I completely dismantled the truck. Sixty years of rust has been tough on some of the parts. Some bolts came right off, some snapped, and some had to be cut off. I put the bolts and parts in zip lock baggies with labels. I also made a set of drawings that show how everything fits together. In 5 or 6 years when I start putting the truck back together, it will be nice to have a few diagrams to work from. I also took photos of how things looked before I took them apart. I found a few exploded views showing how some of the components fit together, but not many.


6/99     I got the garage cleaned out and the truck in with the help of my wife. This was not easy. During the process, the rear wheels on the '38 locked up, which caused my Toyota and its rear bumper to part company with much fanfare.

7/99     We got back from our vacation (no, I didn't spend my vacation working on the truck), and I started dismantling the truck. I started with the right rear bedside and worked my way around counterclockwise removing the sheet metal.


9/99     I started taking the cab apart. First I removed a rats nest of several generations of wiring from under the dash. Then I started on the instruments. In the center of the dash was a large clock that didn't match the rest of the instruments. I removed it (it sure left a large hole!), but didn't find any wires attached. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the knob on the front not only set the time, but was used to wind the clock. I wound it up, and it started ticking! Next was the heater. It was connected to two tubes. The thinner one resembled a gas line and was broken so I couldn't trace it. The thicker tube ran from the heater to below the carb. It appears that the heater (in the cab) ran on gasoline.


10/99     I decided to start pulling some parts off the '39 while the weather is still decent out. A steel sheet was welded in the bed. Fortunately it was only tack welded, so a few hours with an air chisel and cut-off wheel got it off. The rusted remnants of the original metal bed as well as the oak planks were underneath. Now I have a pile of '39 parts to compare with the '38 parts so I can choose the ones in the best shape.

I got everything out of the cab. The last things I removed before unbolting the cab from the frame was the doors. I got the doors off, but it was sure a lot of work heating the hinges and pounding the pins out. I lost count of the number of times I had to heat up the hinges. I learned that this is one job where good gloves are essential (ouch!). I have to add new hinge pins to the list of parts I need.


11/99     I made a dolly for the cab out of some scrap angle iron and casters so that I can move it around after it comes off the frame. While I was in a welding kind of mood, I made a welding cart for the mig out of some metal shelves I salvaged and the leftover pieces of angle iron from the dolly. I also welded 2 shelve sections together and put some casters on it so I can roll my tool box around. Carting all this junk metal home has finally paid off. I have to get back to work on the truck some day...

Time to get the cab off the frame. I had to remove the steering box and column and the shifter because the ceiling of my garage is low and there isn't much room for the cab to go up. I unbolted the cab (8 bolts, had to cut only 2). I tilted the cab forward and slipped a 2X4 underneath. Then I tilted the cab backward and slipped another 2X4 underneath. Next I slid the cab off the frame sideways onto the dolly. I thought Murphy's law would come into play and the cab would roll off the 2X4's crushing everything in its path and doing me bodily harm, but much to my surprise, it went smoothly and quickly. I don't know what the cab weighs, but it seems kind of light, a lot lighter than I expected. Maybe several hundred pounds of it has rusted away?


I rolled the chassis out of the garage. I had to make room for my wife's Jeep for the winter. The frame is in excellent shape. (Note the vise grip steering wheel in the picture. Works great for moving it around, but I wouldn't recommend it for the street.) Only one spot of rust through. The frame from this 61-year old truck is in much better shape then the rusted out frame on my 15-year old Toyota. I guess they don't make them like they used to. I stashed the chassis in the woods until later.


While I was in the woods, I pulled the box off the '39, put in the Toyota, and moved it into the garage. I got the box from the '39 apart. The bed sub frame from the '39 is in much better shape than the one from the '38. I will use the best sheet metal from both trucks when I put the '38 back together.

39 bed in Toyota