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Thread: '75 W300 repair/mod project - Ol' Blue

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    gomopar440's Avatar
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    Default '75 W300 repair/mod project - Ol' Blue

    Hopefully I'll have better luck getting this project finished than I did with the R/T/A. It's going to be used as a truck should first and foremost. As a result I'm looking at doing less work making it pretty, and putting more effort in the reliability and functionality department. I'm also posting this build over on the Ram Charger Central forum, so I copied most of that first post and pasted it below rather than retyping the same stuff all over again.

    I just picked up this '75 W300 (440/4spd/DRW) truck yesterday and then drove it 2 hours to get it home. The plan is to address the important issues I found first like replacing the clutch (slips under heavy load), rewiring the electric fuel pump (has to be hotwired), it needs all new tires and most of the gauges need to be fixed. After that I can move on to tackling some of the regular maintenance items next. So far the obvious things are to replace all fluids, rebuild the leaky carb and clean the engine up so I can locate source(s) of the numerous oil leaks. The wiring looks like a nightmare, but enough stuff still works for me to drive it and not get pulled over if I'm not driving like an idiot. I'll probably end up replacing the entire wiring harness by the time I chase down all the electrical gremlins, so I'll most likely get a kit to rewire it right from the start to avoid any unnecessary headaches.

    After all that repair stuff is done, then I'll move into the mod phase. Being a Montana truck, there are lot of rust issues to deal with. The cab floors look like swiss cheese, which is one of the main reasons I was poking around in the club conversion thread on RCC. I'm looking for a solid club cab to replace this rusty standard cab. Until I can get a Club Cab for it, I'll put the better flat bed (the one on top in the pics) on the back of the frame. I don't plan on keeping either of the flat beds once the other cab is on, so I'm also looking for a short utiline bed to put behind the club cab. With a DRW axle, I'll need to tub the fenders on the bed to get full tire coverage. I'm basically going to build it into a bigger version of a Lil Red Express truck. I'm not a fan of the color red, so I'll be painting this truck a bright metallic blue color. Hence the name "Ol' Blue". I'm currently leaning towards making my own version of the LRE door decals with the "Lil Red" part being replaced with "Ol' Blue".

    All this stuff is going to be a long slow project for me (more time than money), so I don't have all the other details worked out just yet. Until then, here's some pics of the truck after I got it home yesterday, just in time to get hit with a mini-blizzard.
    DSC_4895.JPGDSC_4896.JPGDSC_4898.JPGDSC_4899.JPGDSC_4902.JPG
    Looks like it has a factory tach, but it's not working unfortunately.
    DSC_4900.JPGDSC_4901.JPG
    The fun part.
    DSC_4903.JPGDSC_4904.JPG
    Had to get Drake and Sera's seal of approval on it (muddy paw prints on the seats ).
    DSC_4905.JPG

    Well, that's all I have for right now. I'll be posting updates on this project as I make progress on it.
    Last edited by gomopar440; 08-14-2017 at 01:49 AM.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
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    I look forward to following along.....Congrats on the new project!

    I would just try and find another wiring harness in better shape then yours, the cost of aftermarket kits, and the time and effort required to redo the whole system IMO is not worth it. I re-wired my 48 Desoto front to back, top to bottom with an aftermarket kit, going from 6V pos ground to standard 12V neg ground....turned out fine, but wouldn't want to do that again ever if I could avoid it. I would rather spend days soldering, splicing and cleaning up and original wiring harness before I would opt for an aftermarket kit.


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    I've wired 3 from scratch & schematics and one with an aftermarket kit. I spent 2 days finding a flaw in the aftermarket kit. But my 3 didn't have any flaws.
    "It's never too late for a happy childhood"
    -68 R/T

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    avoid a kit like the plague.....they SUCK on a side note...i will be parting out a club cab 74...i need the doors, all the hardware, dash, and a bunch of misc ..cabs rust free but im likely too far away to make it viable ...ive also got a stepside bed that needs help..not rusty just rough basicly the clubby ive got runs engines tired and im going to use its hardware to resurect my RC



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    thats not the tires squealing thats the pavement begging for mercy!

