About Me

Wellington, CO
I'm a regular guy that has a weakness for collecting cars. It's not my fault that they follow me home.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Some progress today

No pics because I forgot how early it gets dark here after Daylight Savings ends. Picked up a new weapon for the arsenal yesterday, a Dewalt 4 1/2" angle grinder. Did a pretty good job of grinding the old factory rivets down flush with the frame. After that I'd drill the rivet most of the way out, then knock it out with a punch. Worked pretty well. Using the grinder, my cutoff wheel and Mr. Sawzall I was able to get the factory crossmember out. Still need to dress up the "stubs" a bit but it should look pretty smooth when I'm finished. So all that's left now is the leaf spring removal. Hopefully I'll get that done tomorrow, but I'm really living on borrowed time as far as the weather goes. I bought an appliance dolly yesterday, I figured I can set the big pallet and the cab on top of that giving me a little cab mobility. That way I can get the frame back inside the shop when it comes back from the sandblasters.

The "new" truck search took me to Elma yesterday, where I looked at a pretty decent '61 Ford Stepside. 300 CU Inch 6 Cylinder w/a 4 speed. Would have needed to be regeared to make a little more highway friendly but all in all pretty decent. Could have had it for $1350 cash, but I passed so the search continues.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Back to Work...

Well, today was a day off from work and no rain in sight, how can you beat that? Ran a few errands in the morning including getting the title transferred on the new truck. Quick stop at AM/PM for a Colossal corndog and out to the shop. Got the stock front and rear axle out from under as well as all the running board supports, gas tank, etc. Here's what's left right now:



And a side view:



Here's the stock crossmember that still needs to come out:



Grind off the factory rivet heads and pound 'em out, should come out as one piece.

So all that's left before dropping this off at the sandblaster Tue or Wed is to get the springs off the frame and degrease the frame a little bit. Should be able to accomplish all this Sunday morning/Monday. From here, I've got the axle inside the shop. Here's a pic along with some other parts:



I'll probably tear into that on my time off and get the axle and spindles to the machine shop for the installation of the new kingpins.

Tomorrow I may be on the road looking for a replacement for Truckasaurus. I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A liitle news for today

Got around to making some phone calls today. Found a place in Chehalis that is going to sandblast and epoxy primer my frame. The cost is a suprisingly reasonable $207.00, so I'm pretty happy with that. Going to drop it off Tuesday or Wednesday next week. He said it will take him about a week due to his backlog but I'm in no hurry to get it back. There is plenty of other stuff to keep me busy:

1)Disassembly and rebuild of stock front axle
2)Disassembly and inspection of 9" rear end
3)Sandblasting and painting/powdercoating of small parts I've already removed

Last Christmas, my mother got me the Eastwood home powder coating kit. I've only got to play with it a little bit so far but I have been impressed with the results. I look forward to really getting some use out of it as we progress on this project.

If I like the way the frame turns out, I'll probably get a quote from them on more blasting (Cab, box, etc.) Sometimes it kills me to farm work out, but sometimes it's the best way to go. Spend a few bucks and get the work done in a fraction of time and the effort it takes to do it myself.

Friday will be finish the frame stripping day. Sure hope those spring pins come out easy. I think lots of PB Blaster, a punch and a BFH should take care of them. Stay tuned for pics and hope for some sunshine!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Attack of the Spiders!

Well, we actually got a little sun mixed in with our rain today, so I figured I'd take advantage. Got out and got the bed off the frame and got a little cleanup accomplished. This thing had SO many spiders on it, it was pretty gross! But I survived and lived to tell the tale. All the bed wood was pretty rotted so a couple good mallet shots broke it up pretty easy. Here's a pic of your hero surveying the carnage:



I had planned on just continuing on from here, but the skies opened up and killed that idea for now. Friday when I get back to it after 4 fun days of work, We'll get back to more frame stripping and get it ready for blasting. Need a Harbor Freight run sometime soon also, my cutoff wheel supply is dwindling rapidly. Still need to buy a Pitman arm puller as well, and my can of PB Blaster is empty. There is a swap meet in Vancouver, WA coming up next weekend, still unsure if I'm going or not. Might go to see if I can pick up some goodies, or spend the day on my truck. I'll also be adding some more pics after my stupid digital camera batteries recharge.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

...And hello new friend!

Well, Charlene & I went to Chehalis today to bring home the parts truck. Called my new friend at B'n'H Towing and he came and he picked up the '54 from Ken's house and dropped it at the house. Here's a few pics:



Keep on Truckin', indeed!


