So the dump bed works pretty awesome!
You cant really tell, but theres a yard of stone in the bed.
I didnt shoot any vid of it dumping, didnt think of it at time, was more concered with watching it, since a yard of stone is ~2600lbs. ive used it a couple times now, it is super awesome.
The green tailgate presented a problem though. It was a necessity as my original tailgate got smashed, but its bowed pretty badly, and i was losing stone on the way home. So, i dug out a shell ive had kicking around, and decided to see what i could do with it.
This one was also green, so i sanded it and then rattled it with some red primer, then sanded again
Starting to lay color. Again, all rattle can as i dont own a spray gun, and wasnt going to buy one, just to spray a tailgate
Couple coats of clear later, starting to look better
Some more wet sanding and some wax, and this i what i ended up with:
Not too bad for rattle can, if i do say so myself!!
Hardware from my gate going in:
...and the finished product!
Considering its all rattle can, i think the end result ended up pretty good, even tho its slightly off-color. its still way better than green, and this gate is actually straight!
So from here i moved on to two other projects.
#1, front brakes!
Power Stop carbon-ceramic pads, and their rotors as well. Havent driven it yet, we'll see tomorrow if they work any better than the crap Autozone brakes that were on there before.
#2, bumper mods.
I really couldnt bring myself to drill 4 holes in my shiny new tailgate, so i had to find a different place to put the license plate. So here we go! Take this:
and fit it here:
Being inset, it clears the hitch with plenty of room!
then i drilled some holes
...and reinstalled the OEM plate lamps, after i painted them to match the bumper:
Hopefully this is the last of the work to this thing for the year, as my other projects are piling up!
Made some progress on the water/meth injection. My wiring harness uses 7 wires, so rather than build an extension, i bought 7 wire trailer harness:
More OEM wedgelok pins being put to use
Original harness on the frame:
...and the new extension plugged in and looking OEM
The harness runs up the bed here. Next to it is a hydraulic hose connected to some 3/8 stainless tube via some swagelok fittings for the water.
The route up the bed:
Another OEM connector, where my extension harness ends in the toolbox. In the top left you can see where the tubing enters the box. 100% stainless tube from the bed hinge to the toolbox.
The original toolbox harness modified with a mating wedgelok connector installed:
...and the whole water/meth system is now reinstalled and done!
I turned the system on to check for errors and didnt find any, so i removed/cleaned the injector and then purged the system. Holy shit i think were done!!! I still need to find a place to relocate my CB antenna to, but aside from that she's 100% done!
After sitting for 7 weeks under a black walnut tree the truck needs to go to the carwash pretty badly, so i guess thatll be my test drive to see how badly the bed rattles around.
The kit comes with these guides to keep the front of the bed aligned with the cab, but i never installed them because my hinges are so much more sturdy than the ones that came with the kit, and the bed doesnt flop around like it woudve with their hinges. So we'll see after the test drive (hopefully tomorrow) if i need to put them on or not.
Bought a piece of unequal angle (3x4) from the scrap steel yard to begin mockup for a bumper
So heres the rough idea:
Seems awfully small, but with the bed tilted, you can see its a tight fit
No room for a license plate on the bumper
Trimming the corners
Adding a piece of 2" plate to the bottom
Now its starting to look like something:
All done and ground
For lack of a better place, i put rivnuts in the tailgate, to hang the plate off it. This gate is beat up anyway, so not too upset about drilling holes in it
All done & painted!
While i was waiting for it to dry, i fixed my trailer wiring. Turns out Clips & Fasteners sells replacement pins for Ford Wedgelock connectors. Male + female, and both the large and small pins. They get crimped on using the same tool as weatherpaks do, which i already have. Since i had broken wires i cut all of them back to fresh copper and repinned all of them
So all thats left is to bolt it on, and its done!
Its a tight fit against the hitch:
Look closely, youll see the bumper brackets all but touch the hitch, and there is actually a vertical groove in the bumper to clear the hitch. Its tight!
