49 GMC Progress Report

Discussion in '1947-1954' started by e015475, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    OK, here's another status update with the obligatory pictures.............

    Welded the seat riser back in to prepare for the foam seat trial fit.
    [​IMG]
    The seat cushion bottom is 6" of hard foam in the front
    [​IMG]

    And 4.5" at the back of the seat
    [​IMG]

    The backrest is 2" thick at the bottom, tapering up to nothing at the top - this is the hard foam, and there's 2" of soft foam that goes over that.
    [​IMG]
    Here's the old guy sitting in his truck. OK, it is true confession time - I'm 6'3" and about 240#. The two extra inches of the softer foam is in the back. The fit was good and there seemed to be plenty of room. My steering wheel is from a '59 Cadillac and is pretty large but belly seems to clear fine.
    [​IMG]
    Arm is ok level with door window. I've seen nicer legs on a turkey!
    [​IMG]

    Gas tank is in - made the straps from scraps and some 18 ga steel sheet
    [​IMG]

    Went to the forklift junkyard and picked up this emergency brake handle that goes over-center to engage the parking brake. Thinking about extending the handle 6" and mounting next to the gear shift knob. It's adjustable by twisting the knob to tighten the cable. Please let this work, as I can't stand to admit defeat and buy a Lokar.
    [​IMG]
    Continuing to metal finish the grill pieces to get ready for the plating shop. I bumped them with a hammer and dolly, filed them with a flat-bastard file, then 180 grit, then 320 grit. I put them on the polisher to make sure I'd gotten all the file marks out and get an idea how they're going to look plated.
    [​IMG]
    Here's the monster polishing lathe at Wyatt's shop. He picked it up cheap when a wheel polishing and repair place in town went out of business. Scares the hell out of me.
    [​IMG]
    The rest of the grill slats waiting for polish
    [​IMG]

    And that's about it for now. Next stop is the plater - and then we wait!
     
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  2. Zig

    Zig Member

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    I absolutely love this thread! (And not because it spotlights a killer GMC) Thank you for sharing all these photos of your build. I have no doubt they are providing ideas/inspiration to many!
     
  3. Zig

    Zig Member

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    Time for an update! Surely you have made some progress in the last month! ?
    Pictures, please.
     
  4. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Sorry Zig, I've been busy, honest.

    Doing the cut and polish work to finish off the paint job is slow, tedious work. The painter says to get the best results, is should be done by hand with a 6" paint stick as a blocking tool, first with 1000 grit, then 2000, then compound, then polish, then glaze, and finally wax. The cab is nearly done, and I'm working on the bed sides now (both inside and outside), but it is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Not many photo ops.

    After a day of color sanding, my right arm feels like it is going to fall off, so I can't keep the pace I'd really like. I keep busy doing the metalwork on the wife's '53 MG TD. Here's a photo of working up a flat spot around the tail light by stretching the metal and doming it up to the proper contour with a hammer and dolly-
    [​IMG]

    Bought a 4 gallon air tank for the GMCs air suspension and mounted it. Made a new battery box - it's pretty stout, but as far as looks go, let's just say I'm glad it is mounted underneath the truck.

    The chrome shop called today and said my grill slats and end pieces are done and I'm taking a field trip tomorrow at lunch to go pick them up. The GMC logo got straightened and plated too.

    Should have some picture fodder soon. I'll put the grill together and install it and shoot some pics this weekend.

    Phil
     
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  5. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Zig

    Here's some GMC love for you................

    Picked up the grill slats and GMC logo and the chrome work looks marvelous. Here's the "GMC" for the front surround (ignore the old grill shell)[​IMG]
    I have to paint the supports for the grill itself before I can put the grill together, but here's the slats and the end caps. Really impressed with the work I got from Diversified Plating in Phoenix. I recommend them highly.
    [​IMG]
    More photos when I get it put back together and hung on the truck.

