How to Read this Blog

When I started this blog, I could not figure out, within the given parameters, how to get it to read logically. So it ended up with the freshest post on the top of the page with the top of the post being the beginning of the post. When you get to the end of the post, you will find the beginning of the previous post. A bit awkward, but is what it is. (right David?)

Also, feel free to leave comments. I engaged the annoying "real person verification thingy" because some dork put an add to his product on my blog and disguised it as a comment. He probably works on wall street.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Today I cut the cheese.

er...I cut the rusty Swiss cheese metal out of the core.
Tacked in some new steel.
Burnt it in. Did the same on both sides.
Made some patches for the attachment sites.
Burnt them in as well.
This one looks better.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today was a great day for grille-n.

I started this truck two years ago. From the beginning, I intended to keep the 1975/76 grille, ut I also wanted to have an intercooler. To make things worse, I planned to use a 2nd generation cummins intercooler, which is much bigger than the 1st generation intercooler. On top of all this, I will have air conditioning and will need a condenser behind the grille as well. This adds a lot of junk that was never intended to fit behind there. Well, today, with Hondo to keep me company, I figured it out.
Here is my original, rusty ol' core support. The long, oval-shaped holes are leftover from the 440 days. I used to get so much radiant heat in the cab that we would sometimes leave for camping in the middle of the night in the summer. I cut those holes to increase the air flow under the hood.
The first thing to go was this center grille support.
This is the 2nd gen intercooler. You can see The Great Vittorio in the background.
I forgot to tale some pictures, apparently. Maybe I will edit them in later. The next thing I hacked out of the core was a section of the box at the bottom so I could drop the intercooler as low as possible. This would take out some serious structure from this part that supports the hood, fenders, radiator, battery, etc, but I will combat that by grafting a piece of 1.5 inch box tubing along the bottom. By doing this, I will not need to use the body lift spacers under the core and it will be every bit as strong as original.

Then I had to cut a piece of the brace under the hood latch.

I am missing another picture here. Imaging how good the inter cooler looks with the top just under the above cut and the bottom flush with the bottom of the core support. I also blew some holes for the inlet and outlet tubes.

This shot shows the cooler under the grille. Now imagine the big ol' grin on my face. My teeth may even be showing.
The next thing to tackle is the condenser. On a 1st gen Dodge Cummins truck, the condenser is on the outside of the intercooler. There is now way this would fit behind this old school grille. My solution is to put the condenser between the radiator and the intercooler. I am hoping this will work. I do not know how much the intercooler will preheat the air before it reaches the condenser, but I will give it a try. To do this, the center support down the middle of the core support needed to go. In the picture below, you can see that I also cut out some of the metal below the condenser. I actually did not need to do this. I only needed to square the lower corners where they were rounded like the upper corners or the hole, as you can see in the pic. Since this core was all swiss-cheesey with rust that needs to be patched anyway, I just hacked it out of the way for now with a sawzall.This shot shows the missing center support. In the upper left corner, you can see where I marked for the hole for the connection point for the air conditioning hoses.So, now I have the condenser in, the intercooler in, the grille on, and the lower valance in place, well, almost.I'll try ti set this picture up. The silver on the right is the bottom lip of the grille. The little smile at the very top of the pic is the right turn signal lens hole. And, the long hole in the middle is the original hole in the 1975/76 valance. In the hole you can see the edge of the cooler. This is the part that is holding the valance out. The black lines are showing my plans for more chopping. In the pic, you can't see the contour of the metal, but if I cut this out, the valance will drop back at least an inch.
Rather than just chopping out what needs to come I will open up the whole hole. I hope to be able to make it look like it came this way. We'll see.
Here it is, engine side with the radiator in place.
Here, with the radiator out, you can see the connection block for the condenser.
This shot is looking down the hood latch opening. Red arrow = intercooler. Blue arrow = condenser. Yellow arrow = Radiator.
And, here it is all dressed for the party. I was so excited I even got out the ladder so I could get far enough away to get the hole thing in the picture.

A couple of other dents

This little dent is where the bed has made contact with the back of the cab somewhere in this truck's past.
Not so dramatic in the picks, but I punched some holes and used a slide hammer with a little tapping with a body hammer and pulled it out close enough to skim it with filler and make it go away.
This dent is under the front passenger door. I treated it the same as the other dent and got it pretty close as well. Forgot to pic the end result.

Rockin' the Rocker, part 2

Today, I got things cleaned-up where the rosette welds will be and got my patch trimmed to length. I massaged the crease out of the old rocker in front of the patch with a chunk of 2x4 and various pry bars. Here is the new section in place waiting the welder.
Another shot from below.
A shot of the sill.
This is what the seam looks like. It will look just like the factory seam.
This shot from down in the hole by the seat back shows the holes I made for the rosette welds. I got it welded-up today, but did not take final pictures. oops

Monday, December 20, 2010

Firewall thinking...

