Nicholas Fluhart

April 7, 2013

Project Loadstar: The Purchase

Filed under: Project: Loadstar,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 7:33 pm

So I ran across a deal on an old dump truck. It’s a 1966 International (IH) Loadstar 1600. I was purchasing a Mack winch truck, and really had no interest in this Loadstar, but they made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. Now, after looking at this old, abused, neglected truck, the question for most people would be “to scrap or not to scrap”. By the way, this truck actually runs, so it would have been easy to drive it across the scales, put a few hundred bucks in my pocket, and call it a done deal. However, if you’ve ever read any of my posts you would probably realize that scrapping old trucks and equipment is a sin. I won’t get into that now, you know, the whole thing about crushing these old classic machines and sending them to China to be returned as cheap tools, but suffice it to say that scrap was not on my mind when I bought this truck. In fact, lots of things were on my mind: using it for a yard truck, or perhaps to haul an occasional load of who knows what, or maybe even putting a halfway decent paint job on it as to not look like the Beverly Hillbillies when I drive it down the road. Whatever I may have been thinking, I was NOT thinking of doing all the things I actually did to this truck…things you will be seeing in upcoming posts. I had no special spot in my heart for Loadstars. In fact, I thought they were kind of ugly. My, how things change. The Loadstar saga begins here.

As I Found Her

This old truck has had a hard life. It was purchased new in 1966 by the City of Magnolia, AR street department. It faithfully fulfilled it’s duties hauling asphalt there for a number of years on the “Pothole Patrol” before being purchased by a Magnolia trucking contractor which used it to haul gravel and such. Once they used it up, an El Dorado based oil field drilling/production company bought it, and this is where it saw the toughest work, and subsequent abuse, it ever encountered. While most trucks enter into an easy retirement of occasional use on a farm or something, this elderly rig was put through the paces on the rough oil field roads of southern Arkansas hauling an oily sand mixture to be spread on said roads. The truck was sidelined from business use in 2005. It was then only used by the oil company to occasionally haul a load of scrap iron. When I found it in May of 2010, it had been sitting in the spot you see pictured for at least two years without being run during that time. It had a flat tire, collapsed leaf springs, no brake pedal pressure, missing glass, severe rust…you name it. With the missing driver window and rolled down passenger window (probably for 10 years) it had rained in the truck and rusted up most of the controls and knobs as well as rusted holes in the floor big enough to operate the truck Flintstone style. Nevertheless, I bought it, so now I have to do something with it. It’s one of those “ran when parked” trucks so I figured I could get it running and drive it up on a trailer or maybe even drive it home if I were brave enough.

The first order of business was to see if she would crank. Believe it or not, with a hot battery and some gas, the old girl fired right up. The engine ran smooth and was actually quiet, however it did smoke. Before I could test drive it, I had to get the tires up on it, or see if they would even hold air, so my buddy came out with his F-600 4×4 which has on-board air.

Backing up to the Truck

We aired up the tires and they held. Amazing.

Airing up Front Tire

Next I checked the vitals to see if she would make a test run down one of the oil field roads. While the clutch seemed to work good, the brakes where nowhere to be found. I’d have to go slow, gear down, and use the emergency brake. I also checked to see if the dump bed would operate. The PTO did engage, but the dump wouldn’t work. Oh well, I’ll take a closer look at that later.

Pre Trip

Well, the short of it is that the truck drove as good as could be expected, considering. Some positive things: the transmission worked good. The engine seemed to have enough power. I couldn’t test the 2-speed rear because the switch was corroded and stuck in low range. Anyway, I figured she was good enough to drive home. One of the guys that worked for me was a former truck driver, so he volunteered to drive it back to the Omni Complex. It was a least 8 miles, and then partially through town mind you, but he made it back. I stayed right on his tail in my truck, kind of like a smokey and the bandit thing, in case we encountered opposition to our “you-risk-it of Omaha” insurance policy. I was certainly tired of breathing the fumes from that old beater; however, it all went smooth. Made it home.

Made it Home

Next time we’ll go over the truck more closely and I’ll decide what to do with this old rig. Until then…

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