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  5. #5
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    I'm going to chime in on the "no wiring kits" bandwagon. I don't think I know anyone who's ever installed a Painful Wiring kit without some kind of issue. One misplaced wire can really screw up everything, and it can take hours to find which one is the problem. About six or seven years ago, a guy offered to pay me handsomely to figure out the wiring on his converted V8 Jeep (I think it had a 360LA in it, which is probably why I got the call). I went over and looked at it, saw the Painless box and immediately declined. His offer went up substantially, twice, but I still told him to go find a rope up which he could piss.

    If you're really going to use this primarily as a truck, listen to me now and believe me later: You will absolutely regret converting it to a shortbox, even moreso a stepside, especially if you end up tubbing the bed. A fifth-wheel hitch would become nearly impossible at that point, so why even have a dually at all? The box is the entire reason for having a truck. I'd leave it a flatbed, building a replacement for what's there now (look at late-model rollbacks for design ideas), or worst-case I'd convert it to a longbox with standard dually flares.

    It's a truck. Looks come secondary to utility. That being said, some nice toolboxes between the rear axle and cab, perhaps diamond plate or painted to match, would look sharp and give you a ton of secure storage--and the flatbed is infinitely useful. This also makes the extended-cab conversion easier, since the Club Cab trucks had their own specific wheelbases--a Club Cab shortbox is still longer than a standard cab with an 8' bed.
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    gomopar440's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback guys. I'm not 100% set on the utiline box idea at the moment, so it wouldn't take much convincing at this point to get me to stick with the better flat bed. I'd still like to do the club cab swap so I'll have more room for my dogs.

    69.5 are you still over in O-ree-gone? I'm in the southwest part of MT now, so maybe I could make a road trip sometime this summer . Money is tight since I retired and I've got a few other irons still in the fire right now, so that's a maybe at best right now.

    I have used a couple wiring kits on other stuff before and didn't have any problems with them. I check out each individual circuit as I go while installing the wiring system though. Has the quality of kits today just gone to shit, or did I just get lucky with the others? I'm not stuck on the kit idea, I just don't want to have to deal with brittle 40 year old wires. There are a few of the usual upgrades I'd like to do when I go through the wiring as well, so even if I got a new repro harness, I'd still end up modifying it some.

    Ok, now onto the first bit of progress on the truck (other than just getting it home that is).

    To get the electric fuel pump to run, the PO had the pump wires going all the way up to the battery. There he had it set up so that you had to pop the hood and twist the red pump wire to another piece of wire that was wedged between the battery + post and the battery cable clamp. This was my first clue that a bunch of electrical work was in my near future. With that in mind, I pulled everything off the battery terminals and cleaned up the battery posts and battery cable clamps. I had some battery terminal cleaner spray, so I hit everything with that as well for good measure. After giving that stuff a while to work, I wiped everything clean a d hit it all with that red battery corrosion inhibitor spray. I had a couple of those felt washers that are supposed to keep the corrosion down, so I slapped them over the posts while I had them accessible. The battery clamp nuts and bolts got wire wheeled and they were sprayed with that red stuff as well. I trimmed all the other bare wire ends that went to the battery just enough to get rid of the cruddy exposed wire. All the small wires going to the negative post had new ring terminals crimped on and were put back in place. On the positive side, I separated the red fuel pump wire and ran it through the firewall and into the cab. The other small wire got a new ring terminal as well and it was remounted on the positive battery cable clamp. with that, the first of the critical repair items was done.
    DSC_4933.JPG

    Next up, I wanted to put a fuel pump switch in the cab, so I wouldn't have to run outside and pop the hood every time I wanted to turn the pump on or off. However, when I started looking around inside under the dash, I just about pushed my hand through a rust hole in the floor. The rust holes in the cab are the reason I had to drive most of the way home with the windows open (carbon monoxide). So, the cab floor repairs got bumped up to the top of the priority list. Since I'm planning to swap this cab out anyway, I decided to just gave the holes a quick and dirty patch job. I tossed the multiple floor mats out of the way and then pulled the factory floor mat out (in pieces). The heavy rust scaling was knocked out of the way first, and then a wire brush got most of the little stuff loose. The shop vac got rid of whatever didn't fall through the holes in the floor. I used a metal cut off wheel on the angle grinder to cut the thin metal from around the holes. Shop vac again to get the grinding crap up and them I brushed some Ospho onto the entire floor to kill the rust.
    DSC_4934.JPGDSC_4935.JPG