I know it doesn't look like much, but it's pretty solid and the bed is a definite upgrade from what I have. The only problem I found was a small crack by the cab mount:



We'll probably have to drill a hole at the end of the crack to stress relieve it, then fill it and grind it smooth. I have no real world experience with this, but I've seen work pretty well on the 'net.

Tomorrow's work will be pulling the bed off the new frame and getting it cleaned up a little bit. Throwing out the rotted bed wood and scraping 50 years of crud off the frame. It doesn't look like this truck has ever been apart. That's kind of a plus for me, it will make it easier for me to modify CORRECTLY. The goal is to get my frame to the sandblasters during my upcoming days off, after which I can get the Zero rust applied.

This should be a fairly smooth transition from old frame to new frame, with a minimum of worthless scrap, how can you beat that? Wish I would have got another set of running boards, but mine are workable and the parts truck had none. I do have an extra front suspension, gas tank and straps and running board supports. Can probably be useful to another restorer, so I'll hang on to them for a while. Also scored a pretty decent stock steering wheel. A couple small cracks, but not too bad.

That's about it for now, tune into tomorrow for some progress pics.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Goodbye old Friend

Well, with the new parts truck on the way I needed to clear some space and "thin the herd" a little. My beloved Truckasaurus is moving on to greener pastures. He gets to live out his days on a farm, which I think is best. Let's all take a moment to wish him well.



You will be missed dear friend. Fear not this will not be the last truck I ever own. The next one will be a little better on gas and a little more comfy for those Portland Swap Meet trips. The candidate search will commence immediately, let's hope we can find something worthy.

As far as the '55 goes: Not a whole lot going on right now, hoping to set up a time for the parts truck pickup and delivery on Saturday. Friday will also put me back to work on the front suspension getting it stripped down. Sunday morning should involve me pulling the bed off the new frame and finding a dry place to store it. The goal is to get the new frame in the shop sometime next week. I still need to call and get some estimates on blasting it to bare metal so I can get a really nice coat of Zero Rust on it. I have also considered having the frame powder coated, but cost might be an issue there.

The odd thing as far as this truck goes is on the 10 years I've owned it, I've never really imagined what it would look like all put together. Now that I'm getting after it, I need to have a clear vision of where we are headed. This includes figuring out a paint color. I'm open for suggestions, leave me a comment here or drop me an e-mail. There's a really neat Coral Sand color that Charlene & I have really liked at car shows. It was a factory color for '57 and is very unique. The good news is that I have lots of paint chip books to look over and I don't have to decide today.

In the very near future I'll be starting to order parts. One of the 1st things I'll be getting is a front suspension rebuild kit. Some people may scoff at building a truck without a more modern subframe, but the straight axle is a good enough for me. It wouldn't be an old truck if it didn't ride like an old truck (IMO). I'll be taking the axle to the machine shop to get the kingpins installed and reamed in. I hope there are some "old school" guys still around that know how to do this.

That's about it for now, blast thru these last couple night shifts and hopefully I'll have some photo worthy progress this weekend.

Monday, October 18, 2004

In life a little rain must fall

Especially this time of year. No work today, so we have accomplished a few things. Here's what's left on the old frame:



Got my Ford 9" rear out from under the frame and got most of the stuff I think I'll need in the future. In my haste to get the 1st post in my blog up on Saturday, I realize I forgot a few thank yous along the way. So in the interest of completeness, I'd like to thank Tracy Sullivan for helping me pick up that rearend probably 8 years ago, and John Motshagen for going to Bremerton with me to bring the truck back to Centralia on his trailer after I moved. Sorry guys no slight intended!

The only thing left on the frame is the front suspension, I'll probably get that off on Sunday. That Pitman arm bolt is pretty tough, but if I get the right sized socket, but I'm sure my impact wrench, the almighty "Thunder Gun" will make short work of it. Once I get that off I'll have a bare frame to do something with. I'll probably offer it up free to someone who might need it, or cut it up and scrap it.

Here's some pics of the cab you can see from this back view that we will need cab corners on both sides:



Here's a view of the worst damage on the driver's side:



I pulled the thickest piece of Bondo I've ever seen out of that dent. Apparently this truck was hit on the driver's side in a previous life. The cab corner and repro rocker panel should make that good as new.

Here's a pic that shows how good the rest of the cab really is:



This cab is in really good shape except for the corners, which is about par for the course. Luckily Ford's weak spots have been identified by others on these trucks, so patch panels are readily available.

Here's a couple pics of the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" I'll be making great use of along the way:



This is my 80 Gallon 2 stage Porter-Cable air compressor. This thing is a beast, if it runs on air this thing will run it forever.



This is my Hobart Handler 180 MIG welder setup. Haven't got to play with it too much yet, but I'd better get good...FAST. Lots of welding on the horizon.

