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!