Build on a budget R120


The place to put your L, R and S "Build Off" story.

Pile of Parts
Pile of Parts

Posts: 27

Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:59 pm

Post Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:48 pm

Build on a budget R120

Bought my 54 R120 almost 25 long years ago before I could even drive. As soon as I saw it I was in Love. A farmboy myself I fell for the farm truck. I loved how tough yet kinda sleek it looked and the fact I had NEVER seen another like it. It wasn't a "big 3" rig. I liked it's rarity until I tried finding parts... My dad and I had already done a 41 Chev and I had a hand in a few square bodies as well. Parts for them were easy (keep in mind this was pre internet days too!) LMC Truck n such. Before he passed my dad and I also did 2 Model A's back to original condition... I prefer that BUT unfortunately I don't have the means to do that with the R. I found an '80 F-250 as a good, cheap donor (rotted out frame and body plow truck), 302 with a T19 and a limited slip 3.50 rear. Drive-line has 67k original miles, 302 itself has 4k on a fresh, well done, rebuild. Bought it from a close friends dad, who is an encouraging guy and cut me a GREAT deal on it cuz he knew about my years of talking/dreaming about the "13 LETTER S**T SPREADER" as he lovingly calls it. I have been led to this site many times over the years trying to figure out how I could do this build and a LOT MORE lately as I have FINALLY got my S*** together and actually started this project. I don’t have the means to rebuild the 220 and I WILL NOT run split rims. I understand that a V8 swap is pretty taboo here but I do what I can with What I got and then make it look good lol. I have a lot of questions and I hope to be able to answer some as I dig deeper into this project. Thanks for accepting me into your world even if I'm doing the dreaded V8 swap but I want this beautiful old girl to be a daily driver (summer only... too much salt brine up here in northern Wisconsin) which means a more modern driveline. I wish you all good luck on your projects and I will try to help if I can as well. Getting the "Welcome to OldIHC" email actually made my day today... no joke :D P.S. I also have a 51 L110 I bought recently for parts (and drove home with a pull start, a 2 litre bottle gas tank and no breaks but she made it!)... I won't be using any driveline parts and only a few of the rest of the original truck(s) parts. If you need something please hit me up. I'd rather see stuff go to a good home and be used as intended then make a profit... just me.
Attachments
thumbnail.jpeg
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Rusty Driver
Rusty Driver

Posts: 176

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:50 pm

Location: Below the pinky finger of the Mitten

Post Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:28 pm

Re: Build on a budget R120

Welcome, good luck with your project. Take advice from the other guys here, many are experts and have already BTDT several times over.

Nice patina on your truck How far north in WI are you?

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 8283

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:45 pm

Location: Canada's left Coast

Post Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:32 pm

Re: Build on a budget R120

Now that your introduction is in the mix, it is time for you to start a build thread. Look for the L,R,&S build off.
Don't allow yourself to get all hung up on what others think about your build. Many persons like to hide behind the "keep it all original" guise because they don't know anything and don't want to admit it. Patina tells me, "I am too cheap to get real paint." Although, I like some trucks in original paint and I would consider this as an option.
I have always gone with the make it better while keeping it looking original plan. It was likely the pleasant rounded shape that attracted you to the trunk. I would bet you never said, "there is magic in that powertrain."
Almost every major change will need to have other changes follow. More power will need better brakes that the OEM brakes cannot offer. A V8 fits really well, but the steering column must be changed out for clearance. An IHC 304 V8 is a simple bolt-in without any body or frame modifications.
I have posted many times on the modern parts that fit and work in my Old IHC trucks. Use the forum search.
Frame swaps are not easy and without a plan, a frame swap will turn your truck into recycling. Do not be in a rush to fail.
DO NOT WELD ON AN ORIGINAL FRAME. Build a frame with new square tube. the Old IHC frame is a simple straight ladder style. This is not the time to cheap out on a welder. My minimums are MILLER and LINCOLN, MADE IN USA.
My friend built a square tube frame replacement for his L110 SWB, 4X4. His "L" is way over powered by a compound turbo Cummins 24 valve.
Last edited by nikkinutshop on Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I would rather have tools I do not need than to need tools I do not have
“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
Mark Twain

