L60-00511-The "El Bondo Patrol" rises from the ashes...

Builds, refurbishments, restorations, upgrades

Postby moore_rb » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:42 am

I know, I know- I haven't posted anything on 60Patrol for centuries... But it is not without reason.

Lots of family business has taken priority over these past 2 years (funerals mostly, sad to say :( ) but alas- These are the seasons we go through in life.

So, when I have had any free time, I have been choosing to spend it working on projects, as opposed to posting online about the projects I am working on... 8-) But today, I thought I'd dig up a few photos I have snapped along the way, and give everyone an update.

And what better Patrol to post an update about than the one that has become one of my most favorite vehicles of all time??? That's right Kids! The El Paso Deathtrap is getting another MAJOR rebuild.

I have posted several other threads about this truck through the years, but when Photobucket jacked up my account, all the images were lost to history (I used to upload from my phone straight to photobucket, so a ton of those photos are gone forever) ...

This time, I am attaching the photos directly to the 60Patrol posts- Hopefully they will last this time :D

Regardless, this poor truck has certainly had one of the "most storied" lives ever documented on 60Patrol.com. I found it in 2013 on Ebay, as a non-running project located in El Paso Texas. At the time, all I really wanted was the hard top and side doors, so I bid what those parts were worth to me, and ended up winning the whole truck.

It looked pretty good, and actually had a correct PTO and Koening Patrol winch on it (which was a bonus):
EPPatrol7.jpg


But looks are deceiving... This truck was a mess, and within days, "The El Paso Deathtrap" moniker was born....

The "lift kit" was a hodge-podge of a very poorly fabricated front spring over axle conversion, with a steering stabilizer clamped to the leaf spring (!), and the rear suspension had coil springs jammed between the frame and axle, with goofy "shackles" holding the rear shocks.. It was a disaster, but a nearly non-stop source of laughs :lol:

Yes, those nuts were welded to the spring plates... :?

weldedNuts.jpg
steringstab.jpg
rearShocks.jpg


The body had a fresh coat of metallic green paint, but closer inspection revealed that the paint was covering very much bondo, and very little steel.

But alas, one quiet Sunday I decided to see if I could make this suicide-machine's engine run, and wouldn't you know it.. within hours it was not only running, but was making 120+ PSI in every cylinder- This thing ran like a brand new lawn mower...

So, I had this nicely running Patrol, minus it's hardtop and doors (which I re-purposed as intended), that I could never re-sell, because I wasn't going to live with my conscience if I had sold this thing and that potentially deadly suspension finally came unglued. So, I tore everything out from the frame down, and re-fabbed the spring-over axle conversion. A year later, I had one pretty nice looking, nice running, and nice driving desert play toy:

CAM00606.jpg
CAM00463_zps36ada210.jpg


The frame was still bent, and the bodywork was still more bondo than metal, but it was fun, and more importantly: Safe to drive. I probably put 3000 miles on it like this; but then one day I purchased L60-3-00617 from RiverPatrol, and decided I was going to restore that one, and I was gonna need parts for that rebuild, so the Mean Green El Paso machine slowly started melting away, one piece at a time, until all that was left was a green, bondo encrusted body, sitting atop a bent frame, with disassembled axles hanging below it, sitting out in the backyard beneath a tarp, while the engine/trans, winch, PTO, fuel tank, and misc other parts were stacked in the shed, waiting to be re-used in the restoration of 00617....
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Postby moore_rb » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:10 am

... But 0511 did not deserve such an unceremonious sacrifice. After all, This machine has racked up more miles than all my other running Patrols put together...and it still had a clean title and license plates... It deserved a second (third?) chance. (I'll bet none of you knew I was so sentimental... :) )

and since the truck was pretty much stripped, separating the body from frame only took a couple hours one day... and Voila, yet another project (to add to my ten-million other projects) was born....

First order of business was to take care of that badly-abused frame. I can't even speculate how many hours of measuring, re-measuring, cutting, grinding, welding, and re-measuring I put into this frame; but if I were paying myself a dollar an hour for my labor, I'd be a millionaire...

center transmission crossmember:
20170926_082246.jpg


rear center crossmember:
20170827_115809.jpg


I also had a badly-mangled, but original Patrol rear step out in the parts yard, so I beat it back into shape as best I could (I think I've mentioned before, I'm no Blacksmith- I'd rather be cutting and welding, than beating sheetmetal with a hammer), but in the end, it looks good enough to use:

20170926_094950.jpg

20170926_130535.jpg


Take a look at those super-sweet 69 Patrol style bumperettes in that last picture- My man Rick Glaser (RJiggy) made those for me a few years ago. They are finally being put to use 8-)

and after all the fabricating, and a lot of cleaning, wire brushing, pressure washing, and sandblasting, 5 coats of Rustoleum sealed it all up... and L60-00511 was on its way to being a Nissan Patrol, yet again
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Postby faux40 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:29 am

Nice to see this beast again! Looks great!
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Postby moore_rb » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:44 am

... But what about the axles and suspension? Was I going to stick with the spring over axle conversion? Doing that would have been too much work- I had already stripped out the the axle housings that had the converted spring pads (I needed the steering knuckles and axle shafts for the 00617 restoration) and so, not wanting to re-use the converted axle housings, I decided to go back to the original spring under axle configuration, using the set of stock axles that came from 4-L60-02565 when I scrapped that one.

