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My 1919 Republic Truck project


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I recently purchased a 1919 Republic X11 Truck. VIN suggests it is a 1 1/2 Ton truck but my truck has added metal on the sides along the frame which looks factory which suggests a higher weight level. It also has factory looking secondary leaf springs in the rear over the Torgensen rear axle. 

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The man I bought it from had the truck for twenty years. He bought it from a man at the Oxnard airport where it had sat for at least twenty years before that. It had been up on blocks or drums the entire time because three of the wheels were eaten by termites. I made some temporary wheels from thick plywood to make it a roller so AAA would flatbed it to my house. 

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The engine is a Continental Mononloc 4 cyl. The tag which reads date actually has the bore size listed as 3 3/4. The stroke is 5 inch. Number 2 cylinder had water in it. The engine is currently stuck and will likely need a sleeve at minimum to run again. I would love any information anyone has one these engines as info is hard to find. 

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Reminds me of my Grandfathers garage. It was an old blacksmith shop. Tucked away in the corner was an early 20's Buick minus the body from cowl back. With a couple of crates to sit on my brother and I would play on it for hours!  What I found out later was that it actually ran rather well. Unfortunately it was destroyed when the building burned.

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Tires can be sourced from a forklift wheel supplier.........it will take some searching, but they are now made from a synthetic material. It’s rather straight forward.

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9 hours ago, edinmass said:

Tires can be sourced from a forklift wheel supplier.........it will take some searching, but they are now made from a synthetic material. It’s rather straight forward.

Overman Cushion Tires can supply them. They are affiliated with Canton Bandag.  Not cheap but.... aside from casting them from polyester yourself (which has been done) not much choice out there.

 

https://overmancushion.com/

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Looking forward to seeing the progress of this restoration.  Seems I run into a lot of trucks of this vintage, in the condition at various locations, but few people will attempt to tackle a restoration on these, for obvious reasons.  I will say, nothing against Model As, Camaros, and Mustangs, but I would much rather see a truck like this at Hershey show field than yet another "Brand x" show car.  I know of a Ruggles truck that looks like this that is sitting in the same condition.  It's a mess, but I think someone could work with it.  Would be really interesting to see restored.  Best of like with the Republic!

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Hi jalopygreg,

ive got an 11X too, mine is 1920, the wheels look ok on mine but they are rotten and need remaking, looks like you need a radiator, a tree fell across the front and damaged the rad but i found another one here, if you google a guy on the internet Joe butcher in Alma michigan, hes a collector/restorer of republics and may be able to help you with some of the missing parts? maybe, worth a try?

good luck with the republic

mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

 Your engine is a model J-4 which was quite popular in the 1 to 2 ton trucks of the early twenties.  There is a small amount of information available in the Dykes Encyclopedia. Several truck manufacturers used them. Your downdraft carburetor is very unusual. It would be interesting to know how well it works. Republic was known for their yellow frames, as you can see in Blaster Mike,s pictures. Keep those children involved, they will never forget the fun you'll have with your old truck.

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According to information in my database, the engine would have been a Continental type N, 4 cylinder 221 CID.

 

The original carburetor would have been an updraft Stromberg M-1.

 

The carburetor pictured appears to be a Stromberg from a mid-1930's Dodge.

 

Jon.

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Your intake has been turned upside down to accommodate a downdraft carb as carbking just noted. It looks like your truck has a model AA Ford radiator in place of the original Republic truck radiator.

 

I would offer a word of caution in your efforts with this old truck. You can invest more money in it than you will ever get out of it in a heart beat. For this reason, I would suggest you perform a mechanical restoration and leave the rich patina of nearly 100 years of service and neglect alone. As you say, the motor will likely need to be bored and sleeved but the bearings may be serviceable. If you cannot find a republic radiator, you could continue on with the AA that is on it. Your next big expense will likely be wheels and rims with tires. If you get this far, you could purchase some barn wood and rebuild the cab and bed and have a nice period piece without great expense. Slather the running gear with oil and off you go.

 

A vehicle can always be restored but the rich patina this truck has cannot be duplicated. I have a 1924 model T converted to a truck. There is no paint left on the entire vehicle but setting next to ten 1st place winners at a car show, there is more interest in my truck than all the other ten.

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The picture with your kids is priceless! I have similar pictures of my kids when my Lasalle looked like your truck. My kids are 17-21 now and despite a lot of progress it is still not finished.  

