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Eastwood Auto Restoration Blog - Free How-to Automotive Tech Advice for Everything DIY Automotive

  • Test Fitting and Aligning Body Panels Part 2

    Today we got some more time to work on centering the front wheels in the fenders and also getting some more body panels test fitted. It's nice to see it starting to "look" like a truck again. Given everything is just sitting on blocks, but it's nice to visualize.

    The first thing we found was that the front end was a bit of a pain hold into place both on the cab and up front. In order to get the front end square with the cab, and the gaps sorta close (I doubt the gaps were that great from the factory!), we decided to weld some tabs on the tops of the fenders to where they meet the cab with our Eastwood MIG 175. These are in a hidden spot when the hood is closed, and can be cut/ground off when I do the final assembly of the truck. For now these tabs free up 2 pairs of hands.

    After we had the front end mounted up square, we rolled the chassis back to get the center of the wheel hubs sitting in the center of the wheel arches. In order to find these center marks, we took a piece of tape and ran it across the bottom of the fender arch openings, then measured to find the center of that line. From there we used a level to run a straight line up to the center of the top of the arch. That allowed us to make a "crosshair" with tape to line up the wheel in the arch. This took a lot of the guess work out of the process!

    Finally we mounted up the hood to the fenders and the cab to make sure the front end wasn't "nosed up" or drooping. Luckily it all sits pretty square and we can continue on! The next step is to take the OE Dodge cab mount brackets and retrofit them to the s10 chassis in the rear, then use the front S10 cab brackets and move the hole in the floor of the cab up just a few inches to match the location of the mount on the chassis. Once we have these brackets fabbed up, I will have to remove the front trans cover in the floor to allow the cab to drop down on the chassis fully. Once everything clears we should be able to move on to the shortening of the chassis.

    I am hoping I can keep this progress rolling and have the chassis rolling around with the body on it in the next month or so. Once the boring test fitting and all is done, we can really get into showcasing the arsenal of Eastwood products we have available, so stay tuned!

    Here is a final shot we did for laughs with the bed just set on the chassis.. going to take some trimming to get it to fit!

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    • I finally got some more time to work on "Project Pile-House this weekend, and we made some great progress! Check... #
  • First Cab Mock-Up

    With all of my other projects I have going on at once, I haven't had much time to make progress on Project Pile-House. But, this past weekend I got a free Saturday morning and a set of extra hands to help, so we went to town on making some big moves on the truck.

    After some discussion with some of the older, much more wise guys here at Eastwood (I am a bit wet behind the ears with American cars), I decided to ditch the OE S10 firewall and floor all together. Instead I am now going to just fab up mounts for the S10 steering column, pedal cluster, and brake booster. So we started by disconnecting and pulling all of the wiring out of the cab, the steering column, pedal cluster, booster, etc until we were down to the bare firewall and floor. Surprisingly the floors and cab corners were quite bad on the S10!
    Once I undid the 4 cab mount bolts, we lifted the last pieces of the cab off of the chassis.

    Next I got the spare tire holder removed, I plan to probably run my airbag suspension tank, valves, etc, in this area, so I need the space. Not to mention the holder was extremely rusty and the flat spare tire won't do me any good!

    After that it was time for the next big move to put the Pile-House cab onto the donor chassis. As we were dropping it down onto the chassis, I found we had to chop the front bed mounts off of the chassis to clear the cab where it has the natural "channel". Once the cab was on the chassis enough to roll it around the garage, we were able to see where we were at with the cab mounts to the chassis mounts. I was surprised to find they aren't that far off!

    I can already tell it is going to be quite easy to lay the sidesteps on the ground when "aired out"; and anyone that knows me, knows that makes me extremely happy.I did notice I will need to cut out the floor of the cab around the bell housing of the trans to allow the cab to sit flat on the chassis. I figure I can make a tunnel/cover for this once every thing is all sorted with the final mounting place of the cab. I also noticed that driveshaft is going to run pretty close to the floor of the cab as well, This could become an issue as I drop the truck to the height I want, so possibly a full tunnel in the floor will be needed. Time will tell I suppose.

    Next we went on to doing the first trial fitment of the front end of the Pile-House onto the donor chassis. From previous measurements, I had found that the front chassis legs needed to be shortened to almost flush with the steering box to begin to hang the front clip. An electric reciprocating saw made quick work of that!

    After our first test fit it was apparent I needed to cut the "hoop" on the bottom of the clip off where the OE radiator sat to allow the front clip to slide over the frame rails. Again a reciprocating saw made things easy.

    From there we still need to do some adjustments, but the front end will at least hang over the chassis (sorta!) enough for visualization of how it will look. It seems the cab will need to be shifted a bit more forward so the bolts for the fenders line up, more on that later this week.

    The next steps are to cut off some more of the OE cab/bed mounts that are hanging up on the cab, cut out the trans tunnel opening in the cab floor, then reposition the cab and front clip so they are positioned correctly over the chassis and front wheels. Now that some of my other projects are slowing down for the fall, I expect to update much more often. Stay tuned and thanks for watching!

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