I had to build a set of springs from scratch, so I stripped every spare spring I had down to bare leaves

20170730_134450.jpg


Tossed all the junk back out into the scrap yard
20170730_141358.jpg


and took the best that was left, and cleaned and painted them
20170730_142923.jpg

20170730_183028.jpg


The axles got opened up, cleaned out, and checked for general health and operation:
20170923_150847.jpg


and when I finally had a rolling chassis, It was time to bolt in P63870 (another non-numbers matching "orphan" engine which also came out of the red Patrol (4-L60-02565)- it runs great and makes good compression, but needed to have the coolant passages reamed out and the rust flushed away)
20171121_085509.jpg

20171121_085545.jpg

20171122_114441.jpg



In case any of you are wondering about the 3 in the background, they are, from L-R:
1) L60-2-00504A- 1962 soft top (undergoing restoration)
2) What was left of L60-1-01004A (at the time) before it was totally scrapped out (it is donating parts to both the 62 and the 65 restorations, as well as donating a couple parts to this project too)
3) L60-3-00617 (the 65 hardtop that I mentioned earlier, and is also being restored)
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Postby moore_rb » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:11 pm

Annnnnnnd.... The body.

Oy. That's all I can say about that. Bondo, bondo, and more bondo.

I sanded, and re-shaped bondo, then sanded some more, then primed, then sanded some more, and just kept sanding, priming, and sanding. I knew I would never be able to remove all the body filler- the sheetmetal on this one has been beaten against every rock from El Paso to Phoenix over the past 52 years, but I also didn't want to add any MORE bondo, so I concentrated on making it as straight and smooth as possible, using what was there.

Today, there's still a lot of body filler left, but it has straighter lines, smoother curves, and looks better than it did when it was green.

Using my super-cool body cart that I made out of the scrapped frame from 4-L60-02565, I flipped the body over and painted the underside the correct gray for a hardtop

20170819_115234.jpg


and then I flipped it back over and straightened and smoothed all the top and side surfaces, and sealed them up with Epoxy primer:
20180603_101334.jpg

20180603_101405.jpg



And this is where we're at with this project today.... Primed, ready for one more sand, followed by color, followed by body re-joining frame, followed by final re-assembly of all the little stuff.

I haven't decided what to do about a top. This one was a hardtop originally, but I only have one hardtop (the one that came with this truck, but has been donated to L60-3-00617). I still have the Baja rollbar and bumper from when it was lifted, but those might look too beefy, and out of place on a stock-height Patrol.

I also still have a spare factory soft top frame (saved from L60-1-01004A when it was scrapped)

I'll think of something...
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Postby faux40 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:18 pm

That looks fantastic!

Ever thought about making a hard-top top from scratch? Rust is showing through the deep bondo on both my tops...
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Postby moore_rb » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:34 pm

faux40 wrote:That looks fantastic!


Thanks John! With cooler weather around the corner (I hope) I'd really like to have this one painted, and back on the chassis in the next month or 2

faux40 wrote:Ever thought about making a hard-top top from scratch? Rust is showing through the deep bondo on both my tops...




Ummm no, not after reading about the headaches Mike in Colorado (RAWML) faced when he tried to make his own hard top:
viewtopic.php?f=21&t=1856&p=29644
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Postby faux40 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:45 pm

I'd forgotten about that one -- But I was thinking metal. This guy makes it look easy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BFJqVxi7wM

He even teaches classes and is located only a couple hours from me! (someday?)
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Postby zed » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:59 pm

Nice, your absence was noticed, but your return is celebrated!
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Postby Flaggoni » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:41 pm

Welcome back!
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Postby Esteban » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:00 pm

zed wrote:Nice, your absence was noticed, but your return is celebrated!
:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:


Best quote ever!

What a good write-up about the process. Very entertaining read.

Sorry about all the family problems that you have endured. Hope everyone is feeling better.
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Postby RiverPatrol » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:28 pm

Oh good. I figured one of those famous Phoenix dust storms must have buried everything. Good to hear you're still plugging along. Welcome back.
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Postby Coyote Patrol » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:51 pm

Looking good Robert! :D
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Postby L60Boerne » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:04 am

Yes you are a Patrol whisperer for the ages. Brian K has a decent hard top in storage in my barn in Lake City, Co he doesn't need.

If you ask him and he still doesn't need it...it isn't too far from you.

Well done!
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Postby mad4hws » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:31 pm

This thread gives me hope that there is hope for the Minion Missile. Excellent write-up and story.
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