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51 B3B build thread - after all these years


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23 hours ago, bkahler said:

 

The way I have it figured, this is the last time mine will ever look this nice.  Unfortunately once I complete something I tend to neglect it and move on to something else.  Just one of my many flaws I guess :(

 

Brad; I wouldn't worry too much about that......we are all flawed. 😄

 

I can tell you that these trucks hold up very well in day to day use. Mine has been very easy to maintain and has never left me stranded. Leaving them sitting around and not using them is probably the worst thing you could do. They thrive when used frequently.

Jeff

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It's been 5+ years since the last time my B3 saw daylight.  Yesterday after work I pulled it out of the garage so I can wash it down to get rid of 20 years of grime from being in storage all that time

I think maybe it’s time I started a build thread for my 51 B3B.  I’ve actually been a member of this forum (or it’s earlier derivatives) since the late 90s.  I bought the truck in Hailey Idaho in 1996

Finally got some things done on my truck for a change!   Between yesterday and today I managed to get about four hours of quality time with the truck.  In that time I finished the PCV tubing installat

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Worked on a couple of small projects this morning.  First was for the carburetor mounting.  The Rusty Hope dual intake has exceptionally large holes where the bolts go, .455" where .375" bolts are used.  This allowed for a lot of slop in how the carburetor could be positioned.  So I searched around online and found some .375" ID x .4375" OD x .555" long aluminum bushings.  I had to trim about .120" off the length but they worked great as spacers to take up the slop in the bolt holes.

 

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The other task was to try and salvage the rubber sleeve grommet I (stupidly) removed from the headlight bucket.  During removal I tore the grommet and for a while I didn't think I would be able to reuse it.  Truth be told, I'm still not sure but I'm giving it a try.  

 

The original 2-wire bundle had frayed ends and wasn't really usable so I made up a 2-wire harness and wrapped it with wire wrap and then I slipped a length of shrink wrap over it.  So far the results look seem like it just might work.  I used Gorilla glue to hold the torn piece of rubber together.  The directions recommended 24 hours curing time before handling so I'll let it sit overnight.  If it looks like it's going to work I'll seal around any gaps with black RTV.

 

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Brad

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Well crap :(

 

This afternoon I was sorting out the spark plug wiring and it would appear I installed the oil pump incorrectly.  I think it was early this spring that I had determined that the oil pump was installed incorrectly (wrong!].  I'm used to rebuilding Triumph sports car 6 cylinder engines where you set the distributor so the rotor physically points to the #1 cylinder.  

 

So when the dodge manual states "rotate crankshaft until distributor rotor is in firing position for number 1 cylinder." I interpreted that to pointing to number one cylinder.  

 

I guess the good news is the number 1 piston is still at TDC with both valves closed so all I need to do is correct the oil pump installation.  But, I need to order another oil pump gasket before I do anything.

 

Two steps forward one step back.....

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

Finally got some things done on my truck for a change!   Between yesterday and today I managed to get about four hours of quality time with the truck.  In that time I finished the PCV tubing installation, finished the throttle & carburetor linkage, finished the carburetor and fuel pump tubing, retimed the fuel pump so the distributor rotor was in the 7 o'clock position and installed the radiator hoses.

 

Just need to finish the starter and generator rebuild s and I could probably try starting the engine :)

 

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Not sure when my next chance will be to work on the truck again but at least things are still moving forward.

 

Brad

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The one thing that has held me back from really moving forward with assembling the truck is the cowl vent.  I didn't want to install anything under or in the dash that would interfere with getting the cowl vent installed properly.  Last summer I installed what I had hoped was the correct gasket but it turned out to be a piece of s**t that I picked up from Mitchell Motors years ago.  That install was a disaster and by the time I got around to trying to replace it the weather was to cold for the adhesive.  Last fall I bought a replacement strip gasket from VPW that you have to cut to fit and it fits perfect.  Fast forward too today and I've cleaned out the old adhesive from last summer and glued the VPW gasket in place.  

