I've been asked a lot of things by a lot of different people in my life. Giving advice, lending a hand, being politely asked to leave..., they are all generally of a similar class of requests such that not many are ever a surprise anymore. That was true most of my life until as of late. Now I'm getting surprised all the time. Here's some examples.
Looking for any and every excuse to drive my truck, I took my kids to a birthday/costume party. In a few minutes parents were asking for kids to pose in and on the truck. Why not?
A couple weeks later, again looking for an excuse to drive it, we used it to go to the local Chili Cook-off. It was pretty easy to just put the old slow cooker in the back and drive over. I stopped to drop off my entry and then went and parked. Within 30 minutes the organizers were looking for the owner of "that old black truck". They wanted to park it in the middle of the event for ambiance. Well, ambiance and picture poising. So many people wanted to crawl in and out of it, my view was obscured more than once.
The wife bought a new mattress and box spring from Sears but refused to pay the $80 delivery charge. She was going to bring it home on the top of the Ford Escape. I mentioned that I had a truck which she had not considered. Not sure why she didn't - too "special?". We laughed.
So we drove down to the outlet, tied the new items up and headed home. Near home I was trying to make a lane change but was blocked by some lady in a car. She kept matching my speed! I finally just decided to turn right. She ducked in behind us and followed. I remarked to the wife that if she pulled along side that the truck was $17,5k firm. We laughed and turned left. The lady followed.
A couple of stop signs later, the car behind us pulled up and waved for my wife's attention. Seems she was getting married Saturday and wanted to be taken to the church and reception in my truck. My dirty, old, smells like gas, farm truck. If you would have seen her smile, heard her excitement, you wouldn't have said no either.
What to charge her got me thinking about one of 48Dodger's blog posts. The question was about being able to put a proper the price on our parts or services. I was struggling with that and it took me a while to come up with a clear answer for myself.
In the end I didn't charge her a penny. Couldn't really. There was no price on a blushing bride, clearly happy about going to her wedding in an old farm truck. There was no payment large enough for the looks on people's faces, the thumbs up, as we passed them on the way to the church. You certainly could never have found enough of any payment of any kind for the entire church gathering's collective look as we drove off with the newlyweds in the front cab.
I got paid with this story. With smiles. Good feelings all around. I'm lucky enough to be in a position to make some people happy.
Whether you know it or not Tim, you do the same thing for a lot of people here. Did for me.
I used to worry about big things. Can I really do a McArthur on the frame and survive. Will the gas tank fit. Does anything forward of the spliced midsection of the frame actually work. Will the DMV let me drive it. Can I afford to keep doing this.
Now I think about little things. Ignition switches with real Dodge keys. Blinkers signaling inside the cab. That paint chip on the tailgate. How to keep the smell of gas out of the uninsulated cab. How I will sound proof. If I should redo the doors and windows myself or farm it out before I break the rattling glass. How to deal with dim bulbs (thanks Plymothy, I'll try that). Is the gas tank empty yet. Should I hook up those heater controls. Where do I get mirrors from. How can I make a monthly budget to keep it going.
That's right, now I'm driving it. Any time I have an excuse. They are short trips. Less than10 miles. But it is out there. People point. I get thumbs up. I am now the the guy waving back. I've taken it to a car show as a participant. People ask questions. I show pictures to anyone foolish enough to listen - like a Dad with a new born child. I talk their ears off. I'm passionate and knowledgeable about it.
I used to be a guy who wanted a truck. Now I am an owner of a running truck. It's different. I am very excited by it. Not sure what it means.
I think it's a journey.
Thank you Mr. Hemingway
Well, I finally drove my truck today. Only took 16 months. The first 9 looking for it, and the other 7 making it safe enough to get behind the wheel. This would not have happened without everyone here. Thank you one and all.
If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, here is War and Peace. The loud parts at least.
Post script (next day):
I've put on fourty miles now, and the carb is clearing itself. Only a little hesitation left so I don't have to drive a maniac. If we have to, we will use a rebuild kit on the Carter but it is not looking like it will need it.
Right now, it just keeps getting better.
EDIT: Same drive eight months later.
