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Part 2: Planning the Project
Any project needs an overall plan from start to finish. Since this is a rework/build, I had things I wanted to improve over the previous edition. My knowledge, experience, skills, and financial status had grown over the years, so I laid out what I wanted without reasonable dollar or time restraints. Basically, I saved pennies everywhere I could so I could spend dollars on some luxuries. I planned on doing all the work in-house except for the upholstery.
First, there would be a total color change throughout. The wife had bought me a cast model of a green and black '36 pickup and said " That is the color for your pickup". Picking color scheme problem: solved.
Next, there was going to be a totally new rear suspension. I settled on triangulated 4 bar from Air Ride Technologies, but also chose Carrera coil overs vice air bags. Additionally, chose to keep the reliable '57 rear, but upgrade to posi. The front Mustang II cross member and power rack was to stay, but was to be upgraded with new parts from Fatman Fabrications plus installation of '85 Monte Carlo rotors and calipers.
The firewall was to be replaced to allow moving the engine back another 2 inches. I selected Bitchin firewall vice cutting and pasting on the old one. The cross member was to be cut out and built back to handle the 2 inch engine/tranny set back and let me change the tranny without disassembling the entire front end. Replacement of the original 14 gallon fuel tank with a larger aftermarket unit was in the plan. I wanted stainless, but cost and availability made me settle on a poly tank of 17 gallon capacity.
EFI was going to bring the pickup into the 21st century. After a year of studying and researching, I settled on an Edelbrock Pro Flo system -- the first big ticket item. This time around, the truck was going to get air conditioning too. It's just so much more pleasant blasting along at speed limit +10 with the windows rolled up! I settled on Vintage Air because of the good results we had on other installations of Vintage Air and not so good results on other units. Because of the cramped fit in the front of the motor, a serpentine belt was a must and again I splurged on the new Vintage Air front runner system.
Replacement of the old wiring was a must, and I decided to stay with Ron Francis. I also wanted the battery out of the engine compartment and it was moving to under the seat, along with the electrical control panel. The bed needed a rework too. Two of the oak boards were rotting after 20 years, I had accumulated a much better tail gate and the head board had taken a beating over the years. After research, I settled on an oak flooring kit. The all new truck was going to get all new upholstery and I decided to splurge on leather, since it's a small truck. Thanks to KristKustoms, I found the perfect leather for the job.
Every project has a logical starting point, but in this case, the obvious is to disassemble the vehicle. Though our shop is adequate, it will not handle all the parts and pieces. Fortunately, the now unused horse barn (pics later) holds all the removed/finished parts until time for reassembly. The fenders, running boards, hood, grill, radiator, bumpers, and lights were removed. All but the bed was sent to the barn. Even though the truck still looked decent and ran/drove great, this pic reflects what 207,000 miles of drive anywhere/anytime will do.
Click here for Part 3: The Bed
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