Posted By: Mike Burns
patch panels, where to start - Mon Apr 29 2019 09:25 PM
I am ready to order patch panels for my 53 half ton. When I got the truck, the doors were off of it. Most all of the metal on the lower cab is gone. When I say gone, I don't just mean non useable, I mean literally missing and gone. The floors, rockers, inside cowls are all gone. The only lower metal still there is the seat pan, and most of the toe board. So, I don't have much there to use as a reference. Somebody has welded some box tubing across each side of the cab, about where the rockers should be. I assume that they did this to try to keep the cab from spreading apart, front to back. Yesterday I re-mounted the doors, to check the gap around them. The gaps around both doors are close to the same, and are pretty consistent, except that the gaps at the lower portion of the rear of the doors is a little wider than the rest, (probably about 3/8 inch). Should I pull the lower front & back of the cab together in order to cut the 3/8 down a little, or is that about normal? Now, I sort of assume that I should start with the rockers, but no matter where I start, I need some sort of reference point, in order to tell where things need to be. The only real reference point that I have is the lip around the front of the seat base, and the holes in the toe board. I don't have another AD truck to use as a guide, but plan to visit a friend 10 miles down the road to get a look. It's possible, and I'm hoping, that when the new panels show up, it will all get somewhat self explanatory. I imagine that if the panels are installed in a certain order, then it will eliminate problems down the road. If so, I don't know what the order is. I hope that you can see what I'm getting at, and what my concerns are. Any tips, hints, suggestions, will be most appreciated. I have removed everything out the dash, firewall, and interior, and am ready to start stipping, sandblasting, & cleanup. I have read many old threads on this site, on this subject, and some have helped. I don't think that I'd have any questions if I had a little more original metal still in tact. I've restored a few vehicles in the past, but I never started with anything quite this rough. HELP
Posted By: bluesman
Re: patch panels, where to start - Mon Apr 29 2019 10:17 PM
Get the factory assembly manual if you don't have one. Section 1, sheets 1.07 and 1.08 show measuring points, and sheets 63.02 and 63.03 show dimensions for those points. That should help you get pretty close. And sheet 17.00 shows door clearances.
Posted By: 52Carl
Re: patch panels, where to start - Mon Apr 29 2019 11:02 PM
You have your work cut out for you (or put another way, someone cut out everything which you need to bring this truck back into shape.)
I will tell you this from experience, start with the doors and build the cab around them.
The lack of rocker panels will make this a challenge. There is a phrase known as "The Ring of Death". It refers to the importance of maintaining the combination of all metal which creates the door opening (The Ring). If you lose this, you are dead. Do not despair. You can get it back with the proper replacement of the rocker panels and the lower hinge pillars.
First thing to do is rebuild the door hinges. Kits are available. You won't be able to place the door in the correct position with worn hinges. Doors in the correct position is what you need to be able to repair the Ring of Death issue.
When you begin replacing metal parts (rocker panels, floor panels, inner, outer cowl panels, etc) only tack weld them or use small self tapping screws to hold them in place. Save all final welding for after all of your replacement parts are in place. You will find that you will need to reposition some of them as you go along. Tack welds and screws are much easier to undo than multiple butt welds and hundreds of spot welds.
I have restored a '52 cab which was in exactly the same condition as what you have described, and what I have written is what I learned the hard way. No reason why you should have to learn the hard way.
Posted By: Mike Burns
Re: patch panels, where to start - Mon Apr 29 2019 11:18 PM
Tim, I do have a factory assembly manual. I've seen the pages that you mention with the measurements. I'll be referring to them a lot, I'm sure.
Carl, Your recommendation about starting with the doors will help a lot. My lower hinges definitely need rebuilt. The upper ones feel pretty tight though. Using small screws for early positioning should help a lot too. I'll go ahead and get the panels ordered, and start the cab cleaning while I'm waiting for them to get here.