The Bench Racing Forum is the place to ask questions and have a discussion about the products we make and sell.
The forums can be found in the tool bar above and to the left, click that tab and join me in the forums.
There we can discuss the products offered, your project or just ask a question about your build. I would much rather have a conversation here than on social media pages.
These last two years have been very interesting. The shop has been operating at very limited capacity since August of last year. We are now at a point were we can start ramping up production. Some parts are available now, but building inventory is always going to be slow.
I made the decision to stop making a few low volume parts, like the Studebaker clips. The issues now with the Mustang II spindles is going to require a redesign of a kit I have been producing for nearly 18 years. And the fixture was damaged in the move. I really don’t want to go through the trouble to redesign and build from scratch again on those. I am going to focus on the trucks more. In design right now are my un-parallel rear four bar kits. With air bag or coil over options. There will be a standard height and a Bridge Notch type. Also is a Pre-Z front suspension kit. This will get you 2″ closer to the ground for those of you wanting to lay frame/rocker.
The shops main focus is full builds. Industrial Chassis is the house brand of parts to Phoenix Hotrod Company. You can find them over at www.phoenixhotrods.com This site will remain as the focus on parts and chassis builds.
I am moving away from Facebook. The ad pushes and cultured content are just too much. Please make an account here on the website and join the forums. I do not collect data on you, will not sell your information and can focus on your questions better.
This has been one strange journey.
Since our merge with Phoenix Hotrod Company in February, the move came to a crawl. The preparation for our new location in Tempe Arizona almost ground to a halt. The electrical install has taken way longer than we anticipated. However, things are finally getting wrapped up. Machinery is finally getting placed and we hope to move the remaining equipment from the Deer Valley location of Phoenix Hotrod by mid-July. The push to get going over there is urgent.
It will likely take us a few weeks if not months to get the workflow worked out, so production may be a little slow in coming. But it looks like we will get everything back online before the end of summer and, AND new stuff also.
We find ourselves in strange times with this viral outbreak. My merger with Phoenix Hotrod Company is ongoing, but we are on a limited work schedule. So what am I to do with a four day weekend for the next few weeks. Normally we work a 4-10 with a nice three day weekend, but we are trying to limit exposure. By one day? Okay, that’s what the legal team wants.
Everyone is doing it, so I may as well join the fray. I’m getting back to doing my videos on YouTube. I have two of my long-term projects stored at a secret location where I can work on them over the weekend like normal folk. So naturally, I need to document it and put it on YouTube, right? The first project I am going to work on is my 1954 Ford F100. I started this years ago.
This was a farmer’s Special. Worked hard and abused to death. Was originally a standard truck with a 272 Ford Y-block and overdrive trans and heater being the only upgrades. When I got it, the frame rail on the driver side had two major breaks and some really sketchy repairs. The right side rail wasn’t much better. I pulled the frame all the way down to the rails. Designed and built a whole new fabricated center X-member, installed one of my Dakota IFS kits with 1990 Dakota parts. All powder coated and rebuild. The rear is a 1969 Dana 60.3 from a Camper Special truck. Rebuilt, all new bearings and custom axles to use the later Ford 8.8 style axle bearings, Wilwood brakes all around, Ride Tech coil overs on the rear with helper sleeve airbags and Cargo Coil springs and Bilstein Shocks on the front. The intent is to build a towpig. Like a heavy half ton truck that can comfortably tow a 24′ enclosed trailer.
Power is coming from a Cummins ISF 3.8 four cylinder turbodiesel and backed by an Allison 1000 6-speed auto.
The goal is is to make this look like it was a stock truck, but as a crew cab. Even going with the factory colors.
Follow along with the build. https://www.youtube.com/user/ELpollacko
We had Bean’s Book of Rod Shops stop by last week. These guys travel around the country and shoot video of different shops. Here is some footage they took.
Something new to entertain you, a short YouTube video every week.
Here’s the link: CLICK HERE FOR OUR YouTube CHANNEL
We left off the last post with a completed rolling chassis, HERE and it all happened since then. The guys at Metro Auto Auctions asked us to step on the gas and finish this truck for the Barrett Jackson Auction. I have to admit that we did not make the deadline, we missed it by three weeks. Consider this, Dr Marvelus and I took this from a rolling chassis in early July to a completed, painted and upholstered truck at the first of February. Quite a lot of work for the two of us! We did have help though, Doug Stinson of All American Upholstery did the leather work inside the cab and Nessie’s Autocenter did the pink-metal and paint.
So here is what happened in the meantime.
The cab was blocked into place and the floor repairs were assessed. The previous shop did some pretty poor patchwork and did not provide the new body mount holes. All four corners of the cab were either in need of repair or were done improperly leaving rusty substructure in place. Once positioned and attached to the frame, Dr Marvelus mounted up the doors to see how out of square the body was and did the required pushing and pulling to get the new Dynacorn doors to fit somewhat properly. Both the body and the doors were in pretty poor shape but the good Dr kept at it until things lined up correctly. At that point the guys at Metro wanted a custom firewall with a polished aluminum panel. It was my idea to make that panel open up so you have access to the brake system hidden behind and the electrical panel. While I was dropping off Anthony’s 32 3W at the Lone Star Round Up last year, the guys in the booth next to us had a ’55 Chevy dash in pretty good condition. Since the Metro Guys already had the dash and bezel from Dakota Digital for a stock ’55 Chevy it just made sense that we use the entire dash. To make it fit, I cut four inches from the center of the dash and the good Dr cut off the remainder of ’55 that we didn’t need and added new material to the leading edge of the dash to match up to the ’51 Chevy truck windshield.
