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"Snowzilla": A Comprehensive Tucker 1643 Project...

Blackfoot Tucker

Well-known member
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The wiring phase of the project is just about complete.

We installed the backup camera and its cable all the way up to under the dash panel. (The display will be mounted on the flat shelf behind the windshield and above the dash panel.) We needed a cable roughly 15’ long, but the camera and display system WBJ1 provided came with 20 meters of cable. Having an extra 45’ of cable coiled up under the dash seems so lame I think Scott will cut out what isn’t needed and splice the ends with soldered joints.

The cable ends are somewhat large, about 5/8”in diameter, while the cable itself is roughly 3/16”. Scott and I like to use rubber grommets wherever cable or wire pass through metal, be it a relatively thin sheet metal skin, or a frame member. But finding the grommet with the dimensions you need (especially locally) can be difficult. Twice we’ve run up against this and I end up driving to several businesses that I’m reasonably sure will have them…only to strike out. So I look online and find them without too much trouble. Yes, you are going to pay for shipping, and of course there’s a delay, but you avoid the wasted time and gas of driving all over town and coming up short. Right now we’re waiting for the grommets to finish wiring the backup lights….

After running the backup light wires and the backup camera cable, both were covered with the nylon split loom I previously mentioned, and secured to the cab frame with stainless steel cushion clamps. We think that setup has a clean, professional look.

Here’s the backup camera mounted to the orange panel.

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And the split loom installed and secured to the cab frame. Note the rear dome light is also installed.

I have no idea why, but Tucker installs the dome lights off the cab centerline to the left. When we removed the goofy bulkhead and installed our version of a center roll bar, we also relocated the dome light mounting plates to the cab centerline. Both dome lights will turn on when the driver’s door is opened, and they can be manually turned on with a switch on the gauge and switch panel. There are switches on the dome lights themselves to turn them off.

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I must confess…we decided to abandon our plan of replacing all the nutserts in proper alignment to mount the gauge and switch panel. The biggest reason is the panel itself doesn’t have much of a margin outside the mounting holes, and the larger diameter nutserts would not be completely covered by the panel. The lesser of two evils was to carefully slot three of the mounting holes to allow the installation of the mounting bolts.

We also installed the gas tank and fuel quantity sender. When we originally removed the tank it had spacers to keep it off the steel plate underneath the tank and away from the cab sidewall. The existing spacers were cut from used track belting and we decided to replace them. We used 1/2” rubber horse stall mat for the cab side spacers and truck mudflap material for the vertical spacers. The tank is roughly four feet long and 18” high and does a good job of hiding some of the BSG paint.

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While we were in installation mode we also installed the windshield wiper motor and its mechanical linkage, and the steering column and orbitrol were partially installed (need more fasteners to finish the job).

This is maybe a good time to relate part of our working relationship. After completing work and putting everything away one night, we were washing our hands before heading out to get a bite to eat. I remarked “We had a pretty productive night” meaning: we got a fair bit accomplished. Scott then says “Yes, it was productive. I got in some good licks” meaning: he measures productivity by the amount of harassment he dishes out!

Speaking of harassment… A few years ago Scott had an employee named Amanda who worked as a welder. While she worked for Scott she also was attending night school to become a nurse, and once she finished the book work left Scott’s employ to finish the practical requirements of the degree. Anyway, if you were working on something, and especially if whatever task you were trying to accomplish was being frustrating, Amanda would come by and say “Are ya done yet?” It was very obnoxious, and often the phrase would be repeated more than once for maximum effect. If the task took some time, the whole “Are ya done yet” experience could happen multiple times. Well, Amanda’s legacy lives on, and the phrase is fair game for either Scott or me to use at the most advantageous time to create the greatest annoyance to the other.

Next week the initial plan is to get the fuel lines (plural) installed. There is a combination pressure regulator and filter that has a return-to-tank line on it and that must be plumbed as well as the fuel supply line. Scott claims he’s done bending fuel line and he’ll watch me do it (and laugh). We’ll see… We need to paint four pieces of the aluminum floor panels and then maybe start installing the floor along with sound deadening material. Then probably interior upholstery…. (I’d also like to install the large Weatherguard box on the outside of the cab on the right as it will hide a bunch more of the BSG paint.)

There are a lot of tasks yet to accomplish….
 

Cidertom

Chionophile
GOLD Site Supporter
I really think that maybe we should celebrate the di-worsity that WBJ1 brings to the group. There is room for all colors of cats. It's very similar to the arguments/comments/opinions about Fire Engine colors I've heard for the last 40 years. I especially appreciate the variety he brings, it seems to give people an easier target than the flaking peeling paint my cat has.
 

Pontoon Princess

Cattitute
GOLD Site Supporter
I can get on board with camo for the fuel tank. Ethanol free should be around 5$ by sv 2022. Hiding the tank safe investment.
guessing ethanol free gas will be about $10.00 a gallon......thank you Brandon

repaint at MAACO is $299.99 any cat, any color, they are running a special on Orange, $99.99
 
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Blackfoot Tucker

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
I am pleased to report all the LED lights are finally installed and tested! In my best R. Lee Ermey impersonation: HooRah!

A pic of the backup lights installed.

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And illuminated.

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We installed a resettable 150 amp circuit breaker in the wiring from the battery to the in-cab electrical panel. The empty lug on top is awaiting cable from the yet-to-be-installed battery. We connected the wire to the steering column for the horn, and the wires to the electric fuel pump, then tested the horn and wiper system for functionality. (The fuel pump is controlled by the engine’s ECM, and that needs to be sent out to be re-programmed.) There are only a few wiring tasks remaining.

