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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.

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    Another COE project...

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    Darkside Dave
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    Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:57 pm


    Previously I started a thread here about a COE cab that I came across in my endless quest for old stuff. See:

    http://darksidersrealm.forumotion.com/t303-is-this-worth-40000

    I put it on the back burner and for over a year I didn't give it a lot of thought. Fast forward to last week... I have a '93 E-350 0ne ton cargo van that I bought new. I don't use it much anymore but early on in it's life I put over 250K miles on it in less than three years. I originally bought it to use in expedited freight contract work. It saw 29 states plus Mexico and Canada in that brief period. I lived in that thing and slept in it. I guess that is why I have never been able to get rid of it. For the last ten years it has been a work truck for me and probably didn't get 1,000 miles a year. It's a long wheel base cargo van with the old 7.3 L IDI diesel and the E40D transmission. For a few years it has needed a new TC because the lock-up clutch in it hss been slipping. Two months ago I was bringing home an air compressor and when I was backing the trailer in the front seal in the tranny ruptured and started dumping fluid. I parked it. Since then I have bought a new heavy duty TC and all the seals for the tranny. Last week I got it into the shop and jacked it up. It was when I went under it that I discovered how really bad it was rusted out underneath with the worst of it concentrated around the body mounts. I knew it was starting to get bad but I had no idea how bad it was. I though maybe it would squeeze by for another two years but now I don't think it will make it that long. It is rather deceptive because the outside of the body does not look that bad, Although the body is rusting away the power train and rolling chassis are in great shape, The rust has never attracted the frame beyond mild surface rust.

    Although I have always valued this truck as a cargo van I know it's not worth the investment it would take to make it right. So, I decided it would be a real good candidate to put that COE cab on. These vans are naturally designed for cab forward design. So, I got in touch with the guy that has the cab and learned he still had it and it has a good title. So, if I put it on the van chassis I can title it as a '54 Ford COE. In the above mentioned thread that is also in this category I posted pictures of the COE cab. I will officially delete that thread and continue on here with the project.

    Although this is going to be the official build thread, there won't be much going on here for a while. First I have to get the cab home and then there is the long and expensive process of acquiring the parts I need. Hopefully during that period the van will serve me a while longer and give me time to get some of the other projects advanced to a point where I can switch between them depending on what I have available for each of the other projects. Below I will again post pics of the cab and the donor van. Keep in mind the pictures of the van are at least five years old.












    My son has a van just like this one and is only one digit apart from it on the VIN. We bought both of them at the same time. His is not suffering from Rust because it has spent the last twelve years down by Atlanta. When I take this thing apart he will get the good usable partd I will not need. All the doors and windows in my van are in great shape. If he doesn't want that stuff I will tyry and sell it. the van hsa power windows which are also of value to someone who wants to convert or replace faulty units.

    Preliminary plans are leaning toward making this a toter for fifth wheel and gooseneck trailers. My van is a heavy duty ambulance package and has the right rear end for dual wheels which I may convert it to for the COE cab. Although I don't think I would want to add a sleeper as in the picture of a nice COE I found on Google which I have posted below.


    I'm thinking of much the same set up as this one without the sleeper. I even like the color but I would probably two-tone it with a silver bottom to match my '03 F-350 4WD dually diesel.

    Look for my next post on this thread when I bring home the cab in a week or two.

    Later Folks...


    Last edited by Darkside Dave on Thu May 03, 2012 3:40 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    wmjoe1953

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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  wmjoe1953 on Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:22 pm

    AWESOME!!!!!!....on a side note, you don't need the Big Job emblems off the COE, so you are more than welcome to send them to me.....


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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:36 pm

    wmjoe1953 wrote:AWESOME!!!!!!....on a side note, you don't need the Big Job emblems off the COE, so you are more than welcome to send them to me.....


    As I recall they were pretty bad when I saw them. They were pretty well pitted. On another side note, I hooked up with C700 who is now a member here. We talked for aboput an hour the other day. He has a good set of doors but they will probably cost me more than the cab.

    Later Man...


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    Oaid for and got the title...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:57 pm


    Hi Folks,
    I drove the 130 mile round trip today and paid for the COE cab and got the title. I came back to my hometown and went directly to the title office and got my title in my name. The guy I bought it from said there would be no problem letting it sit there until my new trailer came in. I ought to have it by the 20th unless the builder has a problem with getting the heavier torsion axles I ordered. When I bring the COE cab home I will have it on the flat deck trailer with an 18" high stand under it I'll make out of treated wood and bolt it together. That will be enough to keep the running boards from sitting on the trailer deck and damaging them and scratching the paint on the deck. I will probably strip the cab on the trailer and also put some wheels on the stand so I can roll it off the trailer and move it around.

