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Casey429

BRBO Kenworth W925

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I still intend to participate in the 2020 BRBO but some things have come up that have prevented me from actually starting. I will elaborate later when I actually have some pictures. I will be using an original AMT Kenworth W925 tractor for its Torsion Bar rear suspension, and I plan on using the chrome from the most recent reissue. Plans call for swapping the 5x4 trans for a 13 speed, modifying the cab for later door handles and a few other odds and ends. The build will replicate a 1974 Kenworth that my dad owned circa 1982. 

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As promised, I'd like to elaborate on my build choice. I had mentioned in the official BRBO thread that this past year was eventful. I bought my first house, did some remodeling, and moved in. I've been putting together a new workspace in my basement that's finally coming along. That said, onto my story.

As I mentioned above, my Dad bought the 1974 KW sometime around 1982, after he and my mom got married. As some of you may already know, my Dad passed away suddenly, and the 10th anniversary of that is coming up in March. Unfortunately for me and my family, my Mom has also departed this Earth far too soon. I had every intention on starting this build at the beginning of last month, but having to deal with Mom's funeral affairs threw that plan right out the window. I had contemplated backing out of the BRBO all together, but the more I thought about it the more Mom's advice to live life and enjoy it is holding truer than ever. So the reason I chose to build this truck in lieu of the dozen other or so of Dad's trucks I have planned is actually for the both of them. My Dad was running over the road when he had this truck, and the one and only trip Mom ever went on was in this truck too. So while I will probably need right up until the deadline to get it done for various reasons, here goes nothing.

Here's a picture of the truck around the time of purchase. There's no date on the photo, but I have some others that might be that I'll dig out. Mom and Dad got married May of '82, so it was some time after that. Even in this picture, the KW is showing the signs of having endured 12 years of PA winters. The truck also turned out to be a colossal pile of you-know-what. On that one and only trip Mom tagged along, they ran from somewhere around home (Pittsburgh Suburbs) to Ft. Lauderdale with a friend of my dad who also had a KW and his girlfriend at the time. I had heard many times about how uncomfortable Florida was in the middle of summer in a truck with no A/C and a 36" crawl through sleeper. On top of that they managed to hit a swarm of mayflies somewhere along the way. Upon returning to PA, the truck was using an alarming amount of antifreeze and it was discovered that it had a cracked block. A replacement engine was put in, dad ran the truck for a little while longer and then sent it on its way. He always called the old KW "The truck that almost took me bankrupt." 

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Fast forward to 2006. Dad, Me, my best friend Nick and his dad Ron are at the ATHS show at Kenworth of PA's New Stanton location. Lots of neat old iron to gawk at in the front lot where the new trucks would normally be, but for whatever reason, the four of us wandered around back to see if there were any more. Dad looks around and says something to the effect of "HOLY (expletive)!" and we all look his direction. Sitting there, looking slightly worse for wear is a red KW A model hooked up to a gooseneck trailer. Dad starts looking it over and turns to Ron and says "This used to be my truck." Ron goes "You should see who's it is and try to buy it back. Dad replied with "No way, this truck almost ruined me once. They can have it." I've seen it at a couple more shows since, but not for several years. The trailer it was hooked to had Autocar mud flaps and there was an Autocar hat on the seat, so I can only assume that's what it was hauling. If anyone from PA or anywhere else close has seen it, I'd like to know about it. That's part of dad in the photo, just to the right of the truck.

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It should be a pretty straightforward rendition of AMT's Kenworth, with a few things needing changed or updated. I recall him mentioning it having torsion bar suspension, so knowing what I know now, that confirms it as a W925. I thought I had a picture from '06 from the rear, but I can't find it. I was rooting through some old photos the other day and found a whole stack of shots of this truck, but I haven't had a chance to scan them yet. Written on the back of one was "1974 KW, Cummins 13 sp." I remember dad speaking about it being a Cummins Big Cam of some flavor, so the NTC-370 in the kit will do, but I'll swap the 5x4 trans for an Eaton from an AMT Peterbilt. I'll also need to modify the doors for the newer slam lock door handles, fabricate some 5" straight pipes and do some light weathering. I have a 3D printed grille from Double Take that I bought when KJ announced he was closing up shop. I had intended to use it for this purpose all along, but this truck has gone to the top of the pecking order. Looking at the '82 photo, I'm noticing some stuff I either haven't before, or it's just been so long I forgot, like the swan hood ornament and I can just make out a clear or light smoke bug shield. One item of note, I still have the half moon headlight covers from this truck in my dad's toolbox in my garage. If I feel ambitious, I'll try to make those or find some.

That's all for now. I plan to provide regular updates once I really get started here. Thank you all for looking, and wish me luck!

Edited by Casey429

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  Casey,

           Please accept my condolences on the passing of your mother . Things like that are always tough to deal with .

As for your project I like the idea of replicating your Dad's truck . Good luck with your build. And I hope you get settled

into your new hobby room !

 

Be Well

  Gator

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Good morning all, here's my slightly productive but short March update!

Got started with the first step of any new build, digging into the box. I picked up this original AMT Kenworth kit some time ago, just before the reissue was announced. I didn't pay a small fortune for it like they were bringing for a while, and it's got the Torsion Bar suspension which I needed anyway. Open, sealed contents, and inventoried complete.

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Basic chassis assembly was up first, and like many on here have mentioned, the rear suspension is quite fiddly to put together. I think it could've been done more simply and still turned out ok, but this is 40+ year old kit engineering here so it is what it is. I got it sitting square and level according to my measurements, so as long as the truck sits level I'll be satisfied. I relocated the mounting holes for the passenger fuel tank to allow for a second battery/toolbox from the junk pile. I'm in the process of modifying a steerable axle from an Ertl 4300 to fit. I'm also going to be using Moebius wheels and tires, and while I previously stated I was going to use a Double Take grille, I've decided against that. I'm going to build the replica with the bug screen showing in the 1980's photo so I won't need it.

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That's all or now, but I hope to make some good progress in the next couple weeks. I'm working from home in addition to a modified in-office schedule at work due to the current state of the world. The time I get to spend at home should give me the freedom to maintain a good head of steam on this one. Thanks for peeking in!

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Its looking good, however I think the rear axle may be upside down. That driveline angle looks way too steep and the drive shaft should enter above the center line, not below. 

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Looks great!! I have a few with the torsion bar suspension that I need to build one day!

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Your rear axle is right. It may be tilted slightly which might make the angle appear too sharp.

1524491871_kwtorsionbar.jpg.596abb2444a0e92140a574aebbf9cd2b.jpg

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Based on the information above, the instruction sheet, and personal experience, the rear diff is correct but definitely looks weird. Most of this will be hidden under the fifth wheel, deck plates, and behind the wheels so I'm not too concerned. Plus plans call for a bit of weathering so hopefully that'll distract from some of it's shortcomings. I'm going to reiterate that the part location marks and age and engineering of this kit probably added to it looking funky. Thanks for the input everyone!

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Looks good ! Getting the older designed frames square and level is a chore but when done they work out 

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