Dodge lorry rebuild Dodge truck restoration

An update on various aspects of the truck's restoration during late 2009.

Restoration Part 29. Click here to return to the main Dodge lorry restoration page. Part of oldclassiccar.co.uk. Contact page.

Oct/Nov/Dec 2009.
Due to other commitments in VHC's workshop, work on the Dodge's restoration slowed down during October and November, with some small detail work undertaken, largely relating to aspects of the rear coachwork, and tidying up some loose ends. The main item of note was a successful solution to the ongoing problem we've had of finding universal joints, suitable to replace the three UJs that are fitted to this 1940 lorry. Despite looking high and low, both in the UK and in the States, no direct replacement could be located. In the end, the prop was machined to accept new equivalents. Various new lines were made up and, in December, work on the rear flooring re-commenced and by the end of the year, was all but installed.
Moving the truck into the centre of the workshop
In October it was decided to move the Dodge out into the centre of the workshop, the idea being to make it easier to prepare for the application of paint, and also to get it running and moving. So early in November, with a lot of huffing and puffing, the old truck was moved out from the corner of the workshop, into the centre, where access would be much easier. The downside would be that accessing a few of the workshop's ramps would be made a lot more awkward. With the corner of the workshop now free, the Dodge's former resting place was taken by an 80's DAF truck, the stripdown of which commenced straightaway.
Help moving the vintage truck
Everyone was roped in to help with the pushing, directed by the diminutive chap in the orange coat..! The windscreen has yet to be fitted - new flat glass has been cut, and will be installed once some damage to the frame has been attended to.
Seats to go in the classic lorry
Some time ago I acquired these old seats, removed from a derelict A40 Countryman of the early 1950s. Although needing some restoration, I hung on to them, thinking that they might be suitable to go in the Dodge on the passenger side. In period, only the driver had a seat, the passenger(s) had to sit on a wooden toolbox. Thinking that neither my good lady, nor in fact anyone else I know, would consider this an appropriate form of seating, something with a little padding on it seemed like a better choice. I took these over late in November, to double-check that they'd be suitable. The "left hand drive" sign is one I bought on ebay, previously fitted to an old army lorry I'm told. For 99p it was a steal, and may well end up being fitted to one of the back doors (or else a similar message will be signwritten onto the truck). They're seen here in the back of my Standard 10 Companion.
Propshaft
Finding parts for smaller Dodge trucks of 1939-1947 isn't usually too much of a problem, but parts to suit 3 ton versions is another kettle of fish altogether. Finding universal joints for the propshaft was a case in point. Despite contacts of mine scouring the US, no suitable UJs could be found (thanks to Bill White for looking though). In the end, plan B was initiated. This involved Adrian at VHC taking the two-piece propshaft to GKN Driveline in Leek. They inspected it, and found some modern replacement UJs that were just fractionally larger. Because of the size difference, the yokes had to be machined out to accept the new joints. The prop was also checked for straightness, then balanced, while it was away.
Propshaft UJ
Back at the workshop, the joints could be re-assembled once more. They look just the part, and incorporate grease nipples just like the originals.
Prop and transmission brake
This photo from underneath shows the forward end of the prop (or "driveshaft" as it would be known in the USA), once it had been re-fitted to the truck. The transmission brake, which had been re-lined and overhauled some time ago, can also be seen here. Hopefully the prop will never have to come off again, low mileage and regular greasings should see to that.
The lorry's prop and also the transmission brake
Another look at the assembly from below, showing more of the re-furbished transmission and brake components. The unit on the left is part of the vacuum brake servo.
Rear section of the truck's driveshaft
Looking rearwards at the second section of propshaft, where it bolts to the (single speed) differential. The bolt-on endplates fitted to the replacement UJs can clearly be seen.
The Dodge lorry's back axle
Staying underneath now, looking at the back axle. During the war, the centre section of the casing was painted white, to allow following vehicles to see it while driving during the black-out on RAF duty. New copper brake lines have been installed fore and aft. Some of the brake unions were in perfect condition, whereas others had to be replaced - a mixture of threads and sizes had to be found.
New brake pipes
To the nearside front end of the chassis now, showing one of the new brake unions, and sections of pipework, now fitted to the Dodge.
Part of the brake system
This valve is incorporated within the vacuum braking system, and is mounted to the rubber base shown here. The base will need re-making, the valve itself is ok.
New plywood ready for fitting
Various materials were sourced during November and December 2009. Shown here is the plywood that will be used to line the inside rear bodywork, along with polystyrene insulation that will be hidden behind it. By the end of the year, most of the rear planking had been installed, and ply lining the rear area will probably be the next job as progress picks up again in 2010. Also fitted, but not shown, are the new rear locker doors that Bill at VHC made at this time.
Despite taking longer than anyone had predicted, the rejuvenation of this old lorry is nothing less than a transformation. All being well January should see the engine fired-up for the first time since its overhaul. The last time I had it running, prior to the restoration commencing in '07, was in 2003, when I drove it into the garage at home. 2010 will see the truck's 70th birthday, and also the centenary of Alfa Romeo as a marque.
Engine ready for firing up

Dodge & Alfa Romeo footage.

Towards the end of 2009, a couple of interesting pieces of memorabilia turned up. The first was a DVD produced and sold by the Friends of the Rest, an organisation preserving the original Rest and Be Thankful hillclimb in Scotland.
Dodge film footage
The Alfa was regularly to be seen competing at The Rest in the late '40s and early '50s, transported northwards from the south coast in the back of the Dodge. The DVD features three old films of events, one in colour (1952), two in black and white (both 1950). The Alfa Romeo appears on numerous occasions in all the films. The Dodge also sneaks in at the beginning of the 1952 film, and approximately 2 minutes in. The first snippet shows the Alfa being carefully backed out of the truck, the second shows the front end, in the background of another car being discussed by the commentator. The large single driving lamp, fitted it seems to the offside chassis leg, can clearly be seen. Also in shot, the truck's original headlamps, fitted prior to being replaced by French Marchal lamps.
Anyone who is interested in post-war hillclimbing will no doubt find the DVD of interest, as many of the famous cars and drivers of the day (eg Ken Wharton in a Cooper, and Raymond Mays in ERA R4D) make an appearance. For more details, visit the Friends of the Rest site.
Alfa Romeo 8C-35
The second "find" was this old photograph of the Alfa Romeo at, I think, one of the VSCC's Richard Seaman memorial trophy meetings in the early 1950s. Again it would have been taken in the back of the old Dodge.
Return to the Dodge lorry restoration page for more info on this rebuild.
Previous Page: Part 28 - New window frames installed, rear flooring sourced..
Next Page: Part 30 - Installing the rear floor and ply-lining the interior.
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