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 349

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:13 pm

Post Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:15 pm

Re: Build on a budget R120

Welcome to the site. There's tons of knowledge on this here; Nikki's reply is evidence of that. Looking forward to seeing your progress. We all love photos. I also have an R120 that's had a V8 conversion (327, Turbo 400). I don't have much to offer, in terms of expertise, though - as the conversion was done for me. Good luck with your build. It will all be worth it.
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Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 1817

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:40 am

Location: Wichita, Kansas

Post Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:44 am

Re: Build on a budget R120

Welcome to the site! Depending on year and exhaust manifold arrangement, the 302 is one of the narrowest V8 engines and may actually fit without modifying the steering column as most others require.

Dean
Lifelong Kansan
Grew up with red paint
Moved off the farm 30 years ago.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 4563

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:20 am

Re: Build on a budget R120

If I were going to use a non-stock engine, it would be any of the inlines all are almost bullet-proof and easy to fit. Just my penny's worth.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 8283

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:45 pm

Location: Canada's left Coast

Post Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:01 pm

Re: Build on a budget R120

I agree with CB89. One of the better inline 6 engines is the Jeep 4.0. There are lots of these engines available in Jeep wrecking yards.
Leave the Jeep transmission and transfer case on the engine. If a person stays with the 2 wheel drive the transfercase will have that low range option that might be handy. If a person changes to a 4 wheel drive for better modern axles and better brakes with parts available, the transfercase is there. The later 4.0 engines with EFI are the best option. I am thinking a Jeep Wrangler rear fuel tank might fit between the frame rails on an Old IHC.
I would rather have tools I do not need than to need tools I do not have
“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
Mark Twain

Pile of Parts
Pile of Parts

Posts: 27

Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:59 pm

Post Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:42 pm

Re: Build on a budget R120

I agree with the 6 idea but... a 302 is what I have. Like I said... budget build unfortunately. And yes, by the time I got the T19 into roughly the right position the original steering column will fit although I plan to go with power and get rid of the classic "impaler" column lol. Believe me, if I had the extra cash to rebuild and turbo the SD I would have gone that route but once again... a 302 is what I have on hand. Do you guys have and suggestions for seats? I would like to have seatbelts so I was looking at newer F-150 or Trailblazer just not sure how well they'll fit. I'm 6'3" so I definitely need my legroom yet. Thanks again!
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Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 8283

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:45 pm

Location: Canada's left Coast

Post Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:29 pm

Re: Build on a budget R120

If you have the OEM seat, get it reupholstered. You say you are 6'3". I raised the OEM seat just over an inch so I would fit better. I am 6'4".
The simple upholstery is not expensive to replace.
Because I have the time, resources and I wanted to learn something new I bought a JUKI commercial sewing machine and did the complicated upholstery in my 1940 Ford. The OEM "R" upholstery is simple flat pieces joined at the edges. I would add a beaded edge or a French Seam.
My doing the upholstery was an excuse to buy another machine and related tooling. Finally, after hanging onto my 1962 HAMILTON drafting table for 58 years, I was able to use it as a layout and cutting table. You see, It all works out. Be patient.
I bought the seat covering material for my "R" at a end-of-the-roll fabric store. I bought 6 partial rolls of GM truck seat fabric. There is enough material to do all the seats and door panels in an "R" four-door crewcab. I paid less than $100.
If you decide to go with leather, I might suggest TANDY LEATHER. I bought 5 full hides for the Ford. BTW. Leather is easy to work with. If I live long enough and get myself organized, I will be using leather in the crewcab.
My daughter has claimed all of my upholstery stuff. She has a talent for this stuff.
Attachments
RIGHT REAR PASSENGER DOOR 1.jpg
R/R door with a BMW grab handle
ORRVILLE RIGHT FRONT.jpg
R120 power windows and locks and AC.jpg
R120 door with power windows and power door lock. GM upholstery material.
DRIVERS DOOR 2.jpg
Driver's seat and door
I would rather have tools I do not need than to need tools I do not have
“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
Mark Twain

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 349

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:13 pm

Post Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:31 pm

Re: Build on a budget R120

Very impressive, Nikki,
Great work!!
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