    I'll post some more pics when I bring it home.

    Later Folks...



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    58 ford

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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  58 ford on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:09 pm

    Hey Dave
    Not alot of people on here will know what iam talking about since its related to ham radio.
    But i gotta ask in the pics of the van is that some kinda ringo ranger hf ant?
    I just happend to notice the half round coil at the base.
    Looks interesting i will take a guess tuned to 10mtrs?
    Andrew


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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:34 pm

    58 ford wrote:Hey Dave
    Not alot of people on here will know what iam talking about since its related to ham radio.
    But i gotta ask in the pics of the van is that some kinda ringo ranger hf ant?
    I just happend to notice the half round coil at the base.
    Looks interesting i will take a guess tuned to 10mtrs?
    Andrew




    I think you are talking about the one on the roof rack on the passenger side. It is actually a 2.4 GHz omni-directional with an 8 degree vertical beam width. I had it on there temporarily to test long range WiFi from another directional and omni antenna I had on my tower. It is some kind of high dollar stacked and phased array that pinches the vertical beam width down to eight degrees. In other words it is antenna voodoo stacked in a sealed fiberglass tube. For some reason I can't find the damn thing now and I know it has to be around here someplace. The two antennas on the mirrors are CB and there are also antennas there for 450 Mhz, 2 M and 6 M. All that stuff was on that van when I was running expedited freight all over the contingent U.S. and some in Canada back in the 90s. It has since been all removed. Most of the stuff is Kenwood except the CB which is a Cobra 148GTL side band unit. I have several 2M rigs that will run base or mobile. I want to load up my '53 project with full coverage with exceptions of HF because the antennas are too hooky looking and it's not a lot of good unless you run a big amp anyway. It will have 450 MHz, 220 MHz, 2M and 6M as well as amplified WiFi and of course CB onboard. That is why I am calling it the Radio Flyer. Of course this is all contingent upon living long enough. If not, my son is a ham too and he can carry on the project.

    Later Man...


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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  58 ford on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:41 pm

    HEY Dave
    OK i was just wondering.
    Is there alot of interest in 220mhz down there? I have some 220 stuff but no repeaters in the area.
    Maybe you should think about putting a sleeper on the coe,Mobile ham shack hehe.
    Andrew


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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:25 pm

    58 ford wrote:HEY Dave
    OK i was just wondering.
    Is there alot of interest in 220mhz down there? I have some 220 stuff but no repeaters in the area.
    Maybe you should think about putting a sleeper on the coe,Mobile ham shack hehe.
    Andrew





    Not sure anymore... I think there is an online repeater directory someplace. My directories are all old and some of those repeaters are probably down now. I used to find a lot of them back in the 90s but there wasn't a lot of traffic. The only reason I had 220 was the fact that I bought a Kenwood tri-band unit that had it on it from a guy who needed money.

    I don't want to mess with a sleeper because of several reasons. First I don't plan on anything longer than day trips and car shows. second is that the diesel cops will be on my ass if I have it on there. they think it's for commercial work and try to nail you for log books and the scales. Also building a nice sleeper will add lots of expense to the project I don't want. I also like the idea of having a back window to look out of when hitching up because I do most of it by myself. I also think it would detract from the classic look of the cab as there were hardly any of these that had a sleeper on them. I plan on keeping the total project on this one under $3,000.00 which just happens to be the same as my other projects. That means I need to stay under 9K for the three of them.

    Later Man...


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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Duke55 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:22 am

    Dave, that is going to be a fun project. Diesels in old fords are very cool. I have a 79 ford F250 4x4 crew cab I built a couple of years ago (of course the project never ends) for my tow rig. Nothing better then 20 mpg with tons of power and black smoke.

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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:49 am

