Truck temporary assembly & cab acquisition

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DSC_3239I put some of my junk parts on the truck so I could use it. I have to admit it looks pretty cool like this. I drove it up the Boston to drop of some shelving that has been sitting in the truck since the fall, and I got more thumbs up and compliments with the truck like this than in any other trip.

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I put the hood on shortly thereafter, as having the engine exposed while the truck was parted outside seemed like asking for trouble.

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Got my “new” ’66 cab home the next Saturday. I ended up paying only $400 for it, and the guy threw in a beat up aluminum grille for free.

 

 

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Rounded up 3 of my friends to load it in the truck and unload it into my garage. The unloading was full on 3-stooges madness trying to get it out of the truck inside the garage without smacking it into the roof beams.

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Once it was in my garage, I finally was able to dig deeper into the new cab and see whet I now had.

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It came with the full dash(lessheater stuff), AM radio, steering column & wheel), and a set of nice blue sun-visors(the center mirror looks nice, but the ball & socket is rusted solid). I’ll be keeping the wiper switch as it appears to have a washer switch built in, other than that everything else is getting sold to help put some money back in the truck fund.

 

DSC_3252The biggest selling point for me is that the roof is perfect inside & out. No dents or rust(the rust at the front edge of the inside roof in the sun visors pic is surface rust from where the scraped the paint getting the windshield out). All the roof should need is a quick sand & re-prime for some tiny surface rust spots, new sealant in the gutter and to be painted.

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The bad now, there is rust in the floors at the outer edge, though not much.
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The cab has also had cab corners and rockers done, but they put the new rocker on over any issues under there, and made the inner rocker out of scrap steel and barely welded it to anything. So the outer rocker is coming back off so I can re-do this area.
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There is also this mystery patch, so that has to come off to find out what is going on there.
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The only rust not in the floor I’ve found so far is in the driver’s drip rail(but non in the passenger side, weirdly). Once I remove the rusty one, I’ll either scavenge the one off my old cab, or cut the rusted section off the drip rail and weld on new metal.

Bumper? I hardly know her…

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The front bumper on the truck looked like hell when I bought it, when the truck was all battered it fit in well, but once I planned to re-do it, I knew the bumper was going to need help.

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Back during dis-assembly, only one of the eight bumper bolts simply unscrewed. Of the rest three snapped off and four had to be cut off.

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_2997So once the bumper was off, I stripped it of several layers of white paint, and ground down all the surface rust. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it doesn’t appear to be bent, and doesn’t have an dents in it.

 

 

DSC_3087Before I could start the repainting, I had to address the gouge I’d made with the cutting wheel when I cut the various bolts off.

 

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First I filled them in with metal using the mig welder, then ground them smooth. This sometimes took a few rounds to fully fill them.

 

 

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The end result was something that, after primer & paint would show no sign it had ever been damaged and would be a stronger part of the bumper than if I’d just used filler.

 

 

 

DSC_3124Once that was done the bumper was coated in MasterSeries & primer like all the other parts.

Thrills & Grilles

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Despite being in very good shape for their age, the GMC grille from the swap meet and the grille support panel from Arizona were both still going to need work.

DSC_3119The first order of business was to unbolt everything from them and get to work grinding all the paint off. The grille panel has this odd spot of rust. Which, given its location, was probably the result of battery acid from a battery leaking or exploding, fortunately it was only surface deep and came right off.

 

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A few hours work gave me a shiny and largely rust-free grille panel. There was no rot, but there will be a lot of little dents & dings to fix.

 

 

 

 

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The grille was stripped of its little headlight trim & headlight buckets. These will be rebuilt & painted before going back on the grille.

 

 

 

 

 

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Then the grille was similarly ground clean. I found one old dent that will need a skim of filler to be smooth, but there were no nasty surprises hiding under the paint.

 

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Both were given two coats of MasterSeries anti-rust paint.