 

What has me stumped on the vent installation is it doesn't lay down flat against the gasket.  The following pictures pretty much tell the story.

 

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I know this is the original vent cover for the truck because I'm the one that removed it all those years ago.  

 

What I'd like to know is if once the vent cover is installed will it somehow magically form itself to match the angles of the cab or am I missing something?  If so what?!!

 

Thanks!

 

Brad

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The vent mechanism should pull the "lid" down fairly tight to the gasket. If it doesn't then it will leak. My gasket started cracking after a couple of years. Our hot dry climate 😂. My fix has worked really well. I carefully went over the gasket surface with black silicone and let it cure for a few days.

Hth, Jeff

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My first thoughts, that gasket is incredibly important.

My truck floors need replaced because that gasket failed about 30+ years ago.

 

Reading on other forums, the replacement gaskets are a pia & seem too thick for the job.

I am talking cowl vent gaskets for Fords, Mopar & other brands ... all the same. Not just a old Dodge truck deal.

Often it takes heat and form the new gasket to your vent to first get your vent to close. Then over time they will close easier as the new gasket settles down.

Just saying the cowl vent gasket is not a slam dunk easy application. & they will leak & let water into the cab on your new floors/carpet.

 

First thing I see is it looks like your vent is bent, pulled down in the center while trying to close it on a stiff. old, cold new gasket.

I would think to fix that and repaint may be the first correction.

 

Then I think @Jeff Balazshas a great idea. These products were not available back when these trucks were made.

Even if you spend the hours/days it takes to get the new cowl gasket to seal. How long will it last before it starts leaking again?

 

Sometimes we have to pick our battles in life. I think sealing a factory cowl vent is going to be a battle.

A little modern technology to help may make it a chore & not a battle.

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Thanks for the replies.  I agree the gasket is extremely important.  That's why I ended up scrapping the one I installed last summer.  I just didn't fit at all.  This one I got from VPW fit the groove in the cowl perfectly.  It laid down and stayed in place even without adhesive.  

 

It turns out the way I had the vent cover sitting was more of an optical illusion.  Once I got the linkage hooked up things look better although still not perfect.

 

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It needs about 1/4" more clamping movement to seal all the way around.  What you see in the picture is all of the linkage fastened in place and tight.  I'm not sure if I'm out of adjustment yet or not.  I'll look closer at that tomorrow.  If I don't have any more adjustment then the next thing I'll have to look at is the support bracket that bolts to the firewall where the horn bracket is mounted.  I think that bracket needs to move downward a little bit.  What I don't know just yet is whether it has slots in it or just holes.  Slots would be ideal.  

 

I like Jeff's solution and will keep that idea in my back pocket in case I can't get the adjustments right.  Bottom line is I need to get this vent cover installed so I can move forward with all of the dash components!

 

By the way, I got lucky when I bought my truck.  I bought it in Idaho where they don't salt the roads and it doesn't rain much at all so my truck was pretty much rust free other than surface rust :)

 

Brad

 

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32 minutes ago, bkahler said:

By the way, I got lucky when I bought my truck.  I bought it in Idaho where they don't salt the roads and it doesn't rain much at all so my truck was pretty much rust free other than surface rust

I am just saying, every piece of metal on your truck has a crown 2 directions ... except for the bed & I could be wrong about that. But the doors, the roof, The fenders, The cowl, They all have a crown going from left to right and also front to rear.

If you looked at the hood, doors on a 1980 Toyota you would find the same thing.

 

The cowl on your truck has a crown or high point in the center, The vent flap needs to follow it.

In a perfect world, the edges of the flap should make contact on the edges first, then suck down in the middle to seal.

 

I can picture a person in the 1960's pissed off at the vent leaking, Then jam a matchbook in the linkage to pull it down tighter. Fix the leak.

Naturally this pulls the center down tighter and edges bend up.

Thats what your first photo looked like ... 2nd photo hard to say ... I still think the sides should make contact first and center be pulled down to it.

