17 June 2015

Killer Truck

This time I bit off more than I could chew,
here's a project that helped me realize some things can't be saved,
by me anyway.
This hot rod proved a shop with bitchin tooling,
means nothing without basic construction techniques.
Winchel's Rod and Custom's first attempt 
at the frame had the rails underneath the rear end.
A definite MC Escher design.
They settled with an almost rigid rear suspension,
leaving barely an inch of travel.
Let's make that no suspension travel,
so yeah full rigid.
Where to start?
This was a $500 rusty model a cab,
slowly attracting $1000's in work and parts.
The body had no substructure,
and these tacked patch panels made it less floppy.
Now the body could be mounted correctly,
or chopped!
Their idea of body mounts was interesting.
You saw the bar above resting on the radius rods,
right in line with the imaginary driveshaft.
I'm sure it would have been modified later.
The front mount was equally as trick,
welded to the once rusty inner panel.
At this point the body was raised up about a 2x4 width,
this allowed beefier mounts to line up with the subframe,
while the grille shell lined up with the cowl top.
Now it was time to get the front suspension working.
The spring would click when bounced,
most likely cause it was resting on the frame,
that's without the driver and the rest of the car parts.
I've made original looking crossmembers before,
and this was the easiest solution.
The drop could be tailored to the car.
I was expecting this to go smoothly,
a quick cut and paste.
After removing the front crossmember,
the spring was finally free,
to settle 3 degrees the wrong way.
The decision was made to fix it,
nothing worse than spring bind on a suspension.
The repair was simple,
rotate these barely welded spring perches.
While I was cutting,
I noticed these crazy cracks in the casting!
The vice mark clues were easy to deduce,
the shop had torch bent the perches,
a bit past the comfort level.
Holey chit...
New perches were needed.
Especially since the insides were rotted!
If these broke,
the frame and engine basically scrape on the ground.
Not called a suicide front end for jokes!
The quality of Winchel's engineering was incredible,
following the same attention to design of the other cut out work.
I loved the sparing use of material.
Why waste a 2 foot section of miscut thin square tube from the previous try?
Just add an inch on each end!
And why weld both sides?
Nobody will see it,
especially when the outside is ground smooth.
Holey chit...
While the perches were shipped in,
the crossmember was fit and welded.
Yeah crude but effective.
It looked cleaner after the grinder!
Fat doubler plates beefed up the wishbones.
The perches were welded upside down,
so the spring wouldn't hit the tie rod.
Amazing this re-work was all done accidentally,
what if it wasn't fixed?
At this point the owner James had found another project,
and I would gladly give up the truck to another shop now,
to do the roadster later.
The race was on to get the truck out.
Earlier pics didn't show the rear sag.
Four inch spacers were needed to set it level.
The quick fix was raiding my junk stash.
This front bolt on crossmember would do the job,
especially cause the rear suspension used a 2" front spring.
The cheesy 2" tube crossmember was cut out,
and used to thicken the rear frame rails.
Definitely has clearance now!
The next shop can't say this won't be strong,
ugly maybe...
New bed mounts replaced the 1" tube structure,
which was reused for the fuel tank mount.
The last hurrah was pullin out the torch...
...and bend up these crazy headlight mounts.
I had to do something fun.
The new 7.00x16 tires helped out the stance,
but rubber rake couldn't stand the bed full of parts that will be added by the next shop,
Lone Wolf Chop Rodz.
Expected time to the road is 2 weeks...
A huge relief to let this one go,
and glad to have caught a few problems that would have sidelined James to the hospital or worse!


  1. Great work Travis, Looks much better.

  2. Sad to see that people are charging for work that someone could get seriously hurt when it broke. Good for you for catching and fixing others mistakes.

    1. Catching it was by chance, that's what made it even more sketchy. I've made some ugly stuff over the years but at least it's strong!