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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

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Old 09-15-2013, 02:07 PM
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1953 F100 Deluxe Cab Flat-V8

I've never done a "build thread", and since the project is around half finished, I thought I might as well go ahead.

Most build threads start with "I just bought a cool old truck" but mine starts with "When I was fifteen years old, I bought a cool old truck from my uncle." Because I've had it for so long, the "build thread" actually starts as a history lesson.

My truck is a 1953 Deluxe cab, with the 239 "flathead" V8. As a deluxe cab it has the following (that I know of):

Hardboard upholstery behind the seat, matching the headliner
Door locks on both doors (standard cab on passenger door only)
Inside light switches on both doors (standard cab on driver's door only)**Correction-A dome light and a switch on the driver's door was an option on the standard cab**
Hardboard door panels
Arm rests on both doors
Locking glove box lid
Passenger sun visor
Stainless trim on drip edge around cab
Stainless trim around wing-glass and on the track between the wing and door glass
"Boomerang" trim on hood
"Teeth" in grille
Dual horns

Mine was missing it's teeth, but the bolt holes where there, complete with scratches where the teeth were mounted.

As I said, I bought it when I was fifteen years old, and that's been a lot of years ago. It had been sitting beside my grandfather's barn for several years. I had played in and around it when I was younger, and always loved sitting in it when we were at his farm. Which was quite often.

I bought it from my uncle for $30, too naive to realize he was actually giving it to me. I don't have pictures of it then, but it looked like this, front to back:

Someone had used a torch to cut a hole in the top of the rear bumper to bolt a trailer towing ball onto it. The tailgate was hanging from it's latch chains, because both hinges were broken. The rear axle was sitting on wood blocks, because the tires were missing. One of the spring shackles had broken, so the spring was driven through the wood bed. Speaking of the wood bed, most of it was rotted away. Both rear fenders were rusted out where the running boards bolted on. Someone had painted "Farm Truck" down the side of the bed with a brush and house paint. Both running boards were rusted through. There were holes in the back of the cab where there had been a gun rack bolted in. The driver's door window was missing. The rest of the glass was cracked, except the windshield. The seat was rotted and falling apart. The top had been bent down, and popped back up. Someone had cut a hole in the dash for a radio, with a cold chisel. Yes, they cut a hole in the dash with a chisel. The passenger front fender support had broken, so the fender had flopped until it had cracks around the wheel well. The front bumper had been welded to the frame, along with some angle iron uprights. I guess they were to push cars with. The truck had hit a tree or post, so the driver side fender was caved in, along with the original grill. It had been painted, with a rattle can, a sort of forest green. The original black was showing through in so many places, I'm not sure if it was a green truck with black spots or a black truck with green spots.

It was beautiful!

My dad and I went through the brakes, checked the steering, started it, and he towed me home with a chain. Keep in mind I was steering this thing out on the road and I didn't have a license yet. We parked it behind the garage at our house. My dad was supportive, but wasn't giving up his garage space.

I know a lot of you guys name your trucks, but I never did. It was always just "Ken's old truck."
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:23 PM
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great story. any updates?
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:23 PM
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Ken's old truck 1.0

Sitting behind our garage, my truck was hidden from the world, except when I started it. When it was running, it could be heard from a block away. It also raised a blue smoke cloud that my best friend Mark could see from his house. Also a block away. Mark was my best friend then, and still is today. Ironically, his last name is.....you guessed it. Ford. When he would see the blue smoke signal, he would often come to my house and help me work on the poor truck.

Because I was a poor high school student with no license, and no job, the first improvements where those that were simple, necessary, and cheap. When spring came around, I got a job at the I-75 Shell station, where my truck had been years before. The business had a different owner, and he was the best boss I ever had. No offense to any other boss I've had, he was just that great.

By the time I got my license, that fall, I had done the following: Purchased a set of chrome reverse wheels and used tires; replaced the driver-side front fender; replace the grill with a chrome 1956 grill (had to modify the air deflectors for it to fit) replaced the bench seat with buckets from a Ford Torino; installed an 8-track stereo; cut the running boards at the rear support; installed a driver-side window; installed a ply-wood bed floor; replaced the steering wheel with the typical, "everyone has to have one", blue metal flake 3 spoke; repaired the tail gate hinges; replaced the tail lights; and painted the entire truck flat black. Today you might call it a "Rat Rod" but I'd punch you in the arm if I heard you.

