Dodge lorry rebuild Dodge truck restoration

Re-fitting the axles, more body prep, and applying paint.

Restoration Part 15. Click here to return to the main Dodge lorry restoration page. Part of oldclassiccar.co.uk. Contact page.

December 2007.
Progress this month was split between further re-finishing of the main body frame and chassis, fitting the axles, and giving the front end panels some more tlc. The rear frame, which underwent a great deal of surgery earlier in 2007, received its first coat of white topcoat. Sections of this framework will be visible from inside once the truck has been re-assembled, hence this choice of colour (which is original to the 1940s/1950s).

During the war the interior was finished in a darker colour, and black-out curtains would have been fitted. After the war these were stripped out, as were the rows of seats, and the truck was converted from being a RAF crewbus and became the car transporter. No modifications were made to the structure of the Dodge at this time, the rear doors already opening sufficiently to allow a car to be winched on-board.
Axles are re-fitted to the truck chassis
A visible sign of progress presented itself when the bare front and rear axles (minus hubs) were re-fitted. The front axle had been dismantled, cleaned and overhauled as required prior to several layers of paint. The differential appears to be in good order, so the rear axle was simply cleaned and painted. New rear axle seals will be required though.
Rear axle in place
Close-up shot of the rear axle now back in-situ. The brake backplates had yet to be repainted at this point. Fortunately the wheel cylinders (hydraulic brakes all round) are in good order and can be re-used. The brake linings will be refurbished before being put back on. The rear leaf springs are clearly visible in this view - new phosphur bronze bushes were machined at a local engineering company before these could be re-fitted.
Front axle
This close-up shows the nearside front axle, with the steering arm and box in place. New kingpins have been fitted. New wheelbearings are required, although I've got some NOS front seals 'in stock'. The brake shoes will be re-lined as required, as will the transmission brake.
Front axle and steering column
Nearside view of the front axle now back in position, along with the steering box and column. In the background are the rear brake drums.
Painted rear body frame
December saw the first coat of white paint being applied to the rear framework. The rear body will partly be covered up inside thanks to thin plywood boarding painted white. The outer skin of the lorry will be formed from new sheets of Zintec steel that is ready and waiting to go on, using the remains of the original panelwork as templates. These old rear panels will be preserved off the vehicle.
Axles on, rear frame now painted
Front 3/4 view of the truck, both axles now bolted on and the rear frame painted. Various sections of ash framework were also taken away in December, to be used as templates for new sections. These areas are above the driver and passenger doors, and also the rear door pillars and crosspiece. The latter area is in poor condition so will be totally replaced, and also supported with extra steel reinforcement behind the scenes, due to the weight of the rear doors.
Rear coach framework
Another view showing the back end of the truck, the rear axle, painted rear frame and chassis. The body sections painted black, visible here on the o/s body frame, were replaced in their entirety earlier in the year. Visible in the background are the original crossply 9.00x20 tyres. Some of these I think are original to when the Dodge was shipped over from the US in 1940, so will be preserved off the vehicle. A replacement set of tyres will need to be found.
Front wings and grille
The front end panels are seen here, freshly re-primed and probably now ready to be stored until its time for a topcoat of green paint.
More restored bodypanels
A few more photos of restored panels, including the heavy side steps. The rear wings are also shown here, complete with dented tops. These have been left for a good reason - in the early 50s, the Dodge was pressed into service to carry an Aston DB3 or DB3S. The low-slung bodywork of the Aston was found to foul on the inner arches of the Dodge. The inner arches were hammered down, and planks of wood bolted down onto them. Various odd blocks of wood were also nailed onto the floor in a fairly haphazard fashion, in a bid to raise the Aston sufficiently to clear the arches. These pieces of wood have all been removed, and will be replaced back in their original positions.
Return to the Dodge lorry restoration page for more info on this rebuild.
Previous Page: Part 14 - Body prep & first coats of primer.
Next Page: Part 16 - New wood sections arrive, brakes back on.
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