More Square Body Tow Truck Episodes

Carcass Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Matco Tools
MATCO Tools are the Official Tool Supplier to PowerNation
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies
WyoTech
Refinish Doors

Episode Transcript

(Jeremy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Jeremy)>> Today on Carcass we go hunting for a new project vehicle.

(Jimmy)>> And what we find at the junkyard isn't in the best shape but will it run.

(Jeremy)>> We'll find out today on Carcass. [ MUSIC ] [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ] [ tires squealing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> Jimmy and I are in car guy paradise. We're at Bobby White Motors here in Columbia, Tennessee, and pretty much everywhere we turn there's something interesting to look at it. Kinda like this Spiderman Firebird thing. [ MUSIC ]

(Jimmy)>> Kind of a lost cause. The cool thing about salvage yards is you can pretty much find any part for any car that you're working on. I have an o-b-s GMC truck that's very similar to these GM full size s-u-v's, and like on this Tahoe you've got a really good front fender. You have a nice hood other than the paint, and you even have a good core support, and if you haven't been to a salvage yard like this they're actually really organized. Like just in this row you have full size GM s-u-v's and trucks. You have full size GM cars in one spot over there, and by Jeremy you have full size Ford trucks.

(Jeremy)>> We're pretty much two kids in a giant candy store out here, and Jimmy and I just keep walking around going why would anybody scrap that out, or you could completely build this truck. Take this old Ford. Yes the motor's missing but the hoods is actually in the back of the truck. You could easily pluck this out of the salvage yard, put an engine in it, and put it back out on the farm for good use. You could even teach your kids how to drive, but I really don't think this is what we're looking for.

(Jimmy)>> Yeah we're really look for the right vehicle for our next project and hopefully we can find something pretty interesting. [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> I hate to say it but there's an awful lot of Fords out here. [ MUSIC ] 17, 18, 19, you know we could put a Jeep together with this entire row.

(Jimmy)>> They've got three quarter ton axles up near the front too, but it's still just a Jeep.

(Jeremy)>> Yeah I don't think so. [ MUSIC ]

(Jimmy)>> Jeremy and I couldn't really decide what we wanted to take home with us and then we ran across this crusty old square body.

(Jeremy)>> Yeah it's a mid '70's, late '70's C-30. Somebody's got a wrecker body on the back of it. This thing's got a ton of potential.

(Jimmy)>> And the nice thing is this is probably one of the most complete vehicles in the salvage yard. We've came across a few that could maybe run and drive under their own power but I think this is our best option. [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> This truck checks all the boxes that Jimmy and I are looking for. It's a square body Chevy pickup. It's got the classic patina exterior, and it's one of the most popular trucks being put back on the road. [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> Looks like it's got an old tried and true small block in it. It's missing some of the parts.

(Jimmy)>> Alternator's gone but we don't really need one I guess. A battery obviously.

(Jeremy)>> Carburetor, find one of them, and the biggest upside to this one it's got all the tires on it.

(Jimmy)>> I think they're all holding air too. I didn't see a flat one.

(Jeremy)>> I think we're good. It's rusty but it looks complete at least.

(Jimmy)>> So the dash is cracked, the seat's kinda ripped up, and hopefully you can see this but there's like a giant hole in the floor. Obviously that's unsafe for a bunch of different reasons but I think if we kinda leave the outside as is and just spruce up the interior and make it safe and nice that's probably a pretty good way to go about it.

(Jeremy)>> Well the outside tire's flat but the inside tire's holding air. We've got some big issues on the chassis. There's a giant hole clean through the frame right where the leaf spring hanger rivets right to the chassis, and being from the rust belt that's something I've seen before, but there's a good reason why this truck's in the junkyard. At any point in time the chassis could literally just "V" right in half and lay this thing right on the ground, but you know it's something Jimmy and I can completely handle. I don't know man. We've got some major issues with the chassis. I see you found a giant hole in the passenger floor. The truck is complete. Is this really something we want to tackle?

(Jimmy)>> Maybe! I mean this is the most unique thing we could have found in a salvage yard. So it's kinda like how different do you want to be.

