MEA MAGNUM OPUS (My 1947 Autocar U-70 build)
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By jhancock - 8 Years Ago
By Michael Yarnall - 2 Years Ago
I’d like to get that bumper from you if we can figure how to get it to PA. Good luck with that engine. Thanks. Mike.
By Bruce Ohnstad - 5 Years Ago
Looks good, Steve.  I just got primer on my cab panels so I'll be able to get the cab final assemblied, my completion is 5 years out.

By Larry Hyde - 6 Years Ago
Nice work Steve.  I bet you won't see many like that ..
By W921 - 3 Years Ago
I just love the way your taking junk or what you have available to you and making something cool out of it. Plus your not just copying something that you've seen. Or I've never seen anything like what your doing before.
Just curious though,where did you pick up the little detroit? They used to be everywhere and now if i find one its completely wore out junk that would cost so much to get rebuilt. I don't have the skills to rebuild one myself and I suspect the price of parts would be pretty high?
By W921 - 3 Years Ago
I see old big block gas motor homes selling at farm auctions really cheap. Some (I think gm?) Had non computer Alison automatics in them? This might be a simpler easier solution for you? One thing about these motorhomes is they sucked so much gas that most of them are old but have little mileage. Could you just make an adapter plate and linkage or cables?
By Stretch - 9 Years Ago
Nice Work.
By Junkmandan - 6 Years Ago
Daryl.........Welcome back.     Good to hear you got off the ice road !.
By Michelle Cole - 10 Years Ago
Steve, I think I am going to like hearing the rest of your story. I'm wating with bated breath.
By Daryl Gushee - 6 Years Ago
Nice design on those cups Steve. very art deco just like the U-70.
By Daryl Gushee - 6 Years Ago
Dan, It's been busy around here.
Steve, did you know I have this..........................

Keeping an eye on your project for reference......................

By Bill Bradford - 5 Years Ago
Steve, get your wife a rental car so you can keep working on the truck. I like seeing the progress. looking good.
By Bill Bradford - 4 Years Ago
A true craftsman at work.
By John Hanson - 9 Years Ago
Looking good Steve!! Have you ever checked out ? There's quite a bit of knowledge on forming over there... maybe some good ideas about what to do about the tear out. I've only used that method a few times on steel...mostly on aluminum, and it's always alot of fun to see the finished product!

Did you change out the Dodge steering linkage from the "Y" style to the heavy style? I had the "Y" on my Dodge and did the conversion...huge difference when done! The problem with the "Y" is that the alignment changes every time the chassis raises or lowers...

By John Hanson - 9 Years Ago
Yep, you've got the "good" steering. Here's a diagram of the 2 different types on the Dodge's. The top one is what we call the "Y" style.

By Freightrain - 9 Years Ago
Great work so far. I have to take a second look everytime I see "North Canton" on the Acar. I live in North Canton too, just Ohio instead of CT.
By Freightrain - 9 Years Ago
That top picture is typical of Ford F150 steering. Long arm to the passenger side, short piece off the middle to the driver side.

The bottom is a more typical cross steer, which is best for minimal bump steer.

I know my '89 F150 is twitchy on the road and it's all new up front and had a couple rechecks on alignment by a good shop. My '95 and other new ones were not this bad. My old ones were nothing like the 89 either. They musta screwed something up along the way and fixed again later because they all have the same design? I think they might have changed some dimensions along the way somewhere.

