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34’ Chevy pickup


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6 hours ago, Mike Macartney said:

Ted, all very frustrating and time consuming. I know you will sort the problem out in the end. My Dad used to say "These things come to try us - and try us they will!"

You are so right Mike. I spent hours yesterday trying to get it right and got to the point where I had to walk away. Bad enough when a car needs heavy reconstructive work but it’s ten times worse when you have to deal with shoddy work done prior along with it. I know I sound like a broken record and I should just suck it up as it’s part of this work but I keep expecting to finally get to a place where it’s no longer an issue. Problem is I haven’t found that place yet.

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I can really empathize with your dilemma. It's always ten times as frustrating to try to fix a bodged job. The one that really annoys me are the two parts "that no one will ever take apart"...except invariably you have to in order to fix something that shouldn't have been done in the first place. I have one of those in the shop right now...done by a "professional".

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Well, as I figured, the front of the cab is too high and it get exaggerated at the radiator with the whole nose up too high. So I sat down and put on the thinking cap. I know that the #1 bolt position sound be basically on the frame with just a thin rubber or cushion type shim but doing that causes the doors to be 1/2” too low. Thinking about the design of the cab, and knowing that the hinge pillar and position #2 bolts need to be lifted and angled forward at the top to raise the doors, I realized the cab is essentially a box. If I need to to angle the tops of the hinge pillars forward, then the rear of the cab needs to come up to allow the pillar tops and area around the windshield to move forward. I left the two position one bolts mostly tight and removed all other mounting bolts. Using a block and my floor jack I lifted the back of the cab up about 1-1 1/4”. I then slid 3/8” shims under the position two area, both at the bolt hole and the outside pad because with the body lifted at the rear, the cab came up off the frame enough that they were an easy slip in. I then slowly lowered the floor jack. Low and behold, both doors came into perfect alignment! It turns out the original rear rubber cab mounts that were installed in the truck were not high enough. While they weren’t far off, they were off enough to cause me all these headaches. I had tried all kinds of shimming previously with the cowl down on the frame but I hadn’t tried raising the rear of the cab because it doesn’t seem logical if the rear body lines are already too high, how could raising the body even higher correct them but it does. Well I learned my “something new every day”!

     So now it will come apart and body work will start. Passenger door needs work both metal and wood. Drivers door, though 1/8”+ narrower than the passenger door, at least seems solid. Both doors had replacement wood on the bottoms which was just cut straight rather than at the matching angle of the rocker panel. So while the outside metal edge of the door follows the rocker edge correctly, the inside edge drags because the lower inside face of the rocker angles up and the door wood doesn’t. Another  PR (previous restoration, referred from now on as PR) snafu I have to straighten out.  Just add it to the list!

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6 hours ago, John S. said:

The body must have a lot of give to it because of the poor metal and wood work.

Actually john, because I made all new wood in the rear and floor pillars,plus repaired the passenger side steel cab mount, the cab ended up being less flexible than it used to be. That is why the door pillars refused to angle forward when shimming the front cab mounts. It was necessary to release the rearward most mounts and let the cab come up some which lets the roof move forward, allowing the hinge pillars to move forward. The happy medium is realized by going up and down slightly with the rear of the cab after the front cab mounts are shimmed some. It sounds more complicated than it is but it just goes against the way all the car bodies get shimmed.

