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49 Dodge well darn, here we go again!

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  • #16
    The time has come to turn my attention to the front sheet metal. The position of the cab, the motor, and the radiator are pretty close tolerances. Then I mocked the truck up, I had the cab positioned on the Dakota chassis so the front wheels were in the wheel openings in the fenders, and the front nose piece would clear where I thought the radiator would fit. In that process, the nose piece bolted to the fenders and the fenders bolted to the cab, some trimming of the frame around where the original Dakota radiator support body mounts would be was done. The expectation at that point was that I thought I might be able to use the Dakota radiator support and the original Dakota radiator.
    Of course this was all without the motor being present. The front body mounts were then welded to the frame. As the drive train was set on the frame, and the cab was positioned, the floor and firewall were welded in, things were getting pretty tight, but everything was still working.

    With the fenders off, the Dakota radiator and radiator support did indeed bolt onto the frame using the original rubber mounts. The AC condenser attaches to the radiator support on the front side of the support, and that was pretty questionable. I bolted down the radiator support, but removed the radiator and the AC condenser. Then I trimmed the outside edges from the radiator support, and the top corners. I had to remove in inside bracing on the nose piece. To be able to get the fenders back where they need to be, the top 1/2 of the radiator support needed to be cut off completely, then the fenders would slide back to where they need to be. I have the fenders sitting on cement blocks and 2x4s at the proper height.
    With the fenders in place its pretty clear the Dakota radiator is too wide to fit and 26" wide. The height would have been OK, and I probably could have trimmed the nose piece to clear the radiator, but the area I would have had to cut is already prone to tearing the sheet metal and I didn't want to add any more stress to an already stressful location. I ordered a new Champion Radiator yesterday. It will give me an extra 3" of clearance between the radiator and the surrounding sheet metal. At this point, i'm probably going to build a new radiator support as well, that will make mounting the nose piece and the radiator easier, I think. I'll build that when the new radiator comes in next week.

    Lets move on to the dash. The dash has another list of challenges. I'm using the Dakota heat and AC box. It bolts up to the firewall (because it has the Dakota firewall welded to the 49 firewall). I have two issues I'm not sure what to do about yet.

    The original Dakota heater box pulled fresh air from a separated vent box on the cowl. That vent box also housed the wiper system and pulled the fresh air through louvres behind the hood. The whole vent box drained any water that got in it out both sides of the firewall. There is a 3" x 8" hole in the back wall of the vent box that was an inch off the vent box floor where the fresh air passed through the box and into the heat/AC system. Of course, the 49 doesn't have a vent box, but I could add one. I built a vent box for the coupe, then added a vent door we could open for fresh air to enter the car at our feet. The coupe (and the 49) had a cowl vent that can be opened and closed with a lever under the dash. On the coupe, that cowl vent is always open and also provides fresh air for the heater to function. I'm not sure I want the cowl vent to always be open on the 49, but it would actually be pretty nice to open the cowl and get that fresh air into the cab during the summer, but close it during the winter. If I make the cowl vent on the 49 function like it was designed to do, I will need to figure out a way to get fresh air into the heat/AC box. I've given thought to making a fresh air box for just the heat/AC, I could cut a hole in the firewall and pull the air from there, but that would be under the hood air, not outside fresh air. I don't know if that would make a difference or not. The original 49 heater had a hole in the firewall with a cable operated door that directed the air through the heater, but that may have had a clothe covered wire tube that ran to the grille area. I've never seen one where the tube would have survived on trucks, but I've seen something similar on car before.

    What ever I do with the heat/vent, it will need to clear the wiper assembly. The original electric 6 volt wiper had a transmissions on each side of the motor with arms and pivots that bolted to the cowl, just below the glass. Of course, I don't have any of that stuff. I do have a complete Dakota system I'd have to modify along with the modifications to the truck to make it work.

    Then there is the dash itself. I'm using the Dakota instrument cluster and all the Dakota switches (everything plugs into the wiring harness). I cut down the driver side of the Dakota dash today (because everything will screw into place with it), but I can'r get the dash at the correct angle, I think it will be pointed down too far to be able to see the gauges, but if I roll it up enough to see the gauges, I will loose the defroster duct holes, and it won't fit at the steering wheel correctly. The Dakota dash is pretty ugly anyway, and the dash pad is pretty rough. I will probably end up making it from scratch too. I guess today was set back day. Maybe tomorrow, or next week will be better, Its suppose to be cooler next week. Gene


    • #17
      Hey, just for fun, lets shorten a driveshaft! I even have pictures!
      to tell the truth, I cut my original driveshaft before I took any pictures, and it was ready to weld together. So just for you, and picture sake, I cut up the end of another driveshaft, just to show you how I did it.
      The most important thing with shortening a driveshaft is when you get done, the ends both have to be in sink with each other. Both U joint ends have to be positioned the same as they were before you cut the shaft, and they have to be square with each other. If you get this wrong, you will have a vibration that won't go away, and I can almost promise will result in a broken transmission case at some point.

      Now the proper way to shorten a drive shaft involves using a lath to cut the tube square, and then machine the old tube and weld from the end piece. then you insert the machined end into the proper length of the tube. Then you chuck the shaft up in the lath, and set up a dial indicator to test the run out and tap it into position so its perfect, then weld it while you turn the shaft slowly. It can be time consuming, but that was how it was assembled the 1st time.

      I don't have a lath, nor do I have the patience to do all that. I've shortened a lot of driveshafts over the years, some have been in pretty big HP rides with out issues. But, the reality is, occasionally I screw one up and have to cut another driveshaft. I'm going to show you how I do it, then its you call on if you want to take the chance, or pay someone to make one for you.

      Before you cut anything. take a straight edge and a marker or paint marker and draw a line straight down the drive shaft, be sure the line goes across the end your cutting off and covers more of the shaft then your cutting off. You will be able to use this line to get the ends close to proper orientation when you put it back together by simply lining up the lines.