I drive the '89 with real light touch as the wheel tends to kick around with bumps. If I hold too tight, I tend to constantly over correct and get to swerv'n around. Now I just hold it with my fingers and let the wheel kick a bit. The truck runs straight down the road. I tried a steering damper, but that really didn't affect much.
By Aaron - 2 Years Ago
Well now that'll dog an unnecessary hole in ones back pocket.
By wayne graham - 9 Years Ago
Yes, Very nice work. Steve you appear to be quite the metal worker. Always wished I could do metal fab like you can. Wayne
By wayne graham - 6 Years Ago
Steve, This is all very interesting. I hope to own a small lathe some day as I spent a couple years in a machine shop. The foundry stuff you are doing is all new to me. I have never been around any form of casting. Keep us posted as this is quite impressive and interesting.
By wayne graham - 4 Years Ago
Steve, really nice work. You have a bunch more patience and talent than I do.
By ELPOUND - 4 Years Ago
That is one awesome project. You are really talented.
By Rusty Nail - 4 Years Ago
I could be wrong but I think that's just a clever way of asking for an update?
By kblackav8or - 9 Years Ago
It's only money.. There are some 4x4 modification companies out there that make some uuber strong front axles that would pretty much be bolt in for your setup. Looks like even Dana has gotten into the act. Dana 80 front. Probably a budget buster but something to keep in mind.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 10 Years Ago
MEA MAGNUM OPUS (translation; My Great Work)
I will chronicle the build of my 1947 Autocar U-70 here.
This story starts in about the year 2000.
This project started because of a need/desire to haul my street rod, other projects, parts cars, etc. As the planning of the new project progressed, I realized that a tow vehicle might be better that a hauler with a flat bed. As a tow vehicle I could take it to shows by itself, I could pull a car trailer, or I could pull the travel trailer that was creeping into the picture as something my wife and I wanted to do after retirement. At this point I didn't have a specific make/model of vehicle, but knew I wanted a COE of 1948 or older vintage. (many larger car shows have a 1948 or older requirement for entry) Also, I wanted my truck to be something unusual, not the fairly common Ford or Chevrolet of the late 40s, or early 50s. I had seen an early 40s Studebaker and liked the rareness of it, but not enough to search for one. I had access to a Divco that wasn't old enough, but because it used a body style that preceded the 1949 model year, would meet my criteria. I don't know why I didn't pursue this route and knowing then what I know now that they did produce a very few refuse trucks with a "normal' cab I probably would have.
In the spring of '04 while searching Ebay late one evening for parts for my daily driver Dodge Dakota, I found a complete Dakota parts truck in Connecticut. Great, I'm not going to drive a thousand miles for a late model parts truck, but then I clicked on what else the seller had for sale. Listed for a starting bid of $50 was the ugliest COE I had ever seen. I had heard of Autocars, but never an Autocar COE. In the morning I showed the listing to my wife, her response was "that's the one isn't it". Great, no negative response from her was a "go ahead" for me. A week later, after a last minute bidding war, it was mine.
More later.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 10 Years Ago
During the week that the auction was active on Ebay, I racked my brain as to how to get it home. I had no way to haul it, I had no friends with equipment and no money to pay someone the going rate to haul it a thousand miles.
Remember the Dakota parts truck? I got to thinking about buying it and towing it home with my Autocar (just the cab and fenders) in the box. Two birds, one stone done deal! The Dakota auction ended 10 minutes after the Autocar, so when one ended I spiked the other and ended up paying $102.50 for all the Dakota parts I needed, plus a way to haul my truck cab home. I called the owner and got permission from him to dismantle the truck in his yard, made a custom tow bar that bolted to the Dakota frame, loaded all the tools I could possibly use into my pick-up, recruited my brother, and set out for Connecticut.
Here are pictures from our first meeting.
And ready to come home

More later
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 9 Years Ago
Being New Years Day, I thought it would be a good time for an update on my project. Some of these photos have been posted here and on the other forum as I've worked on the suspension over the last 13 months. (I took a 6 month summer break to do outside projects to keep family happy)
I have the suspension mostly complete now, and am about ready to move on to the cab and sleeper frameing. I will be moving from one area of the project to another as lack of finances require. LOL

A rough drawing of my project. 1947 Autocar U-70 cab set on a 1980 International frame with fabricated air suspension, Detroit 6v53T engine and Allison 2400 transmission. The engine will sit under the sleeper cab with a small dog house in the front of the cargo area. I plan to have a 5th wheel mounted in the cargo area to pull a large travel trailer.

Sorry, I don't have a closer picture from this view. This is the rear suspension in full compression, rear rear axle is chained up as high as it will go, front rear has all air out of bags. Notice the small air bag that is used to raise the front rear axle off the ground. All suspension links are parallel with the ground at ride height. I don't know if that is best, but it was simple to keep track of.

A better view of the small lift bag for the front rear axle

This is an overhead view of the rear rear suspension. The upper arm is triangulated to a bridge above the center chunk. I used a bridge because I didn't want to weld to the cast iron center chunk, the nickel rod required is expensive and cast iron welding it not my area of expertise. Upper and lower arms are made of 2"X3"X1/4" wall mild steel tubing. The upper bag mount is 5/16" plate steel, it is bolted to the frame. If you look carefully at the upper bag mount you can see a vertical relief cut and welded in the frame for bag clearance, there is also a "C notch" cut in the bottom of the frame so the frame can be lower.

An in process picture of the rear rear lower control arm frame mount. All mounts are bolted to the frame.

