International Harvester 1953 / Click here

New Restoration project for April. This 53 International Harvester is going to be a full frame off restoration. Keep watching to see the deconstruction!

The “Homer ” project is ready to get started. This is a picture of the engine compartment and the cab. As you can see , this truck has been sitting for a while.

The 53 International Truck came from California. There has been someone living in the cab. Actually, there is a Rat living in the truck. Even after being trailered all the way from California, the Rat is still inside the Truck.

The truck is going to take some work. The Owner has decided to come by and spend a little time cleaning up. Lets hope the Rat clears out while the doors are open.

There is plenty of rust on this truck, after we disassemble the truck we will have some of the parts sandblasted.

The 53 International is getting cleaned up before it comes inside the shop. The truck has been sitting for many years, we found it has something living inside. 

You can see by the amount of rust and plants growing, that this truck has been sitting in a field in California. Whatever is living inside refuses to leave, we can hear something scratching around inside the cab of the truck.

This truck was running when it was parked, it has been sitting and something has moved in. Here’s a shot of the owner cleaning up the mess that was made, by the look of the droppings it looks to be a Rat.

The owner came by the shop and wanted to spend some time cleaning. The truck had to be cleaned out and then pressure washed. Even engine compartments are great places for critters to move in and start setting up house.

The truck looks so much better, it was pressure washed inside and out. Well the Rat was seen leaving the cab and ran under our 67 Camaro. It  will probably return to the truck at some point.

Well the truck is all cleaned up and into the shop, by the way the Rat has returned and is hiding in the cab. It seems to be pretty smart, we have a trap set but it keeps stealing the food and getting away.

Now that the truck is all cleaned out, the deconstruction can begin. This will take a while to take the truck apart, all the bolts are pretty rusted. You can start by spraying all the bolts with rust penetrating spray, this stuff does help.

The hood was the easy first part to remove, it is double hinged.  The second part to start removing are the running boards, the rear fenders where the next to be taken off. This looks like its coming apart pretty quick, it has been lots of work so far.

The hardware holding everything together is really rusted, in many cases the bolts have to be cut with a cutting wheel to be removed.

So the Rat has been caught!!  You’d never believe the events that transpired to catch the creature. While working under the Truck cutting the rusted bolts to remove the bed, this Rat jumped on top of Me while laying on the creeper. After it scared me to death, it ran across the shop floor where it was trapped.

The dismantling of the truck has been a real challenge. Removing this front grill section has taken forever, never have we seen this many nuts and bolts holding a front section together, every one has been difficult to get to and they are rusted and not coming apart so easy.

The front section of the 53 International is pretty complex, there are so many hidden bolts and screws holding things together. With the front fenders apart you can see the hidden areas on the cab. The rust looks minimal.

Taking a look around you can see how much rust and dirt there is, there also seems to be nuts stored in every hole. The amount of rust on the hardware holding everything together, makes taking this truck apart time consuming.

Here’s the truck torn down to the cab, there was a lot of work put in to get the truck to this point. This is a huge project, up next is the removal of the cab and getting down to the frame section.

Its now time for the cab to lift off, the cab bolts, steering, electrical and various cables and stuff have all been taken apart or out of the way. The cab is supported by straps and its ready to be lifted off.

The 53 International cab is loose from the truck frame. It needs to be lifted high enough to clear the steering shaft, this is left in place so the bare chassis can be moved around easily.

The cab and the chassis are free, the cab will have to be put on a rolling stand so that it can be moved around. The chassis will start to get stripped down to the frame, this chassis just might get sand blasted and powder coated.

The drive train will come apart next, everything must be disassembled. The frame needs to be down to the bare bones, it will get sand blasted and then Black Powder Coated.

The engine and transmission are out of the truck frame, they need to be separated. The engine will go to the machine shop for rebuilding, the owner has decided to put this truck back to original condition with the straight six.

The engine and Transmission are out and separated, the bell housing on this Old International is rather unique. The clutch and pressure plate assembly get assembled after the bell housing is installed, then the transmission gets mounted.