      Pic 1) So this will be the extra one I will cut (my shaft is already past this point). A couple things right up front. 1) The transmission yoke should be removed before any cutting is done. If you have a choice, shorten the driveshaft at the trans end rather then at the rear axle end, the trans end is slightly more tolerable of a slight imbalance. 2) Its going to be a lot easier to cut the end where it needs to be cut while the driveshaft is still in one piece. I left the end on because I need something to clamp in the vice. If the tube would still be intact, there isn't a need to clamp the shaft.
      Notice the two red arrows on the shaft? Between them is the original factory weld. Ideally you want to cut right around the center of the weld, but if you can't do that, you need to cut as close to the weld as you can on the shaft side. I cut this with a sawzal, with a new blade, because a new blade is easier to control.

      Pic 2 & 3) This is the same piece, in two different angles. This piece is the end of my original driveshaft. I don't know if you can read the metal thickness gauge or not, but the tube is only made with 16 gauge steel tube. If your 110 volt Harbor Freight welder functions, you can weld this stuff. I suggest to clean up the edge of the end near the original weld, and you will also want to clean up the edge of the cut to length tube.

      Pic 4) I cut this end at the tube side of the weld. If the tube is intact, you can open your vice just enough for the shaft to sit in the vice stable (or block the driveshaft with wood to hold it steady on a bench) Support the other end of the drive shaft. If you can start the cut in the center of the weld, it would be better, but cutting just to the tube side of the weld (as close to the weld as possible) will work. Your going to cut just the tube (or the weld and the tube) all the way around the shaft. You want to keep the cut as straight as possible, and as shallow as possible. I've found that if you just start the cut and get it deep enough the blade won't walk, you can cut a little, rotate the shaft a little, and use the 1st cut as a guide. Do this all the way around the shaft. Its better if you have to go around the shaft a couple times then is it to cut too deep the 1st time. After you have cut around the shaft once, you should be able to see if the cut is deep enough. Once its cut, you should be able to tap the end with a hammer lightly and it should come out of the tube pretty easy.
      If you look at the end piece at a side view, you should be able to see the tapered end, and then a short flat surface all around the end, by the weld. If you were able to cut at the center of the weld, that flat area would be longer. That flat surface actually extends to the end of the red arrow, when they cut these things on a lath, the cut the weld off. Unless your capable of doing the proper machining, just leave the weld there. That little flat surface will be important later.

      Now you need to know how long your drive shaft needs to be. Insert the transmission yoke into the trans, up to the point it would normally have been (pretty easy if you have the end that was originally in your trans). Make sure the trans yoke IS NOT bottomed out in the trans, you want it to be able to go inside the trans another 3/4". With the vehicle weight on the axle (on the ground, or jack stands under the axle housing with out a jack present. Measure from the center of the rear axle U joint to the center of the trans yoke U joint. This will give you your ride height driveshaft U joint center to center. Write this number down. Now measure from the edge of the weld on the drive shaft end you just cut off the tube to the center of the U joint. Subtract the last number from the first number. This gives you the cut line you will have to cut your driveshaft tube off at. You want this cut to be as close to straight as possible, if you can cut the tube with a pipe cutter that might be nice, just be sure your not clasping the tube at all when you are cutting it. After your done cutting it, clean the outside to shiny metal, and clean off any burrs from the inside.

      Pics 5 & 6) Once the tube is cleaned up, you will find the end piece will tap into the tube very nicely. This would be a good time to check to be sure the tube is cut as straight as possible, you can correct the tube end, but you pretty much need to leave with the weld end unless you can straighten it out with out grinding away any of the flat. That little flat we talked about earlier will center the tube and should be enough to keep the tube straight. Make sure you have both ends oriented correctly, line up the drawn line you made earlier. If you look at the right edge of pic 5, but the marker line on the cardboard there is a flat surface on the outer edge of the drive shaft end piece. That flat edge is on both sides of the shaft, and the same area on the other end of the shaft has the flat surfaces. I usually very carefully clean these two surfaces on both ends with a flat file until I know they are flat. You noticed I still have the trans yoke and U joint in my driveshaft. I don't suggest you do this the 1st few times out, but I've done a bunch of shafts. The end cap of the front U joint protrudes past that flat surface, but the U joint ends are also flat.

      Pic 7, 8 , & 9 OK a lot going on here. Is thing, the surface I'm using to weld the shaft up isn't long enough to hold the entire length of this driveshaft. I have a 3" wide channel iron sitting on that surface, and it is longer then the drive shaft. Next I'm using two pieces of 1 1/4" square tube (the actual size isn't important, but both being the same size is important. These two pieces of steel sit across the channel, and both ends of the driveshaft flat surfaces will sit on these pieces. You want to be sure only the flat surfaces are sitting on the square tubes, 7 & 8 show this.
      With the flat surfaces sitting on the tubing, the drive shaft should be solid and not rock at all. If there is any rocking, you cat tap the end piece in whichever direction it may need to rotate. NEVER tap or hammer on the loops that the U joint caps fit into. Once the shaft is flat and stable, pic 9 shows the proper place to tap the end piece firmly into the tube.

      Pic 10. I used a piece of steel I knew was flat to clamp the end to be welded of the shaft to the channel with a big C clamp.
      Pic 11 Top view of the weld line, right next to the original weld. I do a tack on each side, then I'll do a solid weld about 1/4 of the way around, then I will do another 1/4 way around on the opposite side of the shaft. At that point I'll weld the 3rd 1/4 and then release the clamp and do the last 1/4. The weld doesn't have to be pretty, just good. The odds of the weld failing are not very high, unless your hooking up a lot of power.
      Pic 12 is my finished weld. I need to buy a new U joint and install it. There is a method you can self balance a driveshaft, but really, I've never had to balance one. I will cover that maybe next time. Gene


      • #18
        Thanks for taking the time to do all this up. Great detail. 1930 Chevy truck build link:


        • #19
          So, you know we all have those weeks where just about nothing goes right? Last week was one of those weeks. This week it was time to regroup, and form a different plan.

          I spent nearly all day Monday making little brackets to mount the Dakota wiper pivots to the 49 cab. I think they came out pretty good, but I'm going to get some pictures rather then try to describe the process. After that successful adventure, I spent some time looking at the cab windshield frame. It just didn't look right...