The bumper is a little smaller than id prefer, but as big as i can make it. Overall i think its looks pretty good on there though. So thats two more items off the list! So next week i need to tackle the water/meth injection, move my CB antenna and then i think im done!
Ok, so weve got 4 main projects left to finish this thing. Gotta solve the bumper problem, fix trailer plug wiring, rewire/plumb the water/meth injection, and relocate the CB antenna. Well, ive got 2/4 done now.
All this work on the bed; so i decided to work on the bumper. Since its got to pivot with the bed, i started building brackets to attach to the hinges:
One bracket done, shown attached to the bed-side half of one of the hinges. It attaches to the 5/8 hinge pin, plus 2 bolts up thru the hinge and into the bed. Should be sufficient.
Both brackets done, + hinges finally in paint!
Now to design a bumper.
Ok, filler necks!
Well, they bolt to the bed. But they cant since the bed moves. So Pierce Arrow wants you to build a brace and aim them both into the wheel wells to fill the tanks. Lame! So i came up with an (arguably) better solution.
Starting on the rear neck:
Built this, which didnt work. The fender strut hit it.
Had to cut the hole for the filler wide open, but you cant see it with the filler door closed anyway
This actually works; the bed can go up and it holds the neck in place; when the bed comes down it guides the neck right into place. The front was much more challenging. The bed full on collides with the neck and pushes it down:
So this is what i came up with
It holds the neck right where it needs to be. But, because the bed hits the neck on the way down, you have to hold the neck up and tuck it behind the fender as it comes down. Then the bracket guides the neck into place:
No way around that one, w/o cutting a notch in the bottom of the fender to clear the neck, which i think would look dumb.
Ok so then i got to looking at the bumper. Well, no chance in hell of the stock bumper going back on. The bumper has to tilt with the bed, and there is just no room with the trailer hitch there.
Mockup with a peice of 2*4 to simulate a bumper:
Im going to have to build my own rear bumper, and its going to have to be small, so it clears everything. I also still need to re-do the water/meth injection & move my CB antenna, but i think that might be it!
Holy crap, finally an update. This weather is nuts, it has rained every single day except i think sunday; took me all day to mow the jungle that was my yard! So i have updates. I was waiting until i was done to post, since ive basically been running outside in breaks between rainstorms to get stuff done.
So for heavy use they recommend adding a brace, from the xmember the hydraulics bolt to, to the xmember under the cab to stiffen it up.
Next up is wireless control. I bought this from Harbor Freight
the case comes apart; its got a nice rubber seal in there
Its a standard 5-pin winch connector on the end. Only uses 4 pins. Power in, ground, and 2 power out. Well, thats eay enough to wire up! Cut the end off, hardwired it to the winch solenoids, and mounted the box on the frame
The range is impressive; its like 60-70'! More than ill ever need. And since the system has a kill switch on the main power, theres no concern from a rogue signal making the bed move on its own :toothless Speaking of wiring; ive finished all of it. The winch relay has the same kill switch on the dash it always had, and i put the supplied toggle switch next to it, for a backup in case the wireless remote quits.
Also, as it would turn out, the exhaust fits! Barely, but it fits.
So, whats left?
This is the stock bed bolt. This is the only one that came apart, all the others got destroyed. Im not reusing them anyway.
Instead i used a small wire cup brush in a die grinder to cut a nice round hole in the bed liner. Then used said die grinder to open the hole up a bit, and slid a piece of 1" pipe down in there to beef the area up. The other side the bed is messed up, so its not nearly as clean a job.
Conveniently a 3/4" SAE washer fits the hole perfectly. Currently have 3/4" bolts down thru, but i have Gr8 carriage bolts on order.
Both hinges done!
Had to cut off the exhaust, no chance of everything fitting under there with that massive muffler
Frame-side hinge for the hydraulic scissor
Bed-side hinge installed. Thought i had a pic of it before installation but i guess not.
