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49 Dodge well darn, here we go again!

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  • #46
    Well, I really had fun today! Well, maybe not....

    I got my driver side inner and outer fenders almost all done last Thursday, and finished them up Saturday afternoon. Monday was clean up day, and paint day. I wanted to give all the new and the old metal a coat of paint (the inside parts that won't have access to once its bolted together, to protect it a bit. I'm thinking this is the last time I'm pulling the front fenders off this truck for a while, so painting it before assembly makes sense. This truck will be driven through the winters and they salt the roads here. Semigloss black, pretty wasn't the goal, covering everything with paint was. Good thing, the paint job wasn't pretty! LOL!

    Today was fender install day. The inner fender sort of hangs on top of the tire while I bolt the outer fender on to the nose piece, and to the upper cab at the firewall and to the lower body mount bracket. The two 3/8" x 1" long bolts at the firewall are a mutter, they go up from the bottom of the fender and screw into the bracket. When the inner fender is in place you have no access to those bolts, you have to put them in and tighten them up and hope they are in the correct position before the inner fender is installed. The inner fender is held in place with (3) 1/4" bolts that screw into bracket welded to the inside wheel lip part of the fender, (2) 1/4" bolts that thread into a bracket welded to the firewall, (3) self tapping screws that screw into the headlight mounting panel on the inner nose piece, and one big bolt with a 1" spacer at the cab mount bracket that shares the same hole as the bottom of the fender. When I welded up the inner fender edge and welded the brackets to the inside of the fenders, those pieces were bolted together on the work bench. Where the inner fender bolts to the headlight mounting panel, the firewall bracket, and the body mount bolt was also fit together with the inner fender attached, but those different mounting points could not be all done at the same time. Do you see a possible issue here? Me too! I've been a bit nervous about this for most of the last week. Today I discovered those concerns were justified!
    I started by bolting the outer fender to the nose and to the top firewall bracket. That went well. Getting in inner fender into the position it needed to be in wasn't easy, it took a bit of effort to get the (3) 1/4" bolt holes to line up along the wheel lip edge, but I finally got those lined up and the bolts installed. The next challenge was to get the cab mount bracket bolt in place. That was hard! The 7/16" 2" long bolt has to pass through the fender bracket, the inner fender bracket, the spacer, and the body mount bracket from up on top. The fender bracket the bolt first goes through faces the wrong direction. The smart guys at Dodge figured it would be smart to put a bolt through a hole from between the cab and the bracket (about 2" apart with the fender in position). Everything is on a slight bind so that means that when everything is lined up, the bold doesn't fall into the hole, it hangs up on the threads. You can't really get your hand in there to push the bolt through all the holes, and you can't get a wrench o0r a socket in there either. You sort of have to pry everything just enough to get the bolt to drop through the holes. If the top of the fender wasn't bolted tight, it probably would have been much easier. Once that bolt was in and the nut installed, I moved to the (3) self tapping screws at the headlight panel. Those screws were already drilled and had already had the threads cut, all I needed to do was line up the 3 holes. Once I got something stuck through the 1st hole, and inserted the screw, the others soon aligned and all 3 screws were tightened. Last was the bracket welded to the firewall. I had to foece to towards the motor about a 1/4" to get the one hole lined up and get the 1/4" bolt started. The second hole was more of a challenge. I ended up slotting the brackets to get them lined up well enough to get the 1/4" bolt through it. After all the bolts were in place, I tightened everything. Fender one only took a little over 3 hours!

    Fender two was more of a challenge then the 1st fender. The inner fender didn't sit as well on the tire as the other inner fender did. I managed to get the fender to nose bolts all started, and the 2 3/8" bolts at the firewall bracket in and tightened. Getting the inner fender into place was a real problem. I couldn't get it to roll into place, it didn't want to come forward as much as it needed to. After fighting with it, I dropped the front down and trimmed the inside and outside edges off with a cut off wheel. After that I was able to roll it up close enough to get the (3) 1/4" bolts started in the wheel lip edge. The cab mount bracket was a real battle. There was a lot more bind, making that bolt fall through all the holes a difficult deal. I ended up jacking the bottom of the fender up, with the floor jack, then pulling the bottom of the fender towards the cab with a ratchet strap, then squeezing the different pieces of metal together with a pair of channel locks to get the 7/16" bolt to from through all the holes and get that nut on the bottom. I had to also jack up the front inner fender to try to get the 3 self tapping screws into the headlight panel but it is also binding someplace. I decided to quit for the day before I destroyed something. I will have to look it over tomorrow and see if I can tell what the issue is. Those two 1/4" bolts that are suppose to screw into the bracket welded to the firewall are also off about a 1/2", I'm thinking at this point that the inner fender still needs to be about that 1/2" higher and everything will pretty well match up. I need to see what is keeping it from lifting into position. Gene


    • #47
      Ain't it funny how some things rarely change? Why is always the last one? LOL 1930 Chevy truck build link:


      • #48
        Yes, really, the last one always seems to be the worst one. The sad part is this was the side I welded up first, I thought I had this one better attached to the fender when I added the pieces and welded everything up then the 2nd one was. That was the reason I started with the driver side fender first, I expected it to go much worse then I expected this fender was going to go.

