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Hot Rods ***32 RPU Build Thread - The 10 Year Plan***

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by NealinCA, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    Many have asked that I put all of the build posts of my RPU together into one thread...so here is my attempt. I've been stuck at home, sick on the couch for a couple of days...so please excuse the rambling...and I know alot of this is re-runs...so here goes anyway...

    I will start by backing up a bit. Back in about 1985...at the age of 18, I bought a hacked up 32 frame out of an old drag car, a 32 grille shell, a More-Drop axle and a few other bits that were going to be the start of a hot rod. At the time I had a 29 Model Tudor sedan body...but I wanted to build that full fendered. After a few years, I ended up trading the sedan body to my brother for a 29 Sport Coupe.

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    The plan was to put that on the 32 frame and build a mid-50's style hot rod. College, marriage, work, home ownership, etc got in the way and all these parts sat at my dad's place...waiting. In the late 90's I got the bug to get back into the car building thing. I came up with this plan in 98...

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    So I started gathering more parts and info. It was going to be a painted, plated, upholstered 50's style Hot Rod...which, financially...at the time, was going to a very long term project. Then I found the HAMB in '01...and I saw the Roach Road, Mart's Ol' Rusty, Mild Mitch's Mod, Rocky's 33, etc...and got the itch to build something quick and dirty. My dad's neighbor had this cutoff 33 cab for sale for $50...

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    I brought it home and came up with this plan...

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    The plan was to build a channeled "rat rod"....if I can use that term here. ;) You know...doors welded shut, rusty sheetmetal, open headers...you know the drill. I had a front section of a 32 BB frame, was gonna slim that down and build the rest out of rect tube. This was going to be a quick...temporary thing, so I was going to use the front suspension, grille shell, etc that were for the Sport Coupe. The more I planned...the more I wanted a roadster for a keeper. The sport coupe wasn't going to fill that "want". I finally decided to sell off the sport coupe and build the RPU as my keeper. I still thought I would have it together and on the road fairly quickly...:rolleyes:

    Here's the very first mockup...I think fall of 2002.

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    Lookin good with cardboard cutouts and masking tape! :eek:

    and pushed out side after I found a hood...

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    Haring, here on the HAMB, did the rendering for me...

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    Some where during the project, I also drug home this 32 BB...

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    Which had a good lower cowl, cab subrails and dash.

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    Then the real work began...
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  2. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

  3. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    I started on the old hacked up frame...I think this was Spring of '03.

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    We had to do a lot of tweaking, bending and straitening...

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    Grimlok (Kevin Lee) gave me this 39 rear crossmember...

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    I knew I would need to flatten it some, but I did not know how much.

    To determine ride height, I mocked up the bed with a 7.50-16 to get the tire/wheel-well relationship right.

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    This is when I found out that to get the car to sit the way I wanted it to, I would need a near flat crossmember.

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    I considered fabricating a tube crossmember, but I wanted to use the Ford crossmember, so the chassis would have an early look. I also felt obligated to use it since Grimlok was generous enough to give the crossmember to me, and then Terry hauled it back to CA.

    I started measuring and laid out my cut lines.

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    I made the cuts, heated the top and bent the first side down flat.

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    I did the same with the other side and then clamped the crossmember to a piece of square tube and welded it up.

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    The other issue I had to deal with was the fact that the 39 crossmember sloped from front to rear on each end, as the frame tapers down towards the rear.

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    My rear frame extends out flat directly under the floor of the p/u bed. I cut the front flange off each side of the crossmember, hammered the top down flat and then welded the flange back on.

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    I then cleaned up the welds, trimmed the crossmember to length and slid it in the frame for a test fit.

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    With the flattened rear crossmember, I ran into frame clearance issues with the 36 rear radius rods...

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    So I rounded up a Model A wishbone for the center yoke/ball, some 40 front wishbone tubes (because they are 3/16" wall) and some cut of 35-36 rear forgings....

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    I didn't take pictures of this part...but heres some sketches to fill in the blanks.

    I started with the 35-36 rear forging...

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    Then cut off the old tubes, and trimmed the top and bottom flanges back, leaving the center web sticking out about an inch...

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    I cut out the profile I wanted from some 1/4" plate. This made the web for the drop. Note that these are cut long so that they will extend into the new tubes.

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    I then formed the new top and bottom flanges out of some more 1/4" plate. These were cold formed in the vise and worked until I got nice flowing curves.