    Phil
     
  6. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    OK, here's the original painted grill I bought from Mother Trucker and had it plated - here it is assembled and mounted on the truck. Only a couple of bolts attaching it and it needs to be aligned yet.
    [​IMG]

    Another shot. I'm over the moon on the quality chrome plating I got from Diversified Metals - Thank you Pete!
    [​IMG]

    There's only two body parts that are reproductions on this truck - the side aprons between the running boards and the bed, and the inner fenders. Both have been a pain in the a$$. The passenger inner fender has the mount holes for the grill, but the passenger doesn't, so I have to pull the grill off again and drill them, and I hate drilling on freshly painted parts.

    Rant over, but to anybody reading this and contemplating repop body parts, do whatever you have to for obtaining originals if you can.

    Now that the grill is in, the truck is looking a little naked and 'unfinished' underneath the front end. Time to start working on a front bumper and the filler panel. The Chevy front grill has it all over the GMC grill with what can be done to finish the bottom of the grill and not use bumpers. I'm going to fit the irons and a front bumper then see what I can do to fab a filler panel out of some 5051 aluminum using the bead roller.

    Phil
     
  7. Zig

    Zig Member

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    These places are out there. I look forward to the day I can go down and get a couple of rear fenders and a GMC tailgate.

     
  8. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Zig-

    When the weather's nice here, there's no better entertainment value in my book than going to the junkyard to look around. The $2 admission pick-a-part places are fun, and there's a few junkyards in Maricopa that specialize in the old stuff (but they are very pricey) Mother Trucker in Tucson seems to have the 'best of the best' used parts though, and that's where I go for factory parts I want.

    On a completely different topic, I posted this in another forum - how I installed the Autoloc bearclaw latches in my doors. It might be of some interest to those that are gluttons for punishment and don't want to use the Altman latches to keep their doors shut. Here goes-

    This is a picture of the smaller Autoloc bear claw installed in a '49 door. (this was before paint)
    [​IMG]
    Here's the pin on the frame side.
    [​IMG]

    The challenge is to get around the window channel to make the outside door handle operate the bearclaw on the other side of the glass.

    To do this, I took a outside door handle and welded an arm to it - it took a little trial and error to get the arm length just right so it'd fit through the hole in the door.

    From the arm, I ran a rod downward to a bell crank that sits just below the window glass. From the other side of the bell crank I ran another rod up to the bearclaw.


    This is another view of the driver's door. I had to open up the 'window' where the arm from the inside door handle went through the inner door skin.
    [​IMG]
    This is the inner door actuator arm modified to fit the Autoloc bearclaw -(this is one I mocked-up from an original arm but will make it look nicer with a modified repo arm)
    [​IMG]
    Here's the modified outside door handle. I cut off the square drive that went into the factory lock mechanism and added a lever (handle is covered in blue masking tape to keep it from getting scratched up)
    [​IMG]
    The bell crank assembly that mounts below the window glass on the inside of the door
    [​IMG]
    A little more detail on the bell crank assembly
    [​IMG]
    I made the clevises out of some nuts and flat stock laying around, but will use these 10-32 rod ends in the final assembly
    [​IMG]
    Here's a picture showing where the bell crank assembly mounts in the door. The two top holes are from the factory to hold the window channel and the bottom three hold the foot of the bell crank pivot to the door.
    [​IMG]
    All this clap-trap was assembled inside the door when I was getting the truck ready to paint, and it worked very well. As I said, I'm still not certain what to do about the locks, but my thought right now is to make a double bell crank for the passenger side where the door lock tumbler is and make the linkage mechanical and put a solenoid on the driver's side to actuate the lock. That way I'd have both an automatic lock for the driver and a mechanical lock for the passenger - belt and suspenders for a battery going dead.

    I did all this because I didn't like the way the Trique/Altman latch looked like it was 'scabbed' onto the door. $350 for something that ugly rubbed me the wrong way. I spent $60 for Autolocs but imagine I have 20 hours in figuring out the mechanism and another 5-6 hours in shop time at the body shop getting the sheet metal to accept the bearclaw and look decent. (In retrospect, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation by just using the Trique/Altman latch.)