        So yesterday morning I went into the shop a bit early. My shop is heated, so when the furnace fan was running, I didn't think much about it. Then about 15 minuted later I walked past where the blower dumps, and the air coming out of the furnace was COLD! Of course I spent about an hour messing with the furnace without much success. At that point, I just shut the power to it off and went back to work on the truck. When I welded the pieces onto the inner fender, the one place on the outside edge looked like it needed a little more material added. Well, it didn't. I also added a little extra to the inside edge, which it didn't need either. I tried to bend both edges to clear, but I couldn't get anything in the area to bend it the way it had to bend.

        By this time, I'd been working on the floor for more then two hours and I was getting cold. I've grown into such a wimp. I got up and looked at the thermostat and it had dropped almost 15 degrees since I entered the shop (the outside temp was only 34 degrees this morning). I will have to pull the inner fender back out and trim both sides at the front, then maybe it will fit into place. I wasn't about to do that laying on the cement floor in the now near 45 degree garage. I went back to the furnace and messed with it another hour before I gave up and called the furnace guy. Of course, I got an answering machine with a message they would call me right back. It was about 11:30, so I shut down the lights and went back in the warm house to wait for the call back. The call back came about 4:30. The service guy had two calls ahead of me, so I was scheduled for what was suppose to be around 10:30 this morning.

        About 9 am I went into the shop this morning. The temp inside was 38 degrees. I went back into the house and did some stuff for my wife. 10:30 came and went, no call back. 11:30 came and went, no call back. 1:30 came and went, still no call back. Finally around 3:30 I got the call, the guy would be there in a couple minutes. He showed up and went right to work. In about 10 minutes, he had the furnace running! He showed me a couple things and explained a few other things. At least I have an idea what to look for the next time. He did check over several things while he was there. I signed the paper, and they will send me a bill of probably around $100 (the price of a service call). Oh well, I have heat in the shop again. Maybe tomorrow I will get that inner fender done. Gene


        • #49
          A $100 dollar bill to get heat going back in a shop worth every penny. Glad it was a simple fix. I'm sooooooo looking forward to moving (unknown timing at this point) and getting a full blown closed in shop to work/play in. I believe I'm in the same boat as you with the cold being a work stopper.

          The place we're leasing has an attached back covered area of about 24 x 60 which keeps our 2 drivers and the '30 out of the rain (plus work benches etc) but I catch every degree of cold weather including the wind. Blowing rain can be a killer as well but hey- at least it's covered!
 1930 Chevy truck build link:


          • #50
            Having that consistent heat sure spoils a guy, once you get used to it, you simply can't function without it. They tell me AC works the same way, but I don't see the shop getting AC. If it gets too hot, I'll go sit in the house and suck up the AC there.

            This morning I jacked the front end up and was able to pull the inner fender out and trim both sides on the front. The biggest battle when I was installing the rear end of the fender on the truck was the bracket that holds the top rear of the fender to the cab. To line up the top of the fender with the body line on the door, the back edge of the fender has to be lifted up, and that cab attachment bracket just wasn't letting it lift. While the inner fender was out, I looked into both the upper and the lower rear fender brackets. What I discovered was that the fender upper bracket was adjustable! I could loosen two bolts on the inside of the cab and lift that bracket up, which I did. When I got the bracket in the correct position, I also discovered that I couldn't tighten the bolts back up. Someone had put lock nuts on the bolts, they loosened OK, but would just spin rather then tighten. Of course, you don't have access to the nuts with the fender in place, so I pulled the fender off. When I pulled the bracket completely off the cab. I had to lock a set of vice grips onto the nuts, and remove the bolts with my impact gun, those lock nuts had been there a very long time. With the bracket now in hand I saw that the holes on the bracket were at least a 1/2" hole (for a 3/8" bolts) and the holes in the side of the firewall were at least a 3/4" hole. There was a lot of adjustment there, both up and down and forward and backwards. I just had to figure out how I could tighten up the nuts and bolts once the fender was in place. My arms are not long enough to be able to hold a wrench and the impact gun at the same time. To be able to take advantage of the extra movement in both oversized holes, I couldn't just weld the bolts to the bracket like I thought I was going to be able to do. Not to fear, I came up with a plan, the two bolts, centered in the holes are 4" apart. I could use a short piece of bar stock and weld both bolts together. Then when it was time to assemble it, I would put a flat washer under both bolt heads, and stick them through the bracket and through the firewall holes. Then on the inside of the cab I could add a couple more flat washers and install the nuts. I could spin the nuts down finger tight, and then bolt the fender in place, adjust as needed and tighten the two nuts from inside the truck. I wish I would have taken pictures of the welded bolts, but I got caught up in the process and it is now covered up. With the fender bolted in place, the inner fender slipped right in place as well. I was able to get all the bolts and screws into the inner fender except the two for the welded on firewall bracket. Those two bolt holes are about a 1/2" too low. I will probably mark where the holes have to be, pull the inner fender, and drill the new holes. One big plus to all of this is making that upper fender bracket movable, I have closed up the gap between the door and the back edge of the fender to a less that 1/4" gap. Just for a time comparison, everything I did today took less time then it took to install the "easy" fender and inner fender a few days ago.