The most important improvements were under the tutelage of my dad. He helped me rebuild the brake system, repair the steering, spring shackle, and exhaust, and rebuild the Flathead V-8.

By the time I was a senior, I had
replaced the front bumper, and installed a sunroof. The sunroof was a big mistake. I was backing into the garage one day, and forgot to close it. It hooked on the garage door (who knew these trucks sit so high?) and ripped it right off the top of the truck. Sunroofs were plexi-glass back then, so instead of exploding it broke into 4 or 5 pieces and the frame was twisted into an aluminum pretzel. My dad never did like that sunroof anyway.

I drove it to school, I drove it to work, and I worked on it a lot. It was fun, but it was always a rough old truck.
These are the only pictures I have of the truck from back then:

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Old 09-15-2013, 02:37 PM
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Ken's old truck 2.0

By the time I was in college, I had done the following: Taken the body apart and painted it gray; warmed over the flathead engine with aluminum Offenhauser heads and intake with 2x2 bbl. carbs; replaced the bucket seats with the original, recovered; replaced the steering wheel with the original; repaired the hole in the roof from the sunroof fiasco; added dual exhaust.

Then I bought a Turbo Mustang, that I drove the wheels off of. But this is the story of the truck, not the mustang.

These are some pictures from then:

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Old 09-15-2013, 03:22 PM
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Ken's old truck 3.0

This is where it gets a little more in depth.

In the early 90's, I had been out of college and working in architecture for several years. I had also worked on the truck on and off, but never anything serious. My dad was fully retired, other than "farming" so I decided to do a full-on off frame rebuild.

Step one, take out every nut, bolt, washer, screw, and clip.
Step two, replace everything that could be worn or rusted beyond repair.
Step three, clean and paint everything else.
Step four, put it back together.

Easy, right? We built a rotisserie to paint the frame, rebuilt the engine, and replaced the wheels with Ford wheels from a newer truck. I replaced the front floor pans, cab corners, rockers, and had the cab hot-dipped and stripped of everything. I split the cab at it's seams, and replaced the top. That took care of the sunroof fiasco once and for all, and took care of the hole someone had cut in dash.

Some pictures:
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:36 PM
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Ken's old truck 3.0 cont.

My dad (a decorated survivor of the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach) suddenly died of a heart attack in December.

My mother sold her farm and I didn't have a work shop, so the truck and everything that went with it was packed into storage for a while.

More pictures of the cab work:
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:36 PM
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beautiful work and a great story. very few can say they have had their trucks that long and done so much to it over the years. congrats.
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49 F-1: Flatrod II (flat motor, flat paint)
Keeping one more flathead alive
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:52 PM
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My dad (a decorated survivor of the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach) suddenly died of a heart attack in December.

Omaha Beach, a FIASCO! Armor was landed in the correct location, troops weren't. USN Higgins boats landed them on the wrong beach that had a huge concrete sea wall behind it.

Troops pinned down for hours with little to no cover, many were massacred by German machine guns.

Finally, 2 USN destroyers sailed in close to the shoreline, using their 5" guns, punched a hole in the sea wall.
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:33 PM
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Ken's old truck 3.5

Why 3.5? Because 3.0 was never finished.

When I got tired of working in an office, I took my current job where I could work outdoors. It included a big maintenance building and shop at my disposal. Because I live on-site, It's a really handy place to work on my truck.

When I'd been living here for a while, I brought out my truck and all it's parts and put the body on it. I never finished it, but I could drive it around our 3 miles of roads just to keep it moving. My next post will start the actual 3.5 rebuild, but here are some before pictures so you can see what sitting around for almost 15 years had done to it.
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Old 09-16-2013, 12:28 AM
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Ken's old truck 3.5 Deconstruction

In 2011, I decided to finally give the truck the attention it needed. But before I tore the truck apart again I needed a vision. I wasn't looking for a 100 point concourse rebuild, but I wanted to be able to put it back original if I ever wanted to. So that meant no cutting, chopping, sectioning, or channeling. It also meant leaf springs and straight axles.

If you read around the FTE 1948-1956 forums much, you'll see the same advice over and over. "If you can make the truck safe and drivable, do it. Then drive it around while you decide what you want to do with/to it." This is the same great advice my dad gave me when I was fifteen. Well, I've been doing that for over thirty years, and now I know what I want.