Just my opinion though.

 

 

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With vent door pivot offset and behind the vent opening, the door should make contact with the entire gasket almost simultaneously, allowing the lever cam lock to make the positive seal.  Ya might try loosening the bracket mounting bolts, closing the door, then torquing the fasteners, then check to see if the door will open and close properly...if that doesn't work, it might be time to remove mounting bolts to see how far off the mounting holes are when the door is closed.

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In my mind there is no question that getting that vent door to seal is important. The rusted out floor threat is ever present. Mine does pretty darn well. I have had more problems with the windshield gaskets to seal....and stay sealed. Again black silicone is effective here. Things shift and dry out with time and mileage. This is an area one really needs to keep an eye on. Especially if your truck lives outdoors like mine.

 

Dont worry you will get this to seal. But don't forget to keep an eye on these things as time goes on. Before I ended up getting my truck I was looking at a 57 Dodge 3/4 ton. i really liked it and it was a running  factory 4 speed V8 with a 9' bed. Would have been great except for the extensive cancer. It was everywhere you looked. Was a shame and definitely a result of failed gaskets and seals.

 

Jeff

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Tinkered with the vent door some more this evening.  I got it to close a little more but still nowhere near closing let alone sealing.  You can see in the pictures that the only problem is getting the front to pull down far enough.  The door is centered in the opening and as it hinges closed everything stays in alignment.  Just can't get the front to continue dropping.  

 

JB, I see no way that it would close parallel to the gasket.  The pivot is in the rear so the rear is always going to close a little ahead of the front.  Looking at the following picture I think what will need to be done is the gap shown between the two red arrows needs to be larger.  That would lower the whole door down by whatever amount the gap is increased by.  

 

Yesterday that gap didn't exist and by fiddling with the adjustments this is what I was able to come up with.

 

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You can see in the following pictures both sides and front are pretty much symmetrical.

 

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As I sit and think about this problem it's starting to come back to me a little.  The diagonal lever arm in the following picture was mangled when removed from the truck.  I didn't really notice before I gave the part to the painter and last summer when I started to reassemble it I realized I had to straighten it, you can see some paint chips from my efforts.  That makes me wonder if it wasn't someone's idea of how to get it to close and stay closed.  It never would  have functioned with the parts the way they were.

 

That makes me wonder if the door ever actually functioned properly.

 

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I did pull  one of the bolts from the horizontal bracket that goes between the dash and the firewall and there are no slots that would allow the bracket to be moved downward.  It's pretty much fixed where it is at.  

 

I need to sleep on it, maybe it will come to me in a dream :)

 

Brad

 

 

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I’ve just caught up on your build post Brad, and I must congratulate you on your fine workmanship during your most dedicated build.

I hope to be around a here bit more now that life has improved in leaps and bounds for me, so I shall now be watching with great excitement.

 

Your dual horns look great. Certainly a great addition to your flawless truck.

 

The honeycomb radiator place here in Oz is called Fuel Tank and Radiator Service (FTRS) and they do great work. They can be costly with radiator’s, but their work is top class - they did a great job of refurbishing a couple of original gas tanks for me.

There is also a place in New Zealand who make the honeycomb radiators - they call themselves ADRAD.

 

I found that both of the old rubber seals on my (3-speed) transmission shaft/s (2 trucks) leaked over many years causing dust to settle which resulted eventually in the cable/s bonding up and snapping. I don’t have any 4-speed boxes, so I am not familiar with them.

 

Maybe bending the arm slightly on your cowl vent might give you that slight adjustment that you need for a better seal?

 

Keep up the good work mate. 👍👍

Edited by Desotodav
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After reading your post ... thinking I may install this in my floor.

I know the cowl vent is no easy task, why many Hot Rodders leaded them closed ... Some car manufacturer moved from top of cowl to side of cowl.

By mid 1950's I do not think were any cowl vents on new cars available.