An overhead view of the trailing arm axle mount, on the front rear axle. Two bushings in tandem to resist rotation, but somewhat compliant to twisting forces.

An overhead view of the front rear axle trailing arm. (2"X3"X1/4 wall tubing)

The arch in the front rear axle for drive shaft clearance. (unfinished) 4"X4"x1/2" wall tube. I somehow need to attach a panhard bar to this axle, but it can't interfere with the drive shaft. Not sure how I will do it.

My bushings 2"X2"X1/4" wall tube 2 1/2" long, 1 1/2" square rubber with 7/8 through hole 2 1/2" long, 7/8"x5/8" round tube 3" long, not shown 1/4" rubber washer on each end. 13 required

Overhead shot of my steering set-up. I used the steering box that was on the fire truck. The steering box and drag link are at a 30 degree angle to the axle. Originally this axle was a normal cross steer set-up so I didn't have to change any of the original tie rod parts. the drag link will be stretched about 3"

These are the original suspension arms and axle attachment from the 1997 1 ton 4wd Dodge dually. I carefully measured the original truck so the arms are located the same as they were from the factory. The mount that attaches them to the frame got a little tricky and took a couple of tries, but I'm happy with the way they turned out. The panhard bar isn't shown in the picture, but it also mimics the original using the same axle mount. It isn't noticeable in this picture but this was a driven axle (4wd) that I removed the center chunk from and replaced with a heavy walled tube. I got a real good deal on the front and rear axles on Ebay and not needing or wanting a 4wd this seemed like the easiest way to proceed.

A close-up of the lower bag mount on the front axle. The original Dodge suspension used coil springs, I modified the spring holder with a flat plate to hold the air bag. Very simple conversion. Notice the splice in the axle tube just to the frame side of the spring mount, the rusty piece is slid over the original tube 4" and the joint has 8 1" plug welds joining the 2 tubes.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 9 Years Ago
Another update! I have finished the sleeper/engine cover framework today.
36"X80" wide. Crawl thru area is 60" wide X 28" high. Obviously the lower center area will be filled with engine, but the 2 lower side compartments will be unique. Drivers side will house a built-in tool chest that will be made in such a way so that the contents can't spill out when the cab/sleeper is tipped. Passenger side will house a small "kitchen", complete with cook stove, sink and running water, to comply with licensing requirements for RV registration.

All corner radii are 8", this matches the original cab corners which won't be used now.

Door for sleeper compartment on passenger side only. This shows how I made the curved sections. 2 pieces cut to the correct inner and outer radii with a 3/4" wide strip bent to fit and welded corner to corner on the outside radius, giving a 1" X 2" U shaped section laying on its side. This is all fabbed from 1/8" plate X 26 places. My little hand-held plasma cutter got a workout. Complete frame weighs less than 200 pounds.
Next, I will return to, and finish the cab structure and door structures, that should take me to summer at least. LOL
As always, questions, comments and constructive criticism is welcome!
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 9 Years Ago
Had a laugh the other day, my daughter came over and saw the frame outside the garage. She said it would make a great "jungle gym" for "X", (her son Xavier) I could bring it over to her house anytime.
I've spent the last 2 days setting things up and making a pattern for the roof spars. I had this part of the project finished several years ago, but decided to lengthen the cab a few inches, so I had to start over.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 9 Years Ago
Another update! Last time I said I would be moving on to the cab structure, that is pretty much complete now. Next, I was going to redo the door structures. (remake frames from steel tubing) That ain't going to happen right now, I took one apart and using steel tubing appears impossible, so I put the doors to the side while I think of a new way to remake them. (Discretion is the better part of valor) I'm starting to do some of the sheet metal work now.
Hammer forming works! Over the winter, I made a hammer form for the windows in the new part of the cab and the sleeper.
1" aluminum plate, table saw, router and lots of real precise measuring. Yesterday and today I tried it out. This is the first time I've tried this method for forming/working sheet metal and I think it came out well. By the time I get the other 3 panels made, I should have it figured out.
Notice that the corners tore, I expected that to happen and can patch the tear easily. There will be glass set into the opening
and glued to the inside lip, so it will be easy to cover up the repair.
My attempt to anneal the corners didn't seem to make any difference to how the metal stretched.
I heated it to a dull red in dim light then let cool. I didn't want to use too much heat for fear of shrinking where I needed to stretch the metal.

