As you may recall, our '52 Ford Truck project came to us in pieces. As a result, we had no idea as to how well (or how badly) the pieces would fit together. We couldn't be 100% certain that the pieces actually came from our truck. So, before going any further with our body work, we decided that it was best to do a test fit. Having to bang on sheetmetal to get it to fit after it's been painted isn't the best approach. It was also necessary for us to assemble the truck for another reason: Second Chance Garage is moving to a new location in a different city, and the simplest way to move the truck is as a rolling vehicle, rather than in pieces.
The first thing we had to do was disconnect and remove our test dash, take off the pedal pads and remove the steering wheel, column and gear box.
The easiest way to mount the cab onto the frame is to have four able-bodied people just lift it onto the frame. The cab really isn't very heavy. However, when the time had come to put it together, no help was available. So it became a solo operation.
I centered the boom of my engine crane into the middle of the cab, and tied the crane to the cab using rope. I tightened the rope by twisting it, tourniquet style. When lifting in this way, the front of the cab wanted to tilt downward, so I added some ballast. The cardboard flat shown has about 5 pieces of sheet steel in it and it worked well to level the cab.
Lifting the cab off its dolly. Cardboard flat contains sheet metal and is used to keep the cab level.
With the cab sitting close enough to level, I just had to jack it up to clear the frame, move it into place, insert body mounting pads, lower the cab into place and bolt things up.
The front body mounts are in position and the cab is almost ready to be lowered.
Earlier on I had noticed that the back of the cab had rubbed a slight groove into the both frame rails. This most likely was due to worn out bushings in the original cab mounts. Rather than using replacements of the original rear cab mounts, adjustable rear cab mounts by Sacramento Vintage Ford, offered a way to improve the original alignment of the cab. They allow up-and-down as well as side-to-side adjustments.
New adjustable rear cab mounts gives us added conrol in aligning the cab.
Then it was just a matter of bolting on the inner and outer fenders, the valance, headlight backing panels, and the upper panel assembly (hood-latch support). Once the order of assembly had been established through trial and error, everything went on easily. For what it's worth, there are over 75 nuts & bolts holding the front clip on this truck together.
Everything bolted into place without major issues. The one exception was the running boards. At attempt to repair them by an earlier owner assured that the running boards wouldn't come close to mating up with the rear curve of the front fender. The truck originally sported a flatbed, but the flatbed was not included with the truck. Given the overall condition of the running boards, and the fact that these shortened flatbed running boards are hard to come by, the decision was made that it would be more practical to use a box bed rather than a flatbed. Reproduction runningboards and bed parts are readily available. And it seems as though the prior owner had already decided on that approach since a set of rear fenders for a pickup box came with the truck.
All we had to do at this point is bolt in the seat and strap on the hood and the truck was ready to be transported.
Requirements to ship the truck on a rollback flatbed truck are that the brakes have to work (they do), and it has to be steerable. So I reinstalled the steering box, column and wheel, and bolted in the seat and screwed on the brake and clutch pedals. We strapped the hood in place and tightened everything up and the truck was ready for shipping.