            Right now, the truck is sitting with both inner and outed fender assemblies bolted to the truck. It was a good place to stop. Monday I will have to pull the passenger side inner fender to drill the two new holes. I've also been thinking about that firewall bracket at the top of the driver side fender. I believe I'm going to pull that fender off and fix those mounting bolts as well. I believe I probably should add a bracket on each side that will attach the hood edge of the outer fender to the top center of the inner fender. I may make both those brackets, and mark any holes I may need to drill while both inner fenders will be off the truck. I am so ready to move on the the next part of this project, but I know I need to get this right now, or I will be thinking about it until I have to pull the truck apart to finish this right. Its easier to do now then it will be later with more stuff bolted on the truck. Gene


            • #51
              Slick move with the bar stock and two bolts. Good share for keeping in the back of the mind.
     1930 Chevy truck build link:


              • #52
                The new update, with a couple of pictures.
                Old Stuff a picture of the bolts with the welded bar attaching the two of them. Pic 1. Along the same lines, in the past, when I needed to get a bolt I would need to tighten into a tight spot, often I would weld a piece of bar stock to either the top of the bolt, or to the side of the bolt like it was a tail. You can bend the tail as needed to get the bolt where it needed to be. Then I could use the tail to put the bolt into the hole, and keep it from turning. That works great for putting bolts inside a frame rail for a trailer hitch or something like that. You can also weld a tail on a nut, but they are harder to turn just right to start a bolt into them. Usually the tail is a one time use thing, but usually that one time is enough.

                I needed to pull both front fenders off the truck, but before I did that I needed to make sure I wasn't going to have to pull them again to do something else. My truck didn't come with the hood latch brackets that the hood levers lock into to keep the hood closed. I would need to make those parts, and I also needed to determine if I needed any additional support for the inner fenders that might need holes drilled. Its a good thing I made the hood latch brackets, I discovered that those two small tears Pic 2 ( the hood hold down bracket is bolted to the fender edge on the upper left side of the picture, That little stretch of sheet metal is all the keeps the front of the hood down on each side!) in the corners of the outer fender would allow the hood to lift even when the hood was latched. I would need to weld up those tears (now that I knew what caused them, I could see where they were suppose to be bent) and I would also have to add a little extra reinforcing so the problem wouldn't reoccur. I've decided that if I want to add any extra support for the inner fenders, I do have access from under the hood to drill holes if need be. I pulled the both fenders off.

                The good news is the inner fenders can be removed while the outer fenders are still bolted on the truck. I need to remove the lower bolt that goes through the lower fender bracket and the anchor for the inner fender where it passes through the cab mount, and all the bolts and screws that hold the inner fender to the outer fender, I have to jack up the truck to get the inner fenders over top of the tires, but it really isn't too bad now. With the inner fenders out of the way, unbolting the outer fenders is pretty easy. I pulled the fenders because I had a few places on the passenger inner fender that needed a little trimming, and I needed to drill a couple holes so I could bolt the inner fender to the bracket at the firewall. I decided I also needed to address the upper bracket the fenders bolt to on the driver side. I drilled the holes and trimmed the places on the passenger side inner fender, and welded up the the tears on the front corners of both fenders and added reinforcing. The upper fender bracket on the driver side actually went much better then I thought it was going to go. The bracket was in its original condition. Dodge welded fine thread nuts to the bracket and ran the bolts from inside the truck into the bracket. I wire brushed the bolt threads, and gave it a good shot of PB Blaster. Unlike the passenger side where the Dakota heater box was really close to where the bolts came through the body, the driver side was pretty wide open. I had to push the loose hanging wiring aside and I removed both bolts with my impact gun. The bolts came right out! With the bracket off, I used me air sander with the flap disc to remove the rust, scale, and built up dire from the outside of the firewall and the back and bottom of the bracket. I wire brushed the threads on the bolts, but I had to install new flat washers, one of the old washers was broken and the other was cracked. I gave the bracket and the side of the firewall a quick semi gloss black spray paint job and let sit over lunch.

                After lunch I bolted the bracket back on the truck with the bolts semi tight. After the fender was bolted back on, I tightened the bolts in the bracket tight. I installed the other fender and bolted both inner fenders in place and set the truck back on its tires. Hopefully I won't be pulling the fenders off the truck again. Now its time to see what I want to get done before the radiator is bolted into place.