 

The next step in the tear down is to remove the springs. The springs can be removed with or without the axles attached, we may do a little of both. With the weight removed the spring plates can start to be removed.

The rear springs have what is called spring helpers, or keepers. These devices were created to add extra load capacity to the springs, they became popular on vehicles used on farms and ranches. These won’t need to get reinstalled, the ride would be too stiff. 

The front springs and I-beam will come apart at the same time, loosening the u-bolts first and supporting the weight of the frame, then rolling the front wheels and I-beam out from under the truck frame.

The rear end is all torn down, there were brake lines and a few things to remove so the frame would be bare and ready when getting sand blasted. The leaks you see are from the brake lines being removed. The parts will get degreased and pressure washed once everything is removed.

Ok, besides a few clips and mounts, the frame is almost completely stripped down. All the parts will get a bath before we go any further, the frame has grease and grime that needs to be removed before it gets sand blasted.

Here’s a look at some of the grease, grime, rust, mud and dirt that was removed with some scrapping. The frame will be inspected for cracks and any areas that need straightening before it gets powder coated.

The transmission is the dirtiest of all the drivetrain parts. It looks like there were leaks, more fluids continued to be added and it continued to build up on the transmission and crossmember. The only way to remove this is the old fashion way, scrape and degrease.

The side cover of the transmission was removed for inspection. The inside gears look great and they function as they should.

The side cover will be sealed back on and fluid added. The transmission is all scrubbed and degreased, the housing will get painted and be ready to install. The clutch pack will be replaced during the installation.

The truck cab needs to be taken apart, the cab will get sand blasted inside and out. There are a lot of little things that need to get  disassembled, gauges, dash, windshield wipers and motor. 

The truck cab still has the doors, windows and lots of little hardware that needs to come off. The bolts holding things together are pretty rusted, they have been sprayed with penetrating oil to help loosen them. The parts on the ground next to the cab are from the windows.

The doors have been removed and the glass is all out. Any seals or seam sealer needs to be removed before blasting. People assume that sandblasting removes everything, this is not true. The areas have to be disassembled and free of grease and oil. 

The dash of the 53 International has been taken apart. The gauges have been removed and the dash panel removed. There’s still some parts under the dash, the wiper motor and various panels.

Looking under the dash you can see the wiper motor and arms, the handle is for the vent. also a few mounts and panels that will get taken off. The wiper motor looks to be in good shape, it will be tested and reinstalled.

This is a view of the exterior firewall. You can see the vent on top thats still open. This front panel for the fresh air is also removable. Being able to get to all the areas during blasting is the only way to do this.

 

Cab is all taken apart and ready to be blasted, the doors will get done at the same time.

Here’s a before and after shot of the transmission. The time spent cleaning and degreasing it was worth it, the end results speak for themselves.

The axles and suspension parts are getting cleaned up and ready to be painted. The front axle came apart after a period of struggling. The lug nuts were very tough to remove. The front drum brakes are getting pulled apart and are going to be changed out to a disc break setup.

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The various parts for the 53 International need to be restored. There are many many parts to start cleaning and get ready for the engine when its complete. some of the parts like the Manifold need lots of cleaning.

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Here’s a look at the Intake/Exhaust Manifold. The manifold will need to be taken apart, new gaskets will be needed. Once the manifold was cleaned up it was coated with a manifold paint from POR, a company that specializes in coatings for rust encapsulators and finishes.

The parts that are ready and cleaned have been painted, the paint is Chassis Black. These parts will work well with the powder coated frame. 

The 53 International rear end is all painted, this differential is bullet proof. There are many other parts that were ready for paint, the shop was converted and we painted a lot of the parts at once.

Here it is, the 1953 International R110 Truck Frame. The frame was powder coated black, the frame looks awesome! Powder Coating really is a durable finish, the color match with the Chassis Black parts is perfect.

The chassis parts are ready for the assembly, time to bring the powder coated frame in and start assembly.