I'm really impressed that there are no puckers radiating out from the corners

Trial fit! This will be a non opening window (much easier) between the door and the sleeper, passenger side.

As always, questions comments and constructive criticism is welcome.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 3 Years Ago
There are a few Jeff, I'm just careful with my camera. LOL
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 3 Years Ago
Yeah, I don't follow the masses much!
I decided I wanted the Detroit just because the logical choice would be a 5.9 Cummins, so I found a small firetruck with one on Ebay for $2500, sitting down in Kentucky. Unfortunately, shortly after I set out for home with it, something came apart inside the engine and it was blowing a gallon of oil out the exhaust about every 2 1/2 miles. I had it hauled home and the truck was dismantled, but I haven't torn the engine down to see what went wrong. (I suspect a wristpin seal)
At present I have the cab off the truck and in the garage where I can work on it this winter. (finish the floor and insulate, plus a million other little things)
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 3 Years Ago
Blower seals were my first guess, but the blower was oil free inside. In my post I said wrist pin seal, in your attachment, it is called a wrist pin retainer, with one missing or out of position, you have full oil pressure into the airbox, then into the cylinder above the piston. Surprisingly there was no run-away, (idled well) just oil running out of the drain tubes and exhaust system. One of these days, I will tear it down for rebuild. Hopefully the crank isn't hurt and an in-frame kit will give me a new engine to play with.
I'm working with a company to figure out how to make an Allison 2000 series 6 speed auto run behind the mechanical Detroit. This company wants to sell stuff, (programming, modules, etc) but I've read elsewhere, that all that is really needed is throttle position and driveshaft speed inputs, along with a normal 4 speed auto shifter, (PRND321)
Getting through all this mechanical/electronic stuff is next summer's project.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 3 Years Ago
I have the modern Allison already, similar to the one they use behind the diesels in Chevy pick-ups. The version I have will bolt up to the Detroit with a simple adapter ring (SAE 2 to SAE 3) The firetruck came with an older style Allison, but it was a 4 speed and without overdrive, just wasn't what I wanted. With 32" tires, 3.54 gears and a .64 overdrive, I should be able to run 120 mph at 3,000 rpms. (that old Autocar be shaken like a puppy poopin peach pits)
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 2 Years Ago
Today I finally got around to tearing down the Detroit in preparation for a rebuild! You could have knocked me over with a feather when I pulled a head and found this!
Now we know!
Newfie Trucker lived in the small town this firetruck came from and he mentioned that he had seen the firetruck in a shop getting engine work done sometime before I bought it. Seeing as how I found many loose and missing nuts and bolts, I'm thinkin' someone was punching way above their weight and didn't get a valve keeper in right.
It will need a different head for sure and I haven't gotten to the crank yet to see if there is damage from oil starvation.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
Eddy Lucast (8/24/2017)
What are the front fenders from? I like them.

Rear fenders from a 42 Studebaker president 8. Hope I can make them fit.

By Wolfcreek_Steve - 4 Years Ago
Been a cold winter so far, so I'm trying to focus on little projects that I can do in my basement.
First a pair of hub caps, a couple years ago I made patterns to cast them, but never got around to pouring the castings, so I took a couple of pieces of cast aluminum tooling plate and turned them out on my lathe. (a little different design than the casting patterns I showed earlier) After that I cut the letters out of .090 aluminum and screwed them to the caps. I still have some polishing to do, then the letters will get painted cab color before final assembly.
Next, is a shifter/sculpture that includes switches that control the headlights and turn signals.
It is carved from laminated curly maple and cherry. Being a sentimental guy I chose these pieces of wood because the maple grew on my land, (before I owned it) and the cherry grew on the land I grew up on as a kid.
Lastly I dug the pedal castings (that I poured a couple years ago) out from under the bench and started cleaning them up. Had to do some file work in the checkering, so a sand blasting will be needed to get an even finish
The rough one will get the opposite "side fence" removed so you can move your foot from one to the other easily

All little projects, but something worthwhile that I can do when the garage is too cold to work in.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 4 Years Ago
Thanks guys, I guess I like to bury myself in tedious work. Then again, sometimes I envy the guy who builds his ride with a phone, a credit card, and UPS!:Whistling:
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 4 Years Ago
Eddy Lucast (11/15/2018)
Squirrel, where'd he go?


By Wolfcreek_Steve - 4 Years Ago
Rusty Nail (11/16/2018)
I could be wrong but I think that's just a clever way of asking for an update?