I still like @Jeff Balazs idea to make one out of silicone .... possibly slice a new gasket in 1/2. apply silicone to the bottom side to raise gasket to needed height. This way when you open the vent it is the gasket you see?

Not a easy one size fts all solution for this.

 

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One thing to check (you might have) is the front mounting of the mechanism to the firewall.  if you can pull that down, that should also pull the vent down.  Also the mounting point on the dash, pulling BACK on the should apply a "down" load to the vent as well.

 

I know I poked at the final spot for everything on FEF.  The whole vent cover assy is pretty robust (with the "T" shape)...warping that would be tough without seeing some ripples in the metal somewhere.

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1 hour ago, ggdad1951 said:

One thing to check (you might have) is the front mounting of the mechanism to the firewall.  if you can pull that down, that should also pull the vent down.  Also the mounting point on the dash, pulling BACK on the should apply a "down" load to the vent as well.

 

I checked the mounting of that bracket last night.  There is no adjustment where it bolts to the firewall other than a little slop in the mounting holes that don't amount to anything.  The bracket is pretty much fixed in one specific spot.

 

 

1 hour ago, ggdad1951 said:

 

I know I poked at the final spot for everything on FEF.  The whole vent cover assy is pretty robust (with the "T" shape)...warping that would be tough without seeing some ripples in the metal somewhere.

 

My cover is in good shape, no warps, bends or tweaks.   The only problem had been in the lever arm, it was bent out of whack which I straightened prior to installing.  My parts look just like the picture in the manual.  

 

One idea I've been toying with is where the arm pulls down on the cover assembly would be to shorten the arm slightly so the cover would have be pushed downward slightly to be able to bolt the arm to the cover.  Still thinking that one over....

 

Brad

 

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12 hours ago, Los_Control said:

After reading your post ... thinking I may install this in my floor.

I know the cowl vent is no easy task, why many Hot Rodders leaded them closed ... Some car manufacturer moved from top of cowl to side of cowl.

By mid 1950's I do not think were any cowl vents on new cars available.

I still like @Jeff Balazs idea to make one out of silicone .... possibly slice a new gasket in 1/2. apply silicone to the bottom side to raise gasket to needed height. This way when you open the vent it is the gasket you see?

Not a easy one size fts all solution for this.

 

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I used one of those in my motorhome shower pan....I think I'll pass on putting one in my truck! 😁

 

I think the overall solution is going to involve modification of the slots in the cover or shortening of the pivot arm or a combination of the two.  I'm going to stew on it for a while.  I'm of the opinion there has to be a solution somewhere, I'm just not seeing it at the moment.

 

 

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Just to clarify what I was suggesting and the issue I had with my vent seal. The gasket I cemented into place when I put my cab back together started cracking after a couple of years. I used black silicone over it to help improve the sealing. This has worked just fine......but my vent door seats as it should. It had not been tweaked over the years.

 

I use mine pretty much everyday this time of year. It would be get way too stuffy in the cab without it. Had it open on my drive to work this morning at 530am. To me this vent is an essential item and needs to work correctly.

Jeff

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12 minutes ago, bkahler said:

I'm going to stew on it for a while.  I'm of the opinion there has to be a solution somewhere, I'm just not seeing it at the moment.

I do not know if this will help any at all ... I will try to clarify my original opinion, while you may expect it to be a straightforward solution to this, do not be surprised it is a pia.

 

In the photo, you can see there is a crown in the center as I suspected there was.

While mine is pretty flush in the middle with the body, the ends are sitting proud of the body.

Mine has never been removed and factory.  Just my opinion, I think my ends are bent up & middle pulled down ... not much but just a little to make the ends sit proud.

 

Same time they were not really concerned about body panel fitment back then, maybe it is how it came?

 

Something else to think about. The cowl vent has a rubber drain line connected to it and the hose is routed through the firewall to drain ... the vent frame is actually a gutter like on your house, to collect water and drain it away.

What did the factory expect to seal with a gasket.