"It's your truck, make it the way you want it" is a statement we hear quite often. I am adhering to that creed with the repairs on this fire damaged truck. I have never been a 'cookie cutter' person and that has hurt me to some degree. When I was a debate 'coach' in a 10-12 high school of 3,000 students, my teams competed against coaches who were speech majors, most had their MA degrees and some their PHD's. yet my teams beat their teams on a regular basis.
A normal win loss record in those days was 60 W / 40 L. The last three years my team's loss percentage was 95W / 5 L and that included every team I entered in competition. We competed in some 30+ tournaments in 22 weekends, in a five state area. Four of my last five teams earned the privilege to compete at the National Debate Tournament.
My argumentative teaching was NOT textbook but were always within the rules. I never heard one of my teams debate at home nor in competition. I only wrote two debate cases in eight years and both won the State Tournament Trophy in two consecutive years. We then missed one year and then won two more back to back titles. So I do not have a cookie cutter mentality.
A few of you have given me some very good advice concerning what to do with the finish on Phoenix. I have very carefully considered all those suggestions and given them all the respect they deserve. Yet I like the creativity that working with a vehicle allows. So I have chosen to protect this finish with a good cleaning, then with a phosphoric acid etch treatment followed by coats of clear gloss. Clear gloss is PAINT WITHOUT COLOR so it affords the same protection that color affords.
I trust those who have offered my advice will not be offended and that the results will be in some way educational, thought provoking, and enjoyed by most.
So now back to the truck and thank you for reading this far.
Well, we started the engine for the second time in six months. The difference being that this time it really can move under its own power (and stop) if we were so inclined. Granted there are things like parking brakes and seat belts that still need to be implemented - I think we all know there will always be something, even after you sell it; "I remember ol' bessy. Dag gummit, if I had her now I'd be able to ..."
So after troubleshooting a bit for the bad fuel flow ...
... we finally turned it over again. We still have a mediocre flow though. We were watching the fuel filter "fill" level as we ran it and it just never seemed to want to play nice. When we idled it, it eventually choked itself off. Or maybe that is the way these work. Jeff B once told me they are all cold-blooded and don't run well until warm. Maybe a rebuild or at least a cleaning of that pump is warranted as we know flow to the pump is good.
Turn your volume down, it was recorded kind of hot.
Engine Test (video)
All and all today is a milestone for me, and an affirmation that perseverance and pig-pigheadedness will eventually win out against the general tide. I also am reminded that there is no predicting what anything will turn out like. Not really. Sure you can have an over-arching goal. A vision. You can make specific plans if you want. In the end, you make the best of what is there at the time you reach the point of making the decision. The plan changes. The vision becomes a fluid adaptation of the times and opportunities. The momentum you put into the project goes in a certain direction that you want, but you can't really say what will be out there on any horizon when you get to it.
I thought I was building up a truck for a daily driver with a Jeep Cherokee rear end, fully decked out interiour and a little something special extra under the hood. What I have is something that keeps wanting to move more and more toward its roots. It is pretty close to stock now. I didn't expect that. At the same time, I really enjoy watching this progress and grow into what it seems to want to be.
Reminds me of my kids. You have ideas, but the only real issues you can stand your ground on are the safety items. They take on a life of their own. You give them a direction but they pick up their own drives and style that you can only be surprised at and support.
I think Tim is right about the ZEN of the whole thing.
Flow like water my friends.
In 1936 Eugen Herrigel wrote a 20 page essay about his experience using Daishadokyo to learn archery (under the direction of a master), or more specific, kyūdō (Japanese bow). He later put those writings into a book called "Zen in the Art of Archery". It was published in Germany in 1948 and in the U.S. in 1953. He was interested in how the skills used for sports could be improved by using Zen (meditation), repetitive motion, and less concessions thought. Don't think; let the subconscious do the work. He felt progressive learning was to be practiced until the skill needed was effortless. The title of his book has been used, in variation, extensively. Most famously for the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was written by Robert Maynard Pirsig in 1974. A great book about individuals who looked at life form opposite ends of the spectrum, with the main character attempting to find the middle. They rode for a time across the country, from Minnesota to Northern California. "Sutherland" would represent the romantic character of the story (Zen). He believes all will be alright in the modern world without his help. His is the new motorcycle that needs no care, no maintenance. And if it does, others with the technology will fix it. He lives for the moment. "The Narrator" is the character who rides the old bike, maintains it, knows when something isn't right with it, and fixes it (Mr. Maintenance).