    There was some left over diamond plate material from my sand rail project, so I grabbed those scraps to use as floor patches. I cut the pieces so they would cover the holes and reach good/thick metal parts of the floor. To hold the patch pieces to the floor, I used #8 self tapping screws. I didn't try to get perfect coverage everywhere since I'm going to seal the edges of the patches and any small gaps with body sealer after the Ospho has a chance to fully cure. The floor mats went back in and I'm calling this part good enough for now.
    DSC_4938.JPGDSC_4940.JPG

    Last thing I did was to wire up a switch in the cab to turn the electric fuel pump on and off. Pretty straight forward stuff, and it works fine now.
    DSC_4941.JPG
    Last edited by gomopar440; 08-14-2017 at 01:54 AM.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
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    Oh yea, FWIW I'm going to get the mechanical fuel pump up and running and use that as my main pump. If the electric fuel pump isn't a free flow through type, it'll be replaced with one that is and kept inline as a backup for the mechanical pump. It's still really nice outside, so I'ma go do a little cleaning on the engine.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
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    yup just outside portland ....my plan is to gut the clubby this summer, catalog ALL of the hardware i need, box up what i may want for later and then list it all on c-list(basicly alot got lost stolen or otehrwise with my rc and this truck will recover most of it)....heck the wiring i belive is solid as well...its a 2wd so youd have to mod the tunnel...but thats actualy EASY. heck ill be scrappin the frame if you want mounts or more frame to stretch yourself out into having a useable bed : : the trick with the old wiring ive found is actualy just the engine harness section that actualy sits on the engine...so long as the rest of the harness isnt a total hack job you can go thru clean and grease the connections and have yoruself a new harness, mind you i will typicly un wrap clean and then re-wrap them so that i know how good they are and that i will never have anything to worry about.....typicly i toss out harnesses if they are a hack..tho i expect the rear most 2ft or so to useualy be a hackup on a truck, i think ive got a couple that arnt. : : as for painintheassless kits..yeah i did one last year....or er..re-did..did you know painless doesnt even have a diagram for tehir own harness and calling their techs will get you nowhere.....i had to go thru and re-pin atleast 10 wires, and pretty well wing it....you couldnt pay my to put one of those kits in any of my rigs..cheap wire under gauged badly configured garbage......i build my own harnesses for the cars that need em...but more often than not i salvage good old harnesses. : : ok ive reformated the message several times..the forums just chew it up and smash it togetehr



    Straight jacket short bus style different

    If its bolt a bolt on part, its NOT CUSTOM!

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    Never argue with an idiot....they will drag you down to there level and beat you with there experience

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    I like your floor repairs. Lookin' good
    "It's never too late for a happy childhood"
    -68 R/T

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    @69.5: I'll keep that in mind. If I can swing it, I'll try to make my way out there late summer or early fall. I haven't met any west coast nuts yet AFAIK. I have a friend who was my machine shop supervisor in the Navy that lives somewhere in OR as well. Just another excuse to go for a long drive. @68R/T: The floors are pretty solid now as well. Before it felt like stepping on a wet carpet with the amount of give it had in the floor. Now it's at least as solid as when it left the factory, if not a little more because the diamond plate patches are 1/8" thick. @everybody: The weather here is forecast to be wet and windy for today and tomorrow. Even though the highs will be in the 40's, the weather is a little too crappy to be working outside. If I can catch any breaks weather wise, I'll be back out there cleaning up under the hood.

    PS: 69.5 I see what you mean about the text getting all mashed together. I'm just putting address headers before each part of my replies to keep the confusion to a minimum.
    Last edited by gomopar440; 04-17-2017 at 01:32 PM.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
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    The weather was a bit crappy out (wind, rain, hail, sleet), so I didn't get much done today. It did dry up for a short while and the temps hit 50*, so I did get a few pieces on the top of the engine cleaned up in between the nasty weather. The bottom of the air cleaner lid and the radiator cap (not chrome, rusty) were cleaned up and then wire wheeled, but they still looked somewhat bad to me. I brought them inside the barn to give them a coat of paint to make them a look a bit better.