(Jeremy)>> Totally, I'm on board if you're on board.

(Jimmy)>> Yeah, we'll take a shot at it. It should come out pretty nice. I think it'll run too right here.

(Jeremy)>> I'll bet it'll run.

(Jimmy)>> Just needs a couple of things.

(Jeremy)>> All we really need to get this thing going I think is a battery. We're missing a carburetor. So we'll bring one of those, some fuel, a hope and a prayer, and we'll bring the trailer back tomorrow and try to get this thing back to the shop.

(Jimmy)>> Up next, we find out if our 1977 C-30 tow truck has any rumble left in it.

(Jeremy)>> You're watching Carcass.

[ MUSIC ]

(Jimmy)>> Jeremy and I took a night to think about it and we're back with the truck and trailer because we're ready to take on our next challenge. [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> I hope she runs.

(Jimmy)>> We've been hunting through Bobby White Motor Salvage Yard in Columbia, Tennessee, and I think Jeremy and I have finally found our next project. This is a 1977 C-30 with a wrecker body on the rear, and this thing needs some work, a lot of work, but it's such a unique find we're determined to get it running so we can take it home.

(Jeremy)>> Well we popped our head underneath here yesterday and we knew we needed some parts. So we grabbed that from the shop. So let's get the carburetor on it, we'll throw an alternator at it, and then we'll put a battery in this thing.

(Jimmy)>> Yeah we'll check the oil too. Make sure we're not running it dry, and to be honest we only need to run this thing for a couple of minutes just to get it on the trailer, and worst case is we're on a hill anyways. So we can kinda coast it down and then just winch it up.

(Jeremy)>> We'll make sure we check the brakes too. [ MUSIC ] I hope these are wired right. [ MUSIC ] It's getting to the last little bit. Check the fluids quick.

(Jimmy)>> It does have oil, it's brown. It's actually not as dark as I thought it would be.

(Jeremy)>> As long as it's got something. That's a rusty clamp. [ MUSIC ] Glug, glug, glug! I think the filler's over here.

(Jimmy)>> Other side.

(Jeremy)>> Or it's on that side too. Don't spill much. [ liquid sloshing ]

(Jeremy)>> That should be enough. [ MUSIC ] Alright moment of truth. Hop in Jimmy. [ MUSIC ] Brakes-ish?

(Jimmy)>> No not really. They're hydro-boost there not really gonna work unless it's running. E-brake might work.

(Jeremy)>> I would be shocked.

(Jimmy)>> E-brake works.

(Jeremy)>> Are you kidding me?

(Jimmy)>> Yeah it actually works.

(Jeremy)>> Alright cool, go for it.

[ engine cranking ]

(Jeremy)>> It cranks! There's fuel up in the fuel filter. Keep doing that. [ engine cranking ] [ engine starting ]

(Jeremy)>> It runs, it runs! [ engine idling ]

(Jimmy)>> It's idling by itself.

(Jeremy)>> I wonder if they just brought it here because of the chassis. Somebody took parts off of it. I mean it's loud. It's got exhaust leaks and all this other stuff.

(Jimmy)>> It's a little bit lumpy.

(Jeremy)>> Should we see if it moves? You want to see if it moves? I need to take this stuff out from under the hood but let's see if it moves.

(Jimmy)>> Close the hood and we'll see.

(Jeremy)>> Oh nice hood. [ engine rumbling ]

(Jeremy)>> It sounds terrible! [ engine rumbling ] Wow, look at this thing. There she's a rocket ship! [ engine rumbling ]

(Jeremy)>> Wow, I'll go move the truck and trailer. [ engine rumbling ]

(Jimmy)>> Let's see if the wrecker works.

(Jeremy)>> Oh I never thought of that. Will this sit here without rolling away?

(Jimmy)>> Yeah I got the e-brake on.

(Jeremy)>> That's right it works. [ engine rumbling ] Yeah alright.

(Jimmy)>> I think this is a clutch lever. [ gears grinding ]

(Jimmy)>> Alright.

(Jeremy)>> Whatever you did was the wrong one.

(Jimmy)>> Hold on.

