Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

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Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by Pilothouse_Mike on Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:38 pm

I am transferring this build over from the HAMB upon request. It will take me a very long time to transfer my write up over, I will also be adding updates exclusive to this forum which I have not added to the other build. But enough jabbering, here it goes...


Well I've been waiting to post this until we started making decent progress so here it is. I've been planning this thing in my head for a year or so and alot has changed but I'm still hoping it turns out alright. This is my first build and I wanted to keep a log of my progress so I hope it isnt too boring!

Here is basically what I started with...



The original plan was too lower it a bit and get it moving highway speed with the old flathead 6. While of course updating the brakes.

Soooo... First thing we did was get a dropped axle from Sid along with new king pins. It was a little confusing at first but we cut up another pack of leaf springs to make crude spacers. This dropped the truck down and gave it a slight rake. I will post a tech write up of the drop axle installation if you guys would like, it is quite confusing working your way through it on your own, but it should be a breeze if you know what you're doing! On to the engine, like I said the original idea was to run the flathead with a t-5 behind it but when we took the head off there was a big chunk out of one of the cylinders. We tossed around the idea of putting a big block flathead 6 in it but then my dad suggested an old gmc van our neighbor had. He asked him about it and he said if you can get it out of here, you can have it. So that is the explanation for why it has a Chevy engine. I don't mean to sound like an asshole but I don't care what anyone thinks about the small block chevy, it was free, parts are cheap, and it is one of the most traditional engines out there. So it is staying, if you don't like it hit that big red X in the top right of your screen.

Dropping the engine in for the first time...



It fit really good, no cutting was needed to get it to fit, another plus for the chevy... The engine originally had a throttlebody and a computer and shit but that isnt going to be on there for long. The exhaust manifolds that were on it arent going to work either.

I had toyed around with the idea of making a hurst style mount for the front of the engine utilizing pieces of the stock engine mounts. I decided to scrap the idea and go for the side mounts on the engine instead, more on that later on. The rearend needed to be updated to handle the v8 powerplant so I had read DanBabb used a 90's Jeep rearend in his hemi powered pilothouse so I stole the idea for this one. Here is the Jeep rear installed...



Its a great fit, same as original. As for the driveshaft I had a 90 Dakota driveshaft at hand which also had a larger universal joint than the Jeep so I decided on that. Jeep on the left, Dakota on the right...



The Dakota driveshaft was a few inches too long so we cut the end off and welded the chevy slip yoke in the other end.



And there you have it a one off th400 to Jeep driveshaft for exactly $0. Just to keep it in perspective at this point in the build there may be $300 in the running gear minus the front end that was way more...



I am really skipping around through all the info I have from my build to make this write up fairly straight forward. If you would like my to elaborate on anything, to not hesitate to ask...


Last edited by Pilothouse_Mike on Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:47 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by Pilothouse_Mike on Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:16 pm

Part 2...

After seeing everything rusty for so long it was nice to get it all painted. The entire running gear is painted with KBS gloss black because this truck is being built to be a driver. If you haven't tried this stuff I strongly recommend it...



I also ordered a rusty hope disc brake kit for the front end. It is totally worth the money if you are dead set on running the stock axle and spindles like I was but everything went smooth on the install, I just needed to have a spacer made for the inside wheel bearing. Other than that it was pretty painless...



Also the emergency brakes off the Jeep rearend were also fitted so that it could be hooked up with the stock handle, I don't have any pictures of it off hand. Again if enough of you guys want a tech on that, I would gladly do it...

Now onto the sheet metal repair/ modification... I did a lot of patching on the bed and also got it ready for an oak floor, I was dead set on re-radiusing the rear fenders with the front fender opening. If you followed my original thread, these pictures won't make much sense to you because they are pretty out of order. I am only posting them this way so I can show the start and finished product together....



Thats the basic idea....

And the finished product before metal finishing...



My original cab was pretty rough in the floor department, I was scimming the classifieds on the pilothouse forum and found a gent in NY selling a 5 window cab from out west for a good price. I jumped on it because I had gotten corner windows for basically nothing and I always wanted a 5 window cab. Here it is fully painted in the final color...



I wanted to use buick tail lights real bad so instead of just slapping them on I came up with a custom panel under the tailgate. I love the look of it, the picture is only of the mock up because I still haven't finished it yet but I am currently working on it.



In the mean time all the brakes and steering is finished we took it out for the first time. This is yours truly standing with the truck on its first time out.




And finally this is the most recent photo of the truck I have on my photobucket



I have been making a TON of progress recently including getting my front wheels painted, and mounted with brand new firestone whitewalls and my full hub caps. I am also in the process of finishing up the rear panel and doing the body work on the whole truck. I will try to get more photos uploaded to continue the thread if you all would like. As for now that is the birth of "The Gray Nosed Goat" coined by my buddy nikkyp. Thanks for checking it out and wanting me to post my build on your site!