Left Brain vs. Right Brain, the Artist vs. the Engineer.....
This is where I find myself in the world of my “old truck”. My truck hasn’t died; it will live longer than I will be remembered. But its built from parts across several generations. The term I hear most is Vintage Mod. It looks like it was just pulled out of the barn and put on the street, but really, the original steel is hiding the present day technology. I can feel the conflict in my heart. I love to meditate on the history of my 1950 truck and where its been, what its seen, and where it may end up…..but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna drive 25 miles per hour all the way to town! The first book had put Zen into the art of learning Archery, the second put Zen against the world of mechanized technology. I want to be the guy who enjoys both worlds. Zen can mean to “live in the now” and preventive maintenance could mean the opposite, to think ahead and plan for the best or worst outcome. It’s during the PM work on my truck that I lose my Zen. There is no romance and no apparent reward when it’s done. It’s work, nothing more. Sometimes I drive it with my senses tuned only to the bad sounds and not the good. There is no perfection, and there is no definable “quality” is there? So I ignore the romance of the “old truck” and get the work done.
… when its sitting perfectly still…..not making a sound….Zen finds its way back to my heart. Not touching a door, a handle or a steering wheel….I stare. My thoughts run deep into how I feel about something that could take me far away, and maybe even bring me back. I wonder if I will ever be able to feel that way when I’m actually driving the thing. Maybe not. Maybe it’s not supposed to be that way for me. I demand performance from my ride, not beauty. But man, is she a beauty. I could never say that too much. I wonder about the guy who first bought her. My truck was saved from the crusher, only 7 vehicles away. They had stopped crushing that weekend, and I bought two trucks that day. Two 1950 trucks, side by side. They were owned by the same guy, who put them directly in line, ready to be crushed. When I was driving on the highway, one truck on the trailer, I had Zen. When I drove the highway again with the other truck, I had Zen. Those two trucks made one good truck. A fast truck, a truck that needs lots of stuff other than Zen.
Herrigel and Pirsig are good guys. They both studied philosophy and took the time to write books I enjoy. I read what they are saying, but question if I understand it. I strive to understand myself, but not too much…..I don’t want to miss the things that matter. The stuff that has nothing to do with me. The stuff I keep around the place to remind me “cool” was happening long before I was even thought of. Stuff like my truck. She’s been here awhile, she is here right now, and will be here when I’m gone. I want to find the patience, to give my truck the care it needs and the love it deserves. That part, I do understand.
I have created an art to impatience. I need to change that, I want to slow down and let "it" in.
I’m working on it…..I’m driving my old truck and working on my Zen.
I was in a scramble to get everything lined up. I was taking the wife to her annual week in the Sierras camping - and with this truck by now - I sure owed her. So I flew through the ordering and rushing of parts to have dropped shipped to my guy. By the time I got back, we would have the sending unit, tank, new lines and associated sundries all installed. I figured that if the deliveries went through, I would be driving the truck when we got back.
Guess what? ...
Half of the work is done. All the parts came in but my buddy deferred finishing the work until he could ask me one really important question.
Do you have the ignition key?
Honestly, I had no idea how to respond. It ran through my head how that truck had been in his shop for the last six months. No one had ever removed the key. There was no reason to. I myself had only ever touched it once - about a couple of days after delivery to start and check the engine operation. After that I never even thought about it. Then he asked me another question.
Maybe it fell out?
It was the best laugh I had all month. I almost split my side laughing, imagining that little lonely key with nothing attached to it suddenly popping out like like a wet bar of soap in the shower. Not bloody likely.
I figure the guy at the frame shop took it out by habit. The upshot is that, it's still not running, it can't run, and he's buying.
It is actually more interesting to me how stuff like this pops up when trying to get a project of this magnitude done. It is sooooo unpredictable. You just can't make this stuff up.
The truck finally came back from the frame shop. Parked right next to me was this. I swear he was just taunting me! LOL
<-- not my truck! But back to important matters. Not only did they line up the two halves and splice it together but they also took out a 1/4" diamond shape noticed in the new section. Nothing left to that part but the worrying. Now that we have a real frame, things started falling in place faster.