    Hi Duke,



    The coe is paid for and I have the title for it. I was hoping to go get it this weekend but it will probably be later in the week as my new trailer is here but It's still in a big stack of about four trailers that my friend the dealer brought back from Indiana. Hopefully I can go down on Sunday and help him get them unloaded. I built a platform of treated lumber to sit it on when it's on the trailer and I'll probably put some wheels on it when I get it here. The van is not necessarily the end donor for this project. I want diesel and at least one ton with duallies but 4WD would also be nice. But I still have lots of time to shop around. I have had three Ford Diesels so far. The first was the van in this thread and the second was a 7.3 IDI Turbo. I would actually like to find one of those but the window of manufactureing time was so small. It would have to be a 94 I think. I would really like to have the 4WD because in combo with an OD tranny and the low range you effectively have over and under capability. I have feelers out on Craig's list so something might turn up in my price range. I plan on taking some still shots as well as video when we go to pick it up and load it. I will add that stuff to the thread.I think for at least a week I'll park it out front on the trailer with a big red bow on it and a sign that says Merry Christmas to me. That will piss off my asshole neighbor and I consider that an added bonus. While I personally favor the '53 to '56 conventional and COE cabs as opposed to the seemingly more popular '56s, I don't like the '53 to '55 grille pieces. I kind of favor using the '56 grille in chrome but they want as much for it as I paid for the truck. I have been racking my head trying to come up with something I can get at the bone yards that will work for me on this. So far nothing has struck my fancy.


    Later Man...

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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Duke55 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:07 pm

    I put a 97 12V Cummins with automatic OD, lockup TC and 1 ton transfer case in mine. The Cummins is a good conversion motor due to their simplicity, reliability and fuel economy. However, in most cases they are more money then other older diesels. They are dimensionally very long and tall, which probably isn't good for a cab over.
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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:35 pm

    Duke55 wrote:I put a 97 12V Cummins with automatic OD, lockup TC and 1 ton transfer case in mine. The Cummins is a good conversion motor due to their simplicity, reliability and fuel economy. However, in most cases they are more money then other older diesels. They are dimensionally very long and tall, which probably isn't good for a cab over.

    Duke,

    Yeah that woud probably be a good choice but I have had good luck with the performance of the Ford diesels and they are most likely easier to find with a good rolling chassis included. As for height, that is no problem with the COE as it sits way up high over the engine and I will probably end up fabricating my own dogbox and tranny cover.

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    I finally got it home...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:24 am


    Hi Folks,

    I finally got this thing home... Going after it and picking it up was both a small adventure and an unexpected pleasure. Keep in mind that even though my place and where the truck cab was are in Ohio, It's actually the SE quadrant of Ohio right across the river from West Virginia and it is just as much a part of Appalachia as is West Virgina. The terrain is hilly with lots of winding roads. Since I have been to the place where the cab was two previous times I knew just where to go. I met with a friend from the car club at a local K-Mart shopping center parking lot around 8:00AM and we were off to be at the pick up point by 10:00PM This was the first run for my new trailer and I was not sure if I would have to go past the place and turn around to get into the drive which was about a 140 degree right turn off a narrow winding highway. As it turned out I had plenty of room to make the turn both in and out. The fellow I bought the COE from is rather into cars and trucks, (I believe he said he has about thirty of them), had the COE located next door to his place on his dad's place. He arranged to have a fellow who owns a real nice big JCB 4WD back hoe there to lift the cab onto the trailer using the hoe as a sort of hydraulic crane. We got there a little early and they were still preparing for the lift. I introduced my self to Bill, the owner of the back hoe. This fellow is one of those guys that is a pleasure to meet and get to know. I was expecting to pay the man for his invaluable assistance with his machine. He absolutely refused to take any payment for his work. I finally convinced him to at least let me buy him a steak dinner and stuffed a twenty dollar bill in the pocket of his bib overhauls. As you will see in the pictures below, that cab is home now and is sitting on my brand new trailer I hope to soon begin stripping it down and assessing the work that is needed to make it into what I have in mind.
















    Yeah, I know, It's all pretty much the same as you saw before. However, I thought I'd like to show the project is one step closer to reality by being on my home turf. Believe me, it was a major step in the project.

    Later Folks...



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    Last edited by Darkside Dave on Thu May 03, 2012 3:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    nice move

    Post  Boilermaker on Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:18 pm

    Dave,

    Nice job getting that cab moved. Since I've been out to your house I realize the hills you need to negotiate. It is good to see that everything stayed in place with no issues. Good luck on your build, your energy level is impressive.

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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:35 pm

    Boilermaker wrote:Dave,

    Nice job getting that cab moved. Since I've been out to your house I realize the hills you need to negotiate. It is good to see that everything stayed in place with no issues. Good luck on your build, your energy level is impressive.

    Boiler


    Thanks Boiler,

    I have strong doubts about my energy level but thanks anyway... I just hope I can live up the the reputation I am presenting which is probably dependent upon my chances of staying healthy and viable for the next ten years. I'm about to turn 67 so I have to be practical about all this. I mean is it possible or am I fooling myself? The other side of the argument is that keeping in the game and doing this stuff may be the greatest factor in keeping me going. But what the hell,,, my son is also into this stuff so he will end up with everything finished of not as well as all the tools and equipment. He won't get any money but he will need to build another building to put everything in.

