Weekly Roundup, 10.29

On Thursday afternoon I got a long narrow package delivered by UPS, which contained a set of headliner bows from my friend Ray up in Massachusetts. He sent a pair of square-end bows like the three I’ve already got in the truck, which were made to work with an aluminum channel around the perimeter of the roof that would hold a headliner in place. My truck didn’t come with a headliner or the channel, just three rusty bows (out of five) and the fiberglas insulation glued to the ceiling.

Below that are five point-end bows which went on earlier model Travelalls without the aluminum channel; from what Ray tells me the headliner tucked in under the sheet metal lip around the edge and these bows held it into place. Because these bows are in much better shape than the square-ends I’ve got, I’m going to clean them up and use them when I build and install a headliner.

Meanwhile, I got another big box in the mail via UPS, in which was packed a primer black ’57 Ford F-150 bumper. I brought it out to the truck and laid it on top of the C-series bumper, and apart from the fact that it’s a little narrower, I think this thing will work very well.

I’ve got to figure out how to build a set of sturdy standoffs from the frame horns on the front of the truck—the current standoffs are 4″ deep sections of box channel steel held in place with some long rusty bolts and a wheelbarrow full of washers. I’ll probably do something similar but gusset the boxes for strength.

Saturday morning I went to Bennett’s to help him swap out the rear brake line on his Speedster replica; he’d taken it to a car show earlier in the year and blown the line on the way home. It turns out the manufacturer ran the brake line inside the cabin along the transmission tunnel, ending in a fitting directly behind the driver’s seat. After some careful application of heat and penetrant we got the fitting off the distro block behind the front suspension and cut a new line with some extra length to spare. Bennett then showed me how to make a bubble flange on a brake line, which I’d never seen before, and we installed the new line and bled the brakes.

With that success, we took a test drive to Ellicott City for some barbecue and brought it home to eat in the warm sunshine.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad pop up on Marketplace where a guy had a storeroom full of old IHC R-series parts he was selling, and I alerted Bennett. He’d driven up there a couple of weeks ago and picked through the stuff, coming home with a box full of NOS parts for Phantom, his ’53 R-110 pickup. Before I left, we looked through the box of stuff he brought home, and he handed me an NOS doorhandle and window crank for a C-series pickup in perfect shape. I’ve got to figure out what they’re worth and give him some cash the next time I see him. He also had a trio of black NOS armrests in original IH packaging—the foam on the backside was bright yellow like the day they were made—and sent me home with one to see if it fit Peer Pressure. I already have a black set on the truck, but maybe I’ll buy two of these to put in the spares box along with the used ones that look like they were fished out of a river.

Addendum: I forgot to mention that I ran the engine up for about ten minutes on Saturday when the girls were out of the house (the exhaust is super rich and tends to flood the house, so I wait until they’re away) and got it up to temperature. It only took two pumps of the throttle to get her fired up, which was encouraging. Looking at various points of the engine with a laser thermometer, the manifold junction on the driver’s side got to about 450˚, while the passenger side got to 520˚. I then remembered that the coolant was low so I waited until the water neck hit about 160˚ and decided to shut it down, so I don’t know if the thermostat is working yet or not. I added about 3/4 of a gallon of coolant and let it cool down before putting the cover back on. It’s sounding a little clattery but the idle smoothed out after awhile; I think the rings need to come loose and seat properly after sitting for so long, and I need to have a professional tune the carb properly to get her running right.

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