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DARKSIDER In the world of automotive hobbyists a Darksider is one who modifies and or customizes any and all sorts of vehicles. The Darksiders are in a class of their own simply because they endeavor to be different and do things that others would not attempt for a number of reasons mostly being related to a lack of ability and fear of non conformity.

This is a forum for people who think outside the box in everything they do. It doesn’t matter if you are modifying or building from scratch. It doesn’t matter what brand or brands of vehicles or components you are using. It doesn’t matter if you are working on a mini car or a bus.

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Darksider's Realm

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    Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

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    scrapheap51

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    Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  scrapheap51 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:31 pm

    This is the start of my panel project, After a year or so after my major purchase, I decided to try building the frame. When I purchased the panel all there was was a bare frame with suspension and a body. No glass and everything was stripped from it. I found out that the suspension on it was a Pacer IFS with Drum brakes and manual Rack and Pinion steering. So I thought I would try to change it. So with an Idea and some pushing from a buddy of mine I did. This is my first real build of this magnitude, it been slow and long but I enjoy it. And the best thing is...I did it with my own two hands. I bought a Dodge Dakota frame and was going to try to use it in stead of the F1 frame, but I did not like the high kick up on the rear frame, I did not want to lose floor space in back. So I tore out the frame rails and used the F1 frame rail in place. of course now the frame is 4" wider but it really did not matter to me since it looked like I could make new mounting points for the body.




    A shot of the front suspenion parts, nothing fancy, though it would be nice to put an aftermarket IFS, I just plain could not afford it.


    Mocking up the rear axel, a donated 55-56 chevy that was in real decent shape. Used the Dakota axel spring seats, shock mounts and springs.


    I used this 305/TH350 automatic for motor mount alignment and Drive line length and transmission mount. I got this motor in trade for some work on another vehicle. I used the intake, carb, motor accessory brackets and the transmission for my 350.


    Here is the motor, trany and drive line in place, also note how high the front horns are. I ended up cutting them and turning it upside down, then eventually shorted them accordingly when I eventually set the body and fenders on.


    Here I was fabbing a mount for a gas tank, I use old bed frame rails to accomplish this. really seamed light weight but strong.


    Got my exuast mounted, 2-1/2" with Super 44's.


    Then made this booster and brake arm mount to fit on the transmission brace, I dont know how I came up with this design. But there it is.


    Got this cool lokar shifter for a decent price, It was for a TH400 but I made it fit.


    Here is is the final drive train before sliding it under the body to test fit.


    I got the body sitting on the frame, I did make some body mounts for it, and made new mounting point for the body, With the lack of fund for the last couple of years has made this project slow down to a crawl. But there is plenty here to do that wont cost much money.


    After getting the fenders and hood to sit on the Arms, I got to see what it was going to look like. I guess I am pleased how it is going so far, but I still have a long way to go. I will sit like this till I get my other brackets made for the running board, front cross member and other thing. Once done I will pull the frame back out.


    This last summer I got to fab a cross member for the raiator and fenders, front body mounts below the firewall and finish mounting the sway bar. Then take the rear barn doors off as well as trying my hand on some body work. Here are a few pictures from last summer.




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    Darkside Dave
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    I blew it again...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:01 pm



    Hey Man, I should have made this a STICKY when you posted it but somehow it slipped by me. I finally did it and I apologize for taking so long. I really like what you are doing with this project. It all looks like quality work to me.

    As for your comments and choices regarding aftermarket IFS options, I wouldn't worry too much about going with something from existing donors if you do in fact go that way. I feel that if you make the right choice and do the work right you will be just as well off and get by a lot cheaper. Plus the parts are much easier to get when you need to do maint. I usually buy the whole vehicle and scrap out what I can't use or sell off. I usually come out ahead with more money than I spent. The Donor T-Bird SC I bought was proof of that. I bought it for $450.00, sold off what I didn't need kept some stuff, kept the engine and drive train plus suspension, and still ending up bringing in $750.00. So, I got my supercharged drive train and $300.00 extra. I would have spent over a thousand on aftermarket stuff and still need an engine and tyranny.