                This truck will have computer controlled electronic fuel injection. That means there is a brain box (ECU) that rides along under the hood and it happens to be on the passenger side of the motor. The Dakota ran the wiring along the inner fender and the ECU bolted to the fender bracing. On the Dakota, there was an over hang the channeled water away from the ECU that kept it nice and dry. The positioning of the wires and the ECU put it just behind the front hood latch bracket bolted to the hood side of fender. The fender even has holes to put the U nuts onto (on the 49 the inner fender bolted to that edge). The bolt holes are in a good location to bolt a bracket to hold the ECU, but there is a problem with water protection. Look at picture 2 again. In this picture, the fender is laying on its side on my work bench. When the fender is bolted on the truck, we would be looking pretty much straight down on the top of the fender. The tear starts where the fender bolts to the nose about the center of the picture on the right side. The back edge of the tear (left side) is a flat stepped area where the hood edge sits. This step runs nearly the full length of the fender. That step down from the top surface of the fender is nearly a 3/8" step down and it remains flat to the 90 degree bend (moving towards the top of the picture). Along the 90 degree bend is where the 49's original inner fender would bolt in, and where any additional brackets would be bolted on. There are 6 holes spaced about 7" apart. The bracket for the hood latch is bolted to the 1st hole (you can see the bolt in) and the 2nd hole (just out on the picture to the left side). this step is about 11/2" wide, and is flat to the earth, the full length front to back, and side to side. Rain water would flow down around the big curved hood and land on this flat surface and off the edges. Anything I would want to keep dry would have to sit under the fender, or away from the fender towards the motor. There is a lot more available free, dry, space under the fender because the inner fenders on this truck ate bolted to the fender at the wheel lip edge. I can bolt a bracket to the hood edge of the fender and then bolt the ECU to the bracket under the fender and I can also hang the wiring off the back side of that bracket to keep it dry and out of harms way. I got that bracket made and painted today. There is even space to feed the headlight and turn signal wires through the radiator bracket and around the headlight sheet metal brace on the passenger side.

                The drive side fender has the same issue with the step for the hood. On this side, there is a fuse panel that has to sit in a way I can have access to whenever I might need it. I really don't want it buried under the fender If I can help it. Originally the battery sat in this side as well. I've come to the conclusion the battery will have to go in the box. Between the power brake booster and master cylinder, the power steering pump, the steering shaft. and this fuse box it would be way to crowded to put a battery in that limited space as well. Moving the battery into the box frees up room to mount the fuse box in an easily accessibly location. The fuse box originally mounted off the fender bracing and bolted to the inner fender. I can add a drop down bracket just like I did with the ECU, and use the existing mounting holes in the fuse box to bolt to the bracket. with a couple of bends, I can have the fuse box lid sit inside the hood fender dip about a 1/2" and keep the fuse surface above the fender height. I will probably also need to add a bracket that goes down to the frame, but there is already a threaded hole in the frame that is close enough to work. Mounting the fuse box like this will allow the the wiring to be under the fender in the dry free space. I ran into an issue when I was ready to put the headlight and turn signal wires through the radiator support. I did this side differently then I did the other side, and the opening wasn't big enough. I had to cut the hole bigger with my plasma cutter. Toasted some paint off the edges of the hole I cut, but not bad enough I'm pulling the fender off to touch it up. I think I've cut that hole big enough, but it was too hot to put my hand in there to see before I had to leave today. I did get the bracket made to hold the fuse box, but I need to bend it. I just ran out of time before I had to be someplace this afternoon.

                Pic 3 is the tailgate I bought last week for $75. I may have to trim the edges down, it measures 4" wider then the front panel, but it will be a lot easier to trim the edges then it will be to build one from scratch, besides, this one has the cool embossed DODGE on it. Gene


                • #53
                  So I've been busy making brackets to hang stuff off my fenders. I've got the fuse box hung on the driver side, and the ECU hung on the passenger side.

                  I ordered a pair of remote battery posts and a mounting bracket to hold them, the stuff finally came in. I had to make a bracket to hold the bracket to my fender, which I knew I was going to have to do, the remote battery posts need a 1 1/4" diameter hole in a bracket for them to fit into, but then the hole would be round and the posts could turn. The $18 bracket I bought has the holes with the flat sides already in them so the posts can't turn, and the bracket has a 90 degree bend and is 1/8" thick aluminum. I will use the remote posts as a junction point for my battery in the box move. I bought a set of 2 gauge wire jumper cables that were 20' long when they were on sale for $30 because it was cheaper (almost 1/2 price cheaper) to buy the jumper cables then it was to buy just the two colors of 2 gauge wire. I cut the clamps off the ends of the wire and crimped a pair of wire terminal ends with a 3/8" stud onto the wires. The wires will run along the frame rail into the engine compartment. The red wire hooks to the positive remote battery post stud along with the 6 gauge wires for the starter, the alternator feed, and the under hood fuse box power and a 14 gauge wire for something (it was attached to the original Dakota battery cable). The black wire hooks to the negative remote battery post stud along with the 6 gauge motor ground, a 12 gauge frame ground, and a 10 gauge body ground. The remote battery posts are mounted to the fender edge, along side of the under hood fuse box. I did some wire cleanup and have everything nicely bundled under the fender. Then I moved on to the passenger side and did some wire cleanup over there. The Dakota had cruise control that worked. Its something I'd sure like to keep. Its the old style cruise with the cable driven servo to the throttle, and has an additional vacuum canister. Originally, these two pieces mounted on the firewall on the passenger side, but the problem is the mounting location no longer exists. They would have mounted about the same location as the 49's raised lip (the rear of the hood rain gutter) around the firewall is welded to the Dakota firewall. The servo and the vacuum canister are each about a 4" x 4" x 5" cube There are just a few more little problems in that area.

                  There is a heater fan resister that has to go in the tight corner someplace. That resistor used to attach to the firewall with the resister element passing through the firewall and into the vent box (presumably to help cool the resister) there is no vent box on this truck, I'm hoping that if I mount it so the element is under the fender edge, there will be enough air flow to keep it cool enough. That will require another bracket to be made, and it will have to be positioned so it won't get wet, and none of the other wires can touch it. The resistor face is about a 2" x 4" rectangle and the resister makes it about 3" deep.

