decided that maybe a small van would work
out better. I did some measuring and found that the
small J69 would fit in a Chevy mini van with room
to spare. Also, it would act as a storage shed for the
engine. I could also drive it places without getting
those strange stares as I did when it was exposed
in the rear of the truck.

After shopping around for a month, I found this
1998 Chevy Venture for a fair price and found
after buying it that it had air shocks. That solved
a big concern over the rear sagging under the extra
weight of the engine. I figured that the engine would
perform better as the van is a lot lighter than the
dually truck. A 1,000 pound thrust engine is rather
small for most jet engines. But, I am an old Geezer
and don't need to be setting speed records.

Since the engine is totally inside the van body, I
knew I would have to insulate against the heat. To
run the engine, I can open both sliding doors and
the rear hatch so there is a lot of free air to help
cool, but I still intalled aluminum covered felt pads
to the floor, roof, and sides. Installed is a 15 gallon
fuel tank. In theory, that is only enough for about
about 5 minutes of full thrust running.

The radio was missing (hey, it was a cheap van).
So, it gave me a great place to install the exhaust
temperature gauge and the tachometer. On the
console is the throttle lever, the ignition/starter
switch, and the start fuel solenoid switch. If you
have noticed, a lot of my pictures show snow on
the ground. That is because I do my building in
the Winter. The snow does finally melt away in

Here is a picture of me and my wife that a friend
took at a typical Indiana engine show. This was at
Steam Corner in the Spring of 2010. And, yes, I did
run the jet engine at this particular show. Even tho
this engine is older than some of the tractors that
are shown, I would not run a jet engine at most of
them, unless requested.


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