Cab fabrication under control we updated the engine compartment to showcase the engine a bit better than the stock fenderwells could. We started with a Direct Sheetmetal kit and to be honest, we would have been better starting without. Dr Marvelus had to do quite a bit of modification to get the panels to fit the radiator support and with the firewall pushed back, the back edges of the inner fenders didn’t reach far enough.
Things got pretty hurried and I didn’t shoot too many pictures as we went, but most of it was fairly routine work. At one point we made the decision that the previous shop’s work welding up the seam in the middle of the stock hood pretty much ruined it. Instead of cutting out the recessed joint and flanges, they MIG welded the entire seam and started filling the 1/16″ deep channel for the stock trim with weld. This really distorted the hood and was going to require more work than we or the customers really wanted to get involved with. Metro bought a Dynacorn replacement hood, we regret doing so now. It took more work to get it to fit than the stock hood would have been to repair. I do not recommend anyone purchase one of these hoods unless you are very desperate for one. The hood was short and curled under at the front which required Dr Marvelus to cut the structure out and flatten out the nose more than 1 1/2″. The next problem was the location and shape of the hood hinges and bracing. It had to be cut apart and reshaped. And after two solid weeks of work the hood is taller on the driver side and longer on the passenger side forcing us to move the entire front clip over to the left side of the truck to get the hood gap at the cowl to even be close.
The bed, rear fenders, running boards et-al required countless hours of cutting and shaping to get close, it honestly was all a blur to push the sheet metal work fast enough to get out for paint. The guys at Metro AA wanted to accelerate an already hurried pace, the front clip and body went to paint before we even started the bed work. We proposed some changes along the way but they didn’t want to spend the time so style wise, what the other shop had already started was our job to finish and push to paint. As the last piece of sheet metal left our shop it was Thanksgiving time.
With the sheet metal off, the exhaust system and final chassis details got attended to, steering supports, anti-roll bar, threaded bungs for accessories etc. This is when we blew apart the chassis for chrome, polish and powdercoat. Russel’s Custom Polishing did an absolute amazing job and some seriously personal service. I HIGHLY recommend these guys! Kerr West did the chrome on rush job and Desert Powder Coating knocked out the frame, parts and even re-coated the headers. It was nice to get a break and catch up on a few of the other projects that got shelved for this build. But as the parts started trickling back in, we jumped in with both feet on the reassembly. All Stainless Steel brake and fuel lines, body color painted engine, trans and rear axle housing. This chassis looks fantastic.
The day after Christmas, we got the call the cab was painted. Chassis on the trailer and picked up the cab. Then the rush was, wiring was top priority because there was so much of it. Inside the dash there is an Ididit Keyless Ignition (more on that later) Dakota Digital climate control, Dakota Digital automatic headlight and timed dome light module and the Dakota Digital VHX module and a few relays plus a compass and outside temp module, the Haywire Inc E-series fuse panel and a half dozen more relays, line lock, coil, MSD 6al, wiper motor and a Vintage Air Gen II three vent AC/Heat-Defrost unit all snuggled around the brake booster and cylinder.
And here is where the fun started. The quality of the components was less than fantastic. The Keyless Ignition gave us nothing but fits. I recommend everyone not use this. The wire leads were less than generous as advertised and literally fell out of the connectors. The functionality of this unit also leaves a bit to be desired. I see no convenience to using this over a traditional ignition switch. Plus, in an emergency the shut down time seems like an eternity and if for some reason you lose your brake lights through an electrical problem or if you have a brake light switch failure or if you use a hydraulic brake light switch and happen to lose the brake system, you cannot shut the engine off. There is no failsafe.
Just as we were wrapping up the wiring the painted parts for the front sheet metal started showing up and we could get out of the cab and let Doug do his thing. But first we had to install the power windows. This is where things really started to fall off the tracks. The Dynacorn doors are decent, but not exact reproductions. An the New Relics power window regulators did not fit as advertised. Dr Marvelus had to cut away the landing ledge inside the door just to be able to install the regulator, then there was no tail mount to keep it from moving around once bolted in to the stock three holes of the original regulator. When the glass went in, the regulators hit themselves and the windows would not go up or down. Many frustrating hours clicked by before deciding to grind and round off everything on the regulators so that if they did hit, they wouldn’t hang up on each other.
That problem solved, the next one popped up. We built the dash extensions onto the original door window moldings. The truck is a ’51 and have a vent window and frameless glass. The doors and windows we got are for an earlier truck with framed glass. The window channels are 1/4″ thicker than the door moldings were designed for. This caused a major problem that required stepping back a few steps. We made a new template for glass without the frame and used the narrower felts to get the door frames to fit properly and this also gave us extra clearance for the mechanisms, HOORAY!
All sorts of things were going together, AC and heater lines, inner fenders and such, the radiator and gear went in and I started fabrication of the aluminum shroud and mount for the Lincoln Mark VIII electric fan.
The time was running out on us and we were still missing parts to put on. The week before the dead line my good friend Tom brought in the bed wood but we still didn’t have a bed or front fenders. But we had the dash so that went and got wired up.
Just a few days before our deadline the bed and front fenders showed up. Doug had the headliner and door panels in and the carpets done. Seat was MIA but it didn’t matter. The deadline came and we had way too much to get done. So we took a solid weekend off for the first time in three or so weeks. The following Monday the push was back on. I had to make headlight mounts as the one we needed were long gone. Tail gate supports, hood supports, stereo system, glove box and fabricated trims to finish off the dash around the steering column. We were still plagued with weird issues like the fan coming on if you had the driver side door closed but the passenger side open. Broken glass from a stray broken drill bit and a fuel sending unit that didn’t work with the gauge system. It is all sorted out now and I have to say, this is one of the best driving cars/trucks to come out of my shop. It’s a blast to drive, handles incredibly well and is very well manner even on rough pavement.
Here are the final pictures.