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Chappers Reader
1/9/21 7:18 p.m.

Back in 2016 I took a break from the Austin Mini resto to build myself a truck. 
The following posts are taken from a forum I posted to back then. So cast your minds back to good old 2016!


 Hey ladies and gents,

Almost finished on my slightly odd first hot rod build, I found this forum and started to browse the threads on here and was taken aback at the sheer amount of talent out there, beavering away in workshops, barns and garages all over! Feeling inspired, and although I've been pretty busy on the build, I thought I'd take a few minutes to share a few pictures of my build journey. 

Now I'd always been a fan of pre and post war American trucks, but I've always had to be a distant admirer, having not been born on this fair land, only until I was in my mid 20s did I arrive on this continent and able to get my hands on some US machinery.
I cut my teeth working on old British stuff while in the UK, classic mini coopers to be precise. 

I didn't really consciously think that I would ever have the chance to own a classic truck until something hit me. I was nursing a classic Audi quattro as my daily driver, constantly fearing what would break next or where to park it that it would be safe and not get scratched. A car so precious to me and the Audi community for its rarity and unbelievably perfect condition, however worth so little that fixing the AC would cost half as much as its worth.
At that time I was contemplating selling the Audi and buying something boring as my next DD, something I can't bring myself to do...

Meanwhile I read a forum thread which got me a trifle excited, nestled within a retro themed forum designed to host European retro unicorns, a yank with a master plan, to combine modern American practicality and muscle with old timey farm truck clothing, keeping the patina rich body allowing a modern practicality DD and a park it anywhere and use it classic...
I was inspired, not just because the idea combined the two things I was looking for for my next DD. But because it was going to be cheap, within a reasonable budget ...

A plan was hatched, a cursory phone call to my bank manager, the beautiful Mrs non grata.... the reply "you have to sell the Audi first"....

I was attached to the Audi, I had wanted one for years, I searched for the perfect example, I'd found it, I had it, it was to be mine forever. Erm well.....250k miles and its a ticking time b*mb...time for its next owner.
It took 1 day to sell it, I didn't even have time to have 2nd thoughts, sold for the asking price...gone....

So I had my plan, I had the money, I had no DD.... 
I bought the donor for what was going to be the powertrain for my new "vintage" Daily driver

2005 dodge durnago 5.7 hemi AWD

More to come.....

Chappers Reader
1/9/21 7:32 p.m.

17 hour solo trip

Too modern for ya? Yeah thought so... and ugly too right? Well good job I start reconstructive surgery later on...

Now the Durango was cheap, very cheap, why? because it smelled like the a** end of a dog? Yep you bet! It also had some body damage here and there ( I was obviously not bothered about) and the engine misfired.
The misfire could have been a number of things, but I used it to beat the guy down on price..

At home I pulled the codes, misfire on #2 and #6, I checked the valve springs and all seemed OK, so I changed the coils and hey presto, a V8 again.
This was June 2016, i continued to use the truck as is for 1 month, to weed out any other issues and also hunt for my other purchase, the vintage one....

Craigslist did it again, I'd found a cool 1955 GMC 3100 just down the road in Tennessee, all solid, about 17 different colors and rust for about the cost of the trailer rental to get down there.
I organised the trailer and a day off, but the night before, the guy (much to his credit) text me to let me know it was sold.

Well I got back on CL and searched further afield, and there it was, in Wisconsin, a really solid looking 1951 IH L110 in its splendid original green paint with added rusty patches. Man i knew it was the one.

I haggled a but on the price to get it within my budget, rented a trailer, borrowed a big truck and hit the interstate. 
Now when you go and pickup a vintage truck, you take wheel dollies, a floor jack a winch, and a couple of buddies for help right?
Well I didn't have any of those things, I bought a ****ty little come along, a couple of tow straps and I went by myself. Looking back I'm an idiot.

