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Hot Rods The Hot Rod Hooker: my first real build

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BadassBadger, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    That update took it's time, but it was worth it! For sure!!

    That will be a nice truck!
    With a good drivetrain.

    Will it get a new paint job? It deserves it.
     
  2. 2bubbas
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 678

    2bubbas
    Member

    I deliver Meals on Wheels and a client has a Chevy wrecker that looks much like this one- he said it was from WWII era- think he said 1942-
     
  3. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    Any updates? Or are you working your flower car instead.
     
  4. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    unfortunately i havent been able to work on it since the end of june. ive just been so busy! but i guess i did get a bit done after the last update. and that being i kinda got it temporarily put together got it running and got brakes working and went got to put it in gear and move back and forth a bit! then i brought it to my house.
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  5. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    wow has it been too long since the last update! even longer since i did any work! well i been back at it for going hard for the last 2 months so i got a lot of updating to do! okay so first off the beginning of the build i had the truck at my friends garage and last years 4th of july weekend i brought it home to my garage to work on it........but i ended up getting so busy with work that i just had to not work on it, especially since the next step is a major project in its own right so i couldnt just ''half start it'' so long story short it sat until this spring at which i was kinda caught up with work....not really lol..... that i decided it was time to attack the second half! and that being the wrecker unit!
    and HOLY $H!T what a monster of a project this ended up being.......and honestly last year deep down i knew that just like the cab this was going to be waaaaaay more work than i was hoping it would be! so the first step after i reclaimed some garage space was to remove the boom from the mast. that come off easy the i found out the cast iron mount that it swivels on was cracked in half so i was forced to spend $75 to get it fixed. anyways then the mast came off and i tell you what it dont look like much but that sucker is heavy! that tube must be a half inch thick at least. then it came time to removing the floor..... i found out that originally this had a wood floor that they set diamond plate on top later in its life which is why it sagged down almost 2 inches and why it rotted out so bad! it was a stupid design in that the the cross members were just C channel that faced up and had wood in them......yeah like thats not going to hold salt water at all.....stupid.... so after i finally cut out the floor i realized a couple things quickly that told me i was in way over my head again just like with the cab. one being that because the floor was so rotten as were the inner wheel wells that there was nothing good to attach new steel too! the sides of the wrecker consist of 4 layers on steel. you got the inner layer, then you got vertical crossmembers that line up with the floor crossmembers, then you got a second layer of steel then with a layer of galvanized steel right over that! weird right! and secondly i found out the rear half of the frame is rotted out in many areas! BUT LUCKILY the junkyard down the road where i got this also has one other straight truck of this style and the frame is mint! so i will cut the rear half off that and splice it with the good half of mine. so while that more work again than i wanted its a fairly easy fix.
    so first i had to cut away several inches of the inner sheet metal all the way around. then trim the last few inches of the vertical crossmembers, then on the front half of the wrecker unit the steel sides go lower than the floor, they extend down to the running boards so you just the galvanized steel and the regular steel it lays over. well them regular steel panels were shot so that was going to be my starting point.
    so now that i took it this far down i came up with a game plan as to go about rebuilding it! and i sure as hell aint using wood! i said since i'm this far i might as well go overkill! so instead of 1 1/2x3 C channel crossmembers that looked like they were an 1/8th inch i went with massive 1/4th 2x3 tubing! and the floor instead of wood with some various pieces of plate i went with 1/4th diamond plate!.....man that stuff is expensive! and then all the sheet metal also i went thinker with some 14 gauge vs the 18 that the old stuff is! and then i think the old wheel wells were either 14 gauge or 3/32nds so i bumped them up to 1/8th inch plate!
    oh and before i started putting new metal in i sprayed in a bunch of rust converter on the galvanized metal to stop it from rusting from the insideout as much as possible as the reason why it rusted out in some places is from the middle sheet metal that rusted out that forced the galvanized to rust.
    (i would like to mention that just before i started this i forked over almost 3 grand for a Miller Multimatic 200 and i tell you what! ive only used the mig steel feature so far and i will already give it praise and a recommend to everyone to get one as they weld so nice and the power they put out for such a small and light weight package is incredible! and it migs aluminum, stick welds, and most importantly tig welds steel!)
    i'd also like to mentioned before i started putting new metal in i set my stacks roughly into place just to get an idea on how they would look.........BADASS THATS WHAT! lololol
    so like i mentioned before i started by replacing the front lower side metal. then i repaired all the vertical crossmembers. then after that i was able to lay down the big floor cross members and start welding them down. then i made the inner wheel wells and welded them into place. then i welded new sheet metal around the perimeter. then finally i was able to lay down the diamond plate! man were them heavy! and also omg sooooo many hours and hours of welding! but the miller did it like a champ! so after admiring my handy work i cut the rest of the wrecker unit free so i could take it off and rebuild the bumper portion of the wrecker unit next and again it ended up being a lot more work than i would of hoped! but i will save that for the next post as this is getting long as it is!

