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Looks good, enjoying the build and updates. One comment Is the tread plate already chromed? If so I would do that as it would eliminate needing to add a coating to the flat steel plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #103
JT, the tread plate is plain steel, which runs about $150 per 4'x8' sheet. I need either a 4'x10' sheet that I can cut down to 97" or I will need to add in an inch somewhere, because the 1957 bed is 97" long on the floor. Since I'm going to have to weld it most likely, the bedliner in body color seems to be a better option. I can add stainless polished bed strips to break up the color though. The other option would be polished aluminum tread plate for the floor, but it would have to be clear coated to protect it from the weather and corrosion. Tread plate in polished aluminum in a 3/16" thickness equivalent would be significantly more expensive than a steel floor.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #104
All in all, my days off this week were productive. I had a list of tasks that needed attention, most of which didn't include the NAPCO build. With all the rain we had last month and the high temps, I needed to finish cutting pastures, so that was completed first thing (well, second thing), Tuesday morning. Once I had the cutting done, I needed to do some work on the old Jeep ZJ. It has had a case of death wobble for the past few years, around 40-45 mph. I've changed the track bar and the stabilizer, but I was never able to cure it. I did notice that the outside temperature seemed to affect it, so I suspected the control arm bushings on the front axle were the most likely culprits.

The bolts on the Jeep control arm suspensions are notorious for rusting to the sleeve inside the bushings and having to be cut for removal, so I wanted a day or two where I could have things partially disassembled if I ran in to that problem. Meanwhile, I'd been soaking the hardware for the lower arms in PB Blaster and the new arms arrived from RockAuto. With the Jeep firmly supported on jack stands, I started with the passenger side arm, being sure to mark a reference point on the cam bolts that adjust the caster. Everything went good taking the first arm out, no frozen bolts. Once the front end of the right arm dropped out, I could see why I had death wobble issues.



Instead of being somewhat solid, like the bushing at the rear of the arm ^^^^, I had this v v v.



There wasn't much bushing left to keep the axle from pushing backward. In all, once I got the Jeep in the stands, I had the right lower arm changed out in 15 minutes, with the help of my HF porta-power to help align the axle back into its mounts.

The fun came when I pulled the bolts on the left side. The rear came out with little resistance, but the front was rusted into the bushing sleeve, just as I had feared. Of course, this one has to be the one hidden behind the pumpkin for the differential, so no whacking it with a hammer to break it loose. Cheapass Harbor Freight porta-power to the rescue again. With the right ends and attachments, I was able to get just enough onto the exposed bolt to break it loose and push it flush. From there, it backed out with the wrench. Low and behold, another worn out bushing.



Before I put everything back together, I cleaned the rust from the bolts and greased all of them to help keep rust to a minimum. This my not be necessary, as the stock arms were 23 years old with 275k miles on them, but in the event I need to drop out the front axle, it will be one less thing to fight.

How does all of this relate to the NAPCO? Well, the front suspension on both is a similar design, coil springs and control arms, which was the whole reason I used a Dodge chassis in the first place. Before I swing the motor into the NAPCO, I'm going to replace ALL the control ams/bushings in the front.

And for the record, the $100 for the Harbor Freight 4 ton Porta-Power was money well spent ten years ago.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #105
As far as the project goes, I did accomplish a bit more work on the bed on my days off this week. Since I've owned the truck, the fenders have never been off the bed. Best as I can tell, they've not been off the bed in more than 20 years, for that matter, they weren't removed when the truck was painted white.

The bolts holding them on were not the OEM clutch head fasteners, at least, all but one. The rest were slotted pan head bolts, all of which had the nuts rusted on. I soaked the all with PB Blaster for a few days, then tack welded the screw heads to the bed to aid in one person removal. As usual, the right fender came off without issue. The left fender, not so much. Two bolts on the left side broke, two more broke the tack welds. Send in the cut off blade.

Guess what? This truck is now worth 20x what I paid for it, as seen in the pics below.





It has patina!


As you can see above, I notched the lower part of the bedside, inside the fender, to make room for the filler neck. It still needs a bit of dressing, but the opening is below the bed floor and will work well with a 45* filler tube from the side of the fender. There will be plenty of drop to keep the gas pumps from shutting off while trying to fill the tank at anything less than a crawl.





Now that I have the fenders off, I'm going to sand and prime the inside and prep for paint. Ultimately, the inside of the fenders will have tinted Monstaliner to match the body color and prevent damage/road noise.

-Joe
 

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What a badass project, thanks for posting such a detailed thread!!
 

