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The "Hulk": Ugly green truck to Juneau??

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  • The "Hulk": Ugly green truck to Juneau??


    CHAPTER 1: The Acquisition

    I decided I wanted to accomplish one epic family road trip before my kids got married/moved away- so to that end I came up with: southern California to Juneau, Alaska and back.

    Now, my wife grew up in a warm, semi-tropical environment, and my kids think their noses will fall off from frostbite if it gets below 45 F, but I don'’t care! The North is a beautiful, awe-inspiring part of this world, and I wanted my kids to see places that don'’t have water rationing, heavy traffic, and millions of people in compact areas. The youngest should be graduating from high school in June 2020, so I have about 18 months to get this truck ready for a slide-in camper and 6,000 miles of highway, back roads, and mountains.

    I decided on an early '‘70'’s Power Wagon because I am partial to Dodges, because they are relatively easy to get parts for and fix “in the field”, and because 1975 and earlier vehicles do not have to pass an emissions test. I would have preferred a W300 one-ton model, but this ¾-ton model came up and it seems like a great candidate. It has little rust as a California desert vehicle, and the body is nice and straight.


    The plan is to go through most everything: new brake cylinders, hoses, and shoes and drums (if necessary); new water pump, power steering pump, alternator voltage regulator, pressure and temperature sensors, thermostat, all new hoses, new gas tank (remove in-cab tank and replace with in-frame, 30 gallon+ assembly), fuel lines, fuel pump, new wheel bearings all around, new steering wear parts, new and extra lights. The engine might get new main and con rod bearings. Finally, rebuild the transmission and install a new clutch, pressure plate, throw-out bearing, rear main seal, and if the clutch uses hydraulic master/slave cylinders, all new replacements of those. Of course, new tires and a second spare, with the wheels getting powder-coated. And, freshen-up the interior.

    If there is time, the exterior of the truck will get painted!

    So I went out to Lancaster, California this last Monday after work to a little property literally in the middle of the desert. Two older guys (California Duck Dynasty stand-ins)

    met me by the truck and we looked at it and b.s.'’d for a minute. Then they went to demonstrate that it would run by dropping in a battery from one of their Jeeps and pouring gas down the carburetor (the truck had been sitting since 2005 so the gas in the tank was bad).

    It cranked a little but the battery was mostly discharged so I had to bring my 2012 Ram over and hook up jumper cables.

  • #2
    Well, it eventually caught and ran a couple of seconds and died, so they tried again. It caught and ran a little longer, with the added-value entertainment of:

    The fire didn'’t last long and there didn’t seem to be any damage.

    We struck a deal and I promised to return on Thursday after work to take the truck. It was a bit tough getting to sleep that night, thinking about all the things that I plan to accomplish over the next year-and-a-half.

    Wednesday evening I went to my friend'’s house and picked up his car trailer. He and I just bought five brand-new wheels and tires, but one of them was pretty low, so I aired it up and took the trailer to my house overnight.

    Thursday after work, I checked the pressure in the suspect tire and it had dropped about 50%, so I stopped at a parking lot and topped it off with my 12 volt compressor. The ride was long, but traffic was reasonable and I arrived at the desert abode around 4:00 p.m. As I walked around the side of my towing truck and trailer, this was the surprise I got:

    OF COURSE!!!


    • Matthew Welcher PWA
      Editing a comment
      The under hood fire, we have all had at least one of these. I am glad that it didn't get worse than that.

  • #3
    The Power Wagon owner’s brother offered to let me back up the trailer and use the floor jack, so I got the tire changed lickety-split.

    Several years ago I set up a steel 2-gallon gas can with a 1/8” pipe ball valve and 6’ feet of 5/16” fuel hose for jobs like this; so I tie-wired it into the engine compartment and connected the hose to the fuel pump inlet, turned on the valve, and cranked the engine until it ran. I was surprised and pleased with how well it idled cold! I drove the W200 around to the back of the trailer, and with the previous owner and his brother guiding me, I started up the ramps. As I did so, the trailer lifted the back of my Ram 1500 off the ground, causing a bit of commotion. Fortunately, the brakes worked on the ’73, so we recovered, re-positioned, we blocked the back of the trailer, and I drove the old beast up and parked it.

    I stopped at a local “tavern” for an ironic(?) picture…

    (This place is near Edwards Air Force Base, home of numerous record-breaking test flights and loss of several brave American pilots)

    The drive home was uneventful; at 45 and at steps on up to 60 m.p.h., I swerved a few times on purpose to get a feel of how the truck/trailer combo would handle in an emergency and to make sure I had the load balanced, and it was surprisingly stable.

    I finally dropped the new treasure off at my friend’s house and made it home around 7:30 p.m.


    Trip cost: approximately 22 gallons of gas @ $3.73/gallon ($82.00) and one replacement trailer wheel/rim, $112.00.
    Last edited by oldndcctrucks; 01-17-2019, 09:40 PM.


