Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vintage Truck Parts Get A New Life!

Check out this guest blog post from my boyfriend's son!  Just when I started to believe children don't enjoy fresh air and creative outings like I used to, I was sent the best email ever!  You see, as a child, I grew up in a 300 year old colonial that had the BEST property to dig and search for old dumping grounds which held old bottles and antiques. One area included the carcass of an old vintage car from the 20's which I made my destination point many times.  I used to walk, dig, and dream while trying to envision how the old path/road hidden in the woods used to go to Boston.  My own childhood memories were reignited when I was sent this amazing documented day of adventure, creativity, and imagination.  

Please let me take a moment to catch you up to speed.  When Ben made a quick mention of leaving, to go to the old dumping ground of vehicles in town, I figured he would be gone for about an hour.  Nope!  Several hours later and daylight almost completely gone, I put on my Nervous Nelly pants and said we should go look for him to make sure all is well.  After a funny and over exaggerated rolling of his eyes, his dad appeased me and left to check on him.  Within a minute after his dad leaving, Ben and his 1951 Ford truck pulled into the driveway and I was able to relax and could not wait to see what he found.  (oh and then I texted Ben's dad to tell him he was home and that he might as well get some wine while he was already out :-)  No sense in wasting gas you know!)

Please enjoy this unedited story of Ben's adventure and the re-purposing old truck parts. This is just one of his projects.


So here’s what I did to make a cool old truck in the woods into something cool for my room!

First I found a truck across from the ice cream stand in town. There were 4 trucks I could see and likely others buried under boulders from the new mini golf course construction across the street.

Here are a couple of pics from the farm truck graveyard a 55 ford f600 big job (green) and an old international (rusty)

There's a funny story to how my buddies and I found this place! That old international sits embedded in what looks like just dirt right? Well that’s what I thought.   This picture was taken from the crest of a steep 8 foot hill of dirt formed by a backhoe, which should have been suspicious when I found it, but I was so eager to take a good look that I ran up to it on this hot summer day and plunged belly button deep into the pit were they dumped unused ice-cream… in my jeans, I sank into this horrible 90 degree junk that smelled like the deepest pits of hell, way past the stench of rotten milk. The story gets better though! As I try to get out of that pit, it sucks my pants off. So now I'm on the crest of this little hill yanking on my pants trying to free them, wearing my underwear. Finally I got them on, drenched in rotten ice cream, and I proceeded to bike back 2 miles home. Yes, on my bike, because I had no license. I had to pedal harder than ever before to keep fresh air in my face and the stench behind me. As I got near home, Murphy’s law kicked in and I had to go past the group of pretty girls in the neighborhood. I called my mom and told her to have the garden hose ready (no way I was getting in dripping in that stuff!), because I didn’t want to stand waiting without the breeze provided by the bike. Took half an hour to get me clean enough for the house, and then an hour shower to get the smell off me. Those jeans (brand new of course) never smelled okay again, even after many many washes.

ANYWAY... Here’s the best picture I have of  the old Mack B-42 from which the dashboard came. Took half an hour to finish the job I had started a year ago and lost interest in (unscrewing old screws and breaking the ones that wouldn't come, and cutting speedometer, oil, air, and electrical cables). This truck is a beauty! Non existent split windshield, big fenders, and a flathead inline 6 cylinder engine. It’s all there. A frozen solid twin stick transmission and dual rear axles. This was a top of the line truck.

After my epic battle with the old hardware, I brought the dashboard home (with some other junk too like an old boat dashboard, steering wheel and column, some old cab lights and a few emblems off the old trucks).

The backside is fairly straightforward, so I took the light bulbs and sockets out from their mounts and the wiring came with it. I sanded everything for half an hour to make sure the electrical connections would exist. Initially it was one wire to each light, and the electricity would complete it’s circuit through the dashboard, body, frame, and back to the battery.  This is how old cars and trucks were grounded.

After this, I took my moms old portable house phone charger and cut off the base for the phone, leaving only the plug and wires. The brick that plugs into the wall converts a houses ac 110 volts into dc current needed for lights like this. All dc power supplies like this say their voltage on the back, and mine is 6 volts. I think that like my 51 ford truck, this Mack was a six volt. 

There are three bulbs on this circuit, and I have two power supplies, so I cut off the smaller speedometer bulb from the circuit. This one will be independent from the others because being the center of attention, it will need to be brightest.
Working with the other two side bulbs now.

Once the phone base is cut off from the wire, I solder a one, let’s call it positive although it doesn’t matter which one yet, to the end of the existing light circuits wire end.

Then I solder the negative power supply wire directly onto the outside of the first bulb’s metal jacket. Then another wire goes from bulb one to bulb two’s outer jackets. This creates the negative end of the circuit.

Plug it in, and all goes well! One is dim because it is the old original bulb, the new one is working a bit better.

Now for the speedometer bulbs circuit, I attach one wire to the existing old wire, and the other to the bulb casing. That is a complete circuit. (all connections are soldered.)

Now for the speedometer bulbs circuit, I attach one wire to the existing old wire, and the other to the bulb casing. That is a complete circuit. (all connections are soldered.)

Now I plugged that back into it’s hole, in the back of the speedo, I put the other two bulbs in their mounts, and plug it all in! The speedometer is great, but the other two need more power to light up the small gauges visibly. So I’ll buy my buddy’s defective computer power supply and use the 8 volts from that to power them. Should work great!

A note from Linda: "And here it is! We will try to post a photo of the whole panel, but camera and flash issues prevented showing how cool the whole panel was"