    I'd really like to find a '53 to '55 Panel but so far everything is either too expensive, too rusty and usually both. However, I think I am going to make my own panel with the back part of an Aerostar I bought for the all wheel drive train. I have some far out ideas for it. I guess that's why they call me a Darksider.

    Anyway, great project Man and keep us posted.



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    scrapheap51

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  scrapheap51 on Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:06 am

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the comment, well its been awhile since I been here and summer is gone by way too quickly. This summer I manage to tack on my brackets for the running boards, front body mounts and a bearing support for the steering. I only have pictures of the mock up not the final set up. I also did a pre trial (lack of a better word for it) steering column (Mid 70 Ford truck) shorten 3-1/2" and ran it to the Rack. I tore off the rear barn doors and removed the body back off the frame. I finished mounting the pacer sway bar in front. I started to do some metal repairs, though it seems much tougher to do thin sheet metal than thick metal. LOL The welds are not very pretty but I am managing it. Cleaned up the fire wall and closed up a boat load of holes and started on the floor. Got half way through the floor before getting the flu and now work got me so busy right now I have no time. So now she sits in a cold dark garage till next year when I get more time and the weather warms up a bit. Here are some pics (up to date if you will) but not much to look at. Thanks Ron





    Steering coulmn placement...





    Fab a new flang for the floor cover





    Ok now my childness got the better of me, I bought this air cleaner on ebay for 75 bucks. A little polishing and wah-la. I feel a warm and tingly inside. Wont make it go faster, or do special tricks but its fun!!

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    Impressed again...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:29 am




    Hi Ron,
    You did a great job with the front suspension and steering set up. I have way more respect for people who work things out like this and make use of all the donor stuff that is just laying around dog cheap for the taking. The way I figure it, anyone can throw money at a project if they have it. It takes real talent and ingenuity to adapt and make stuff work. You are the kind of person that this board is all about. Yes I am biased, I have a real aversion to catalog engineering.

    What ??? A great big scoop sticking up out of the hood is Childish??? No, no, no... Not Childish... COOL!!! It gives it that retro look Man... Sure I'm livin' in the past... I'm a 66 year old geezer but my memory is good and I happen to think things were better then than now. I'm not just talkin' about jobs and financial security either. I was raised by parents of the great depression who's values were a hell of a lot better than the average people of today that are raising kids. When I see people doing things like you and others here on this board it gives me hope and just a bit of faith in that kind of thing taking hold once again.

    I digress... Back to your build... Of course pictures don't always tell the whole story but your back doors didn't look bad so I am assuming there might just be other reason aside from repair work for taking them off. Do you have something different in Mind? Three years ago I was visiting my son down by Atlanta and we went to a pretty big car show. I saw a few panels there and one guy adapted a lift back hatch from some late model SUV or a crossover. It really looked cool and believe it or not, it didn't detract too much from the classic look of the truck. I thought maybe you were going in that direction.

    Are you planning on replacing the wood floor with metal? If so, I have noticed there are a lot of full size vans in the yards that have a really big floor pan in them with integrated box girders that would probably work well to adapt. Some of them even have provisions for bolting down seats. What is you plan for the interior? Are you planning on leaving it a cargo area or adapting it for camping and living space?

    Yep, welding the thin stuff take a bit of practice. For years I was a straight stick rod guy. The more I got into the old truck thing which of course brought with it a lot of thin metal welding, i began to realize that I was going to have to tool up for the work. First I bought a slightly used small 170 amp Lincoln MIG with gas. Since then I have bought two new Lincoln machines, A 255 amp MIG and a 225 amp TIG which will also run stick rod. I run .023 wire in the little MIG for all the sheet metal work and .030 and .045 wire in the big MIG for the heavy metal work. It was alot of money but I'm so glad I bit the bullet and paid the price. I can tell you this when it comes to sheet metal and body work in general... When you are working on these old machines it's not like collision repair in a body shop. They are basically slapping on replacement parts. they don't do fabricating and panel repair. Most of them can't do it. I have a body shop that brings stuff to me to do for them. Check out the "Sick Goat" thread I did at http://darksidersrealm.forumotion.com/t424-sick-goat These guys could not figure out how to deal with the old rusty stuff and weld in the new floor and trunk panels. If they can't stick it, glue it or fill it with Bondo, they're lost. Even if you are a rookie, if you do the job you have learned how to do it which is more than most of the so-called professional know how to do.

