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The Truck was delivered on Friday July 18, 2003.

 

The following is a work in progress...more of a diary and some ranting about the progress that is going on with the truck. As winter approaches I will clean up this page.

 

A more Detailed inspection of the truck reveals that it is better and worse shape that what I had led myself to believe. The body has only 1 real area of rust through and that is in the right side front cabinet. A Cabinet that was added later to house some equipment. I believe that when this cabinet was installed the left booster was moved to the top of the hose bed.

Good Points

It does not leak. I have placed this truck on my shop driveway and it does not leak a drip even after 60 years. Can't say the same for my 97 F-150.

Panels are very straight and will require sand blasting and only minor straightening.

Shifts good, good tires,....

Low Points

Found the exhaust manifold to exhaust pipe stud broken and the gasket missing. This would account for the loud noise when starting and running. It also has no muffler and a homemade pipe setup. These are old items from the look of it 10 plus years.

The inlet hose to the pump from the tank is rusted and broken free from the tank. This could be a problem. Will have to analyze when I remove the tank for deck replacement.

NO BRAKES!...I knew this but ouch...Get out of my way. First Gear and wheel chalks. Estimate of repairs $900. Rebuilt wheel cylinders and Master. This will be the big expense and was anticipated.

Needs all new wood decking and super structure. It is Oak...this could cost.

On July 19 Restoration has begun....

We are off and running. The first thing we will do is to fix the exhaust leak. Can't have PO'ed neighbors.

While I examine the exhaust my son is busy removing the diamond plate beside the tank and over the deck. I plan on removing the tank to replace the decking. While the decking is off I will Sand blast the entire frame and repaint in OD. 

Most of the Diamond Plate comes off easily as the wood is rotten and the screws and bolts pull right out.

 

7/21/2003 We have now gotten into the engine and found that both exhaust  manifold studs to down pipe are snapped off. Also found the exhaust manifold cracked at Cylinder #3. A big chunk is missing. This will require removal and replacement of the exhaust manifold. The intake is part of it so it comes out as a unit. Inspection reveals the manifold is not salvageable. Need a new one. Junk yard hunting or NOS.  $$$$

Used my cut off tool to remove the rusty bolts holding down the tank. The piping came off easily as there were many unions and thus no cutting. I moved the truck to another part of the yard and lifted off the tank with my Hough HH loader. What a breeze.

I have determined what we need for exhaust piping and will have to have that custom bent. Check out what the FD who owned it put in for a exhaust pipe. Restricted exhaust...This baby should hump with a free flowing exhaust.

July 24, 2003 Started on the brakes today. What a mess. The fluid has crystallized within the wheel cylinders. I am removing them to send them out and have them rebuilt.

July 26, 2003  Removed the rear step. The bent body came back into line a little. Still there will have to be some pulling. Sent out the brakes to White Post Restorations (www.whitepost.com) to have all the wheel cylinders rebuilt, the master rebuilt, and the rear brake shoes relined. When spending all this time and money on an irreplaceable truck I don't want the brakes to fade and clobber someone. They should be back in 10 Days.

Having a huge problem finding a exhaust manifold. For all the G506 trucks that were built I can't believe that there are not any good used manifolds out there. I can get a NOS manifold but I really do not want to spend the extra money that new will cost. Got Lucky...Got a perfect used manifold on the extra used 235 engine that came with the purchase of the 125 

Went to the Merrimack Valley Military Vehicle Collectors (MVMVC) annual show over the weekend. Acquired NOS Rear original Brake lights with black out lights. From the holes in the body these were what originally came with it. I hope they can go through NH safety inspection. Also purchased a second budd wrench for the other pumper. And switches and knobs to fix this truck back to original. Also bought a Original Military manual for the 125.

Contacted Vintage Wiring of Maine by email about whether harnesses are available and cost. Quote $650+ for new harness for G506. That will have to wait.

Pulling the rear compartments back into shape is next...stay tuned.

August 16, 2003 Nine inches of rain in the last 10 days has put a damper on working on the truck. In the rain I was able to "Zep" the frame and pressure wash of much of the caked on grease. While washing the cab I found that the pressure washer was able to take off some of the paint. I continued on to the hood and began to expose some of the original blue registration numbers. There are 2 sets painted one over the other. I did find a beginning number of "5" and I know all Fire Trucks start with 5. I will follow this up.

I finally got around to removing the rear bed lumber and cabinets. The left cab and right booster line are attached to the oak cross pieces. The rear cabinets sit directly on the frame and are held in by the rear tow hooks (I am not removing the hooks so the cabinets will stay on and be sand blasted on.

The vacuum wiper motors have been removed and sent to the wiperman.com to be rebuilt. New manifold has been installed and I am in the process of having a custom front pipe manufacturer for the exhaust system. Brakes are back from White Post but will not be installed until after sand blasting.

Sand blasting will commence soon.

 

August 27, 2003  Brakes are back from White Post a 10 day turn around over 2 weekends...very good service and the wiper motors came back from wiperman.com a 7 day total turn around. Excellent service and the even put stuff on that did not go down with them. They will stay in the box until the painting/blasting is done.
September 9, 2003 Sand blasting of the frame has been completed. This required removal of all wheels and putting the truck up on Jack stands. First I completely pressure washed the truck with Zep Orange cleaner. It did a nice job of cleaning off all the grease. I put down a couple of blue poly tarps on the floor of my make shift blast house. I then sand blasted the body using "Black Beauty". I went through 10 50 pound bags of  BB. I recycled what I could pick up off the floor. In all just, sand blasting, the frame I went through about 500 pounds of material. What a dirty messy job.