          This cab was wrecked at one time. Most of the sheet metal on the right side was damaged, and filled with very thick body filler. Right after I got it home, I ground out all the filler and started straightening stuff out, before I put a lot of effort into this truck. Pretty much everything on the passenger side was bent and covered with filler.
          The most troubling area was in the roof. There was filler above the door that was also not finished sanded, and was primed over. Once I removed all the filler (over 1" thick!) I discovered the roof had also been smashed beat up, poorly welded, then covered with the filler. I ended up cutting a section above the door out of the outer metal so I could repair the inner structure. I believe the truck was probably put into a ditch, and it rolled up on the right side of the roof. Before I cut it out, nearly all the factory welds between the outer skin and the inner structure were broken from the back edge of the door all the way to the original roof and pillar splice. All of the inner panels had been rewelded, as well as the roof to pillar joint by the same guy that did the fender patch. The passenger side door was hard to open and hard to close when I got the truck home.
          I did a lot of measuring, and cut loose all the crappy welds. I discovered when they welded the pillar, they didn't have it in the correct position. I actually had to jack the roof back up nearly 1/2" higher then they had it welded. When I got everything tack back together, both sides of the windshield had the same dimensions and the door at least opened and closed, though you had to lift it a bit for it to latch. Then I made a patch for the outer skin and welded it in place. That was the point I'd left the cab at before I started building the truck.

          Now that I'm getting closer to having a real truck, its time to address the door closing issue. this brings me back to looking at the windshield opening and thinking it didn't look right. My mind is suggesting maybe the entire roof is bent towards the driver side. About that time, my phone rings, its my buddy at the body shop, and he wants my opinion on something.
          Tuesday morning I went to the body shop and rendered my opinion on his project, then asked him to come and look at my truck cab. Later in the day he was there. I had him look at my door, and explained the condition of the cab when I got it. We discussed the prospects, and he offered a few suggestions. He thought the rood looked canted towards the driver side as well. We measured the windshield opening and the center of the opening was a 1/2" higher then both ends. He suggested that a port-a-power could probably jack the roof back into positing, and suggested where, how much and how to push it. and he thought that once the roof was back in proper position, the door may open and close good enough to get the rest of the closing right by adjustments. He suggested that the new cut from pattern windshield would probably confirm if the window frame was off like it looked to both him and me. He offered the use of his port-a-power.
          I picked up the port-a-power Wed morning. The new glass did confirm the center of the windshield was a 1/2" too high. I took some tape and a tape measure and laid out positions on the window frame so I could get measurements to compare side to side and top to bottom from the exact same position every time I did a little jacking. I was also able to lay out a diagonal measurement from the top corners to the center so I would know when I got the roof back into position.
          Jacking the cab from the 1st location my friend suggested pulled the high center out, but I couldn't get the correct roof angle. When I moved to the 2nd location, I was able to get the diagonal correct while it was under pressure, but I couldn't get it to stay there. Upon closed inspection, I found two of the roof braces that were broken loose that you couldn't see until it was under pressure. I welded those two braces up while the pressure was on. and when I released the pressure, it came back some, but was now only 1/8" out of square. When I went back in to jack it a little more, the location I was pushing from on the floor broke a couple of braces there. I had to remove the pressure, and remove the port-a-power and was able to get those tow braces back into position and welded back to the floor. I added another brace, the set everything up and tried pushing again. Same deal, under pressure, I could get it perfect, but I couldn't get it to go any farther. When I released the pressure, it went back to being 1/8" out of square. I figured that was as close as it was going to get. When the roof was under pressure, the door opened and closed nicely, 1/8" out and it still closed pretty good, but not as nice as when under pressure.
          The windshield is two pieces of glass in a rubber gasket, with a center support piece that bots together through the center of the rubber gasket. I suspect the rubber will be able to absorb that 1/8" out of square pretty easily, Hopefully I'm right. Jacking the cab and taking measurements every jack stroke it a time consuming process!

          So now, with the cab pretty close to being right, the door is still binding on the top edge by the upper hinge, but now its clearing the edge along the windshield where the major issue was before. The door hinges are two pieces of formed steel held together with a hinge pin. On of the two pieces of the hinge is riveted to the door frame, and the other part of the hinge is held to the door post with 4 bolts through each hinge that thread into a plate welded to the door post. Those bolts are fine thread 3/8" bolts. The bolts are new, and the threads in the hinges have had a tap run through them, but the threads in the door frame are a bit sketchy, especially the holes that hold the top hinge. After I pulled all the bolts and removed the door, I decided to tap the holes in the top hinge with course 3/8" threads. Course thread bolts have more meat in the threads and can be cut through 3/8" fine thread holes and have a chance of tightening up without stripping out. On the top hinge, I have access to the back side and can actually install longer 3/8" bolts and run a nut up on the back side. I have longer 3/8" course thread bolts, but I don't have longer 3/8" fine thread bolts, and I don't have any 3/8" fine thread nuts. I have also decided to elongate the already existing slots in the door hinges a little more to give me more outward adjustment. I'm thinking maybe the door post itself has been bent, but I have no way of knowing that, and no way to fix it if I knew it was bent. The ability to move the door a little more outward may be a life saver. When I first got the truck, I bought all 4 new door hinge pins because they are odd sized, and the other door was missing one. They come is a set of 4. I've already installed both hinge pins in the driver door, so I'll be putting new hinge pins in these hinges as well. Removing the old pins was a challenge, both must have been bent! Since it would be easier to make the slots in the hinges longer with the hinge in a vice, pulling the hinges was a good plan. Once the part of the lower hinge that bolts to the door post was removed, it was pretty obvious the part attached to the door was cracked and bent. I had to grind the 4 rivets that held the hinge to the door off and chisel the hinge piece off the door. Once off the door, I could clean the places the hinge pieces was cracked, and then I could straighten out the bend, and put the piece back into original condition and weld up the cracks. Two of the rivets came out of the door, and the other two I cleaned up the edges of the rivets and the hinge piece could be pressed back over the rivets. The other two holes I drilled out to 3/8" diameter (the next bigger size) Those I would bole on. Then I cleaned the area around the hinge. I found the back side of the door was cracked under the hinge, so I welded the crack, pressed the hinge over the ends of the rivets, and installed new bolts in the two open rivet holes. Then I tightened the bolts and welded the hinge to the door. I then installed the new pins and the hinge pieces with the longer slotted holes together with the hinge pieces riveted and welded to the door.