    OK, I gotta get to work on some other stuff here so I'll wrap this up. You are doing great things Man. Stick with it and keep us posted.

    Later Man...



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    jclars

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  jclars on Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:40 am

    Two great posts so far this weekend. Great build Ron. I can see several things that will help me in the future. I just am not at that point yet. But I really like the examples I am finding on this board. Some really good rides in the making. I also relearned welding when I got into restoration four years ago. I had learned on oxy-acet and stick, so it was quite a pleasure to learn the MIG process. I own a sheet metal shop so you would think I could get some good pointers from my guys, but in reality, with rust and such, I find I am constantly readjusting the settings. And I have found that my welders have a sixth sense so they know what to tweak. It is not something you can really learn except by doing. I actually got the best instruction from a UK welding site that had video instructions, including the sound to listen for. It was a great resource. I use our shops Miller 110v, but my company may have to invest in a 220v unit when it comes time for welding suspensions to the frame. Ah, the advantages of a small business (not many).

    Keep up the good posts. I may have to start my build thread, just to keep the posts on a roll!

    John L.
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    58 ford

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  58 ford on Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:31 am

    HI RON
    I always liked the look of these panel trucks.
    Up here in the great white north they are few and far between,So getting one as project is not easy!
    I will watch your build to see its progress,Keep up the good work!
    Andrew


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    scrapheap51

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  scrapheap51 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:58 pm

    jclars wrote:Two great posts so far this weekend. Great build Ron. I can see several things that will help me in the future. I just am not at that point yet. But I really like the examples I am finding on this board. Some really good rides in the making. I also relearned welding when I got into restoration four years ago. I had learned on oxy-acet and stick, so it was quite a pleasure to learn the MIG process. I own a sheet metal shop so you would think I could get some good pointers from my guys, but in reality, with rust and such, I find I am constantly readjusting the settings. And I have found that my welders have a sixth sense so they know what to tweak. It is not something you can really learn except by doing. I actually got the best instruction from a UK welding site that had video instructions, including the sound to listen for. It was a great resource. I use our shops Miller 110v, but my company may have to invest in a 220v unit when it comes time for welding suspensions to the frame. Ah, the advantages of a small business (not many).

    Keep up the good posts. I may have to start my build thread, just to keep the posts on a roll!

    John L.

    By all means start a thread on your truck! Im sure we all would love to see it.I am trying to alway improve what I am doing lots of good ideas out there...now if I could find them all. Thanks for the coments. Ron
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    scrapheap51

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  scrapheap51 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:02 pm

    58 ford wrote:HI RON
    I always liked the look of these panel trucks.
    Up here in the great white north they are few and far between,So getting one as project is not easy!
    I will watch your build to see its progress,Keep up the good work!
    Andrew
    Thanks Andrew, Yea I always wanted one, I really like the 56 panel but never had enough dough to buy one or even find one near me. I was lucky to find the 51. Thanks for your comment. Ron
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    scrapheap51

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  scrapheap51 on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:32 pm

    Hey Dave,
    That would be cool sticking out of the hood, but I don't think the scoop will stick out of the hood of the panel I think that it will still fit under the hood, I wanted to fill the compartment a little. I just love those things. I get what you mean about values, it seems like it just went out the door don't it?

    That goat would scare a lot of people, I was scared of trying to do my own rust repair but find it easier as I go along. Now I am not so apprehensive in tackling tougher jobs.Hey before you know it I might be good as you some day! I have a small Hobart wire feed with gas and a Plasma Cutter. they get me by for most stuff right now. What I like to get is a small brake for sheet metal some time. Oh by the way Dave you really need to charge more for your work. Nice repair work you did on the goat, Yeah I think for a few bucks more they should of spring more for the supports.

    The Rear doors probably did not need to come off with the exception that I had nothing better to do that day and I wanted to have easier access around the hinge areas. The doors need more work than it shows in picks, but not gone by all means. I just have to plan a little bit and attack the problem best I can. I see some different alternatives with the back barn doors but I'm afraid that I will never finish it if I keep finding more things to do with it. The Left rear door apparently cracked at the belt line at one time and looks like they sticked it, unfortunately the door is tweaked in when they did the repair. So now I have to cut the weld out, push the door straight and re patch it. Both doors are gone at the bottom so that will have to be fabricated. These doors are hard to find in good shape and If I did find them it will be way out of my price range. So for now it is my intension's to just restore the doors as original, well may be..after looking at some of the cool stuff its hard to just leave it plain huh.

