Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

71 Power Wagon – Truck Bed Body Work

When I bought the truck I thought the truck bed was in good shape. There were a few spots with primer, but I didn’t see any signs of rust. At some point in time the truck had two small saddle fuel tanks installed in the bed so there were two fuel doors I wanted to weld patch panels on to conceal. I just cut some pieces of metal out, put it behind the fuel door opening and welded the new panels in place. After a couple light coats of Bondo it was as if they never existed.

bed corner damageThen I got the grinder out to see what was behind the primer. Both rear bed corners were hit and repaired at some point. The driver’s side wasn’t too bad and I managed to straighten the metal and make the repair. The passenger side was another story. First there was more than 1/2 inch think old Bondo somebody used to fill the damaged area rather than straightening the metal first. The bed corner was in really bad shape.

I knew there was a business that bed corner repair 2made some patch panels for these old Sweptline trucks and they did offer the bed corner panels, so I orderd one for $95 and waited for it to get here. When it arrived I cut the old bed corner out, cleaned everything up and sanded and primered the areas I could get to including the back of the patch panel before moving forward with the repairs. When I set the new bed corner in place I immediately noticed it was about 3/8 of an inch wider then the existing corner.

It was too late to turn back now so I decided to cut the patch panel in half, overlap it and weld it to make it fit. It made the repair job more difficult and more time consuming, but it eliminated dealing with the old bent up bed corner.

truck-bed-in-primerAfter that was done I decided to fill in the line separating the rear bed corner and taillight section from the rest of the bed so it had the appearance of one smooth section with no lines.

My plan is to do all the work on the bottom half of the truck bed while it’s off the truck with easy to access. Then I’ll put the bed back on the truck, make any repairs to the top half, prime it and get it to paint.

When all of that is finished I can fabricate the rear bumper and start on the exhaust system.

Mark Polk

Auto Education 101

Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

71 Power Wagon – LED Light Bar Project

When I decided to add a 12-volt winch to my 71 Power Wagon restoration project my initial thoughts were to mount a LED light bar above the winch or install one under or in the winch bumper I fabricated for the truck. When I was taking measurements for the LED light bar I measured the slots in the truck’s grill and discovered two 21 inch LED light bars would fit in the grill openings.

The grill that came on the truck was pretty beat up from the hood latch sticking and pounding the grill when you close the hood. On one of my sweptline parts hunting missions I found and purchased a NOS grill in perfect condition with NOS grill inserts to match. To install the LED light bars the way I was thinking would require cutting the grill inserts in half which I didn’t want to do with the new grill. My old grill inserts had some broken and craked plastic pieces but with time, patience and some Gorilla glue I was able to repair it, and after some sanding and paint it looked like new.

LED light bar mounted on 71 power wagonSo the experiement to mount the light bars in the grill was moving forward. I cut the old grill inserts in half to salvage the lower sections with the turn signal and parking lights. Initially I was going to fabricate mounts for the light bars and install them on the outside of the top grill openings. But, after more measuring I realized I could install them behind the grill leaving the face of the light bars almost flush with the grill. It not only looked better but it was much more secure.

Two LED light bars installed on power wagonWith both light bars securely mounted I installed the lower grill inserts that I repaired and painted, the KC Hi Lite headlights, the turn signals and the grill itself. I was happy with the installation except for the small gap between the light bar and grill on both ends of each light. I had some heavy duty rubber left over from a lift kit installation on a CJ Jeep so I cut pieces to fill the gaps and glued them to the ends of the light bars using weatherstripping adhesive. With everything in place I wired the light bars to a toggle switch on the dash and included a fusible link for good measure.

LED light bar project complete on 71 Power WagonLED light bar project completed, Now it’s time to get to work on the truck’s bed.

Mark Polk

Auto Education 101

 

Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

71 Power Wagon – Tackling the Hood

When I first removed the hood I noticed that one hood hinge had 5 shims on the upper bolt and the other side had 4 shims on the upper bolt, so I knew it would be a challenge re-installing the hood and getting the lines and height straight. Especially when the old hood didn’t close properly and in more than half the Sweptline truck pictures you see the hood doesn’t close right. I also noticed some play in the driver’s side hinge so I picked up a used set of hood hinges that were in a little better shape.

hood painted completeThe first thing I did was clean, sand, primer and paint the hood hinges. I used my favorite POR cast iron paint again. Earlier in the project I fixed some small dents in the hood and sanded, primed and painted it. The hardest part of prepping the hood for paint was the underside because of years of grime and grease getting eveywhere. When I painted the fabricated winch bumper with a darker shade of paint I decided to paint the raised center section of the hood the same color for an accent color on the truck.

hood hinge on 71 dodge truckModern day hoods don’t seem to require as much adjustment as the older hoods, and since I am not an experienced bodyman by trade I knew it would be a challenge. There are 5 bolt holes on the hood hinges (2 that go in the hood itself and 3 that go on the body) and all 5 are adjustable. The first step was to get the hood in position and start some bolts. My son and my wife came to the shop to help with this part. With gthe hood back on the truck, and no scratched paint so far, I started experimenting with the adjustments. The first problem was the back of the hood was raised up too high and it did not go far enough back towards the cowl. When I removed the hood I labeled all the bolts and 2 of them (labeled as top hood hinge bolts) had the shims taped the bolts. This is why it pays to label things when you take it apart.

