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1949 Reo speed wagon

Posted By sexyredtruck Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:24 AM
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sexyredtruck
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:24 AM
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hello I have a 1949 REO speedwagon that my grandfather bought brand new. I inherited the truck and would like to fix it up and modernize it. its in pretty good shape for a truck thats been sitting outside and hasnt been used since the late 60s. Im not sure what model it is but it has a flathead 6 and a 2 speed rearend with dual rear wheels.

What id like to do is replace the old engine with a 12 valve cummins engine with either a 6 speed eaton or posibly a 9 or 10 speed.   then replace the rear axle with a single speed rear end with airbags and a triangulated 4 link suspension.

My biggest problem is the axles themselves. i would like to upgrade them to something a little heavier and with better and newer brakes. preferably id like them to be airbrakes but they done have to be. what would be some good axles to put under this truck? i plan on using this truck to haul stuff and pull a trailer. i can be more specific about what im hauling and pulling if i need to be.
Eddy Lucast
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:39 AM
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sexyredtruck (8/25/2010)
hello I have a 1949 REO speedwagon that my grandfather bought brand new. I inherited the truck and would like to fix it up and modernize it. its in pretty good shape for a truck thats been sitting outside and hasnt been used since the late 60s. Im not sure what model it is but it has a flathead 6 and a 2 speed rearend with dual rear wheels.

What id like to do is replace the old engine with a 12 valve cummins engine with either a 6 speed eaton or posibly a 9 or 10 speed.   then replace the rear axle with a single speed rear end with airbags and a triangulated 4 link suspension.

My biggest problem is the axles themselves. i would like to upgrade them to something a little heavier and with better and newer brakes. preferably id like them to be airbrakes but they done have to be. what would be some good axles to put under this truck? i plan on using this truck to haul stuff and pull a trailer. i can be more specific about what im hauling and pulling if i need to be.


Why destroy it, restore it the way it is. They aren't making any new ones!




Eddy Lucast

http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com


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JeffLipinski
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:53 AM
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If you want to update, best bet is to find a newer chassis with the components you want, then swap bodies. I would think finding an IH chassis with a DT466/6speed with air brakes shouldn't be that hard. If you are set on the cummins, look for an F800.  Or for a school bus chassis (5.9 with an Allison might be cool!) and shorten it. You might even get lucky and find one with an air ride rear.

What kind of shape is the original driveline in? Engine locked up?


Jeff
JeffLipinski
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:56 AM
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What corner of the country are you in?

Jeff
sexyredtruck
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 9:03 AM
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Im located in central nebraska.  Being that its my grandfathers truck id like to keep as much of it original as i can. now the question of why "destroy" it as you say instead of restore it?  my grandfather was always a forward thinker. he was one of the first around to have a truck like this instead of using wagons to haul grain and such. my dad and i decided that if were gonna fix it up we should do it the way he wouldve done it. and if we restored it it it wouldnt serve our purpose.  we're sure that if he were alive today this is how he would redo it. he wouldnt want us to have it sitting around and not serve its purpose. im sure hed say " this truck was built to work not sit around and look pretty"
sexyredtruck
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 9:27 AM
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I'm not sure about the drivetrains condition I would guess the engines probably locked up but I don't know for sure
Bill White
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 10:04 AM
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Here is a 1953 with a 1949 hood I took in Colorado a few weeks ago he restored it  runs great..Bill






athscentraliowa.org
47 Willys CJ2A, 47 Bantam T3C, 47 Diamond T 910, 53 White WC24, 49 IH KBS11
sexyredtruck
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 10:59 AM
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ya thats it but mines quite a bit longer. Im not against anybody that want to restore these old trucks, im all for it! but at the same time sometimes its better to for lack of a better word revive them.   the reason i brought this up is because my dad and i are looking into starting a local custom combineing business and we're going to replace our current fuel trailer/ spare parts and tool trailer thats made out of the back half of a 70s ford 3/4ton with a utility box on it.  so we were looking into buying a medium duty truck and mouting the 300 gallon fuel tank on it along with boxs for spare parts and tools and such and would also pull the header trailer behind it. but the cost of a single axle diesel  truck around here is through the roof. so i suggested we rebuild the REO instead and repower it and such because we already have it and i would hate to see the old truck just rot away. :) I have nothing against using the current front and rear axle but i want to make sure they could handle the extra weight  and twice the power and torque of the cummins. and that they would be able to stop the truck too.  and i want to know that i can reliably be able to find brake shoes and wheel cylinders and such too.

also id like to ad power brakes and steering just to add a little comfort to the old girl.
Richard
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 11:36 AM
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SRT  There are those who want their trucks  exactly as original and those who feel free to modify to suit their needs and wants.  One of the great things about ATHS is that we have NEVER had a judged show  -- bring what you got/how you got it.  Also, trucks often  get modified over their life span with updated engines, etc.  MY advice, which is well what you are paying for it, is to put your cab on a later model chassis, as mentioned below.  You plan on working the trucks. That way you get much better brakes, more power, with parts much easier to get.  You will, I think, be surprised how LITTLE power the REO flat head 6  has and how weak the brakes are, compared to modern stuff. A few years ago , I would drive my friends REO with the OHV 200 engine ( 5 x 4 trans) and kid him about the "mountains" I would find with the REO   that were not there when  I drove my modern truck on the same road! 

Life  is like a roll of toilet paper the closer  you get to the end, the faster it goes!  Enjoy each day.
Bruce Ohnstad
 Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2010 11:55 AM
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We have a couple D 19 Reos just like that.  That flathead is Reo, probably 90 HP 245cid so you won't work much or get over 45mph with it.  It's about a 12 to 14,000 GVW but my dad hauled 4 yards of gravel on them - about 21,000 lbs.  He added what must be a dozen more leaves to the spring stack.  Does your truck have cast spoke or disc wheels?  They came with either.

I've wondered if I could make any changes to them.   There's very little room in the engine compartment for even a 300cid Ford 6 cylinder or small v8.  With the setback axle and pointed hood there would be little room for anything unless you jacked the cab up over another chassis.

The frames are nice and heavy.  The rear is heavy enough to work a reasonable load but it will be slow.  If you are changing axles and engine I'd say put the cab and hood on another chassis.  Whether it's a pickup or light truck, like a GVW 16 or 22,000 gvw, start looking at their driveline and cab arrangements.  Bring a tape measure, draw sketches on paper, and take pictures of tight spots.  Note where the steering column, dog house, shift lever, clutch, radiator, air filter are located. 

A different chassis would be easier if it's not electronic - the electrical system and instruments are too complex to bring into the cab.  So if you can find some fine great plains survivors from the 1960s or 70s you'll get a faster truck, still simple, and fairly easy to plan a cab swap.

Retrofitting has a variety of viewpoints, it's nice to have original specimens but I've gotten to respect good modified vehicles that still look appropriate.  It might not be as original as you wanted but you'll just have to appreciate the circumstances.

The White truck bash (including Reo) will be held in Harrisonville MO Sept 2-4.  There's also a Reo club.  People there would have more specific work examples. 

Good luck, keep us posted,

Bruce


1932 White 643 restored in the working museum
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 12:00 PM by Bruce Ohnstad

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