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Picked up a pretty complete 1953 Dodge Truck over the break. I'm a newbie to early trucks, but have restored a VW Bug from the ground up over a period of 2 years.

 

The 53 Truck is pretty complete, and solid for the most part. Not planning on a full restore, but will be going through the motor, brakes, steering, transmission.

 

The first order of the day was to pull the motor, compression tests revealed 50 PSI on on cylinder, 30 PSI on four other cylinders and zero on one.

 

So we pulled the motor to start a closer inspection. Planning to pull the major parts off the motor and take to a local machine shop for further inspection. Hopefully we won't have any cracks in the block. Here's the truck I'll be working on:

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First order of the day was the compression test. Pretty much no compression on most cylinders. Good news was that the motor was covered and not sitting in rain, still had coolant and oil. So we pulled the heads for closer inspection, it was after this we decided to pull the whole motor.

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Don't forget the water distribution tube replacement.  There are several threads relating to its removal and replacement and all involve a lot of cursing and wrench throwing.

 

If you don't know where it is:  in your last picture there is an oval shaped hole in the front of the block.  Read up on the removal prior to starting.  

 

Other than the engine it looks like a real peach!

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Lone Jack, "looks like a real peach"  LOL, East coast peach maybe, but my California packer friends would take exception I'm sure! LOL 

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2 hours ago, lonejacklarry said:

Don't forget the water distribution tube replacement.  There are several threads relating to its removal and replacement and all involve a lot of cursing and wrench throwing.

 

If you don't know where it is:  in your last picture there is an oval shaped hole in the front of the block.  Read up on the removal prior to starting.  

 

Other than the engine it looks like a real peach!

The engine rebuilder mentioned it when I was talking to him today. I'll chat to them about it when I drop the engine off to them next week 

Edited by peteandvanessa

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6 minutes ago, peteandvanessa said:

The engine rebuilder mentioned it when I was talking to him today. I'll chat to them about it when I drop the engine off to them next week 

Sounds like you've found a machine shop that has some experience on these.  And, that's a good thing.

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1 hour ago, kencombs said:

Sounds like you've found a machine shop that has some experience on these.  And, that's a good thing.

Yeah they have rebuilt alot of flatheads and have a good reputation and they're pretty close to me, just 5 miles up the road.

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8 hours ago, peteandvanessa said:

Picked up a pretty complete 1953 Dodge Truck over the break. I'm a newbie to early trucks, but have restored a VW Bug from the ground up over a period of 2 years.

 

The 53 Truck is pretty complete, and solid for the most part. Not planning on a full restore, but will be going through the motor, brakes, steering, transmission.

 

 

welcome Pete! I like your project... you probably know this but don't throw anything away, take it slow, take photos.......  

and if it hasn't been done, consider adding wiring and tires to your "to do list" :)

 

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Now is the time to replace the entire brake system.......you will never regret it.

hard lines soft lines new wheel cylinders master cylinder....all of it. the new slave cylinders should be sent out to be sleeved so they don't pit and leak. Whoa before go....lol.

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1 hour ago, Frank Elder said:

Now is the time to replace the entire brake system.......you will never regret it.

hard lines soft lines new wheel cylinders master cylinder....all of it. the new slave cylinders should be sent out to be sleeved so they don't pit and leak. Whoa before go....lol.

Yeah, the first order of the day is to get a solid motor, drive train and cooling system. Then move over to the whole braking system, then a complete rewire. The current wiring is questionable for sure. I did something similar when I rebuilt my 74 Bug, I tore the whole car apart back to bare metal, separated the pan and went through absolutely everything. I'm not planning on a full restore on the truck though at this point, kinda like the rusty look for this project. Here's a few pics on my being Bug torn down and a completed pic: 

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To me there is no point in doing the engine until everything in the brake system is as perfect as you can get it.......to each their own.:)

Edited by Frank Elder

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3 hours ago, Frank Elder said:

To me there is no point in doing the engine until everything in the brake system is as perfect as you can get it.......to each their own.:)

 

Another way to look at it is that if it doesn't have an engine that runs what do you need brakes for? If it won't go anywhere there's no need to make it stop.

