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B61 refurb diary

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Day Two: 11-20-14

Me, my dad, and my uncle met at Barnes Concrete to meet the low-bed operator who was going to pick up 'Mater. We were on the road at 7:25am. The trip was uneventful except for Barb crying at the sight of 'Mater being loaded up. With that, we were on our way back to Putnam, CT. When we got back to Barnes, we unloaded it and brought it right into their garage, where another of my uncles was working as head mechanic (my dad had also worked for the Barnes family driving trucks for 20 years before going into business in 1980 at the age of 34). Of course, a bunch of workers wanted to see the beast, and they came around to check it out. In the few hours we had that afternoon, we straightened out the ears on the body, scraped the melted mud off the tailgate and lifted it up with a forklift and pinned it in place. We also got the driver's window (faded plexiglass) to (sort of) work. Eventually both side windows will have to be replaced with actual glass you can see out of. We took turns trying to break up the thawing chunks of mud in the body, but didn't get very far with it. The power steering reservoir was also filled and we're hoping it works. We also found out it has a 711 for an engine. Not exactly rare, but no where near as common as the 673. Pics tomorrow.




Day One: 11-16-14

Me, my dad, and my uncle went up to Chesterfield, MA to look at 'Mater, a 1964 B61SX. We got there about an hour before dark to check the truck out. It was quite cold. The dump body was up a little bit, sitting on 6x6" blocks and it was full of frozen mud and scrap metal. The tailgate was down and chained about level with the bed and it too had mud frozen on it. The ears on the driver's side of the body were bent, not allowing the tailgate to be brought up and pinned in place. The owners had it plugged in (block heater) so it would start, and once we had it going, we were impressed with the sound of the engine. It ran cleanly with no hesitation. The body work (fenders, hood, cab) all appeared to be in decent shape, although the paint was not. The interior of the cab looked to be quite salvageable, too. The tach and speedo worked, not sure about any other gauges. The driver's seat bottom was bad, but all other cushions were fine. My dad drove it in the yard, but it didn't like being shifted (the owners apparently hadn't done much shifting in the years they had the truck, and like I said, it was pretty cold out and who knows how old the trans oil was) and it wasn't building any air, so there were no brakes. We put the truck back and while my dad and uncle continued pouring over the truck, I offered the owner (Barb) $2,500 for it (she was asking $3k). She accepted the offer and I thanked her and told her I'd try to get back that week to pay for it and pick it up. Both my dad and uncle were surprised and impressed with the condition of the Mack, given that so many times stuff like this turns out to be junk. This truck clearly isn't in that category. Having said that, there is no question that it will need a significant amount of fixing and tinkering just to get it to the point where everything operates and does what it's supposed to do. It doesn't appear that regular maintenance was a part of this truck's life for quite a while, so we'll have to remedy that as well. One humorous part of the visit happened almost as soon as we got there. One of us asked about the steering, and Barb's husband said, "Oh no, it doesn't have power steering. In fact, it kind of steers hard." Well, my dad climbed up on the fender, opened the hood, looked down, and saw a power steering pump and cylinder. Of course, the reservoir was empty. Pics will follow.



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