I got there after a 7/8 hour trip, and the PO had already got the truck on some wheel dollies as the tires were shot, (I did had the foresight to take a large compressor with me, but the tires would not hold any air).
Now what struck me straight away was the sheer size of the truck! I hadn't realized the scale of the thing, look again at the photo of the truck in his garage, that garage was HUGE, it made the truck seem smaller by comparison! I really doubted if I was going to get it on the trailer, and you will see how close it was in the next photo.
I was also surprised at how much it weighed, it's so solid, the metal is 16 gauge (twice the thickness of modern stuff!) We tried to push it out of the garage closer to the trailer, but it would not budge.
Luckily the PO had a Jeep with a winch, so we were able to rig up a pulley arrangement to drag the truck onto the trailer. 

The drive home I was so giddy, on my own for 9 hours, tired to hell, pumped every time I looked in the rear view mirror at what was looking back at me! My own vintage truck, my first ever pickup truck, and she was awesome! I had thumbs up from cool people that passed on the interstate, I had disapproving looks from others and most didn't even notice me at all. But to me she was beautiful, and she was mine!

Just fits on the trailer

I got home at 2:30am, frustratingly the last 50 miles of my journey took 2 hours due to some construction (the only hold up on the whole journey). I reversed the railer onto the drive and hit the hay.
I had managed to cajole some friends into helping "push" the truck off the trailer in the morning. Dutifully they arrived at 8am, not knowing what truck I had bought. 
They were a little shocked with what they saw, I heard the word 'asylum' uttered at least twice, but they were good sports and we "tried" to push the truck. It took well over 2 hours to get that thing off, in the end Menards was visited for more come alongs and tow straps and we rigged something up macgyver would be proud of. The truck came off with a fight and we slid it home next to my 1960 Austin cooper...

Here's some shots my wife took of the exercise.


Next installment I get quite dirty and hurt....

Chappers Reader
1/9/21 7:40 p.m.

Of mice and men

that smell of ammonia, I could tell straight away what it was, used on the crops in the fields near my place of work, we also use it in our tests at work to inject into the exhaust system of modern diesel engines to make them emissions compliant. 
It gets into your nostrils and burns the hairs....

See the holes in the seat, the holes in the door trim panels and headliner? Made from rodent friendly cardboard, perfect for making a nice mouse metropolis. removal of the seat sounded akin to those wooden percussion instruments that simulate rain. Instead of making music it showered the floor with thousands of mouse presents...

Lifting the floor mat, unveiled another ecosystem of dirt and maggots.
Probably fed by decaying corrugated cardboard used as underlay..

Although I was shocked to find a pristine firewall, its a shame that most of it won't be staying.....

Most of the parts came apart with much less fuss than I had anticipated, only fired up the grinder to section the bed and remove the rotten floor.

Stripped of her front end and her dignity, I proceeded to decapitate her...

The chassis was then dragged out by the 'Rango and offered free to whoever came first with the right equipment to haul it away, which generated quite a lot of interest on CL, but took 4 or 5 attempts until eventually someone competent arrived. I don't like doing CL business at my house either so I showed them where it was, garage door closed, no questions answered about its origin... Also the HOA I live in would not take too kindly to my new "yard art"...

The next steps were to start to repair the IH parts and get them ready for their new re-purposed home....


Chappers Reader
1/9/21 7:54 p.m.

Porous metal, patches and Por15 painting

what are those black marks under football players eyes? Eye black? used to reduce glare but has the added benefit that it makes them look tougher it would seem...

Well I sort of had that in mind when I looked at this

Where the original turn signals were i guess were soem rust traps that hold all the stuff thrown off the front wheels.

What to do with this mess? Make it original or make a big patch and let it rust from the front to match the rest of the rusty patina, but protect from the back with POR15?
Well I called in to my local scrap recycle/steel yard and they sell offcuts of anything, I grabbed some 16 gauge offcuts.

I cut out all the rotten metal and make these huge patches, that did away with the original turn signal recess but followed the curve of the headlight, I ground back the welds, (not that pretty with fluxcore)

I made a template with card originally, so I just had to flip over the template to make a patch for the other side, ta da!

Here it is outside, image flipped upside down to see what it looks like.

It was 100F outside, so whats better than wearing full length clothing and painting POR15 over all the insides of the body panels? I'd already wirewheeled all the loose rust off, the paint went on a treat and I used 1/2 a can.