 

 

 

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One surprise I did run into was that despite having come with a GMC grille on it, the Grille panel from AZ was actually for a Chevy, which meant two of the mounting hole per side were in the wrong place.

 

DSC_3212Fortunately this turned out to be an easy fix, the brace on the back had a cutout where the GMC grille hole was supposed to be, so I just had to drill them out and I had the correct holes needed to let the GMC grille bolt up.

DSC_3228I painted the backs of both with Rustoleum, then sprayed the back of the grille panel with truck bed liner. I think it was because I didn’t dust the parts with primer when the MasterSeries was still wet, but when the bedliner went on it crinkled and lifted most of the Rustoleum off the back of the grille panel.

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I power-washed it the next day and was left with the result at the right. I’m going to need to sand this down to get any other unattached paint off, then re-prime & paint this again. Not a huge setback, but very annoying.

Giving the truck a bit of structure again

(Yes, I am finally updating this, this is all work that was done shortly after the work in the prior posts)

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After spending a  week getting all the layers of paint & bedliner on the rebuild radiator support, I finally re-assembled the re-done inner structure of the front end.

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I painted the inner fenders with truck bed liner and installed them.

 

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The engine got a quick repaint just so it wouldn’t look terrible in the redone engine compartment. It’ll get a better job once I actually re-do it.

 

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Then the radiator support went in. The “new” radiator support is definitely bent, and despite my efforts to straighten it, it is still not right. However it is still an improvement and will suffice until I find an good one.

 

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I cleaned up and reused the original bolts for most of it, and bought new support mount kits for the radiator support.

 

 

 

 

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Just after these pics were taken I put on the upper radiator bracket and was able to start & run the truck for the first time in two months. I then installed a Pertronix electronic ignitiion kit in the distributor, now it starts much easier, unlike the fight it used to be.

More rusty parts! Also, radiator support rebuilt.

DSC_3077 Went to the Mansfield swap meet looking for more truck parts. I was able to score the radiator support I desperately needed along with a few other goodies. All of them were in the vendor lot furthest from where I parked of course.

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One less rusty radiator support. While it has rot where the mounts are, the rest is intact & solid unlike mine. It also looks to have been dented & straightened poorly at some point. But it will work well enough, and I got it and the door parts below for only $80.

 

DSC_3080Lower door skins & inner door bottoms. These are repro parts that were never installed, but have surface rust form sitting. While I will need to do some serious de-rusting, I couldn’t beat the savings. A new rad support & door patch panels would have been over $250.

DSC_3078Also picked up another GMC grill & grille panel. I didn’t need these parts, but for $40 I couldn’t pass it up. The grille is nicer than the one from AZ, but the grille panel is rotted like my original was. I’m now planning to use the AZ grille panel & this grille on the truck. The AZ grille will likely become garage art along with my chevy grille.

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Rot to be fixed on the rad support. While it looks really nasty, it is confined to a fairly small area.

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Rot cut out, I left the inner most layer both because it was solid and for reference to make sure everything still lined up for the mounts.

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New patch panel bent into the U shape needed and the first welds in place.

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Patch cut & bent to match the angle of the original. You can see a pie shaped gap where I mis-measured the patch.

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Patch fully welded in & trimmed to match. You can see where I added a small filler to bridge the gap in the earlier pic.
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Damaged metal next to mount area cut out. I don’t have any good final pics, but I made a patch that fits not only here, but overlaps the other patch right up to where the bend is to build this back up to the OEM 3 layers.

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Hole for radiator support mount drilled out.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rot on passenger side cut out & patched.

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I also drilled the bolt holes in the inner fenders now that I have a good radiator support to use for reference.

 

 

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Once the welding was done, I rand a wire cup over the radiator support & associate parts and degreased them for paint.

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Then the truck got moved out in the driveway so I could use the garage for painting(last time I painted parts outside the wind kicked up and I ended up with bumper braces that looked like 40 grit sandpaper). The tent over the back is because I’m storing most of the front end parts there.
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Then the parts got laid out and painted. The silver paint is Masterseries anti-rust paint, the black paint is tractor paint from Tractor Supply. Since that pic I have gotten all the black parts done(baring touchup) and a second coat on some of the silver parts.

