Early this spring Steve asked me to create 3 mid roof IH 9900 cabs for him. Honestly I was a bit gun shy of this project as I was pretty full. The project sounded interesting as I had yet to do anything with that brand and style of cab so….GAME ON.
The base cab I started with was a yellow Liberty Classics IH 9900. The cab is a pretty cool. The hood opens, loads of detail, pretty darn nice. The front wheels do not steer and the fifth wheel plate does not match up to the cool DCP brand trailers that are very popular right now. Plus these is only a stand up sleeper cab made and Steve was eager to put the nicer trailers on mid roof trucks tricked out in gloss black.
Here is the short version of what was accomplished; get 3 Liberty Classics 9900s, disassemble them, chop them, paint them in gloss black, mount them to a DCP frame and add bling.
Step 1. The factory 9900s disassemble pretty easy. The hood pin seemed to be the most vexing part. Other than that the rest came apart with screws. The plastic parts were all attached like DCP brand trucks with melted plastic behind the pieces. Only a couple hand grabs were broken in the whole process which is remarkable.
Step 2. Once disassembled, the top of the cab was cut off with a band saw and trued up with a disk sander similar to this tutorial on the T600. Watch that video in this blog. There were two lines that were not difficult to match up at the front corners of the sleeper but did need special attention to blend correctly. Three applications of body paste were needed to get it right. The hood needed surgery to fit the new frame. Diecast behind the fenders needed to be ground out and curved to straddle the new frame. See the video I mentioned above, the process is a similar.
Step 3. After all sanding was completed four coats of Dupli Color gloss black were applied along with 3 coats of clear.
Step 4. While the paint dried the new DCP frame was prepped. IH Prostars were chosen because….they are inexpensive and very nice for builds. All the parts were stripped off the frame except the front and rear mudflaps. The tires were swapped out for 10 hole chromes. The trickiest part of the build was about to begin. Steve asked that the hood open. I was not real sure about this as one hole out of alignment and it would not close correctly on the firewall of the cab.
Step 5. I used a 3/64 bit to drill a pilot hole at a place I could find to mount the hood over the tires. I dry fit several times to find a good spot to drill and did a bit of guestimating. I drilled on both sides versus straight through as I did not know what pieces diecast might exist that would send the bit off course. When both holes were drilled I used a 1/16 bit to go all the way through and ensure a straight hole for the hood pin.
Step 6. The hood was pinned temporarily with a 1/16th brass rod while the cab was fit to the hood. The cab was reassembled with the interior and windshield. Pieces of scrap styrene were used to level the cab. When the hood lines and cab matched (and the hood would open and close) I glued the cab in place.
Step 7. The hood pin was cut to the proper length and a touch of glue was used to hold it in place. Accessories were added including the original had grabs, mirrors, air horns, grill etc. A Texas bumper and drop visor was added and 10″ stove pipes to give a very custom look.
Overall the cabs turned out nice. Is it worth the extra work to make the hood open and have steering tires? That depends on the level of detail desired and the purpose of the cab. To make this build easier a DCP 5th wheel plate could be glued over the existing plate on the factory frame to be able to pull nicer trailers. That would speed up the building time and reduce the overall work.
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