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Yeh i agree with Aha the inlet is turned upwards to accomodate the downdraft carb, i now have the correct m1 carb but not the inlet with the distinctive alloy plate on the outside of the tube, it may be that you could find some old steel solid rubber wheels instead of the expense  of having mew wooden ones made? just a thought and it would still look period?

the engine is a cont N4 as carbking stated, chassis nos is on the top of the left frame rail oposite the engine, stamped in big letters and numbers

mike

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for all the info on my truck it did come with an up draft carb and I got some spares with it but none look useable.  I turned the intake upside down To better read the brass tag on the side of the crankcase. 

 

I was able to get chp the verify the vin. Of course California wanted a weight on it before they would issue a title so I towed it to a weigh station. 2900 lbs as pictured. I now have a clear California title in my name. 

 

My intentions with it is.to mechanically restore it and make it operable if possible. If that occurs I will likely make a speedster out of it as I have never seen one done and a Republic speedster just sounds awesome although speedy it would not be. 

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Greg,

 

Again I would like to offer a word of caution. The truck is yours to do with what you want but to try to convert it into a speedster? Why not focus on getting the running gear going again first. I'd put a set of car wheels on it. I have most of a set of 26" Pearleman wheels that would convert the truck to pneumatic tires. If your hubs could be set into pneumatic tire wheels, I think you would be way ahead. And if you could find something you just had to bolt on, even better. You might check the bolt pattern. These old trucks were kept in service by using later parts. You might find some later steel wheels that will match up to your hub bolt pattern. Keep the wheel parts you have now in case someone wants to restore the truck later. You have a decent C cab. The truck is not going to go fast without some major investment so why not put the truck back together as is. I have seen way too many people start a project like this and never finish it. Take small bites. I'd start with the motor. The radiator could be repaired or a better AA radiator sourced. You have lots to do without ditching the radiator and cowl, raking the column, etc, etc. and then trying to find parts that will adapt and work. There is a reason it took a team of engineers to design and build these vehicles originally.

 

Just my two cents.

 

 

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Best aspect of these old trucks is they are so incredibly simple. Basic electrics, basic drive train and suspension. They also lend themselves well to in-period modifications. C-cab with flatbed, No cab with flatbed,

Box body .... you name it. We tend to forget that back when your truck was made almost all trucks were a custom product configured for each client and were modified numerous times as they went from owner to owner. And yes, many early trucks were converted to pneumatic tires. Don't let the sold rubber tires throw you. Adapt it to pneumatics to get it going down the road than deal with the solids.

 

Have you checked with the American Truck Historical Society?

 

 https://aths.org/

 

Great bunch of people and I am sure you would find contacts that can help you with the missing bits and pieces. Republic was a popular and well respected brand. 

 

As for a speedster. These old trucks are far more exciting at 30 mph than many vehicles doing 100! I work with one vintage 1928 truck that tops out at a whopping 10 mph. I smile every time I drive it - and I do that as often as I possibly can!

 

Your biggest challenge will be the engine (tackle that first) The rest of the drive train is more often than not - clean and lubricate with maybe a bearing or bushing here or there or a stuck linkage.

 

Above all............ enjoy and have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The first thing I plan to do once I start on this project is to to tear down and access the motor.  If it can be saved then the originality of this truck can be preserved, I will likely get it mechanically operating as a republic truck, looking much as it does now, and enjoy it for a bit.  If the motor is a boat anchor, like I expect from having water seep into it for forty plus years, I will likely find some cheap power-plant, Buick straight 8 or something similar, and make it a speedster.  

 

As for the wheels, I have plenty of time on my side while I finish other projects to locate some good wood wheels or some metal ones.  I doubt I will keep the tires as solid, but it all depends on what comes available on the cheap in the next few years before I start to work on this project.  

 

 

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Greg,

I once rebuilt a motor that had set out in the weather for 40 years with the head off. There were rust pits in the cylinder walls the size of cherry pits. I had the cylinders bored and sleeved. I have a second motor which likewise set out with no head and water in the cylinders for an unknown length of time. When I got around to checking the motor out the cylinders were clean, no rust at all. The rings were stuck but it didn't take much to get them unstuck. You just never know but any motor can be rebuilt. I would pour some marvel mystery oil in the cylinders now, a HALF QUART or so per cylinder, so it can be pickling while you get ready to start whatever you do.

 

And good luck! It looks like a neat project. Keep us posted.

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Similar situation happened to me. I have a big six cylinder  T-head that had sat since 1933. I thought for sure it would be stuck (not fun with a T-head)

so I filled the cylinders with mystery oil and went about other things. Then one day I took a pry bar and gently worked the flywheel and low and behold it moved. As it turned out the bores were very nice - just very light pitting in No. 5 where a mouse had taken up residence.  You never know what your going to find with these old engines. 

 

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