When our address changed from one city to another, we had to put our '52 F1 project on hold and put the truck in storage. It took almost a year after getting ourselves and our household moved to get the garage, designed and built. A longer delay than we liked.
However, after the garage was finished, we assembled our new lift, built work benches and installed shelves. Then our truck probject was properly introduced to its new home.
As soon as we got the truck into the garage, we removed the fenders, hood, and cab, basically taking the truck back to the state it was in before we assembled it for delivery to the new address.
The first thing we noticed was that being in storage had some downsides. There were a few components that developed some surface rust. The humidity in our old garage must have been lower than in the storage space. Even after an extended time, in the old garage, there were no signs of rust on any unpainted components on the truck. But in storage, it was a different story. Not a big deal, but we will have to sand those down and paint them. We will do a thorough clean-up the chassis to get rid of any dust, dirt or other debris that settled on the truck, and touch up paint where needed.
Before we get started, now seems like a good time to look things over carefully and reassess where we are with the project.
As you may recall the truck came to us as an disassembled project, given to Second Chance Garage by an elderly friend.
As we have described elsewhere, given the condition of the truck when we received it, we decided that we'd re-build it as a daily driver. There were some condition issues that precluded us from trying to restore the truck to original factory condition, and to do so would have meant putting more money into the truck than it ultimately would be worth.
Originally, the truck was configured as a flatbed. But the bed had totally rusted away and was un-reparable. The previous owner had sent along some rear fenders, though, so it was clear that his intention was to put a pickup box on the back. Reproduction pickup boxes for this truck are plentiful so we agreed that that should also be our approach. Also, the flatbed running boards had had a less than stellar repair job done on them and were rendered useless. Those are extremely hard to come by, whereas reproduction standard pickup running boards are readily available.
The truck also came with Fenton headers, aluminum heads and dual 2-barrel Holley carbs and required intake manifold. So it was clear from the start that there was no intention that the truck be kept original.
There were several places on the body that the previous owner had repaired. It seems that most of those repairs were made using steel a little thicker than the original. Whoever made the repairs did a respectable job in most cases. On those that were a little less than desired, the best approach was to clean up the existing repairs as best as possible, rather than cutting out the too-thick sheet metal to replace it with proper steel. Some of those repairs were a little rough. For example, there are some irregular surfaces, noticeably on the lower edge of the cab rear corners, and on the bottom flanges of the fenders. We're not going to try to make these surfaces perfect, but will smooth things out so that they're not visually distracting.
There is a separation of panels where the driver's side floor board attaches to the back of the truck. The rear fenders require some reworking, as well as some minor repairs on the doors. All this will be covered in future articles.
One nagging problem is the modification we did to the frame while attempting to make a pair of Fenton cast iron headers fit. See this article. This was not a well thought out solution. After we went through everything to make the headers fit, we still weren't satisfied with the clearance between the headers and the steering box. It was just too close and the heat from the headers would cook the lubricant in the steering box. So we replaced the Fenton cast iron headers with a set of steel headers with plenty of room to spare. We have decided that we want to reverse the frame alteration, and add some reinforcement to that part of the frame. This was a mistake on our part, but sometimes you can be led into thinking the ends justify the means, when it's really the ends that need to change. We will be documenting this repair as it happens.
Finally we will need address some less than tidy work that occurred when we were mounting the AC condenser to the front of the radiator...just a matter of some crooked brackets. Just because a vehicle is being assembled to be a daily driver doesn't excuse sloppy work.
This will get us back on track to a finished project that we can be proud of. There's still much to be done and we will be reporting on our efforts in articles to come.