So I already got sweaty and dirty stripping the IH and prepping it ready for its marriage with the Durango, but when did I get hurt? I hear you say...


paddygarcia New Reader
1/9/21 9:32 p.m.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

jfryjfry (FS)
jfryjfry (FS) Dork
1/9/21 9:53 p.m.

More please

Chappers Reader
1/9/21 9:59 p.m.

Durango's turn...

I was actually quite sad to start chopping the 'Rango really, sure it smelled as bad as it looked, but it was solidly built and had all the creature comforts...I guess that what you get for truck that cost a $35k new.

That solid build quality is a bad thing when it came to tearing it apart, it absolutely kicked my butt. It took over a week to tear apart, the most difficult being the interior, just when I removed a layer, there would be another sub layer and so on...

I saved everything that unbolted, and unplugged and labelled every connector. I started the tear down August 9th 2016.

The dashboard took a while, and I originally wanted to keep the HVAC in situ, as I had already had the AC gassed up, but I had to eventually give in and remove it...

Once all the interior had been stripped, and wiring removed, I could break out the sawsall...

I removed the windshield with a guitar string pulled tight, that was a work out right there!

Right, pause. See the rear part of the roof still intact? Even thought its modern sheet metal and subsequently thin, its still quite heavy, something to do with making it safe in case of rolling over or what not..
How would you go about cutting and removing the roof on your own, safely? Would you cut it into a few small pieces, throw a tow strap around it, maybe those handy dandy roof rails that are attached up there could be used to support the weight with a engine hoist? 
I previously told you I'm an idiot, and like all idiots I like to aim for efficiency in this situation, go big, go fast, ninja. Including the footwear. See those pictures above where I'm painting the panels, sat like a small child (yes even at 32 I sit like I'm 10!) I'm wearing some sort of "vans" style foot wear. Yeah, don't wear those in the garage, especially while welding, cutting, handling heavy pieces of razor sharp metal etc..

Don't worry it's not as gory as I'm making out, and I still have all limbs and digits. I just had to throw those shoes away due to one of them filling up with a lot of my own red stuff..

I sliced the roof into 2 pieces, a cut along the middle, and 2 cuts below the rear windows, so they resembled delorean doors. I managed to wrestle one side down to the floor and propped it against the wall, while I turned around to grab the next side, it slid down the wall and shoved full force into my ankle, I looked down and thought ah well, its just a scratch, until I pulled my leg away and it was stuck on a pointed, sharp, jagged edge of steel. It probably went in until it touched something hard, like my ankle bone. It sliced something main vein like because it started pouring. I hobbled to the house and called to Mrs non grata, where I got all the sympathy you would get from someone working in TSA! I was told to get out of her kitchen as I was dirty and blood was getting on her rug. But she did throw to me some sort of towel so I could stem the bleeding.
I must have a lot of white blood cells though because it stopped pretty quickly and I lived. 

But lesson learned, I did throw those shoes out and dig out my ankle boots....

Chappers Reader
1/9/21 10:10 p.m.

more S&M action for the Harvester

I could spread this out more, but I'm currently laid up in bed sick with a stupid head cold or the plague? Probably the plague, as a cold doesn't really sound manly enough....

I digress.

Where were we last? The Durango was retaliating. So I kept on hacking it apart, and just like any car killer I disposed of the body parts bit by bit in the local dump over a series of days.. that'll teach it.

I just kept cutting until all I had was one rolling chassis with partial floor, trans tunnel and firewall. These pics were taken August 18th.

I wasn't planning to run the Durango chrome rims and tires, so in the meantime I scoured CL for a set of Dodge Ram 17" Steel wheels, and a set of tires. I found the wheels about 2 hours away, and I bought them out of the back of an ambulance! The guy was a paramedic on call and met me in a parking lot off the interstate in the ambulance, it was all very surreal...

I got some Dunlop tires from a local chap who had just taken them off his 2015 4runner after 5k miles to put mud terrains on. So I knew they were OEM fitment tires and pretty new to boot.
I sanded, primed and painted the wheels satin black and had the tires mounted and I think they look rather splendid. Even tried on the IH hubcaps and they would fit nice with some retaining clips.

