Restoration: Ford D750—Part 15

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


More updates from Lyndsay Whittle's restoration

Right off the back of Part 14 last month where things were moving rapidly, it looks like we’re turning back the clock with a truck that’s in a greater state of disassembly than it was a month or so back.

While in reality that isn’t quite the case, the photos I have to show for the 60 or so hours I’ve thrown at the project in October look like they’re telling a different tale.

Due to circumstances beyond anybody’s control, Jeremy from Bespoke Auto Glass has to date been unable to procure some of the rubber he requires to complete the quarter lights, hence the large gaps are still visible on both doors.

So, while I’ve been waiting on that part of the operation to be completed, I’ve made a start on the chassis rails between the rear of the engine and the diff.

The old fuel tank will take some work
The old fuel tank will take some work

I’d originally anticipated that this segment would involve more of a tidy-up than anything else, with a simple wire brush job and a coat of paint being sufficient to make the rear section of the truck presentable.

But as we all know, things are never quite as simple as they first appear.
I mean, the chassis rails and cross members all looked pretty tight for a 50-year-old truck, and with a bit of a touch-up, I reckoned they’d pass muster at the testing station.

I’ve learnt from experience that more detailed inspections often show up little glitches that aren’t initially visible, so I prepared myself for the odd unpleasant surprise as I got deeper into this part of the restoration.

I was surprised all right, but this time it was in a positive way, as the chassis proved to be exactly as good as it looked on its first inspection.

However, as I looked at the chassis rails, I could see how easy it would be to carry out a simple touch-up, however, it was felt like there was a small person sitting on my shoulder telling me that it would be the cheats way of finishing the job off.

So, knowing fully well that it was going to add several days to the restoration, hydraulic lines, power cables, tailgate mechanisms, and a plethora of other items too numerous to mention started coming off.

I guess by now you’re asking why on Earth is this silly old fool putting himself to so much extra effort in pulling more components off the truck and making so much extra work for himself.

Chassis stripped and ready for paint strip
Chassis stripped and ready for paint strip

Don’t worry. That’s exactly the question I’ve been asking myself as I remove even more stuff from the truck, adding a couple of weeks to the restoration at the very least, but I am banking on a much tidier end product.

Further up the front end, another saga has been playing out in the form of the exhaust system.

Looking back, the slight leak that was barely audible when I started working on the truck had gradually become worse with each start-up, to the point that it was now obvious that it wouldn’t get past first base at the testing station.

I was hoping that the leak was going to be at the exhaust flange or in the worst-case scenario at the manifold gasket.

The only definitive way of finding the source was to remove the manifold, a task that would’ve been a thousand times easier if I would’ve tackled it back in the beginning when the cross member that holds the back of the cab down was off the chassis.

At some time in the truck’s previous life, the original exhaust manifold had been replaced with an extractor system. I’ve heard that this was a common practice, as the hot boxes have a propensity for rusting out, resulting in poor idling.

Furthermore, several people who know petrol-powered D Series trucks inside out say that the trucks perform much better with extractors fitted.

When the extractor was finally prised from the maze of cross members, linkages, etc., it was obvious that any leaks weren’t coming from either the gasket or the flange; they were, in fact, coming from several spots in the extractor itself.

This wasn’t the outcome I’d been hoping for, however, I did have two options up my sleeve: one to try to find a second-hand unit (yeah right) and the other was to try to repair the existing extractor.

There’ll be some work here too
There’ll be some work here too

The jury’s still out on which option I’ll end up going with, and this will be covered in Part 16 next month.

Notwithstanding the negativities that have been thrown at us over the past few weeks, progress has been made in the area of component cleaning and priming. The fuel tank, front bumper, air tanks, and the toolbox have all been cleaned, etch primed, and given a coat of primer surfacer, with the bumper been given its final coat and is now fitted to the truck.

Also, the original black and silver number plate has been freshened up, adding to the originality of the vehicle, although, I’ve been told by several people that D Series were never originally painted metallic green. I like
it though, and I have to keep reminding them that it’s my truck after all.

Over the remaining months of this restoration, I’m going to honour some of the people to whom I owe a lot, as without their help along the way, this restoration would’ve been a whole lot more difficult if not impossible to carry out.

I’ve mentioned Graeme Blackstock in previous issues, however, I’m sure that name will come up again and again in the closing issues of the D Series job. Graeme went to a lot of effort on my behalf, removing parts from some of the cabs in his shed. It was his heater control mechanism that was used in this month’s restoration.

Also, my good friend Colin Dunn from CRD Automotive in Avondale has let me loose on dismantling a 1975 D Series that he’s had sitting in one of his yards for a little while.
This donor truck is supplying all sorts of goodies, from sun visors to wheels and tyres.

It even had a couple of seats with good upholstery, which I could’ve used if I hadn’t already had my truck’s original seats reupholstered a while back.

However, as they say, them’s the breaks.

Find trucks for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook