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orionbbs

75' Loadstar Firetruck turned classic car hauler

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I am a vintage race car driver and restorer of old original NASCARs. I've been looking for a very long time for an interesting project, which is to turn a cool old truck into a car hauler (ramp truck) for my vintage race cars. I just picked myself up a really neat one. A 1975 IH Loadstar with a 392 gas engine, 5 speed 4x4. It only has 50k miles on her and was bought new from the fire dept. I purchased her from.

Long story short. I think its going to be a cool project and if there is interest here I'd like to post updates from time to time? Pictures and probably video as she goes from working fire girl to another kind of working girl, hauling very cool old race cars including the real-deal 1965 Impala NASCAR pictured below that raced in the Daytona 500 in 65'

Info on the car can be seen here including the restoration we did in under 30 days for the Monterey Historics in 2010: http://NASCARImpala.com

I do have a question: I am considering a diesel upgrade since I'm told I can only expect 3-4mpg with the gas motor @ 50mph, I'd like a little better hauling performance and mileage if I can. I've done a bit of research and it looks like I can fit a Detroit 6v92/73 in her without modifying the floor but man do those things make a racket! I'd like to stick with a International Diesel like a DT360 or 466 but then I'd have to cut the floor up? Is there any option other then that? The 7.3/6.9 IHI looked like a possibility but I'm told those motors won't hold up over time and with a medium duty truck load. Any other ideas?

thanks!

shaun

Photos of the Firetruck today:

vp3675923_2_large.jpg

vp3675923_1_large.jpg

Impala race car she will be hauling around

046_M020099.jpg

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I am no help with the conversions. I do know that you have the tilt hood. I have one and it is fantastic. It has to help with any conversions you try.

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7.3 powerstroke t444 is about as hd as v block diesels come. the idi's are no pushovers. but ill say the 6.4 392 will be better than 3-4 mpg.

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7.3 powerstroke t444 is about as hd as v block diesels come. the idi's are no pushovers. but ill say the 6.4 392 will be better than 3-4 mpg.

Thanks @IHRunner,

I'm trying to avoid (should I?) any diesels which require an ECU e.g. Powerstroke or some of the newer mid-late 90s era engine. I've been told these are more difficult to swap in as they need to communicate with a transmission, limited your options on drivetrain. I've been instead looking into 'single wire' mechanical engines such as the Detroits and older International I6.

Regarding the existing 392 gas engine, mileage is one factor the other is just general drivability and torque. I'm worried that the gas engine won't be able to tow and haul the race cars (I forgot to mention I'm also going to have a tag trailer behind her towing a second car) with reasonable economy, but also good old fashioned ooomfff. 45-50mph drive down I5 is going to be torture :)

shaun

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So.. like.... uhh the Impala is super duper sick. I mean truly neato. BUT COMMON man! That fire truck is in real nice shape. Cant we find something a little rougher to convert? Then again, I don't see a pump on it. If no pump and its simply a rescue unit or some other non-water-throwing tank go ahead an chop away.

Maybe keep the gas motor, stuff a Gear Vendor in it and get 5 MAYBE 6 MPG. Or maybe not.

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The highway speed and oomfff will depend somewhat on how it's geared, but remember that engine was designed to push a Loadstar with a full size box loaded to 20,000# on the back through the wind at highway speeds, or haul a mobile home as a trailer toter, etc. I'd leave the engine swap go until you get it out on the road and see if it does what you want.

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That rig sure if in fine shape.

Figure more like 5 mpg, but could be a little better. It will haul just fine up to about 60 if the gears allow for it and I'm guessing they will. They are not a cruiser though. Probably 65 is topped out, yours may be different.

With a light bed and a car for load it probably won't really know the cars are back there. I scale at 11,200 and often run near 30,000 gross and have no real problem with hills. I do have a two speed rear so splitting 4th-5th is possible but don't usually bother. Low range is more for around the quarry.

Changing the engine WILL require changing the axle gears (65 mph at 4000) probably rendering the front drive non functional.

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So.. like.... uhh the Impala is super duper sick. I mean truly neato. BUT COMMON man! That fire truck is in real nice shape. Cant we find something a little rougher to convert? Then again, I don't see a pump on it. If no pump and its simply a rescue unit or some other non-water-throwing tank go ahead an chop away.

Maybe keep the gas motor, stuff a Gear Vendor in it and get 5 MAYBE 6 MPG. Or maybe not.

Thanks on the Impala. She was a fun project and I will be racing her next week at Sears Point.