          I also decided I should make a spacer shim in case I needed to set the door farther from the door frame. To fit the extra ship behind the hinge, I needed to cut the outside sheet metal cover that is between the bolt heads and the hinge. Once that piece was cut out, I noticed all the original welds that were suppose to be around the outside edge of the plate the hinge bolts pass through were broken. I cleaned that area up, and welded the piece the bolts threaded into back onto the door post. I had to dress my welds so the hinge would sit flat against the plate after I did the welding. After I bolted the hinges to the door post, and adjusted them outward, the door opens and closes very nicely! All I had to do was weld that piece I cut out between the bolt heads and the hinge. I did not need the shim I made. The door still opens and closes nice. It took all week, but that's one less issue to deal with.


          • #20
            Great detail Gene. There are a couple of details about the racking adventure that I could've used in the past and now are etched in my brain.

            Thanks mucho.
   1930 Chevy truck build link:


            • #21
              Time to build a radiator support that will also support the front sheet metal.
              I have a plan. Make the frame work out of angle iron, and mount it onto the existing radiator support on the Dakota frame, just like it was originally. I've blocked up the radiator into the position it needs to be in to clear the fan, and have the hoses in the correct location so they also clear the fan. I have taken some pretty careful measurements, there is not a lot of extra space in the fit, its got to be pretty close.

              I tacked the angle iron together, and test fit the new aluminium radiator. Somehow I mismeasured, its 1" too wide, good thing it was just tacked together. I cut it apart, and adjust the width to the correct measurement and tacked it again. Much better.

              That angle iron frame covers both sides and the bottom of the radiator. I'm going to add 2 pieces of 3" channel outward from the two side pieces. They need to be 8 1/2" (according to my calculations) from the bottom of the angle frame with the bottom flat edge forming a straight line from each other. This channel will sit on top of the rubber bushings the radiator support will sit on. Then bolts and nuts will compress the rubber and hold the radiator support firmly, but will cushion the radiator from vibrations. Once the angle iron is attached to the front sheet metal, any forward or rear ward movement will be almost eliminated. The radiator is not centered on the frame. The motor and trans are offset towards the passenger side, so the radiator is also offset towards the passenger side, but not nearly as much as the motor and trans are. The drivers side channel is 3" longer then the passenger side channel. The channels are tack welded in place and holes are drilled to bolt the angle iron into place and compress the rubber bushings so I get an accurate picture of the radiator position. Its one thing to measure and plan, but sometimes reality makes things different. With the radiator support bolted into position, I can test fit the radiator and check clearances. The radiator has a 1" wide flange on each side that runs up and down at an angle that is used to bolt the radiator to the radiator support. I will weld a 1/8" x 1" x 1" angle to both of the inside edges of the radiator support angle iron. That was why I cut the radiator support apart and repositioned it right up front, If I would have left it, it would be 1" too wide, the 1" angle would not have worked.

              Now its time to throw the front sheet metal on and see how that looks with the radiator clearance. With the sheet metal in place, I've decided I need to shift the entire radiator support towards the driver side 1/2" and also shift it back towards the motor a 1/2". I have to pull everything off, and cut a 1" square hole (for more adjustment if I need it) where the two radiator support bolts go through the channel iron. I will add a large washer under the mount nut plates. Then I need to put everything together and see what it looks like. It looks good, but now I need to weld those 1" angles to the radiator support so I can clamp the radiator into position. Before I pull it all apart again, I take a few measurements for one of the pieces of sheet metal that will bolt to the front sheet metal, and will also bolt to the radiator support so I can bend one of those. Pull it apart, tack in the 1" angle, and bend a piece of sheet metal. When the radiator is not in place, I will be able to better fit the sheet metal bracket I just bent. I put it back together and clamped the radiator to the 1" angle, and stuck a couple bolts through the sheet metal that will hold the front clip to the radiator support. At this point, everything is looking good. There is about 3/4" clearance on everything radiator clearance related.

              Lets check the hood clearance. The hood is made up of 3 pieces, the 10" centre section which bolts to the nose, and also bolts to the top of the firewall. Then there is a left and a right section that is hinged off the center piece and open butterfly style. The only support for the side hood pieces are the center support and the outer edge that sit on top of the fenders. The front of the hood drops down about 8" to where it meets the front sheet metal nose. Originally, there was a piece of formed metal that bolted to the top of the nose piece, then the center of the hood bolts to that formed piece and curved up and towards the firewall. There are a few issues with the hood design. 1st is the stamped sheet metal hood center section does not provide enough support for itself and the two hood sides. They often are cracked at the end of the "hinges" where the hood makes the bend down towards the nose piece. Next, the "hinges" are nothing more that a pair of stamped channels, one on the center, and one on the hood side, that are slid together. The 3rd issue is the hood center doesn't actually bolt to the front nose, it bolts to a formed piece that bolts to the nose and there is a 2" gap between the bottom edge of the hood and the nose piece. There is a non-supportive bolt on chrome strip that fills the gap between the nose and the front of the hood. I had to add (2) 1/2" diameter rods to the underside of the hood center to give it enough support to hold the hood sides. To make things even more fun, the piece that came with the truck that is suppose to bolt to the nose that the hood center bolts to is incorrect for this truck. The shape is incorrect and the hood holes are not in the right position. The piece I have holds the center of the hood up 3" too high. The underside of the curved edge of the hood will be close to the top of the radiator. The top radiator hose comes out of the top center of the radiator, and it only has about 3/4" clearance from the fan. Since I don't have the correct piece to bolt the hood to the nose piece, I'm using a piece of tubing I believe to be close to correct based on the height of the chrome piece. The hood is really close. I put a couple bolts in the fenders where they attach to the cab so the fenders are in the correct position.

              So how is the hood clearance? With the hood center sitting on top of the firewall, and sitting on top of the the tubing I think is the correct size, the hood is just sitting on the radiator cap that is on top of the radiator tank. That was after I removed the clamps and the radiator is sitting on the bottom angle iron frame work. That was enough for the day.

