I liked the article on the F-100 with the 392. It brought back sad memories as I had a 392 I was going to build and put in my new '68 Road Runner. That didn't happen and the 392 got sent off to the scrappers for money ... I still feel sick about that!

Now I have a '50 GMC truck, which I hope in some lifetime to get on the road. I love CLASSIC TRUCKS and the how-to articles and the upgrades. One question though: How come on most of the truck features there's never a mention of how many horses the engines make? I like to know what horsepower the builder gets out of what they put in their rides.
Terry Harrison
Via email

Thanks, I'm happy you enjoyed that feature-Hemis are pretty popular with F-100 owners it seems. Bummer losing that 392, I had a similar experience with an A-code 289 Ford years ago so I can relate.

As far as listing horsepower claims goes, most owners don't supply those numbers. It's more than likely because few of us actually dyno testing our projects during assembly or after they're completed and most numbers would be guesswork at best. Horsepower claims are right up there, with folks not mentioning how much money they have invested in a project-and I don't blame 'em. If my wife ever read what I had into any of my projects she'd beat me with a stick. RIZ

First, I want to let you know how much I enjoy the magazine each month. The feature articles are terrific and the how-to articles sure help me out with my project-which brings me to my reason for writing.

I recently purchased my first project vehicle, a '42 Ford COE 1 1/2-ton. It may be proving to be a much larger project than I had anticipated, but that is not going to stop me. I am interested in converting the original 6V system to a 12V system. Since the truck is not currently running, I am not certain what my first steps should be for the electrical system conversion. In your opinion, should I try and get the truck running first, before I convert the system to 12 volts? The engine is free, and I am able to turn it by hand. I have also removed each spark plug, sprayed a shot of fogging oil into each cylinder and replaced the plugs. My next step is going to be to disconnect the fuel tank and temporarily replace it with a marine fuel tank. I then plan on connecting a battery to try and start the engine. I hope it goes as smoothly as it sounds.

I am also running into a problem while trying to remove rusted screws and bolts. I have found the PB Blaster product to be extremely effective, but some bolts, (the door hinge bolts in particular), are proving to be a real bear to remove. Any tips on how to make it an easier task? A friend told me to try heating them, but I am afraid of warping the surrounding metal.

Thank you for your expert help, and I look forward to reading your response.
Via email

Sounds like a neat project!

I'm happy you're enjoying CLASSIC TRUCKS, and I'm glad you took time to write-though if you're looking for an expert's help I'll have to hunt one up for ya. If you'll settle for mediocre help here it goes ...

First off I think I'd start by seeing if you can get the thing to run in stock form before you move on to upgrades. As far as seeing if it'll run, start by changing the oil and coolant, installing a fresh set of points, a condenser, and plugs. Then move on to a fully charged 6V battery and some fresh fuel via that portable tank. Crank it over and see what happens. If it fires up and runs well (after some fiddling I'd imagine) I'd then start thinking hard about whether I'd want to rebuild and stick with the stock motor or replace it with a modern engine/transmission combo of your choice (even if it does actually run you won't know how tired the ol' thing is until you take it for a ride and see how it does under load). This brings me to my next point. You'll want to make sure it'll stop before you make it go. It's for this reason I always begin a project by concentrating on its foundation-the chassis, brakes, and suspension before I get to the driveline.