I cleaned up the 'Rango rims and sold them on CL for about what I paid for the ram wheels and Dunlop tires.

About this time I spotted I had ****ed up the windshield on the IH, even though it had some large scratches from someone running it without wiperblades. I hadn't covered it up while I was grinding on the front end in the garage. so there were tiny molted blobs of metal in it, grrr I thought. As I really wanted to use that windshield for a while until I could find a new one. 
So I taped the glass up inside and out, welded in a cross brace inside the cab and proceeded to cut the floor out! 
Well it didn't go that fast...I measured the Durango firewall, then the IH firewall, then back to the Durango, then back to the IH, and so on and so on.... until at last I was sort of happy with my sharpie marks, I took a grinder to it.


I stood back, admired my lack of handiwork, my hands were filthy with Harvester grime, I felt like I had committed an atrocity, our S&M session had gone much further, possibly too far......I sat in a corner and rocked back and forth....

Chappers Reader
1/9/21 10:18 p.m.

Giant leaps and false hope

if you ever want to loose a few pounds, don't go to the gym and run on a never ending walkway, build a truck, in summer, by yourself, and spend every day and evening doing just that...
you wont have much of a life, and your family wont see you, you will only be known as the filthy bearded man who lives in the garage and makes loud noises..

Luckily I have a very "understanding" wife, meaning she is fed up of chauffeuring me to work and wants me to finish my truck!
So in an attempt to appease her a little I thought I'd change one thing that she complains about, the beard. My 6 month experiment was not well received my Mrs non grata, so I underwent facial reconstructive surgery, and became a child again. The ironic thing then was that she didn't like it! She wanted beard, but not BEARD! AH its so simple to know what they want right? Well it will grown back, and my goal is to have facial insulation again by the time winter hits us...

So the next few steps were actually giant leaps forward, I've not somehow overlooked a ton of photos in between, they really are 2 days apart or something like that.
You wheel the cab into place, then drop it over the floor, simple!

Erm, nope. The cab didn't exactly plop straight on, the durango firewall and floor were still too wide and needed chopping 5" from the drivers side and 1" from the passenger side as measured from the centerline of the floorpan.
Eh? hang on. 5" and 1"? I cut the door frames off the firewall at exacly the same point on either side? How does it end up being uneven?
Lots of measuring later I saw it, wasn't obvious at first, but the engine, trans and subsequently the tunnel were shoved over to the passenger side a good 2-3"! Thanks Chrysler...
So my centerline on the trans tunnel was not in fact the centerline of the truck at all.

So I measured underneath at the chassis to body mounts and used those as the reference points and determined that I had to chop 2-2.5" from each side. Which I did and also chop into the cross brace on the floor to allow the narrower cab to fit over. 
Then to make sure it was in a good position I would need to drop the doghouse on and bolt it onto the cab. Hence the picture of it looking rather like a truck.
But really its just a mock up, giving me false hope that I was further along than I really was. 

Meantime, I had Durango parts listed on CL and Ebay, and someone wanted to buy some parts, that meant I could buy a 80cuft bottle of 80/20 gas for the Mig and convert it over and get some much nicer welds where I needed them, welding the cab to the floor.....

Next I impersonate an 11 year old russian gymnast and climb inside the harvester foot well for a weldathon....

Chappers Reader
1/9/21 10:25 p.m.

seam sealer is not underarm deodorant!

So with my buzz box Miller welder now converted, I could proceed and confidently tackle the stitching ancient and modern together, I'd love to tell you that it was a match made in heaven and the gaps for welding were mm precision and I just had to clamp the two panels with panel clamps and merely glance it with the end of my welding torch and they were forever entwined!
Well no, the sheet metals are different gauges for a start, the cut lines I made were not exactly straight, and there were holes in the firewalls where I didn't want holes, plus the bends and curves of the firewalls were totally mismatched.

So I would use 16 gauge sheet metal to fill the gaps, make one side fit the harvester and the other fit the durango, tack weld on, bash it into shape with a copper mallet until I could get another tack, eventually I could seam weld it up and move onto the next difficult intersection. I worked around the engine side of the firewall like that and inside the firewall/cab, and down onto the floor, working my way around, sometimes it was a tight gap and I didn't need a patch.