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    Then the 40 front tubes that I used were slit top and bottom and slid over the web extension to form the same type of joint that I used to repair the front wishbone shown above.

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    This was all tacked together with the rear end in the chassis...with the pinion angle set...and then pulled out for final welding.

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  4. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    I went through a similar process to build the rear torque arm...

    Here's the torque arm "kit". Model T axle forging and Model A wishbone tube...

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    The finished product...

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    The front attaching point...

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    Then time for rear shocks. TV and KV hooked me up with some of these old Armstrong hydraulic lever shocks...

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    I had to remove the arms, heat and rebend them and then press them back on. With that done, they hooked up real easy to the 36 radius rods using a couple of hiem joints.

    The really bitchin deal is that the bedsides have an arc pressed in them in the wheel well for clearance around the stock lever shock and these fit right in there and look like they were supposed to be there.

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    This shows the little retainer I made to hold the arm on after I ground the end of the shaft off to get them apart...

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    And another showing the bend I put in the arms to line up with the 36 bones.

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    I then moved onto the "k-member". I hadn't been able to find a real 32 piece that I could afford, so one day I was looking at Ford frame pics on Mac Vanpelt's site and ran across this 37 Ford truck frame parts diagram...

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    The trans crossmember looked like something I could use, so I rounded up a crossmember out of a 36 1-1/2 ton truck that was getting junked out for the sheetmetal...

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    I had lots of holes to fill...and only used the bottom half...but it worked out pretty well fitting around the T-5...

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    and the finished not-so-K-member...

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    Then it was time to move onto pedals. Again...I could find any 32 or 39 pedals that I could afford, so I decided to work with some 35-38 pedals.

    I found that I needed to trim the back off of the mounting bracket to get the pedals back far enough in the frame. I cut the upper bracket off like I have marked on the lower...


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    I then had to make a bracket to mount this to my homemade K-member. The Ford bracket sits on a compound angle, so it took some thinking to come up with this.

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    Here is the pedal assy attached to the master cyl bracket. You can see that the brake rod and master cyl are not in line. The 36 pedals are setup for mechanical brakes, so the link attaches to the top. I could have moved it to the bottom, but that would have given me two problems. First, the MC would have been too close to the transmission and second it would have hung below the frame. To get around that I took dandanno's idea of using a bellcrank. Here's the finished pedal assy...

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    Here you can see the bellcrank...

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    and istalled in the frame...

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  5. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    Now onto steering. This is actually jumping forward in the time frame of the build, but I figured it fit here in with the chassis pics.

    I started with an F-1 box, machined it for a 32 style flange...

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    but with the short truck cowl and the leaned back windshield, I had steering wheel clearence problems. I already had a long steering column drop, so I had to do something with the steering gear.

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    I considered going to an F-100 or back to a 32 box, but I wanted the more modern steering gear but to still use a 32 pitman arm. I heard about the Hudson box from Paul Garrigan (Rumbleseat), as he has one in his 34 roadster. I then saw Mart had converted one for use in a 32 frame fro Ol Rusty. That seemed like the answer, and then I started noticing Hudson steering mentioned in the old magazines. So the hunt was on. I happened upon one in a relatively short time (luck was on my side that day). Here's a comparison pic showing that the Hudson box is a mirror image of the F-1...putting the steering column on top, just like a stock 32 box...

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    ...which fixed the steering wheel/windshield issue.

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    Here's all the parts of the box cleaned up...

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    Since the frame was boxed, I need a way to mount the steering through the frame. I cut out the area of boxing plate and then formed a second piece of tapered rail to slip inside. This doubled the rail thickness where the steering flange bolts in, as this was an area prone to stress cracks...

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    With that in place, the steering gear was positioned, leveled and the flange tacked in place.

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    and then finish welded...

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    The onto front spindles/brakes. The project was to put original 41 Lincoln backing plates on 32-34 spindles, which is essentially the same as putting 39-48 Ford brakes on a Model A.

    As shown here, the holes don't line up...

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    This is usually "fixed" by slotting the holes in the backing plate or welding up the holes and redrilling them.

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    For one, I did not want to slot or weld and redrill near mint Lincoln backing plates.
    Secondly, I was concerned about the lack of edge distance between the center of the hub and the mounting holes.

    I know the conversion has been done this way on 100's of cars, but I wanted to find another way.

    After a little measuring, I found that a 42-48 "square" spindle measure about 1/4" larger than the 32-34 spindle all the way around.