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Had a great day on the truck today! Yes, what a difference a day can make. After finally figuring out the shimming dilemma I also trimmed 1/8” off the front of the main sills where they bolt up to the front cab mounts at position 2. I had to elongate the three bolt holes slightly but taking off that 1/8” allowed two things to happen. One was it helped to level the doors and it helped to close the door gaps also making the rocker panel gaps better.  So with the doors lined up where they should be, I took out the door latch pillar dove tails. The dove tail receptacles on the pickup are the hard rubber type  having two plungers with a metal cover that encases the rubber. The upper and lower metal plungers on both sides were badly worn right through on three of them so I welded pieces of steel 1/8” bar stock to them to fill the worn areas then ground them back to shape. I still  have one to go that I have to totally recreate it’s so far gone but I was able to mount both dovetail receptacles and their covers even though I don’t have the top plunger in the drivers side yet. The receptacles went into the pillar dadoes with out a hitch and only the drivers side needed a little enlarging with a chisel. The only PR issue I found this afternoon was a repair made on the top of the passenger door. The repair doesn’t follow the correct top line so the rear top of the door hits the top of the cab and the top wood is supposed to have a rain groove that they never cut into the piece that was scarfed in. I’ll repair this when I concentrate on the doors. I will now assemble the doors completely and do what need to be done to make them right and while I’m doing that, constantly I’ll be mounting and dismounting them through the process to make sure they keep the right shape to them. I have to totally assemble this cab and fit the doors, floor panels, and latches before can disassemble it again to start the body work. When doing a wood body restoration, it gets pulled apart, assembled, pulled apart, and assembled many times to make sure it’s right and everything fits before the finish work can start. If you don’t, it’s going to come back and bite you right in the keester!

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1 hour ago, Mike "Hubbie" Stearns said:

Chistech, I have a question for you, why do you use ash for the replacement wood?  Is it because that was originally used?  There’s are better options than ash such as white oak. Ash starts to rot the minute that it is cut down and doesn’t fare as good white oak when exposed to the elements. Thanks Mike 

I use ash for a number of reasons. One is its workability. It’s easier to mill being easier on your tools. It’s much less prone to split and has more flexibility than oak. It has a much less porous grain yet it’s fibers, being slightly more flexible, hold screws fast, better than oak. There is a reason why it was used originally and why it’s used now. Originally when I started working on wood bodies I used oak because it was much easier to obtain but soon found that it just didn’t work as well. Even though oak grain is more porous, it doesn’t glue as well either. Because oak is more porous, it’s also more susceptible to changes in humidity which is a big factor in many things, not just vehicle bodies.  I made lots of furniture in the past and always have an issue with swelling on cabinetry I’ve made with either red or white oak. Always have much less with maple, popular, walnut, ash, and beech. I have a good friend who a professional furniture maker (his employer supplies my quality ash) and he told me NOT to use oak for many of those reasons I stated above. He used to smoke and one time took a piece of oak about 1’ long, took a drag off his cigarette, put his mouth to the end of the board and exhaled the smoke. It came out the other end of that piece of oak! I would have never believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. There is actual air channels through the oak. One has to wonder why baseball bats are made of ash and not oak along with some tool handles. Hickory has many of the same qualities while being stronger than both ash and oak. Our old cars never had much oak used in them originally and today I think it’s used more in restoration because many assume oak was used and it’s just easier to obtain.I’m willing to bet at least 25%+ people you talk with will swear their wood spoke wheels are oak and I hear it all the time when people question me about my Olds’ hickory spokes. Most immediately think they’re oak. 

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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22 hours ago, chistech said:

Actually john, because I made all new wood in the rear and floor pillars,plus repaired the passenger side steel cab mount, the cab ended up being less flexible than it used to be. That is why the door pillars refused to angle forward when shimming the front cab mounts. It was necessary to release the rearward most mounts and let the cab come up some which lets the roof move forward, allowing the hinge pillars to move forward. The happy medium is realized by going up and down slightly with the rear of the cab after the front cab mounts are shimmed some. It sounds more complicated than it is but it just goes against the way all the car bodies get shimmed.

I am sorry, Ted. I read what I had asked you,  and i left out half of what I wanted to ask. This staying in the house is starting to get to me. I am even loopier than normal. Thanks, John

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I’m sorry John, I didn’t completely answer you either. You are welcome anytime here. My shop is far from a clean pristine place as it doubles as my storage area for all aspects of my house and home. Though it’s cluttered and often messy, quite a few vehicles have successfully passed through it. I would say it’s organized mayhem! LOL. I do live in a nice area and we have really good restaurants featuring local fare. Depending on when you come down we usually have a spare bedroom. My in-laws are here in July but other than that, it’s usually empty.

