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View custer_h's profile Entries: 12
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12-10-2014 10:42 PM Undiscovered Resources Discovered
The 54 Panel had been sitting in one spot so long vegetation had grown where it shouldn't so I splurged on a tow strap and pulled it to clearer ground. The front clip body parts were removed from the bed and floorboards. Then I blew clean the floor with compressed air to see what I have to work with. Without all the crap obstructing my view there's a lot of work to do on the floors. Also, the exterior has deteriorated some from the Florida weather so a tarp will cover it for now.

Before I realized getting the truck on the road would be so expensive I had dreams of an expensive custom paint job. After reality set in I've decided the paint can wait and to go with a rat rod look. Using rust encapsulating chemicals is out and scotchbrite and clear coat is in for now. However, essential rust must be repaired beforehand which means front floorboards, interior rear wheel wells, and rear fenders. Most of the rest is done!

My search for affordable work space continues. I recently discovered a new garage in Deland called "The Shop" that claims to do all sorts of custom work. I'm researching their reputation. They seem to have a genuine interest in my project but suggested that I could assemble a cheaper IFS by ordering it piecemeal vs as a kit. The cost of the IFS is the major hold up now so I'm investigating. This has lead me in several directions.

A friend has confirmed that while kits are more expensive, much of the engineering and preliminary headaches have been eliminated and concise instructions are provided. Plus there is technical support. At the same time "The Shop", advises me that I can lower my costs by ordering the IFS kit piecemeal. Naturally they are eager to assemble the order for me since I have neither the experience nor the facility. Another friend advised me to ask around at local car shows about this outfit since no one seems familiar with them. This lead us to discover Alfords Pro Street Customs, Inc in Orlando. I think I can learn a great deal from visiting them. Hot rodding, always a learning experience!

  [Entry #12]

11-22-2014 10:29 PM Progress On the 1954 Dodge Town Panel Truck
Car guys know other car guys so I'm still pushing the Habitat for Humanity's Cars for Homes Program I talked about in an earlier post. The truth is funds to build more affordable Habitat housing in the area are scarce these days so not much building has been taken place and things have, for the most part, been quiet at the Habitat Warehouse which has turned out to give me more time to focus on the 54. Actually, we had a scare that the building the Habitat Warehouse rents would be auctioned and the Warehouse would have to move out. I've been out pricing warehouse rental property with an eye out for property that might double as workshop space of the 54. I began comparing the price of workshop rental space with the cost of building a concrete slab on my property near my house as a work platform. Lots to consider! Still undecided.

Nevertheless, the process has motivated me to face the reality that, at the very least, I need more storage than the bed of the 54 and that of the Ramcharger to progress. Local commercial rental facilities have affordable pricing, some more affordable than others. Sooner or later I must decide if the cost savings of doing it myself will outweigh the cost of hiring out certain aspects of the entire project. For example, I can pull an engine, transmission, and rear end with borrowed/rented tools and transport them to storage but can I unload them and reload them as needed? The vendor that installs the Kugel replacement IFS may want input on whether they want those components on site for fitting prior, an issue yet to be discussed. A steep learning curve for those not having done this before. I'm not giving up yet!

  [Entry #11]

10-03-2014 11:17 PM Southwest Volusia Habitat for Humanity
In 2012 I mentioned volunteering with Southwest Volusia Habitat for Humanity. I manage their Warehouse. We build houses for low income families that would not otherwise qualify for conventional mortgages. Our mortgages are NO interest. A better deal can't be found! We build with volunteer labor so our selling prices are low AND we intentionally make NO PROFIT based on Biblical principles. Our funding comes from several sources mostly donations. One source is from our Cars for Homes Program. If you have a vehicle, big or small, running or not, car, truck, camper, RV, boat, crane, etc., that you no longer need with a clear title, we can use it! Cars for Homes will remove it from your property, auction it, and all proceeds will be given to the Habitat for Humanity Affiliate with your DESIGNATED zip code. Call 877-277-4344 or visit for more information. I have been distributing this information locally to local car clubs hoping to strike a nerve.

  [Entry #10]

08-27-2014 09:36 PM Crowdrise
Progress on the 54 has been static since the last journal entry for various reasons. Has anyone had any success using Crowdrise to raise funds for hotrod projects? I'd love to hear how you approached it. Funding is one of my major impediments.

  [Entry #9]

06-26-2013 08:45 PM Still More Revelations
After still more research I've learned some wanting to improve the handling of their Town Panel have turned to using the complete chassis and rolling stock of Durangos. In the meantime another option may have surfaced. It seems Kugel components may make a cross member to replace the original that accepts rack and pinion steering and disk brakes. The rest is relatively easy. However you must get beyond the request to "Measure Outside frame wheel width at the centerline and the hub to hub width flange to flange." I'm scratching my head trying to understand. I find it fascinating that I'm encountering more and more people are choosing to make this sort of adaptation to their trucks.

  [Entry #8]

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