Cab patching begins

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The edge of the firewall on the cab needed patching. As I did decide to go with “quick & dirty” repairs to the cab, I decided to cut this flange off and just weld a piece of metal across the gap.
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So the rusted mess was cut free, the paint & surface rust were ground back, and a piece of steel was bent into an L and welded across the gap.
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This is where I ended up. In addition to being easier, this removes the lip that was trapping mud & water and encouraging rust. The lip is still in place above where the fender sits, so it’ll look normal under the hood once it is re-assembled.

 

It turned out to be a right pain in the ass to weld the lower parts of this. The weld kept trying to drip off the metal rather than stick in place, and I couldn’t find a good technique to avoid that. So a lot of swearing later I slowly manage to tack it all together.

 

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Once the welding was done and ground down, it was painted with the same tractor paint as the rest of the firewall.

 

 

Then the whole firewall got a coat of truck bedliner, which, in addition to being very tough, did a great job of hiding the runs & other issues from painting the firewall.

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Bad cab! No donut!

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Once I finish the front end, it will be time to start doing some serious repairs to the cab, however the more I dug into it, the more I realized what a wreck the cab really is.

 

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The rockers have been replaced once, and a lot of the factory bracketry was hacked in the process. The patches also go much further up into the cab that expected.

 

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Between these and the dented roof, I’ve decided the cab isn’t worth trying to get right. Instead I’m keeping an eye out for a better cab at a reasonable price to replace this one with entirely.

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In the mean time I’m going to do sort of “Quick & Dirty” repairs to it. Making things solid & safe but not try and get them right. I still have to replace the rockers and some/all of the structure under them as well as patching other issues.
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I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to replace the roof skin & drip rails or hold off in hopes that the future cab won’t need that work.

 

 

It’s the little things sometimes

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The one sunvisor in the truck was beyond trashed. The garage door opener on it came with the truck, and is now a structural part of the visor.

A ways back I posted that I’d picked up some replacement visors, so I decided it was time to replace at least one. Three screws later and things looked a lot better.

DSC_3160Little projects like this are great, very little effort and a noticeable improvement.

 

Inner fenders, done!

DSC_2966 I finally got the last of the welding on the inner fenders completed. I cut the rusted lip off the back and made two patches to replace that area. I tried to make it easier on myself by removing the step down at the back edge(on the left in the picture above. This caused an issues as you can see below. DSC_2976But first I needed to patch the other section that you can see cut out above. There is 3 bends here that needs to be carefully made so everything lines up. I got a brain wave and measured the lip at the top of a junk fender I had. Everything appeared to match so I cut out a section.   DSC_2977 I flipped the piece over and tested it, the bends are an exact match. I carefully trimmed it and the fender edge to fit and tacked it into place.       DSC_2978 Here it is tacked in place, please ignore the terrible welds from forgetting to turn on the shielding gas on the MIG.   Below is the piece with the welding finished & ground down. DSC_2979 DSC_2974

As I mentioned above, the lazy way I decided to fix the back edge bit me in the butt. I tested fitted an outer fender and realized I’d forgotten this little flange that fits over this spot.

 

 

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I pondered just cutting the flange off on the outer fender, but decided I’d rather have it so any fender could fit here. So I cut the corner where it overlapped, flipped it over and welded it in place.   DSC_2969

 

 

 

 

Then the repaired battery box brace was welded back on, and the repairs to the inner fenders were done.

 

 

 

 

 

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I chucked a wire cup brush in my angle grinder and ground all the loose rust off the inner fenders and gave them a good scrubbing to get any last bits of grease off.

 

 

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Then they got two coats of Masterseries anti-rust paint. After they dried I gave the m a coat of black paint and a coat of truck bed liner. The finished liners then got installed, which will show up in another post.