Sometimes we get a little carried away between pictures. The springs are installed and the rear end is being bolted in, the front springs are being assembled. These new bushings are being a little difficult to install. They are so tight they needed to be pressed in one at a time.

Now that the springs are in, the front end and New Disc brake setup can be installed. In this business things that say they can be bolted directly in place of the old parts, usually means fabrication will be required.

This vehicle was setup with reverse thread pattern for the wheels on the drivers side, now that the front end has been replaced, only the rear wheel on the drivers side still had reverse threads. Left alone, this could be very confusing for anyone trying to take a tire off. The studs where removed and new universal stud installed.

After days of work, the chassis for the 53 International is bolted together and in rolling form again. There is still plenty of work.

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The International cab is all blasted and ready for a good inspection. First look, it has lots of holes in the lower cab corners. These areas are pretty prone to rust in most of these older cabs.

Overall the cab looks pretty good, the passenger floor has some pin holes and will need metalwork as well. So overall there will be some cutting and welding required to get this cab ready.

The cab needs to have a primer sealer applied before it starts to rust. The humidity this time of year is high, it only takes a few hours for things that are exposed to start rusting.

The primer has started to be applied. Once the cab is protected the rusted sheet metal can start to be replaced.

The firewall has way too many holes. we will determine just what holes are needed and weld the rest closed. The inside floor was removed to repair some rust as well.

The rusty metal was cut out and new metal welded into place. The inner floor was bolted back into place once the panel repair was complete. Next up is to start filling holes in the firewall.

It looks like 95% of the holes in the dash need to be filled. The areas that have been ground down will be filled with new sheet metal. The holes under the duct tape will remain for mounting the heater box.

This is the gas tank for the 53 International. It would have been great to just buy a new one, but they are pretty rare…Rare always means very expensive. The tank is still solid, so cleaning it out with special and powerful tank cleaning kits was the way to go. The inside is all flushed out, and now it has been sealed to prevent contamination into the fuel system.

Once the metal work is done, its time to make it look Awesome and smooth it out. A little bit of filler smooths the grind marks and gets it ready for a heavy coat of Primer Sealer.

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Here’s the cab corner of the 53 International. Yea, rust! The holes are from a drill bit. We needed to find out just how much rust there really is. A new piece of metal was hand formed before the old one was cut out.

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The rusty piece is cut out and the inside exposed. The metal is strong, so the metal will be prepped and the new piece welded into place. This is the finished piece, very little bodywork will be needed to finish this cab corner.

This is the finished firewall on the 53 International. Its ready to be sanded smooth and will be ready for paint, the inside of the cab is also ready.

The straight 6 for the 53 International is brand new, ready for paint and try to get it installed and off the stand. The gray paint is a sealer, it will etch into the metal and be a good base for the color.

Ok, that was fast. Not really that fast, this is about 8hrs later. The base coat clear coat is all applied. The color is International Harvester Red. It looks a little orange in the pictures, it is more of a blood red. The color looks great!

With the paint dry, its time to get the transmission assembled so we can mount the engine in the frame. The Bell Housing is the front of the transmission. It needs to be installed separate, the fly wheel and clutch assembly need to get installed with the actual transmission.

There is an order to how this transmission has to be mounted. Bell housing, fly wheel, clutch and pressure plate. Then the transmission and throw out bearing get installed at the same time. Don’t forget to torque everything down while your at it. 

With the International Harvester Engine installed, we can get ready to install the throw out bearing, clutch fork and the actual transmission. All at the same time of course. This takes about 5 hands.

Now the drive train is starting to look like something. With the engine installed with the transmission, we can install the new driveline. Most of the components will be rebuilt just before they are re-installed on the chassis.

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The engine for the International is coming together, what most people don’t realize is that all the external parts need to be rebuilt as well. This means taking the pieces apart and making them new again.

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The littlest details are what make us a great company, while restoring a Truck or Car to original condition, its all about paying attention to details. The gas tank was mounted with pieces of leather under the straps to avoid vibration and noise from the tank.