I am thinking this cab is from 1981. Build date is some time in 1980 anyway. It was originally a 4-speed truck with a mechanical clutch. It will now have a hydraulic clutch, but there is no provision for the clutch master cylinder. I have also heard that the big rectangular hole for the wiring harness bulkhead fitting needs to be moved a little.
Luckily, a friend had saved a piece of the firewall from a truck he scrapped. This is a close-up of the clutch cylinder hole and the bulkhead connector hole.
Lining up the brake booster hole and steering column hole I can locate where the hole needs to be. I can also see how the bulkhead connector hole needs to be shifted.
I should be able to cut the right side out of the rectangle hole and weld it into the left side. Then, I can use the appropriate hole saw to pop out the clutch hydraulics hole.

Rockin' the rocker

With the rocker section removed you can see two of the factory rubber plugs. I can't believe how clean the inside is.
Tomorrow, I will work on the remaining crease. Now I can get to the back side of it. I need to smooth out the spot welds as well.
Next, I went a-harvesting in my 1989 ram-garden. Before anybody wails about hacking-up a clean cab, this is the cab I cut the firewall out of for the ramcharger. It may need to give up its floor for said ramcharger as well.
Here is the "new" steel. This is straight and rust free.
This is a pic of the plate down in the hole. Looks like in 1989 they used even more gobs of goo-gob magic seam putty.
After an hour of drilling more danged spot welds and blasting my eardrums with the air chisel, I got the donor panel almost ready. Her it is sorta stuck up in place. Maybe I get it welded in tomorrow.

Bashed-in rocker.

I got some room back in the shop today and spent a few hours on the cab. Notice the damage to the rocker panel below the right rear door.
This is a really clean cab and this is by far the biggest blemish.
It looks like it is just a good bashing and no rust.
So, I started the arduous task of drilling out spot welds.
If I can get this panel off clean, I can fix the small crease that is forward of the seam.
This plate was held in place with copious amounts of factory putty-goo. It was down in the hole in the bottom cab corner behind the rear seat seat-belt.
This is a picture down in the hole where the plate came out. More blasted spot welds.

Got the ramcharger out of the shop today.

My buddy at M&H machine got me set up with the 4:10 gears. I got the axle back and in the truck over the weekend. This Dana 60 axle came out of a donor chassis that had been in a nasty wreck. The tie rod was bent in the middle at a right angle. When I put the axle under the ramcharger I stole the tie rod from my crew cab. I ordered a new chromoly tie rod from M&H to replace it.

I also bolted the body back on without the body lift. I had to go out today and find some new bolts the right length for the mounts without the spacers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Duke of the Day was The Sons of Katie Elder. Billy is trying to convince the Duke and Dean Martin not to look into their father's death, or something like that.
You are right, this is not my crew cab. Once again, the Cummins Ramcharger is taking time, energy and money away from completing the crew. Not long ago, I replaced the raggedy old worn-out Dana 44 with a Dana 60. I can't remember if I updated the rc blog with that, but, long story-short, the 44 had 4:10gears as did the rear axle. The 60 had 3:54 gears which I worried would be too tall for the 37" tires I am now running on it. I was planning on replacing the Ramcharger's rear axle, also a Dana 60, with a Dana 70 with 3:54s from one of my donor trucks, but the taller gear ratio kept nagging at me. So, instead, I bought a Dana 60 carrier with 4:10 ring and pinion and decided to have M&H machine install them for me. To save a little money and not have my truck tie up their shop, I stripped the axle and pulled it out completely and just took them the housing. When I get it back, I will have 4:10s front and back.

Okay, that might have been the long story. The fun part of this was that my son and my daughter's boyfriend helped me pull it out. It is important for him to know that I know my way around power tools and, thus, aught to treat my daughter right.
So, while the Ramcharger was tying-up my shop and not wanting to add the expense of a body lift to this project, I remembered the 1 1/2" spacers in the Ramcharger. It had a body lift when I bought the carcass, but I do not need it anymore since I tweaked the rear of the front fender openings to clear the 37" tires (probably did not update that on the rc blog either). Anywho, I pulled these spacers out of the RC and lowered the body down to the stock isolators. Now I won't need to jump quite as high to get in.
Back to the crew... Here is one of the spacers on top of the new isolator at the front right cab mount.
Crappy pic of the right rear cab mount.
Mission accomplished, The cab now just clears the fuel tank by a little under 1/2". The floor clears the bell housing, tranny,and transfer case. All is good and the price was right.
Here they are, side-by-side.