Made 5 years in this configuration, the medium-duty series L-600 is a heavy duty spin-off of the A-100 truck. These trucks featured a galvanized forward tilting cab for easy access to the engine, and offered engine sizes from a 225 six cylinder to a Perkins diesel.This particular truck has a 318 2 barrel, 4 speed manual trans with a 2-speed rear end. Dual telescoping cylinder Gallion hydraulic 18' bed, 7.00-20 tires and wheels. Has new heads just installed on a replacement engine. Massive radiator has been cleaned and repaired, 30 gallon gas tank has also been removed and cleaned. Runs and drives.
Will make the ultimate car hauler.
Well, we have had a slight change in plans so disregard the price above. Here's what happened:
Got to messing with the truck and seeing what there was to work with. It ran like crap on 4 cylinders and we ended up putting on a fresh set of heads to correct the problem (stuck and broken spark plugs and bent push rods). Had a slight fluctuating oil pressure problem, so pulled the oil pan off and pulled out a couple of chopped up shop rags that were floating around in there. Incredibly, take the rags out and the thing gets real good oil pressure now. Have no idea how or why they got where they were, but they were in the pan. Problem solved. Runs great and no noises or problems. Had a leak in the massive radiator so took it out and had it fixed, then removed the crank mounted direct drive fan. Replaced it with a pair of 12" electric fans controlled by an adjustable temp sensor. Runs 175 degrees all day long now and you don't have that obnoxious fan screaming at you and sucking horsepower from the 318.
Still, its a grain truck that had been used as a trash dump truck for roofers. Original plan was to buy a rollback wrecker and put the bed on this truck. If you spent the money and time to do that, you would still have a 2-1/2 ton truck that only goes 50 MPH, is rough riding and hot as hell on a summer day. Couldn't see putting 8-10 thousand dollars into a project like that, so we 'donated' the grain bed to a local salvage guy that had the tools to get the bed off without tearing up the truck. Gave him the bed as a good will gesture and advanced payment for future parts. Now we have basically a cab and chassis L600 with a PTO and 2 big hydraulic rams in the frame. We later carefully took off the PTO shaft, pump, reservoir, control cables, lines and rams to possibly be used on another truck.
Its easier to come up with a plan with the unusable pieces gone. Got to looking around in the parts yard and there was a crew cab dually with a Dana 70, 373 gears, sway bar and 6 real nice 16" Michelins with killer looking simulators. Turns out that the frame width is the same between the L600 and the 80-something Chebby truck. Started envisioning a dually pickup, you know, like the ones made out of a Freightliner semi. So started looking for a bed and found a new take-off 2010 Dodge diesel 4x4 dually painted the factory black metallic, with all the lights, tailgate and factory bumper. Hauled it home and placed it on the bare frame to size up where it would sit in relation to the closed cab. Made a mark on the frame to reflect where the center of the wheel opening on the bed would be and that mark also served as the center line for the Dana rear end. Just happened to have a real heavy duty cross member right above the centerline of the rear axle that will serve as a platform to build a gooseneck ball mount. Pulled the bed off, lifted up the rear of the truck and positioned the rear end assembly on the frame. Tack welded the spring hangers, let it all down on the ground and cut the frame behind the back hanger of the new springs. The original 2 speed 600-something geared rear end and frame rails all came out in one piece. This was so much easier than trying to cut and spice the frame when you really don't need to. The original 4-speed trans is an industrial or medium duty type (passengers side clutch fork) that has a stationary yoke instead of a slip yoke, so we made a 29" long slider drive shaft out of the 2-piece shafts from both trucks. It looks a lot like a front drive shaft on a 4 wheel drive, only shorter. Transmission down angle and differential up angle accidentally came out just right. Rear sway bar mounted up with nothing more than a couple holes drilled in the bottom of the frame. Like it was made to be there.