                  Then there is the hood prop. The hood open butterfly style, on each side there is a bracket that attaches to the inner hood structure, a bracket that is attached to the firewall, and a two piece arm that bends in the center. When its open, the two piece arm is straight and locks against itself to hold the hood open, that part is easy! When it closes, that arm bends in 1/2, in the down position, the firewall attaching point is near the fender edge (as is the hood attaching point) and it lays towards the center of the hood and actually sits below the rain gutter.

                  To add even more insult, If I ever get the AC hooked up, there will be 2 AC lines and the AC evaporator canister taking up space in this area.

                  Pic 1) This picture wasn't really taken to show the issues, but it will give you an idea what I'm up against, the problem area is on the left side of the pic. The black flat bar with the curved bottom end is the hood prop, the elbow where it bends is right at the hood hinge area. The hood prop on this side is an actual 49 truck part that came with the truck. The driver side hood prop I had to make. You can see the mounting bolt and bracket at the end of the curved end. The silver box like thing under the hood prop mounting bracket is where the two AC hoses will be attached at some point. You can see two wire bundles passing through the area, the top bundle goes from the driver side to the passenger side, and yes, it fits between the hood prop mounting bracket and the AC line connection point. On it you can see two mounting loops (one just on the left side of the air cleaner housing, and the other just to the right side of the air cleaner housing. These two loops are bolted to the under hood rain gutter. When the hood prop is down, it lays below the rain gutter, I actually had to bend the left side wire loop so the hood prop would miss it as it lays down. The lower wire bundle runs from the ecu under the fender to the motor switches and sensors. The round thing below (actually in front of) the lower wire bundle is the cruise servo. The 1st time I tried to close this hood side, I had to move the servo, the folding hood prop wouldn't clear it. I still haven't found a home for it yet. The loose wires are all ground wires that will need to be grounded once everything find its home. As you can see, the radiator, hoses, and antifreeze have been added to the truck. I also need to come up with a radiator overflow container yet.

                  Pic 2) The hood prop on the right side of the pic is a new creation. Even if I would have had an original, I would have had to make this one. The elbow where it bends is not in the center, the part that attaches to the hood is shorter. The bottom piece actually bends towards the front, and also curves around the brake booster. In the down position, is lays down just above the booster, I had to make this one with a longer bottom piece because it can't lay down as far as the passenger side one does. It may be a good idea if I changed the lengths of the passenger side hood prop. In the center at the bottom of the picture you can see the red and black covers for the remote battery posts. The black box to the left of the remote battery posts is the under hood fuse box. The two green tags near the brake booster are ID tags for the windshield washer wires. At some point down the road, I'll figure our where the washer bottle will be located.

                  One more note, in pic 2, you can pretty clearly see that sealing the hood to the body was not a priority back in 49. There is a little step down from the cowl surface where the rear edge of the hood sits. From the step, the cowl curves downward as it moves forward. If it wasn't for the rain gutter, the rain water would just run down across everything attached to the firewall under the hood. The rain gutter is open on each end, but is a flat surface from side to side, with no crown (except the crown I added to clear the brake booster). Also, the bottom surface of the rain gutter has a metal joining crimp holding two pieces together. It appears that any standing water could easily run into the cab. I coated the bottom of the rain gutter with seam sealer.

                  Pic 3 & 4) OK, so this is where I quit Friday night. I had all the sheet metal on the front end and made all 4 hood latches before the last time I took the front end apart, to be sure everything fit. I could close both hood sides, and latch both the front and rear latches, and had clearance on the radiator and everything. After I fit the inner fenders, and got all that done, things were still good. I installed the radiator, hoses, belt and filled it with antifreeze. Then I added the stuff to the inner fenders. I had a hard time getting the hood bolts in Friday night, but I finally got them in. When I tried to close the hood, I discovered I needed to move the cruise control servo. Then I discovered I needed to move the wire harness. Then I discovered both sides of the front of the hood are up too high, the hood on both sides is sitting on top of the radiator. Its nearly 3/4" to high! Remember, this stuff all cleared before. I called it a night, but spent the whole night thinking about it.

                  this morning I checked to be sure the bottom of the radiator was in the correct position. There ate studs on the bottom that fit into rubber bushings, then those rubber bushing fit into holes in the radiator support. I was pretty sure one or both of those rubber bushing were not in the holes like they were suppose to be, that would lift the radiator about 3/4". that wasn't it, they were in the correct position.

                  To make a long story short (it took me 3 hours to figure out the problem), There are several places where small adjustments can be made. I took up a lot of that adjust ability getting the front fenders to fit the way I wanted them to fit. When I pulled the bolts out that held the top of the radiator in position I could slide the radiator towards the firewall about an inch. Moving the top of the radiator back that 1" gave me the hood to radiator clearance I needed, and I still had clearance between the radiator and the fan. That will require some modification of the radiator hold down piece I made several weeks ago. I've made a few modifications, and made another small bracket. Between those modifications, I can bolt it back together and everything clears everything.I do have to modify the location of the hood's front bolts, and I want to add a little more structure to this modified piece. Looks like a job for Monday. Gene


                  • #54
                    So I have all my under hood brackets made, and hung, my wiring is mostly cleaned up, I found a new home for the cruise control servo and the vacuum ball and they are bolted in place. I still need a coolant overflow tank and I need to make my hood latches adjustable. I think its time to move on to something else for a while, lets go back to the dash.

