Ugly Comes Home:

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A friend of mine treks with me to Hendersonville to get the truck... The trip was 3 1/2 hrs each way. We left at around 2:00 in the afternoon, had a flat on the truck, changed it, and still had had her loaded up and paid for by 6:00pm.... She gave us no trouble at all... Even with a stop at the "Sagebrush" Steakhouse... we were home by 11:00....But,  It was a long day!

The first thing I did was get an oil pressure gauge on the engine. I needed to put some gas in the tank along with a can of "dry-gas" and some octane booster for the old stale gas that was in there for at least 2 years. To my surprise, it held 40 lbs for the 20 minutes I had it running. I removed the valve covers to inspect the insides, and everything was nice and clean. A few of the rockers were rattling, and I found one that has a "problem" but I can't be sure what it is until I dig deeper. The gas gauge also registered 1/4 tank. I drove the truck around the shop a bit, but couldn't go over about 15 mph due to the brake situation. I tried filling the Master Cylinder, but they wouldn't pump up at all. I cracked a line loose at the back of the cylinder, but got nothing out of there either. I think the piston is frozen in the master cylinder.

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From the beginning, I had intended to sandblast the whole truck to get the 25 year old crappy paint job off,  and since the floors needed so much work, I decided to pull the front sheet metal, glass, and the engine/tranny to prevent any sand from getting into them. I have also decided to build a '63 full flow I have on hand and plan on adding a '57 Golden Hawk blower set-up to it. This is best accomplished with the front sheet metal out of the way. I pulled the wiring, drained the fluids, and got most of the bolts out (a good number just broke off!- repair procedures coming soon!). The truck had been "hit" at some point in the left front. So, the chosen "repair" was to weld the radiator support to the frame in 3 places. This had to be cut off with a torch. It also had pushed the cowl brace back about 3/4". I used a chain, sledge hammer and a block of wood to pull and hammer the brace back to where it belongs. An added  benefit  was that the drivers door fits much better now.

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I knew the drivers floor was in need of total replacement. This is what was left after I removed the steel plate that was welded over the old floor.  I was hoping I could get by with a quickie for the passenger floor, but after getting the sill plate, seat and carpet out of the way, You can see it's shot too.... I'll be tackling this tomorrow! For today, I need to reinforce the cowl to keep the doors in place while I remove the floors and replace with ones I'll be fabricating here at the shop. .

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I made up a pair of these "brackets" and bolted them to the frame to keep the cowl in line while I removed the floors. The hinge pillar bracing for the floor was shot too, so these braces were required! I'll leave them on here even after the truck's floors are replaced. I have them rubber insulated, so they shouldn't transmit noise or vibrations.

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Here's most of the passenger floor I removed from the truck... It took me a short while to decide how I would proceed with this repair. The base of the hinge and lock pillars were still pretty solid. The metal around the cross member "wing" that holds the hinge pillar in place was gone. I decided to use 1 1/2" angle iron and run it the full length of the door opening. A few sheet metal braces, and using the door and a new rocker panel for alignment,..... I had the angle-iron right where it needed to be. With the outer rocker and inner rocker installed later, the angle-iron will not be seen at all. I welded in some heavy steel plate to act as the hinge pillar mount, and tied it in with some sheet-metal at the kick panel location.

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Here, you can see where I have run the angle-iron completely under the lock pillar. I have tied it into the pillar and cab corner with sheet metal. I will fabricate and install the inner rocker, inner cab corner, and top layer of floor. I will fit them, then remove the originals and install the new... When the new floor is installed, none of this will be seen. I will rustproof it in here, and provide good drainage in the inner sections to prevent the rust from returning.

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