    • Matthew Welcher PWA
      Editing a comment
      112.00 and the adventure included. This kind of adventure is priceless. Keep us up to date as this continues. Thank you

  • #4
    I have since cleaned the oil bath air cleaner, disassembled both front hubs and Warn lock-outs, cleaned and inspected all, and replaced the master cylinder, front axle brake hose, left front brake hose, and LF wheel cylinder.

    The drums and shoes look near-new, so I will be running them.


    • #5
      Nice project and story, keep the updates coming


      • #6
        Thanks! Chapter 2 will be a bit boring, just all the maintenance steps...


        • #7
          So that was a NEW tire? Didn't last long.

          Is your truck a 73? Does it still have the 205?

          1975 W600


          • #8
            Yes, ‘73 with a ‘77(?) grille... The engine is a 318; I saw the number on the block.

            My friend wanted to keep the tire cost low (5 tires and rims) so we got Chinese. Go figure.


            • #9
              Officially subscribed. I bought my crew cab with the intention of building it up into a vacation cruiser. I was going the Cummins route with an AOD and a 205. Then it became my daily driver. The 318 is adequate, but I wouldn't load it down too much or pull anything heavy.

              1940 VF32 ?
              1952 M37 318A
              1975 W200 Crew 318LA
              1993 W250 360
              Don't call it orange peel, think of it as no-slip grip!


              • #10
                I am a bit concerned with the engine I have, so I’m planning to get the maintenance done and then rent a slide-in and try it. If it’s too weak, I should have enough time to swap in a bigger engine.


                • #11
                  Sweet find! I still kick myself for passing over one just like that at a government auction years ago...

                  We've hauled a lot of trucks on a bumper pull and learned real quick to block the rear of the trailer AND sometimes chock the wheels on the tow truck.

                  Does '73 still have the front drums?

                  My guess is the 318 might not be up to it unless you change the gearing? But then mileage would suffer - or can it get any worse? But good idea to rent (didn't know you could do that) a slide-in and see. Will you actually load it down and camp for a few days in it?

                  IMHO, the ideal thing would be a 6BT swap. But that gets a little more complicated...

                  Thanks for sharing!
                  1951 B-3 Delux Cab, Braden Winch, 9.00 Power Kings
                  1976 M880, power steering, 7.50x16's, flat bed, lots of rust & dents
                  1992 W250 CTD, too many mods to list...
                  2005 Jeep KJ CRD


                  • #12
                    Yes a 73 would still have front drums.

                    1975 W600


                    • #13
                      This ‘73 has front drums... the factory manuals seem to indicate that front disc brakes were available in ‘74.

                      Yours makes two votes for the 318 not being adequate, with no opposition. I am not looking forward to an engine swap, but will have to keep an open mind to it.

                      I will hopefully have the truck ready for load-testing within a few months, including renting a slide-in camper. At that time we will see if a different engine is called for. We have several mountain passes here, including Cajon and Tehachapi, which will be more than adequate for testing.

                      The idea here is to have a field-repairable truck, so a diesel doesn’t fit that; I would not want to disassemble an injection pump on a tailgate. I DO LIKE the idea of a nice Cummins under the hood!

                      I don’t know yet what my differential ratios are yet.


                      • #14
                        I thought '74 was the golden year: disc brakes, divorced transfer, lockout hubs, etc.

                        My OEM 318 has well over 100K on it and it is tired. I remember my dad's '68 wagon with a 318 would lite the tires though. I've never had a fresh built one or one with upgrades like a cam, carb, etc. It could be done. Having said that, the old slant six (had one of those too) powered ton and bigger trucks but that was with gearing and top speed was low.

                        Which reminds me, speaking of the slant-6, hey Bucky, did you see that '70 W500 on the well known on-line auction site?

                        But I digress. Maybe an under or over drive unit? I'm sure someone has experience and can chime in using a stock or mildly modified 318 to get the job done. A 360 should be a direct swap but not sure you'd gain much really?

                        What about bags in the rear or something to help with sway?
                        1951 B-3 Delux Cab, Braden Winch, 9.00 Power Kings
                        1976 M880, power steering, 7.50x16's, flat bed, lots of rust & dents
                        1992 W250 CTD, too many mods to list...
                        2005 Jeep KJ CRD


                        • #15
                          By the way, you got me into the mechanical rut at the start but I think your journey is epic. I hope the family gets excited about. It will be a great time of bonding, beautiful sites and tons of stories. Memories for a lifetime.

                          I've wanted to go to Alaska since highschool. My best friend's daughter (22yo) just drove there by herself in an F150 pulling a trailer! I know my kids would love it but they grew up on a farm and tent camping in the cold etc.

                          I'm hoping your dream comes true and am happy to help in the prep!
                          1951 B-3 Delux Cab, Braden Winch, 9.00 Power Kings
                          1976 M880, power steering, 7.50x16's, flat bed, lots of rust & dents
                          1992 W250 CTD, too many mods to list...
                          2005 Jeep KJ CRD