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Discussion Starter #107
What a badass project, thanks for posting such a detailed thread!!
Thank-you sir! In all honesty, I didn't think it would get this involved, but I knew when I started it wouldn't be a small project either. My budget for this is next to nil, so I have to do the work myself, as time and money allows. I also realized after playing with this truck for 20 years that it would be impossible to remember what parts came from what vehicle without putting it "on paper" somewhere, (like when I had the '74 Camaro front clip, using a 1985 Olds rear end and 200-4R transmission).

I figure by documenting the build, not only can I show what is possible, but I can refer back to the build if I need to remind myself about certain details, because we aren't getting any younger, lol.

When I bought the truck for $1500 all those years ago, I was going to hot rod it, while trying to keep the chassis original as possible. I found out how impractical that idea was. Keeping 50+ year old technology going in a straight line is a full-time job, even with low horsepower.

The Camaro clip was supposed to address the handling issues, which it did do, but I'm not a low rider guy. To me, the front of the truck was too low and I really wanted a truck that looked like, a truck.

In my heart, I always liked the NAPCO trucks and even the 4wd conversions of the 55-59 Chevys, but the ride really sucked. Enter the Dodge! When all is done, I will have a truck that runs great, looks great and rides great. It only took me 20 years to get here. :naughty:

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #108
I made a big step today. I cut out the rotted piece of passenger side floor pan and started tacking in the patch panel for the floor. The patch panel is needing a bit of finesse, but it will do. The pan is a Tiawan repop, so the fit isn't the greatest, but then this was never going to be a concourse build either, just clean, straight and solid.







^^^ Checking the fit before I clean up the edges and start tacking.

Well, the floor is in. I still have welding, grinding and filling to do, but it is solid. I shot primer on it for protection since my weekend is over and they are calling for rain.



-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #109 (Edited)
When I installed the passenger side floor panel, I didn't need the full length to the seat riser, so I trimmed off a few inches, not realizing it would come in handy later.

While clearing out the cab for welding, I spotted a pinhole on the driver's side floor board. After hitting it with the wire brush, this is what it looks like...






I figure there is enough left over metal to replace what is thin and call it good. In the long run, the underside of the cab floor will be covered with Herculiner and the inside of the cab will be POR-15 under the insulation.




On a side note, I finally got the driver's side wheel well stripped and primed with a clear top coat for now. The paint under the white is roughly six layers, as best as I can tell. There is whatever the factory used under the original turquoise, the turquoise paint itself, a cost of primer over that, followed by red, followed by primer again, followed by the white top coat. I have a lot of prep work ahead of me.

Here is the driver's side inner wheel well in primer.


It's been too steamy outside to want to mess with the driver's side floor. There is no breeze right now and the rain the other night has turned my work area into a sauna.

In other news, I did get an early start and scored some decent seats this morning.



They're in decent shape and came from a 1996 Grand Cherokee, so they have adjustable headrests. They don't have power bases, yet, but for $20 each they were too good to pass up. It must have been destiny, because they were already unbolted and ready to go.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #110
I started in on the driver's side repair today after unloading the MIL's rental truck into storage this morning. It's still hot, but the wind is up today and it's not overly uncomfortable in the shade.









It's another step in the right direction.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #112
Nice work, Joe!
Thank you sir! I'm looking in to getting a gas bottle for my MIG welder so I can run straight MIG rather than gasless FLUX core wire. The FLUX core is ok down to 16ga sheet metal. Anything thinner and you really need to have the wire speed up and move quickly to prevent burn through or puddling. With the straight MIG wire, I can go as thin as 24ga sheet metal and not have all the spatter and slag that is left behind by the FLUX wire. In the long run, it will save me a bunch of clean up time.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #113
Brown Santa arrived yesterday with some goodies, like a new carburetor for the riding mower that has been vexing me all summer, a can of Evercoat Rage Gold, and this goodie:



This will be absolutely priceless when it comes time to sort out my wire harness.

-Joe
 

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Nice score on the manual. Those ALWAYS come in handy!
 

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Discussion Starter #116 (Edited)
Ok, just a little update...Since the last login, I've done some more work on the cab floor and added the hole in the transmission cover for the transfer case shifter, reusing the stock Dodge boot. I also built up a winch mount for the front, using the two stubs inserted in the Dodge frame end and some old diamond plate I had on hand.



