(Jeremy)>> Wait, wait, here, I got it. Pull this one back, pull that into gear, this goes in here. You got that? Now let that one out.

(Jimmy)>> Oh!

(Jeremy)>> Stop, stop, before it breaks. Now we'll go down I think. Okay go down.

(Jimmy)>> That's cool!

(Jeremy)>> We should tow a car out of here.

(Jimmy)>> Another project! [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> Let's take her back to the shop. [ MUSIC ]

(Jimmy)>> Up next we dig into our patina tow truck and what we find is not surprising.

(Jimmy)>> We brought this junkyard find back to the shop to give it a good top to bottom inspection to see if we missed anything at Bobby White Motors.

(Jeremy)>> Needless to say this truck has some character and a lot of rust. Some of it contributes to the patina'ed look that both Jimmy and I like, but in other places it's gonna cause a few headaches.

(Jimmy)>> Rust aside we have some ideas for what we want to do with this unique find, like what we plan to do with the doors. We partnered with Wyotech to do some rebranding on this work truck. So we shipped the doors off to be worked on while we brain stormed some ideas for this truck.

(Jeremy)>> And here's what we came up with. Our goal is to get this old square body back on the road and make it safe again. So the first thing we're gonna have to do is address the rusted out chassis under the bed out back. Those are the danger points, and those are the most important things to get fixed first.

(Jimmy)>> Then we'll pump this old square body with a little more power and an automatic transmission to match. After some power upgrades we'll move to the inside and spruce up this 50 year old interior. We'll do this by tackling the floor repairs first. Then we'll throw in a new dash, new instrument cluster, a steering wheel, and a nice seat to match.

(Jeremy)>> Finally we'll tackle the wheels and tires with a rattle can refresh turning back the clock on this old work truck. Well at least in the wheel department.

(Jimmy)>> This all starts with some disassembly.

(Jeremy)>> Removing the wrecker body out back will take a little more work than just a normal pickup bed would take. We have to completely disassemble the tow rig before we can separate it from the truck. For starters we need to unhook the suspension cables that hold this arm in place. [ MUSIC ] Then with it lowered we can unbolt it at the hinge points. [ metal clanging ]

(Jeremy)>> With it loose Jimmy and I can slide it out and set it aside for now.

(Jimmy)>> With the arm out of the way we can put our focus on the triangular frame support. With 50 years of rust this created some challenges with the bolts and in some cases we found it easier just to cut them off rather than to try to unbolt them in those tight areas.

(Jeremy)>> What you can't see here is a puddle of molten metal forming as the torch heats up the nut. Once you see the puddle form you pull the trigger and the oxygen not only raises the temperature to make the puddle flow but the pressure also helps clear the slag. With those hard to reach fasteners out of the way we have a couple more mounting bolts to break free. [ drill humming ]

(Jimmy)>> Alright so the last thing. The rear leaf spring hangers are welded to the back of the box. The geniuses that put this together thought that was a good idea. So we've got to get those apart.

(Jeremy)>> I think the easiest way to do it is we'll just grab the old fire stick and we'll just torch out the back. It's gonna be way quicker to deal with it with the box off. Then we'll figure out how to fix it after that.

(Jimmy)>> Yep! [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> The box out back is made of three-sixteenths steel, and a torch will make quick work of cutting out a section so we can finally lift the box off the chassis and get a closer look at what we're working with. [ engine rumbling ]

(Jimmy)>> With both sections cut out on the back we're gonna use the lift to help us raise up the bed. [ mechanical humming ] [ engine rumbling ]

(Jeremy)>> Yep! [ engine rumbling ]

(Jeremy)>> Let me show you guys why we had to cut the wrecker body off of the chassis. Now the wrecker body is a universal fit body. It fits many different makes and models. When they put it on the back of our Chevy truck they actually cut the back of the frame off, and by doing that they cut the rear leaf spring hanger off as well. Now to give it a little more support when they put the body back on the this truck they welded the wrecker body to this rear leaf spring hanger in a bunch of areas that Jimmy and I just couldn't get to. So that's why we had to make this big cut to get the body off the truck. [ MUSIC ]

(Jimmy)>> And now that we have the box off the chassis Jeremy and I can get a much better look at the rust, and it's a lot worse than we originally thought. This whole side of the frame rail right here is just completely wiped out. So what we were thinking is maybe cut this section of the frame rail out and replace it but now we actually think it'd be easier to cut the chassis somewhere back here and completely replace both frame rails.

