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Newbie requests help with Peterbilt 359/379 conversion


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#1 NorthWest29

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 06:25 PM

Greetings all from a total newbie!

The good news, I've been inspired by Tim Ahlborn into building a 379 Pete.

Bad news: I don't know much about big trucks and as I understand it no one makes a 379 Pete kit.

Good news: I believe that you can take a 359 Pete and with after market hood and fenders convert it to a 379.

Problem: I don't know enough about the detailed differences between the two for the conversion. All I do know is the frame must be lengthened.

Goal: To obtain enough advise from those knowledgeable about the conversion and detailed reference material to do the conversion. Also, I think there is a 119 and 127 wheelbase version; I'm open to doing either one.

Any suggestions or the location of detailed information will be more than greatly appreciated.

#2 mackinac359

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 01:14 AM

Ron
This is possible, but there are a LOT of differences between a 359 and a 379.

On the 1:1 truck, the 379 only shares the doors of the cab and the sleeper w ith 359. Everything else is different.

In the model world, you can modify things.
The 379 cab is wider at the cowl and back wall. The roof shape is different, the windshield shape and angle/rake is different (379 windshield leans back more). The fenders are shaped slightly different. The hood is entirely different.

In this photo you see a 359 with the hood tilted. See how the windshield is shaped and the rake of the center post. Also not the firewall, the fresh-air vent on the side of the cab, the small step on the bottom of the fender and the steering box is aft of the axle.
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Here is a similar view of a 379.
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Here is the right view of the 359. Note the air cleaner piping runs through an extension panel from the cab.
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Here is the right view of the 379. Note the air cleaner piping runs through the cab, and the hood has no angled cutout for the aircleaner.

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As for the actual modifications to make a 379 from a 359.. you'll need to widen the kit cab about 1/4 inch. Rework the leading edge of the windshield mask so that the centerpost leans back more. Reshape the top of the cowl slightly (379 is flatter). The 379 roof is tapered more at the front and rear. The roofcap is free of rivets and panel seams.

Cab view forward:
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Cab side view:
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For hood lengths, there is a 119" standard hood 379, and the longer 127" BBC length. The length refers to the length of the hood and cab (bumper to back of cab). The 119" hood has a slight forward slope to the hood, the 127" hood is fairly flat (1 degree slope).

119" BBC 379 with a 36" sleeper
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127" BBC 379
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Hopefully these photos have given you a little idea of the direction you'll need to go.

Tim

#3 crashalot2

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 02:28 PM

How about using a 378 to start with?

#4 NorthWest29

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 05:04 PM

:)

Hi Tim and Lee,

Tim thanks for the wealth of information - it will take me a few days to digest it all. Probably have follow up questions too.

Lee (andTim) -

Would my life as a total newbie be simplier here if I started with the 378? I "assume" there wouldn't be as many differences to deal with? Does somebody make a 378 and the afeter market stuff too?

Thank you -
Ron

I appreciate the input from you both!

#5 crashalot2

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 06:51 PM

Italeri made a 378 in 1/24 scale. I think the cab is the same as the 379 . The 378 kit also has a more modern engine then the 359 .

#6 mackinac359

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 03:28 AM

The Italeri 378 kit would be the BEST choice. The darned kit is getting extremely difficult to find, and sellers are getting good prices for it.

We need to get Italeri to reissue this kit. What say everyone write letters to Italeri to reissue the thing???

To convert the 378 kit to a 379:

119" BBC
Cut the top of the hood off at the "beltline."
Remove a small triangle shaped sliver of the hood sides, with the most removed from the rear of the hood. This will "de-slope" the hood. the 119" hood has much lesss slope than the 378 hood. Reattach the hood top.
Straighten up the front and rear edges of the hood.
Temporarily attach the grille to the hood. Mark a level line from the seam on the grille (lower grille sides - crown seam) and then scribe in the panel seam on the hood sides.

379 on left, 378 drawing on right.
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If you are skilled at adding the huckrivet detail, the 379 hood will have them all over, you'll need to closely examine a real hood or clear photo.

The cab mounts will need to be lowered slightly to adjust for the lower top of the hood. (379 sits 1 inch off the frame, 378 sits 3).

Here is another Italeri 378 converted to a 379-119. I also modified the cab to an Ultracab raised roof with '06-'07 door glass. The sleeper is a 70" sleeper with the front wall and roof front from the 377 kit.

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If you want to build a 127" BBC 379 with the Italeri 378 kit, Spauldings has the hood shell, but the grille isn't quite right. The grille shell from the recently reissued Revell snap 359 kit is perfect. You'll have to shave off the headlights and rechrome the shell, but the shape is dead-on for the 379 and does fit the STS/Griffen hood. This is the same grille that Bill Drennen used for his 379 resin conversion.
With the longer hood, you will need to move the front cab mounts rearward, along with the other mountings (sleeper, cab rear). Exhaust piping and air cleaner piping will also need to be extended. The steering column to the steering box will need lengthening.

Tim

#7 NorthWest29

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 07:15 AM

Hello again Lee and Tim -

Once more, I appreciate you're time and effort in helping to get on the right track.

Tim, since you say the 378 is getting harder to find and therefore higher priced would you please give me what you feel is a fair price range to pay for one of these kits? I can't truthfully say I'm excited about spending more for a better starting kit, but obviously I don't want to overcharged.

TNX

#8 mackinac359

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 07:25 AM

Ron
The kit has sold in the $50-90 range.
I've paid close to the top price.

Once nice thing about the Italeri Peterbilt kits, they almost build themselves.
Very nicely done.

If you want to start "cheap" (yeah right), try the Italeri (or Revell) Peterbilt 377 kit. This will give you an idea of the Italeri quality and how the kits go together (multi piece cabs).

Tim

#9 mackinac359

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 05:15 PM

Ron's question about making a 379 cab out of a 359 cab was spooky. When he posted that question, I had just started to work on converting an AMT 359 cab into a 379!

I did this just out of boredom using spare parts.
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Based on the real cab seen in the background of the photos. A Peterbilt 379 cab, set up for dual breathers, dual exhaust, '06/07 doors, large rear window and Unibilt air ride cab.
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The cab on the left is the my 379, the cab on the right is an AMT 359 cab.
I cut two AMT cabs, one in half, the other 1/4 inch left of center. Then I mated the longer right half to the left half, reworked the windshield mask, doors, rear window shape, roof shape, added the mounting holes for air cleaners, hvac fresh air screen, door handles, etc.

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The huck rivet detail was painted on.. and boy did my shakey hand run askew! The rivets go all over the place.. but looking close at the AMT cab and the backwall has the same problems with molded on rivets!

This cab will sit on the shelf beside a 359 1100-series cab shell that I did a few years ago.

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If you're bored, don't want to build an entire kit.. just grab the parts box and find some component that looks interesting and build that!
A low-cost quick build that satisfies the need to work on something.

Thanks for looking!

Tim

#10 SpreadAxle

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 07:29 PM

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Here are some photos of my last truck, a Peterbilt 379-127 with an N14 Cummins engine. I hope these help. both sides of the engine are included. This is a 1999 model. i got 3 1/2 good years out of this truck. Good luck. If you want more pix, feel free to ask.