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1943 Dodge Power Wagon Cummins Powered Classic

Posted in Features on October 11, 2015
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Vintage Power Wagons have become popular in recent years, in no small part due to the stunning vehicles that Legacy Conversions has been producing. Trucks like the six-wheel-drive Power Wagon on the cover of our Sept. ’15 issue have all of the conveniences of a modern vehicle with vintage looks and style. Hand-built trucks from Legacy Conversions also come with a six-figure price tag, so when it came time to build the Power Wagon of his dreams, instead of cashing in his 401k, Richard Warf headed to the shop and got dirty.

Richard started with a rough ’43 Dodge Power Wagon and also picked up an ’86 Ford F-350 that served as a donor for much of the drivetrain. The Power Wagon came from the Carson-Tahoe Fire District where it served as a workhorse with a plow on the front and a flatbed out back. Rather than being nickel-and-dimed over every little thing to get the Power Wagon road worthy, Richard was able to source many of the components that he needed from the donor Ford, including the transmission, transfer case, and axles. Richard had different plans for the engine though, sourcing a 4BTA four-cylinder Cummins diesel from a bread truck. Most of these trucks come with VE rotary-style injection pumps, but Richard held out until he found an engine with the legendary P7100 injection pump since they are much easier to get big horsepower out of.

The only thing left to combine the two trucks into one head turning 4x4 was a lot of sweat equity. Richard did nearly all of the work himself, including all of the metal fabrication, wiring, bodywork, and paint. “The only things I farmed out were shortening the driveline and the new glass,” he explained. The hard work paid off with a vehicle that gets compliments everywhere it goes thanks to the beautiful paint and body, the perfect stance with the big Michelin military tires, and that famous Cummins clatter under the hood. “I worked on this thing every spare moment for two years,” Richard confessed. “I would be out in the garage from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., just chipping away at it.” All of sudden those Legacy Conversions Power Wagons don’t look so expensive!

Power comes from a 4BTA Cummins engine out of a bread truck that is fixed in the frame with hydraulic motor mounts from a 12-valve Dodge to reduce vibration. The K&N air filter is attached directly to the stock H1C turbocharger that produces 22 psi of boost under load. The engine is kept cool by the factory Power Wagon radiator and a 16-inch electric fan
On the driver side of the engine you can see the lines running from the P7100 injection pump to the stock injectors. Richard has done some minor tweaking to the fuel plate to up the power from its factory 130hp rating to approximately 160 hp. Also visible are the aluminum Wilwood brake master cylinder and the Allstar Performance power steering reservoir.
Richard recovered the factory seat and door panels and added new carpet to the interior of his Power Wagon. He also built custom aluminum panels to hold the Autometer Old Tyme White gauges and accessory switches.
The Power Wagon had a flatbed on it when Richard purchased it, but it was an eye sore. He built a custom bed from box tubing and ironwood left over from a pier project he worked on. Flush mount LED lights are used for the brake, turn, backup, and running lights. This is his daily driver, and the Power Wagon can often be found in front of Home Depot with the bed full of supplies.
These are the most tasteful exhaust stacks we have ever seen. The 6 1/2-inch miter-cut stacks for the basis for a headache rack at the front of the bed. Believe it or not, this was built from leftover materials Richard had lying around. Genius.
The front axle is a kingpin Dana 60 from an ’86 Ford F-350 donor. The high-pinion Dana 60 was rebuilt with new bearings and seals and uses a 4.10 gear ratio and an open differential.
The Ford donor power steering box handles steering, with the pitman arm coming out forward of the box. The 3-inch drop pitman arm connects to the factory Ford steering linkage.
The front suspension consists of 3/4-ton Chevy leaf springs on custom mounts to match the width of the spring perches on the Dana 60. Instead of typical shock absorbers, the Power Wagon uses these gear and oil resistance-style shocks that are unlike anything we have ever seen before. They were a rare option, and even after six decades, they still work after some minor servicing.
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The rear suspension consists of factory leaf springs with 11 leaves to carry even the heaviest of loads. It also uses the same type of gear and oil resistance shocks as found in front. Note the RCI aluminum fuel cell that holds 20 gallons of diesel fuel.
The rear driveline and Sterling 10.25 rear axle came from the same donor truck as the front axle and transfer case. The axle is filled with 4.10 gears that work nicely with the T-19 transmission and 38-inch-tall Michelin XML tires.

General
Vehicle: 1943 Dodge Power Wagon
Owner: Richard Warf
Stomping grounds: Reno, Nevada
Build time: Two years
Drivetrain
Engine: 4BTA Cummins diesel
Transmission: T-19 four-speed manual
Transfer case(s): BW1345
Low range ratio: 2.69:1
Crawl ratio: 69.7:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 60 w/ 4.10 gears
Rear axle/differential: Sterling 10.25 w/ 4.10 gears
Suspension
Front: Chevy 3/4-ton leaf springs, gear-and-oil shocks
Rear: Factory leaf springs, gear-and-oil shocks
Steering: Ford F-350 steering box and linkage
Tires/Wheels
Tires: 325/85R16 Michelin XMLs
Wheels: 16x10 black steel spokes
Miscellaneous
Armor: Custom box tube front bumper, custom flatbed with wood inserts
Cool stuff: Headache rack doubles as exhaust stacks, restored sheetmetal, LED lights, Wilwood master cylinder, Autometer gauges, K&N intake, Painless Performance wiring

PhotosView Slideshow

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