    Despite the miserable weather outside, inside the cab was warm enough to paint in there. I used a couple cans of 3M undercoating spray to cover the entire cab floor. I'm hoping that stuff will help dampen some of the noise from the road, engine and trans mission now that the padded factory floor mat is gone. I have a large piece of berber carpet that I can make a new floor mat out of if that 3M stuff isn't enough noise cancellation by itself.

    The weather is turning colder outside here and the clouds are darkening again, so I'll get some pics of the updated stuff tomorrow.
    Last edited by gomopar440; 08-14-2017 at 01:58 AM.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
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    There's no sense in feeding the fire if you're gonna have to stand in it...
    - Me

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    Pic of the undercoated floor from yesterday:
    DSC_4942.JPG

    My neighbor George loaned me his gantry hoist today so I could do the flat bed swap. It's nice to see the truck without the extra bed on it, even if it still has the one that's coming off on it. Today was the first day I've been able to see out the rear window as a result.
    DSC_4943.JPG

    George also hooked me up with some 55 gal barrels so I wouldn't have to work on the flat bed on the ground.
    DSC_4944.JPG

    I started on the big flat bed by removing the pipes and diamond plate that was sort of acting as a headache rack. Once that was out of the way I hit the front edges with a grinding wheel to knock down the roughest spots, and then went over the rest with some flap disks to smooth it out somewhat. Next step was to brush some Ospho on the areas I worked on to kill and seal any remaining rust and protect the clean metal. At least that's what it was supposed to do before the rain started coming down about an hour after I applied the Ospho. I might have to reapply it if this stuff still looks questionable once it dries.
    DSC_4945.JPG

    I forgot to get pics of the cleaning and painting I did under the hood. I'll try to remember to get a pic of that tomorrow when I have some light outside.
    Last edited by gomopar440; 08-14-2017 at 02:02 AM.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
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    that looks like a BEAST of a flatbed



    Straight jacket short bus style different

    If its bolt a bolt on part, its NOT CUSTOM!

    thats not the tires squealing thats the pavement begging for mercy!

    Never argue with an idiot....they will drag you down to there level and beat you with there experience

  14. #14
    gomopar440's Avatar
    gomopar440 is offline Livin' my life...one gas station at a time. pumpin the morphine pump 12 times an hour
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    Well, at least it weighs more than it looks.

    The other flat bed that is still on the truck looks like it's suffering from anorexia by comparison.
    Last edited by gomopar440; 04-19-2017 at 02:46 PM.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
    - Groucho Marx

    There's no sense in feeding the fire if you're gonna have to stand in it...
    - Me

  15. #15
    gomopar440's Avatar
    gomopar440 is offline Livin' my life...one gas station at a time. pumpin the morphine pump 12 times an hour
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    The Ospho had a whitish dust type residue on it, but it otherwise looks like it withstood the rain fine. I swept all the crap away from the front and wiped the dust off before shooting it with Doc's favorite brand of paint (the K-word type). Meh, it was some couple year old cans of the Fusion type stuff I had on hand, so maybe it wasn't as bad as the stuff he used last. It seemed to do ok for this job. I had two partial cans and it used most of that up.
    DSC_4946.JPG

    Now the question was what to do with the remaining paint? Bodywork in a can sounds like a good enough use for this job.
    DSC_4949.JPG

    In case anyone is wondering what those diagonally mounted silver things are on the underside of the hood. Apparently, one of the previous owners did this as a solution to keeping their Power Wagon hood emblems from getting stolen. I guess it worked, because they're still there.
    DSC_4950.JPG

    Annnd while the hood was up, it was a good time to get a couple pics of the sorta wiped off, but not really cleaned engine pieces. You can see the color I used on the bottom of the air cleaner and the radiator cap though. It's a Gunmetal Grey wheel paint that I had left over from painting the wheels on my other truck.
    DSC_4947.JPGDSC_4948.JPG
    Last edited by gomopar440; 08-14-2017 at 02:08 AM.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
    - Groucho Marx

    There's no sense in feeding the fire if you're gonna have to stand in it...
    - Me

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