New brake lines could be run, bled and completed
Rear wiring back to the tail end re-established
Drive line completed
Gas tank mounted and ready
Well, it wasn't that easy. Turns out the driveshaft was STILL an inch too long. I did all the math and thought it was because the lowering shortened the hypotenuse between transmission and rear end. Although it helped, it wasn't enough. The only thing we can figure is that this is not the original drive shaft. So we sent it out to get shortened and rebalanced. THEN we completed the drive line.
And ... the gas tank isn't really on anymore. We hadn't actually had it inspected so that has to happen first. Plus I never bought that gas tank sending unit. But we did weld in some mounting points so we know it fits where it needs to go. Couple of screws and "bob's your uncle" we have a running vehicle that also stops.
And .. I am going to replace the front springs with the set I got from TIm so it doesn't look like a 70's street racer.
And ... well, there is always more. The important thing at this point is that the list of things yet to do is approachable.
I appreciate everyone's advice and help with this. It makes all the difference.
Gallery for the frame build ...
UPDATE: Springs on! Did a mock with the bed up on the frame loosely.
I wait. I'm impatient. But I'm not in a hurry. I contradict myself and am consoled in hiding within that. We are still in the frame shop but I don't press my man for dates or even a reason why a weld should take so long. I make an excuse to myself that he just got hit by a garage door. In fact, he just went for knee surgery today because of it. Whatever the reason, he is busy. I use that to buy myself more time.
But really, I'm just afraid of getting the frame back and done.
I think about having it back a lot. The next steps and what it means. The work that is ahead. The planning that needs to be executed. To put it in real terms, when the frame is done we have just the brakes and fuel before it moves on its own.
Having it move on its own scares me.
I think that realization of the truck in three dimensions will completely change the character, priority and commitment to - what turns out to be - a recreation. There are now tens of things to worry about that were beyond the horizon before. New things to plan for. To budget. To learn. To get right. To worry for. The day when it is done and we call it complete looms in front of me.
Not having a truck to work on deeply concerns me.
This is my ode to Paul in a obviously poor descriptive 17th century poem using an analogous device between the build and my daughter, and my nod to Tim for his continued help perusing an old and nagging dream in reality with my father. I can never thank either of you enough.
I find that guys like me, on the DIY sites, never seem to think anything is rare or as valuable as stated on Craigslist or EBay. It might be guys like me are not the ones to ask. I can fabricate, paint, tweak, locate or trade whatever I need when it comes to the 48-53 dodge trucks…I got friends too. So maybe it just seems easier for me, which somehow translates to cheaper? Maybe less valuable? I have to look at a recent event that made me think about my attitude.
Why pay a mechanic 500 bucks when you can do it for 20? This just happened to me. I fixed Mom's 2004 Grand Marque for 12 bucks. The Light Control Module had failed.....the dealership wanted 650 bucks (replace the LCM), the other shop (2nd opinion) wanted 560 bucks. I was like "What??? Let me look at it" I did the research on the internet, found the common problem disscussed on a forum, and fixed it with improvements recommended by the thread starter. A failed relay needed replacing; 12 bucks in parts....took me maybe an hour. It’s not original, but using wires to relocate the relay that has problems, outside the module, makes it easy to replace when it fails again. The price of a new Light Control Module ranged from 100 to 400 dollars.....the relay was 3 bucks (wires, etc made up the rest of the cost). Of course this was Mom, but I got to thinking.....why don't I see what I did as valuable? Did I just want to prove those wrench heads are overpriced???? If it wasn't Mom, would I have charged 90 bucks for the time and 12 bucks for the parts? I don’t know, I did take a free lunch and the satisfaction of knowing I saved my Mom from the wolves. Or did I? The shop was charging for the part and the labor. It seems my default is to undercharge based on some moral dilemma I created in my head based on the fact I personally can do things cheaper for myself. I paint cars on the side, but do it cheaper because my overhead is lower etc….but how is that my fault? Again, I think it’s a Do It Yourself mentality that’s skewed my interpretation of value.
