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Old 08-29-2010, 11:38 PM
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Espeefan Espeefan is offline
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Default Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

No doubt some members here will probably remember seeing this build before. It's been on other forums, and it's still not complete, even after all the time that has passed.

I started building this truck a few years ago, and it was my first Wedico purchase. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into at that point. The build started off well enough, but I slowly ran into a bit of a 'creative builder's block'. To explain that further, there were certain things about the Wedico Peterbilt that I wanted to change and problems that I wanted to correct. Yes, you are hearing me right, they aren't perfect models! Some things would be easy to fix, some not so easy. I assembled the truck as far as I could, and then decided I needed to come up with some solutions to my problems, if I was to truly be happy with the model.

Here's a quick summary of the build, in the earlier days. Many things have already changed, so this is a story of evolution.





Starts with a bare frame and a 3 speed transmission. In the rear, the chassis already has a change from stock. Wedico trucks come with individual leaf spring suspensions, for each axle, which is not the greatest of set-ups. I immediately swapped that out for an aftermarket suspension, produced by Osswald.



Osswald walking beam spring packs.



Close up of the rear walking beam suspension mount.



Spring packs and the 4 links for the axles.



Tandem drive axles, with the 4 links installed, and ready to be installed onto the chassis.



Put it all together and this is what you get.







Great performance and a nice scale look to boot.



About the same time, I bolted up the front axle. I had planned from the beginning to make the truck a 6x6. The front Wedico leaf springs would later be swapped out for Osswald's front suspension too.



Then it was time for some wheels!





It can never be to scale!
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Wow Nathan, did not know you were going for a 6X6. Nice! Keep going.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

To continue on.....



Different flavors of tires. Dual driven tires, super singles, and steering.





In going for the heavy hauler look, I wanted a lift axle. Wedico offered one, so I picked it up. Unfortunately, I was a bit let down by it. The travel of the lift axle was horrible, to say the least. There was enough travel to raise the wheels, but the downward travel was very poor. Once lowered, there was no travel left in reserve and the rubber barely met the road. Ultimately, I ditched this set up for something better.



I bought the Peterbilt 359 cab, in it's raw state, as I wanted to do a paint job of my own, rather then be stuck with the single color powder coat. I've seen a lot of the powder coat paint jobs show some pretty serious orange peal too.



At this point, I realized the look of the truck was heading in the right direction, but I wasn't to satisified just yet. I hated the ride height of the truck. Especially that huge gap between the front fender and the tire. Something that all Wedico trucks suffer from, but even more so with the driven steer axle.

I also hated the lift axle being so close to the first tandem drive axle. It just looked cramped. After talking about the problem with a few fellow RC truckers, I decided I would push the rear drive axles back.



It made a huge difference!

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Old 08-30-2010, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Thanks Claus. Continuing on with the truck....

I received the Osswald front suspension for the truck, and it helped reduce some of the fender gap. I thought I could live with it, but later I would decide to lower the truck even more.



The Osswald spring packs - flat.



Installed with the front drive axle.





A little better ride height, but still not as good as I hoped for, as you'll see later.



The next big idea I came up with for my truck was to fab up my own single, half round fenders. I made a tutorial on a couple different websites, when I got a lot of people asking me how I did them. These days, I see them popping up more and more, which is cool. They turned out to be really easy to make.







I was starting to feel a little better about my progress. The look was improving. Still not quite perfect, but getting there.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Now the Peterbilt 359 steps do match the steps that Wedico provides in the kit. Kind of. Wedico's steps are lacking some detail, and what I really wanted were some nicer looking steps. Something more along the lines of the Peterbilt 379 steps. I planned to get some machined out of aluminum, but to test the look and fit, for sizing, I mocked some up with styrene.





Driver's side.





Passenger side.

At the present, I still have not finalized any arrangements to have the steps machined from aluminum, but I do have some drawings made up. Now I have second guessed myself though, as I have started to consider the posibility of mounting the fuel tanks under the cab instead. Going for that vocational Peterbilt heavy haul look. We'll see!

About this time, I was getting frustrated with with truck. A little. Two major things, though they may not seem major, were really bugging me. The fender gap, and my Wedico lift axle. It took me a while to come up with a solution for both.

