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MY 48 FORD F-6 COE
By Scott A Mann
McClure, IL

   This 1948 Ford COE came from the woods in Arkansas. The man I bought it from told me that it was a retired logging truck from a local logging company. It supposedly spent the majority of its life with a stake bed on it hauling logs. I purchased the truck back in 2000 with the intentions of making what it is today, but I had to finish the projects I already had started before I could begin a large job like this. My father and I brought the truck into the shop and began removing the body from the original frame in April 2004. Once we got the body off of the original frame, I sent the body to Evansville Indiana to have it dipped and chemically stripped to remove the rust. A few months earlier I had searched for and found a late model Dodge 1 ton dually with a Cummins diesel as a donor truck for the engine, transmission, and Dana rear axle. I had originally planned on using a GM step van frame and suspension, but once I started measuring the frame and suspension on the Dodge donor truck, I realized that it was the correct dimensions for what I needed for the 48 Ford. The only obstacle was how to connect the steering column to the steering box. I knew this would be difficult since the steering column in a COE is at a very steep angle compared to the standard 1 ton truck steering box angle. I felt it could be done, so while the 48 Ford body was away being chemically stripped, I removed the body from the donor truck down to the bare frame and engine. I determined that in order to have length enough for a 19’ car hauler bed and also a 36” long sleeper, I needed to add 9 feet to the frame. Once the frame was stretched the desired length, I then started to fabricate a new crossmember to set the Cummins engine in to relocate it to the center of the frame section I just added. This was so the engine would be positioned behind the sleeper and under the bed floor. A cooling box was fabricated to hold the radiator, condensor, and intercooler in front of the engine that scoops cool the air from underneath and forces it through the cooling box for maximum air flow and cooling efficiency. Once the body came back from the strippers, the cab was placed on the new frame by cutting the cab mount from the original frame and welding it to the new frame to allow the cab to be bolted on. I used a GM steering column from a 93 Pontiac Trans Am that I shortened to make the most distance between the steering box on the frame and the bottom of the column so I had room to use a double steering joint, vibration coupler, and a support bearing. After the steering was connected and confirmed in proper working order with no binding, I then proceeded to fabricate the sleeper. I searched for a sleeper from an old semi truck, but all I found were going to have to be drastically modified to work. The closest I could find to what I needed was a sleeper from an old Peterbilt semi tractor, but it was too wide, too short, and the roof of that sleeper was made of fiberglass and the sides were made of aluminum making it difficult to smooth them together. And finally the last serious problem was that the Peterbilt sleeper had rivet heads all over to hold the outer skins in place. Since I wanted a smooth look, I was going to have to deal with removing all of those rivets in addition to narrowing and lengthening it. I decided that the easiest and best way to get exactly what I wanted was to build it entirely from scratch. I did this by fabricating a “skeleton”, then covering the skeleton with sheet metal. After the sleeper skeleton was completed, I started fabricating the bed. The bed frame was completed then covered in 10-gauge sheet metal. The bed sides were cut with a computer controlled plasma cutter at Metal cutters. 10-gauge sheet metal was selected because it remains straight during welding with out the waviness the thinner sheet metal has. The bed floor is 3/16 aluminum diamond plate to save weight and improve appearance. After refinishing and reassembling, I proceeded with making the interior panels. I acquired a nice set of bucket seats from an Oldsmobile Alero and ordered upholstery material to make the interior panels to match the seats. The interior has all modern options, such as air conditioning, tilt steering, power steering, automatic transmission with overdrive, power 4 wheel disc brakes, power windows, air ride suspension, Jacob’s exhaust brake, Classic quad gauge set with full Isspro diesel gauge package with tachometer, pyrometer, boost pressure, and transmission temperature. The truck also has a GPS navigation system, Alpine CD player with Subwoofer, DVD player with LCD TV in the sleeper. The truck rides on Alcoa 19.5” wheels. It took nearly 3,000 man-hours over a period of 22 months to complete. The truck has been completed for 2 years and has been drive nearly 12,000 miles since. Although large in size, it is as much fun to drive as the 34 Dodge that I usually haul with it, or any other vehicle I have ever driven. Although I did all of the fabrication, painting, and interior, and would like to take all of the credit for the build, I have to share it with some others that were very involved in making it all happen. My father for many hours of helping with many of the things I just couldn’t do myself because of the overall size and weight, and for providing an extra set of hands when I needed them. A couple of my employees, Charles Jackson for help with many hours of the bodywork, and Brian Simmons for his help with some sandblasting and seam sealing. I would like to thank Wayne Mayberry for his help in bending the 9” channel for the frame rail extensions and too many other things to even begin to remember. And lastly, I must thank my wife Connie for being so patient and understanding and allowing to me spend so many hours away from her so I could do the work. If it were not for her picking up the slack at home by taking care of my responsibilities there such as mowing the yard among other things, it could have not happened either. Obviously there are many details in building the truck that is not mentioned here, but this covers many of the high spots. Again, thanks to everyone involved for their help. Scott Mann

before 2

before

before 3

 

before 4

 

Before

 

before interior

before interior

bed under construction1

bed under construction

under construction

under construction

donor frame w Cummins

donor frame w Cummins

donor truck body off frame - Copy

donor truck body off frame -

frame stretch

frame stretch

replacing cab floor

replacing cab floor

 

sandblasting cab

sandblasting cab

cab sandblasting

cab sandblasting

can prep sandblast

can prep sandblast

setting cab on new frame

setting cab on new frame

locating seat brkts and column

locating seat brkts and column

hole in cab for sleeper

hole in cab for sleeper

sleeper skeleton

sleeper skeleton

handmade sleeper

handmade sleeper

fabrication of sleeper

fabrication of sleeper

sleeper fabrication

 

bed removal for bodywork

bed removal for bodywork

Cummin relocated behind cab

Cummin relocated behind cab

setting Cummins in frame

setting Cummins in frame

bed fabrication

bed fabrication

fabricating bed

fabricating bed

installing 50 gal fuel tank

installing 50 gal fuel tank

mocked up

mocked up

the first ride

the first ride

cab alignment on frame

cab alignment on frame

bed in primer 2

bed in primer

bed in primer

 

setting cab on frame

setting cab on frame

truck ready for paint

truck ready for paint

doors painted

doors painted

bedfloor

bedfloor

air pressure gauges

air pressure gauges

dash

dash

engine comp

engine comp

engine comp2

 

done interior

done interior

door trim panel

door trim panel

headlinerAlpine cd

headlinerAlpine cd

inside sleeper

inside sleeper

lighted step

lighted step

gauges

gauges

instruments

instruments

night front end

night front end

F6 Cummins nplate

F-6 Cummins nplate

coe1

 

coe2

 

coe4

 

 

 

 

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