                    The two pictures show where I left off at, however many months ago it was. If I remember right, this was done so I could make the truck run and move, which it did. I drove it out of the garage and promptly blew off a trans cooler line and dumped a quart or more ATF on my driveway. I had to push it back into the garage after I set the Dakota box floor on the rear frame. Back then I didn't have a radiator in it and I'd put a bolt into both trans cooler line, without clamps. I have a radiator in it now, and the cooler hoses are clamped in place.

                    I am using the 96 Dakota's wiring harness, but the dash is 6" more narrow then the Dakota was. The Dakota wire harness has the wires tucked into a pair of plastic C channel that basically run from the left side of the column all the way to the right end of the dash at the passenger door. The 1st plastic channel runs over top of the steering column and ends at the center of the dash, Its the white rectangle with the black tape widely spaced apart just above the rusty lower dash framework you can see in the lower center of the 1st picture. The second plastic channel starts about 2" to the right of the end of the first plastic channel, its black, and runs to the right end of the dash. That white plastic channel is the issue, with the very different configuration of the brackets around the speedometer and steering column The plastic made bends in the wrong location from where they need to be now. The simple fix is to remove the plastic channel. I thought maybe I could use a couple of the bends with the built in hanger tabs. Of course to remove the plastic, I needed to pull the whole right side of the wiring out from under the dash. That means I have to remove the instrument cluster and its brackets, and some of those wires in that harness go through the firewall and connect to wires under the hood. Once I finally got the plastic C channel off the wires, I discovered that there wasn't any place in the entire length of the plastic channel that the wires were tired together. All of the wires (and there is a lot of them!) are loosely tucked into the channel, then the friction tape was wrapped sparingly around the plastic channel, except at any point the wires may have exited the channel. At those locations, they were very generous with the friction tape, which was old enough it wouldn't unwrap. I had to cut all the tape. Once the wires were removed from the plastic, I figured I needed to at least bind the wires together at a few places. It quickly became obvious that binding the wires in a few places wasn't going to work, the full length, which was almost 3', would have to be wrapped. Fortunately I was thinking ahead and had bought a big roll of friction tape a few days ago. After wrapping the entire length of the wire bundle that used to be inside the plastic channel, I discovered I couldn't get the wire bundle to squeeze back into the plastic channel. I had to come up with another way to secure the wire bundle, which by the way is an inch in diameter, tightly wrapped.

                    So what is "friction tape?" Friction tape is a cloth like tape used for electrical wiring to bind two or more wires together. It doesn't have any stickiness to it. To use it, you make a first round overlapping onto itself by stretching it as you go. If you want to completely cover the wires, you over lap about 1/2 the width of the tape, but as long as both ends are overlapped by it self a couple of rounds, it will stay tight even spaced apart. It tends to be a weaker covering when spaced apart. As you pull it tight, it stretches, and the overlap onto itself binds against itself holding the wire tightly together. Because there is no sticky, you can unwrap it by undoing the last wrap that was made and the wires will not be sticky like they are with regular electrical tape. If its not deteriorated, you can reuse it. The disadvantages are if the wires get hot, it will shrink tight enough you can't unwrap it, and over time it will deteriorate and could start to unravel. I buy mine in the household electrical section of the big box stores, it runs about $3 a roll. Its got something like a 600 volt 400+ amp rating.

                    Once I got the wire bundle fed back through the dash, around the steering column, and the ends stuck back through the hole in the firewall and reconnected under the hood, I made a bracket to support the wires around the steering column, and bend flat a piece of under dash structure that I was concerned may rub through the wires. Then I reinstalled the instrument bracket and the instrument cluster. While I was there, I made a bracket to hold the fuse box secure as well. I'm about back to the point I was at this morning.

                    I'm using the Dakota HVAC unit and it has a pretty neat 2 piece defroster duct system. The top piece covers all the defroster outlets and funnels down to the second piece that connects to the defroster outlet in the HVAC box. The top piece lays out nearly perfectly between the windshield and the instrument cluster, and the drop down part lines up perfectly with the box outlet. The second piece has a few problems. It is also part of the AC duct work, it lacks about 2" of height it needs to fully connect with the top piece, there was originally a 2" thick piece of foam that was glued to the box that no longer exists, and there is no way to hold it in place.

                    Separating the lower duct piece from the AC duct work was easy, cut the AC duct off. I can deal with that later, very little of the Dakota AC duct work is going to work in this truck. The shape of the duct that needs to be longer is a pretty simple rectangle. Originally, the lower piece has ribs on it and it would slide inside the top piece, and the ribs held them together. I cut a piece of some 22 gauge sheet metal I had here and formed a rectangle of the proper size about 3" long. Once it was made, I screwed the seam together and then I screwed the extension to the inside edge of the top duct piece. The bottom piece still has the ribs and it wedges into the sleeve. I have a piece of old seat foam here I cut into the shape of the foam that was glued to the HVAC box. When its closer to the final assembly time, I will glue my piece to the box and then figure out a way to hold it in place. Right now I'm thinking I should be able to attach a small bracket to the bottom of the dash to hold the lower duct piece in place.