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21 minutes ago, Merle Coggins said:

 

Another way to look at it is that if it doesn't have an engine that runs what do you need brakes for? If it won't go anywhere there's no need to make it stop.

That's my thinking too :-).

 

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39 minutes ago, Merle Coggins said:

Hey, I just saw that you are in Sacramento. You need to check out Tim's BBQ party in April, down in Lodi/Clements.

 

perfect, I'll certainly plan to attend

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1 hour ago, Merle Coggins said:

 

Another way to look at it is that if it doesn't have an engine that runs what do you need brakes for? If it won't go anywhere there's no need to make it stop.

If I build a car it has to have a running engine....I agree wholeheartedly.....I just do it at a different stage than you guys do. Every build I've ever done has been frame up.....after the body and drivetrain has been removed the frame is taken down to basics.

No suspension, brake components, or fuel system are left on it so there really is no point in rebuilding a motor that may have to sit for a year or so[ Joe Flanagan's motor sat so long it froze on him.] as the frame gets blasted, repaired, painted........suspension rebuilt and reinstalled, brake system replaced and installed, etc.

Then I turn my attention to the drivetrain, it's not the right way or the wrong way of doing it...it is simply my way. Good luck with your build Pete, I hope your engine is in good shape.

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I would urge you to do a careful assessment of the entire truck before taking the engine in for a rebuild. There is an awful lot of other things that may need dealing with there that could be way more problematic than the engine. For example what shape is the frame in? Mine was bent pretty badly and yet my truck "looked" a hundred times better than what you are starting off with. I suggest a real plan before starting off with much. These trucks are not all that easy or cheap to complete.

Jeff

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1 hour ago, Jeff Balazs said:

I would urge you to do a careful assessment of the entire truck before taking the engine in for a rebuild. There is an awful lot of other things that may need dealing with there that could be way more problematic than the engine. For example what shape is the frame in? Mine was bent pretty badly and yet my truck "looked" a hundred times better than what you are starting off with. I suggest a real plan before starting off with much. These trucks are not all that easy or cheap to complete.

Jeff

The frame "looks" in pretty good shape, but I haven't made any precise measurements, I do know that there isn't a lot of rust under the body. I'm moving in a slightly different direction and sourcing a known running engine to put into the truck short term and run that for now and then consider what I need to do from there. That should limit my cash outlay in the short term since a complete rebuild of the current engine would quickly suck dollars out of my wallet.

 

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52 minutes ago, peteandvanessa said:

The frame "looks" in pretty good shape, but I haven't made any precise measurements, I do know that there isn't a lot of rust under the body. I'm moving in a slightly different direction and sourcing a known running engine to put into the truck short term and run that for now and then consider what I need to do from there. That should limit my cash outlay in the short term since a complete rebuild of the current engine would quickly suck dollars out of my wallet.

 

This picture alone tells you that there may be frame damage or tweaking, the passenger side frame horn is twisted and the driver's side frame horn took a pretty hard hit........I wonder what the bumper looked like.

48394645_1681715121975243_7414511569045815296_n.jpg

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2 hours ago, Frank Elder said:

This picture alone tells you that there may be frame damage or tweaking, the passenger side frame horn is twisted and the driver's side frame horn took a pretty hard hit........I wonder what the bumper looked like.

 

Agreed, I'm sure we will find out if we need to fix anything here. My Bug got hit on the front and had some frame/chassis damage and we had to put it on a rack to tweak it back into place.

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It'll be tough pulling those truck dents out with a frame rack......the front end is mostly sheet metal bolted together.

You'll need to get down and dirty and beat those panels out. It can be done, da forearms will get huge! lol.

Hope to see you at the BBQ! 

 

Tim aka 48Dodger

 

Estrada Motorsports 1948-53 Dodge Trucks: Water Distribution Tube

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Spent the weekend cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. 65 years of grime in the engine bay. Slowly making progress. Working my way towards the master cylinder, hard fuel and brakelines. All of which will be renewed. Also a kind forum member offered me their running 218 straight six, for a really good price, which is on it's way to me. Should arrive sometime tomorrow.

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