I made sandwich plates to back up the bed xmembers so they cant crush in
The hydraulic scissor
...and installed! This was a huge PITA to do by myself
Hydraulic pump installed on frame rail
Building the wiring harness for it. Its power up, gravity down. Its a pretty simple system, and it came with plenty of wire to do the job.
200a circuit breaker installed on fender. Its power source is below it; a 300a winch relay, that i use for my remote winch wiring. So, flip a switch on the dash to energize system, and then flip switch to run dump bed. This way i only have live power lines running down the frame rail when its in use.
pump all wired up!
Not pictured is the installed hydraulic hose. Need to figure out if i can cut it down, or make tabs to hold it up cuz its so long it lays on the driveshaft!
Made some progress yesterday!
So here's the frame side hinge installed. The plan for the bed side is to have two tabs that come down, one on each side. So i cut two tabs & when i went to put them in, i realized the inner would have to be spaced fairly far away, in order to have clearance for the nut that holds the hinge to the original bed mounting bolt.
Obviously im not going to use a ton of washers, so i scrounged around the garage to try and find anything i could use, to make a spacer. I found my solution, in an old broken Dana 70 shaft!
Turns out theyre only case hardened, so it was actually pretty easy to drill
Made two while i was at it, and welded one to the first hinge
The rough idea. You can see the nut for the bed bolt hidden way up there
And the finished bed-side hinge
I am intentionally leaving that heavy tab off the side for now, so i have something to add bed bracing to later on, once the bed tilts. It will most likely get trimmed down at that point.
So, i want to be able to grease this thing. But, when the bumper goes back on, the hinge will be totally hidden. So instead of adding grease fittings to the hinge, im adding them to the bolt.
So of course its currently raining and looks like its gonna all day, so probably wont get anything done today at all.
So lets talk about that hinge.
This is how its designed. One bracket that bolts inside the frame, one that bolts to the bed, and a 5/8 Gr8 bolt for a hinge pin
Frame side bracket. Not thrilled with this piece. The bushing is a nut with the threads drilled out, but its oversize so the bolt is sloppy
Bed-side bracket. has this angle iron tab that extends forward to tie into the next forward bed xmember. Good idea, but it doesnt fit on the 92-97 bed, so its gotta go
so here's the new bed half. Not a fan of this as the hole on this is also oversize so the bolt is sloppy.
At this point i figure i had two options. Use their hinge and upgrade to a 3/4" bolt for a hinge pin, or just build my own hinges. So i looked it up. According to this page, a 5/8 Gr8 bolt has a shear strength of 27,920lbs! Clearly i dont need a 3/4" bolt for the hinge, and the 5/8 will fit in the space better. So i guess im making new hinges!
Ok, gotta make some spacers. Carbide holesaw in 3/8" plate
New hinge, with spacer welded in place. All 3/8"
Installed on frame. Unlike theirs, mine uses all existing holes in the frame. Also of note, i need to finish trimming the frame. That notch is required for room for the hinge to pivot.
...and the comparison between mine & theirs. IMO, mine is far superior.
So now i need to build the bed-side half of the hinge. Well, i scrounged up some more 3/8" plate that im going to use to build them this week. I really liked the idea of making the hinge double shear, but there just isnt any room under there to do it with the hinges built as such; i might have to make a second spacer to weld to the inside of each frame-side hinge, but these will most likely need to be 1/2" in order to space them far enough away that they will not interfere with the bed bolt. So my goal for next week is going to be to finish the hinges, as long as mother nature cuts me some slack!
One thing i want to say. Im not trying to bash on Pierce-Arrow. These guys have been building these kits for, as far as i can tell, 15-20 years, and everyone loves them. No complaints from anyone on the parts that ive found, which tells me that if their sloppy single-shear hinge is good, then mine will be better. Also, it doesnt have to be double shear, but if i can i want to do it, just cuz i can. The scissor for the hyd cylinder seems like a nice piece, as does the pump, and the wiring & hardware kits are both nice as well. So basically, my only complaint with it is the hinge, which will soon be resolved.