                    The next challenge is to figure out how to attach the defroster duct top piece to the lip of the original 49 dash. I thought I had a great plan but it didn't work. This looked like a good place to call it a day. Maybe I'll think up something overnight.

                    Sunday I'm going to drive it out of the garage again. I have an small water leak around the rear glass on the coupe, and the glass guys are coming Monday morning to seal the glass. I will be putting the coupe in the garage Sunday evening so it will be warm and dry (there are advantages to having forced air heat in the garage) for the glass guys, and then I will probably leave it sit in the garage Monday evening as well. I still don't have door glass in the truck, but I can put a garbage bag over top of the doors so it can sit outside for a couple nights.


                    • #55
                      I must say that you have provided a realistic view of the massive complexities of putting an old body on a new chassis- and utilizing the interior goodies in particular. I've always thought that would be a fun yet challenging project adapting all the "modern" stuff but it seems I was just looking at the tip of the iceberg.

                      Funny how modern vehicle design (example- the plastic channel you mentioned above) can make a person wonder why in the cuss did they do that? Would be interesting to see some of those folks build a rat........
             1930 Chevy truck build link:


                      • #56
                        Actually, the plastic channel was a pretty neat idea. The original one in the Dakota actually started at the bottom left side of the steering column, then went up to the top of the dash, where it was bolted to the dash frame, then it made a hard right turn, and went above the column. Just after that right turn, there was a relief cut on both flanges where a group of wires exited the channel. Then it was probably 12" across the top of the dash before it made another hard 90 degree bend. After that bend was another outlet for a group of wires. Then it dropped down to about even with the steering column where it made a hard left, then a tight "S" turn away from the firewall, then back towards the left. At that point was another pair of attaching holes and another wire outlet. After the attaching points, it continued towards the passenger side another 6" before it ended. I should have taken pictures of this plastic channel before I cut it up thinking I could reuse the mounting tabs. Because the wires were all loose inside the channel, that bundle of probably 30 or more wires could make real sharp turns without causing problems. All the wire outlets had a little spout thing to support the wires where they used a lot of friction tape to hold them in position. The plastic protected the wires from any damage, and they only had to wrap some friction tape loosely around the plastic and cover the one open side just in case a wire might fall out. I can attest that the way the wires were packed into the channel, there wasn't much chance of any falling out. If the turns would have been in the location I needed them, I most certainly have kept it.

                        I spent the whole day getting the defroster duct in place, then I spent an hour doing a badly needed shop clean up and sweep. All my tools are back in the tool box, some haven't been there for several weeks.

                        The picture doesn't really do the defroster duct justice, and I couldn't get a picture of the mounting bracket at all, but it actually worked out pretty well, once I figured out how to attach it to the cab. The green foam you see on the HVAC box is the AC duct, the defroster duck is about 4" towards the left of the AC duct, you can sort of see it towards the firewall in front of the right side rusty lower dash support. It a rectangle with a top and a bottom corner cut off. Originally the defroster duct had a green foam gasket as well. The white piece of metal on the defroster duck is the extension I made yesterday.

                        I think I'm going to take the rest of the week off! Gene


                        • #57
                          On last Monday I had to move the truck out of the shop for the day. When I installed the rear windows on my 48 Plymouth coupe, I had a little water leak. With winter fast approaching, I wanted to get that leak fixed before the weather really turns to crap. I made arrangements with the glass guy that installed the glass in the 49 to come in and seal the rear window on the coupe. The plan was to put the coupe in the shop, the night before so it was warm, then they would seal up the glass and it could sit inside the shop until it was set up. Monday was rear glass seal day for the coupe.

                          Saturday morning, I set the battery on the fox floor of the 49, hooked up the jumper cables, and fired the truck up. I drove it out of the shop, turned it around, and parked it on the driveway until late Monday afternoon, when I could pull the coupe out of the garage. The truck fired right up and I drove it back into the garage. Right now the truck exhaust only runs through the cat, there is no muffler on it at all. I believe I might have to add a glasspack and a tail pipe, I'm getting old, it was pretty loud. With the truck back in the garage, it was time to move on to the next thing.

                          The next thing is addressing the fresh air to the HVAC box. The truck has a cowl vent we really would like to keep functional. Heat, AC and defroster just work better if you can add fresh outside air, but I really don't want to open the big cowl vent in the winter to provide fresh air to the heater. That means there has to be a dedicated fresh air supply for the heater box. That means I need to cut a rather large hole in my firewall someplace. That fresh air is likely going to have to come from under the hood, so that too will either have to be filtered, or have a duct to outside for fresh air. The fresh air inlet opening in the HVAC box is about a 4" x 6" (24 square inch) hole. There are not many places on that firewall you can cut that big of a hole that is above the HVAC box. There are just two other issues involved. 1) the entire inside of the cab is covered with the stick on insulation/sound deadener that will have to be removed in the area to be cut, and any remaining residue will also need to be removed. 2) The hole is going to have to be cur in the sheet metal with the HVAC box in place, directly under the cut. Choosing the "right place" took a lot of thought. with the thought of possibly having to run duct work under the hood, means that duct work will have to be able to clear everything, One of the biggest issues is that passenger side hood prop. It runs pretty much right through most of the available space when the hood is open, and takes up different space when it folds in 1/2 to close the hood. I spent a lot of time looking at all the options, in the end there was just on place that was going to work. That one place did add another issue, but lets not put the cart ahead of the horse.