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We then started installing the various aluminum pieces that make up the floor and rear footwell area. Tucker uses fairly small, hex-head self threading machine screws. We have found them to be a major pain in the neck when trying to remove them. They have a tendency to rust/corrode in place and are very easily broken on removal. The best technique we’ve found is to use a small cordless impact wrench and feather the trigger so it’s hammering away, but not putting much torque on the bolt head. The hammering action tends to loosen the rust/corrosion and there’s a decent chance you’ll then be able to remove the screw. If you do break one while trying to remove it…the fun begins.

Naturally, that broken off bolt lines up perfectly with the hole in the aluminum floor panel and you’d you want to use a new fastener in the same location. But that broken bolt is hardened steel and it does not drill well with normal High Speed Steel drill bits. One could get a cobalt or carbide drill bit, but we didn’t have any on hand. Scott’s solution is to use a center punch on the broken bolt and beat on it with a big hammer; stripping the threads as he drives the bolt out of the hole. This method works, though you have to use a lot of force on the stubborn bolt.

However, we won’t reuse them, or new ones of the same design. We prefer to use closed end POP rivets. In some cases we used stainless steel pop rivets, and in others aluminum POP rivets, where it may be necessary to remove the item at some point by drilling them out. That’s how we’ll attach the various floor and footwell pieces. Here’s the right rear footwell panel in position.

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When we originally did the painting, the front seat floor pans had not been media blasted, so they weren’t painted and one of the footwell side panels was damaged by one of Scott’s employees. The original side panels had some minor damage during previous ownership, so this was the excuse to make new ones and replace them. But now we had to spray these panels prior to installation.

Here's the previous damage. If you look at the bottom center of the panel you can see it probably had some grouser contact at some point.

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Here’s a pic of the newly sprayed panels curing.

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While I was mixing the paint, I had a thought…. We’ve all heard of “hazardous duty pay”. Well, it occurred to me there should be "hideous duty pay” as well. One would be entitled to it if they had to work on hideous vehicles, and the BSG color on Putri-Zilla would very definitely qualify as hideous!

After the panels cured we set about installing them. In our opinion, fewer panels are better, but Tucker has the opposite approach. If my memory is correct, there are 18 individual pieces that make up Putri-Zilla’s floor. While on the one hand we would like to start from scratch and do a proper job, the time involved is significant, and we are under a time crunch to get the machine done. So the original ones get reused, except for the two we had to replace. However, the piece that “fits” around the steering column is so pathetically awful I strongly suspect we will replace it with a part that fits a whole lot better. I’ll have to take a photo of that and include it in the next update. Yes, it really is every bit as bad as I’m describing.

Here are the rear area panels installed. If you think the rivet spacing is wonky, we agree, but that is Tucker factory work. "Just put ‘em wherever” seems to be the factory’s method.

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The front floor is only partially installed. In addition to the steering column issue, we need to plumb the transmission's fluid cooler and add the sender for the transmission temperature gauge before the floor gets installed. We plan to do that next week, as well as installing sound deadening material and hopefully some “upholstery” as well. I had hoped to get the Weatherguard box installed but Scott protested that installing it would make it more difficult to rivet the rear footwell side panels. Now that’s complete, he’ll have to come up with another reason….
 

Blackfoot Tucker

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
So what is this fight over green paint? Seems to be the best color for us environmentalist types. I hug trees too.
Sno-Drifter,

I know you’ve tackled some big projects, so you know that over the duration of a project at first you’re full of enthusiasm and motivation, and that you will run into unanticipated issues (and costs), and it takes a lot longer than you think it should. After a while it gets to be a bit of a slog, but once it starts going back together you regain enthusiasm and it becomes fun again. Well, with Putri-Zilla the awful color is overwhelming. It takes away your motivation and saps your project energy. You’re always in "slog mode”, and it shouldn’t be that way.

I imagine at some point it will be finished and The Infamous WBJ1 showing it to a friend, neighbor, etc. The exchange might go like this:

The Infamous WBJ1: "It’s a Tucker Sno-Cat"

And the friend/neighbor thinks: “And it’s ugly”

TIWBJ1: "It’s a three-door, and they're somewhat rare”

And the friend/neighbor thinks: “And it’s ugly”

TIWBJ1: "It has long tracks for better flotation, and the damper wheels make it quieter"

And the friend/neighbor thinks: “And it’s ugly”

TIWBJ1: "It has a Warn winch to pull out stuck Pisten Bullys and Snow Tracs"

And the friend/neighbor thinks: “And it’s ugly”

This could go on for a while, but the gist is for all it’s nice features and upgrades, at the end of the day…IT’S UGLY!


By the way Sno-Drifter, I got a chuckle imagining you as a tree hugger chaining yourself to a tree while on a hunger strike. While I know you you have a genuine love for wood, I think it’s the wood in other than tree form.
 

Pontoon Princess

Cattitute
GOLD Site Supporter
it's ugly, you have a very smart neighbor/friend

and how does anyone knows sno drifters picture of a tucker is still green and or has it been returned to the wonderful Orange it was born with

I know for a fact, sno drifter stands out in the forest hugging his trees, mmm might he be doing this to measure the diameter to determine how big the chain saw bar needs to be?
 

Blackfoot Tucker

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
it's ugly, you have a very smart neighbor/friend

and how does anyone knows sno drifters picture of a tucker is still green and or has it been returned to the wonderful Orange it was born with

I know for a fact, sno drifter stands out in the forest hugging his trees, mmm might he be doing this to measure the diameter to determine how big the chain saw bar needs to be?
I could see Sno-Drifter approaching a monster tree with a huge chain saw and a grin on his face...
 
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