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charliebob 12-12-2014 11:51 AM

1956 Dodge Truck Build with OM617
Some of you Benz diesel fanatics may be interested in my 1956 Dodge truck build … with OM617. It won’t be awesomely cool like T. Walgamuth’s 1939 Studebaker truck, but it should do as a shop truck.


Custom build frame with Jaguar suspension.

I’m leaving the Dodge sheet metal in original patina, except for use of CLR on it. Current plan is to use the stock Mercedes instrument panel, inset in the Dodge dash. I may also convert it to a dash shifter for the AT. There were a couple of years (early 1960s) when Dodge trucks with AT had a dash shifter.

For now, the engine will remain stock, although I would like to replace it with an OM606 turbo some day.


mach4 12-12-2014 12:07 PM

Very nice!

Now get that engine cleaned up like the frame :D

vstech 12-12-2014 12:21 PM


Originally Posted by mach4 (Post 3418605)
Very nice!

Now get that engine cleaned up like the frame :D


wow, with that beauty, I'd want a pristine powerplant in it!

interzonearts 12-12-2014 12:43 PM

I didn't come to my favor forum to be called a fanatic. These are really great engines you know :D

Nice build.

JB3 12-12-2014 01:07 PM

charliebob = new hero.

I hope you intend to continue to use the old dodge steel rims? to me the old trucks just don't look right with newer wheels on them, but of course its a personal decision

t walgamuth 12-12-2014 01:57 PM

Hey that's how I started out too wanting to use the patinaed original semi-rusty body, then it got into so much repair that it just wasn't that much to go ahead and paint it.

Yours looks better than mine did to start with too so more power to you! Your frame looks nothing short of awesome! That's not stock!

Great project!

(my stock wheels were too rusty to use, the center was very soft after the rust did its work, but I am sympathetic to the idea of using simple old school wheels and dog dish caps!)

Dan Stokes 12-12-2014 02:21 PM

Sweet old truck! The 617 should work well as a DD though stock it's not a ball of fire. I'm hoping mine makes more poop with the mods I've done.

NOT a fan of patina but to each his own. Mine is far from perfect (I keep finding small dents I missed) but will look pretty good going down the track. You really CAN do a decent OEM quality paint job in your home shop, and why does it need to be better than that?


OM617YOTA 12-12-2014 02:24 PM

Sweet truck! Looking forward to hearing how it drives.

sleepstar 12-12-2014 02:37 PM

i'd definitely detail that engine before you bolt it in

BillGrissom 12-12-2014 02:53 PM


Originally Posted by charliebob (Post 3418600)
... I may also convert it to a dash shifter for the AT. There were a couple of years (early 1960s) when Dodge trucks with AT had a dash shifter.

Do you mean the push-button shifter like in my 64 Valiant? Imperial Services sells a kit to convert the cable-shifter to actuate a later TorqueFlite lever shift, but pricey ($180). Looks like could fab anything yourself, so maybe use if for ideas. The M-B shifter is a lever, but rotates about a horizontal axis (Mopar's about vertical axis). At least both are on the driver's side, so the cable should reach.

Amazing work, especially the custom frame. The front strut suspension also looks non-Dodge truck. I am guessing you like the show WelderUp on Velocity where they do rat rods and monster diesels.

t walgamuth 12-12-2014 03:20 PM

What you hiding in the back for a rear end? I've been dreaming about putting in a IRS in mine. How's that? ...wanting to modify it before I get it done!;)

junqueyardjim 12-12-2014 03:31 PM

Have you considered going with a four speed manual? That would be more in keeping with a 56 Dodge truck. If you need transmission and clutch pieces, I could tell you where to find them. I think it is going to be a beautiful unit when done.

ROLLGUY 12-12-2014 05:13 PM

That frame is awesome! I like the patina of the old factory paint. These builds are exciting to watch and be a part of, even if only in cyberspace. Keep up the good work and please continue to post photos.......Rich

charliebob 12-12-2014 06:17 PM

Thanks for the compliments--they help to keep me motivated!

FWIW, here are my reactions to issues raised:

Wheels. I also prefer steel with dog dish hubcaps. Or flippers on a farm truck!! But I have not found any suitable. The problem is that most modern suspensions have high offset, with 5-6" backspace. This is needed for proper front suspension geometry and handling. Also, many of the old wheels won't clear big disc brakes. So, my options are very limited, especially with the Jag suspension.

Shiny frame, dirty engine: Guilty!! I plan to clean it up before installing all of the front sheet metal. Stay tuned!

Patina: I'm not a fan of rat rods, but I kinda like the patina on this old truck and, having grown up on a farm, love the "Twelve Oak Farms" on the doors. Eventually, I may make it shiny, but I plan to keep the patina for now.

Tranny: I'm keeping the "lazy man shifter" for now, mostly because I often drive in Atlanta stop and go traffic. Have thought a lot about adapting a Chevy 700R4 or 4R200 trans to get overdrive. We'll see.

Thanks again for compliments and for suggestions.

Junkman 12-12-2014 06:26 PM

I like it but also would like a Cummins. They just belong in a truck. x3 on cleaning the engine. I would also take it down to the long block and install new gaskets and seals every where I could while it is out.

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