Tag Archives: ratrod

    • 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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    • Cutting out the fat.

      This past weekend I got some more work done on the donor chassis-vehicle. I started by getting the rest of the front end removed, then we unbolted the bed from the chassis to gain access to where we needed to cut. Next we moved to the moment my inner child had been waiting for, cutting the cab apart! I opted to use the Versa Cut Plasma Cutter on 220V to blast through the cowl above the firewall and the A-pillars. I also decided to zip through the door hinge brackets since I will be using all of this from the Dodge Body.

      After i got the main section of the roof cut off with the windshield and all, I cut the back of the cab off to get it in the basic configuration I will need for grafting the Dodge body into it. Next we test fit panels and begin a game plan on the best way to fit it all together.

      After a quick test fit of the front end, I could quickly see that the Dodge inner fenders had to be cut out quite a bit to fit over the chassis. I should have done this from the beginning really, as I plan to run some oversized wheels and install airbags.. so it surely would need the space to tuck the wheels anyways! Here are some before and afters of the room I freed up by removing the inner fenders on the front end.

      This week I am hoping to roughly cut-out the floor of the Dodge cab, and then lift it over the floor/firewall on the chassis and see what needs to be done to mate the 2 pieces. I am pretty excited to get it looking "Old" quite soon! Watch this space, the sparks have just begun to fly!

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    • Project Pile-House Gets a Donor Skeleton

      Since my last entry, I've been searching for a suitable, short bed, standard cab S10 or Dodge Dakota donor for my project. Unfortunately it seems so is everyone else! So everything I found was so far gone, or too nice to cut up and they wanted way more than my cheapskate budget allowed for. I went so far as to check in with some local junkyards, and even though they had the EXACT chassis that I needed; they wouldn't sell for legal/title reasons. I resorted to going back to craigslist and broadening my search for a long bed truck.These aren't nearly as desirable, much cheaper, and you don't have to look hard to find a beat-up one for sale on the web. I got even luckier when I found one that was approximately 5-6 miles from Eastwood headquarters for "pennies". I made my way over with a friend to grab the truck, and after a jump start we had it on the trailer, and on our way back to Eastwood.

      This truck has been sitting for a few years after a fuel leak, rust, and the need for maintenance became too much for the previous owner to deal with. I am happy it is safe enough to drive in and out of the shop under it's own power. That will save us a lot of hassle jockeying cars around the lot when I want to work on it. So late last week I began tearing right into it. The first initial goal is to test fit the front end of Pile-House over the donor chassis. Once I get the front end position of the body sorted, we can then start working on the cab position in relation to the front clip.

      I snapped a few pics of the process of the front end removal. Some parts just basically fell off due to rust around the mounting holes. Made for a quick job of removing the front end!

      I then jumped into the interior and got to removing the dash. This truck has been "messed-with" before, so a some of the bolts were either loose or missing for the dash. Needless to say it was pretty easy to get the dash out. With the dash removed I can start to eye up where I want to cut the cab to retain the donor firewall and how I will graft it into the Pile-House firewall/cab.

      After attending a Hotrod show in Philadelphia this past weekend, and chatting with a few guys that had done the same basic project with their old 50's truck.. I really have the itch! So stay tuned more to come this week!

      Oh and anyone need some spare S10 parts? I have a bed-full already!

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    • The bare chassis is exposed.

      Sorry for the lack of updates everyone, we've been very busy over the past week! Above you can see a quick video of what I've been up to since the last post. We've been working on getting the old Dodge body off of the chassis. We will be using the chassis for product testing quite a bit in the near future while I begin my search for a donor chassis to set the Dodge body back on. Stay tuned! Also! If anyone knows of a cheap, good running, standard cab-short bed Dodge Dakota or Chevy S10 in the Mid-Atlantic, shoot us a line!

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    • Let the cutting begin!

      Recently we introduced to you my new project, a 1950 Dodge "Pilot-House" Truck. After I did some digging, I found that there wasn't going to be an easy way to remove the original bolts holding the front end, cab, and bed on the truck. Luckily I had a number of cutting tools at my disposal and we didn't waste any time, and got the cutting started on the ol' Dodge!

      The first order of business was to get the old wood floor ripped out of the bed. It was all rotted quite badly, and I found layer after layer of wood patches. This was truly used as a workhorse, and old Whitey had just thrown plywood in each time the bed floor started to rot out. Ultimately this lead to moisture getting trapped between the bed braces as well as the bedsides, and the rot set in. You can see below the braces didn't fare too well.

      At this point, I called in the big guns, the Eastwood Versa-Cut Plasma Cutter, and this new affordable 4 1/2" Angle Grinder we now carry, to cut the original bolts holding the bed onto the frame. I was surprised that it all went pretty smoothly, and the bed came off all in one piece!

      Next is the front clip, and then the cab. In the meantime I'm on the hunt for a suitable chassis donor on Craigslist. Hoping I can score a deal in the coming weeks! Watch this space for more to come.

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