Looking at Craigslist, I see 48-53 trucks that are clearly over priced….uh….that I think are overpriced. And the crooks on EBay that have NO idea how to price a damn vintage fender….err…I FEEL are uninformed of a reasonable price for classic steel. It’s there that I wonder if I should take a closer look at how I’m applying said worth to the stock pile of parts I sometimes give away or sell cheap to fellow vintage truck owners to help them out. Not that I want to change my practices (I know you’re reading this Mike aka Trampsteer, lol) but maybe bring myself into the 21st century and give the guys who are charging possibly the “right” price for these trucks and the parts a break from my attitude, and maybe give myself a bigger pat on the back when I make a what I consider a good deal.
Okay….so maybe this is where it really started. It’s been a few months since I fixed Mom’s car, when she calls me and says she received a notice in the mail. Ford sent her a letter stating that her year car has been having troubles with the LCM. They would like to extend the warranty to have the problem fixed. If it has already been fixed by a non dealer, etc… to provide the bill to Ford and they will reimburse the money…….damn. Ford owes Mom 12 bucks and a lunch, lol.
Well, we finally got a couple of things done and I am happy to say that the truck is off to the frame alignment machine for final welds. Should have it back Tuesday to start working the gas tank, then brake lines.
I am really very glad about the decision to go back to stock height. It will make it drivable I should think and - based on the trigonometry - the drive shaft should fit properly again (it was a bit short). It does add the need to replace the front wheels and springs, but I'm thinking of that as a safety feature now.
One of those things that you don't expect came up (of course) while swapping the parts to the new donor frame. Apparently there was a change in how the shock mounts to the frame. The brackets I have from the original truck don't quite match the new (and much appreciated) frame. Who would have guessed that!
Here's some shots of getting it together. I'll add the final when we have it back.
... what's around the corner.
Well we were supposed to have the frame spliced by now but we ran into a little delay. My buddie who is doing the heavy lifting at his garage had the 12x20 foot garage door fall off its hinge and land on him.
No broken bones but more than one doctor visit, crutches, a physical therapist, some pain medication and two weeks of healing a black and blue mark from his toe to his hip . Now he is limping enough where we will give it a shot next week.
In the meantime I did the springs for the rear.
Thanks to 48Dodger for being such a great part horder! Hang on to those front springs for me too. Looks like the previous owner torched them all.
Cleaned up the frame yesterday with an angle grinder and 3" wire wheel. Took seven hours including two coats of rust prevention. Man am I sore - my old knees hate me. Never had so much fun though.
After cleaning with the wire brush and noting the areas to touch up we coated the entire frame with Zero Rust. My friend used it on his early 60's Willies Jeep with good results. Plus it was only $81 a gallon instead of the $165 for POR-15. Some day we'll see if that was a good cost-cutting decision.
Can't wait to start making the cut and splice that will close up this chapter.
The other plus is that I finally got to use the truck. I had lunch in it!
Now we are finally ready for the long haul. All the parts are here to rectify the framing problems thanks to pFlaming and 48Dodger. It also has given me a chance to compare the two parts to understand what when wrong with the previous work. Remember the old
- "One of these things is not like the other"?
We plan of splicing it forward of the main cross member (under the cab) with a little boxing to ensure strength. It was pointed out that these things are supposed to move under load some amount. That's why the gas tank has springs. We shall be mindful of this. It will be an adventure in any case.
Tomorrow I get to go and get the parts so I can fix the truck so that it drives like it was supposed to when I bought it.
Without two pretty darn nice guys it would be a lawn ornament. PFlaming and 48Dodger have restored my faith in humanity and kept the project viable and moving forward. I cannot thank them enough, but I will at least start here.
You guys are the best.
My daughter and I were able to spend some time together this week to work on the bed - recently removed from the frame.
Honestly, we were only going to stain the bottom. Guess we both got carried away.
Should be back together this weekend.
My Dad passed April of last year. A small inheritance came after but it really bugged me to just spend it paying off the car, or some bills. I wanted something more than a receipt to remind me of him.
At the same time, I always wanted an old truck. Seemed to me that I am at an age where it probably is the last vehicle I'll ever buy. That seemed fitting so with the OK of the Misses, I set off looking for something.