Once I got that done I wire brushed and used brake cleaner and zinc primer over the welds on top and underneath the cab. 
Then I got some seam sealer and went round on top and underneath and filled everything. Man am I bad with a caulking gun, I cannot operate it smoothly or consistently. While underneath a huge glob of it fell down and rolled down my t shirt and into my armpit, now this stuff is super sticky and you cannot get it off anything! Plus it has hardener in it, which is a horrible chemical that burns. How do you get this crap out of armpit hair while its burning you? well you cant, you have to shave that stuff off! yep I then had a bald left armpit.

I knew that I wanted to run the original cowling vent and make it function into the Durango HVAC, so I had to first cut the inside of the cab a little to allow the HVAC blower to fit sort of inside the footwell cavity and then I built a duct that will take fresh air from the cowling vent to the fresh air vent in the HVAC.

I have some better pictures of it later on.

I then cut out all the bracing from the cab as it was not going anywhere. and turned my attention to getting the doghouse mounted.
I cut about 6-8" off the original frame horns and fabricated new cross brace and radiator brackets.
This was all painted with POR15 before I fitted the front end on.


I looked at the tire tuck inside the squared off fender well and thought that looks cool, but I bet it wont turn. Well I was surprised that it did, the pivot point of the wheel is such that when the wheel turns it doesn't contact the fender.
UNLESS I happen to turn hard and hit a bump hard at the same time that is....

The next installment I find out if I can fit inside and drive it, or is it only fit for the mice which once inhabited it....

Chappers Reader
1/9/21 10:47 p.m.

Durango is moving in

One thing I forgot to mention in the above post, I removed the fuel tank for all the welding.

now I retained the Durango firewall so I could easily reinstall the Durango steering column/wheel, pedals etc..
the problem was the IH cab is narrower, the dashboard is shallower and the length of the cab is shorter. 

So all the wiring, including the fuse panel down in the drivers footwell had to go back in a more cramped space, along with the parking brake mechanism. If you've ever tried to solve one of those Chinese puzzles you'll know what I was dealing with..
But I got it all in there, sort of, and it doesn't get in the way too much. 

At this point I had reconnected all the wiring, so I hooked up the battery, turned the key and it fired up! Pretty pleased I hadn't screwed anything up I could continue....

The steering wheel sits more pronounced from the IH dash, it not horrendous though, so I'll go with it. However using the original aluminum bracket attached to just the firewall meant it was a little too unsecure, I needed to make a brace from the bracket to higher up the firewall, but also allow the instrument cluster and wiper mechanism to fit. 
I came up with a very shallow brace that triangulated it just enough that the steering feels damn solid.

Which allows me to put the cluster just under the top dash rail

I threw in a front seat, hooked up the battery and pushed it back as much as it would go before it hit the back of the cab

I'm around 5'10" and I could JUST fit in, the steering wheel almost sits in your lap. So I thought how about trying the middle bench seat from the Durango[/img]
I managed to convince Mrs non grata into helping me carry the bench seat back up from the basement and plonking it in the cab.

Well it looks cool, and its a 3 person bench too, perfect! Except it doesn't exactly fit, the trans tunnel and the seat frame couldn't have been a worse match up. Way more effort required to make it work, plus it would be fixed position and the seat backs don't recline or anything.
I decided that for now, I would fit the fronts and live with a more upright seat back. While I drive it around I would keep an eye out for a Dodge Ram front bench seat, as it would probably be a far better fit to the Durango floorpan.

So I proceeded to fit more Durango interior parts into the harvester cab, the fact that the floor pan was Durango meant the console would drop straight in.

The Harvester dash had to be chopped a bit to allow the Durango cluster to be fitted.

And the center console HAVC controls were fitted onto little tabs I welded onto the Harvester dash. 

I shampoo'd the original carpet, cut it to size and threw that it, along with the front seats again to get a look at it all.
I was pretty pleased that it all fits, pretty snug, but I now had a 1951 Harvester with electric, heated front seats, HVAC, dual climate control, power steering, power brakes, cruise control, and the instruments all worked.