Made mounting tabs on the frame for the bed to be easily removed with 6 bolts. The stock drivers side mounted 30 gallon gas tank was in the way so it was removed. Due to space restrictions there was only room in the stock location for a fabricated 10 gallon tank that wouldn't restrict the removal of the bed. Along with dual tanks on the dually, there was a 60 gallon tank in the bed, so we used it in the bed of the L600. Took a universal Hot Rod City Garage tank sending unit and adapted it to the tank with ease.
Went to a local recycling center and found that some drone had turned in a perfectly good Champion class A motor home for the aluminum. Frame and drive trains were made by Mopar so found the answer to the problematic front drum brakes and hideous 20" front tires. The motor home had a straight axle front end with disc brakes and 8-hole wheels, so we can use the remaining Michelins and chrome simulators. It also gave up a complete front sway bar set up. The 440 and short shaft automatic that came with it may come in handy in the future, as it runs flawlessly also.
Keep in mind that nearly 80% of the weight of this truck is on the front axle. The rear end is very light, rendering the rear brakes almost useless if the truck is empty. Overall, this trucks' best use is as puller for a gooseneck or 5th wheel trailer, but still is a very good all-around town driver. The 318 is stock with block hugger headers and is supposed to produce 212 horsepower stock. The low first gear allows it to pull a load from a dead stop easily, and the rest of the gears coupled to the 373 rear end lets it go down the road at interstate highway speeds. At 70mph its turning 3000rpms. The speedometer is now completely useless, due to the drive design in the transmission so we use a GPS for a speedo.
The whole cab was stripped down and soda blasted to the bare galvanized metal. Advanced Autobody in Emporia Kansas did the bodywork and painting it to match the 2010 bed and black metallic color. There was no rust to repair and only a few dents so this was a quick turn through the shop. Got it back and its all one color now, which makes the whole thing look more proportionally correct. Just looks like it should have been made that way, and some of the major body lines even line up. Grille wasn't straight enough to chrome so its being painted silver till we can come up with a good chrome grille. The front bumper is made from 1/4" iron mashed into the shape of a bumper and is so heavy that sending it off to be chromed was not an option. Would rather have a large aluminum semi-type bumper but haven't come across one that would look right yet.
Replaced EVERY bulb in the truck with LED's and got new round directionals, 2010 LED cab lights. Really lights the thing up without overworking switches and wiring. Installed the front motorhome axle/brakes/sway bar without any major problems. Did have to graft the steering link from the 2 applications to make one that works, but not a big deal. The manual steering is not a problem with the huge steering wheel and didn't see the need to install power steering. Did not end up using the hydro boost set up from the Champion, and the steering seems to be very stable. Power steering would most likely make it very jumpy, or over responsive to road conditions. Its easy enough to steer and reacts quickly with the short wheelbase.
Its unreal how much wind this thing catches going down the road at 70. Kind of like driving your living room picture window down the road. Thought it would be hot in the cab on a 100 degree day, with no insulation, but it really wasn't. The air box and distribution vents are placed right where they blast the occupants. Overall, I think a guy could drive a Hemicuda convertible or a 3 legged buffalo and people wouldn't look twice at them when this thing goes by.
Working on insulating the inside and bottom side of the cab, and getting the carpet in it. The seats turned out to be Jeep seats of some kind that fit perfect. Had Eddy at Joes Upholstery in Cottonwood Falls (620-273-8557) do the seats and make a jump seat for the middle that doubles as an armrest.
Some of the details:
Bone stock 212 horsepower 318 2bbl with electronic ignition and headers
New Process NP435 4 speed with 12" clutch
78" wheel base
174" (14-1/2') long bumper to bumper
84" (7') tall
Weighs 6200 pounds, 4100 of it is on the front end
60 gallon gas tank
Dana 70 rear end with 373 open gears (was an Eaton 2-speed with 6.33/8.81 gears)
7 gallon stock cooling system with dual 12" electric fans controlled by adjustable temp sensor.
So, is it an L-300? L-3500?