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Tonight I set the window regulator board and door latch in place on the door. I put in the door jamb bumpers and set the striker for the passenger door in place. The passenger door needs some wood repair but is basically pretty solid. When I went to install the driver side regulator board I found the regulator board itself was not great. Now another PR problem. I then found that the latch side wood in the door was flexing badly in the center where the handle goes through it. After a closer inspection I found that three pieces had been screwed into the wood in various places to most likely repair rotted areas. They actually bridged the center of the door with a piece of furring strip wood! Again, WTH! No glue, just two screw. They actually went through the work of pulling the wood from the door, repaired it this crappy way, then reinstalled it in the door. So I think I’ll first see if Bill Cartwright of KC wood has the pieces available rather than me make them. If not, out come my wood working tools again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got in touch with Bill from KC and he has a full set of drivers door wood and the door needs all new wood as nothing is correct and the broken pillar necessitated replacing it and taking the door apart. The door kit will be on its way soon and the engine might be done the end of this week. With our weather finally decent for the last few days I concentrated get yard work done rather than working on the truck. Cleaned up a good part of the garage also to make for more room when I start worn the sheet metal. Here are some pictures of the bad door wood and the lousy repairs that had been made. Virtually every piece in the door was remade or repaired. On the pieces replaced, they again used soft construction grade type lumber, and while serviceable, not quite made correctly enough for the door to fit correctly as it should.

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While I’m waiting on the door wood to arrive, I started on the bed. I made up a bed dolly and started disassembling the bed. Removed all the wood to find some rotted bed sills. The rear sill and the 3rd sill, that bolts the bed to the frame are the worst. The two side corner rails are also rotted in areas. I found new cross sills and I even found the bent bed corner rails that until recently, were not available for the original beds with indented sides. With these new pieces the bed will be back in excellent structural condition. The owner wants new oak wood but stained a medium brown and finished in satin. The truck will be finished to have a subtle work truck look and not have the shiny varnished wood, polished bed strips, and chrome fasteners of a show truck. Overall, the condition of the bed is very good so it shouldn’t take long prepping the metal for paint. The owner doesn’t want the bed pin straight or absolutely wave free. Again, he wants it to have a older truck look.  I guess you could say a little use patina.

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Hi John,

Been super busy with my regular job which is strange as I was furloughed down to 24 hrs but it seems like I've got more work and less time to do it. Michelle and I have been working in the yard when the weather is good so that's been taking my daylight free time. Then I did a total brake job on my Dually which took two nights. I actually installed the upper mast steering tube bushing in the 34' last night and disassembled the bed completely so I can start removing the side rails that are welded to the sides. I think I'm going to drill holes through the pickup sides then mig weld the new side rails in place. Then I'll just grind and fill the welds so they don't show. Originally they were spot welded to the bed side but my spot welder doesn't have a big enough reach nor the wattage to weld steel that heavy.

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Going to be installing new wood into both doors. KC Wood had a pair of wood kits for the doors and only sellls them as a pair so the trucks owner ordered them.this means the truck will basically have all new wood other than the A pillars, lower and upper windshield cross bars. Should be super solid when it’s all installed.

      The owner wanted just a wood floor to the under seat storage area soone was made up from ash plywood. New floorboards were made as originally made from plain plywood. The interior ash got coats of minwax satin finish and the floorboards got the pine tar/turpentine stain/preservative mixture that I used on my Olds wheels. The bed of this truck will get the same color treatment then satin finished. The bed will get a spar varnish covering for UV and weather protection.

    The owner also complained to me about things falling between the seat back and cushion area. This truck has different from original seats in it so I installed the seat back and cushion to have a look. One issue is the bottom cushion hadn’t been going back far enough because it was dropping inside the seat back at the back edge. There is no center front to back support rail so I will install on. This will prevent the back of the cushion from dropping inside and allow it to stay on top all the bay to the back of the seat box. This will give it total perimeter support like it should have. New post blocks will be installed so the cushion slides back and stays in its correct location. Looking at the seat back height, I think I’m going to try and lowering it about 1/2” inch. This will apply more pressure where they meet and hopefully help prevent things from sliding down the crack.