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Here’s an example of a part that needs to be rebuilt. The Original starter motor for the 53 International needs to be rebuilt and bolted back on. The part that looks like a large spark plug, is actually the Commutator. The Commutator goes inside the Armature, the large case. There are brushes inside this case that run on the Commutator that run the current back and forth.

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The 53 International is getting upgraded to a 12 volt system, with an Alternator instead of the old generator system. This bracket had to be fabricated to replace the old one.

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Time to finish the major bodywork on the cab and doors of the 53 International P/U. It’s pretty straight, but we want to get rid of all these dents. We want this body to look great for the International Harvester Red paint.

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The cab has little dents everywhere, most of these will need to be pulled out before we can move forward. Body tools have gotten better in the last 50yrs.

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The top of the truck above the firewall is creased, it will get banged out from the inside with a dolly and hammers. The area around the door can’t be reached from the inside, we will use a stud gun to to attach stud to pull on and straighten the metal. The old days were drilling tons of holes to pull this out.

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If you look close, you can see the dent was removed where the door hinge is. The doors are getting blocked and start to take out the small dents and waves you don’t really notice.

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The bodywork on the International pick up is coming right along, while most areas look good to the eye, blocking reveals things you wouldn’t normally notice.

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The major part of the bodywork on this cab is complete, next it will get a heavy coat of primmer and we can start the actual blocking out. this will help us find any highs or lows we can’t see.

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The bodywork is almost over, the cab has a heavy coat of primer sealer applied. Next is to lightly block out the cab and look for imperfections.

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The cab doors of the 53 International also have a heavy coat of primer sealer applied. The doors will get blocked out and be ready for wet sanding.

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The cab has been sprayed with a light coat of black paint, this will allow us to see high and low imperfections while sanding. Using a heavy sealer helps to take out waviness in flat spots, the only way to get a really great looking paint job is to take the time to do it right.

The International P/U is in the New Shop, we are starting to block out the doors and cab for paint. The Cab needs to get painted and undercoated so that we can mount it on the chassis. We are still working on getting the New Paint Booth up and ready for inspections.

The core support needs to be all cleaned up and painted so the new radiator can be installed. We called our radiator supplier and found an Aluminum replacement. Hard to believe they made and exact fit for this truck.

The New Aluminum Radiator for the 53 International has just been installed. It was pretty amazing to find an exact fit for this truck in an Aluminum after market product.

 

The 53 International is not getting a radio, so we don’t need this hole for the antenna any more. It has been all welded up, ground smooth and ready to be filled. This area needs only a little filler to get it ready for paint.

The lower door jamb area had a crack in the metal we almost missed. It has been all sanded down to bare metal and welded up. No filler is really required. we will put primer on these areas to cover the bare metal. The cab is almost all ready for paint.

The body is still being checked for any very minor areas we don’t like. The light weight filler is to fill low spots that are hardly noticeable. This is going to be a very nice truck! We have waited to do any final work on the cab, we wanted to make sure we could get it in the booth for a last coat of primer to prevent any rust.

The International Harvester is in the New Paint Booth! Time for the last coat of primer to be sprayed. This is also the first real test of the New Spray Booth. This will go great.

 

Ok, i know we made that look quick..The primer has been sprayed and the booth worked fantastic. The cab will be wet sanded and checked one final time to make sure its all ready to be painted.

The cab of the International is tipped up on its back, we need to undercoat the bottom of the cab and paint the firewall.

The undercoat is applied to the bottom of the cab. We will need a couple more layers before we are ready to paint the firewall.

The firewall and cab bottom are done, the results are great. We moved it outside on this wonderful fall day to start the final sanding of the inside. The phase 2 of this paint process will be the inside of the cab, after we wet sand and wash down the cab.

The firewall looks great! The body line at the bottom of the firewall is the point the Rhino lining starts. This will keep the body from rusting. The outside of the cab is tapped off to get ready for the inside paint job.