I wanted it to drive better, so I knew I'd wedge the front axle back a little (I ended up going 4 degrees) and I'd use radial tires. I also decided to lighten up the spring packs a little. (I ended up taking out every other leaf)

I wanted it to be safer, so I decided on a dual master cylinder, original option turn signals, and 3-point seat belts. I'll probably go with the Altmans easy latches on the doors before it's all over.

I wanted it to be more comfortable, so I'm going with full cab insulation/sound deadner, nicer seat upholstery, stereo, carpet, and other such niceties. The stereo means it needs a 12volt negative ground electrical system.

I like the flathead, so I'm going to keep it, along with it's Offy heads and intake. I'm going to keep the 3-on-the-tree, with plans to upgrade to a T-5 when I figure out exactly how to do it on a '53. It's not as easy as it sounds.

Now that I have a plan, I need some organization. It is going to be key when putting it back together. I don't want to have to dig through the carburetor parts looking for the clip that holds the rear soft brake line to the bracket. And I don't want a cast steel water pump lying on my instrument cluster.

I found some used, collapsible, industrial storage bins at the local hardware store for $3 each. I picked up a bulk of freezer containers at the dollar store (you can write on the tops), and found some little aluminum pans at the yard sale. 20 for $.50. What a deal!

While it was coming apart, I kept entire assemblies together as much as possible until I was ready to clean/paint/assemble and install them. That way I didn't have to keep up with so many little bits and bobs lying around.

Let me also say that while I know every inch of this truck, I mean every nut bolt and wire, I still took pictures of some assemblies to be sure I would know how to put them back together months or even years later.

Enough jabber, here are some pictures of the deconstruction:
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Old 09-16-2013, 12:54 AM
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Ken's old truck 3.5 more Deconstruction

Here is the cab coming off, and the chassis being disassembled.

You're not allowed to make fun of my cab removal rigging. Because I said so, that's why!
Safety note! Never get under a large/heavy object that has been lifted. Never trust a hoist, wench, or hydraulic jack.

The frame rotisserie is basically the same as my dad and I had built before. It was KISS simple, and worked well.

Like components were put into the bins together, and bolts were put into labeled freezer containers by use groups. (engine, dog house, chassis, etc.)

Pictures:
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Old 09-16-2013, 02:01 AM
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Ken's old truck 3.5 more Deconstruction

Here are a couple of pictures of the engine. I kept it together until I was ready to work on it.
Safety note! It is safer to lift the engine and roll the chassis from under it than to try to roll the engine hoist around with the engine in the air. I know you can do it, but don't.

There are also some pictures of the frame being stripped. I used a DA sander, palm sander, 4" twisted wire wheel, and a lot of sandpaper and elbow grease.
Safety note! Always wear/use proper PPE. (Personal Protection Equipment) In this case I used a replaceable cartridge type dust mask, eye protection, and hearing protection.

Speaking of grease, when the frame was stripped it was cleaned with a degreaser, and then wiped down with paint reducer.

The pictures:
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:55 AM
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very impressive. thanks for posting the pics and i hope you will continue. a good thread for those just starting out, great organization. i can attest to the fact that things you thought you would remember are easily forgotten after 6 months.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:04 AM
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very impressive. thanks for posting the pics and i hope you will continue. a good thread for those just starting out, great organization. i can attest to the fact that things you thought you would remember are easily forgotten after 6 months.
Thanks. I'll keep going until I get the thread caught up to the build, probably today. I just plumbed the brake lines and set the engine back on the frame Saturday night.

There are a couple of things I would do differently, like the color of the engine, but I'll point them out as I get to them in the thread.
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Old 09-16-2013, 10:45 AM
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Great build thread for a truck that you've had for a long time in various stages of condition. Very interesting!

I have just one correction for the interest of others. The standard cabs had no door jamb light switches, because they had no interior dome light unless one was ordered or added at the dealer....

Am looking forward to more pics of your progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EffieTrucker View Post
Hardboard upholstery behind the seat, matching the headliner
Door locks on both doors (standard cab on passenger door only)
Inside light switches on both doors (standard cab on driver's door only)
Hardboard door panels
Arm rests on both doors
Locking glove box lid
Passenger sun visor
Stainless trim on drip edge around cab
Stainless trim around wing-glass and on the track between the wing and door glass
"Boomerang" trim on hood
"Teeth" in grille
Dual horns
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