    This approach works for the earlier lever type door handle. There's a design for the push button handle here - installation of bear claw latches in 1953 - The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network. It looks to me that you'd need a bell crank for the lock on the passenger door, or just use solenoids to run the locks.

    Any thoughts or improvement suggestions are welcome.
     
  9. Zig

    Zig Member

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    No suggestions but a whole lotta respect for your talent! Make a kit out of it and sell 'em!
    I'm still looking forward to the finished seat photos!
    Keep the creative stuff rolling!
     
  10. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Still going slow - color sanded a fender this week - pretty exciting, huh?

    Getting to be about the time for the big-ticket items - radiator, glass, rubber, upholstery, A/C, bumpers, wiring harness, gauges, etc. Now that I'm unemployed (well retired, technically) I have to think about these things more carefully. I'm in so deep I can't turn back now, but man is it hard to dip into savings for car projects. Put my sand buggy up for sale last week to free up some cash - have had a few bites, but nothing in the bank yet.

    I've never had much luck selling my ideas or services. A few years ago I was stuffing Buick 215 aluminum V8s into MGBs and I'd machined a Land Rover fuel injection setup (the Limeys bought the Buick V8 design and used it many years after Buick stopped) to fit under the hood of a little-bitty British sports car. A few folks on the MGB forum asked if I'd modify a fuel injection plenum for their cars. What a PITA that was. I wasn't making enough money at it for all the aggravation it caused and I decided then I'd tell anybody anything they wanted to know about my hare-brained ideas and they could try it themselves, but I wasn't going to try and sell them.
     
  11. 50 Chevy LS3

    50 Chevy LS3 Member

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    No big deal, Phil. I understand completely. Having been self employed for a lifetime, you get used to wondering about what to spend and when. If I'm busy working, there is income, and no time. When things get really slow, there is time and zero income. I've always tried to shift a little bit to a "fun fund", while working, and then draw off of that when I'm not. That way I don't feel bad raiding the checking account, when I go to a swap meet. Or, buy paint.
    Steve.
     
  12. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Well, a little progress to report.

    I sold my 4 seat turbo-LS1 sand car and freed up some cash, so I've been on a parts buying binge for the 49

    I took this 2 seat sand car in on a partial trade. Turbo Subaru. Took it to the dunes over Thanksgiving - did ok but only making about 5 psi of boost and should be about 14 psi. Time for a proper waste gate and a spring I can trust to keep the boost in check.
    [​IMG]
    Finally have the color sanding a buffing done on the bed, so starting assembly. Ordered all the stainless fasteners today and the fenders will be on soon. The wife finally put her foot down about the parts in the house over the holidays and the dust tracking in on the floors from the buffing. Looking forward to putting that phase behind me and pushing the car out onto the drive and cleaning the floor in the shop.
    [​IMG]
    Ordered some rebuilt factory GMC gauges from Jim Carter on the Black Friday sale. I can't get a tank sender for my Camaro gas tank that's 30 ohm to drive the gauge correctly so I also ordered an original type sender for the in-cab tank. Going to try and graft the AD truck fuel sender mechanism to the Camaro tank tubes without blowing up the truck or anything catching fire.

    I didn't order and EFI fuel tank and I'm noodling how to keep it from starving the engine with aerated fuel when the tank is low on gas. I'm not a fan of in-tank pumps and already bought a 255LPH Walbro to mount on the frame where I can easily get to it if it goes south. I've built a few tanks for off-road vehicles and have installed a half-gallon 'swirl pot' tank fed by a low-pressure pump from the main tank with a return to keep it 100% full all the time. The high pressure EFI pump sucks from the bottom of the swirl pot. Any suggestions for a non-aerated fuel supply from a non-EFI tank would be welcome.

    Have a new bumper. Glass and gaskets are on order. Newport windshield wiper motor coming, RnD GMC aluminum radiator ordered. Ordered parts to build a 'dummy' original radio to fill the hole in my dash. (one of the kids uses a tablet or a phone to control the stereo system in his car, and I think that's what I'm going to do to - it'd kill me to pay $650 for one of the reworked factory radios with new guts and only AM/FM)

    That's about it for now - this build should start to accelerate soon.