              Tomorrow I'm going to bolt the hood center to the firewall, and I'm going to set that chrome strip in place and see if I can raise up the hood, I believe a 1/4" of clearance should be enough since it is all bolted together right around the radiator support. I will have to take it apart and raise up the two pieces of channel about 3/4" so the radiator isn't sitting on it, and not change the location of the radiator itself. At this point I still have 3/4" clearance between the fan and the top radiator hose, which is the closet point (except the hood). Sigh. Gene


              • #22
                Lets do some pictures.
                Pics 1,2, & 3 show my radiator support as its bolted to the frame, and what it looks like with the front sheet metal in place.
                Pics 4, 5 & 6 show the radiator in place, before the support was modified. Between how close the radiator was to the fan, and how high it sat, I'd determined I could raise the two ears that bolt on top of the bushings up on the support piece 1" and make the mounting holes a larger diameter so i could shift it towards the driver side a bit more, and I could move the radiator away from the fan a bit more. Picture 6 shows how high the hood sits above the fender line. There is a piece of chrome that covers this gap, but its only about 3" high, in this picture, the hood center is nearly 3" above the fender line, so that was why I decided to raise the mounting brackets higher on the support angle iron.
                Pictures 7 and 8 show the radiator in its new lower location, moved forward, and also towards the driver side. This gave me more clearance between the fan and the radiator, it brought the radiator closer towards the center, its only off set about an inch now (a 1/2" shift would center the radiator between the fenders), I still have enough clearance between the fan blades and the radiator hose to put my fat little fingers between them, and it allowed me to lower the hood to 2" above the fender line, which might be pretty close to where it is suppose to be. The hood center is still sitting on the radiator, but I can get enough clearance to make that work, I think.
                Picture 9 gives you an idea what the truck is going to look like.

                Well, you know how those plans don't always work out? It seams the small amount of contact with the center of the hood is pretty minor. I installed the passenger hood side, because the radiator is offset towards that side more. Yea, it sits on top of the radiator and is at least 2" from sitting down where it sits on the fender. I can't shift the radiator to the driver side enough because it would cause a problem with the driver side hood piece. I also can't lower the radiator down that low, because I couldn't get the fan to clear the top rad hose, and the fan is too close to the radiator hose nipple to even add a sharp 90 degree bend to get the hose towards the driver side where there is enough space for the hose to run. The only options are to modify the current radiator and have the upper hose outlet moved all the way to the left side of the top tank, or use a different radiator.
                Anyone need a nice new Champion radiator for a 49-54 Chevy truck with a V8? Gene


                • #23
                  So the next plan, what ever number that might be, is to try the original Dakota radiator and its radiator support. I tried it before I bought this nice shiny aluminium radiator, but concluded it wouldn't fit without cutting the corners of the truck fenders away. That area of the front fenders is prone to cracking, both fenders on this truck are cracked in this area, so I really didn't want to remove any more supporting metal. At this point, cutting the front fenders doesn't seem like such a big deal any more. The original Dakota radiator is in good condition, and the original radiator support is also in pretty good condition. I knew I was going to have to cut the top 7" off the original radiator support, and I was going to have to trim the sides down to fit as well.
                  The original Dakota radiator is 5" shorter then the aluminium radiator was, but its also 6" wider. I'm also going to have to cut the top radiator mounting brackets off the rad, because the hood sides won't clear them. Originally, the radiator had two plastic studs pointing down out of the bottom tank. Those two studs sit in rubber bushings that sit in holes in the radiator support. The top of the radiator is held in place by 2 bolts that go through a rubber bushing on each side, the rubber bushings fit into the brackets I have to cut off the sides of the radiator. The two bolts originally screwed into nut inserts in the top part of the radiator support I had to cut off. The radiator in its original location sits about 5" above the fender line, but it also sits a couple inches forward because the top hose is to the extreme left side of the radiator.

                  With the top cut off the original radiator support, and the sides trimmed, the lower section actually fits inside the nose piece and can be bolted to the frame using original bolts and bushings. Once I cut the notches out of the fenders and the nose piece, and cut the two upper radiator mounting brackets off the sides of the radiator, it fits down into the hole. When in position, the top of the radiator id actually about even with the highest point of the fan blades. I'm probably even going to be able to modify the original fan shroud and use it as well. With the lower radiator, I can lower the hood center to about 1" above the fender lines, and the hood and passenger side hood both clear the radiator. I'm pretty sure the driver side hood is going to work just fine, the radiator is still offset towards the passenger side. Its looking like we have a winner!

                  Originally, there was a piece of formed metal that bolts to the front edge of the nose piece that directs the air flow towards the top of the original radiator, and the center of the hood bolted to it. That piece that came with this truck was incorrect, it was shaped wrong, and several mounting holes were in the wrong position. I expected I was going to have to make that piece. With the aluminium radiator, making that piece was going to be pretty difficult because of the height it needed to be and because of how close the radiator to hood clearances was. With this radiator, making that piece was going to be pretty simple. All I needed was a simple 19 gauge sheet metal "L" with mounting holes along the front edge, and mounting holes for the hood center piece. I can also mount something off of it to hold the radiator in place.
                  The radiator air deflector, hood, and radiator mounting bracket needed to be 3 3/4" from the front edge, and 3 1/2" to the top of the "L" and be about 30" long. I will have to trim the edges to fit around the edges of the hood on the top part of the "L".
                  I'm using a piece of 1" x 2" tubing to hold the hood at the correct height. Once the "L" is bent, I slid it under the piece of tubing, and it and the hood held it in position. From the underside of the nose, I marked two of the 4 holes in the front section, removed the piece and drilled the two holes 5/16" in diameter, Then I slid the piece back into position and bolted it in place. Then I could mark the two holes for the hood center to bolt to, pull the piece back off and drill those two holes 5/16" in diameter. The piece was bolted back in place and the hood center was bolted into place to test fit. Then the piece was pulled out again. The only edge and bolt holes in the original incorrect piece were these 4 holes across the front, and this front edge. Now I can use two fresh holes in the new piece to line up that old piece and mark the remaining two holes, and I could mark the correct edge. I drilled the two remaining holes, and cut the excess metal off the front edge. I've reinstalled the new piece and have trimmed the passenger side t clear the hood. I will need to install the driver side of the hood an be sure I have removed enough material it clears the hood as well. Then i'm going to make a couple pieces of 1/8" x 1" bar stock bent to hold the radiator in position, and drill holes to bolt those brackets on as well. I may have to do a bit more trimming at the edges for hood clearance, but I'm going to wait until I have the hood in place. I still need replacement hoses, antifreeze, and trans cooler line ends. I also still have to attach the rest of the nose to the radiator support.