hood on 1971 Dodge Power WagonI started by shimming the top hood hinge bolts with 2 washers on each side. I noticed the back of the hood lowered with the shims, but not enough so I added a third washer to both sides. With the lines between the hood and the fenders looking better the next problem was the rear of the hood was too far from the cowl and it was raised higher than the cowl. I tried tightening the hinge bolts just tight enough to hold the hood in place and then using my weight to press down on the rear of the hood. It would go into place, but when I raised the hood just far enough to really snug the bolts it still had the same problem. I always use chalk to mark the current location on the hinges so I can at least get it back to the most recent adjustment if things really get out of whack. I tried just about everything, but nothing seeded to work. Then for no good reason I decided to leave 4 of the bolts snug and only loosen the bottom hinge bolt that goes into a bracket mounted on the fender. With that bolt loose and the other four tight I picked up on the hinge and tightened the bolt at the same time. This adjustment lowered the rear of the hood and lined things up with the cowl.

It still needs some fine tuning, but I’m sure I can get it aligned now so I went ahead and installed the hood latch and the safety catch.

Now it’s onto the truck’s bed, which is quite a project in itself. I’ll keep you posted.

Mark Polk

Auto Education 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A big mistake I made when I first removed the doors was to not drill a couple holes through the hinges, with the doors on, to help align things when it was time to put the doors back on. If you drill a couple holes through the door hinges before removing the doors you just line the holes up slip a drill bit or bolt in the holes and the doors are back in the original correct position. Without the holes it took me awhile to adjust the lines and gaps between the door, fender and cowl when I re-installed the doors on the truck. Now that the doors are back on it was time to tackle all the door hardware, the window regulators, window glass and the weatherstripping. One thing that made the job easier is the top section of the power wagon’s doors (the part that goes around the windows) unbolt and come off, giving you better access to install the wing window and door glass.

window hardware paintedThe first thing I did was use some leftover bed liner paint I had on the inside bottom sections of the doors. Next I cleaned and sanded the window regulators and door latches and painted them with POR cast iron spray paint. I painted the vent window frames awhile back so they were ready to go. One of my exterior door handles was damaged so I bought two new door handles which are really nice.

Read More…

Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

640 Horse Power Cadillac CTS-V

2016 Cadillac CTS-V
The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is the most powerful product in the brand’s history. The CTS-V was unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The CTS-V, available in late summer 2015 produces 640 horsepower, 630 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 200 mph.  This is not you grandfather’s Cadillac!
(Photo by Steve Fecht for Cadillac posted with GMs permission)

Install winch plate for bumperWhen I purchased the 71 Dodge power wagon project truck it did not have a front bumper and my plan was to add a 12-volt electric winch, so I decided to fabricate my own winch bumper. I have lots of scrap metal at the shop, so the only thing I bought for the front winch bumper project was a universal winch mounting plate. The winch plate was made of heavy gauge metal and it was pre-drilled for the winch and fairlead to bolt right up. I used some heavy gauge flat stock I had at the shop to extend the frame rails out to acommodate the winch plate, and I left the bolts a little loose so I could make minor adjustments as I go.

 

tack weld winch bumper on 71 dodge power wagon

When I fabricate bumpers I use pieces of cardboard to mock-up the design and to make templates for all the metal pieces I will need for the project. After I trace the pattern on the metal I pre-cut the metal pieces using a chop saw, circular saw and/or a grinder with metal cutting discs. You can use the same template for opposite sides of the bumper, but if you are using something like diamond plate steel make sure the template is positioned properly so the diamond plate pattern comes out on the right side after it’s cut. After the pieces are cut I tack weld them and check the position for a proper fit.

Read More…

I have made good progress on the Semi-Hemi Sweptline project the last couple of months, but I can’t move the truck outside to test the operation of the rebuilt transmission because the brake pedal goes to the floor. I installed a new master cylinder and brake booster when I was doing the work under the hood and now it’s time to go through the brake system. I thought about converting to disc brakes on the front, but at  this point with the time and expense already in this project I opted to stay with drum brakes for now. When I bought the truck the previous owner had new brake shoes for the front and rear, and all the hardware in a box, so that’s a good start.

I started with the rear brakes. After removing the brake drums I found one reason the brake pedal was going to the floor; there was a wheel cylinder leaking at  the left rear wheel position. I figured this would put a halt to any progress I was making since 9 out of 10 parts you need for this truck need to be ordered, but with one phone call I lucked out and located the one and only rear wheel cylinder in stock at a local parts store.

brake drumsWhen I initially removed the rear brake drums I was expecing the worst, but to my surprise the drums were in good shape. There were no grooves or gouges in the surface of the drums and there was plenty of metal left so I cleaned, sanded, primed and painted them so they could dry while I reassembled the rear brake shoes.