    Happy holidays to all.

    Phil
     
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  13. 50 Chevy LS3

    50 Chevy LS3 Member

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    Looking real good, Phil. I'm interested in how easy you get the glass in...
    Be sure and tape around the window/windshield holes real good. I've never installed glass without slipping some.

    They say the frame mount pumps make noise. I spent a small fortune on a No-limit, baffled, pump already installed, custom aluminum tank. It still hurts a little.

    Where did you get your bumper?

    And, Merry Christmas to you and Yours.

    Steve.
     
  14. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    I have an experienced glass guy lined up if it spins out of control. I want to give it a try myself first. After all this time I've invested in this paint job, I'm going to be super careful and tape liberally as you suggest.

    I bought the gas tank I have now for about $70 just to see if it would fit and I could get the gas filler where I needed it. Now that I own it, I'm compelled to make it work. I'll probably have more in it than if I'd bought a No-Limit tank like you did. It'll be interesting to see how noisy it is. Oh well.

    My local SoCal speed shop sold me the bumper. I thought it was a little pricey at $199, but the counter guy at SoCal say they've been pretty pleased with the 'Counterpart' brand. I cleaned it up and gave it a pretty good look and the quality looked good.

    Regards. Phil
     
  15. 50 Chevy LS3

    50 Chevy LS3 Member

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    I got to thinking about your fuel pump, today, and remembered that I had seen a kit to convert a tank without welding in baffles.
    I finally remembered it was a Aeromotive Phantom, Stealth fuel system.
    Then I just looked it up at Summit. YIKES! $473.77!

    I guess it would qualify for free shipping. And, Ya might get a few Summit Bucks...

    Steve.
     
  16. Zig

    Zig Member

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    You have one slick ride, Phil. You going to drive it when it's done? (I only ask because some members tend to just roll them down the driveway every now and then. #confused# )
     
  17. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Zig

    A year or so ago (or five) I was watching a car show on TV about Boyd Coddington hot rods, and they were interviewing people who owned cars that Boyd had built. I remember seeing something familiar in the footage and came to realize part of it had been filmed across the street with my house in the background. My neighbor has lived across the street from me for twenty years, and I didn't even know he had a hot rod until I saw it on a car show on TV. It was some kind of Woody, but I don't recall the details. I thought 'what a waste - I've never seen him drive and enjoy the car'.

    I really want to drive this truck, and I put off buying another daily driver (my 2003 GMC has over 200K on the clock) thinking I'd be able to drive it in retirement when it really wasn't critical that it was super reliable, and I'd keep the 2003 for towing and driving to the dump. This project has snowballed a little past what I set out to do. I don't take either praise or criticism very well, and to tell you the truth I'm a little spooked about driving it and unwanted attention. I derive 90% of the enjoyment out of building project cars, not driving them, and usually sell them within a year or two after they're done. I'd much rather be up in my own head thinking about the next technical challenge than talking about it (except for the excellent feedback I get from this board, of course). My wife is excited about taking it to shows and Sunday drives, and I'm hoping that help moderate my feelings a little. We always have a good time together at shows and travel. Grandkids want to ride in it too, and that sounds like fun.

    Jeez, I hope I didn't come across as an a$$hole on the topic of driving it, but it kind of touches a nerve. Whether it's criticism or praise, I guess it's time to grow-up and be gracious and friendly.
     
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  18. 50 Chevy LS3

    50 Chevy LS3 Member

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    I've always admired people who are good at what they do, and are humble about it. It doesn't matter what it is.
    I treat praise as encouragement, and criticism as a valuable lesson, IF, the person doing it is skilled.
    Better than criticism, is just offering an opinion on how someone could improve or, possibly a better technique.

    You sound just like my father-in-law, Phil. He has built probably 30, street rods in his life, and sells them all, after about a year. 2 or 3 have been sold and shipped to Europe! Yuck.

    Steve.