    The Interior? Well not written in stone by all means. I was thinking light gray interior like my seats, which came out of Audi. In the back will be gray as the seats with wood accents. Steering wheel will be wood, floor and some wood rails/accents running down the length of the panel on the inside. Don't really now what type of material to use yet but just a basic Idea, maybe add extra seats if I can find something.Would like to change the look of the dash but yet lack any good ideas. I want this vehicle to entertain and take the family out and my grand kids. No trailer queen for me, I'm building this to drive and be proud of something I always wanted to do when I was younger.

    Exterior? Someday Doors shaved and single pane windows and Bearclaw latchs, Slight change in the headlights. Thinking I will try the 56 ford headlights. I like the frenched look instead of the bug eye. Love the 51 grill so it will stay. Right now my goal by next summer is having the lower half panel finished so it can be set on the frame for good, Have the motor running for the first time,tranny cooler in,brake finished and the gas tank moved back anouther 6-8 inches. I have 4 weeks of vacation saved up so all I have to wait for is spring to get here..

    Dang I did not mean to write a book, sorry guys I guess I just was into the panel mode again...LOL
    See what you started Dave????? Thanks.... cheers
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    No argument from me on that...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:10 pm

    scrapheap51 wrote:Hey Dave,
    That would be cool sticking out of the hood, but I don't think the scoop will stick out of the hood of the panel I think that it will still fit under the hood, I wanted to fill the compartment a little. I just love those things. I get what you mean about values, it seems like it just went out the door don't it?

    Yeah, I forgot how cavernous that hole under the hood is on those things. My '53s are like that too. I can just imagine what my COE is going to be like. I will probably need a ladder to get down to the engine. Maybe I can figure out how to make it a tilt front.

    That goat would scare a lot of people, I was scared of trying to do my own rust repair but find it easier as I go along. Now I am not so apprehensive in tackling tougher jobs.Hey before you know it I might be good as you some day! I have a small Hobart wire feed with gas and a Plasma Cutter. they get me by for most stuff right now. What I like to get is a small brake for sheet metal some time. Oh by the way Dave you really need to charge more for your work. Nice repair work you did on the goat, Yeah I think for a few bucks more they should of spring more for the supports.

    Hey Man, I'm not that good, I just try to stay a little bit above average. In my opinion the Goat wasn't worth it and I ended up charging over $1,100.00 for the job at 25/hr. The guy is a GTO collector but I think he struck out on this one. I don't think he even knew about the support pieces as he is more of a collector than a restoration guy. The reason I only charge 25 is because I'm retired and I have always had the shop so there is very little overhead. I'm a lot slower than a lot of guys too so I cut some slack for that. I figure this way I can help our a lot of guys who want a project vehicle but can't always do some of the stuff. These deals cost a lot of money even whern you try to do it on the cheap. For most guys family responsibility and necessities come first and the projects are second.

    Yep, if I were tooling up the first things would be a decent gas MIG and then a plasma cutter. I too would like to find a decent metal brake that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and still be big enough and would do 16 ga. I would also like to have a shear. I did manage to pick up an old set of pinch rolls that I motorized and it will take 48" wide 16 ga. My bigest problem is space. I need more but I don't want to go to the expense of another shop building at my age.


    The Rear doors probably did not need to come off with the exception that I had nothing better to do that day and I wanted to have easier access around the hinge areas. The doors need more work than it shows in picks, but not gone by all means. I just have to plan a little bit and attack the problem best I can. I see some different alternatives with the back barn doors but I'm afraid that I will never finish it if I keep finding more things to do with it. The Left rear door apparently cracked at the belt line at one time and looks like they sticked it, unfortunately the door is tweaked in when they did the repair. So now I have to cut the weld out, push the door straight and re patch it. Both doors are gone at the bottom so that will have to be fabricated. These doors are hard to find in good shape and If I did find them it will be way out of my price range. So for now it is my intention to just restore the doors as original, well may be..after looking at some of the cool stuff its hard to just leave it plain huh.