Next came the frame painting with the paint POR. This "Paint Over Rust" primer is suppose to clemicallly bond with any rust and eliminate it's spread. While expensive I figured that it would be worth the effort to only paint this baby once. The POR mixed as directed went on smoothly, lets hope it works.  

Five Days later I painted the POR with an etching primer and then let that dry. I then sanded some of the rough spots (and any runs). 3 Days later it was a coat of Gillespee Lusterless Olive Drab. Mixed according to the directions on Bob Muller's "Vehicles of Victory" website resulted in a very nice finish and excellent coverage. It is actually pretty easy to paint a military vehicle...everything is OD...so you don't have to stop at lines or panels...you just paint every thing. I now must begin sand blasting and sanding the cab, water tank, and compartments. The tank and compartments will get POR the cab will not.

 

October 1, 2003 Finally getting some beautiful fall weather. I have been spending the last 3 weeks masking and waiting for the right weather to be able to sand blast and prime without dampness and before it gets too cold to paint in my tent (spray booth).

I have sand blasted the entire cab inside and out. What a diry messy job. I recycle the slag blast media about 5 times before it becomes too smooth and too full of dirt and paint to do a good job.

       

October 2, 2003 The next day I primed with etching primer. Came out great. Now I need 2 more good warm days before winter to put the first coat of OD on. 

 
October 8, 2003 A glorious October Day. The first coat of Gillespee OD paint has been applied. Went on great...only a few minor problems. This will probably end the painting for this year. Except for maybe the rear step which is done at the fabricators and is primed.

December 20, 2003 Little has been done on the trucks in the last 45 plus days. Busy getting the house ready for Winter. I keep picking up pieces on ebay to stock the truck after the paint is done. Indian cans, Fire Extinguishers, Axes, hose, trinkets.....you know...guy stuff.  I have ordered up a 2 car garage shelter to keep them covered in the winter. The 6 week wait has been a little longer as you can see by the photo on the right.

April 17, 2004 It has been warm enough to start back up with mechanical work with the truck. I have decided to convert this truck to 12 Volt for reliability and my ease of use. Conversion is simple enough. I purchased a '60s chevy 65 amp alternator and have installed it in place of the generator. I had to have a pulley custom made to the correct offset to get to the belt. The alternator top bracket is a curved piece from a 1980's Saab. New Battery Cables and some resistors, and a 12 volt coil and we are in business. It now cranks fast and starts immediately. Runs poorly. Must be a clogged passage in the carb from varnished gas. I did not get a chance to put stabilizer in this last fall as I could not get it to start under the 6 volt system. (Note: For the past 4 years I put stabilizer in every gas powered rig I have if I don't move through the contents of the whole tank in 30 days. It has saved me endless amounts of time of not having to clean carbs). Also noticed that this rig does not have the original carb on it. Some Rochester job with no tags. I don't know whether to buy a rebuilt original carb or fool with rebuilding this one.

Picked up a ton of of Fire related equipment and about 4000 feet of hose from an individual. Now I will have what I need to "accessorize" the truck when done.

 
August 1, 2004 With Weare Rally now history I can get back to working on the 325 which is next in line. The truck now runs poorly and I have been working on the motor to get it to idle . It is too hot to sand blast but I have done a little body work on the roof of the cab where the previous Siren Light was mounted with about 40 small bolts holding down an aluminum backing plate. What a mess.
August 2, 2004 Found that the Fire Tank is rusted beyond use as a Fire Tank. It is not feisable to make repairs to the tank as there is just too many rust holes to make it water tight. I have contracted with a local welder to have him build a custom tank to place inside the original tank. While this will not hold as much water it will use the original inlet to add water. This will help the truck keeps it's original look and still be able to carry water.

August 27, 2004 I have spent the week sandblasting, Priming, and painting with OD the Fire Body.

Sand Blasted and pre-treated before POR-15

POR-15

 

Olive Drab 1st coat

 
September 14, 2004 Over the weekend I installed the replacement Oak support rails for the Fire Tank. Went on just like the Originals. Also installed was the newly fabricated rear step.

October 4, 2004  Used the Hough loader and with my son's help I was able to get the new Water tank installed inside the old tank and all bolted down to the the decking on the body.

July 9, 2005  Coming up on 2 years and we are almost done. The painting of OD is done. Began replacing the broken glass today. Installed the repainted windshield from 325 #2 and the new passenger side glass that came with the truck. The new wheels and tires which were painted a month ago finally got put on.  It is beginning to look like a really Army truck now and not some "jitterbug". Problems have cropped up with the engine...Apparently it was not as good as was advertised. Compression on all cylinders is 140 psi except for #2 which is 75 psi. This is leading to a poor idle and a bog when stepping on the Accelerator.  The head may have to come off due to a burned valve. I will be doing some paint mask stencils the next time it does not rain.

 
 

 

 

If you have any 40's era Fire Equipment or know of any Military vehicles For Sale please email me at  325@armyfiretrucks.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, July 09, 2005 23:22