Here’s a shot of the inside before we start the painting process. The outside is protected from over spray during the paint process, the booth does a pretty good job, but it still has a risk of over spray.

The inside of the International Cab is all painted. The next step is to let it dry, remove all the paper and start the wet sanding process.

The wet sand process is always a very long job. While sanding on finished paint, you need to take your time and be very careful. If you sand threw the clear coat down to the base coat, you will be starting over. There are a lot of steps to be taken before the paint is all polished out.

The cab for the International is all painted, it looks great! Now that it has cured for a few days, we can start the color sanding process. It takes time to get a great finish, you always need to be careful, if you sand threw the clear anywhere…you have to start painting all over again.

When you look close at a fresh paint job, you find what looks like an Orange Peel. There is a process you have to go threw to make the finish look like glass. There are different levels of sanding to the painted surface, then buffing and polishing.

The cowl parts need to be painted red as well. The picture on the right is the cowl vent, other parts mount to the fire wall and need to be painted.

Here’s some of the parts for the 1953 International P/U. The doors are ready for paint, the second picture is the nose for the 53.

Here’s a back side shot of the nose, it’s gonna need some work to get straightened out. This photo on the right is the Inner and Outer fender for the International. We will need to take them apart and see what repairs are required.

The 53 International front end parts are getting taken apart. Most of the hardware is either drilled out, or penetrating spray seems to be getting some of the bolts loose. You can see the rust holes in the inner fender on the right, they will have to be cut out and new metal added.

This is a before and after shot of the fender being taken apart. We will media blast the parts so we can see where the repairs are needed.

These photos are of the International hood, it’s pretty solid but has its share of dents. We will media blast the whole hood inside and out before we start working out the dents.

The International is back in the booth, we have some of the cab parts like the doors ready for paint.

If you’ve noticed, the cab is back in the booth. The paint job had some contamination and must be re-painted. It’s part of the business, sometimes things happen and you can’t do anything about it.

The cab looks great! The other parts as well, we will let them cure and start the color sanding process. For the cab, this will be the second time. The process of color sanding is pretty long, but if the time and care isn’t taken the paint job will never look as good as it should.

The other front end parts have been sand blasted, they look pretty good. The 53 International parts are already Epoxy Coated, they must be sprayed asap before any rust tries to grow.

The newly sprayed parts look good, but they still need metal work, hammer and dolly and new metal to replace the rust that will get cut out.

If you look close you can start to see the dents and needed repairs. The fender looks a lot better in primer, but the real work hasn’t started yet.

The Nose of the cab had some hammer and dolly work done before it was blasted, it already looks a lot better. This is one of the focal points on the truck, it will need careful attention before it goes to paint. We spend the time needed to get all the pieces to look great! A great build is all in the details.

The the cab is all polished out, for the second time. The paint looks Awesome, the cab will get detailed and ready to install on the frame.

The International cab is on stands behind the chassis, we will lift the cab and install it onto the truck chassis. We have been waiting for this step for a while.

We made that look like quick work, lifted the truck cab with old fashioned man power and very carefully installed it on the chassis. The truck looks really great!

The Axles for the 53 need to be pulled out, the rear end is gear for serious torque and is not able to be driven on the highway. We will take out the Differential and have the gears changed, this will allow the truck to be driven wherever the Owner wants. The work involved in getting these axles out was incredible.

The axles are pressed in with large steel bearings, you need to be able to use a slide to pound out the bearings. The drivers side was frozen, we had to create a custom jig to pull the bearing and release the axle.

This process of pulling the Axles and dropping out the differential should have take a few hours at most, it took half the day to get this rear end apart.

The International Harvester has gotten some new Wheels! The Owner came by and ran around all week, the old tires were taken off, rims blasted and powder coated, new tires installed and the rear end taken to a shop in Phoenix, he’s had a busy but very productive week! The wheels look great, very hard to photograph without distorting.

Some of the next big projects for the 53 International, Electric steering assist…Yes electric. All new wiring harness, along with the brakes being finished. We want to get this truck wired and fired (engine running) soon!