                  After the front sheet metal is bolted on, the next move is to get it running, then mount the box floor and box sides. Then its back to the dash, heater and wipers, and then install the glass. Gene


                  • #24
                    Well guys, I've been busy working on the truck. I'd love to post up a few pictures, but right now I can't. I had to break down and buy a new computer. Its almost like a whole new experience, just turn it on, and go to the sites I have saved in my bookmarks again.
                    The new computer has slots for memory card from cameras, but unfortunately, the memory card from my very old camera doesn't fit into any of the slots. I guess a new camera is the next thing I get to buy. Until then, I guess there will be no pictures. Sorry.

                    Work on the truck has progressed. I have made three of the pieces needed to attach the front sheet metal to the radiator support, so now there are no cement blocks and 2" x 4"s holding the front sheet metal off the ground. That one was a huge step forward. I ended up welding the 1/8" x 1" straps that hold the top of the radiator in position to the "L" shaped piece because I figured that piece would have o come off the get the radiator in or out anyway. I've glues a piece of rubber to the bottom side of those 1" pieces to cushion the radiator and hold it firmly into position. I've also welded to bolts into the "L" with the bolt head towards the radiator, and added another pair of 1/8" x 1" braces those bolts pass through that run down and forward under the "L" piece and rest on the sheet metal nose piece. I feel better with the added support for the "L" piece because it will be supporting the weight of the hood. Those bolts and the extra braces are all welded to the back side of the "L" and I have painted both sides of the L"L with semi gloss black. At this point, I'm pretty tired of looking at that front sheet metal. Its time to do a little dash work for a change of pace.

                    The dash is a fresh new design pretty well built from scratch. I'm only using the instrument cluster, the headlight switch, and heat controls from the Dakota dash, and those all pretty much sit right behind the steering wheel. I cut the original dash out of the truck because it had nothing in it, and was very close to the windshield. The Dakota steering column protruded a good 10" away from the original dash. I left about a 2" strip of the original dash top along the windshield to attach my new dash to. The intent is to add a sheet metal dash that extends 8" away from the center of the windshield, bend down at about 90 degrees, and then curve back under at the bottom to a support piece that runs from one side of the dash to the other. By extending it that far away from the windshield, I can use most of the Dakota heat, AC and defroster duct work. The Dakota HVAC box is already mounted to the firewall with a new heater core and a new AC evaporator installed. I briefly considered using the Dakota dash, but it has a raised section in front of the driver, then drops down for an open storage shelf on the passenger side. The dash cover wasn't in great shape, and the outer corner on the driver side interfered with the window crank.
                    Since the dash is a new creation, that means I needed to build a mounting bracket to hold the instrument cluster in the correct position and angle, and I needed to add provisions to hold the headlight switch and the heat control. I will also have to build support for all the duct work, support for the wiper assembly, support for a radio, support for a glove box, and for anything else the will need to go under the sheet metal cover, as well as provide a way to attach the sheet metal cover to the framework.
                    The starting point for the dash is a bottom support. It needs to connect to both of the door posts, and attach to the steering column brackets. Everything in or on the dash will be supported by this bottom piece, the steering column brackets, and that 2" strip at the windshield. I was able to use the original bottom bracket from the Dakota dash after a few modifications. I needed to modify it around the steering column, and i had to modify both ends where that attach to the door post. I also had to shorten the length by 2" between the steering column and the passenger side door post. The original bottom dash piece was bolted together near the center, I simply removed the 2" from that bolt together location and drilled a couple new holes. On the Dakota dash, all the support for the instrument cluster, the switches, the radio and the heat control was done in plastic that was part of the dash structure. By the time I cut the plastic to fit, it wouldn't have been enough left to be much support. I can build a sheet metal brace, and attach that to the steering column brackets. The process is not difficult, but it is time consuming. You make a piece you think will work out of cardboard, then transfer it to metal (20 gauge), cut it out and bend it up. Then you test fit, and modify as needed. When you think your close, you drill some holes and bolt/screw it together and then test fit the instrument cluster. Park your butt in the seat, and be sure its the way you want it. Modify accordingly, then drill holes and screw the instrument cluster to your bracket. The headlight switch is on the left side of the now mounted instrument cluster. It will sit closer to the firewall then the instrument cluster does because it has to allow clearance to the window crank on the drivers door when the lights are turned on (switch knob pulled out). I can use the original Dakota headlight switch and the bracket it attaches to, but its going to be a close fit because of the trucks windshield frame, and the wiring for the switch need to be clear of each other, and still be able to change the light switch if I ever need to. Once I'm happy with its location, I need to add a bracket to the instrument cluster bracket, and modify the light switch bracket to fit. I've also determined it would be a good idea to attach the headlight bracket to the door post for added support as well. Of course this means the instrument cluster has to come out, so I can unbolt its bracket to add the headlight switch bracket, after I make the headlight switch bracket. Then I attached the headlight bracket to the instrument cluster bracket and test fit the brackets, modify accordingly. Then modify the headlight switch and mount it. Then I can make a piece to connect with the headlight switch bracket and the door post. Once everything is made, I can screw and bolt everything in place and see how it works. Modify as needed. The instrument cluster and the headlight switch are both mounted.


                    • #25
                      The heat control panel will be to the right side of the instrument cluster. Its location will be limited by the length of the hearer box slide control cable, the vacuum plug, and the blower switch wiring. The defroster and AC duct work also will run in the area of the heat control panel. The wiper motor is also going to be located somewhere close to that area as well. I also want to mount a bracket and lever to open and close the cowl vent, that is located in front of the windshield, but will need to be just to the right of the heat control panel. A radio would probably have to be in the same general area. things are getting a bit tight. This would be a good point to stop for now. I think I really need to get the truck running so I can get the two truck boxes that are sitting just off my driveway merged together, and get it on the 49 truck frame before the weather turns south. I don't need the heat control panel mounted to get the truck running, and getting the truck running is a higher priority at this point.