Were they counting on the drain system to carry away the water?

were they trying to seal out air?

 

Earlier when I said my gasket failed ... what I should have said is the rubber drain line failed. Just rotted off under the dash. So it just drained inside the cab.

 

While you are stewing on it, remember it was a imperfect system to begin with, the body fitment was not a priority.

The gutter drain system was suppose to take care of the water, the gasket to seal off wind noise.

I can tell you are going first class all the way, sometimes you just have to settle for making it better and not perfect.

 

 

 

 

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After looking at the side view one more time, I think the sides are where they should be. The middle should also sit proud.

The hood actually sits proud of the cowl, the sides match the hood and middle is not where it should be.

 

Possibly even the sides need to come up a bit more. When I add the hood sides and fender welting.

Should the vent lid match the hood and not be flush with the cowl?

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It's been a long while since I've had mine apart, but I recall that the "T" bracket that connects the vent door to the linkage arm has slotted holes. I would loosen those screws, and possibly the pivot bolts, then place a weight on top of the vent to hold it down into place. Once you confirm that it is down tight against the gasket go back and tighten all the hardware. 

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Posted (edited)

Merle's post got me thinking about the linkage arm where it bolts to the cover assembly.  I had thought I had it pushed up all the way against the two bolts when I tightened it down but I after checking I realized there was a little bit more movement available.  Made the adjustment and it was a lot closer to closing all the way but not quite there.

 

So I took the support bracket with the linkage out and lengthened the slots on the arm.  I also lengthened the slots on the cover assembly itself.  Once I did that the cover pretty much closed all the way with a nice solid snap.  It now snaps open and snaps closed.

 

When it's closed I can see a slight sliver of light in each corner when looking under the dash.  So, I'm going to say it's good enough and considering what Los_Control mentioned about the water channel and drain tube I'm going to call it good enough.  At some point I might attempt what Jeff did where he built up the gasket with silicone sealant however  I'm going to leave that for another day.  Right now I want to start making progress with the rest of the truck :)

 

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To celebrate the vent being complete I went ahead and installed the heater for the final time!

 

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Now I think it's time that I try and fit the wiring harness.  I think it will be easier to install without the gauges in the way so I might start that project tomorrow.

 

Thanks all for comments and suggestions on dealing with the cowl vent.

 

Brad

Edited by bkahler
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On 5/5/2021 at 8:37 PM, Desotodav said:

I’ve just caught up on your build post Brad, and I must congratulate you on your fine workmanship during your most dedicated build.

I hope to be around a here bit more now that life has improved in leaps and bounds for me, so I shall now be watching with great excitement.

 

Your dual horns look great. Certainly a great addition to your flawless truck.

 

The honeycomb radiator place here in Oz is called Fuel Tank and Radiator Service (FTRS) and they do great work. They can be costly with radiator’s, but their work is top class - they did a great job of refurbishing a couple of original gas tanks for me.

There is also a place in New Zealand who make the honeycomb radiators - they call themselves ADRAD.

 

I found that both of the old rubber seals on my (3-speed) transmission shaft/s (2 trucks) leaked over many years causing dust to settle which resulted eventually in the cable/s bonding up and snapping. I don’t have any 4-speed boxes, so I am not familiar with them.

 

Maybe bending the arm slightly on your cowl vent might give you that slight adjustment that you need for a better seal?

 

Keep up the good work mate. 👍👍

 

Thank you for the kind words :)

 

I wish my truck was flawless but in reality it is no where near that quality.  I'd call it a ten footer at best!

 

I would have liked to get a honey comb re-core unfortunately I just couldn't justify the price.  It is nice that there are places that are reproducing them, just not doable for me.

 

Thanks!

 

Brad

 

 

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3 hours ago, bkahler said:

I'm going to call it good enough. 

 

ALL that, and not a scratch to be seen, I commend you and bow to you. 👍

 

Mine is all original, no tweaks or tways, hope it goes together half as good.

Edited by billrigsby
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