Here’s the dash for the International Harvester. It will need some work, there are holes to fill, dents to remove and bodywork to be done.

The dash needs to be mocked up in place to make sure the fit is good, also we will start to mock up the Electric Power Steering while we have the column in place. The Uni-steer is a little bulky, but we will try to mount it out of the way.

The Original steering box and shaft need to be cleaned up. The steering box is leaking and needs rebuilt, the photo on the right shows the box cleaned up and new grease put on the worm drive.

The inner fenders of the International Harvester have some pretty good size rust holes. We will have to cut out the entire area and hand make a new piece to get the same look as before.

There are lots of contours to the inner fender, we don’t want to loose the body lines. So we will fabricate new pieces that look the same as the old. This process is time consuming, but its the only way to do it right. These inner fenders would be impossible to purchase new.

After careful planning, we have a new section roughed in. Now we can grind and smooth, get the piece looking good and maybe use a little filler to finish off the details.

This inner fender is not too bad, looks like stress cracks more than rust. New metal is the way to go, we have a new piece in place and just weld and grind.

The finished area is stronger and will never really be obvious that it was repaired. Other weld areas are stress cracks and over size holes that need filled.

The front grill for the International needed dents pulled and just gone over and smoothed. Lots of detail on a part like this, the filler needs to remain very thin or things won’t fit.

Here’s a look at the inner fenders, they are close to being completed. The bodywork is pretty much done, we need to primer these spots and smooth them out before paint.

The outside front fenders are done being filled, there was a few holes on top of the fenders that needed to be fixed. The fenders are in the bodywork stage, they will be smoothed and all the little dents and dings taken out.

The International is going to be using a power assist unit, they wanted something similar to power steering, without changing the steering setup under the hood. We had to fabricate the Original steering shaft, to work with this Uni-steer unit. We had an Aerospace company make some adapters, these will go inside the shaft and yokes to give it strength, and also keep the alignment correct. Everything is then welded together and ready for the next step.

The Uni-Steer setup needed to have brackets fabricated in order to mount under the dash. This unit takes up some room, but the pay off should be worth it. There’s some wiring that also has to be considered.

Here’s a look at the windshield wiper motor, this job is not all fun, there’s a lot of scrubbing greasy parts and  refurbishing before they can be bolted back on.

Once the wiper motor is all cleaned and lubed up, we can install it back into the bash. The mounting point is in the center of the dash, we will have to be careful when routing all the New Wiring.

The hood was in pretty good shape, we are skim coating it with body filler to get it very straight. The hood of a vehicle is always the focal point.

The dash is in pretty rough shape, there’s a hole where the radio was mounted and some irregular cut outs. We will fill the radio hole because the owner won’t be using a radio and wants the dash smooth.

Cutting a patch panel the same shape, of the Original opening and welding it closed is the correct way to do things. We will grind the weld down and smooth the dash before this piece is done.

The International fenders are looking good and ready for a good coat of a high build primer. We will repeat the process a few times to give it good coverage. The fenders look really good!

The front end pieces are all pretty much ready and in the booth. we will give all the parts a good coat of a heavy 2k primer. This will build the surface and allow us to block these pieces even straighter.

There’s still a lot of work to be done on these pieces before we can put the paint on, these pieces will be blocked out and have a primer sealer applied before they will get the base coat color applied.

Most people might have looked for better inner fenders to start with, we decided to spend the time to make these new again. The fenders came out great, its hard to tell that there was so much work done to them.

The rear end for the International has been apart forever….Long Story! We have the new one installed and it fits perfect.

With the rear end in place, we can now finish plumbing the rear brake lines. The old lines were thrown out and new lines made from scratch. This truck is starting to shape up, it looks very clean everywhere.

The dash for the 53 International has been primed and sanded for paint. The interior color will go back to the Original Tan. Once the dash is complete we can start to assemble the dash back into the interior and install the Uni-steer option.