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Today I added the seat box center support. It’s dadoed at the rear and screwed with flat head machine screws and blind nuts at the front. Now when the seat is pushed back, the middle of the cushion bottom slides on top of the center support so it will stay on top of the rear of the box and stay supported in the middle. I added new positioning blocks to the seat cushion bottom to keep the cushion in proper place. The front edge of the cushion is now even with the front seat box metal. I lowered the seat back 5/8” on the rear cab wood to make the gap between the cushion and seat back tighter as the owner wanted. At the bottom of the seat back, the frame got screwed to the rear cab wood to prevent the seat back from moving. The difference can be seen in these last pictures compared to yesterday’s pictures. The top of the seat back in comparison to the cab wood above it shows the subtle height change. This small height difference along with moving the cushion even at the front made a huge difference both in the tightness of the gap and the overall comfort of the front seat. Though the seat back is on the straight side, it’s very comfortable while offering able leg room for pedal operation.

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Kind of at a standstill on the truck. Waiting on the motor still and the owner is supposed to be purchasing the two door wood kits from KC wood but they haven't hooked up yet. I currently have the cab level and correct so don't want to remove it from the chassis until I rewood the doors and make sure all is correct. I have another car I need to start on so I might do that until I get back on the truck. Should be getting underway soon hopefully.

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I sent a three vendor shopping list to the owner over a week ago and got confirmation all has been ordered. The door wood kits are on their way along with the bed crossmembers, new fuel tank, and other parts. Unfortunately, some parts are on back order but I should still have enough major pieces to proceed. Machine shop said motor might be done by tomorrow or early next week so I could get working on assembling and painting it all up. You might start seeing a lot of posts with lots of progress if all goes the way I hope. Even got a new paint guy I’m going to be trying out. He’ll be picking up the black parts like fenders,  running boards, inner steel door panels, etc., soon and expects to get them done in two weeks. If he gets them done in 6 I’d be estatic but I won’t tell him that. I looked at some of his other work and its impressive so we’ll see how it goes. 

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9 hours ago, Laughing Coyote said:

 

What happened to the guy that painted the Olds?

It was too much for him. He works full time in the trade, is a incredible guitar player who teaches students, and he plays out one or two nights a week normally (of course not during the virus). What he estimated as a time frame easily quadrupled. While it was a learning curve and experiment, I don’t want to go done that path again. The paint added at least an additional 6 months to the restoration bringing it right down to the day before I left for Hershey last year. It not worth the stress relying on someone else these days as 95% of the time, those we rely on in business, will let you down. I hated having to constantly be the guy on the phone calling and saying we have “X” amount of days and “you said you were coming tonight”, so where are you? I normally have the sheet metal ready to go early in my restorations so there is a year or more time for it to be finished. What I can’t understand is the inability of most all shops to get anything done in that time frame. The motor for this truck has been at the machine shop a year last December and this shop used to get me motors in 6 months. They moved and merged with another company and “bingo”, instant time expansion!

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Well, as promised, with parts coming in I’m getting back on the 34’. Ordered two new bed cross rails and the rear bed cross sill. None of the sills have any holes drilled in them plus the bed sills are a generic length so they needed to be cut. The bed wood mounting holes are small 3/8” ovals so they were marked out on the sills then the sill was put in the vertical mill. Using a 3/8” end mill is not ideal for drilling a hole but the sills are heavy gauge sheet metal so going slow it was easy to first make a hole then make the hole an oval. The nice thing about the mill is centering one hole centers them all, just loosening the vice and sliding the sill in the vice is all that’s needed. I did use a 1” square length of steel inside the sill so it would prevent the sill from collapsing when I tightened it in the vice. I still feel my mill has been the best single machine purchase I have made as it makes all of this type of work so much easier and faster. With all the holes done in the sills, the mounting block plates were positioned on the flanges, squeezed tightly with my vice, then peened to keep them in the correct position.  Once all the sills are finished they will be going for powder coating.