 

new brakes installedWith the old brakes removed and the parts on hand I cleaned the backing plates and started installing the new shoes and hardware kit.  The rear brakes went together without a hitch except for not having the proper tools for the job. If you ever installed brake springs and brake hardware using pliers and screwdrivers you know what I mean. With the rear brakes done it was time to move to the front.

 

Read More…

Posted by: Mark Polk | 2014

71 Dodge Power Wagon – Interior Work

Now that the windshield and back window are installed my plan at this stage of the build is to get the Power Wagon’s interior put back together and get the doors on the truck. When I was looking for parts a year or so ago for the restoration I found an original sweptline headliner with the chrome trim to hold it in. I painted the door panels, door handles and headliner black using a SEM product paint. After verifying my cab light wiring worked correctly I installed the headliner.

dash with radio outI took the dash pad and the sunvisors to an uphosltery shop and had them covered in a charcoal gray color to match the seats I got out of a Dodge Durango from a junkyard. I thought the Alubeam silver truck color with black and charcoal gray accents would look good on the truck’s interior. When I installed the new radio the flip-up touchscreen did not raise completely before hitting the dash pad. It didn’t look good at that angle so I took the dash pad back to the upholstery shop and had them cut a section out so the touch screen could raise all the way. It turned out pretty decent but now I have more in the dash pad than the entire interior!

seat and carpetNext I fould some carpet that was supposedly made for my year, make and model truck. I had to fabricate some seat mounts and then cut the carpet to fit around everything. I took the original bench seat slider tracks off the old seat and modified them to work on the driver’s side seat. The passenger seat will be stationary. I installed the carpet, seats, and center console. It looks good and all that is left on the interior is the small things like the glove box, defroster vents and the boot for the 4X4 lever.

I am not looking forward to installing the door glass and doors, but that’s next on the list so I’ll keep you posted.

71 Power Wagon – A New Pair of Shoes, Brake Shoes that is

Read about the full build HERE

Mark Polk

Auto Education 101

 

Sponsored by:


Need a sway control hitch?
Learn More about the Equal-i-zer®
The Original Equal-i-zer Sway control hitch has been enjoyed by thousands of trailer owners for over 50 years. Learn more about the Equal-i-zer hitch, and find which hitch will work best for you

In this do-it-yourself video host Mark Polk demonstrates how to install Bushwacker fender flares on a 1999 to 2006 Chevrolet or GMC pickup. To see a selection of Bushwacker fender flares that fit your make and model vehicle visit http://www.bushwacker.com/

Mark Polk
Auto Education 101

As part of any vehicle restoration project there are tons on small pieces and parts that need to be cleaned, sanded and painted prior to going back on the vehicle. This attention to detail is what gives the end product a show quality finish, and how well you do the work now adds to the longevity of all your hard work.

Things like cleaning, sanding, priming and painting all the hardware, screw heads and other pieces and parts are mundane projects that you don’t want to do, but know must be done. It is nearing the time to put the truck’s interior back together so I needed to address items like interior plastic and vinyl parts that needed a color change, and the vent widow frames that had years of accumulated dirt and rust.

It took me a long time to find all the door panels, door handles, seat belt parts and pieces and an original Dodge Sweptline headliner, and of course they are all different colors. I have tan door panels, green door handles and a blue headliner. So, the first step with all the vinyl and plastic interior pieces was to thoroughly clean the surface area with soapy water a brush and a rag and then rinse them good. Next I sanded the surface area to scuff it just enough for the new paint to take hold. Then I cleaned the parts again with water (no soap this time) and as a final prep wiped them down with a wax and grease remover.

When I painted the interior on the 87 Jeep Commanche project truck I used a SEM product, designed for vinyl and plastic that I liked so I got the same brand paint for the Dodge interior. The interior will be a mix of charcoal gray (seats, dash pad & visors) and black (carpet, headliner & door panels). I didn’t want a gloss or flat black so I went with a Landau black that is right in the middle.

Dodge Sweptline window frames paintedThe next project I tackled was the vent window frames. There was some pitting and surface rust so it took lots of sanding and time to get in all the nooks and crannies, and you need to be patient even if you don’t want to be. I found some replacement rubber for the windows, but not all of it for the vent windows so I still have concerns about the craked and dry-rotted pieces around the vent windows. But in the mean time I moved forward with priming and painting the window frames black.

Dodge Sweptline hood painted

I prepped the hood for paint awhile back and decided to go ahead and spray it with color so it would be done as well. I masked off the center raised section of the hood off because I plan to ghost in a slightly darker color in that area. I have not done this before, but if I get the color right it will look good and will hardly be noticeable unless you really pay attention.

Next I hope to start putting the interior back together and install the glass and doors on the truck. I’ll keep you posted

71 Dodge Power Wagon – Interior Work

Read about the full build HERE

Auto Education 101

Mark Polk

Sponsored by:


Need a sway control hitch?
Learn More about the Equal-i-zer®
The Original Equal-i-zer Sway control hitch has been enjoyed by thousands of trailer owners for over 50 years. Learn more about the Equal-i-zer hitch, and find which hitch will work best for you

 

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers