Truckster, The Old Gal Herself

Hi, I'm Truckster.

I'm a 1941 Ford pickup truck

I'm not just any old '41 Pickup, just look at my front suspension.
Yep, that's independent; with coil-over shocks and tubular A-arms. Got 11" disc brakes with aluminum Wilwood calipers. There's a Ford 9" rear in me.
Goodwrench can't decide whether to keep my Chevy 283 or go back to a Flathead. The real problem is clutch linkage. I came to Goodwrench with an old set of swing pedals mounted on my firewall, and a terribly homemade linkage. If I keep the pedals on the firewall, it will have to strengthened and braced. Tilton makes a cool set of swing pedals with master cylinders for the clutch and brake, but they are really expensive. I think a set of frame mounted, through the floor pedals like I was manufactured with would be great, but nobody seems to make such a thing. So many of the street rods these days just take the easy way out and go with an automatic transmission. If anyone out there has solved this problem or has any ideas, I'd love to hear from you.

Truckster's Arrival

I'd already been in contact with the trucking company a couple of times. They like to wait to arrange the load so that they can take a couple cars in the same direction. All I had of Truckster was 5 photographs and the salesman's description of things over the phone. Three days after they called me to tell me that they were picking the truck up, they called to tell me that there had been a routing change and it would be a couple more days until Truckster would arrive. Finally on the Wednesday morning after Thanksgiving 1995, my phone rang at 6:45 am. It was the trucker telling me that he had arrived, but was afraid to drive his truck down the hill to my house. I quickly got dressed and threw on a coat and gloves and ran out of the house to find 2 or 3 inches of fresh snow. I started the Blazer up, put it in four wheel drive and headed up the hill from my house. When I rounded the curve near the top of the hill, I could see a semi parked on the side of the road. Truckster was sitting out in the open on a flat bed trailer and looked nice with her light coating of snow. There was that classic '40 Ford type front end, on a truck.
The trucker had me help him untie Truckster and set up his ramps. I then climbed up onto the high trailer and hopped into Truckster. A stock dash had an insert full of S&W gauges. The four speed shifter protruded through the floor boards. I eased the clutch pedal in and made sure the trans was in neutral. I turned the key to on, and hit the starter button. Though there was no choke cable, the small block Chevy engine started in just a bit. Then it stalled. I restarted it, and stalled it again. I was afraid of running the battery down. Finally, with a bit of moving my foot around on the accelerator I was able to keep it running. Now I had to look into old cloudy mirrors and through a little tiny rear window and back this thing down two narrow ramps from a height of almost 5 feet. I found reverse in the tranny, and eased the clutch out. I was relieved to feel the truck move under her own power, but a bit worried about hitting those snow slippery ramps. Around this time a neighbor pulls up to the top of their driveway to get out for work. We weren't really blocking him in, and with a little encouragement from me and the truck driver he got his van out of his driveway. I was just about to climb back up onto the flatbed to attempt the backdown once again when a police car pulled up. I walked over to the officer and told him my name and where I lived and what was going on. He sat there in his parked patrol car. Now I had an audience when I climbed back onto the trailer. I hit Truckster's starter button. The engine turned over, but it didn't start. I let it rest a few seconds and tried again, still nothing. The fuel gauge didn't appear to be working. The truck driver said that the dealers never put much gas in these vehicles and it was probably out. My mind was starting to run through the possibilities of using the gas I kept for lawn mowers when I realized that I hadn't turned the key on. I twisted the key and again hit the starter button and it fired right up. The engine was pretty cold again by now, so I gave it a minute to warm up. I then slid it into reverse and backed down the ramps. I parked Truckster behind the trailer and gave the driver his shipping costs in cash.
Finally the cop seemed to think that everything was under control here and he drove off. I got in Truckster and restarted her, remembering to turn the key on first this time. Dropping the trans into first, I let out the clutch and began moving forward. The steering wheel didn't seem to have too much play, at least compared to the old '53 Chevy I'd had. There was still quite a bit of snow on the road so I just left it in first as I headed down the hill. Things started to speed up just a bit so I touched the brakes. The rear wheels immediately locked up on the snow. I didn't seem to be slowing at all, but I sure was heading for the edge of the road rapidly. Making myself let off the brakes, I turned the wheels into the slide and regained my direction down the hill. Now I just eased the brakes so very gently. When I got to my driveway, I made the left hand turn into it and gassed it just a little up the driveway. The dual exhausts sounded nice. I turned it around in front of my garage and backed it up against the fence. I ran back up the hill to help the driver load his ramps up and get out. His truck was now stuck and so I helped him put chains on the dual drive wheels on both sides. When he was finally able to get up the hill, I hopped in my Blazer and drove home in time to get ready for my first patient of the morning.

2/27/98 It's been quite a while since there has been anything to update on this page. Up until yesterday, the only work that got done since the red oxide epoxy primer was on the transmission. The aluminum cased Muncie had the threads stripped out where the bolts to mount it to the crossmember were cut right into the aluminum. I used a 3/8 x 16 Heli-Coil set up. First the holes were drilled out with an oversize bit. Next threads were cut into this new large hole with the tap supplied in the Heli-Coil kit. Tap lube was used and the aluminum took the new threads nicely. Blue Locktite was used when the steel thread coils were screwed in with the supplies plastic tool. The bearings, gears and synchronizers have been inspected and all new seals have been installed. I also took some time to do a brush-finish polish on the aluminum case. The trans is now ready to be reunited with the 1958 283 Chevy block that came with Truckster. I have been delaying welding in the motor mounts until I decide which transmission I will use. I understand that the 4-speed and the T350 have about the same mounting dimensions, and the T400 might be a bit longer and have a wider spacing on the trans mounting bolts. If I do choose to go with an automatic, it will be an R700 with a lock up converter. If anyone knows the mounting dimensions for this trans and how it compares to the 4-speed, I would sure appreciate hearing from you.
Yesterday I decided to try the airplane type paint stripper on the right front fender. This stuff seemed pretty powerful. There was quite active bubbling when I brushed the thick liquid onto the paint surface. This product also softens the body putty enough that it was scraped out as well. There was a bit of rust under the Bondo in a few spots. Today I will wash off the fender and see if the inside needs to be stripped as well. I will then run the body grinder over the fender and prepare the cracks for MIG welding. This fender also has areas of repaired dents that I hope can be hammer & dollied out to closer to the proper shape than the previous person got them.

4/10/98 I've been getting a fair of amount of work time in on the old Truckster lately. The cab is now pulled off the frame. I've been doing a lot of painting on the hood, right front fender, louvered inner fender panels, and the Bitchin Stone Guards. After getting all the bare metal covered with PPG's epoxy primer, I tried their Hot Red with flattening agent added. The flat look was neat, but the color appeared too orange. Just to be sure, I tried the Hot Red with no flattener added. The paint came out pretty nice, but it's really still too orange for my tastes. Unfortunately, it was windy on the day I sprayed the red and tiny droplets of overspray got not only on Gus, the F-350, but on the neighbors van as well. The clay system was pretty good for getting it off, but I am changing my spray area around to make it in a more protected area.

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