Diamond T Reassembly

Diamond T Reassembly 1
This is what the cab looked like when it came back from Dyke's body shop. The original red was too "fire truck" looking for me. I did like the dark blue that it had been repainted but this lighter blue is authentic and was matched to a vintage color chart for the 1940 Diamond T. This is the speedometer after restoration. All instruments now look exactly like new. The original clock was replaced with a modern quartz movement but looks exactly like the original. The original ammeter had been shorted and melted but has been repaired to look new. The excellent restoration of the instruments was done by APT Instruments in Minneapolis.  The dash instruments in the Deluxe Cab are the same as used by Packard, one of the premier car makers of the time. The front glass is convex, not flat. Spaced back a bit, is a thin flat glass that has the lettering and numbers applied to the back side. In addition there are three small concentric decorative rings centered on this glass that appear to hover in space. To set off the numbering, also set back a bit, is a bronze colored ring.  Against this ring the numbers cast shadows and also appear to be floating in space. Finally, behind this ring is the fine indicator pointer and the background color of the instrument. For use as a tow truck several lights and optional electrical equipment were added. The fuses and switches were installed in holes drilled into the dash. This is one of the seat cushion springs after sandblasting and painting. Two of the coils were broken, but I found a source of individual replacement springs as seen at the right. One of the rusted broken springs is at the extreme right. I am not good at "position welding" so I tilted the frame so I could do a more satisfactory job of welding replacement plates in the frame as seen in the following pictures. My small shop is the only heated place to work in winter. The overhead door, opened for this picture, just clears the spring horns when closed. The back end of the frame is inches from the back wall. This is one of the diagonal braces in the frame that had been cut to accommodate the power take-off shaft for the winch when the truck was used as a tow truck. Here the jagged hole is trimmed up to ready it for a replacement plate that will be welded in place. The white chalk shows a crack that started up the frame web. This is another cut in the frame cross-member for the power take-off shaft. It is hard to see but a crack started at the top of the arch of this cut and continued up the web and across the frame flange to within 1/2" of going all the way. Reinforcing straps had been removed when this picture was taken. Here the bad section has been completely removed in preparation for a replacement plate to be welded in. Here I have tacked in place the replacement section that will be welded up later. On either side of the chain you can see the two repairs in the frame diagonal members. The saw horses don't look very substantial, but they did carry very little weight because the frame is quite balanced and is secured by the engine hoist. I could have shoved it over with a little push.
In late February the frame is loaded onto a towing dolly to be taken to a sandblasting and paint shop for refinishing. This is the frame back from the sandblaster and all painted like new. There are no photos of the repairs because of the black paint just they just do not show up in pictures. The frame is up on blocks to remove the wheels for new tires and to give it a brake job. This is one of the rear wheel hubs and brake drum. It too was covered with a thick coating of the same kind of grime that covered the engine and transmission. The brake drum and hub have been separated for cleaning. The shiny appearance is due to cleaning solvent that is still wet. The coating of grease and sand acted as a preservative so there was very little rusting. This is the steering box opened up for cleaning and to replace a seal. Early Model A Fords had a seven-tooth "sector", later ones have a two-tooth sector. Here we have a "one-tooth" sector. This is a close-up of the sector showing the "tooth", which is actually a short shaft that turns on roller bearings. This design reduces wear as it allows the tooth to roll along the worm instead of sliding along . The taper allows for adjusting the mesh to the worm. This is the rusty cast iron brake master cylinder with its innards displayed. The master cylinder after sandblasting and painting, along with new innards. The master cylinder bore was badly pitted so I had it sleeved with a stainless steel sleeve. All of the wheel cylinders are also rebuilt and sleeved with stainless. The seat pan was badly corroded from gasses and discharges from the battery that is carried in the frame below the seat. The ridges were rusted through in this section and are being restored with window screening bridging the gaps and covered with (I hate to say it) Bondo, This is one of the die cast zinc grill halves. Its wooly appearance results from being treated with an acid etch to aid in painting this hard to successfully paint metal. Here the grill halves, and the hood trim moldings have been refinished and primed with an epoxy primer. The arched item is a fender brace that crosses over behind the radiator. New tires are in the background.
Here are the gill sections and trim moldings all painted and ready to be installed. The cigar lighter was a generic replacement with the wrong knob. Here a replacement knob is being made, using a knob borrowed from the choke control as a pattern. The factory equipped knob had a small red jewel in the center. When a suitable jewel is located I will add it to this knob. What served as a headliner in the original cab was a pad of gray felt-like wool or cotton material cemented directly to the metal roof. This is being replaced with a thick felt-like padding of black acrylic and polyester. The oak lath temporarly held the fabric in place until the cement dried. Here again the engine hoist and straps were used to lift the cab to put it back onto the frame. The truck is getting to look more like a truck. There is still a lot of work to be done on it but it is ready for the engine. The wiring under the dash is complete with the wires to the lights and engine components all ready to be hooked up. This is the engine on neighbor John Huber's work bench. He has done a very careful and expert job of overhauling the engine. I am sure it is better than it was when it was new 70 years ago. Isn't it beautiful? We will be installing the engine into the truck in the next week or so. Here is another view of the engine. The crank ratchet on the belt pulley was so worn from years of hand cranking the engine that the crank would not stay engaged. I remember attracting a lot of attention from curious customers at an A & W drive-in when I had to crank the engine to get it started. I guess they had never seen a guy crank an engine before. Here is the overhauled transmission with the restored parking brake assembly installed. John located all the parts and services necessary to make the engine and transmission just like new and in perfect condition. This piece is beautiful too. It will be a bit of a shame to put oil in it. Progress is being made.  Click to go to  Reassembly Part 2  to see the continuing story.