                          Ultimately, I decided that since clearing everything outside was going to be a royal pain, I might just as well make the inside as easy as possible. I picked a location that looked the best on the outside, that was pretty much in line with the destination hole on the inside. Then I got inside and removed the sound deadener/insulation from the cab in that area, that was loads of fun... The next issue was how to cut the sheet metal. Since I'm cutting in the middle of a curved panel, tin snips were not an option. my plasma cutter would have been fast and efficient, but would have been blowing all the sparks towards the HVAC box and all the under dash wiring, so that really wasn't an option either. The chosen option was to cut a small "L" at the top corner and the opposite bottom corner with a cut off wheel, the cut the rest of the piece out with a sawzall. I could cover the HVAC box and the wiring in the immediate area with a leather welding coat because there wouldn't be many direct sparks involved, the cutoff wheel cuts would only have to be big enough to fit the saw blade into. It worked like a charm, but I did have fire control stuff present during the cutting process.

                          The hole in the HVAC box has a flanged surface with 4 self tapping screw holes already present. The intent was to make a duct from the cowl opening to the HVAC opening in two pieces, a bottom piece would be flanged to sit against the bottom edge of the cowl hole, and the other end would sit on top of the HVAC flanged hole and use the two screws in it to hold the piece in place. The top duct work piece would do pretty much the same thing at the top of the cowl opening, and would extend to the far side of the HVAC flange and would be screwed to the flange using the two remaining screw holes. Both sides of both the top and bottom duct would be extended to overlap each other. It was a great plan! It only took 2 1/2 days to make those two duct pieces! As with everything so far on this truck, nothing is square or straight. The flange on the AC box is not square, and sits at a slight angle. and the spacing of the screw holes in not uniform. To add to that, the cowl curves down towards both the front and the right side, had to be cut on the curve to be a large enough hole, and the opening on one side is 2 1/2" high and the other side is 3 1/2" high. The flange on the AC box is also about 4" below the bottom of the cowl hole. Persistence (or stubbornness) pays off, I finally got those two pieces made. That brings us to the new issue. The area the cowl hole is cut at is not a "dry" area, even though it is under the hood. If you look at pic 1, you can see there is a step in the cowl sheet metal just above the hole. The hood rests on that sheet metal step. There is a piece of lacing that sits between the hood and the cowl, but it is mostly to eliminate the metal on metal noises, not to stop rain water. Below the cowl hole you can see the factory rain gutter that runs from one side of the cab to the other. One would expect that if the factory spent the time and money to make that rather large rain gutter, they expected a lot of water to be in the area. The cowl area between the sheet metal step and the rain gutter is all slopped towards the rain gutter except the last one inch or so of the cowl hole, it slopes towards the side more. To me, that means if I don't want all the rain water running into the cab, I need to build a water tight dam all around the top and both sides of the cowl hole. its hard to see in this pic (pic 2 shows the dam better) but there is a 1/4" rod welded to the cowl all the way around the cowl hole. I have also added a piece of sheet metal to both sides that is above the 1/4" rod and extends into the cab 2" so those two sides are covered by the duct pieces.

                          If you look inside the cowl hole in pic 1, you can see the HVAC hole with the flange on the left side of the cowl hole. I didn't take a pic of the duct in place. I did add a 1/4" thick x 3/4" wide foam seal to the top and bottom flanges, and also around the HVAC flange. The duct gets installed in two pieces, the bottom piece installs first, the flange sits against the cowl foam and has two screws into HVAC flange on the firewall side. Once in place, the top piece slides in position from inside the cab, the two side extensions slide over top of the two side extensions of the bottom duct piece., the top is pulled over the top of the seal and the 1/4" round, the inside the piece is pulled tight inward and two screws are put into the dash side of the HVAC flange. If need be, i will add a screw on each side to keep the duct work tight. With the screws in place and tightened, the foam seal is compressed on both the cowl side and the HVAC flange. Under the hood duct work will be looked at later.

                          The truck will need to go back outside tomorrow. We are getting new kitchen cabinets and counter tops installed later this week, and those cabinets will be occupying the garage until they get them installed. They tell me the kitchen cabinets and countertop will be all don by Friday.

                          I was looking at my box sides this afternoon. If i can, I'm going to set up my saw horses in the garage and remove the original box floor angles that are welded to both box sides. They are in the wrong position, and need to come off before I can start mounting those box sides. If I'm able to get that accomplished yet this week, at least I will get one more step closer to getting the box sides on. I think next week I start cutting the doors to put the Dakota door latches and handles in the doors so I can get the glass and weather stripping in and around them. After the doors are done, the box is next, then onto the interior. Gene