    Later Man...


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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  stevof1 on Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:46 pm

    looking good Dave, close to home is easier to get too! Smile
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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:49 pm

    stevof1 wrote:looking good Dave, close to home is easier to get too! Smile


    Thanks Steve,
    If it were any closer it would be in my home and hopefully it will be in my shop at some point within the next year. Here is a video that I hope will be the first of many to come to record the progress of the project. This is in HD format so it may take a while to start.


    Stay tuned for further progress...



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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:14 am

    Darkside Dave wrote:
    Duke55 wrote:
    Dave, that is going to be a fun project. Diesels in old fords are very cool. I have a 79 ford F250 4x4 crew cab I built a couple of years ago (of course the project never ends) for my tow rig. Nothing better then 20 mpg with tons of power and black smoke.



    I put a 97 12V Cummins with automatic OD, lockup TC and 1 ton transfer case in mine. The Cummins is a good conversion motor due to their simplicity, reliability and fuel economy. However, in most cases they are more money then other older diesels. They are dimensionally very long and tall, which probably isn't good for a cab over.

    Duke,

    Yeah that woud probably be a good choice but I have had good luck with the performance of the Ford diesels and they are most likely easier to find with a good rolling chassis included. As for height, that is no problem with the COE as it sits way up high over the engine and I will probably end up fabricating my own dogbox and tranny cover.

    Darkside Dave


    Hi Duke,
    Got a bit of an update here... I recalled you posts, both of which I quoted above, when I read an advertisement. A nearby town is putting up for bid six 24 passenger light duty transit busses on Freightliner chassis that have 5.9 Cummins engines and Allison transmissions. It says they all have in excess of 183,000 miles on them and range in years from'96 to '01. It also says they all run but need work. I am getting an appointment to inspect them on this coming Friday, a week from today. I have seen a lot of these buses and they are pretty fancy. They even have polished aluminum wheels. I can't afford to bid over $1,000.00 on one but I may be one of the few that is interested unless these crazy churches with more money than good sense goes after them. I would think this might be the ideal platform for my COE cab, which I have now posted a preliminary assessment video of here on this thread. I'll try to get some pictures next Friday so I can get some suggestions here. I don't have to have the bid in until Friday the 20th. I'll try to keep everyone posted here on the buses.

    Later Man...


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    Last edited by Darkside Dave on Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  stevof1 on Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:45 pm

    Dave a bus chassis would be perfect. and if you get a deisel motor ans tranny to boot awesome. Not to mention the wheel being useable too. Goood luck and good bidding! I'm always amazed at the people that buy stuff like this too. I've seen some real nuts out there at auctions go crazy buying a pile of rust, with the sole intent of letting it uterly deteriorate just so it is theirs! As for bus auctions, I have an Uncle who bought three school buses with the intent of converting one into an RV that he could use. He had enough money in the three at the start, that he could of bought a used running RV. Those buses were still in the field at my Grandma's ranch when the bank took her property after she died!

    So when I see your post I get excited because I know you have the skill and where with all to convert one of the badboys into a very cool hauler, with an Old Ford cab to boot!Smile
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    Another development...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:13 am


    Hi Folks,
    Well,,, now another development has popped up. Yesterday afternoon I got a call from a guy who is talking a trade for my 1960 Studebaker which I have on Craigslist for sale or trade, see; http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/2735223975.html I advertised that I would consider a trade for a diesel truck chassis. He has a '96 Ford Econoline box van with a 10' box and a 7.3 turbo diesel that has a few minor problems but only 113K on the clock which is nothing for those engines. I have a market for the left over van body parts and I can also use the 10' box as a temporary storage unit to keep parts in for my three ongoing projects. When I get them done I am definitely scaling back so I will no longer need the storage unit. This would solve two problems. The first of which is getting rid of the Studebaker and the second is getting a diesel chassis. However, no matter what, I am still going to bid on the buses. I see a potential to make some money on those things if I can get one for a decent price. One way or the other I feel that I am soon to get a chassis for the COE cab.

    Later Folks...



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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Duke55 on Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:14 am

    Sounds like you could have came across something good. I am not sure how the motor configuration breaks down in buses, but if it is the same as the Dodge trucks the 94-early 98 year 12V Cummins are the most desirable due to their performance capability and reliability. The 24V (late 98-02 are much less desirable due to the electronics and weak injection pump.

    Best way to tell if you have one of the "good" motors is to look at the injection pump. You want an inline Bosch P7100 (all 6 fuel lines will be in a straight line off of the injection pump).
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    Re: Another COE project...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:13 pm

    Duke55 wrote:Sounds like you could have came across something good. I am not sure how the motor configuration breaks down in buses, but if it is the same as the Dodge trucks the 94-early 98 year 12V Cummins are the most desirable due to their performance capability and reliability. The 24V (late 98-02 are much less desirable due to the electronics and weak injection pump.

    Best way to tell if you have one of the "good" motors is to look at the injection pump. You want an inline Bosch P7100 (all 6 fuel lines will be in a straight line off of the injection pump).


    Hi Duke,
    These buses are built on Freightliner chassis with 5.9 Cummins engines and are year models from 1996 to 2000 with Allison automatic transmissions. I don't know if that will tell you anything but if it does I am open to all suggestions as to what to look for because I know nothing about them. I know the Ford and International stuff from the 6.9 IDI up to the 6.0L. I also know nothing about the service ability of the Allison tranny or how many speeds it has or if it is an OD tranny. It was suggested by friends I have who are in the know as to the market ability of these things not to bid too much on them. Given that fact and the fact that places like these big churches with more money than good sense will probably bid way more than they are worth, I probably don't have much of a chance of getting them. I am going to get an appointment to inspect them for this coming Friday. I will take pictures and post them with a description and the known problems here in the Buses section of the Big Trucks category. There I hope to get input on bidding which I have to submit by the 20th.

    Later Man...



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    Finally in the shop...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:17 pm


    Hi Folks,
    Today was really nice weather for February so I decided to take advantage of the weather and get the COE cab into the shop. Unfortunately the cab on the trailer was too high to get through the shop door which is ten feet high. So I had to unload it outside and roll it in. Just one problem, the pad out side is on a bit of a tilt which made the simple act of just rolling the cab doen the tilt bed a problem. I had my winch to let it down with but it was a real pain in the ass to keep it from rolling off the side. I ended up clamping a curb board on the lower side. Below are some pictures of the operation. The cab has been sitting on my trailer since the weekend before Christmas.























    Everything I do is a one man band so you can imagine I had my hands full today. My almost 67 year old bones are telling me I'm pushing it nowadays. However, the deed is done and I now have something in the shop to work on when the snow is flying outside. The next step is to get this thing stripped down and start repairing the damage. I'm going to have to fabricate the stuff I can't find or buy new. Of course with COE cabs the only new stuff you can get is whatever happens to be the same as used on the conventional cabs. Stay tuned for more pictures as I start to dissect this thing.

    Later Folks...



    Darkside Dave
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    Darkside Dave
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    First dat in the shop...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:26 am


    Hi Folks,
    Today was the first day of work in the shop on the '54 Ford COE cab. I am amazed at how there is so much rust damage in some places and not in others. For example, almost the whole bottom edge of the steel dash is rusted away and that would tend to indicate a serious leak around the roof or windshield. However, I looked and there was no evidence of that. The doors are toast so I took them off first. I have better ones coming soon but there are also other parts that need work. I may need a hood but if I can't find one I can afford I will fabricate sheet metal to fix my hood. I think I will only have to get rocker panels and cab corners. The rocker panels for the conventional cab can be cut down to use on this cab and the rear corners are the same as thye conventional cab. Below are some pictures from today's work.












    At the rate I'm going thing is going to be in here for a month at least just to get it stripped down. How do I get myself into these things???

    Later Folks...


    Last edited by Darkside Dave on Thu May 03, 2012 3:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Stripped...

    Post  Darkside Dave on Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:43 pm


    Hi Folks,
    All in all, this has been a productive four days on the COE cab. It started Thursday with getting this beast unloaded and into the shop. We have had some great weather here for the last week and today it was 50 degrees F. and mostly sunny which allowed me to have the shop door open and it also let me move stuff outside as I removed it and gave me more space to work. I have to say it was a fight all the way. I don't think there was one bolt that wanted to cooperate. It was a fight all the way and it took a combination of the torch, lots of zip wheels, the air chisel, and lots of hammering to get this thing apart. Below are the pictures taken today. I also included two video clips.






















    Yep, there's a lot of rust here but it could be worse. I'm going to get cab corners and rocker panels from Dennis Carpenter. The rockers will have to be cut down and modified. There are no COE specific parts being made like the stuff for the conventional cabs.

    It looks like I'll be waiting until next weekend to get back on this project. Next I will be cutting out a lot of the rust and getting the cab off of the sub frame. Maybe by then I'll be healed up enough to forge on with this job.

    Later Folks...


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