I must apologize for not updating this web site before this. All I can say is that it's been a very busy summer and fall. We've been getting our house ready to sell and I've been very busy working on the truck. I promise to be a little more diligent in the future.
Since the last update a lot has been accomplished. All the glass has been installed, (what a pain that was), as well as the wiring, air conditioning, power windows and stereo system. The engine was initially started about a month ago (the .wav file you here when the site opens is an actual recording of the hemi running). Thankfully most of the “bugs” that inevitably pop up in any new setup have finally been worked out. A pesky transmission leak kept me guessing for about a week and a half. It turned out to be a loose bolt on the front pump which was easily fixed. Once I figured that out it was fixed in about 20 minutes.
The next bug turned out to be a bad temperature gauge. It’s hard to imagine with a brand new set of gauges that one could be bad from the factory but it does happen. It took more than a week to narrow it down and determine the gauge was really bad and that the hemi really didn’t have an overheating problem. After the temporary installation of a mechanical temp gauge I was able to prove without a doubt that the electrical gauge that came with the new Teleflex set was indeed reading about 60 degrees high. Thank heaven for that at least.
Below you can see the installation of the air conditioning condenser and the transmission cooler. The trans lines were run inside the frame rails which are boxed. The air conditioning lines make their way around the radiator through an existing space and a grommet that I installed. The next pic shows how this was done.
The dryer for the AC system was mounted on the passenger’s side of the firewall where it is convenient to run the lines through the firewall. A quad fitting was used and the heater lines were included to help keep the underhood mess to a minimum.
Inside the AC/Heat unit mounts up behind the glove box very neatly. The only problem was that because these trucks were not designed for AC there isn’t a whole lot of room behind the dash so the depth of the glove box had to be kept to about 3 ½”. A small price to pay for the comfort of AC in the summer.
As you can see I'm using Dynamat for heat and sound insulation. Although it is a bit on the expensive side I found it very easy to work with and its peal and stick backing works like a charm and is very sticky. All wiring that runs down the Dynamat is covered with aluminum tape to keep it in place as well as dress things up a little. There will be more floor insulation installed under the carpet but that will be included in another update later.
In this shot you can see the little black cover on the fuse panel to the left of the steering column. I used an It's a Snap ZZ20 wiring kit. This kit is about the least expensive kit on the market and is very similar to the Centech kit with all wires labeled every few inches and a very compact fuse panel.
One of the changes I made to the electrical system was the installation of a distribution block for the under hood electrics. The main power comes from the battery to the starter relay and is then routed to the distribution block where power is then sent to the fuse panel. This junction also serves as a location where a wire from the alternator is connected for remote voltage sensing. Its better if the alternator can determine what the electrical system needs by sensing the actual voltage rather than the voltage the alternator is putting out at the alternator itself. (If that didn’t make a lot of sense check out Mad Electrical's web site for a complete explanation. This junction block also allows me to pull a full 12 volts for the two relays I have set up to run the headlights. Using relays is the only way to go if you want nice bright headlights on any rod.
Most of the rear wiring was routed through the boxed frame rails but what has to be exposed to the elements was covered with flexible plastic conduit and tied in place using zip ties.
When it comes to the doors electric windows and stereo speakers had to be wired. Wires were not run through some fancy conduit between the doors and the pillars but just run with the hinges and zip tied to them leaving enough wire to move back and forth inside the “A” pillar when the hinge moves. This is a simple no cost solution to getting the wires into the doors. Admittedly it’s not the “billet” solution but hay, it works. In the second pic you can see the electric window motor in the lower right hand hole, the power window switches on the left side of the door and the unit itself mounted by the three gold colored bolts in the lower center of the door. The section at the top had to be removed in order to get the unit into the door. These are narrow doors and there isn’t a lot of room inside so some material had to be removed in order to get the system inside. Even at that the motors had to be removed and reinstalled through the existing hole after the units were in place. It wasn’t a hard job; it just took some time to figure how to get everything in place and mounted correctly. The system works very nicely. One note... what you see outlined in black is the location and shape of the Rod Doors arm rest that will be installed later.
The interior trim for the doors is polished stainless. I originally had a regular set of trim that I had intended to paint to match but after buying a set of rear fenders off e-bay, when I picked them up from the seller in Kentucky he had an old set of stainless and just thru them in as part of the deal. Since they were free I figured I’d try to polish them up to see if they could be saved. Sure enough they came out beautiful by using a small polishing set for an electric drill.
The gauge set is one of the Teleflex lines and I think looks pretty good. They are a bit unusual in that the lenses are curved. It’s a shame that the temp gauge has to be returned but such is life.
Along with the gauges a Pioneer stereo was installed. Below the center AC vent is a small pod with the AC controls. The AC unit by the way is from Hot Rod Air and includes heat, air and defrost.
In addition to the Pioneer 6”x 9”speakers mounted in the doors I mounted a small “boom box” set behind the seat. Mounted on top of the speaker box is a Sony 10 CD changer that can be accessed when the center arm rest in the seat is folded down. The rear of the cab from the top of the seat down will be covered with carpet. Next to the speaker box you can see the battery location. The battery is equipped with a quick disconnect which can also be reached with the center arm rest in the down position.
A rear view mirror from a ’54 was used and the trim around the inside of the windshield was painted to match the dash. The windshield and rear window were not easy to install. It took three of us (myself pulling the string on the inside and my wife and future daughter in law handling the “pushing” job from the outside). Three hours for the rear window and two and a half for the windshield. This installation is nothing you want to hurry. The last thing you want is a broken piece of glass on your hands. The work and patience was worth it in the end though.
Next up is the fitting of the hood. Here you see it after media blasting and spraying with epoxy primer. Most of the hoods on AD trucks didn’t fit very well from the factory and 60 years of use hasn’t helped the fit any. This hood fits very nicely on the driver’s side but hangs over about a half inch on the passenger’s side. The solution will be to take a small wedge out of the passenger’s side of the hood to bring the edge in to meet the side of the cab. The center section will be filled and smoothed. I'm still toying with the idea of cutting the "Chrysler Firepower" section out of a couple old Hemi valve covers and inlaying them into the sides of the hood. The thought of really ticking Chevy guys off somehow appeals to my warped sense of humor.
The rest of the cab’s sheet metal has been blasted and epoxy primed and is just waiting for final paint and installation. Here you see the running boards and front valance along with a nice set of original rear fenders all stacked up against a brand new glass deuce 3 window body. That is my next project after I build my wife her new log home in Arizona next year.
That’s it for this update. Hopefully the truck will be on the road sometime before March so check back soon.