Finally, a little progress on the Diamond T.

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Antique trucks, backyard builder, Diamond T truck, Hot Rod, Vintage trucks
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September was spent getting ready for Nats North, the TCT Fall Rally, and selling the ’36 Special.  I put a heat/air/defrost underdash unit in the Pontiac wagon, and installed electric wipers, a long overdue job.  Then, from the end of September thru the middle of October,  we were  traveling to those events, our vacation to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then a long weekend to Las Vegas to visit Craig.  

In between that, we took time to take a couple of rides on our new bike, and lately, getting the plow fixed up and ready for winter, as my last entry detailed.  Now, finally, I’m back on DT!

I’d bought a really nice electric fan/shroud combo in Kalamazoo at Nats North for the truck, along with individual windshield wiper motors and a couple of other little trinket items.  I figured today I’d be able to get the fan installed, get the two windshields in, and maybe even the wipers mounted. 


The fan almost, but not quite, would drop in under the hood, so, off with the hood.   With the hood off, I was able to drop the fan down in and get it up against the radiator,  and it fit perfectly against the radiator, with plenty of room to drill mounting holes through the shroud into the radiator frame.  Unfortunately, there was no way to get a drill in any further than the very top, and about three inches down.  That wasn’t going to work, so I started in to remove the radiator.

That requires unbolting the grill shell from the front fenders, dropping the sway bar, and then carefully tipping the grill shell out while wiggling the radiator up and out around the front crossmember.  This is a crossflow from the ’93 GMC van that was the donor for the front suspension, and original filler neck is at the bottom, and has to be very carefully maneuvered around various obstacles in order to let the radiator up and out.  If I had a lift, I could just drop it straight down and out the bottom, but I’ve no way to get the front up high enough here at home.

This little job ended up taking all day, and while it was time-consuming, it worked out pretty well.  While the radiator was out, I mounted the fan, and trimmed the front crossmember, which serves now only to mount the radiator horse collar (core support), to give a little more clearance for the radiator.  The radiator drops down between this and the front sway bar, and I had very little clearance before.  Now, half an inch between the tender aluminum core, the sway bar in front and the crossmember behind.  Much better.

I didn’t get the hood back on, but I’ll need help with that anyway.  I did manage to get everything else back together without scratching the paint, which is good.  The engine oil cooler, the big black thing in front of the radiator, had to be re-mounted, but that was a good thing too.  Originally, I’d mounted it with the zip-tie like things it came with through the radiator core, which I didn’t like.  Now, it hangs from the grill shell frame about an inch ahead of the radiator core.  I feel better about that, and the extra clearance around the radiator.   Please excuse the heavy coat of dust on the engine.  I also now have to make a new mount for the air filter, as it now hits the back of the fan housing and won’t fit where it did before.  No problem.








A couple of days ago I made the little brackets that attach the crank push rods and had them on the w/s frames.  The originals were pot metal, and had broken.  The new ones are 1/8″ steel flat stock, 1/2″ wide, painted “Cast Coat” silver, they look enough like the pot metal originals to be fine.  I have the gaskets on the frames, which I polished up on the buffer, so that will all go together now.  I’m excited to see it with the windshields in, that’ll be a big step.




I spent a few minutes setting on the running board trying to figure out how to upholster the fire wall and kick panels.  At first, due to the rather complex shape of the engine box,  I thought I’d have to make a fiberglass panel, laid up in place against the firewall, pull it out and upholster it out of the truck.  After thinking about it for a while, I see now how to make a fitted carpet panel, that I can bond another layer of insulation to, and fit it.  Much simpler.  Sometimes I have to let things set,  and come back to them with a fresh outlook.  This is one of those things.

It felt good to get at least part of the things I wanted to do today completed.   The  next big thing, after getting the windshields in and the cranks working, will be color sanding and polishing the paint.  I fired the truck up this afternoon, so if we get a couple relatively warm days, I can cut (wet-sand) the paint outside and keep some of the mess out of the shop. 

Stay tuned for more progress, as I get the fan actually wired up, the radiator filled with coolant, get some headlight bulbs in it, and get the glass in.  Then, there’s lots of stainless to polish, lots of paint to be sanded and polished, and the interior to complete.  Hopefully, winter will be long enough to get all that done!

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