Ah, that when right over my head!
As far as an update, there isn't anything to say, I haven't worked on the project for nearly a year. (not that I've given up on it) It's been a bad year for panic projects, junk cars, busted up cars, engine swaps gone wrong, etc and I was off my feed for a couple of months this past summer. Things are looking up, so I should get some work done on the Autocar over the winter.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 3 Years Ago
Decided I needed a pair of seats, so I built some triple throw down bomber seats like all the rich guys run in their hot rods. My wife says they're good enough for the gals that will get to sit on them. I had to learn to buck rivets, but it went pretty good. They will mount on air ride pedestals. Next I have to learn how to upholster the cushions.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
I have the original skins, will have to patch some along the bottom.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
Looks like it's been 4 months since I updated the thread. Got the doors finished to the point of finish body work several months ago, did some final tweaks to the rear suspension, (added shock mounts, etc) and moved on to building the bed. 80" wide and almost 11' long, shot the bedliner on it today, pretty happy with the way it turned out. Tomorrow I start on the bed sidewalls. I made templates and borrowed a plasma cutter, so tomorrow will be hellfire and brimstone day.
This was a quick drawing to get some thoughts and dimensions on paper, don't worry about the big round thing (fuel tank) in the front of the bed, ain't going to happen.

I used U-pol Raptor spray on bedliner and am very happy with the way it turned out, got the "look" I wanted

Oh yeah, it got some stacks, a quasi headache rack and an air filter a while back.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
Once I get the bedsides finished, I'll be ready to tear it apart, rebuild the engine, do some odds and ends on the underside of the cab, then plumbing, wiring and finish body work. 2-3 years, I hope.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
Jeff Lakaszcyck (8/2/2017)
Looking good Steve. How about a photo from the front ?

Best I got Jeff.
Resize Editor
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
After all is said and done, this is how she looked yesterday! Those with sharp eyes may notice that only one bed side is installed, but the other is cut and ready to put on. May have to put it away for the winter pretty soon, mama's little red car in the background needs an engine swap and one needs to keep their priorities straight. LOL
After a lot of mock-ups and second guesses, it came out looking very much like my original drawing.
Swap meet trailer fenders, narrowed from 9" to 5 1/2" then re-radiused/stretched about 6" to fit the axle spread
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
Bill Bradford (8/24/2017)
Steve, get your wife a rental car so you can keep working on the truck. I like seeing the progress. looking good.

Yeah, but on hot sunny days she lets me take her for ice cream in it, wouldn't be much fun if'n I had to push it 20 miles to the ice cream shop.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Tony, the white stuff is Delrin. Way overkill for a foundry pattern, but the local plastic supplier didn't have UHMW in a size I could use. I was surprised at how difficult (and expensive) it was to find something I could use, wood was out of the question, because of the flutes and aluminum would have been cheaper than plastic, but my little lathe wasn't up to turning that large a piece successfully.
The whole project, including bad pours, etc. took about 60lbs of coal. 2 3lb coffee cans of coal would melt enough aluminum for 3 cups. The bad part about my furnace design, is that it can't be re-stoked on the fly. I have no way to remove ash and clinkers without letting it cool down. Thus I would light the furnace, ram up a mold, pour, put the crucible back in the furnace, shake out the mold as soon as it cooled, ram another mold, repeat, hurrying to get the 3 pours before my fire cooled off.
I attached an air hose from my compressor to the bottom of my fire pot, that way I could control the draft very well with a ball valve. I was surprised at how little air flow was needed.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
I have finished up  three more foundry patterns for truck parts.
Pedals, hubcaps and mirror backs, Can't wait for spring to really get here, so I can set up my melting furnace and pour these parts.
Temps should be in the 50s-60s this coming week or two
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
The hubcap will be held in the wheel similar to how gauges are sometimes held in a dash. (A strap and screws from the back side)
Eddy, never fear, your oversized clodhoppers will fit! I made the pattern such that the accelerator will have the left tab removed and the brake will have the right tab removed.  I didn't want to go through all the extra work of making a second pattern almost identical to the first.
I got a bit tricky with the logos, the pedal logo started out life as a belt buckle that I trimmed down to fit and the mirror back uses letters cut out of a grille emblem and glued onto the pattern to read vertical rather than the original horizontal.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Update on my foundry work, after a couple of "try and fails" over the past several weeks, I fired up my foundry again today and got some good parts poured. (2 pedals,1 mirror back)
These are the rough castings, lots of work to do yet, sanding off the flash and filing the snots out from between the letters. I've poured the mirror back about 10 times and this is the only keeper so far, glad I'm not paying someone wages to do it for me. LOL
I had to remake the foot pedal pattern, it was too thin and I couldn't come close to filling the mold before the aluminum froze. The diamond pattern seems to take a lot of heat out of the metal. Lots of fun learning from my mistakes
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Tony, I'm using green sand molds so there isn't any way to heat them to that kind of temps. Adding thickness to the pedal doesn't affect its use, so I just "went with the flow". (pun intended) I knew when I made the mirror back pattern that I would have flow problems, (1/16 thick around the outside edge) so I built the pattern too thick. Ever see someone mill aluminum with a table saw and belt sander? I wish I still had access to the machine tools I worked with for 30 years.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 5 Years Ago
After a very cold start to the winter, by mid January the temps started to cooperate with me and I've spent the last 2 months making progress on the Acar. I've got doors now, haven't put the skins on, but they are fully functional. Making the frame was fairly straightforward, but making provision for the window channel required a couple of failures before I got the window so it would slide up and down easily without being sloppy so the window would cant and bind. Electric windows were a snap, I chose a late 90s GM motor because they were cheap and easy to find, then when It came time to install them, I found that the gear on the motor matched up with the gears on the original Autocar window regulator and the mounting surface put the gear at the correct depth to mesh. Zip Bam Boom, cut a hole the right shape, drill and tap a few holes and that was done!
(The vice grips are an extra cost item) LOL
After window mechanisms, next came latches. I chose to go with 2 aftermarket latches on each door because the doors are mounted backwards (suicide) and I don't want them accidentally coming open at speed. This was a bit of extra work, but cheap insurance. Latches mounted easily, but I had purchased some paddle style door handles that were so poorly made, they failed before I had all the linkage installed. (now I know why they were for sale cheap in a swap meet)
Back to more conventional door handles. A 70s GM interior spindle and a trip to the building supply store for a household door handle set. I had to get creative to make an adapter to go from GM spline to the handle.  (a GM interior handle died a horrible death)