    I took the 32-34 spindle, welded up the original backing plate holes, then wrapped a piece of 1/4" square bar around, v'd it and welded it front and back.

    Unfortunately I didn't take any in process pics, but here is a before and after...

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    You can see the larger bolt pattern...just like a 37-48 spindle. Here it is all bolted up with the Lincoln brakes.

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    And you may ask yourself why I just didn't use a pair of later spindles? Here is the answer...

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    ...the integral forged upper steering arm. I just dig the look. :cool:

    Now onto the E-Brake...

    I was trying to figure out a good way to set up it up. I have a 46 p/u Open drive banjo rear, 40 Ford brakes, T-5 trans, 33-34 E-brake lever.

    I had a problem with the stock 40 e-brake cable, as the chassis is low enough that the cable could hit the frame if it comes straight out of the backing plate.

    I took a weekend and came up with this monkey motion...

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    In typical fashion...I didn't spend any money. Instead I gathered up some old Ford parts and put them in the blender. I ended up using the 34 lever mounted to the K-member, a 36 truck crossshaft (modified), and 42-47 p/u cables, mounting brackets and backing plates
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  6. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    With the chassis pretty much done, I moved onto the firewall.

    I was looking for some pieces (scraps) to repair my firewall. HotRodRon sent me some pieces...thanks again man!

    Here is what I started with...

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    Ron sent me a piece for the area outlined in blue...

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    It was kind of funny that someone had cut a big area out for engine clearence, then figured out that they didn't need to and tacked it back in. They had tacked it in crooked and had brazed it, so I cut it out, ground off the brass and then gas welded it back in. I fit Ron's pieces in the bottom along with a few pieces I formed and welded that all together.

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    I had an upper piece that I was able to cut a piece out of to repair the hole they had cut to mount a master cylinder/pedal assembly...

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    I got a 46 Ford truck accelorator assembly from my dad and got that installed as well. I just have to repair one little spot in the left leg and weld up some small holes, but it almost looks usable now.

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    Like the firewall (and everything else for that matter :rolleyes: ), the bed was no gem...

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    Because it was a 33-34 bed, it needed 5 inches cut out in front of the wheel well to get the correct wheelbase for the 32.

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    Not to mention the 100+ pin holes that had to welded up...

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    The stake pockets needed some help too...

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    I cut the lower portion off and formed a new piece with my trusty bead roller...

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    Ready to weld in place.

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    I raised the floor in the bed 2" (for the rumbleseat to come later), so a 2" strip was sectioned out of the front panel...

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  7. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    I got the truck along this far by the summer of 2004...

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    Even took and got the frame number verified and got it registered...

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    Then in August of 2004 this little bundle of joy came along...

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    and right after that came this project...

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    My folks sold the farm they had been on for over 40 years. My dad has been collecting stuff since his childhood. There were over 100 cars, trucks, tractors, etc...and equal numbers of parts. We spent 18 months sorting parts and cleaning the place up. We sent over 100 TONS to the scrap yard...and kept about the same amount...which was moved to his new place along with mine and my brother's places.

    That put the RPU project on hold for about 2 years...2005 and 2006.

    One thing that did come from the cleanup of my dad's place, was a renewed parts supply. Things that had not seen the light of day for decades...were sorted out were they could be used. One thing that came my way was a 4" Merc crank. One evening my dad, brothers and I harvested the crank, rods and valvetrain out of a cracked Merc block...

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    We pulled a good, factory relieved, standard bore 59 block out of a truck that was to be sold...so between those two parts...I had enough to build the engine. We sent the block and crank off to the local machine shop that my dad had used for 40 years. That was late 2006. After we got them settled into their new place, which is a few miles from my place, my dad and I started in assembling the engine.

    The engine is a conservative .040 over, with a 4" crank with a Dunn W track cam:

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    I had to flycut the heads for valve clearance...

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    Then after it was fully assembled, shot it with some filler primer...

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    and then color...

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    I know there are people that will convert the original 6V Ford coils to 12V, but they are a little spendy and I like to do things my own way.

    I was looking at an original 42-48 6V coil.

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    I was just going to mount a "modern" 12v coil to the original bracket and be done. Then I started thinking...

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    ...what am I going to find inside if I pry this cover off. Well, I found a gooey mess that I had to dig out.

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    But after I got it all cleaned out, there was a nice clean housing.