    P.S. He's working on a Rambler, now...:rolleyes:
     
  19. Zig

    Zig Member

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    Well, driving it or parking it in a closet doesn't matter to me. What's the most important part is this truck won't rust away sitting in someone's field.
    What I am waiting patiently for is how that bench seat turns out, as well as the rest on the interior!
    I know I am one of many who has loved the photo documentation of your ideas/build!
     
  20. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    OK Zig, here's the plan for the interior................let me know what you think.

    The Cadillac Eldorado steering wheel is going to be painted white - the same color as the top of the truck. Going to wrap the wheel with a leather cover from Wheelskins in a tan leather. I'm going to find a hat pin with the Cadillac logo in it, cast it in resin (like they do with scorpions and tarantulas they sell in tourist trap stores here in Arizona), turn it to diameter on the lathe, polish it and use that as the horn button in the center of the steering wheel.

    For instruments, I'm going to use rebuilt original instruments in the brown/tan GMC colors. (I have a rebuilt cluster from Jim Carter, but waiting on my rebuilt speedometer from them) The seats, steering wheel and carpet will all key to the color of the brown/tan GMC instrument face. (will use the speedometer driver from Speedhut that uses a stepper motor to take the speed signal from the T5 transmission and drives the factory speedometer.) Use an original bakelite black plastic shift knob withe the knurled edges.

    The gas pedal will be an original modified to operate the cable to the LS engine's throttle body. Will use the foot starter to start the engine, but will be hooked up to a momentary electrical switch to actuate the starter. Brake and clutch pedals will appear as original, although I may have to shorten the brake lever about 2" to get my leverage ratio correct for the Hydro Boost brake system. Will try the factory leverage ratio and see how i like it before I start chopping and welding metal.

    I'll modify the T5 shift lever using a tapered shift rod, probably something from a Jeep, so it will look kinda original. The emergency brake will be from a Jaguar XJS and sit flush to the floor next to the shifter.

    The seats are going to be pretty simple. with pleats on the driver's and passenger's seating areas. Not decided on a single or two-color of tan/brown yet, but will soon. (well, the wife will, anyway) Will likely powder coat the original seat frame silver. Carpets will be the 'German loop' style you see in Porsches, in brown and with a seamed edge, maybe contrasting, I don't know yet. Factory cardboard headliner most likely.

    Will install the Old Air AC system that has the vents in the radio grill and use choke and other knobs not needed anymore to control the air conditioning. You won't be able to tell if the truck even has air when you're sitting in the cab.

    The radio will look like an original GMC tube-type push button radio, but that's just for aesthetics - it won't be functional. The radio will be controlled from a tablet or a cell phone which will act at the 'head unit' of the stereo system. Undecided if I will run a five channel amp or a separate amp to drive the mids and tweets and another mono amp for the subwoofer - either way I'll mount them under the seat. Will make a subwoofer enclosure to go in the space where the gas tank used to be. I think a single 10" woofer will be fine for an old coot like me. The tablet and/or phone will also have a bluetooth connection to an ELM device installed on the OBDII connector so I can have a duplicate (and digital) instruments display out of the PCM.

    For the doors, I've kind of changed direction from the aluminum door panels - I think it will make the cab pretty noisy and where your arm rests against the aluminum will look worn in short order. Will likely use a 5052 aluminum panel, but hide the fasteners and upholster with fabric that compliments the seats. For armrests, I plan to use the 55-57 Chevy passenger car's arm rests and cover them to match the seats.

    Back to reality...........

    Put the rear fenders on with fender welt this afternoon

    [​IMG]

    Was able to find some vinyl that was a pretty good match for the paint at a local fabric store

    Here's a shot from the front...........the airbags are fully inflated here so I can crawl under the truck to tighten the fender bolts. Still need to adjust the hood as it drags a bit on the cowl still.
    [​IMG]

    Another shot. Will push it out onto the driveway tomorrow and air it down so it looks a little better and take some more pictures
    [​IMG]

    Here's a closeup of the welting. Color is pretty close, huh?
    [​IMG]

    Until next time.

    Phil
     

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