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New to me W500....

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  • New to me W500....

    Hello everyone,

    I apologize in advance for the length but......

    I have been a lurking member of this board since 2012 and have been dreaming about one day owning a Power Wagon of one description or another, I have always loved (and still do) the flat fender civilian one tons(rare in Canada), with the W500 close second(very rare up here), followed by the W300(a little more common). Well this spring (actually the weekend before COVID hit the fan) it finally happened... I hit the jackpot on a 1968 W500 on Craigslist, and for a very respectable price. Without hesitation I e-transfered a deposit, rented a 30ft tandem dually gooseneck and invited my brother-in-law to come along on an all expense paid road trip to pick it up (being as he has a Cummins Dually 4x4 and I was going to use it whether he came or not)....5hrs in a blinding snow storm plus another 7hrs of good roads we were in the presence of my new project.....a virtually rust free and pretty straight truck (for a 50+yr old vehicle) that had been sitting for a decade or so. 48hours and 2500km, a quick visit with my sister (who lives 20minutes from where I bought the truck) and it was in my driveway.

    What I purchased is a 1968 W500 with what appears to be a 1970 383ci 2bbl (going by the casting number on the block, and the VIN plate shows a SPEC Engine). A 5speed transmission(knob shows 5speed plus reverse and there are a total of 6 shifter positions), Warn Lock-out hubs that work freely(SERT no 16525 Hub, FRT W), hydraulic tilt deck (with an engine driven clutch pump), windshield with no cracks or pitting, and either a left rear leaky wheel seal or possibly wheel cylinder....but no other significant leaks, valve covers are sweating and the intake valley pan has a hole rusted in it. The passengers floor pan is rusted/cracked around the body mount bolt, plus when they installed the hydraulics for the snowplow it once had they hacked (and I mean hacked) some sizeable holes in the floor pan and lower firewall with 39423miles showing on the odometer. It was originally a plow truck in California.

    Long story short I haven't had a lot of time to put into it up until now, due to COVID, summer vacation, etc. But I did manage to get it running. Pulled the plugs and sprayed some Seafoam Aerosol into each cylinder and doused the carb in Seafoam spray and let it soak, hooked up a temporary fuel tank (jerry can bungy corded to the front bumper in a custom cradle), cleaned and adjusted the points, cranked it over for about 10seconds and away it went, no excitement, no smoking, no back-firing, nothing. Just the purr of the big block like I had run it and parked it there the night before, give it a little gas and it just revs up smoothly.....

    But it has no brakes. I have plans of using this as my "local" driver (I have a 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Limited 4x4 for long trips) so I want good brakes and have planned on a 4 wheel disc brake conversion (plus original replacement brake parts are just about non-existent). I have found (and purchased) the rotors(pretty much bolt on, 90 Ford F700), calipers and pads(need to fabricate some brackets off of the knuckle, 2000 Ford F550) and now that it is a little cooler outside and I have some free time I would like to get started on it. So first I need to remove the old stuff....

    I purchased the factory service manual on CD and have read it pretty much from cover to cover but it is less than specific about some actual procedures.

    I need to remove the Warn hubs in order to remove the drums/backing plates/etc and install the rotors and don't want to mess them up (rarer than rare from what I gather). I undid the 8bolts and tapped on the hub housing and it popped loose but I was unable to remove it from the stub shaft. Do I need to disassemble the outer part of the hub (the part held on by allen screws) or do I just need to put some longer bolts in the threaded holes in the hub flange and gently push them off? (I don't have anything that size-7/16" I think- here but will get some).

    Also when I jacked it up, put it on the jack stands and removed the front tires I gave the steering a lock to lock turn and noticed there was a clunk and found that both tie rod ends are only held onto the knuckles by about 2 threads of the lock nuts (no cotter pins in them) so I will need tie rods. Any ideas or will I have to get creative? I do have some very reputable machine shops near by.

    My long term fantasy is to complete the hydroboost disc brake conversion. Get it road worthy and drive it pretty much as is for now and eventually would like to swap in a Detroit Diesel 6V53 with a 10, 13 or 15speed transmission. Upgrade to 11R22.5 tires and rims (90's Ford school buses use these rims) and build a utiline type dump bed to match the 175inch wheelbase with dually width fenders. And add power steering (preferably the original power assist ram style). Among many other smaller changes/upgrades/updates......

