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Discussion Starter #1
First, let me introduce myself. My name is J.T. and I am a Professional Mariner. As such I spend, literally, half of my life at sea. That's good news for a project. I can spend 4 weeks at sea dreaming and planning and ordering parts, then come home for 4 weeks and have all day every day to work on it.

As the title says, my new toy is a 1979 Lil Red Express that I picked up last time I was home. The body is in great shape with slight rust splotches in all the usual places, but the cab and floors are rust free.

Inside the cab is a different story. The dash has been ripped out (probably something to do with the top-left corner of the gauge cluster being a melted black blob) and the dash pad is broken and scorched. I found a junk yard gauge cluster and have it at the house waiting for my return. The wiring looks like someone went to town with a weedeater, so I will be ordering an all new 22-circuit wiring harness next week when I get home.

The goal for this time off is to make it legal and drivable again. I can drive it around the yard and in and out of the garage with a 1-gallon gas can under the hood, but I somehow doubt that will pass muster at the local inspection station. Not to mention having no gauges or a speedo.

I'm really excited about this build (I have always wanted a Lil Red Express). I will try to post pictures and details as I go, in the hope that my experience here can benefit someone else later.
 

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Don't forget about the warlock trucks. Let's see some more pics! What options does it have? Bench or bucket seats? Can you tell if it had the optional tachometer/gauges in the sides on the dash? Any engine mods? The burnt amp gauges are a classic problem of all old mopars not just the trucks. "(probably something to do with the top-left corner of the gauge cluster being a melted black blob)"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. It has bucket seats with the 'Buddy Seat'. I don't recall seeing a tach or a provision for one. I'm due to get off the ship on the 18th and fly home on the 19th, so I'll post pics of her as is.

+1 on the ammeter problems. I plan to do the ammeter bypass, but I'm also a huge fan of gauges. Is there a voltage gauge that would look at home with the other stock gauges?

The only mods to the engine that I notice are an Eddy Performer intake, an Eddy 600 cfm carb and some really rusty headers. The mufflers were replaced with straight pipe too, so it is really loud (good thing I live out in the country). Naturally, the stock LRE air cleaner is AWOL. It did have a factory Mopar aircleaner that has a sticker for 465 ci, but I haven't been able to trace that to any Mopar vehicles.

I also just got a 9058S ThermoQuad off of ebay. My research says it's from a '76 440 and has the 1 1/2 inch primaries. I will attempt to rebuild it myself, then hand it off to a professional if it doesn't go well.
 

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That guy
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Which company do you work for when at sea?

Good luck on your project, I look forward to seeing it all happen four weeks at a time!
 

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locogk
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looking foward to seeing the truck almost bought one brand new in the day
 

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That guy
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Hornbeck Offshore Services, they provide oilfield supply vessels all over the world. I'm working out of Mexico right now.
I know HOS well, which boat? I spent time on the Iron Horse a while back.

Enjoy Mexico!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm finally home and can now devote some time to the Lil Red. Jake, my 14 year old son that will be assisting me in this endeavor is off of school all next week to, so there should be plenty of progress. Actually, next week will be rather boring. New brakes, brake hardware and rubber brake lines plus motor and tranny mount.

As promised, here are more pics.

My favorite part of the Lil Red Express; the stacks and chrome steps.
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The front left fender and hood are a different color from the rest of the truck. The PO said someone ran into it and the body shop couldn't color match the replacement hood or fender.


I question the hood. You can plainly see the Bondo cracking


The back bumper is a little dented anc crooked, but I can live with that.
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Discussion Starter #12
Under the hood doesn't look too bad. The wiring is a birds nest though. The 600 cfm Holley that is under there right now is just a loaner from a friend. I have a Thermoquad on the way.
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As mentioned before, the LRE iconic air cleaner is AWOL. Not surprising. What was there was this. My research says it goes to a IH truck. Would anyone want this?
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The interior is another story.
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Dash tore apart.
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The infamous ammeter fire.
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Discussion Starter #13
I was able to source a replacement cluster. He will deffinately be getting the ammeter by-pass.
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The original bezel. No tach or clock.
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The wood in the bed was replaced with diamond plate steel which is no big deal, but there is a tool box painted to match the body color. It has the gold pinstripes too. Was this a Warlock option? The PO lost the keys, but said the tool box, doors and ignition all used the same key.
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Discussion Starter #14
I told the story in another thread of finding a crack in the fuel tank because I had to drop the tank to replace the grommet for the roll-over valve.
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They don't make and you can't get that grommet anymore. I bought a PCV grommet from the "Help" section at Advance. It took a little massaging with a rat tail file and a sharp knife, but it seems to work.
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Tune in next week for "Drum Brakes For Dummies". Or "Watch J.T. cuss". I haven't decided yet.
 

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txwooley said:
My favorite part of the Lil Red Express; the stacks and chrome steps.

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Yup: stacks, chrome steps, and filler neck too. ... Nice write up txwooley.
 

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Anybody notice the blue dots? I'm wondering why it doesn't have it's lil red badging on the doors and tail gate? I think this truck was repainted at some time in it's life. That would explain the missing wood and badging. They added the pin striping to mimic the original striping. That is the worst burnt dash i ever saw! What where the po's thinking.:ugh Looks like a nice project. Keep the pics coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I noticed the blue dots right off the bat when I went to look at the truck. I always liked those (are they even legal now?) You can tell by the color between the bed and the cab and behind the rear fenders that it was repainted. All the wood was in the cab, but too rotted to really use.
 

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What the heck are "blue dots"?
 
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