The brakes on the 53 International have been a little tricky, we had to fabricate a new mount for the Master Cylinder. The front brakes have been upgraded to disk, so a 60/40 master cylinder has to be used in place of the original.

The parts for the cowl vent have been painted, we can now assemble all the pieces to operate the original cowl vent. Pieces like this would be very tough to find or fabricate if they had been removed at some point.

The valve cover had one too many holes in it. we removed it from the engine and made the needed repair, the hole welded up and smoothed with filler. The owner has made a decision to paint the valve cover black, this will be a wise choice when you see the needed contrast.

The inner fenders are all sanded and ready for paint, the valve cover is ready as well. The black paint will give the engine compartment some much needed contrast! There’s a lot of red up front with a big red firewall.

The inner fenders turned out great! the satin black finish is perfect. You can see that the color change on the valve cover made a huge difference! the contrast is just what this engine compartment needed.

The smooth side of the inner fenders are taped off and the fenders are now being shot with a matching black under coat. This truck will be 100% new everywhere you look, the underside of this truck will look just as good as the top. It’s taken some time, but the details are starting to come together!

A job that’s difficult is restoring the Original Gauge’s. These gauges needed to come apart and be cleaned. The bezel’s were rusted and pitted, we had to sand blast the metal and use body fillers to smooth out the metal before paint. These gauges are still 6 volt, so with the new 12 volt wiring, we will have to step down the current into the gauges.

The New wiring in the 53 International Truck is coming along. Most of the bundles have been tied up and spliced into the component or switch it goes to. All these switches and knobs will be drilled and installed into the dash, then the wire bundles will be neatly stored up behind the dash. The engine compartment is all wired, you my not see too many wires, but that’s the idea.

Here is a little before and after of the 53 International. The picture on the left, was taken while we took the truck apart. The picture on the right, is the truck today. The difference in wiring is huge, we have eliminated the wiring mess and routed things so they don’t stand out.

The 53 International had some good looking original gauges, we cleaned them up and got them ready to go. One of these is brand new… can you find it? Also the A/C Heat unit is getting installed. The unit fits pretty nicely under the dash, we even were able to keep the original glove box. plumbing this unit will be the real challenge.

While the cab gets wired and ready to fire up, we are final block sanding the front clip pieces. These are almost ready to shoot red, they will get under coated on the backside as well. Once the trucks is running and the A/C installed, we can start assembly on the front end.

This 53 International is getting an upgrade with A/C, there are no mounts for a truck this old, so we will have to fabricate something. Making a mount from scratch is never easy, also there’s no guarantee it will work either.

The drivers side is the only place we can mount this. The Old Internationals only had a single pulley drive system, we have to get this to work and use only one belt to drive everything.

The 53 International is being inspected, they look like they may be ready to spray some color. These pieces were in pretty good shape, but we want them as straight as possible. 

We did a final sand and got these pieces in the booth. The 1953 International Harvester is going to look Awesome. The Harvester Red paint will attract some attention when this goes down the road. The base color is being applied, next will come the clear coat.

Awesome! These pieces look great, the front clip can start to be assembled after these parts have some time to cure. Once these pieces are buffed and polished, we still need to Rhino line the back side to seal in all the metal.

The New windows are now installed in the 53 International. It took some work, but they look great. This phase of any build is very time consuming, there are so many little things that get done that most people never see.

Here you see one tub of parts, there are a few more just like it. These are all the little parts that make up the doors, regulators, locks, handles, hinges and a bunch of interior door pieces that no-one ever see’s.

Some of these pieces are pretty rusted, the interior window channel may need replacing.

When building any vehicle this old, your going to find broken parts. Some you can buy, some you need to fix. This door latch wasn’t working, we took it apart to find the spring broken. Welding and grinding it so that it worked again was a better idea than replacing it.

The 53 international has a ton of small parts to get cleaned up, this light is original and would be hard to find. With a little work, it looks good as new! It’s the small things that take time during a build project.