    I will try to document and post my progress but have the habit of going to work and forgetting to take pics/video....

  • #2
    Link to my Google drive with a couple of pictures...

    The other truck in the background is the original owners 1966 Canadian W500 Airport Fire Truck. Way rustier than mine but it only has like 12,000miles on it, factory power steering, rear locker differential. He is doing front discs, probably Cummins/6spd and a knuckle picker and deck.


    • Doc Dave
      Doc Dave commented
      Editing a comment
      That will be a beautiful truck when you’re done, and also a workhorse.
      I have a restored ‘60 W500, you can see pics by searching back on my posts.
      One thing to consider: the vacuum assist drums work VERY WELL! I had wondered when I bought them if I was going to need to consider discs, but with adjusting the brakes and the rebuilt booster (mounted to the driver frame rail) I have no complaints at all. In your case with the dual
      master you would need two, one right behind the other. I’ve seen this set up and they use one breather filter T’d and supplying both.

  • #3
    My truck was originally a US Navy bomb transporter on a Naval air station. It was painted the bright yellow that the military liked for vehicles near runways.

    Later it was sold to a logging company, who used it in the eastern (wet) woods. The cab and front fenders made up a rust bucket when I got it.
    If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.
    Mark Twain

    1952 B-3 PW "Kirkwood"
    1953 M-37 (restoration project) with 4BT power
    1960 W500 Power Giant "Orange Crush"

    S.A.R. member (


    • #4
      Are you sure the engine is not a 361? If it is it would have the "weird" looking truck heads & water pump.

      My 65 W500 had the selectable locking hubs, They were a booger to remove & a booger to disassemble. Seems like a hidden snap ring was involved.

      1975 W600


      • #5
        Going by the casting number on the block(just above the starter) it translates to a 1970 383 but with that said the starter drive is a 9tooth (which by application is an earlier model 361 starter)where as in parts lookups a 1968 383 calls for a 10tooth and this engine has a cartridge style oil filter which there is no reference of the 383's ever using a cartridge. I am not too worried about identifying the engine as it runs like a top and is eventually going to be swapped for a diesel.
        If I was keeping the truck completely stock I am sure the drums would be adequate but I am looking at increasing tire size by 5 or more inches and upping the power substantially , plus I don't want to put money into the stock brakes only to scrap it when I upgrade everything else. So I am committed to doing the discs/hydroboost swap so I need to figure out the there an actual snap ring or was it a spring clip? Did you have to disassemble the hubs to get them off or did the just need some extra coercion to get them to pop off?


        • #6
          I honestly can't remember if I had to disassemble, or if I chose to & shouldn't have. I'm pretty sure it was a ring, or maybe there was a second ring. There is a gentleman named Dan Shockley who posts on the other PW site, he made a run of reproduction hubs. He would know everything about them. I wish I could be of more help. I bought that 65 W500 in 2009, fiddled with it a bit, then bought a W600 the next year & it got all of my money/attention.

          I do recall the the driver's side lug nuts were left hand thread, same as other Mopars of that vintage.

          1975 W600


          • #7
            Looking at your pics (my 65 was originally red, but the exact same yellow as yours when I got it) & it got me to thinking. I'm fairly certain those Allen head bolts needed to come out & the hubs split to gain access to whatever was holding them on the shaft.

            1975 W600


            • #8
              Got a chance to work on taking the front hubs off today (only to find out I don't have the right socket to remove the spindle nuts, so I put it back together).

              I removed the 6 allen bolts and removed the dial which revealed a snap ring that held a spacer on the end of the stub shaft, but that only prevented the stub shaft from coming out to far, not stop the hub from being removed. So I removed that snap ring and spacer and low and behold if there wasn't another snap ring on the stub shaft itself that was preventing the hub body from coming off. Removed that ring and the hub slid right off. Found that the spindle nut is a 3-1/4inch 8point and I have a 3-1/4inch 6point (which fits the rear spindle nuts). So I put it back together until I get the right socket(thank you Amazon- half the price of the local suppliers for the exact same socket- I am willing to pay a little extra to buy local but not double). Sorry I didn't take pictures, will do so next time I take it apart.

              Also noticed that my hub bodies are different from side to side. Passenger side has 2 extra threaded holes 180degrees apart, between the mounting holes, where as the drivers side only has the mounting holes...wonder if one had been changed out.....they do stick out a fair ways.