seam sealer is not underarm deodorant!
So with my buzz box Miller welder now converted, I could proceed and confidently tackle the stitching ancient and modern together, I'd love to tell you that it was a match made in heaven and the gaps for welding were mm precision and I just had to clamp the two panels with panel clamps and merely glance it with the end of my welding torch and they were forever entwined!
Well no, the sheet metals are different gauges for a start, the cut lines I made were not exactly straight, and there were holes in the firewalls where I didn't want holes, plus the bends and curves of the firewalls were totally mismatched.
So I would use 16 gauge sheet metal to fill the gaps, make one side fit the harvester and the other fit the durango, tack weld on, bash it into shape with a copper mallet until I could get another tack, eventually I could seam weld it up and move onto the next difficult intersection. I worked around the engine side of the firewall like that and inside the firewall/cab, and down onto the floor, working my way around, sometimes it was a tight gap and I didn't need a patch.
Once I got that done I wire brushed and used brake cleaner and zinc primer over the welds on top and underneath the cab.
Then I got some seam sealer and went round on top and underneath and filled everything. Man am I bad with a caulking gun, I cannot operate it smoothly or consistently. While underneath a huge glob of it fell down and rolled down my t shirt and into my armpit, now this stuff is super sticky and you cannot get it off anything! Plus it has hardener in it, which is a horrible chemical that burns. How do you get this crap out of armpit hair while its burning you? well you cant, you have to shave that stuff off! yep I then had a bald left armpit.
I knew that I wanted to run the original cowling vent and make it function into the Durango HVAC, so I had to first cut the inside of the cab a little to allow the HVAC blower to fit sort of inside the footwell cavity and then I built a duct that will take fresh air from the cowling vent to the fresh air vent in the HVAC.
I have some better pictures of it later on.
I then cut out all the bracing from the cab as it was not going anywhere. and turned my attention to getting the doghouse mounted.
I cut about 6-8" off the original frame horns and fabricated new cross brace and radiator brackets.
This was all painted with POR15 before I fitted the front end on.
I looked at the tire tuck inside the squared off fender well and thought that looks cool, but I bet it wont turn. Well I was surprised that it did, the pivot point of the wheel is such that when the wheel turns it doesn't contact the fender.
UNLESS I happen to turn hard and hit a bump hard at the same time that is....
The next installment I find out if I can fit inside and drive it, or is it only fit for the mice which once inhabited it....
It looks great. And let me say that I have been enjoying the way you explain everything. I have laughed so much while reading that if someone has seen me they probably think I'm reading jokes. You must have read my thoughts because as I see your pics and how your doing it I see exactly what I was going to do but didn't yet. Keep up the great work and story telling
Hey thanks man, I thought the experience is just as important as the product in this case.
Originally Posted by lee95
People, unlike you and I, bemused by what we're doing ask "how did you know what to do with such and such"
You can't answer them questions, you just have to do, to experience it, try, fail, cut your hands, burn your eye brow off......
I spotted you're in Seymour, I'm just down the road in Columbus.
I just read your diesel dually build, that is awesome, way more fabrication gone into that, you should be proud.
I wouldn't mind meeting up sometime to check it out in person.
Durango is moving in
One thing I forgot to mention in the above post, I removed the fuel tank for all the welding.
now I retained the Durango firewall so I could easily reinstall the Durango steering column/wheel, pedals etc..
the problem was the IH cab is narrower, the dashboard is shallower and the length of the cab is shorter.
So all the wiring, including the fuse panel down in the drivers footwell had to go back in a more cramped space, along with the parking brake mechanism. If you've ever tried to solve one of those Chinese puzzles you'll know what I was dealing with..
But I got it all in there, sort of, and it doesn't get in the way too much.
At this point I had reconnected all the wiring, so I hooked up the battery, turned the key and it fired up! Pretty pleased I hadn't screwed anything up I could continue....