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    volvobrynk and Squablow like this.
  6. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    more pics....also should mention that this made one hell of a mess! just look at all the dirt and rust it pooped on the ground! i'd guess over 150lbs not including steel!
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  7. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    some input would be much appreciated...
     
    BrandonBerkosky01 likes this.
  8. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    You are the man! And that is some nice progress!!

    I love tow truck, and vintage tow trucks makes me all hot'n'barthered.
    You do nice work, and that is my favorite truck model.
    How big is the winch?

    Do you plan to use it? What are you planning paintvise? Where are you gonna put tools and chains?
    Over here they used wood for the floor, to keep the noise down, and it was cheaper to replace when it looked to beaten. Most guy painted it with old engine oil, to make them last longer, and if the "perspires" a little oil, it's good for chains and tools.
    But steel looks better, especially if you have toolbox so stuff don't rough up the new paint
     
  9. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    wood is the reason why it rotted out so bad in the first place. i'm painting everything except the exterior. so all the drivetrain and all the bottom sides and the interior will be painted. one of the last things i will do is remake the tool boxes.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  10. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,849

    Squablow
    Member

    Your repair work looks very good, I'm glad there are still people out there willing to jump into a big project like this and knock it out.

    Honestly, if it were me, I'd skip the boom all together and just use it as a really big pickup truck. I can't imagine I personally would ever use a wrecker boom, but a big truck with a huge open box would be very useful. Either way though, I like it.
     
  11. Bruce A Lyke
    Joined: Jun 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,312

    Bruce A Lyke
    Member

    Nice work on the box and good call on the deck plate flooring
     
  12. ffr1222k
    Joined: Nov 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,201

    ffr1222k
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I can't believe I missed this until now. I wish I had your skills. I look forward to future updates.
     
  13. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,308

    slowmotion
    Member

    Huge undertaking you've taken on, and you're pulling it off bit by bit. Good job. Those old wreckers are far & few between. I ran a '69 C/30 with a Holmes 440 on occasion at my gas station job in high school. Nothin' cooler than tooling around in a badass wrecker.:D
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  14. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    okay so the next part was redoing the bumper area. i thought thatd go quick....yeah not so much, took just as long if not longer! as with the rest of this project i had to take it all the way down! first i cut out all the old rotten cross members out then i cut out the entire back panel as it was heavily rotted at the top. after that there was almost no support and it was sagging so i used jacks to keep it up where it needed to be. well the first thing i notice is that big crossmember thing that supports the sling was only help up by the 2 straps that went to the hitch. so i cut the welds holding it on and took it off so i could spend forever grinding off old welds and rust off the bottom. then i set it back into place and butt welded it to the floor and back to the metal straps. then i got 1/8th diamond plate to replace the old stuff. again spent a lot of time welding then grinding but looked nice when done. then i took the time to weld the floor crossmembers to the floor which WOW that took all day and nearly a whole spool of wire! so then i could move onto all the 1/4th C channel crossmember structure. i more or less replicated the old set up though did it a little better and a lot more welding to make it stronger. though i did add an extra 1/4th 2x3 steel tube in the center to vastly increase strength, but to also get rid of the stupid hitch support that was used before. as before there were these 2 three foot long straps going from the hitch to the frame....now i have just a short piece of bar stock going from the hitch to the new crossmember. then i decided to rebuild them frozen jack stands that i had to cut in half when we drug out the tow truck as the would of drug in the ground and would of tore up the wrecker unit. so first i torched the welds holding the pipe that the go through, then i put a slit down the side then i was finally able to beat them off with a hammer. the on the jack stand ends i beveled the edges so i could fill them with weld, i got them as straight as possible and welded the crap out of them! then after grinding the welds down flush i slid the new pipe over them and worked beautifully! so i welded the new pipes in and slid the stands back in and they look awesome! then welded some brace support in to make them strong. then i moved to the drivers side fender that was heavily rotted out on top from the piece of diamond plate that was welded top of it. i grafted in a new piece of steel the same thickness and it too turned out great! then did a quick repair on the running boards and then the last thing i did was remount the tow hook loop. even though theres one on the mast someone added a much larger one later which was good as you could then yank and pull on stuff from that point. but like many other things the way it was mounted before was stupid! so i did it real easy, i cut the end off of it and welded it to that top crossmember beam on top to the wrecker unit. simple and easy and effective! so that s that for now! theres more i have t do later to it of coarse like make new toolboxes and install custom old tail lights of some kind and other things. also i will under coat the wrecker unit and paint the new top side surface except for the top side of the bumper diamond plate, i will let that get rusty so as to blend in with the rest of the outer appearance. so anyways yeah now the next step is to finish the remaining rust repair on the cab then that can be removed at which i can then do major frame repairs afterwhich painting and final reassembly can begin! so im getting there!