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Finished up the sills today. Welded two end plates into the ends of the third sill that bolts to the side of the bed and staked the mounting pad in place. Drilled all the holes in the rear main bed sill and made up a captive square nut for the side that was missing. Cut the welds holding the other captive nut to rear sill, blasted it up, then welded both into their respective hole positions. It was a fair amount of work to make up a new captive nut but I’m happy with the results. 3AE3DB42-38C2-4720-A51B-2688F15BA2F2.thumb.jpeg.0193f9d14d68c3c9062674d333423052.jpeg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Got to say this 34’ pickup has been the restoration from hell it seems. I’ve been waiting for the motor forever which I finally got, then I was waiting on UPS to deliver the door wood. Because of COVID-19, they backed up on their deliveries and had the wood at my local UPS for 11 days before they delivered it! You couldn’t go there to pick it up either nor would they even answer a phone. Finally got it and installed it in the drivers door. Installed the door and sure enough, I have to go through the whole fitting and shimming process again. Finally got it to fit fairly well and just need to tweak it a little more. I ended up having to address the hinge pillar. What I thought was an original piece turned out to be another “home made” one that was put in just incorrectly enough to throw it all out! Very frustrating.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’ve been assembling the motor and working on some of its components. Bent up a new 3/16 oil distributor to rocker shaft oil line and put on compression rings and nuts. Installed the water pump, pushrod cover, and the special fitting for the temp gauge prob. Primed all the parts for the engine first then primed the block itself all with etch primer. 
    Blasted all the clutch parts and found the pressure plate had previously been “worked” on and like other parts on this truck that had been worked on, it wasn’t done very good. The three arms were not even in height so the hub that the throw out bearing rides on was not parallel to the pressure plate face. It actually was angled quite badly. Luckily the other 35’ engine that I had bought for parts came complete with trans and all clutch components. I pulled the pressure plate out and it was virtually brand new yet the throw out hub was badly worn. The hub that was in the truck was like new so between the two units, I was able to assemble a like new system. I did completely disassemble the pressure plate, blast, prime the painted it up including the springs and spring cups.  Tomorrow I’ll pull the bell housing and trans out of the chassis so I can put the bell housing on the block and paint it up. 

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Sprayed the motor and bell housing along with the corresponding parts that are normally the same color. I used the Eastwood brand gray which is slightly lighter in color than the original dark gray used. The color is not an issue on this truck as it’s more important as a driver than OEM correct engine color.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Been working on a ton of different things and just got back to the truck. The alignment and gap of the drivers door still wasn’t up to my liking so I went back to it carefully looking at things. I ended up stripping the two pillar covers off and took careful measurements of each side. While I was pretty sure the hinge pillar was too low and had moved it up, it turns out it was still 7/16” lower than the nice closing passenger side. This measure was taken from the pillar floor brackets to the top of the windshield header brackets. The original restorer was way off and the door dragging on the rocker and hanging low was definitely going to happen. I elongated the hole for the 5/16 through bolt in the bracket, raised the drivers side with a bottle jack, tightened the bolt, then drilled the bracket for two wood screws to hold the pillar in the correct location. Low and behold, now the door was too high at the top rear and this allowed me to open the gap at the top front corner by the windshield post. This now gave me much more even gaps at the front and rear of the door plus now the door hangs right where it should. I know I said it before but this truck, to make it right, has really kicked my butt. Now, to put the passenger door wood in and see if anything on that side has changed. If all is good, all joints will be wire wheeled down to bare steel. Etch primed, then the whole cab will get bolted up solid. It will get mounted on a cart and go to my new painter. 

 

All the lower sheet metal has been painted black and is sitting covered in my mom’s garage until I need it. I was able to pick up new bed side angle strips that have the special bends in them that the original bed sides require. Reproduction bed sides are totally flat while the original sides have a slight indentation or wheel well. The strips previously weren’t available but a new company is now making them. All the bed strips will be going for black powder coating. Pictures of everything are coming.