Lastly on the doors, there needed to be linkage between handle and latch. I just happened to have a bunch of 1/4" ball rod ends and 1/4" rod. I'm still working on interior handles, wife doesn't like Vice-grips
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Tony, right now I'm looking for something to use for the fillets. Bondo will work but stinks and I'm working in the house. I've read that saran wrap laid over the pattern while ramming the sand will take the place of tiny fillets such as I would have around the small letters. I may just do the larger fillets around the logo letters and the bow-tie shape and see how it rams up with the saran wrap.
I have a pair of 7X16 Velvac stainless mirrors, so I am just replacing the backs on those.
I save these little time consuming projects for winter, that way I can sit in the house basement where it is warm and not have to deal with heating the garage to a comfortable level.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Update: I found some epoxy putty I had left over from another project. I mixed up a small chunk of it and did the inside/outside of the bowtie. Worked good but I still have lots to do around the larger letters, then riffle files and sandpaper to make everything smooth before painting.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Yeah, I worry about wrinkles, so I'll ram the sand into the mold as hard as I can. If it doesn't work, we can always say it should have. LOL
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Tony, last spring I set up a temporary foundry and cut my casting teeth by casting these. They are gauge cups and clearance light housings for my truck. designed to work in either place, there are also some larger ones to house a speedo and tach.
I still haven't cleaned them up and machined them, but that is coming yet this winter.
BTW, aluminum car wheels are the best material for home foundry work. The parts pictured here used to be a Turbo 400 transmission out of a 74 Corvette that I junked.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
I did not! That is the lighter version, a U50?
I read somewhere that those weren't made by Autocar, but someone else. (Or maybe just the cab was vendor built) What are your thoughts on that?
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
A few weeks back, I posted a teaser about doing some home foundry work. 40 some years ago I worked in a foundry for a few months, (before I got smart and moved on) so I had a bit of knowledge about what I needed to do to cast some aluminum parts for my truck.
First I drew out the design I had in mind, there were several tries before I had a design that could be cast easily and had the "look" I was after.

