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46 Power Wagon Restoration pt. 2

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  • Damien, the truck looks amazing! Great work! Can't wait to see this thing in person!
    1942 WC53 Carryall in progress.


    • Looks exceptional. I'm doing a similar swap 4bt into a 53 flat fender. I have everything mocked up and am starting to do all of the engine plumbing. Do you have any problems with the inter cooler or radiator you are using? From doing some research on 4btswaps seems like a new "stock" radiator should be more than adequate. Also I'm thinking of running 4.10s
      (dana 70 or 80 with disks) with 37 inch tires. Do you think the 4bt will have enough muscle to pull that large of a tire with a relativity high gear? It should but you are one of the few people that have a very similar swap so I thought i would ask your advice before going and ordering everything.


      • Originally posted by laddy View Post
        Looks exceptional. I'm doing a similar swap 4bt into a 53 flat fender. I have everything mocked up and am starting to do all of the engine plumbing. Do you have any problems with the inter cooler or radiator you are using? From doing some research on 4btswaps seems like a new "stock" radiator should be more than adequate. Also I'm thinking of running 4.10s
        (dana 70 or 80 with disks) with 37 inch tires. Do you think the 4bt will have enough muscle to pull that large of a tire with a relativity high gear? It should but you are one of the few people that have a very similar swap so I thought i would ask your advice before going and ordering everything.
        Not that I know of, though I don't have any sensors telling me much about intercooler temps or pressures. Biggest problem I have with it is that it's narrower than the radiator, so I had to build a pair of shrouds to make sure I was getting flow through the stack instead of around it. If I had been been more patient or talented I would have had one custom built that was thinner but wider, though that would have caused some plumbing issues.

        The radiator I used was a custom built aluminum unit but is a more conventional design. It has more than enough capacity for what I've done so far, my biggest issue is (again if I were doing it again) lack of room for a really good cooling fan. I could have shifted the engine/trans back 1/2"-1" and still not had too much issue with the intermediate shaft and made a lot more room for a nice big electric fan. As it sits now I have two smaller ones with an aluminum shroud. In traffic it never overheats but does run warm, though I've been told by a 6BT guru I work with that they are most efficient around 200 degrees, which is where she'll sit in traffic with the stock thermostat. I've had a very small leak from somewhere, but I am having a really hard time finding out exactly where, but I think it might be an engine gasket.

        I'd think a 4:10 or 4:30 might be perfect, I know VPW had asked about making a custom run for our axles, and if I didn't already have so much in the 4:88's in mine I might consider it, not looking to rebuild my axles again, plus the $$$$. There's so much torque I don't think it will have an issue but shifting it right will be even more important. At least for my 4BT you have to keep it above 1500 rpm to have any real pickup, between 1000 and 1500 you have power but it's very sluggish. That will only be magnified with that kind of gearing.

        I would play with a gear calculator on line, you want your target cruising speed to be around 1800 rpm. With 4.88s and 35s on mine 60 mph is close to 2000 rpm. I will probably eventually swap out my 35s for 37s, which should push that closer to 65 but I basically am always wishing I was one gear lower than where I am. Otherwise that bed probably weights 1000 lbs and honestly I'm not sure I can even tell from an engine standpoint.

        Good luck and keep posting pics.


        • I was thinking that because the intercooler doesn't really need to be "cooling" unless you are moving(under load) it shouldn't need much fan speed. I may be wrong though but that makes sense about the shrouds. Was planning on having a shop in town make me a radiator sing on how i want to try and keep the original filler cap and with the intercooler it may be a challenge. I put the engine as far back as I could so I should have plenty of room for a fan think I have 4 inches between the engine and the " radiator". Ya I've heard that they like to run "hot" as well.

          That was pretty much the main reason that I decided to get away from the original axles. They are very costly to make "modern" and there is not a whole lot of options in gearing options for them. Fww a rear axle out of a 90's dodge dually will have the same distance wheel mounting surface to wheel mounting surface as the pw axle, just need to move the perches. Ive messed with the calculators and 4.10 gears with 36.5(what 37 measure at) should put me at 1800 in 4th at 50 and 67 in 5th. That should be just about perfect I believe it allows you to make decent time. Not that I plan to drive cross country but I would like to go to the vpw rally as well as visit some family in neighboring states.

          Thanks for being so fast to reply and confirming some of my thoughts now to break the bank.


          • The intercooler doesn't need the fan speed, but the radiator and the AC condenser really needs it most when sitting still. But still without the side shrouds air could get pulled around the stack instead of through it. I installed a trinary switch for the AC which not only protects the AC from too much or too little pressure, but also prevents the fan from kicking on if there's enough natural air flow. I also put the sensor for the fan thermostat in the return block on the engine and set it such that it only turns on when the return water temp gets high enough, which should only be at slow speeds.

            I also plan on modifying my air intake to try and pull more air from outside the truck. There is a heat shield but it doesn't prevent the engine from pulling hot air from under the hood.

            I don't think there's a cheap way around the axles regardless of how you go. I didn't go that route for three reasons:
            1) I was already taking on a huge project and didn't need the trouble of track width, suspension mounting, and most importantly trying to properly design a steering system. Getting that wrong can be dangerous.
            2) To me the BUDD wheels are a fundamental part of the look of the truck. I've seen people have custom adapters/hubs machined to adapt a modern axle to the BUDD lug pattern, but that has to be crazy expensive if you can find someone to do it.
            3) I don't believe you actually save that much. You get much more flexibility and parts availability is better. However buying used axles, rebuilding and updating them and adapting them to fit under the truck, or buying custom axles that are ready to bolt up isn't fundamentally cheaper than rebuilding and upgrading the Chrysler axles.