Dont expect a ton of progress the next few days, I'm working nights Tue, Wed, and Thurs. Friday after a short nap I'll be getting after that front suspension and getting ready for the arrival of my parts truck on Saturday. I've also found a nice big pallet that I'm thinking about putting casters on to roll the cab around before and after I get it blasted and primered. Maybe a trip to Harbor Freight this weekend.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

No Progress Today

Working today but off tomorrow. Tomorrow's plans include:

finishing up stripping the old frame
pulling the 9 inch rear out from under it
taking some photos to punch up the old blog
rearranging the shop to accomodate the new truck

Weather is always a factor this time of year up here, but as long as no one's building an ark in my neighborhood, I think I can get this accomplished. Guess we'll all find out.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

It's a deal!

Talked to Ken tonight. He keeps the cab and the front clip and the extra engines. I get the frame with title and bed for $500. Should be bringing it home on Saturday stay tuned for pictures.

The journey begins...

Hi,

Welcome to my blog. Over the coming weeks and months you will be able to view my progress as I finally start my "rodification" of my 1955 Ford F100 Pickup. Pictures will be on the way shortly. This 1st post will be kind of long as I get everyone caught up on where we are and where we're headed. However, before we move forward, we have to step back in time all the way to the 1980's........(Dream Sequence)

In the early 80's my father brought home another of his automotive "treasures", a 53-55 Ford F100. I really can't remember which year exactly, though I know it wasn't a 56 due to the different doors. I remember him and his friend "Hot Lips" rebuilding that old Y-block 312 like it was yesterday. This was no show truck, it was built for truck purposes dump runs and the like. Dad built a set of stake bedsides for it so we could really load it up. I remember the truck dying on us on a dump trip and having to call Mom to bring the gas can. Good times!

In 1986 Dad was killed in a work accident and Mom had to sell the truck to help make ends meet. As much as I would have loved to have kept that truck being as I had just turned 16, I understood that it was the right thing to do at the time. Besides I knew I'd have another one some day....

Fast forward to 1994, I was in the Navy stationed in Alameda, CA on the USS Arkansas (CGN-41). I found a 1955 Ford F100 that didn't run for $800. It had been modified with homemade Ford FE engine mounts (352, 390, 428, etc.). Looking back in retrospect, this was NOT the truck to start with, but I was young and not as wise about cars as I claim to be now. Anyway, I bought my "treasure" and had it towed to the house we were renting. Went to DMV to transfer title and was told that will be $400. Zoiks!!! Apparently in the "great" state of CA when you buy a car that hasn't been registered in several years you are liable for all the back registration fees. So I told the wife, she was NOT happy and we moved on from there. Didn't really do anything with the truck after that until...

Late 1994, we recieved change of homeport orders to Bremerton, WA. Conned a buddy (thanks Mark Sheets whereever you are) to towing it up on a trailer for me. Rented a house in Belfair, WA with a nice big shop/garage for indoor storage. I bought a 390 Ford out of a '63 T-Bird to rebuild and found a Ford factory tri-power setup in Hemmings Motor News for $400 back in New York. I had all the engine work done at Westbay Auto in Port Orchard, and I assembled the engine myself, something I had never accomplished before. Progress is good, right?

Well, sure it is, IF you keep going. However, Charlene & I bought our 1st house in Bremerton in 1996 and cash, spare time, and garage space/equipment were a little tight. So the engine sat on the stand and the truck sat for a few years. Some small victories accomplished were obtaining a Ford 9" rear (3.00:1 gear ratio) and installing it (Thanks to Martin Hohnhorst wherever you are). Bought a C-6 transmission from a newer F-100 and had it rebuilt for me. Still have a tranny rebuilding phobia which I may get over SOME day. That was about it for a few years...

In November of 2000 I had grown tired of the Navy and all it had to offer, so we parted company after 12 years. I took a job in Centralia, WA as an operator at a coal fired steam plant. In 2001, we sold our house in Bremerton and bought a house in Centralia with a nice big (32x34 shop). this is the shop I had dreamed of for years and luckily it came with a very nice house that suited both Charlene & I perfectly. I have installed a 80 gallon 2 stage compressor and plumbed the shop for air (thanks to my good friend Kent Baird) added a decent sized sandblast cabinet and my most recent addition, a Hobart Handler 180 MIG welder. So now I have the equipment, the space, and the money and the time to really get going on this truck, right?

Yes I do! I am finally serious about getting going on this project. I'm more excited now then the day I brought it home over 10 years ago. I've given into the fear of the unknown for too long. It's okay to make mistakes along the way, it's the only way I'll learn. I'm all right with the fact this will never be a 100 point show truck, it's okay. I want a nice driver that I know I will be proud of regardless how it turns out.