(Jeremy)>> Coming up, we're cutting out the rust.

(Jimmy)>> But before we can do that there's more we need to strip.

(Jeremy)>> You're watching Carcass.

(Jimmy)>> Our 1977 tow truck is a unique find but all those years spent rescuing vehicles on the side of the road were not kind to this old money maker. The key word here is rust. Anywhere water was able to sit and touch metal left a mark, and I'm sure that dirt and debris like this did not help this old chassis.

(Jeremy)>> The patina'ed look of this truck is why Jimmy and I fell in love with it. That's why we pulled it out of the junkyard, but the question here is what are we gonna do with this thing? We're gonna give it a second chance at life. We're gonna put it back on the road, and the front's gonna get a bunch of horsepower. The interior is gonna get all spruced up, be nice, comfy, and cozy. In the back we're definitely gonna make it safe again and heck, we might even tow with it, but the real issue here is rust. There's a big difference between cosmetic rust and structural rust. Well how are we gonna fix that? Well we could just go out, get a whole new frame. We could come in, cut the bad metal out, replace it with some good steel, or we could just cut the back half of this truck off and start over again, and that's what Jimmy and I are gonna do, but before we get to throwing any sparks there's a bunch of parts and pieces we've got to get off of this thing. [ drill buzzing ]

(Jimmy)>> We'll start with the driveshaft. Decades of rust have made it difficult to remove the bolts and pry the sucker loose. The pry bar helps free up the U-joint, and since this is a two piece driveshaft with a hanger bearing we also have to unbolt the connection to the transmission. With those loose we can wiggle it free... [ MUSIC ] ...and slide it aside for now.

(Jeremy)>> Next we need to remove the gas tank. A quick tip, if you can, empty the gas tank before you remove it. [ drill humming ]

(Jeremy)>> It's a lot easier working with your co-worker when you don't stink like old octane for the rest of the day. [ MUSIC ] The last thing we need to do is cut the winch linkages that span the length of the truck. [ torch hissing ]

(Jimmy)>> Like Jeremy mentioned earlier there's a couple of different ways we could go about repairing the rust in this chassis. The first way is to cut out this section of the damaged chassis and try to recreate it. The problem with that is the metal around it is so bad that we'd have to extend that section all the way up into this radius portion. Trying to recreate this radius would take so much time and effort to match it perfectly that I think our time is better spent elsewhere. So we're gonna opt to cut the entire back half of the chassis off, and to recreate it using C-channel and rectangular tubing. We're not gonna get there today but we still need to cut this chassis apart. So now where exactly do we cut the chassis? Looking at this bottom surface I can see that the metal is really pitted and it's just not structurally sound, but the closer that we get to the back of the cab the metal becomes relatively less pitted or not pitted at all, and that's a great starting point for us to make a cut.

(Jeremy)>> There's a little prep work we need to do prior to making this cut. First we'll take a pinion angle measurement while the truck is sitting on level ground. Next we need to get a wheel base measurement. We do this by measuring center to center of each wheel. With that out of the way we're ready to cut. [ MUSIC ] [ torch hissing ]

(Jimmy)>> We're using an acetylene torch to make this cut, and there are a few things to note about the cut you get with a torch like this. First you won't be able to weld immediately after this cut. The slag left behind from it leaves a rough surface and is very porous. So expect to do some grinding to clean it up. [ torch hissing ]

(Jimmy)>> Second, it's really tough to free hand a straight line. So expect to do some clean up with a grinder once you get the two pieces separated. [ MUSIC ]

(Jeremy)>> Oh yeah, easy peasy!

(Jimmy)>> Our tow truck is now ready for a new rear end, and if you would like to follow along with this build go to Powernation TV dot com.
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