            In my opinion if you are going to swap out the axles and the engine and trans you are better off just swapping the whole frame for something more modern. All the important engineering is already done for you (brakes, suspension, steering, etc), and fitting the body over that can't be any more difficult than adapting all those parts to the stock frame, and future maintenance is much easier. Honestly at that point what's left but the body anyway?


            • I'm not running a/c at least not yet. If its really hot out I can take one of my other vehicles. I may end up doing it in the future but didn't want to have to deal with it at this time. I plan on just using a relay that basically closes when it gets hot and opens when it gets cold for the fan. Forget what these are called but I have one and it just screws into one of the head sending ports. There will also be a override for the fans in the cab. Then just flaps in the shroud that would open if the fan can't hold a vacuum, normally at speed, but sometimes you can get high pressure in the engine compartment then you would need the fans.

              Ya the intake seems like its going to be tricky not much room for it anywhere unless you want to run a ton of tube or do some major hacking.

              Ya I agree with you on the axles its one of 2 options. I actually looked at it the opposite way that it will allow me to improve the drive-ability of the truck and at the end of the day that's what its all about. I do agree that the budds just look right on trucks and give them a unique look. However if I recall correctly it was going to be north of 5 thousand dollars to bring the axles up to " modern" drive ability standards and that doesn't include the wait for the new ring and pinion to be made. Then you are still stuck with only 2 gear ratios and 6 month or longer wait possible for parts if something breaks. I didn't do a ton of research knowing what parts cross reference with the axles but knowing that not a ton of these trucks are on the road and availability of parts in 20-30 years may bee an issue, I didn't want to start having everything custom made. I've seen that happen and its not fun but who knows were could be printing all of our parts at home in 10 years. What fueled my decision was the flexibility to walk into most any auto parts store and be able to find what you need if something breaks. I found a heavier duty axle (dana 80) with disks 4.10 and a limited slip for $500 and it just didn't make sense for me to pass that up.

              I do agree that adapters are the way to go and I don't actually think that they would be all that expensive to make/have made in comparison. I picture them as a dually spacer on a front axle but then with an adapter to the budd style, if designed properly it shouldn't effect functionality while giving the look desired.

              For visualization


              • The axles were definitely one of the biggest expenses I had, and one of the biggest limitations. Your number is probably about right, but that's fully rebuilt with disk brakes, upgraded front axle shafts, disk brakes at all four corners, front axle locks, a centered rear housing, and an ARB air-locker. Some of those I got good deals on but still.

                Even with a used junkyard axle like you're talking about you'll have another $500 in rebuilding it, then you have to work on pinion angles and spring perches, and that's assuming the track width works and you don't have to change it. The front needs to match in ratio and width of course. Honestly when I looked at the options it wasn't a huge difference.

                Parts availability is definitely not as easy, but I don't know that it will be that bad either. Most of the important parts interchange between military and civilan and combined that's a lot of vehicles. The disk brakes are all off the shelf wear parts. And honestly the ratio is only a problem for a diesel engine. A gas motor would be pretty happy at 65 with 4.88s.

                I totally get why people do it, I was tempted to do it myself, but once the stock axles are gone I just don't see the point of saving the stock frame either, if you just swap axles you'll still have 70 mph axles under a suspension and steering meant for 50 mph with the same parts issues as the axles have. Just upgrade the whole setup since in reality what you want is a modern driver with a PW body on it. The work is the same and the parts you're modifying are the least likely to kill you or someone else if you screw them up.

                Regardless it's your truck, do as you wish it only has to make you happy, just my opinion after going through the process myself. I'll be curious to see what you do about the adapters.


                • Little things

                  Took the truck to it's first truck show, it had a lot of interest. Won the most valuable prize at the show too, the 50/50! There were some really nice trucks but ironically mine was one of the most usable there. Most of the others were garage queens, or not really a truck any more, but they were fancy. It was a small show, but not a bad morning.

                  With the bed mostly done I've been playing with smaller tasks and other projects. For the Power Wagon that meant finally rebuilding the PTO for the transmission. Blasted and painted the case and installed new bearings, races, and seals. Waiting on the mounting studs and then I'll have to work on getting it bolted to the transmission.

                  The small round side mirrors are just too small, especially now that the bed is finished and installed, so I looked for some larger mirrors and found a set of generic 5x7 units that mount correctly but I'd loose the integrated turn signals I liked, luckily there's a fix for that. They make LED indicators you install behind the mirrors. I had to play with how to remove the right amount of the backing paint, and ended up damaging one mirror, but the final result works, not as bright as I would like but I get better visibility and keep all the same features.

                  I've also started laying out the design for my running boards. Have the design for the mounting brackets and measurements to make the framework. Then I'll have a piece of diamond plate bent up and bolt to the framework and have everything sprayed with the bed liner before installing.
                  Attached Files


                  • My Desoto is in the garage currently getting some much needed TLC. The Power Wagon is mostly just being used for truck things.

                    This weekend we got caught up in the winter weather that tracked up the east coast, a good 8-10" of snow in our area and a lot of wind, which not only created some interesting snow sculptures.

                    It was a good excuse to use 4WD, though with some weight over KO2s it wasn't all the necessary, but it wasn't all fun and games. The second time out to get a few odds and ends the fuel problem I had last year when it got this cold returned. I got it started after priming the system with the lift pump first then topped off the tank and made sure to add some anti-gel treatment, but this morning ran into the same problem on the way to work. Priming the lift pump on the motor helped get her started again so I seem to be sucking air from somewhere, but only when it's really cold. It only happens after it's run for a while.

                    Luckily the temperatures are going back to normal, which should solve my problem in the short term, but long term I'm going to need to go through the fuel system and see where this might be coming from.
                    Attached Files