After the drawing was complete, I started by making the pattern. I chose to make what is called a matchplate pattern. 1/2 of the pattern is fastened to each side of the base plate. The white piece was split, doweled and screwed together before machining.
I also made the mold flask that would hold the sand. Sorry no picture!
Next I needed a furnace to melt the aluminum. After looking over the options I decided coal would be the simplest for a beginner. Waste oil would need a burner, as would LP gas and I didn't want the learning curve of building a functional burner when I only planned to make a few parts. Coal is simple, I had a junk Oxygen bottle so I cut that in two and used the top half to house my coal fire. The valve was removed and an airline was plumbed up, then this was surrounded by sand, standing in a garbage can.
I welded up a crucible from 6" pipe and a piece of 1/4" plate, welded on some ears to lift it and a place to hook on for tipping/pouring.
I also made the necessary utensils for stirring, skimming and pouring, all from rebar. This was all stuff I had laying around, so I haven't spent a dime on the furnace.
I read up on foundry sand and with the help of a casting forum acquaintance came up with some bentonite clay and that along with a few bags of silica sand from the building supply store, (and a bit of water) gave me foundry sand.
The way I chose to build my pattern, a core would be needed to form the inside of the cup. I made a pattern the shape of the inside, then made a fiberglass mold from that, this I could fill with a mixture of silica sand and polyester resin. (fiberglass resin) After the resin hardened I had a core for my mold.
The actual making of the sand molds was easy for me, as that had been my job at the foundry all those years ago.
After a bit of trial and error, I got my coal lit and some aluminum melted, made a pour and the first part came out almost perfect. 2-3lb coffee cans of stoker coal would melt enough aluminum to pour 3 molds. With only one flask, I had to hustle building molds in between pours. This is the better part of 2 days of work, I think to get this many parts, I had 5 failures. for some reason the larger parts were more temperamental and none were perfect, but by making subtle changes in the finished part shape I have 2 of the 3 that can be made to work
This much of the project was done last May, but I deliberately waited until now to do the clean up and machining of the castings. (cold weather, warm basement) I had to make soft top jaws for my little South Bend lathe to hold the castings. I don't own a mill, so these were made on a table saw with a carbide tipped wood cutting blade. Because I knew I couldn't make them perfect, I bolted them on the chuck, then bored the work holding surfaces true. They might not be the best jaws, but they work for what I need, as far as tolerances.
I got the first one finished tonight.
The only differences between the gauge cup and the clearance light cup is in the diameter of the inner bore. Both the gauge and the light will be held in with a bolt from the rear.

By Wolfcreek_Steve - 9 Years Ago
John Hanson (06/03/2013)
Looking good Steve!! Have you ever checked out ? There's quite a bit of knowledge on forming over there... maybe some good ideas about what to do about the tear out. I've only used that method a few times on steel...mostly on aluminum, and it's always alot of fun to see the finished product!

Did you change out the Dodge steering linkage from the "Y" style to the heavy style? I had the "Y" on my Dodge and did the conversion...huge difference when done! The problem with the "Y" is that the alignment changes every time the chassis raises or lowers...