I also replaced the louvered cowl panel that had been chromed by a previous owner with a blank panel to keep debris out of the vent area of the cab, which should help control rust issues in the future. The mid-50's Chevy cabs have a fresh air channel below the bottom of the windshield, that is ducted in to the kick panels in the cab. Water in this area will drain down to the corners of the firewall and in to the rears of the front fenders. Debris collects in this area, block the drains, which leads to rust.

The last thing I did was weld shut a hole in the left rear corner of the cab. I'm guessing someone ran an antenna cable trough this hole at one point. It's welded and rattle canned for now.

I've started sorting the engine wiring with the help of the big yellow book. There are no pictures yet, but my goal for 2017 is to have this truck moving under its own power, on the factory fuel injection.

-Joe
 

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Ok, just a little update...Since the last login, I've done some more work on the cab floor and added the hole in the transmission cover for the transfer case shifter, reusing the stock Dodge boot. I also built up a winch mount for the front, using the two stubs inserted in the Dodge frame end and some old diamond plate I had on hand.

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/No... a NAPCO build/transmission cover flange.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/Noble413/media/1957 Chevy Not a NAPCO build/transfer case boot.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/No...a NAPCO build/backup saw and tread plate.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/No...t a NAPCO build/winch mount construction.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/No...vy Not a NAPCO build/winch mount painted.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/Noble413/media/1957 Chevy Not a NAPCO build/tow hook mounted 1.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/Noble413/media/1957 Chevy Not a NAPCO build/cab wall welded.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/Noble413/media/1957 Chevy Not a NAPCO build/cab wall welded.jpeg

http://s257.photobucket.com/user/Noble413/media/1957 Chevy Not a NAPCO build/blank cowl.jpeg

I also replaced the louvered cowl panel that had been chromed by a previous owner with a blank panel to keep debris out of the vent area of the cab, which should help control rust issues in the future. The mid-50's Chevy cabs have a fresh air channel below the bottom of the windshield, that is ducted in to the kick panels in the cab. Water in this area will drain down to the corners of the firewall and in to the rears of the front fenders. Debris collects in this area, block the drains, which leads to rust.

The last thing I did was weld shut a hole in the left rear corner of the cab. I'm guessing someone ran an antenna cable trough this hole at one point. It's welded and rattle canned for now.

I've started sorting the engine wiring with the help of the big yellow book. There are no pictures yet, but my goal for 2017 is to have this truck moving under its own power, on the factory fuel injection.

-Joe
The links are coming up with an error.

good to hear about progress though
 

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Ive debated doing this and is awesome to find someone who is actually doing this... I love the older style trucks and the newer style comforts. Great job !!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #119
The links are coming up with an error.

good to hear about progress though
D'oh! I'll get it sorted. Photobucket was giving me fits yesterday.

Ive debated doing this and is awesome to find someone who is actually doing this... I love the older style trucks and the newer style comforts. Great job !!!!

Thank you sir! That has been my intent, more or less, throughout the years I've owned this truck. I could have taken the easy out and put a carburetor intake manifold on it, or for that matter, dropped the running TBI converted 350 Chevy I built for it back in, but I'd like to get as much as I can from the Dodge, for the modern comforts and conveniences, within reason.

I've decided I'm not going to worry about the rear wheel ABS system. The one in the donor truck was only used for two years (1994-1995?) and wasn't all that spectacular. I can run without it. Likewise, the airbag isn't anything I want to mess with. Aside from that, I'm currently working on the wire harness for powertrain management as well as keeping the features from the Dodge steering column, to include the cruise control and intermittent wipers.

When the time comes, I'm going to upgrade the front suspension components when I rebuild it, (boxed control arms, new ball joints, new steering box and crossbrace), as funds permit.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #120
Re: 1957 Chevy 3100, meet 1994 Dodge Ram 1500
I've been making progress the past month or so now that the weather is clearing. My emphasis this year is to get the truck moving again under its own power. I think I have a handle on the basics I need to have the wire harness and computer operational and even though there is more sheet metal work left to do, moving without towing will make the metal work easier to accomplish.

I got some unexpected funding this year, so I went through the engine as much as I could. There is now a new, albeit computer friendly, camshaft, along with a double roller timing set and a timing chain tensioner. The plenum gasket on the stock intake has been replaced, as have the front and rear seals and the oil pan gasket. Internally, the engine looked to be in good shape. The bearings and journals all looked healthy, but I did install a high volume oil pump, just to play it safe.

While getting the engine sorted, I found two broken intake manifold bolts, common to the Dodge Magnum V8 engine. I was able to weld nuts to the remaining bits of bolt and once cooled, then spun right out.

-Joe
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