Now this is the point in the build where things are going slower, small parts take way longer than the big stuff, I made a small mounting pod for the headlight switch and adjustable pedal switch. It took me hours to make and bolt in, and its just a small piece of the puzzle..

Time to make some more drastic improvements I thought....




Chappers Reader
1/9/21 11:00 p.m.

20 foot maiden voyage

Irony. Don't you just love that feeling?

Having beavered away in the summer heat, throwing away one T shirt a day as I had to physically rip it off, soaked in sweat and grinder dust. My wife would order me to strip off in the garage and marched me SS style to the shower...
Why then the day I decide it could be the maiden voyage of this contraption does it decide to pour down with rain? Not the humid summer rain, but the cold fall type rain, "Where were you when I needed cooling down you Son of a bitc...."

So I'd hooked the fuel tank back up for the second or third time, ( I can't remember) I'd run 1 gauge battery cable to the battery now precariously placed on the muffler heat shield (perfect place for it?). I had 2 seats sort of fitted.
I dragged the doors up from the basement and refitted them, took about 1/2 hour per side to play around with the hinge adjustment to allow them to close properly.

Hang on. Why does the tire now look like its tucked way under the fender, so much it probably won't turn? 
Ah stupid me had not accounted for the extra weight of the interior and the doors! I would have to have a think about what to do and come back to that...

I decided my 4yo son needed to come along for its maiden voyage of 20 feet down the drive

I tell you what, it made it all worth it, all the time, my body damage, the money, when I saw his face..my future wrenching buddy.

This was September 17th. 

Heres some arty shots my wife took that day.

Next time it gets structural, while I make a bed.....

Chappers Reader
1/10/21 10:01 a.m.

GRM folks; Sorry about the crappy photos plastered with PhotoBucket watermarks, I seem to have lost my original photos and these are just downloads from the original forum posts. later on in the build story I have the original higher quality photos I can upload. 

whats 8 inches between friends?

Until now you're probably thinking, man that durango chassis is made for the harvester body, it just plonks on top, everything lines up, takes about 2 months of work and away you go...

well no, not quite that good of a match. The wheel base on the harvester is 127" an the Durango is 119"
The track width on the Durango is wider, but thanks to the wide fenders on the Harvester the wheels fill the fenders perfectly at the front, would they fill nicely at the back too?

I would need to complete the next step and fit the bed and the rear fenders. But first how do we reduce the Harvester wheelbase to 119"?
Well chop 8" out of the bed of course...

See that rotten part in front of the rear wheel? That was completely rotted out from the truck being sat with water in the bed, the floor had rotten out and that side too. It was also where the spare wheel mount was bolted to.

I cut 8" out from just between the swage line in the side of the bed and the fender, so as to keep that swage feature. I used the chopped out part as filler material to rebuild the rotten part. It looks like a patch work quilt, and I quite like it.

More importantly I could offer it up along with a fender to see what it might look like, eventually...

Needless to say, it gave me a boost to carry on! I think it looked rather awesome.

I needed to make a frame work on the chassis that would hold the bed sides, and rear panel (is that whats its called?), tie it all together and provide a level platform to bolt some wood to later on. After a few nights of chopping and welding I was getting somewhere.

More cross braces added, 5 in total. the height is dictated by the highest part of the chassis, so at the mid point of the chassis towards the cab end of the bed I have a 1ft deep space where I plan to build a trunk, which also houses the battery.

The rear panel was notched out to allow the factory tow hitch to protrude through.

Its rather solid and I can jump up and down quite a lot on there and its going nowhere. I also don't plan to use this truck to haul tons of mulch/dirt whatever, so I think it will be fine.

I need to get some better pictures of the bed sides with the sectioning and patch work, and add them on here later..

So with that done, I thought about how to tackle the now rather lowered front end. 3 options.
Either chop the fenders out - too drastic
shim up the front end and open up the holes at the fender to cab and shove the front end up - a lot of work
crank up the torsion bars - could change the camber somewhat.