    GMC Bubba had given me the tip that the shortest 12V coil available was a 62-65 Ford. It turned out to be a pretty good fit, but still a little too long.

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    The new coil slid right into the old Ford coil housing...

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    But I still needed to lengthen the coil housing to cover the new coil. I gutted out a second Ford 6V coil and cut off a piece just long enough to cover the 12V coil.

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    I beveled both pieces and epoxied them together with some Devcon 2-part.

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    Sanded that off smooth, primed and painted to try to match the old Ford brown like the second coil (some were brown, some were black)

    I dig the little details like the Ford script on top.

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    And here it is in place on the almost completed engine (along with my dad and I) in November 2007...

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    And this was just another example why this is a 10 year project. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  8. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    I then started on things like headers. I built the drivers side to clear the steering gear...and dump out in the same spot as the passenger side.

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    and made some sweeping bends to hook up the 36 driveshaft lakes pipes. I heated 2" pipe and bent it around a 16" wheel. I matched the bend to the fender reveal in the 32 frame...

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    I also converted a generator to 12V, using a 40 front mount, a 57-64 generator and machined a 32-38 pulley to fit...so I could use a stock 32 fan.

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    With that in place, it was onto upper radiator hoses. Since I mounted the engine higher than stock, I ran into fan/hose issues.

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    So I had to have the upper inlets on the radiator moved...

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    But that fixed the problem. It also let me mount my tall coil on a stock 42-48 bracket.

    With all that done, it was about time to blow it apart and sand blast the frame, bed, firewall, etc. My brother has a large compressor and pressure blaster...so he did the frame and firewall for me...

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    Then it was time to go through the rear end. It is a 36 rear with a 46 p/u open drive center section.

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    With that assembled, I was able to start bolting the chassis together...

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  9. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    Now it was time to take on "roadsterizing" the cab. That was covered pretty extensively here...

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=299603

    ...but I will show the highlights.

    The closed cab only used two door hinges, with one being ibn the upper A-pillar. That only left one for me to work with. The lower hinge had to move down a couple inches and a second one needed to be added...

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    A 31 Model A roadster dash rail was blended in with some hand made parts...

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    The rear jambs in the cab were thinned...

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    the doors were also thinned, to be more roadster-like...

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    The back of the cab was rolled over...

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    and some roadster details added...

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    The back of the cab was strengthened with steel, rather than wood. A 29 RPU seat riser was used to get the seat down and back as far as possible for my 6'2" frame...

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    I finished up the floorboards and tins...

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    and the almost completed cab...

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  10. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    This brings us up to the fall of 2008. With the cab pretty much wrapped up...I decided it was finally time to get this thing fired off for the first time.

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    And finally one cold December night...

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    We made FIRE...

     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  11. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    Getting through that milestone in the build...I was now more than eager for the first drive. The chassis still needed to be plumbed and wired...so the cab came off once again.

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    Then it started going back together...

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    and a seat was whipped up...

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    Good enough for the first drive!

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    Again, my dad was there for the first drive...

     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  12. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    This got us a little closer to our goal of the Pasadena Roadster Club Reliability Run, May 2009.

    So now the focus was finishing up the loose ends and making the truck street legal.

    I went round and round in my mind with what to do for tail lights and stands. It seemed like the clean and easy way would be to use '37 Ford taillights and run the wires through the stand. But I didn't really want to use the '37 lights, as it seems they get a little over used.

    I had some 34-46 Ford p/u lights and original forged brackets that I wanted to use...I just couldn't figure out what to do with the wires.

    My brother had cut some 32 passenger car tail light stands off to mount 37 lights on top, something like this...

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    I got the left over tops and started thinking. After a few mock-ups...I came up with this. It kinda looks like a '32 passnger stand...just much different proportions.

    I took some 1/2" tubing, packed it with sand and bent the ends around an old pulley. Made up some base plates that I beat a curve into to match the curve of the lower bead in the bedside...

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    Welded the 1/2" tubing to the '32 tops...

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    I jigged them up so they would come out as a matched pair...

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    I lucked out, in that this style of 2-wire connector just slips though the 1/2" tubing...

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    ...which makes assembly/disassembly much easier.

    I machined some SS carriage bolts to look like rivets and bolted them to the bed. I did put in a 1"x1"x1/8" angle iron backer...that also bolts to the bottom flange of the bedside. That really helped to stiffen things up.