The steering wheel sits more pronounced from the IH dash, it not horrendous though, so I'll go with it. However using the original aluminum bracket attached to just the firewall meant it was a little too unsecure, I needed to make a brace from the bracket to higher up the firewall, but also allow the instrument cluster and wiper mechanism to fit.
I came up with a very shallow brace that triangulated it just enough that the steering feels damn solid.
Which allows me to put the cluster just under the top dash rail
I threw in a front seat, hooked up the battery and pushed it back as much as it would go before it hit the back of the cab
I'm around 5'10" and I could JUST fit in, the steering wheel almost sits in your lap. So I thought how about trying the middle bench seat from the Durango[/img]
I managed to convince Mrs non grata into helping me carry the bench seat back up from the basement and plonking it in the cab.
Well it looks cool, and its a 3 person bench too, perfect! Except it doesn't exactly fit, the trans tunnel and the seat frame couldn't have been a worse match up. Way more effort required to make it work, plus it would be fixed position and the seat backs don't recline or anything.
I decided that for now, I would fit the fronts and live with a more upright seat back. While I drive it around I would keep an eye out for a Dodge Ram front bench seat, as it would probably be a far better fit to the Durango floorpan.
So I proceeded to fit more Durango interior parts into the harvester cab, the fact that the floor pan was Durango meant the console would drop straight in.
The Harvester dash had to be chopped a bit to allow the Durango cluster to be fitted.
And the center console HAVC controls were fitted onto little tabs I welded onto the Harvester dash.
I shampoo'd the original carpet, cut it to size and threw that it, along with the front seats again to get a look at it all.
I was pretty pleased that it all fits, pretty snug, but I now had a 1951 Harvester with electric, heated front seats, HVAC, dual climate control, power steering, power brakes, cruise control, and the instruments all worked.
Now this is the point in the build where things are going slower, small parts take way longer than the big stuff, I made a small mounting pod for the headlight switch and adjustable pedal switch. It took me hours to make and bolt in, and its just a small piece of the puzzle..
Time to make some more drastic improvements I thought....
20 foot maiden voyage
Irony. Don't you just love that feeling?
Having beavered away in the summer heat, throwing away one T shirt a day as I had to physically rip it off, soaked in sweat and grinder dust. My wife would order me to strip off in the garage and marched me SS style to the shower...
Why then the day I decide it could be the maiden voyage of this contraption does it decide to pour down with rain? Not the humid summer rain, but the cold fall type rain, "Where were you when I needed cooling down you Son of a bitc...."
So I'd hooked the fuel tank back up for the second or third time, ( I can't remember) I'd run 1 gauge battery cable to the battery now precariously placed on the muffler heat shield (perfect place for it?). I had 2 seats sort of fitted.
I dragged the doors up from the basement and refitted them, took about 1/2 hour per side to play around with the hinge adjustment to allow them to close properly.
Hang on. Why does the tire now look like its tucked way under the fender, so much it probably won't turn?
Ah stupid me had not accounted for the extra weight of the interior and the doors! I would have to have a think about what to do and come back to that...
I decided my 4yo son needed to come along for its maiden voyage of 20 feet down the drive
I tell you what, it made it all worth it, all the time, my body damage, the money, when I saw his face..my future wrenching buddy.
This was September 17th.
Heres some arty shots my wife took that day.
Next time it gets structural, while I make a bed.....
whats 8 inches between friends?
Until now you're probably thinking, man that durango chassis is made for the harvester body, it just plonks on top, everything lines up, takes about 2 months of work and away you go...
well no, not quite that good of a match. The wheel base on the harvester is 127" an the Durango is 119"
The track width on the Durango is wider, but thanks to the wide fenders on the Harvester the wheels fill the fenders perfectly at the front, would they fill nicely at the back too?
I would need to complete the next step and fit the bed and the rear fenders. But first how do we reduce the Harvester wheelbase to 119"?