I decided to crank those torsion bars...I jacked up the front enough that the tires were off the floor. Liberally coated the preload bolts with PB blaster, marked the original positions, cranked the bolts in 3 full turns, this gave me 1-1.5" inch ride height increase. I didn't notice much of a change in the camber angle (obviously not measured) but I think it looks alright!



L5wolvesf HalfDork
1/10/21 10:04 a.m.

Long story I’ll attempt to make short. Back in the late 70s a friend and I were up near Lake Isabella CA at a big hilly property his uncle owned. One evening we were tossing a Frisbee around and it got caught by a breeze and floated down to the clearing below. On the side of the clearing was an abandoned 50s-ish pickup. From 10 feet away it looked exactly like yours. And I do literally mean EXACTLY; colors, condition, grille etc.same with the inside. We checked it out and it was an International.


My “plan”, as soon as I saw it was an International, for it was to make it truly international. As I recall I had planned on; Saab seats, Weber carbs, Michelin tires, Hella lighting etc. I wanted it, but had no place to keep it work on it etc. in the city. It was there for years but I never found a place for it.

Chappers Reader
1/10/21 10:08 a.m.

The Enlightened one

While my head was positively swimming in some sort of fluid and down was up and visa versa....
I decided to drag myself out of bed and into the garage for some wiring and soldering fun! 

I used the stock Durango halogen bulbs in some rather natty looking new headlights. I just had to chop off the connector and lengthen the wiring a little and poke the wirin through the back of the headlight buckets, then solder the connectors back on. 
The turn signals are integrated into the headlights, and just 2 wire, but the Durango turn signal are 3 wire, negative, turn signal and marker light. 
I just eliminated the marker light option. I don't know if that's all legal or not?

Also as promised here's the patch work quilt on the bed side.


AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/10/21 11:19 a.m.

Today I learned that the 63 Corvette is a total ripoff of the 51 IH pickup.

rustomatic Reader
1/10/21 11:58 a.m.

Great truck build--looking forward to more!

Chappers Reader
1/10/21 12:14 p.m.

Running on empty?

Well I'm pleased to say I've overcome the plague, and I finally got some time off from the build, currently making this update from a beach in Florida. 

That's all not very important I hear you moan. So here's an update on the build...

The tale starts where I last left you, making running board mounts. I can tell you once I'd figured out how to shorten, weld up and the weld on the mounts to the boards and the frame on one side the other side pretty much threw itself on. 
That was a couple days worth of work and the second running board took me up to 10pm on Thursday evening, knowing we were driving to Florida first thing Saturday and I'd not helped Mrs Non Grata with any of the prep work I thought it wouldn't hurt if I just cracked on with throwing the fuel tank back in the truck and seeing if she fired up! 
And at 11:30pm she did just that!

So after work on Friday (the night before leaving for a 700 mile drive to Florida and Mrs Non Grata needing my help with vacation packing, checking the vitals on the family car and changing its oil) I though what the heck I'll take the truck for its maiden voyage! 
I got my wife to take a couple photos a video (I'll figure out how to upload it)
Finally out in the light of day

It feels pretty quick and sounds great.
Needs a fair few things finishing off before I'm commuting a whopping 7 miles to work. 
I'm excited to get back on it, but for now I'll live with being on the beach....

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/10/21 12:20 p.m.

That is awesome. Very nice job.

Chappers Reader
1/10/21 12:53 p.m.

A drive by video of the first drive. Mostly my kids shouting haha



Chappers Reader
1/10/21 12:54 p.m.

Back to reality

We got back late last night from our vacation. Today my son and I cleared out the messy family minivan and had a look around the truck to see where it's at. Here's a video to explain...

Chappers Reader
1/10/21 1:16 p.m.

Time to make my bed...

Pressure. Peer pressure, work pressures, life pressures, family pressure, deadlines, milestones, gate reviews, budgets....

My life (your lives) is all about pressures, work first, family second, hobbies third, however you prioritize them or dice them up. You have all these things with their own individual timelines, juggling them all is hard for everyone.