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    I am happy with the way they turned out, as I think they have a factory look to them. I've even been asked if they are stock 32 pickup pieces...:)

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    Since it is a truck, I figured it should ahve a trailer hitch. I tucked that up into the rear bed crossmember like this...

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    I then made up a license plate mount welded to a piece of 2" tubing that would slide into the receiver and hide it all...

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    So here's the somewhat finished tail end...

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    I rebuilt my headlight bar to get the headlights back were I thought they should be.

    Here is how it was...

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    I curved the center of the bar to go around the grille..

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    which set the hadlights back where I wanted them...

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    Then it was off to finish wiring...

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    Priming and painting wheels...

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  13. Love your truck!!!

    Thanks for putting the threads together.

    I hope you get well soon! :)


    Sent from my iPhone using TJJ!!!
     
  14. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    Getting closer...

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    and now ready for the first "legal" road trip...

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    seat belts and all...

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    it did leave me stranded a couple of times (this was just the beginning of more to come!)

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    But a few more details like painting the Zephyr hubcaps...

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    and headlights...

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    and we were reading to go to Pasadena...

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    And we made it!

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    ...but not with out problems...

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    More fuel problems that will plague me for another 6 months...but we still had fun.

    My dad and I even made the cover of R&C...

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    We made it to the LARS the next month, and the Swedish magazine Gasoline musta liked it...

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    ...but I'm not quite sure what they had to say about it. :)

    then my brother and I made the treck to Penngrove for that last CA Revolution...

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    where Rolls and Pleats picked it up...

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
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  15. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    After fighting the fuel issues for the better part of 2009 we got it worked out. It ended up being an issue with the pickup tube in the 46 Ford gas tank...which was causing a vapor lock. With that behind me, I was able to finish up a few other projects.

    I wanted to come up with something clean for front license plate brackets.

    I took some 1/8" x 3/4" SS flat bar and formed it around the stub of heavy wall tube...

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    Drilled some holes and filed one square for carriage bolt...

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    then bent the tail up and here's an almost finished bracket...

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    I did a little sanding and polishing...

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    and ended up with these...

    [​IMG]

    Here they are on the spreader bar...

    [​IMG]

    and finally with the plate installed...

    [​IMG]

    I also installed the Kil-Roy I had made to go in the grille...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Worked up some hood latches...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had Eric Vaughn punch these in the hood tops...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Last thing to do was finish up the rumble seat project...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  16. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  17. Thanks Neil, your stuff has been inspirational!
     
  18. RustyRedRam
    Joined: Jan 24, 2005
    Posts: 1,121

    RustyRedRam
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  19. For reals!
     
  20. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,288

    The37Kid
    Member

    Even while you'er sick you do great work, thanks for putting all the posts together, get well quickly. This has been one of my favorite HAMB builts, lots of fine details that I hope to use on my '32 chassis build, the fact that you built the truck from "Junk" parts is extra special. Is the green on the engine the same as on the wheels, and if so what is the paint code & name? You've got me motivated, I may do something on the Roadster this weekend. Best wishes, Bob
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  21. rod1
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 644

    rod1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You really are a true craftsman,and one of the reasons I joined the hamb.Thanks Neal.Rod 1
     
  22. MERCURYGUY
    Joined: Jul 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,008

    MERCURYGUY
    Member

    This just proves that persistence will always prevail. GREAT JOB ! Tom
     
  23. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    3wLarry
    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    patiently waiting for the green to flow
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  24. Neal,the roadster pickup has defiantly been a long term project but it carry's with it some serious thought about what has gone into it.

    And I thought my project had been long winded with a mere 8 years invested,,keep plugging away,,It's gonna be a cool ride! HRP
     
  25. Inspirational!
     
  26. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,912

    need louvers ?
    Member

    Cool cool cool! The thread on roadsterizing the cab is among my favorites on this board.
     
  27. Cool project !!!

    Frenchy
     
  28. i got absolutely zero kind of patience for stuff like this. that's what makes this truck so awesome!!!

    way to go.
     
  29. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    I went back and filled in the blanks on the first page...with a bunch of build pics, etc.

    I will update this thread when I get back on the project...and get some "green flowing" for Larry...:cool:

    Neal
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  30. bonesy
    Joined: Aug 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,999

    bonesy
    Member

    I was just looking at your sport coupe drawings on Hop Up. Then pow, pop over to the HAMB and see the rest of the build. Very cool.
     

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