Spring is here, and I am out cruising around. I guess this is the shake down period -- see what breaks, what falls off, what catches fire...
So far I had to fiddle with the front end alignment, re-attach an exhaust pipe that came apart, and switch to narrower back tires because they were rubbing against the bed. A trip to the pull your own parts yard during the $10 tire and rim sale took care of my "new" tires. Yes, I am still rolling on junkyard tires and rims. However, I did figure out the tire size, rim width, and back spacing I need. Once I decide on the color of the rims (red? or black?), I will order them.
The winter was very cold with lots of snow, so I avoided the unheated garage. I should have been ordering the upholstery materials, but laziness prevailed. I finally ordered seat cover material, headliner material, door panel material, and rug material. It has been rolling in. My next job will be to finish the interior. Once again I will be wading into the unknown. Do I know anything about upholstery or interior finish? Nope. Nada. Nothing. However, ignorance is bliss, and a lack of knowledge (or skills) has never held me back. Hand me the scissors and step aside, here I come!
I had hoped to get the interior done over the summer. The summer came and went... I did manage to get the headliner done over the summer. About 5 or 6 years ago I purchased a fiberglass headliner P/N V8151968D and truck corners and window strip kit (rear window trim) P/N V8151968G from Mac's Antique Auto Parts. I also purchased headliner material, carpeting, carpet binding, seat covers, material to match the seat covers, seat refurbishing kit (burlap, foam, hog rings, etc.) from Automotive Interiors. I glued the headliner material to the large fiberglass headliner and installed it by putting screws through the original interior door trim. I glued headliner material to the fiberglass truck corners and window strip kit aka rear window trim and installed it. It looked pretty good.
Next I insulated the floor. Then I made heavy paper patterns of the carpeting in three pieces since the carpeting would not easily bend over the transmission hump. I cut the first piece -- the transmission hump piece -- and glued it down. Then I cut the other two pieces. I glued binding to the outside edge and the edge that went against the seat. The unbound part went flush against the transmission hump section. I glued those down. The carpeting looks pretty good. A heck of a lot nicer that the metal floor painted black.
Then I made a set of door panels out of the material that matched the seat covers. I made a pattern from cardboard to the correct dimensions with the correct holes and speaker cut-outs. Using the pattern, I cut door panels from some luan plywood that I had lying around. I glued tha material to the plywood and mounted the panels to the doors with velcro strips (I really suck at trim clips).
Last was the seat. I had to remove the shifter to get the seat out of the truck. I wound up with 3 seats -- the original that came with my truck, one I got from a 38 oil truck in the junkyard, and one I bought off Ebay for $10, which I picked up in Newark, Delaware. I stripped all three down to the wood and bare frames. None of them were pristine, but the one that originally came with my truck was in the best shape. I welded it in a bunch of places where the metal was broken and repaired it with parts from the other seats in other places. The Ebay seat had the original wood but it was cracked, so I used it as a pattern to cut a new piece of wood from so 3/4-inch plywood I had lying around (I seem to have a lot of wood lying around.) I also used the hardware from the Ebay seat because it was complete and in very good condition. I attached new burlap with hog rings and glued new foam to the burlap. I stretched the new seat covers over the frames and fastened them down. I slipped the pins through the hinges and installed my new seat in the truck. It looked fantastic! I reattached the shift lever and uh oh.. the shifter hit the seat before it would go into second or fourth gear. (You didn't think that this was going to go perfectly smoothly, did you?) I guess the hole in the plywood seat bottom (non-original wood) was farther forward that the stock hole. It was too overwhelming to even think about pulling my finished seat out and trying to re-drill holes in the bottom. Instead, I removed the shifter, heated it up with the torch, and bent it forward. Problem solved. I went cruising around the next day with no shifter problems!
Over the summer I purchased a set of wheels, trim rings, and hubcaps from The Wheel Smith. I had some 235R70-15 rear tires I got from the junkyard installed on the rear wheels so I could see how the tires looked and to make sure the tires didn't rub anywhere like the ones that were on there. Perfect fit. I ordered the correct backspacing. Whew! Over the winter, I will save up some money, and in the spring I will order a set of spiffy wide whites!
Has it really been 11 years since my last post? An update has been on my to-do list, it just never made it to the top I decided to make it a priority. So what has been happening?
I got some wide whites to fancy up the truck. In the last 12 years of driving, only one issue cropped up -- the radiator started to leak. One day after parking it in the garage, all the coolant blew out the bottom. I crawled underneath but couldn't really see the problem. I purchased a new repo 1938 pickup radiator from Griffin Radiators. They make a really nice replacement. Nice folks to work with, too. They didn't offer a 38 pickup radiator when I was originally building the truck or I would have purchased one at the time. Old radiatior out. New radiator in. No problems with the install, no problems since the install.
The old 38 has been running well. It still amazes me. Geologist builds hot rod truck in his garage. It runs well. Nothing has fallen off. It did not catch fire while driving. It's the quickest vehicle I have ever owned. And the loudest! I love it.