I'm a renter. Have almost no room to work on something and not that much experience in automotive to begin with. The chosen truck needed to be already running. That looked pretty achievable based on today's prices. The biggest part was finding the right one.
I mostly looked at Studebakers because the Fords and Chevys seemed to carry a premium price. I was also strongly gravitating to 1948 and earlier.
Then I found the 48-53 pilothouse. Like most every Dodge ever made, it was more reasonably priced and ahead of its time in design. They had a lot of style. Used to have something very similar to this on the farm where I was raised.
That took about nine months. I bought and shipped a '53 daily driver home. I expected to convert the brakes to a dual cylinder master and to lower ratio differential and still come in under budget.
I was pretty excited and got some good advice from this forum.
But then, when the truck finally arrived, we did an inspection and got some more good advice.
Now you're all caught up. And I am moving forward with the project. As Dad often said, "Nothing good worth having is ever easy."
If I recall correctly the discovery of fire was one of the most helpful discoveries in the education of man, the invention of the wheel the second. There is a gigantic difference between fire and the wheel. Fire is a natural action to be discovered the wheel was invented.
According to reports from the early explorers, the grasses in the North American Plains were knee and waist deep before they were plowed under. With that much matter and nothing to eat it all, after a winter's covering of snow that would be a thick mat which would not allow anything to grow through, so how then did the grass survive? Fire! Not only were the plains renewed by fire, so were the forests. Scriptures state that gold is refined by fire. They also say that at the judgement man kinds' life accomplishments will be tried the same way. Now those could be metaphors, yet they carry a serious meaning.
When a fireman looks at a fire, all contents to him are fuel; not precious antiques, or papers, or trucks. The only thing that is important is to control the fire and then extinguish it. The only fuel the firemen at our fire did not go after were rounds of ammunition. When they started to pop, the fireman looked me up.
Before a fire the owner's possessions are valuable, some priceless. Yet after a fire, when the clean up begins the fire separates the important from the mundane. We clean our buildings and often times we don't really clean, we just reorganize putting less valuable items further back into the room, rafters, or attic. There they may eventually become fuel!
There were items I found that at one time I could not discard yet after the fire no longer had meaning. After just a quick thought they were tossed. They had served itheir purpose.But what survives does become important.
For example, in one pile of debris taken out by the firemen and tossed in the back yard, I found wrapped in wet newspaper a porcelain nativity scene, complete with animals, shepherds, wise men, Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, God incarnate, lying in a manger, not one arm or horn or finger was broken or cracked. It reminded me of a verse in Matthew 28.20 where Jesus said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world [garage]"!
Two things in closing. I did not realize how hard it is to get soot off of my hands, if so there, then the same everywhere else. No wonder the smell of a fire lingers so long, and finally how a fire draws out one's friends. I hope I am worthy so that my friends stick to me like the soot.
Paul joined the forum in 2006. He had bought his bluish gray truck for 250 bucks. He was planning on giving it to a friend, but was told he should keep it and restore it himself. He had always wanted to do something like that and retirement had given him the room to do it. To learn what he could and enjoy it along the way. Paul is a good natured fellow and carries a huge smile where ever he goes. Through the years on this forum he has ask 4 million questions about the complicated and the simple tasks when building a classic car or truck. His desire to keep it within budget and still enjoy it has been quite an experience as a reader of his travels on the forum. Things really picked up speed when he decided to put his heart into the build. 2012 was a monumental year. The years leading up to '12 were interesting like engine, king pins, and the discovery of the word Patina while using solvent and sandpaper to find his trucks true color in '08. In 2013 he picked up his nickname to describe his "paint job", since most had considered his truck more sanded than patina. So if you have sanded the orginal paint and left it, cuz it looks cool, you have a "Patina Paul". He has embraced his nickname like he has embraced the friends he created here over the years. Always remembering to thank anyone who helped him learn something new. His simple approach to life and his love of his family always present in what he writes. But let me not forget 2012. Paul made a mad dash though every component of his truck that year....he posted thread after thread of his finds and questions. He did the brakes, rear-end, turnsignals, wiring, steering wheel and more. His work on the Cherokee rear axle seemed to be his greatest victory, next to his patina. By January 2013, he had the project rolling downhill, getting his final registration in March! I finally got to see his truck in person. I had met Paul before and wrote with him on the forum for many years, but this was the first meeting with his truck. It wasn't the finished product that struck me, but the man who was proud of what he had learned. He was an "old" dog who had learned a new trick. He drove it to the top of the hill to the Sequoia Nat'l Park, drove it to the BBQ where he won the Tough Trucker award for just making it there, not letting coolant and bad connections keep him home. With the victory complete, Paul moved his energy to the next challenge. Cars. He bought two, a 53 Plymouth Cranbrook Convertible, and 54 Plymouth Suburban. His adventures continued, and his knowledge grew. But........sometimes life has a way of happening while we are making other plans. Paul's detached garage....along with his truck...were in a fire. It seems the shop is a complete lose, and the truck damaged but still standing. The family cat was lost as well....We here at the forum are like most people, we care about our friends. But I also realize a lot of new people here are seeing the thread "Fire" and may not appreciate the back story. That shop became his "space" while working on the '52 Dodge Truck, and it was his first shot at giving some life back to an old tired truck. And it all happened while he was here on the forum, the place where I met Paul. My heart goes out to his family, and sharing a snap shot of his story is my way saying thank you for taking me on the ride so far.