Why not use a real nice shape truck for a conversion? Saves me a ton of time and effort repairing rust :) It is a rescue truck/pump with a non-working pumper which is why they sold her off cheap. Drivetrain and cab are in perfect shape.

shaun

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The highway speed and oomfff will depend somewhat on how it's geared, but remember that engine was designed to push a Loadstar with a full size box loaded to 20,000# on the back through the wind at highway speeds, or haul a mobile home as a trailer toter, etc. I'd leave the engine swap go until you get it out on the road and see if it does what you want.

Thanks Howard,

The plan is to do the bed/ramp conversion first and do a long run or two before pulling the trigger on the engine swap, so she will have a few dry runs before we do that. Just trying to get all my ducks in a row and info together if/when I do need to do a swap.

shaun

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Awesome racecar !! :):wub: My first car ever 66 Impala 396 4spd 4.11 posi, Wish I still had it Cummins 5.9 too long ???

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Great find in the truck-------sure looks clean.

Suggestion-----------those boxes/cabinets sure will hold alot of tools and parts. Why not set up as a two car goose neck puller??? You could even mount a small crane on what you've got.

Sorry-------I can't help much on a diesel swap. Two big items to watch if done (besides physical fit) is rear axle ratio and radiator cooling.

I've got an '89 F700 Ford with the factory propane 429 engine. Runs approx 3------3.5 mpg empty or loaded---------its geared low and runs approx 65 mph @ 3600+ rpm; but lots of torque. in order to keep the front axle alive-----you might look at changing out to some oversize tires. can buy alot of gas vs. the expense of swaping everything out.

Regardless-------------you will be riding in style on the highway and on the track. Keep that right foot resting against the floorboard!!!!!!! And-------keep us posted!!!!!

Delta Dirt

Avon, Ms 38723

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Great find in the truck-------sure looks clean.

Suggestion-----------those boxes/cabinets sure will hold alot of tools and parts. Why not set up as a two car goose neck puller??? You could even mount a small crane on what you've got.

Sorry-------I can't help much on a diesel swap. Two big items to watch if done (besides physical fit) is rear axle ratio and radiator cooling.

I've got an '89 F700 Ford with the factory propane 429 engine. Runs approx 3------3.5 mpg empty or loaded---------its geared low and runs approx 65 mph @ 3600+ rpm; but lots of torque. in order to keep the front axle alive-----you might look at changing out to some oversize tires. can buy alot of gas vs. the expense of swaping everything out.

Regardless-------------you will be riding in style on the highway and on the track. Keep that right foot resting against the floorboard!!!!!!! And-------keep us posted!!!!!

Delta Dirt

Avon, Ms 38723

Thanks Delta,

Would love to keep the box but not practical for what I'm looking to do. I've got an 08' Dodge 3500 Dually with a gooseneck and 50' PACE enclosed trailer. Its like towing a house and not very stylish to show up to the classic car shows with :) This project is somewhere in between what I already have which is practical but difficult to maneuver around something which is down right cool and mostly practical :)

shaun

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Awesome racecar !! :):wub: My first car ever 66 Impala 396 4spd 4.11 posi, Wish I still had it Cummins 5.9 too long ???

Thanks!

Cummings looks a bit long, not as long as the DT360/466. I want to avoid any cutting of the floor or making of a 'dog-house'. Only options (?) I've seen are the "V" block Diesel engines, V6 or small V8's.

shaun

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These old fire trucks are great finds. They are rust free and very low miles.

They do spend a lot of time idling at fire/ rescue scenes, so the engines have more hours on them than the miles will indicate.

Your truck is very nice, and the 4 door layout will be handy.

the first thing that struck me when I saw the picture, is the wheel base looks pretty short to put a car hauler bed on it.

I am afraid you will have a lot of overhang that will put too much of the load on the rear axle, it won't be balanced right.

to me the truck looks perfect, like it is, to pull some sort of a car hauler trailer.

It's heavy enough to handle a pretty good load, without being pushed around.

The engine might be a bit under powered for high speed, long hauls, and will certainly like it's gas.

very sharp rig, nice find

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So.. like.... uhh the Impala is super duper sick. I mean truly neato. BUT COMMON man! That fire truck is in real nice shape. Cant we find something a little rougher to convert? Then again, I don't see a pump on it. If no pump and its simply a rescue unit or some other non-water-throwing tank go ahead an chop away.