    Sometimes you just wish the previous guy had just left it alone. You might check with places like Dennis Carpenter in NC. Sometimes those kind of places have repair sections. Of course I know the panels are somewhat like my COE, nobody is making anything for them.

    The Interior? Well not written in stone by all means. I was thinking light gray interior like my seats, which came out of Audi. In the back will be gray as the seats with wood accents. Steering wheel will be wood, floor and some wood rails/accents running down the length of the panel on the inside. Don't really now what type of material to use yet but just a basic Idea, maybe add extra seats if I can find something.Would like to change the look of the dash but yet lack any good ideas. I want this vehicle to entertain and take the family out and my grand kids. No trailer queen for me, I'm building this to drive and be proud of something I always wanted to do when I was younger.

    Exterior? Someday Doors shaved and single pane windows and Bearclaw latchs, Slight change in the headlights. Thinking I will try the 56 ford headlights. I like the frenched look instead of the bug eye. Love the 51 grill so it will stay. Right now my goal by next summer is having the lower half panel finished so it can be set on the frame for good, Have the motor running for the first time,tranny cooler in,brake finished and the gas tank moved back anouther 6-8 inches. I have 4 weeks of vacation saved up so all I have to wait for is spring to get here..

    Hmmm... Bear claw latches, I'm guessing you mean like the ones on my '03 Super Duty. If so we are on the same page with that idea. I also have the door handles/latches from the '90 T-bird SC that I got for a donor vehicle. I have considered using those on something. I cut out the metal around them and saved them. Spring??? Are we ever going to get there??? Around here Spring and Fall only last a week it seems. If I had my way it would be 72 degrees and sunny every day with rain only in hours of darkness and very low humidity. We have an early Fall and late Spring like that but they only last a week each at best it seems.

    Dang I did not mean to write a book, sorry guys I guess I just was into the panel mode again...LOL
    See what you started Dave????? Thanks.... cheers

    Hey, it's OK to write a book here... I wish more folks would write more than they do. It's the best way for other folks to learn about what is going on. I think maybe some people are hesitant to post replies because they think that it will clutter up the build threads. I don't think it hurts anything and if the guy writing
    the thread wants to he can edit out stuff after it gets older.

    OK Man, I gotta go and get some supper. I'll catch you later Man...

    Dave



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    Duke55

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  Duke55 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:20 pm

    Great build, and from the ground up (the way they should be)! To date mine have been everything but ground up (there is always next time). Keep up the good work and continue to push yourself beyond your current perceived capabilities, in the end it will be very rewarding.
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    scrapheap51

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    Re: Scrapheap51 - F1 panel build

    Post  scrapheap51 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:16 am

    Gosh darnit more than a year and I have been out of touch..(I AM SORRY DAVE..PLEASE DONT BEAT ME!). Its sad to say that in a little more than a year, and I did jack schmit on my truck. All this winter I have been itchin to get back to the panel but life keeps getting in the way. Why couldnt I been handsome and rich? Any who, I been itchin to do some damage to the body this spring. Body is still off the frame and half of it in bare metal the other half in primer, rust and who knows what that stuff is. Did manage to some patching on the floor and plumb some lines on the frame for the tranny,radiator and fuel cell in the last ahum....6 months.

    My Plan for this spring and summer of 2013. Rolling Eyes

    I had to Pull the fuel tank,(move it back another 5" I think to the rear) Remove it and seal the inside and reinstall. Smile

    I want to start the motor and break it in and have it running. Surprised

    Also my goal is to finish scraping and weld the under body and seal it to prevent further deteriaton. Wink

    If I get this far I like to have the body back on the frame. Very Happy

    I set aside 3 weeks Vacation this summer but my wonderful wife has already used 2 weeks of it? Hummm something wrong with this picture huh. Well sorry for the rambling but this is my way to keep me all psyched up bufore I get slapped down with honey do lists. I will try to keep you posted with more pics soon.

    Oh I did manage to build my own personal build page so here is a link.
    http://home.comcast.net/~my51panel1/site/

    Thanks for the ear! or eyes..
    Ron

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