Well chop 8" out of the bed of course...
See that rotten part in front of the rear wheel? That was completely rotted out from the truck being sat with water in the bed, the floor had rotten out and that side too. It was also where the spare wheel mount was bolted to.
I cut 8" out from just between the swage line in the side of the bed and the fender, so as to keep that swage feature. I used the chopped out part as filler material to rebuild the rotten part. It looks like a patch work quilt, and I quite like it.
More importantly I could offer it up along with a fender to see what it might look like, eventually...
Needless to say, it gave me a boost to carry on! I think it looked rather awesome.
I needed to make a frame work on the chassis that would hold the bed sides, and rear panel (is that whats its called?), tie it all together and provide a level platform to bolt some wood to later on. After a few nights of chopping and welding I was getting somewhere.
More cross braces added, 5 in total. the height is dictated by the highest part of the chassis, so at the mid point of the chassis towards the cab end of the bed I have a 1ft deep space where I plan to build a trunk, which also houses the battery.
The rear panel was notched out to allow the factory tow hitch to protrude through.
Its rather solid and I can jump up and down quite a lot on there and its going nowhere. I also don't plan to use this truck to haul tons of mulch/dirt whatever, so I think it will be fine.
I need to get some better pictures of the bed sides with the sectioning and patch work, and add them on here later..
So with that done, I thought about how to tackle the now rather lowered front end. 3 options.
Either chop the fenders out - too drastic
shim up the front end and open up the holes at the fender to cab and shove the front end up - a lot of work
crank up the torsion bars - could change the camber somewhat.
I decided to crank those torsion bars...I jacked up the front enough that the tires were off the floor. Liberally coated the preload bolts with PB blaster, marked the original positions, cranked the bolts in 3 full turns, this gave me 1-1.5" inch ride height increase. I didn't notice much of a change in the camber angle (obviously not measured) but I think it looks alright!
And that's it, you're all up to date. well actually I've done some wiring for the front lights and the rear lights, but I don't have any photos of that yet. I'll take some when I get back into the garage after this stupid plague has gone...
You are definitely a man of vision. It's nice to see what you have accomplished with it. Great Ride!
Originally Posted by 23dodges10
I guess by the name you're OK with my drivetrain choice?
Although I'm not the man with the vision, there's a chap I talk to in Ohio who does these trucks really well and I got the inspiration from him.
When it's done I want to take a trip over there to see him and compare trucks. He's turning it into a business and through experience he can do these conversions rather quickly!
I on the other hand just want this one truck, I'm going to use it and enjoy it and besides I've got my Mini Cooper to finish after this....
The Enlightened one
While my head was positively swimming in some sort of fluid and down was up and visa versa....
I decided to drag myself out of bed and into the garage for some wiring and soldering fun!
I used the stock Durango halogen bulbs in some rather natty looking new headlights. I just had to chop off the connector and lengthen the wiring a little and poke the wirin through the back of the headlight buckets, then solder the connectors back on.
The turn signals are integrated into the headlights, and just 2 wire, but the Durango turn signal are 3 wire, negative, turn signal and marker light.
I just eliminated the marker light option. I don't know if that's all legal or not?
Also as promised here's the patch work quilt on the bed side.
Looks better when stood back...
Excuse me while I slope off and die somewhere....
Last edited by persona non grata; 10-01-2016 at 08:55 PM.
Nice write up! I like your drive train choice, I'll bet it will be a lot of fun.
Sometimes, you can gain a little more steering wheel clearance if you remove the headrests off the seats, it lets them move back an inch or two, depending on what the seat back angle is. Also, Dakota's use the same floor pan as a Durango, so Dakota seats may offer a better fit, and floor match up then the full size Dodge truck will.
My 48 Plymouth coupe is on a Dakota chassis, and I have a 47 Dodge truck waiting for the right Dakota to turn up, maybe I'll expand that search for a Durango as well. Gene