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  15. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    You rock that build!

    But the comment about : leave the diamond plate to match up with the rust? WTF?

    If you do so nice work, it deserves paint!!!! And a tow truck don't need show paint, but go old school work truck on it, spray the can in you driveway and maybe the out side of the bed, where you name and phone number goes, and brush the rest. Use som industrial paint, and repair the scratches you get.
    Remember a tow truck was a pride and joy of a workhorse.

    So never a showcar, but also never a rusted our old farm truck with "patina".
    If it had patina, it was dents and scratches, that got a lick of the brush.
    After all it was also a calling card for a small business!

    Just my two cents.
     
  16. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    no just for the bumpers top side, the rest i will paint.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  17. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    welp time for a long over due update. and actually its been about 3 months since i last worked on it.... i got the cab pretty much done and was hoping to get the frame done before winter that way everything could be blasted and painted come spring time that way it would just leave me with reassembley. buuuuuut that didnt happen so i will have to hit it hard come spring. in the mean time i will start collecting reassembley parts over winter. anyways like i mentioned i got the cab pretty much done and it is ready to come off. i started with the inner and outer cab corners. the inners were a pain in the ass because they want you to install them differently than the way it is from the factory and i didnt wanna do it that way. i wanted it close to factory because that how te rest of the patch panels went in. so after a bunch of cutting and welding i more or less got it like it was from the factory. the outters wernt to bad. the drivers side was a bit off for some reason and i had to bugger with it to get it to fit good enough. and on the passengers side i also had to replace the lower door jamb. then i went to the junkyard and got an identical but very solid chunk of rear frame to replace the rotten rear of mine......man is that thing heavy! then i was time for the doors. well first off all 4 hinges were either busted or completely worn out so from the same truck i got the frame from i got the hinges too, and actually to my surprise they were in very good condition so i blasted them and rattle caned them before installing. anyways i've never done inner and outter lower door replacement before and actually other than being a little time consuming they went together really well. the only issue with the stampings was that the inners were about 1/8th to wide so i just cut it and welded it back together. well putting the doors on and lining them up was a challenge.....well the passenger side i got after just 2 tries but the drivers side because the door had been hyper extended at one time made things be a pain in the ass! after fighting it for like 2 hours i had a friend come over and help before i did something drastic that i would regret and make worse! needless to say after about 30 minutes or so we got it as good as it will ever get which was a far cry from what i started out with LOL. then all i had left was to modify the shifter cover panel and weld up various other factory holes that i am not using. and last but not least patch up the holes of the interior cab corners. so now like i say once winter has come and gone and i get the chance, the cab and front clip can come off and the final stretch of metal work can begin!
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    loudbang likes this.
  18. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

  19. Wow...you give me the inspiration to tackle a big project like that..
    I hope i have enough Energy left after my coe.
    Tip of the hat to u...
     
    volvobrynk and loudbang like this.
  20. Great project! I know of an old tow truck in similar condition like yours. Wish I'd have your skills, but no chance I could handle a project like this.
     
  21. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,292

    RMONTY
    Member

    Damn man! 75 or 80? We aren't in Mad Max land yet! As my mother use to say, rest her soul and bless her heart, "that is uncalled for!!!" It's a wrecker. If you want to go to the wrecker races it's one thing but on the highway.....with all the idiots out there??? Very cool project though!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  22. What an awesome build. I wish I had an old wrecker. Good for you for rebuilding this. I like the route you're going with this. I'm so jealous. Lol
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  23. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,849

    Squablow
    Member

    The sheer amount of effort is impressive here, and it's turning out very nice. That truck has no idea how lucky it was to land in your hands.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  24. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,288

    metalman
    Member

    Damn, as much as I like old trucks (bigger the better) and old wreckers in particular (ran a tow company for 10 years),
    you got way more ambition then I ever would. Of course I'm spoiled being in the desert, just the amount of rust repair alone would of ran me away. Kudos for saving the old girl.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  25. HUSSEY
    Joined: Feb 16, 2010
    Posts: 628

    HUSSEY
    Member

    As a current AD owner, and a former tow truck driver, I'll be following this one. Great build thus far!
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  26. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    yeah its been a lot of work. way Way WAY more work and money than i ever thought, but it will be way beter than i would of ever thought.
     
    loudbang and volvobrynk like this.
  27. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 40,111

    loudbang
    Member

    I think you got your avatar mixed up just a tad. Don't look like any badassed badger to me. :eek:
     
    volvobrynk likes this.

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