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by rich on Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:14 am

cool truck mike, welcome and thanks for sharing your build i can't wait to see more!

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by R.A.D on Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:10 am

This interesting. I'm subscribed

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by rich on Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:58 pm

any updates mike?

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by Pilothouse_Mike on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:50 pm

There has been some progress Rich, and I have been taking pictures. Unfortunately photobucket has entirely changed their whole site and I am having trouble getting the pictures off my phone and onto my album. I am trying to get the hang of it and hopefully I can post some new pics up soon.

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by Pilothouse_Mike on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:22 pm

Actually a little bit after I posted that reply I figured out how to get the photos off my phone onto the computer. So here it is....

Here is what the rolling stock will be looking like... Powder blue wheels, 3 1/4 white walls, and the most under rated hubcaps around, guess em if you can mopar guys!



And mounted up they look absolutely killer...



I am aiming for an early 60's feel for the truck and I trying my hardest to visibly not use any parts newer than 65. But I think I am hitting the mark, the wheels really put a little pep in my step to start knocking out the bodywork. Probably the only thing I haven't messed with is the nose, I was holding out for a 54 Nash Ambassador grille until I found a '54 Dodge about a mile from my house. I talked to the owner a number of times and tentatively the truck is mine he just wants to get the driveshaft off it for a hemi powered Model T he is building. So I am currently waiting for the call to go and pay and pick up the truck to make finish the grille. I have plans for shortening the bottom 54 grille bar and just fitting it into the 53 opening. I have this crazy idea to chrome them when I'm done, hopefully another buddy can come through with some reasonably priced plating so I don't have to take out a loan...

Other than that its just boring old body work until I can get started on the grille. We fitted the drivers door, but the passengers door is in far worse condition.



Eh its coming along, I would really like to get it on the road by the summer of this year, its still kind of up in the air if it will be road worthy or not by then.

This is not part of the update anymore but in my quest to come up with fresh ideas while making them appear as if they could have been done in the 60s I came across this photo while I was at the book store. It would appear my choice of hubcap and color are indeed traditional. The car is Al King's 54 Chevy, I am extremely happy to see that I am hitting the traditional custom mark with this truck.



And also in case anyone was wondering or cares here is my final vision for the truck. I saw a piece that was done of another buddy's truck and did a rendition of my truck in the same style.



That's all for awhile, thanks for the interest!

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by rich on Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:22 pm

thats really taking shape mike . good work

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by R.A.D on Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:26 pm

Man don't stop now. This like caffeine. For me

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by froy on Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:29 pm

man alive. you are tearin that truck a new one! but i like it Smile

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by Pilothouse_Mike on Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:48 pm

I've been busy... The stance is pretty much nailed at this point.





For some odd reason the passengers side rear is nearly 3 inches higher than the drivers side. I can't figure out why, I'm hoping the springs are just a little wonky and the frame isn't bent.

I'm going to be blowing the whole truck apart next week to do the body work and paint the bed, rear fenders, doors blue.

Hope you guys are still interested in this, its been real long since I've updated it.

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by 70chall440 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:21 am

you might want to spend some time figuring out where that 3" is coming from; it would such to do all the paint and body work and then have to cut into or damage it trying to fix it. Start with a base like, the frame. Measure from the ground (once on a flat surface) to the same points on the frame and see if you can determine if it is the springs, mounts or something else.

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by rich on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:09 pm

oh yeah don't feel we are not interested. we all know life gets in the way. but yes, take some measurements and eye ball everything cloesly. make sure you are happy with the fit. the paint will come!

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by derricklaukaitis on Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:41 pm

Looks Killer Dude! Like the idea of making the rear fenders look like the fronts!

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by Pilothouse_Mike on Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:01 pm

Thanks guys. Well my intentions were to blow everything apart, but this is not exactly what I had in mind... The engine started to go south real quick while running it the other day, so its going to get taken down to nothing and completely rebuilt. It needs lifters, oil pump, and perhaps new bearings. We shall see. At any rate, here is the truck as it sits. I took about two hours last night and completely took everything off the front. I guess everything will just get finished in blue now, no more gray.



I have been really slacking when it comes to working on the truck lately. I've got a good excuse, I picked up a model a roadster, so I can't help but tinker with that! Heres a quick picture from last weekend, when the truck still ran...


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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by rich on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:13 am

Nice roadster mike. To bad about the motor but that's the name. Of the game

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by mr incredible on Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:01 pm

how is it coming along mike?

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by JSavoie on Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:01 pm

Just found your build thread and can't wait to see more of it. You were really doing good.

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Re: Making Ugly Cool Again! 53 Dodge Build

Post by mr incredible on Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:22 pm

mike any updates

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