Maybe keep the gas motor, stuff a Gear Vendor in it and get 5 MAYBE 6 MPG. Or maybe not.

Thanks on the Impala. She was a fun project and I will be racing her next week at Sears Point.

Why not use a real nice shape truck for a conversion? Saves me a ton of time and effort repairing rust :) It is a rescue truck/pump with a non-working pumper which is why they sold her off cheap. Drivetrain and cab are in perfect shape.

shaun

Seriously, you will be at Sears Point or Infenion or whatever the heck they call it now days this weekend? I too will be at Sears Point this weekend. Will the Impala be this shown color? Ill keep an eye out...

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Shaun IH did offer a Dt-466 in the very last loadstars. They had the firewall and floor cut out and a fiberglass doghouse in the cab. You could put a brownie box in front of the transfer case which would give you under, direct and overdrive. Are you located in NC? Eason

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Seriously, you will be at Sears Point or Infenion or whatever the heck they call it now days this weekend? I too will be at Sears Point this weekend. Will the Impala be this shown color? Ill keep an eye out...

Yep! It'll always be sears point to me. And Impala was and is its original color as raced in 1965. Evening Orchid aka purple :)

At Daytona 1965 w/ Roy Mayne original driver

Mayne0001.jpg

Me in 2012 hustling her around the "S's" at Sears Point

10359037_10202104382990909_1769038225427

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These old fire trucks are great finds. They are rust free and very low miles.

They do spend a lot of time idling at fire/ rescue scenes, so the engines have more hours on them than the miles will indicate.

Your truck is very nice, and the 4 door layout will be handy.

the first thing that struck me when I saw the picture, is the wheel base looks pretty short to put a car hauler bed on it.

I am afraid you will have a lot of overhang that will put too much of the load on the rear axle, it won't be balanced right.

to me the truck looks perfect, like it is, to pull some sort of a car hauler trailer.

It's heavy enough to handle a pretty good load, without being pushed around.

The engine might be a bit under powered for high speed, long hauls, and will certainly like it's gas.

very sharp rig, nice find

Thanks,

We did some measurements and we only need to extend the frame a foot or two. The old haulers from back in the day had a 3-4' overhang which weight wise should be OK. It'll keep its stubby look visually and barely fit my 119" wheelbase Impala, which is the heaviest and longest of my cars at 5000lbs. My other IMSA GTO cars weight more like 1900-2500lbs and have 105" wheelbases.

shaun

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Thinking outloud here again---------there is a guy in Bakersfield, CA that has customized a Dodge Power Wagon. Its a lighter truck than yours-----but he has swapped through a couple of diesels and several g-boxes and rear ends------seeking the "sweet spot" for long distance travelling.

Goes by the name "Mike Mc" on ACMOC forum (old Caterpillar). Might get some good info from some of his experiences.

You definitely have an eye catcher truck.

DD

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Shaun IH did offer a Dt-466 in the very last loadstars. They had the firewall and floor cut out and a fiberglass doghouse in the cab. You could put a brownie box in front of the transfer case which would give you under, direct and overdrive. Are you located in NC? Eason

Hi Eason,

Do you know if they sold the doghouse pieces? Whats a brownie box? :) -- I'm in San Jose, CA ... all the real deal NASCARs are out here. NC guys are OK with the fake tribute cars but not here... we race them turning LEFT and RIGHT :)

shaun

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My '68 Loadstar 1800 has a 392 with a straight 5 speed and 7.10-1 gears. It got around 6, but I don't think it would do more than 60 miles an hour wound right up. It was an ex fire truck as well. I know you don't want to put a dog house in the truck, but if you want power and economy, you need a DT360, DT466, or 5.9 Cummins. An old V-8 diesel is happiest in a school bus or garbage truck poking along making frequent stops, in my opinion.

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So.. like.... uhh the Impala is super duper sick. I mean truly neato. BUT COMMON man! That fire truck is in real nice shape. Cant we find something a little rougher to convert? Then again, I don't see a pump on it. If no pump and its simply a rescue unit or some other non-water-throwing tank go ahead an chop away.

Maybe keep the gas motor, stuff a Gear Vendor in it and get 5 MAYBE 6 MPG. Or maybe not.

Thanks on the Impala. She was a fun project and I will be racing her next week at Sears Point.

Why not use a real nice shape truck for a conversion? Saves me a ton of time and effort repairing rust :) It is a rescue truck/pump with a non-working pumper which is why they sold her off cheap. Drivetrain and cab are in perfect shape.

shaun

That truck looks nicer than most of our active fire trucks with the dept I volunteer at. I wish we could've gotten it, although we do have a diesel only policy these days. The valves are always handy though...