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Reviewing all the problems you have had with body alignment gives me great respect for the original Fisher workers and what it took to create those bodies. Also makes me thankful and kind of amazed at the good fit and easy open and close of the doors on my original 34.

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On 8/11/2020 at 12:47 PM, TexRiv_63 said:

Reviewing all the problems you have had with body alignment gives me great respect for the original Fisher workers and what it took to create those bodies. Also makes me thankful and kind of amazed at the good fit and easy open and close of the doors on my original 34.

I'm not sure if the truck bodies were actually made by Fisher or by another maker. There is no "Fisher" emblem on the lower passenger side cowl like there usually is on the cars. I was told the trucks barely fit together when they were originally made from the start. The design itself lends to misalignment right from the start or a least a couple months after driving them. I can tell you I think I'd rather work on a car than another pickup!

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Got a lot done today and I'm finally happy with this cab and doors. I installed all the door wood in the passenger door and test fit it all. Again, the previous restorer made a half ass repair where he added sheet metal at the bottom of the door. He didn't make the piece go all the way to the back edge of the door leaving no bottom lip for the last two inches. Who in the hell would put in a patch and not at least make it go the full length of the door. Instead they put a wad of bondo up the hole that remained. Just can't figure out some people! Anyway, I've got all the door wood fitted and screw holes drilled, screws installed, so now I'll pull it apart, weld in the rest of the patch metal, prime/paint the new piece on the inside, then glue up and reinstall all the wood into the door.

    A big problem with this cab was the fact that the previous restorer put the upper front cab braces on top of the upper pillar cover metal. This caused both doors to hang to low as the roof was too far forward about 1/8-3/16" meaning the upper pillar was also leaning back. The PS bent the hinges forward to compensate but that put the upper corners of the doors right up against the upper door opening metal. Along with the pillars being set too low all this bad work just kept adding up to problems. I know I keep mentioning this but it's many small things that add up to big problems and I had to find every mistake and correct them to make this cab right. another problem was the pillars were made a little too wide in places so the covers wouldn't lay flat and they would interfere with the door. The pillar covers were also put on and the cab side metal wasn't even nailed into the pillars! The more I looked, the more issues I found. The passenger side upper roof support iron was bolted through the top of the pillar front the inside but the two screws that pull that support up tight to the back of the pillar were never put in, again, allowing the door opening to flex and change with the weight of the door. So I removed the passenger side pillar covers, put the corner roof iron in place and added the wood screws to pull it to the back of the pillar, then installed the machine through screws to pull it tight to the inside of the pillar. The outer pillar cover was then put OVER the support iron like it should have been. This aligned the roof opening with the back of the pillar metal like it should be and would now allow a correct gap at the top of the door to the opening. I also measured the bottom of the door opening and trimmed some wood off the end of the main floor pillar and pulled it forward to narrow the measurement across the rocker area. With these changes I immediately knew the door would be too high at the latch and it was. Now I could even out the front and rear gaps and when done, got perfect alignment at the body molding by the latch pillar. I installed the door wedge and the door opens and closes effortlessly and is dead on. I then added all body bolts/spring assemblies to the rear cab mounts and did a final shimming to get both doors perfect and closing great.

     I will now systematically clean up all metal edges, prime them, seal all the panels/roof joints, then screw/nail all panels to the wood making the cab a nice secure assembly so it can go to paint. Today I finally walked out of the garage fully content with my work. It took a lot of time, head scratching, and trouble  shooting of other people's work but it is now right and up to my personal standards so to speak.

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, weathered1 said:

Ted,  "but it is now right and up to my personal standards so to speak" From what I have seen, you have some pretty high standards so I am sure its much better than originally built. 🙂

How about some pictures?

I really shouldn’t have said it that way as it makes me sound full of myself, but at the time the right words didn’t come to mind.  After I posted it I realized it was worded kind of “nose in the air” and what I really meant to say I was finally happy with it. I have been very frustrated that I couldn’t get it right or figure it out why the damn doors were so far off and I wasn’t happy with my work. 

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