My paternal grandfather was a farmer/pastor in the early 1900's. My grandmother was known for her life of prayer. One summer afternoon they had a major hail and wind storm. This was in Western Nebraska. The next morning at the breakfast table, Grandma noted, "Well Henry, we've got a lot of praying to do", to which Grandpa said, "No, we've got a lot of work to do!"
When I was in high school we put up hay on a large meadow. Some neighbors hayed the meadow next to us. In the morning we could not mow hay til the dew dried off. Elmer, the neighbor would periodically grasp a handful of hay and twist it. When a sample was dry he would say. "Well Paul, the sooner to war; the sooner to peace". So now I've got some work to do and a war to be fought. With the forum soldiers along side me the battles will be won thus the war as well. I think the kitty died of smoke, that will be a tough one.
The fire is ironic because I was doing a thorough cleaning before I continued, just to prevent such. When I clean I throw trash in one direction and good items go on a large temporary table. Clean rags here, dirty rags there, and crying towels over my shoulder. I was rebuilding a couple of carburetors in the area where the fire started and so I wonder . . .
I have an engine on a stand in front of the truck so it certainly protected the grille. One tire is down the others still up, maybe not safe anymore, but holding air. The wires in the cab are toast but the steering wheel is fine, I suspect the gauges will be suspect. So new wiring harness, not interested in cutting and pasting, and anything rubber or plastic as well.
I can feel the adrenalin starting to fade so going to take five. Then plan my next seven weeks so I can get the truck ready to drive to the BBQ. Guess then I will name her Phoenix. Maybe everyone can bring a couple rattle cans of paint and we can paint it Saturday morning.
Definition: a surface appearance of something grown beautiful, especially with age or use, which adds value to an antique or collectible and should not be cleaned.
Patina: a surface appearance of something grown beautiful, expecially with age or use, which adds value to an antique, collectible or scarce and should not be cleaned, in some cases, and preserved in other cases.
I grew up in a farm/ranch environment on the edge of the Southern Nebraska Sand hills. Our neighbors to the east and south were miles away, those to the west were closer, yet our closest neighbor was a mile and a half away. It was the late 40's and early 50's and things were not plentiful. We ate well, had a warm house, a good home life, but not many extras.
Most of our toys were made from scrap wood and metal. I made a toy 'self propelled' grain harvester (combine) out of a 12" 4x4, a license plate folded 90 degrees for the header, two pair of large jar lids for the front wheels and a furniture swivel wheel for the rear. We recycled things long before recycling became 'cool'.
I have always liked hot rodding. I had scores of the early "Hot Rod" magazines when I was in high school, the ones that were about 3.5 x 7 inches, small magazines. I dreamed of doing such, yet didn't. As I grew older the skills of body work were not mine and the cost of painting discouraged me from 'restoring' older vehicles.
When I first saw a patina finish truck, then one big obstacle was removed. I appreciate the skill and labor required for a very nicely painted vehicle yet I have a preference for an original surface. I am not all that excited about the faux patina painted vehicles. To me faux is not foxy. So then the patina surface allows me to 'restore' an old vehicle, enjoy the tasks and become a small part of this hobby.