For closing up the fender gap, I had tried a few different ideas. Running fewer springs, getting rid of the driven front axle (something I really, really didn't want to do), and I even considered lowering the cab and hood. The biggest problem was that the stock hood hinge point interfered with the front suspension hanger. The two simply could not share the same space together.



This is a photo with the old leaf pack, but the mounts are still in the same locations.

Very briefly I thought I would try running the standard steer axle, but with some modifications. I milled the blocks off of the top of the axle, which helped a lot, but I just couldn't give up the driven front axle.



You can see the mill marks. The blocks used to be there!

Finally, I decided if I wanted to correct this problem, the best thing to do would be to make some custom parts!



I made a new hood mount for the chassis, which would drop the hood about 5/16" lower. At first I planned to combine the hood mount with the suspension hanger, but space was a problem.



Instead, I moved the spring hanger back and away from it's original location, and the hood mount sits in the spring hanger's old home.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build



Combined together, the hood's hinge point, just barely clears.

Since I moved the spring hanger back torwards the cab, I had to make a new spring! The original ones were now to long.



I bought some brass sheet, which happened to match the thickness of the original Osswald springs, but I had to figure out how I could bend some nice eyes on the ends of the springs. I wanted them to be uniform, and the best way I could think to do that, was to make a tool.



I tried a test piece and it worked out great!



After a little trial and error, I figured out the total length of the brass spring I needed, and how much it would shorten, given me wrapping the eyelets on the ends. I then made up two new, shorter springs, and milled the holes for the axle bolts.









Then the moment of truth! The new front end suspension, installed with the driven front axle! The fender gap, greatly improved! I was really happy with the results.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

With a good solution found for one problem, I turned my attention to the next. The lift axle. I had this spare steering axle laying around, and it looked like it would make a nice lift axle. As a bonus, I figured maybe I could even make it a self steering lift axle. The knuckles were already there....



What I ended up doing was narrowing the stock steering axle down quite a bit. I milled a center section right out of the axle and bolted it back together. I had some spare 4 links laying around, which I used to locate the axle and allow it to have way more travel and float then the old set-up. Rock crawler guys will now just how great 4 link suspensions are.



In order to locate the lift axle, I machined an upper 4 link mount for it out of aluminum. The mount is captured between the axle halves and it's very strong.



Plenty of downward travel - more then I really need. My driveshaft will limit that some, once it is installed.



Good articulation, for those off road treks too!



Raised up. Lots of clearance, if I do need the room as well.



And down.





Couple more photos, from the side and angle.



One from above. Yet to come is a lift mechanism of some sort. I'm going to go with a really simple design. Hopefully something as simple as a cable and winch system, or maybe just a servo to raise and lower the axle. I'd like to do air bags, but I'm afraid they would limit the travel and articulation. We run these scale trucks in a non-scale world, and expect them to handle some pretty tough obsticles at times.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Very nice clean build, you have talent for sure.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Some great solutions to the problems you found and corrected
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:48 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

The mods your doing Look good so far, can't wait to see it done!
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Holy WOW!!!
Thats all I can say.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:42 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Nathan very good you are doing an excellent job keep up the good work.Ed

Last edited by JAMMER; 08-30-2010 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

very nice truck
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:16 AM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Whata great build and nice pics!

Brian
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Thank you guys. It means a lot to me to see your comments! Especially knowing the level of quality builds on this forum, and the company I am in. I hope I can reach that bar and make the grade. Thanks again.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

This is my favorite Wedico,the level of detail makes this an art piece!
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Sweet I love this build. I really like the heavy haul trucks.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Your truck and Wades truck are the best looking wedico's out there that is for sure they are great looking trucks.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Wow! Amazing work!

What will it weigh when it is complete?
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: Espeefan's slow motion Peterbilt Heavy Hauler build

Troy and Snochaser, thanks!

Paul, thanks also! I haven't seen much of Wade these days. I know he joined the forum though. I really like his Peterbilt too. Did he ever get it out of primer? I'm kind of hoping one day I'll be able to make one of the meets you Central Plains guys host. Sure would be cool.

SmallHaul, thanks. No idea what the truck will weigh when it's done. Hopefully it will have some good heft to it. There are a lot more parts I want to add, and much of them will be (hopefully) machined aluminum pieces.
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