SuperTruck: Frozen Bed Removal

by Ben N on January 7, 2013

( For an overview of the “SuperTruck” project, please click here. )

I had a bit of time this afternoon that I could work on the truck. It was a balmy 30 degrees and a little sunny, so I was able to get out the snow-shovel and start to dig out my S10 to get a little DIY work done on it.

I feel like I’ve been at a bit of a snag on the project lately. Besides just the other things going on in my life, I’m also waiting on word of getting a motor, and I’ll need some help with the controller and charger. And I clearly have no idea what I’m doing.

However, I did get to visit Hot Rod Jim a little while back, and told him what my plan was, and got some reassurances that the way I’m planning on connecting the motor and driveshaft SHOULD work fine. It looks like chopping the shaft and balancing it shouldn’t be a problem either.

But to start on any of that I really need to be able to see what I’m doing, and that means removing the bed to access the space that the motor and shortened driveshaft will go. That, and it’s something that I can actually DO, rather than plan or wait.

So, I started off by poking my head under the truck to see where the bolts were that attach the bed to the frame. I jacked up the one side of the truck to give me a little more working room. Under there, it’s four bolts on each side that hold the bed to the truck. I started by using “PB Blaster” penetrating oil on all the bolts I was going to remove. I got out my socket set, including my largest ratchet and breaker bar, and set to work removing the bolts.

What was surprising is that they actually came out. I didn’t snap any bolts. I didn’t need to get out a torch or the BFH*. Only one bolt was hard to get out. Even with a 16-inch handle on my wrench, it was work. All the other bolts were a matter of getting the wrench to the right place, and keep cranking away on them. I had to put together ALL my socket extensions to reach the one pair of bolts. (For X-mas next year, you can get me a 24″ socket extension!)

I only dripped a LITTLE PB Blaster into my eye. Yuck and OUCH! That stuff is tricky. You can wear safety glasses, but if a solvent drips down and lands on your cheek, I can guarantee that it will then run across your face, under your glasses and directly into your eye. Thankfully, I was fine after just washing my eye out really good in the bathroom sink.

Back outside, I needed to remove the gas tank filler. After opening the cap cover, there’s several Torx screws, and a few 7mm bolts that had to be pulled out to disconnect the filler from the bed of the truck.

Next, I disconnected the wire-harness under the bed in the driver’s-side rear corner. There was a nice quick-connection that just had to be unplugged. I don’t know why it was done this way, but the ground wire from the half of the harness that stays with the bed was hard-connected to the frame. So, instead of just unplugging the connector and being done with it, the ground wire had to be cut off. Oh well. Note to self: add a ring terminal and self-tapping screw to wire harness when I put this all back together…

With the the wire-harness, gas tank filler, and bed bolts all disconnected, I should be able to life the whole bed right off. Well, maybe if I had a few assistants handy, which I didn’t. Instead, I lifted the corners one at a time and shoved 2×4 blocks between the bed and frame as spacers.

That was about it for what I could do in the day – it still gets dark at about 4:30 this time of year.

Maybe there’s some way I can lift the truck bed, work on the project, and then put the bed back down? This whole thing is just right in the middle of my driveway, and I don’t really have anywhere to store a truck bed right now! Still, I feel like I got something done.


*Big Frackin’ Hammer

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Open Source Plug-In Hybrid Super-Truck - Page 8 - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum -
January 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aridzonan_13 January 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Great idea.. I just found your site off of “Mother Earth” and am enjoying every page. I have an `85 1.6 TD VW that gets 50 mpg Diesel and 42 mpg straight waste veggie oil. Your demo hybrid principle was put in print by Nicola Tesla in ~1924. I can send you the title / reference pages. But, more importantly, it allows a smaller IC engine to have an electric assist. Do you have an estimate of what the total HP of your hybrid project will be?

2 Ben N January 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Nothing is new about hybrids. The’ve been around since the late 1800’s. It’s really just that we are “rediscovering” them right now for personal automobiles. I have no idea what the total horsepower for the project will be. I’m really not shooting for high horsepower, but DC motors are known for high torque. By combining the high torque of the electric motor with the long-range, fuel flexibility, and good fuel economy of diesel engines, I should have a great project when I’m finished. It’s going to be a lot of work and attention to details to get there though!

3 Aridzonan_13 January 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I’m very interested in your progress. It has the potential to seriously increase the transportation bang / $ ratio. Using my favorite internal combustion engine the small diesel..

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