At the Portland Swap Meet this year (Disneyland for old car fans in the Pacific Northwest), I bought a tubular FE engine mount to replace the not so great homemade ones currently residing in the engine compartment. I also ordered a trans mount from Mid-Fifty F-100 parts to replace another "quality" booty-fab mount. www.midififty.com is an invaluable resource for anyone working on a early f-100. I pulled the entire front clip off the truck to facilitate removing the old mounts and installing the new one. Came off in one piece fairly easily although the pneumatic cutoff wheel got a workout, some of the 50 year old bolts were a little stubborn. My new Sawzall made pretty quick work of the old motor mounts. All is well, right?

Well, not really. I was wire wheeling the frame to clean it up and on the passenger side framerail forward of the firewall is where the VIN number was stamped on these trucks. So I got it all cleaned up to where you could read it. For some unknown reason I got my old title out and compared the two. NOT EVEN CLOSE!!! I had a title for A '55 Ford Pickup, but not MY 55 Ford pickup. CRAP!! Time for a little brainstorming. Found out about Broadway Title, www.broadwaytitle.com . The jist of their operation is this: Before 1975, titles weren't issued in the state of Alabama. So basically I would "sell" my truck to them in Alabama, and they would "sell" it back to me, so I would have a Bill of Sale from Alabama which I could then get my truck registered in WA with the correct VIN number. Total cost: about $190 for Broadway Titles services ($50 surcharge for WA) and probably another $75-$100 for the DMV to title transfer and sales tax, etc. I can swing that, problem solved, RIGHT?

Not so fast. So continuing with the frame stripping, I pulled the bed off the frame and found that the last 6" of the frame is effectively GONE. Looks like it was rusted out previously and "repaired" with an incredibly crude weld job and a homemade angle iron crossmember. Basically everything aft of the rear spring hanger needs to be cut off and replaced.



Not a big deal, although I am a newbie welder there are lots of mechanics out here at work who weld for a living who would probably do the repair for me or supervise me completing it. It's amazing what a case of beer is worth to some people. I even have access to getting the necessary C-channel steel rolled to my specifications, so this should be a fairly easy fix.

So the last thing to come off the frame was the cab. Overall it's in pretty good shape, but will require cab corner repair. Luckily all the patch panels are readily available. Conned the "fellas" at work to come over after our last night shift. 4 of us would lift the cab while 2 guys will roll the frame out from underneath. Worked like a charm! Set the cab on pallets and rolled the frame out into my driveway. Big thanks to Chris Dupont, Paul Hoebing, Joe Lackey, Jeremy Munsell, and Dave Nugent for their cab removal services.

Back to my frame dilemma: At a local swap meet I ran into a guy that had a '54 project truck for sale. Said he was looking for $800, I took his number and went about my business. I called him a few days later to get a look at the truck and left a message on his machine. Hadn't heard back from him in over a week so I figured it sold. Finally got a call from him, he was on vacation. Went to look at the truck, definitely a project. Nasty cab and doors, but the strong selling points to me were solid frame WITH TITLE and a real decent bed & tailgate. I agonized for a few days, then decided that was worth about $500 to me. The downside of this truck was the extreme amount of junk I was going to have to get rid of that I didn't need or want. 2 complete 223 CU IN 6 cylinders in the bed. 1 223 still mounted to the frame. A moldy steering column in the bed plus all the less than stellar sheet metal. I have no interest in any of this stuff and don't really want to take the time to strip this other cab and scrap all the other stuff. Anyway, I call the guy up and offer him $500 for the truck. Finally, I get a break! He says for that price he'd like to keep the cab and the extra engines, etc. and he'll pull the cab off. Dude, you're breaking my heart, but I guess I "reluctantly" accept your offer! He's got to talk to his wife about it, but I'm guessing it's gonna be a go. I'll let you all know how it goes.

So now you are all up to date on the last 10 years of my trucks life. Pretty interesting huh? Where do we go from here? What does the future hold?

--Once I get my "new" frame, I'm sending it out to get sandblasted and then I'll coat it with ZeroRust to ensure it lasts a good long time.

--Send the cab to get blasted and epoxy primer then start rust repair.

--Find a decent looking used tilt steering column or buy an aftermarket one, Flaming River or Ididit.

--Buy a disc brake conversion kit for my front axle. Probably wait until Portland Swap Meet in April.

--Start rebuilding my straight axle suspension and swap my 9" from old frame to new frame.

Expect lots of pictures along the way as well. I will keep this thing updated as much as possible. Send questions and comments and words of encouragement to me, it would be appreciated.