The interior door parts have seen better days, these trucks were beat on pretty good. Someone has tried to fix one of the door latches, It’s backwards and falling apart.

Now that the door latches have been put back together, blasted and painted, they will be ready for the doors. There’s a lot of parts that make up a whole door.

Here’s the striker plate, it was blasted and painted. Some of these parts are in great shape for 60 yrs old.

The flooring for the International is being decided, these photos show the stock original after market rubber floor that is available. This truck has evolved into a show truck since these were ordered. I think the owner has decided to upgrade to a nice carpet to go with the New Leather for the seats and door panels.

Here’s a shot of the rear fenders, these have been waiting body work for a while. We have some good fenders off the second International to compare to, this will give us something to compare to.

These photos are a little difficult to understand. The picture on the left is a shot looking down on top of the fender, you can see how dented the fender is. This second shot is a template attached to show where the curve should be. These fenders need work, these are pushed in so far we may need to heat them to regain the shape.

The rear fender is getting split and hammered. The fender has to be stretched and metal added, we need to get this piece back to its original shape.

We cut a pie shape out of the fender to relieve the stress and allow it to expand. Once the fender is the right shape, we can weld in a new piece of metal and make it look new.

Here’s a shot of the finished metal work, the fender is now back to its original shape. It’s a good thing we had a fender to compare with.

The seat for the International is up next, the seat back needs to be cleaned up. There is still some pieces from the original seat that needs to be cut out. Now that it’s clean we can recondition the seat back.

The seat frame has been powder coated, this picture is a little dark but we are in the process of getting all the parts ready for the seat to be Upholstered. Reconditioning the seat to be like new again has to be done before we can start building new foam.

The bottom of the International Harvester seat needs some real work. The seat is falling apart and will need a few things fixed before it will be ready.

If you look closely you can see where the seat springs are coming apart. We need to check all the  mounting points and tighten or re-mount all the loose areas. You can see where we used rivets to re-stabilize spring mounts.

The fenders have dried and they are ready to be color sanded. We have to sand at this point by hand, making sure we don’t sand threw the clear coat. If you sand is right and take your time, the results are really great! The fender looks awesome is ready to be installed.

The other rear fender of the 53  International looks to be in much better shape. It’s not crushed and needs extensive repairs, like the other one sitting in the corner . We will take the fender down to bare metal and see where we end up.

The International running boards are up next, these pieces have seen better days! They look pretty used. They need lots of work to get them back where they were. Getting these pieces straight again will take some detailed work. The heavy rust will get blasted off once we get these pieces close to straight again.

If you look at the picture on the right, you can see how the side rail is really dented. We have to get all these little dents as flat as possible. Dealing with single wall steel is always time consuming, everything you do affects the looks on both sides of the metal. The rust is pretty heavy on the bottom sides.

The bench seat is rebuilt and ready for the cushions to be remade. We want to keep the style pretty close to stock, we will change the plain pattern to give it some timeless style.

Here’s a shot of the pick up box for the 53 International. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen this old box. If you look close you can see the heavy rush and damage to the front of the cab box. There’s some rust that will need cut out. The bed box is being sandblasted, the floor has some serious rust we could never grind out.

The fenders still needed to be undercoated, we prepared the areas and sprayed on the Rhino Lining to protect the backside of the fenders. These pieces are now ready to be mounted. 

UPDATE 11/25/2015

Here’s an updated picture of the 1953 International finished.

The details of the International project are amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Responses to: International Harvester 1953 / Click here

  1. Steve says:

    Glad to hear new owner is taking “Homer” back to original, he’s worth it. Perhaps someday he can meet his step-sister, Annie, a ’52 Chevy PU. Regards, Steve, former owner

  2. Ray Steichen says:

    I have the same truck (53 r-110) but in much better starting shape, roughly what would it cost to have you restore using my existing parts.

    • kirk says:

      Ray,

      sorry for the delay, it all depends on parts, our Labor rate is $65.00 per hour. it could run $25k up to ?? depends on parts.

      Thanks Kirk

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