                      I've had the dash wiring laid out inside the cab for a couple weeks. I also have the under hood wiring, sort of in position. The time has come to lay out the under hood wiring, and start connecting the plug ins. There is also a wire bundle for the transmission, and a bundle that goes to the rear of the truck, with the fuel pump. fuel gauge, anti lock brakes and the tail lights on it. Doing all the connections, laying out where the wiring needs to run, and attaching the wiring to the frame takes almost 2 days! I pulled the radiator out to give it a vinegar cleaning and flush. I will also be doing a vinegar cleaning and flush to the motor. The truck will be getting all new hoses, belts, thermostat and gasket and fresh antifreeze (everything is here waiting). When I pulled the motor & trans off the other frame, I cut the pipe and converter off. I picked up a pipe coupling and a clamp, and I welded the coupling to the pipe with the converter on it, and slid the other end of the coupling onto the pipe it was cut off of, and clamped that end. I now have exhaust (pipe & converter) to back behind the cab. The biggest challenge I'm facing right now is fining a place to put the battery and figuring out a new battery holder. Originally the Dakota battery was on the driver side, just behind the power steering pump and that is how the wiring is laid out. I'd really like to keep it close to that location, but there is a slight problem. The distance between the firewall and the power steering pump is not quite as long as it was in the Dakota, the Dakota was about 3" longer. That extra 3" means the master cylinder and the power steering pump are 3" closer to each other. The battery doesn't fit between the two. Another problem is the Dakota hood was square as were in inner edges of the fenders, the 49 fenders curve towards each other at the front. That inward curve on the 49 fenders begins at about the front edge of the master cylinder. There is room under the fender, even along the edge of the fender for the battery, if I could get it in the hole.... I'm going to have to take something off to get the battery into the place it needs to be. At this point, it looks like if I pull the bolts holding the master cylinder to the booster, I should be able to get the battery down in there. I probably will have to build a battery holder and figure out how to mount it to the frame, then I can put the battery in, and finish the wiring. One thing I wasn't expecting was an issue with the battery. We are having pretty good weather right now, highs in the mid-upper 70s, lows in the 50s. Next week our temps are suppose to drop, Tuesday high is only suppose to be 63, and drop a little more daily as the week goes by.
                      Maybe I can get the truck running by the end of the week so I can at least get the box back on the frame, that has to be done outside. Gene


                      • #26
                        Lets see if I have pictures...
                        They are a little out of order, but, we have pictures.
                        1) This is the right side of the instrument cluster. The notch is about where the left side of the heat control panel will set. The rusty triangle looking piece in the top center is the closed cowl vent. The arm with the left side hanging down just under the cowl vent is the wiper linkage, and the right end of that is the wiper post. The rusty piece at the bottom is the bottom dash support. The whits piece with the black tap wrapped around it is the dash wiring for the right side of the dash. Behind the white piece, almost at the center of the pic you see a box with the top edge at an angle, That box is actually the location for the duct work for the defroster. to its right you can see the top edge of the foam lined AC duct work opening in the heater box. From the dash bottom support to the front edge of the heater box is about 8" of space that everything needs to fit into. I may end up relocating the heat control panel.

                        2) This is the left side of the instrument cluster. The shiny piece in the center is the headlight switch mounting bracket. The actual switch is hanging under the bracket. Notice how much deeper in the dash the light switch is then the edge of the instrument cluster is. The piece with the 4 bolts is the top door hinge mount, the closed door inside edge matches the right line of the body from the hinge bolts. The light switch is mounted that deep in the dash because the window crank on the door sits between me and the light switch. the little "L" shaped bracket with the screw in it is attached to the edge of what was the original dash. The yellow tape measure is actually sitting on top of the cowl.

                        3) This is the bottom side of the radiator hold down/hood support. The two pieces at the top have a thin piece of rubber glued to the 1/8" x 1" flat steel that fits over the top of the radiator. the 4 holes on the lower edge bolt to the front nose section.

                        4) This be the front view of the beast, supporting the front fenders all by itself. Might not look like a big deal, but it sure was to me.

                        5) This is a good dash perspective. It gives you an idea how the dash is laid out. The dash cover will be screwed to the angled piece at the windshield edge, and will go level out to the top of the instrument cluster, then make a 90 degree bend down, just towards the steering wheel from the instrument cluster front face. The bottom couple inches will curve back to the bottom dash brace.

                        6) This is the view of the instrument cluster from the seat.

                        7) This is the top view of the radiator "L" bracket, as it will sit in the truck. The pieces at the top go towards the firewall and hook over top of the radiator. The two things at about the center are the threaded end of the bolts that the center of the hood will bolt to. the bottom leg is actually coming towards you. The edge with the holes will bolt to the front sheet metal nose piece.

                        So I did a bunch of odds and ends today. I got the battery box in (didn't take a picture because the battery is sitting in it). I've connected all the wiring I need (I think). Gave it a shot at starting, It cranks over, but I'm not hearing the fuel pump run. If I dump gas into the throttle body, it runs. The battery was pretty low on charge, and I want to be sure I didn't miss a ground someplace. I have a few things to check I simply didn't have time to do today. I put the battery on the charger and closed up the shop. Tomorrow I will see if I can get the pump to run, and go from there.
                        Tomorrow is the day I'm hacking up a decent Dakota box to hijack the floor and front panel. If the weather cooperates, and the truck cooperates, maybe by tomorrow night I'll have the box floor on the 49 frame.
                        I do have to mow the lawn tomorrow, before it gets to the point I need to get someone to come in and bail it. Gene


                        • #27
                          Congrats on the new pc. The pics must be resized because they are loading super fast on my sluggish internet here. Thanks!

                          Man it sure seems like a beast of a project utilizing everything like you're doing. The $64 question is, how to you compare that type of project to building one from scratch?
                 1930 Chevy truck build link:


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Old Stuff View Post
                            Congrats on the new pc. The pics must be resized because they are loading super fast on my sluggish internet here. Thanks!

                            Man it sure seems like a beast of a project utilizing everything like you're doing. The $64 question is, how to you compare that type of project to building one from scratch?

