These photos were taken from Kevin's build thread on our message board. They were made with a cell phone camera so the image quality isn't particularly good. But the project was interesting enough that we've decided to use them anyway.
Kevin's International Traveler began life with a diesel engine, the Nissan SD33 inline six (non-turbo) rated at 90hp. These motors were available from 1976-79. When it was officially diagnosed as pooched, Kevin set his sights on a 5.9L Cummins diesel as the Nissan's successor. The Cummins would drive an NV4500 5-spd manual transmission, an NP205 transfer case, and a front Dana 60 and rear Dana 70. Putting all those components together would be the fun part. The not so fun part would be doing a ton of rust repair on the 30 year old IH body.
How it began.
To simplify the project and ensure a strong platform for the heavy and torquey Cummins, the project used the donor Dodge truck's frame which was shortened to fit the IH's body. By using the Dodge frame, Kevin would also get more space between the frame rails for the Dodge fuel tank, a spare tire, bigger steering box, and spring mounts already in place for the full size axles.
Plagued with rust.
Lifting the one piece of the original Traveler that will be re-used.
The old Traveler chassis, along with its Nissan SD33 diesel.
Some of the donor parts: Cummins 5.9L, Dodge frame, Dana 60 axle.
To accomodate the larger motor, the Traveler's firewall didn't need to be modified, but the rad support section needed to be cut to fit the intercooler and radiator. That amount of sheet metal fabrication was nothing, of course, when compared to the amount of sheet metal work required to excise all the rust that had been eating away at the truck for the past 30 years. While he was at it, Kevin also sand blasted the engine compartment prior to giving it some fresh paint. The body work took a considerable amount of time. Not surprising, since it is not something Kevin had much experience with. To us, it looks like it did a great job. Once all the rust was removed and the sheet metal patched, the interior of the Traveler was sprayed with a tinted liner.
To fit within the confines of the IH skin, the Cummins had to be relocated further rearward. As well, the frame had to be shortened to fit the body, too. Body mounts had to be fabricated for the frame, with the end result looking like it has a body lift. Not what he was going for, but there's only so much you can do when you're hammering two different vehicles together.
The engine bay.
Floor board rust repair.
More rust repair.
More rust surgery. Body is sitting on Dodge frame.
Rear fender rebuilt
Front fender almost ready for paint.
Interior sheet metal repaired and ready for spraying.
Interior after it was sprayed with bed liner.
The Dodge frame, shortened and awaiting body mounts.
Positioning the engine/xfer case/tranny.
Electrical issues were a bit finicky. He mostly used the IH wiring, and soldered the Dodge wires to it whenever required. With some things, like the regulator, it was simpler to switch to the Dodge components. Other wiring additions included the pyrometer, boost gauge, water temp gauges and accessory switches.
The shifter holes had to be moved so while he was at it, Kevin added some cupholders, thereby bringing the Traveler up to minimum modern 4x4 standards. Diesel-centric gauges were added, as well as lots of switches.
Ready for paint.
The rust in the bed's side walls was removed and is now ready for painting.
Not bad for an amateur's paint job!
A snug, tidy fit.
Engine and transmission/transfer case installed.
Mostly done. Body on frame, engine, tranny, transfer case, and axles installed. As you can see, it does have a bit of a body lift look.
Front bumper and winch on, rock sliders built.
The Traveler doing what it was built for: back country camping and travelling. Durability and reliability will not be a problem, considering how beefy the drivetrain is, especially for this kind of work.
What I like about this build is that Kevin built a vehicle to serve a particular function and didn't get side tracked with all sorts of extras. He wanted a reliable 4x4 he could use for backroads travelling and camping. The International Harvester Traveler has plenty of room and a comfortable wheelbase, so it was a great starting point. The mighty Cummins, NV4500, NP205, Dana axles (filled with lockers) provided the reliability and necesary traction improvements. This wasn't supposed to be a rock crawler so there's no need for alloy shafts, super soft suspension, or anything else. And by sticking with the Dodge frame, he was assured of having a frame that could handle the torque and weight of that very beefy drivetrain. This is a great example of a practical and sharply focused build-up.
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