John if you go down to my Jan.1 post there is a picture of my steering. I don't know what you mean by "Y" style. I have a tie rod between the knuckles and a drag link that goes from the IH steering box angling back the the passenger side of the tie rod. This is a little different from standard, but the drag link is parallel to the road at ride height so there shouldn't be any unusual bump steer. Note that the steering box is mounted at the same angle as the drag link so the pitman arm and the drag link move in the same vertical plane.
I'm always open to ideas, comments and constructive criticism.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 9 Years Ago
I never knew about the 2 different types, if mine had the other style I wouldn't have used it, that's for sure. What were they thinking? LOL
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 9 Years Ago
I worry a little about the strength of the Dana 60 knuckles. I'm carrying quite a bit of weight with the cab ahead of the axle and the 1600 lb Detroit right behind. It will be a lot of work to change over to a medium duty it the Dana doesn't hold up.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 8 Years Ago
I haven't got a lot done in the past year, but yesterday I rolled it out of the garage  and took a few pictures.
I think Ron (grenfell34) is getting ahead of me on his Pete. LOL
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 8 Years Ago
Frame is IH from a 1980 Continental Fire Apparatus, axles are Dodge 1 ton dually. Suspension is all home made.
By Wolfcreek_Steve - 6 Years Ago
Hard to believe it has been 1 1/2 years since the last update. I've done a lot since then, just haven't shared it. (Get yo butt in gear Steve)
I've always thought that the Mack logo mirrors were cool, (White also) but nothing is available for Autocar, so I came up with a design for mine this week. I don't have a way to stamp these, so I will cast them out of aluminum. This is the half made Foundry pattern.
The Autocar letters are cut from a hood ornament, other letters from the hobby store and the rest 1/8 and 1/4 inch MDF
Lots of fillets to add, then priming, sanding and paint. (No Eddy, I going to use left over automotive clearcoat for this)
By Park Olson - 4 Years Ago
By Jeff Lakaszcyck - 8 Years Ago
That's looking great Steve !
By Jeff Lakaszcyck - 5 Years Ago
Looking good Steve. How about a photo from the front ?
By Jeff Lakaszcyck - 5 Years Ago
Thanks Steve. That will be wild when you are done.
By Jeff Lakaszcyck - 3 Years Ago
That's some beautiful work Steve, and I don't see a single smiley face on the rivet heads ! Nicely done.
By Tony Bullard - 8 Years Ago
Great job Steve! I forgot, what are the frame and axles you are using?
By Tony Bullard - 6 Years Ago
Great job, Steve. What are you going to use for fillets, Bondo or something? Do you have some kind of mirror frame it will clip into? Good thing you don't have to count your labor in the cost of this project. Lol
By Tony Bullard - 6 Years Ago
That's interesting about the saran wrap concept. It might even help as an release agent if your letters aren't tapered on the sides. The only drawback might be wrinkles in the saran wrap might show up in the sand.
By Tony Bullard - 6 Years Ago
Holly smokes! Your making the mold too, not just making the pattern? What next? Melt the aluminum and pore the casting? I know, you're going to smelt the aluminum from old pots and pans.
By Tony Bullard - 6 Years Ago
Unbelievable, Steve! My hat is of to you sir. What is the white  match plate pattern made of, HDMW plastic? How much coal did it take for each pour? Did you say three coffee cans? Did you use a forced draft? This is really interesting. Thanks
By Tony Bullard - 6 Years Ago
They really came out nice Steve. Is that a threaded hub cap?
By Tony Bullard - 6 Years Ago
Great work Steve. I've especially enjoyed following this foundry work. Just curious, Would preheating the mold to 4 or 500* help with the premature fast freeze?
By Tony Bullard - 5 Years Ago
That's some really fine work, Steve. What are you going to do about skin on the outside; one big sheet or patch in pieces?
By Tony Bullard - 4 Years Ago
Nice job Steve. I wish I had the patience and talent you have.
By Tony Bullard - 3 Years Ago
Steve that sounds like  a lot of oil to pass a piston pin retaining ring. It could also be caused by blown blower seals. This can happen if the emergency stop is pulled at full speed. When blown pressurized oil for the blower bearings is pumped right into the blower intake, into the air box and into the compression chamber. It does cut down on diesel consumption while keeping the mosquitoes under control.

Look in the air box and see how oily it is. If the mud wasps plugged the airbox drains there could be a lot of oil in there.

By Tony Bullard - 3 Years Ago
Yeah the piston pin retainers are concave seals like an expansion plug. The pressurized oil in the connecting rod doesn't enter the piston pin. It goes around the floating pin and on to the cooling squarters. Any pressure that gets past the the rod bushing falls to the pan. The piston bushing are splash lubed and not much oil gets past them. If there is a lot of oil running out of the are box drains I'd be looking at the blower seals. The intake side of the blower will still be dry.

By Tony Bullard - 2 Years Ago
Wolfcreek_Steve (11/23/2019)
Yeah, I don't follow the masses much!
I decided I wanted the Detroit just because the logical choice would be a 5.9 Cummins, so I found a small firetruck with one on Ebay for $2500, sitting down in Kentucky. Unfortunately, shortly after I set out for home with it, something came apart inside the engine and it was blowing a gallon of oil out the exhaust about every 2 1/2 miles. I had it hauled home and the truck was dismantled, but I haven't torn the engine down to see what went wrong. (I suspect a wristpin seal)
At present I have the cab off the truck and in the garage where I can work on it this winter. (finish the floor and insulate, plus a million other little things)

We now know where the oil was coming from.

By Eddy Lucast - 6 Years Ago
Steve, LOL, When you run out I have 4 different clear coats.
By Eddy Lucast - 6 Years Ago

I quit being surprised but I'm always amazed with your work and imagination.

Question, are those tabs on the sides and heel of the accelerator pedal?

Will it accommodate my size 13 EEE? LOL
By Eddy Lucast - 5 Years Ago
What are the front fenders from? I like them.
By Eddy Lucast - 4 Years Ago
Squirrel, where'd he go?
By Eddy Lucast - 3 Years Ago
Steve your workmanship, knowledge and creativity is just mind boggling.