I've been on a pretty exhaustive path the past 3 months, work constantly need me to keep to a timeline and a budget, and so did this project. 
my family has had to carry on without me (which wasn't really hard for them to be honest, hah) 

Our vacation was a much needed break from work, and when I returned back to the project I will be honest I wasn't feeling too positive about it. 
It looked way too much to do, and I got a bit overwhelmed. 

In the meantime, I carried on at work and received an email stating there would be a Fall Festival happening one Friday afternoon, where the office would be closed and people encouraged to come out and enjoy grilled hot dogs, live music, apple cider, s'mores and employee's hobbies. Nice, I thought, but that's like 2 weeks away and I'm much too busy on my truck and work to care...

So where were we last?
I wasn't too happy with the angle of the bed right.

Just look at this disgruntled chap.

Actually what I had to do was chop through all the mounts I had just done and hinge up the back by about 2" which gave me a much better bed angle

Re-weld all the mountign points with the gas tank in! I covered the tank with sheets of steel and wet towels and was uber careful.

Collected all the wood id need for the bed and the trunk/battery storage.

Oh and that metal contraption is the frame fro the trunk

Painted black

No pictures of me making it, because im an idiot.

heres it lined with plywood

And set into the bed floor

Cut the boards to size, its just pressure treated stuff, 8x1s.

Painted the cross braces black.

Experimented with stains and blow torch method for the boards

Installed the filler neck inside the trunk space

Right, remember when I said there was a Fall Festival at work? It turns out that was open to show cars too. Some others at work had entered their rather nice drag cars, hot rods, choppers etc as their hobbies, so it now mentioned 'car show'... could I? Could I get the truck done in time to take it in? It would be its maiden voyage, beyond the once up and down the street. 
Great! another deadline to meet, and some undue pressure I didn't really want....or did I? Aren't all projects by definition governed by a deadline? That's what I learned at school. Maybe that's why some car projects take years, because we don't set deadlines.
Plus there were people pestering me at work about it, "have you seen the email about the festival?" "are you going to bring the truck down?" - there's that peer pressure I was talking about. Geez.


Chappers Reader
1/10/21 3:23 p.m.

Prior to the last video I posted, I'd raised the front end up another inch. It didn't look as cool as before but it stopped catching the fenders.

Chappers Reader
1/10/21 3:43 p.m.

You can't be board..

So with the deadline set (3 days left) I cracked on, and busted my ass.
Then a slight hiccup, a problem at work meant id need to drive up to Detroit and back in a day, 7am start and 9pm back at home, 13 hours drive that day. Straight into the garage that evening to stain some boards...

Stained boards offered up to see what its like.

I was so pleased with how it turned out that i cut them up to make the trunk lid!

That was Thursday night, which entailed lots and lots of drilling and bolting the carriage bolts on. 
Then trying to attach all the boards for the trunk lid together was difficult, I tried using a sheet of steel as the lid and hot gluing the boards to it to temporarily hold while I flip over and screw together, but the boards would fall straight off. 
I then tried some plywood and it stuck lots better and then I used tons of screws underneath to hold the boards on. 
However the plywood is a little bowed, so I might need to make a brace underneath to pull it back flat.

But that was it, I'd managed to do it, get it road worthy by my deadline!

So the story is definitely not finished, I have a ton of other jobs to do on it!

In fact here's a video I did today to bring you up-to-speed...



Chappers Reader
1/10/21 3:51 p.m.

You know, as much as I'm keeping the originality of this truck haha. I kept looking at the original bumper and thinking of how I can repair it, it was just too far gone. It had a huge tear and it was bent to buggery. (English expression) 

I got hold of a great looking bumper off Craiglist, was off a 1950 ford f3 the seller found in an overgrown barn on some land he bought. It looks perfect patina for my truck and gnarly with the tow hooks. 



It's a little narrower than the original, which I like. 
It's loads heavier too. 
It came with about a foot of chassis legs still bolted to it, so I cut them down and welded it directly to the front cross member I made to hold the front end on. 
It's solid, but I wouldn't use the tow hooks to pull anything substantial. 

I also got these cool mirrors from the same guy,

They should be loads better to see out of! 
But I need to dull them down a bit, add some patina.

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