Today I was cleaning small external engine parts such as a solenoid, starter, regulator cap, for repainting. I was using a wire wheel brush and my drill motor. I find it very enjoyable to take a rusty item, wheel brush, sand, etch primer, paint it and make it look nearly new. As I was doing that today it reminded me of my youth.
My point is this. There are two very expensive items in the restoration process, upholstery and paint. That patina surfaces are now acceptable and all sorts of implanted seats will work in an old vehicle, those two items no longer prohibit a novice or one with somewhat limited resources from working with an old vehicle. My philosophy is to bolt off, fix or replace and bolt back on. That way the vehicle is never damaged for someone later who may prefer a finer result.
Often times, progress occurs when we step back a few paces and reevaluate the larger definitions of creativity and imagination.
While testing a starter on a 56 flat head, I explained and demonstrated how electricity works to my nine year old grandson. First I explained to him that a power outlet in a house is connected to a large network of lines which go back to some electrical power generating source, such as a water turbine.
The I showed him how one can move power from an outlet via a battery charger to a battery. I showed him how the charger did nothing until we plugged it into the outlet and then how the positive and negative clamps would then spark. We attached those clamps to a six volt battery and showed him how the needle indicated that energy was moving from the outlet into the battery. And finally how that we could prove that by touching a wire from the positive pole to the negative pole and a spark would occur which meant that we just let a little bit of energy escape from the battery.
Then we looked at the starter and and its motionless engaging gear. When we put two wires to the starter and that gear spun, his eyes were wide open. I then had him put his hand on my wrist and we repeated the action; then his hand on my hand then my hand on his wrist and finally he did it himself. When he touched that hot wire to that starter by himself and that gear spun, he was one excited little boy.
Tomorrow I will teach him that the starter is an electric motor and how that small motor turns over a LARGE engine. Later when the L6 is running, we will learn how the electricity flows from the generator to the spark plugs and etc.
Next week is going to be a fun week, and all because some eight years ago I picked up an old truck sitting on the side of the road and learned how to become a novice hobby mechanic. My success though is also the success of the many who have helped me and who continue to do so.
It has been said that it takes a lot of money to restore a vehicle. There is a lot of truth in that statement, but it is not the final truth. I have found that patience is money! The most obvious item I needed was the '52 grille. That grill has eleven (11) pieces to it. The park light mounts are water traps so they rust out fast and thus are hard to find. A good rear bumper is another allusive item. Few trucks were sold with bumpers so there are not many available and most of those that are are not usable.
So I decided I would look for the hard to find parts early, before I needed them. If one impatiently buys these parts the price of rebuilding a vehicle skyrockets. So when I discovered these were very expensive (on ebay, for example) I just kept my eyes open.
One day someone posted he was looking for a rear bumper, a forum member in the San Jose, CA. had one he was willing to give away because it was 'damaged', that is, it was not pristine. The seeker turned down the offer so i put my name it. Since I have an original patina finish, this bumper was ideal for me. In short I got the bumper free. I have a friend who does a lot of business in the San Jose area and he put the bumper in his pickup and I even got it home freight free.
One evening someone posted a '52 Dodge Logging truck for sale. If no one was interested he was going to torch it and sell it for scrap. I offered him $200 clams for the grille and anything else I needed from the cab. He agreed and I got my grille, the headlight buckets, dash knobs, and one windshield glass.
Now I must regress a bit, In an earlier post I showed a red hood. My garage opens to an alley and I made the mistake of leaving my upper hood out and it grew legs. I found the red one in the Lodi, CA area for $100 clams. When I got it home and removed the paint, underneath was the same color blue as my truck. So I changed grit numbers and took it off slowly. Some of the red was stubborn so I left it, "patina flame!".
Now back to the grille. It was white when I found it. I took it home and put a high pressure steam cleaner to it and underneath was RED. Now that matched the red 'flames' on the hood so I left that paint on and the red grille fit into the paint scheme.
My point is, look down the road shop ahead of your need and you may well find those hard to find parts at a reasonable price and thereby significantly lower your resto investment.