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I must be off my meds again. 
What the hell am I doing? 

This 1977 440/727 RC will go from well built to just plain silly!

Believe it or not this is the BEFORE picture. This truck was already well built, Shaggy's built at that but now it's going to the next level. Up front the frame will get boxed. New front, engine and trans crossmembers. We're making custom tube shock hoops and the suspension pivot points are all changing radically. Out back it's all Monster Rear! This is a '77 so for all you that have been waiting for the 74-80 RC Monster rear plans they will be available soon. The truck already has a cage we installed a couple of years ago but the front half it getting changed and a custom dash is going in for more visibility and glove box access. The fun doesn't stop there either. For that you'll just have to stop back in for the next installment of Ultimate Ramcharger!

 

Here are a few pics of what we have done so far.

 

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Can your RC do tricks?

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30 years of mud and grease HAVE to go!

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Might as well rebuild everything while we're at it.

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Firewall Before

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Firewall After. This is where the batteries are going to go. This does not show the two holes for the heater hoses.

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Custom heater box. 

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New front crossmember. 3/8" wall DOM ought to hold up, huh?

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New front body mounts

 

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New front spring hanger crossmember

 

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All welded in and 5/8" forward from stock. I couldn't decide on 3/4" or 1/2" so I split the difference

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Starting work on the new engine crossmember. People give me crap because I save too much old junk. This crossmember came out of an old RC I used to have. Sure was nice to have!

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New tube crossmember is made of .250" wall 1 1/2" DOM tube. I'm using spring bushings for the engine mounts. Beefy!

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Full pen welds, nothing but the finest!

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All welded and smoothed. Ready to be cut to length and have the bushing put on. That's tomorrow......

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New Motor Mounts

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Bonus, It clears the oil pump!

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Tranny Mount

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Nuff said (not my thumb, it's the owners. Who says engineers don't get their hands dirty?)

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One thing about custom, there is a LOT of test fitting. Here we are setting the engine crossmember and motor mounts. It looks good from here but..... read on. 

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Side shot of the mounts and crossmember

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It just feels good to be putting parts BACK ON the truck finally, even if I did have to take to motor right back out.

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Crossmember set, time to weld! We are welding the tube to the inside of the frame rails and then plating around them. Should be SUPER STRONG!

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No more wiggles! The frame was like a wet noodle without this crossmember. Now it's got no more movement. 

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The driver side is the trickier rail to plate. Since this truck will start life with stock type steering and get cross-over steering later we have to leave access for all the holes. 

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Here is where the shackle pivot has moved to. 2" up and 1" forward. More about this later.

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Passenger side rail all plated and painted. 

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Inside shot

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Firewall all slicked and painted.

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Frame is now finished too. There are all 5 holes for the steering box, all with sleeves for max strength. The 6th hole there is for the shock hoops. 

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Better shot of the firewall and the old heater box hole. This is the finish paint. It's Dove Gray to keep it clean and bright under the hood. Kind of a racing thing.... One of the many personalities this truck will have when completed.

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Tranny Rebuild Time. I used Kevlar bands and Red Alto Clutches we got from Oregon Performance Transmission. You can find them on eBay or do a Google search for them. Nice guys.

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It's finally time to drop the motor back in. See the new B&M flex plate. That was because we went with a 13" TCI converter that has the 11 1/4" bolt pattern, or so we thought.....

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Oh how pretty, sure would be nice it it fit. The pilot stub in the front of the converter won't fit a cast crank. It fit my forged crank 440 but it's just a little too big for the cast crank. I used a Hughes Fuel Miser instead. Good to have spare parts laying around, huh?

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Finally in and just before it got dark. We thought it would be in by 11:00 am. I must be smoking crack! No motor EVER goes in when the sun is still up.

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Pretty motor mounts, wish they fit. I had to cut them back out to square up the trans. Measure 27 times, weld once!

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Finally on all four. The suspension picked up about 3" of down travel over the old Rancho 4" springs. 

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Here are the shackles and new pivot points. The shackles are 5 3/4" C-C and seem to look almost stock there.  They sure don't work like stock!

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Here is that shackle with all the weight on the front end. The angle is just how I planned it. FINALLY, I get lucky! It's funny, the harder I work the luckier I get.

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Look ma, no jack stands! These aren't the fenders it will be running. Those will go on after it stops raining. It's starting to look like a truck again!!!!!!

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Just a shot of the motor. Ain't it purrty

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Front core support mounts with 1" body lift built in and 1" spacer. Fit like I had planned it or something.

March 1st deadline? I can forget that dream. Maybe March 12th if I'm lucky. So far I haven't been very lucky. Maybe I should be working harder. Nah......
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New front cages tubes. The old tubes were too far in towards the center and blocked the view out the windshield. Anyone who has tried to build a cage with the stock dash in place knows what I mean.

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Side shot, as you can see, no dash yet. That will be built to clear the cage. This truck will be running and driving in two weeks? I must be insane! 

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Started on the tire carrier too. It will lay forward with the tailgate off, straight up and swing open from a pivot on the side with the tailgate on and be able to fold all the way back to act as a ramp to load a dirt bike. 007's Ramcharger!

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Front fenders are getting seriously opened up. I took off 2" all the way around and a ton off the front too. The side light has to be removed so I filled the hole. A small light will go in to keep it legal, in theory. 

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Here it is all ground down but still looking like my dog chewed on it ( and I don't even HAVE a dog!). About two more hours of body work left before this fender was ready for paint. I hate body work! Why do they have to be steel? I vote for fiberglass!

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Here you can see how much is actually missing from the fenders. The trick will be getting the fender wells to match the fenders now. The also stick out almost 2" further than stock. This will keep them legal on the street but require a bit more care on tight trails.

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Before

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After

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Just a shot of the inside. The same gray paint as the firewall. Fender wells will be painted too as soon as they are cut, welded and fit to the new fenders. The dual battery tray goes in the back corner on this side too. That is just about done now too. I'll post pics soon.

 

If you've been wondering what happened to this project and why there are no new updates here is your answer. Unfortunately I suffered a pretty bad injury around March 1st. I torn a muscle in my thigh and it's taken a lot longer than I could have ever imagined to heal. I'd like to say it's better now (May 29) but I'm still on limited duties if I want to avoid surgery (and I do!). The project will get done eventually but there is no time frame for completion right now. I'm sorry for the delay, nobody wants this truck done more than I do. Well, maybe the owner.......Poor guy. Anyways, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. More as soon as I have some news or more pictures.

2/8/07 Sadly the leg never really got back to a useful condition and the city of Lake Forest doesn't like 1/2 finished projects laying around so the truck has now gone home and on to another person to finish the job. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures of the truck when it's completed but this is the end of my part of the build. 

 

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