                            I think the answer to the $64 question is, there really isn't much difference. This 49 was a little different then the other projects I've done because I bought it with the modified Dakota frame.

                            The 1st car I built from scratch I had to figure out how to build the frame. Usually, using a donor frame and suspension, I still have to figure out how much, and where to adjust the frame to fit the body. I still need to determine the stance of the ride, and determine how the body is going to attach to the frame. Unless I choose to not use the frames original suspension, I don't have to choose the suspension and position the suspension on the frame. If I choose not to use the original stuff, I will still have to choose what I want, and where it needs to be.

                            With both, you buy a motor and trans, and build them the way you want them. Over the years, I've found the cheapest way to buy a motor and trans is to buy a rotted out donor that runs great. You usually get the motor and trans of choice for about 1/2 what you would pay buying them outright, and often you can drive them and know what shape they are in. Then often there are other parts on the donor you can use.

                            There are several areas that have to be done to build a rat. You break down each area into a chunk you can work with, and end up building that area the way you want it. If you bought a donor, you at least have a factory perspective on how specific areas were done, and you have a supply of usable parts, or at least a collection of parts that fit together you can get replacement parts for, if you can make it work on your ride. Its your choice if you want to use the factory setup or build your own, its a nice option sometimes.

                            On the same note, sometimes the way a factory did something just doesn't work, but you may like a particular factory part and you want to use it on your ride. Making that part fit, and look right can be a real challenge, that challenge is sometimes to much to resist. I've spent days trying to figure out how to make a factory part I like work in my project.
                            A donor vehicle simply gives you more parts for money already spent, and they give to a chance to see how some things were done. Sometimes a donor will move a project forward faster, but they seldom make the project any less work. Sometimes its more work to try to make something fit. When you build from scratch, you have to figure everything out, and buy the parts you need to get it done. Often with a donor present, we will spend a lot of time discovering the part on hand simply won't work before we will go out and just buy a part.

                            This 49 was a specific buy. I bought good sheet metal with all the parts present except a tail gate. The truck came with the already shortened Dakota 4x4 frame, and a State issued title. I had about $1200 in it by the time I got it all home. Then I bought a running, driving Dakota 4x4 V8 truck with 44,000 miles on it with a rotted frame for $400. I used the seats from the donor truck in my coupe, but I could have kept them for this truck. I still needed all the glass, and all the rubber gaskets to install the glass (just over $1,000). All the donor parts fit on the shortened frame that came with the body. The intent was to use as much of the donor as possible, and put together a decent driver with all new brakes, glass, weatherstripping, tires, heat (and hopefully AC), and be in the $5,000 range. At this point, I''m going to be really close. Paint and body work will add another grand, I'll do the body work, my friend will paint it for me cheap if I buy the paint. This truck will be my daily, year around driver.

                            Today I got it to start, 1st time for the motor to run, in this truck. I started taking the Dakota donor apart July 10th. I''m installing a new belt, and new hoses. Then I'll flush the cooling system and add antifreeze. Yesterday I cut the sides off the Dakota box. I'm using the floor and front panel, then I'll attach the original box sides from the 49, and build the tailgate from what was originally the front of the box. I hope to be able to put the box on it next week. The goal at this point is to have a nice driver by spring. Gene


                            • #29
                              Just to clear up any confusion, this is not the truck I sold, I still have this one and I'm working on it nearly every day.

                              Since I got the sides cut off the Dakota box, I decided I should drive the truck out of the shop, and get the box floor sitting on the 49's frame. After all, it has brakes and runs, can't hurt to run it 30' out of the shop, throw the box floor on the frame with a couple bolts in it, then run it back into the shop again, right?

                              So I cleared a path out (the shop is in a mess) and took everything off the rear frame (had to put that stuff someplace, it will sit much better on a flat box floor). It started right up, and moved under its own power. The brakes are going to need some more adjusting and maybe more bleeding, the pedal goes nearly to the floor, but it stops. I drove it out of the shop about 30 feet. Out there I can lift the floor off the frame its sitting on, and put it on the 49 with my engine hoist. I put it in park and shut the truck off. I got out and started walking to the shop where I could now get to the engine hoist so I could get it out of its storage place. About the time I get to the back of the truck, I see a problem. There is a huge trail of trans fluid from about 10' outside of the garage all the way to the front end of the truck. It seems someone forgot to put clamps on the new hose for the trans cooler, and one hose blew off just outside the shop door. There is at least a quart of ATF running down my driveway. I sure was happy I'd bought then big bag of oil dry a week ago. It took nearly the whole bag to stop and soak up the ATF oil flow. The mess clean up took more then an hour. My driveway is about 5 year old course brushed cement. The oil spread out as it flowed down hill, and the course brush strokes held the oil very well. it took a big effort to get it dried up. Now my what was a pretty clean driveway has a huge oil stain. Guess I'll need to get the Dawn dish soap after it with a scrub brush. Just what I need, another project before winter gets here.

                              The good news is, after the 1st round of clean up, the box floor sat down on the truck frame very nicely. The bad news is, I had to push the truck back into the shop. Good thing it was mostly downhill, but that little step up going into the shop was pretty tough. This thing pushed pretty hard. With all the excitement, I forgot to take pictures.

                              Back inside the shop, I've taken the front sheet metal off the truck. I need to figure out how to build some inner fender panels, how to install the head light buckets, and how to attach the fenders at the cab. I'm also going to put the thermostat, serpentine belt, and hoses on while the nose is off so I don't have to reach as far. I'm also thinking about relocating the battery from under the hood and putting it into the box. I will need to figure out how to do the gas fill also, and the battery box and gas fill setup I used on my 39 worked out pretty good. Moving that battery will provide much needed space under the hood. Gene


                              • #30
                                I was so laughing (feeling your pain) through that one LOL.

                                Simply reading the part about clearing a path through the garage started it out. (still laughing as I type this) Sometimes just getting a path cleared is a major victory in itself! And then the trans fluid... Sharing stuff like this makes me feel better about life! LOL

                                I'll be looking for a practical/accessible place to put my battery under the flat bed. Ain't this all fun?!

                       1930 Chevy truck build link: