To be politically correct, I mis-spoke in my last, Last Entry. Spoken like a man, I lied. Since the last entry, JB drove his truck to the alignment shop of choice, about 7 miles away, on a 5 gallon bucket. I followed along to pick up the pieces, but was not needed. After the shake down cruise, I noticed the lower control arm was not level so started the alignment by adjusting the coil overs until the arms were leveled up. Then the tech installed all the equipment to see where to start. Every thing but the toe in was "in the green". We could not believe it. It only took him about 3 minutes to get the toe in set and we are out the door. By this time it was getting dark and cold and we got a quick check on the lights when the truck quit. JB said it was like it ran out of gas. I could not hear the fuel pump running so we just pushed the truck back into the shop and called it a day. The next morning, we discovered the wire to the fuel pump had pulled loose from the main panel: cause: JB re adjusted his "bucket seat" and placed it over the panel, wires and all with no thought on what could happen to the wiring. When we got the truck back to the shop, I was looking at the rear shocks that I never liked from the get go but had ignored ever since we completed the rolling chassis. They tilted inboard which was not too bad, but they also tilted forward about 15*, giving a compound movement which is bad. As the rear end worked up and down, the shock housing was hitting the axle. We removed some of the material on the mounting boss, but still could not get it vertical. We then tried the top mounting on the back side of the cross member spaced the bottom out as far as we could and still could not get it vertical. I called Fatmans and explained the problem. They wanted pictures to confirm their suspicions and to compare with their pictures of the frame (they have a file of pictures on every frame they build). Sure enough, the cross member had been installed on the wrong side of their mark. They wanted to know what they could do to make it right. I said I would get back to them. We discussed putting the truck on a trailer and hauling it down to them to let them do it but I really did not like that ideal with the lousy winter weather we are having. After some measuring, I decided we had the opportunity to turn this into a much improved shock location. I redesigned the cross member which involved moving the top mounting hole out board to get the shock vertical in the left/right plane, lower the hole in the cross member to provide better clearance on the dust shroud, and place the boss on the back side of the cross member to make shock replacement easier. I gave the dimensions to the frame shop at Fatmans at about 11:30 AM on Friday, just before they shut down for the freezing rain and snow that hit us pretty hard. They said they would make the cross member Monday AM and ship it. We received it Tue AM and it is now installed and ready to roll. They called back to make sure we were happy with it and thank us for bringing up the problem. They said they have building and selling this frame for well over a year and no one has identified a problem with it and yes, they all had the cross member installed on the wrong side of the line. A second line or an arrow would have saved a lot of grief!!! Pics will follow.
This will be the final entry until the upholstery work progresses.
Mark added the paint to the hood emblem on the vehicle. We removed the side emblems from the hood side panels and he took those home to complete. Much easier to do with them laying flat on a table than leaning over the fender in the vertical position.
We took a break from the truck and installed the hand railing up the stairs to the office as well as the railing along the balcony out side the office. JB took a break to admire the Master's work. He became a little emotional when he saw the memorial in the lower left corner of the tailgate.
Mark is just finishing the stripping around the cab. This took about 45 min to complete. My son was glued to his shoulder and peppered him with questions the whole time. He was an avid student at the knee of the master.
The bed has been stripped and now the lettering on the back gets the steady handed brush. Henry would be proud of this job!!!
Since this truck belonged to JB's dad and was a great source of enjoyment to both of his parents (mother still living alone at 90), we wanted to preserve his name and this is Mark's response to add the memorial. Neat touch and JB's mom's name will be added when she moves on.
Buffing and polishing have been completed and the bumper is ready to rotate into place, rubber filler to install and bolted in place.
Now we are ready for the pen stripper. He will come to the shop for this since his home shop is not very well heated and he is using it for winter storage.
Pictured is Mark Peters, a local talent that I consider one of the best pen stripper/graphic artist. Some of his work is absolutely stunning. He is great to work with in that he listens to your ideals and will suggest improvements or alternatives. He has yet to steer me wrong!!
This is a view of the truck before starting the front fender install. We took a bolt out of the bumper braces (two bolts on each frame rail) to let the front bumper drop down for the installation. Also, I loosened the bolts holding the main fender braces to allow more movement when fitting the fenders.
The second shot is of the finished left front fender. Head light has been installed and wire.
The right fender is now installed and ready for final buffing/polishing