As far as swaps go, if you go diesel you'll need a hefty overdrive. I imagine it'll be tough to swap gears in both axles. That said... the 392 could possibly be a governed unit set to 55 or 60 at 3000 rpm (that's where the governor kicks in). That IS where Ford would set the gearing on the 7.3s in the old F-Super Duty trucks (not to be confused with the newer model powerstroke trucks). So you could go that route. The 392 does have a pretty good amount of torque of idle, but you are right that you will probably get better mileage with a diesel. You aren't going to get pickup truck level mileage no matter what you do and a detroit is probably not going to get you any better mileage than that 392 (although it'd sound cool). A turbo 7.3 IDI diesel might not be a bad choice, but I'm not really sure what kind of mileage improvement you'll actually see.

A 5.9 cummins could be a nice swap, but you'll really need to get the RPMs down.

A 6.9 or 7.3 diesel is likely the easiest swap since the RPM range is closest to a 392s (redline is actually the same).

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Back again--------you had mentioned the 6V-92 Detroit earlier. Never have run any of the 92 series, but have run 4-53s and 4-71s on the farm. Contrary to alot of knowledgeable guys here on the old tractor forums----------I believe in the old two cycle Detroits when properly matched up to their job. The King of Obsolete runs a Detroit in his old Ford way off up in the Great White North----check him out on the Construction Forum.

Thought I might have some 92 series info---------but don't. I do have specs on the 6V-71 (dimensions are as if in a skid mount with the radiator being much taller than the valve covers):

6V-71 Detroit

max. brake HP @ 2300 rpm = 255 hp

rated brake HP @ 2100 rpm = 218 hp (pwer ratings on 6V-71 probably compare favorably with my 429 Ford)

torque @ 1200 rpm = 604 ft. lb.

weight = 3,000 lb

length (front of radiator to rear face of block = 43 1/8 inches

width = 39 inches

The 6V-92 would be more power------------and slightly larger dimensions. I do know that the 8V-92 series can be turbocharged on both banks (referred to a 8V-92TT--------presume that the 6V-92 can be also???). I did experience one of the 8V-92TT on the truck dyno at the Memphis Detroit dealer's shop back in 1980+/-. I was in Memphis picking up an irrigation engine------------and kept hearing all of this roaring out back of the shop. Had gotten to know the shop foreman-------and he took me out back to take in the truck dyno. They were tuning up a hometown semi with a 8V-92TT engine----------the trucker had driven into the shop raising Hel! because he got passed by another rig on the desert coming out of Los Angeles. According to the dyno (truck tied down pulling load on rollers)------------he was pulling a scaled load in slightly excess of 80,000# at 100+mph!!!!! (the trucker did not think anybody was gonna be passing him on his next trip out to the West Coast).

Should be plenty of Detroit experts out on the west coast-----------but if you don't have a Detroit contact; try Jackie Hunt at J.R. Hunt Enterprises, Brandon, Ms 601 829-1935. Tell him Anson Sheldon from up in the Delta gave you his number. Jackie knows the Detroit engines backwards and forwards-----worked for the Detroit dealer and then opened his own shop servicing all sizes (including locomotive engines). Great guy---------and a straight shooter. (he would get a kick out of what you are doing truck wise and car wise)

Uhhhhhhh-----------referencing your comment about the real NASCAR being out on the west coast; I wuz under the impression that ya'll were drinking wine----------while them good ol' boys over in the Carolinas wuz dranking "white lightening"!!!!!!!!!LOL

Keep us posted----

Delta Dirt

Avon, Ms 38723

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Am ALL WHEEL DRIVE truck will limit your speed. They are designed to pull loads on rough terrain no so much blow down the road at 70. that's a real nice truck you got there. Real envious!

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Fully agree with edwardporter's comments above----------just posting up the Detroit comments as evidence that alternative "race horse" power packages are available. But there is alot more to consider than switching engine.

Personal opinion----------as great as that truck looks (practically like new); ---------just take your time riding down the highway and give the public time to admire it. (but we all know that the typical race car drivers don't like to take it easy--------it is a show truck now--------will be a show truck if totally repowered and re-geared!!!!

Question on fwd axle:

Would that be full time--------or can it be disengaged?? Lot of extra weight regardless.

Will be an interesting project for us to follow-----so keep us posted on the truck------and your racing results.

DD

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