Restoration: Ford D750—Part 18

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

Progress in the Ford D750 restoration has been held up partly because of delay in sourcing parts

Outside of auto electrics, cleaning and painting wheels have to be my least favourite part of any restoration, especially when the wheels in question are fitted with anything larger than 16-inch tyre.

Having procrastinated for a couple of months over getting started on this most laborious of tasks, the time had finally come to bite the bullet and get stuck in, however, work had only started when it all came to an abrupt halt.

As explained in a previous instalment, because the rear tyres appear to be in reasonable condition, I’d decided on taking a shortcut by leaving the tyres on the rims and attacking the wheels with a wire brush on an angle grinder before giving them a quick spray paint.

I’d made the call on this course of action not only because I’m becoming all-too-lazy in my old age but also because I’d prefer not to fork out an extra couple of thousand dollars for four new tyres if they’re not going to be required.

Progress has been held up partly because of delay in sourcing parts
Progress has been held up partly because of delay in sourcing parts

Besides which, even I have to admit that this restoration is starting to drag on a little bit longer than it should have and we need to move along as quickly as possible.

Because of the Christmas shutdown of most businesses, I’d hoped I’d save some precious time to de-rust the wheels myself as opposed to sending them off to the sandblasters, thus using up even more dwindling funds.

However, I was only 10 minutes into the wire brushing when I realised that I’d embarked on a hiding to nowhere, partly due to my advancing years and mostly because of the searing summer heat, combined with the vibration produced by the wire brush on the uneven surface of the wheels.

Suffice to say, I think the wheels can wait until the sandblasters are back on deck. Hopefully, this will be a portion of the story in Part 19 next month.

Another section of the job that has stymied progress has been caused by the anticipated arrival of the door window channel, which is still in transit from England.

While it’s a relatively small component weighing only a few grams, its late arrival is creating a roadblock in finishing the interior of the cab and also fitting exterior rear vision mirrors, the combination of which will play a serious part in finishing off the truck’s overall appearance.

I can promise an improvement to the condition to the wheels next month
I can promise an improvement to the condition to the wheels next month

The Christmas break (warts and all) did provide some time to focus on the mountain of mechanical work needed to move the restoration onto the next phase, work such as bending brake lines and refitting the manifold and exhaust system.

Time-consuming as these are, unfortunately, they don’t show much progress from a pictorial point of view, which is my way of saying, "I don’t have many good, new pictures to go with the story this month."

Also, it’s COF time in the Whittle fleet, and I’ve been busying myself with attending to as many issues that crop up with old vehicles when it comes to presenting them at the vehicle testing station.

It seems that every time I complete a new restoration, I’m only digging a bigger hole for myself to throw time and money into, just to keep the ageing fleet on the road.

As an example, the 1991 Mitsubishi transporter featured in a previous restoration series needed some surface rust attended to before the next COF, taking about a week out of the D’s restoration programme.

The same is the case with the 1993 Daihatsu Delta tipper I bought in poor condition about a year ago to which I’ve dedicated the odd spare moment to making steady improvements to its appearance.

The casual observer will say, "That’s not a flaming D Series. Why has the old fool included this in this particular restoration article?"

Well, the old fool’s justification is that ‘Delta’ is the word given to the letter ‘D’ in the phonetic code, making it a D Series as well; at least it does by my reckoning anyway.

See, there are ways to justify anything if you try hard enough.

Sand blaster booked for final stage of cleaning programme
Sand blaster booked for final stage of cleaning programme

On a more serious note, though, the jobs on the two newer trucks are just as important to the Ford’s restoration because those vehicles assist in providing some of the money needed to keep the restoration ball rolling.

Getting back to reality, the Ford D’s braking system has proven to be a lot more problematic than I’d imagined it would be because of the fact that I thought that our local hose shop would have the necessary equipment to make the tight bends needed to fit the steel pipes onto the brake booster.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case, so it was left to yours truly to make some pipe formers in order to achieve the desired result.

Now, I’d be lying if I said it all went smoothly on the first attempt, because it actually took several attempts to achieve anything that looked remotely acceptable and would work.
Another issue that cropped up involved two 3/8-inch UNF bleed nipples on the servo, which simply refused to budge when attempting to bleed the system.

To make matters worse, in the truck’s previous life, someone had attacked the heads with an incorrectly-sized spanner, burring the heads in the process.

So, after a lot of cursing and a day or two of soaking the items with WD40 combined with a freezing agent and still no sign of movement, I made a last-ditch effort by applying heat with the gas welding plant.

Naturally, this was something I was hoping to avoid, as I knew there was the likelihood a lot of resultant damage to the paint.

It turned out that this is the course of action I should’ve taken in the first place, as the nipples came out with only a small amount of heat having to be applied. Moreover, the paintwork hardly showed any signs of damage—not like my luck at all.

However, that wasn’t the end of the drama, because once the nipples were able to be bled, we discovered that there’s now a problem with the master cylinder, something I’m afraid is going to have to wait until next month’s instalment to be attended to.

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