In 1910, REO apparently self proclaimed itself as the “World’s Toughest Truck”. With a manly one cylinder asthmatic sounding engine and stomach churning 9 horsepower, how could it not be? Uhhh. I think when they said “tough”, they must have meant that driving it was tough. Seriously, you would need to be eating your Wheaties to tame the solid tires, chain drive, and the rear-only mechanical band brakes. Fill this animal with rocks or lumber and you’re guaranteed to be the first one at the scene of the accident.
Luckily for us, this extraordinary example somehow managed to survive over 100 years, and was on display at the Codman Estate Car Show this morning. It was absolutely beautiful from every angle, and really looked like a museum piece. The engine spun smoother than a well oiled sewing machine, and made me realize just how terrible my engines run. Well done REO, well done.
Hiding underneath the passenger compartment of this Dodge A-100 Pickup was a large V8. I was being rushed a bit so I didn’t identify which engine it was. We’ll assume it’s a powerful one based on the slicks and ladder bars on the rear. Does it rip wheelies? Probably. However, I didn’t see any scrapes on the rear bumper, so maybe it just does crazy burnouts. Regardless, it’s a sweet ride in my opinion, and I would like to see it in my driveway.
Earlier this week, we talked about Curb Weight and payload capacity and also how “tonnage” slang doesn’t really apply any longer. Now, let’s put all of that great knowledge to use by deciphering the name’s of Ford, Chevy, and GMC trucks. In this article, we’ll focus on Ford, which is a bit easier to understand than our earlier post on Chevy truck names. For your reference, the automotive slang is in “quotes.”
F150 Truck = “1/2 Ton”
(1975-Current) ~6000 GVWR. The F150 started life as a heavy duty alternative to the F100 (“Nicknamed the “Heavy Half Ton”, it was allegedly intended to dance around new emissions regulations.)
F150 Truck with “7700” Package = “1/2 Ton” Heavy Duty
(1997-04) 7700 GVWR
Sometimes vehicles are just not made the way that you want them to be, so you are forced to take matters into your own hands and correct it. Today’s blog is one of those situations. See, my truck came with a cable actuated clutch, which works absolutely great for a stock clutch. Unfortunately, I inserted Frankenstein into the equation and ruined all chances of clutch cable survival. To be honest, I feel like all clutches should be hydraulically actuated. I know, I know, mustangs are yadda yadda, and they work fine. I know, it’s just my opinion. Anyway, the firewall of my truck was not up for the challenge of a cable pushing harder than normal on it. The truck is likely made from recycled beer cans (sometimes the truth hurts), and would have destroyed itself if I had used it that way much longer. Not to mention, my left leg was getting an unnecessary workout, which made driving in traffic miserable. I knew that there was a better way – hydraulics.
I started by commandeering a hydraulic clutch system from an early 1980’s Dodge Ram turbo diesel (yes, they really existed). This pile of parts included a bell housing cutout that would need to be hacked into my non-hydraulic bell housing. Cool right?
I knew that the only way to keep ambition high all day was to start off with easy stuff. Naturally installing the clutch pedal and clutch master cylinder was the first step. The cool thing about this was that the firewall already had a spot for the clutch master cylinder to be mounted because the V6 models came with hydraulic clutches. Sweeeeeet Action!! Some drilling, grinding, and bending happened, and Poof! It was done.
Next up was the transmission itself. I pulled the transmission out, and chased it around with a sawzall and a cut-off wheel. The TIG welder made a brief appearance on the scene, and then two pieces of aluminum became one. It was as if it was meant to be. The next issue was that factory 2.0L KM132 transmission didn’t have a spot for a pivot ball to be mounted. Uh Oh…. Luckily I had some old 2.6L transmissions hanging around waiting to be stripped of their valuable parts. Off came the front case that can be seen in this picture, some grinding ensued, and VIOLA! Pivot ball in place Hydraulic lines were plumbed, and fluids were topped off. Time to celebrate? Nah.
Once wrapped up, the clutch felt better than ever before. The pedal was about 100x easier to push down, it engaged and disengaged perfectly, and sure enough, the firewall no longer flexes at all. I will officially declare this as the 2nd best upgrade that has been done to the truck. The only thing that it falls behind is the engine swap itself.
There are some rumors going around today that newer Toyota truck’s come with NGK brand spark plugs on 1 side of their V engine and Denso brand spark plugs on the other side of the engine. I have stewed on this for a while now, and I am left baffled as to why they would do this.
Chevy S10 Trucks, S10 Blazers, GMC Jimmys, and Sonomas eat ball joints. Being in the biz, we knew this, and we also knew that our customers could benefit from an installation video. One thing lead to another and BAM! – A beautiful 1AAuto Ball Joint How-To Installation video was born. With the right tools, and the right patience, this job is very doable in your driveway.