New truck in the shop 73 swb f600.. and the vin decode says?
I traded a small car trailer for "Lil Bit" ...I just love f600 dentsides.. and Kalifornia trucks that arent all rusted out is a bonus.. I feel spoiled when I see some of what the rest of the country has to deal with. The inner fenders are coated with asphalt I imagine from years on road work jobs... a natural rust preventative it is proving very tough to remove
This truck was purchased new by Peterson Caterpillar in California as a fleet service truck. It had a well used service body on it with a massive crane and bumper that would could move a mobile home if necessary. It was (correctly) shortened to a 72 in C/A . The frame was fishplated ending in triangles for several feet beyond the splice.. I couldnt find any cracks or stress... Im pleased whomever did it knew what they were doing. The frame is perfectly square. It had a 9 foot service body which I scrapped for 200 dollars, It had an air compressor in the front of the bed and crane on the rear. Both leaked so much fluid over the years the frame came out totally rust free from being coated with oil. I went at it for an hour with the steam cleaner and it will take two more to get the frame free of all the oil soaked road dirt.
It has the venerable dog 330 ci, 5 speed/2 speed
It had the passenger step modified with steel tubing to hold huge batteries for jumping bulldozers and equipment. The drivers side had a large step tank.. as well as the factory cab tank
I drove it home 60 miles after putting a new carb on it... it had sat for years. It didnt get over 45.. I didnt want to in an unknown rig that had sat for years... I have spent a couple of weeks just cleaning it up, removing the old micro lock and a thousand feet of battery cables and wiring for all the add ons.It was orginally white but has been painted several times over the years with blue and gold stripes and then finally fleet red...
Its used but doesnt appear to have ever been damaged.. just your typical fleet truck
I changed every fluid and put some seafoam in the crankcase for the next oil change. Fluids are measured in gallons,,, gotta love big trucks.I found some field fixes but nothing broken or earth shattering. The ash tray was unused but one of the drivers used the dashpad as his cigarette holder and ruined it.. 250.00 cha-ching
It has a drivers bostrom seat and a little bitty passenger seat.. hence the nickname "lil bit". I think Im going to just clean it up for a ranch truck,,, lightly resto it and fix stuff over time. I intend to build a nice shorty flatbed for it and build a killer IIC bumper.. and Ill probably integrate a rear winch.. why not.. they are so cheap now from hf. (I have several and use them with great success)
Its begging for a navstar or cummins motor.. but Im not sure.. maybe Ill keep it stockish and rebuild the boat anchor 330 at some point. Ive never done a conversion on one but this would be a perfect candidate
The bias ply 20 inch tires are flat spotted from sitting for so long..and whumped whump all the way home when I got it up to speed. I came home on backroads so as to miss Mr Chippie.. just in case I got a commerical officer... and because I had no plates.. just a one day move permit. Mountain driving down some small country roads was interesting.. I was always looking for where I could jump out. Im half tempted to put some super singles on it and make it a super medium duty pickup. Check out the period down exhaust deflector!
Well... lots has gone on since the original posting
All I can say is to those of you that have done restorations... you understand.. it seems never ending...
I completely disassembled the truck and sandblasted it and chemically stripped it. Three layers of paint came off.. inernational red enamal, peterson cat blue.. with gold stripes, polyurethane, and original white urethane.. and wow was that stuff tough.. even sand struggled to get it off.. theres some remaining paint on the interior roof that didnt want to come of so I roughed it up and will paint over it. I spent at least three hours blowing out sand from all the hidden crevices... I would have dipped the body but alas its Kalifornia and we arent allowed such dangerous things here... I even spent two hours scraping out old seam sealer... new 3m to replace it after a thorough priming... the ford factory welders were fast and it shows in some of the crappy sheetmetal welds,, but hey its lasted 40 plus years so far,, who am I to complain.
The frame was in great shape with original black still in many areas.. the service body was thrashed and while I tried fixing it I gave up after about 20 hours of welding on it. There was gobs of tar from road jobs (probably servicing equipment) under the front fenders, mostly the drivers side ..the good thing is that this kept them absoultely rust free... undercoating to the max.. I think I chipped off 50 pounds
I found some rust in the cab so its getting floor patches and lower pillar fixes.. Im cutting it completely out. There were some dings in the fenders and grill which minor body work will address. The battery area which is usually a rust spot on these trucks was surprisingly unmolested.. I did find some weird holes cut in some areas.. so Ill be doing alot of welding.. I think they drilled in excess of 25 holes in the floor for various devices.. so all of those Ill weld up
The doors have some rust on them.. I have a new aftermarket set that Im going to try first.. if I cant get happy with them ill blast and fix the original doors
The 330 seems in good shape.. so for now Im leaving it alone.. pertronix.. a new radiator and water pump (which was really difficult to source).. wires,, a new holly carb.. weird anomoly I found in the 330hd motor.. it has two side by side thermostats... I wonder why?.. The radiator shroud was in great shape but the over and under air deflactors (rubber and sheetmetal were gone) .. but I was able to replicate them with new sheetmetal and rubber..maybe even better than the originals.. the cross member under the radiator had standing water and gunk in it its whole life.. blasting fixed most of that.. a careful priming and paint job with appropriate rubberized coating will stop any progression of future pitting... and having a radiator that doesnt leak will help too.. The radiator was sourced from several different places but finally NAPA gave me the best price ..337.00... the radiator is huge,,,
When I get it on the road Ill dual exhaust it. The 22.5 wheels are on order.. on the slow boat from europe
Im going to take it off commercial reg and put it in historic.. let dmv argue with me.. I want insurance at 75 a year
I cut out several hndred more feet of extra wiring, more battery cables, accessory switches , dingle ***** etc. All used to start heavy caterpillar equipment or run bed equipment, The dual tank was badly dented so I pulled it. I have the original bostrom seat but I think Im going to put a stock bench back in it as I like them best. There were old matchbooks and receipts from the 70s under the dashpad (which was gone and Ill have to get a repro)
My idea is to put aluminum belly boxes all along under the cab to the back wheels and build a custom flatbed for it. I have an 12 hp air compressor and lincoln ranger welder just begging to be put on it.
Slow progress.. parts sourcing is "fun".. usually starts with a "no" then transitions to a "well.. maybe".. usually I have to do all the research to get the part.. making parts guys look has their eyes glaze over immediately.. F600s arent in the normal suystems anymore.. but F500s still come up for many things.. this truck was built in the days before computers buddy...
Lastly in tribute to its caterpillar heritage i picked Caterpillar yellow at Tractor Supply on sale as the main body color and flat black for the fenders... they have a brand new truck at the cat dealer in this color scheme and I fell in love with it immediately..I cant wait to go back one day and put them side to side.
Theres something about f600 fenders that make them just plain appealing to me.. it shape is like art...
Lastly.. a thanks to all of you on this site for parts.. sources.. suggestions and encouragment... if you like dentsides theres something about these trucks that others just cannot replicate. Ill have about 6-8k in this when Im done..inclding new 22.5s... try a late model medium duty at 5ok... this thing will be a shorty stumpuller.. and perfect for around the ranchito
Im impatient for paint.. but theres lots to do before that...
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