55-57 1/2 ton front axle - FREE

Discussion in 'Truck Parts for Sale' started by fab51, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. fab51

    fab51 Member

    Jan 1, 2000
    Central Missouri
    I have a front axle for a 55-57 1/2 ton available. It includes the shock mounts. Free for the taking, just come pick it up in Rolla, MO.

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  2. elimark1

    elimark1 Member

    Mar 24, 2021
    The first Chevy pickups debuted the same year Chevrolet became part of General Motors: 1918. A specific one-ton application, based on a beefed-up passenger car frame, was introduced the same year. It was a chassis and cowl only; the owner was expected to provide a cab and body. Chevrolet's first truck with a cab and bed selection was offered in 1927; the truck cost $495, and the cab was a $115 option. The 3100 name arrived in 1946 on what was formerly the BK series; the BL-series trucks were renamed 3600, and the one-ton models absent immediately preceding the war were named 3800. The 3000-series names ended in 1959.

    There were actually two different Chevy pickups in 1955, known colloquially as First Series and Second Series. The First Series pickups were carryover 1954s; The base six carried over from the previous season, but even that had been substantially revised in 1954 with a new head, pistons and rods, bearings, and a more rigid crank; it was still based on the "cast-iron wonder" of 1929 that made Chevy a serious competitor in trucks. A re-engineered three-speed manual transmission and an open driveshaft were improvements on First Series '55s that carried over to the Second Series.

    The Second Series 1955 was as new a truck as GM had ever put out: GM had a number of firsts on the '55 truck line beyond the new body and chassis. The base six-cylinder was the same, but Chevy's all-new 265-cu.in. V-8, shared with the all-new passenger cars, was the one that got everyone's tongues wagging. A 12-volt electrical system, available overdrive in half-tons, and power steering were all firsts for GM in light trucks this season. (The Warner Overdrive employed was essentially a two-speed planetary gearset mounted in the tailshaft of the trans; the rear-end gear ratio was 4.11 versus the regular half-ton's 3.90.)

    Other style points went to the first wrap-around windshield in trucks (called "Sweep-Sight"), the egg-crate grille styling shared with '55 Chevy passenger cars, running boards concealed behind the cab doors, as well as a choice of small or expansive wrap-around rear glass. With the Cameo, GM (and its ascendant design star, Chuck Jordan) also single-handedly created the fleetside pickup bed, adding a dash of style to the workaday truck line; thanks to its low production numbers, those smooth bed sides were made of fiberglass rather than steel.

    Precious few changes were made in 1956: The most substantial of these were that the fender emblems were moved from below the horizontal body crease to atop it, and the crest at the front of the hood was altered.

    For 1957, a number of visual changes were made: The former egg-crate grille was changed to a more open-mouthed design, with eight bars holding an open trapezoid in the center, and a pair of windsplits appeared on the hood. Dished steering wheel, safety door locks and strikers, and a more rigidly mounted rear axle (using threaded spring shackles instead of the center-draw-bolt type used previously) were among the other improvements. The V-8 models grew to 283 cubic inches, 160hp and 270 foot-pounds of torque.

    There were more substantial changes, though: For the growing 4x4 market, GM introduced an optional four-wheel-drive system (made by NAPCO of Minneapolis, Minnesota). It utilized a four-speed transmission and two-speed transfer case, with the driver choosing between direct-drive or a 1.87:1 underdrive; in effect, eight forward and two reverse speeds were available. The solid front axle was similar to the one in the rear, also hung from the leaf-spring suspension. Four-wheel-drive was available in half-ton, 3/4-ton and one-ton variants.

    A more radical sheetmetal change, including a switch to quad headlamps, came for 1958; the last of the Task-Force trucks rolled off the line in the summer of 1959.

    Pricing started at $1,430 for a half-ton shortbed in 1955, clear up to a $2,023 one-ton 3800. By 1957, when our featured vehicle was built, a similar half-ton shortbed 3100 was $1,800--a 26 percent price increase in just two years. Beyond the V-8, mechanical options included power steering, power brakes, and a choice of three-speed synchromesh (with or without overdrive), a four-speed synchromesh and a four-speed automatic transmission. A side-mounted spare was also on the options list.

    Today, with their highly styled shapes and small-block-Chevy interchangeability, the 3100-series pickups' popularity is such that, much like any number of Mustangs or muscle cars, you can almost build virtually an entire truck out of a catalog if you so choose. Save for the engine, exhaust, and a few bits and baubles here and there, nearly everything is reproduced for the pickups--from the biggest steel hood and fender components down to the most insignificant gasket. Move into the panel bodies and the 1958-'59 models with the quad headlamp noses, though, and things start getting trickier.

    Beyond this, it's not easy finding one that's restored correctly. So many were built over the years, so many running improvements were made, and so many were kept alive for so long on the strength of boneyard finds, that a '57 truck could be wearing a '55 grille and have '59 mechanical bits under it. Additionally, these are a favorite with the hot-rodding crowd, where originality means far less than sheer cool. As always, caveat emptor.

    We talked with Bryant Stewart of Erving, Massachusetts, founder of the North East Chevy GMC Truck Club, a former editor of Pickups and Panels in Print, and the owner of a 1958 Chevy panel truck, to see what particular bugaboos plague this generation of Chevy. "It's getting difficult to find good ones out there...very difficult and very expensive. Cameos are hottest, of course--any fleetside is. Stepsides are a dime-a-dozen." Yet his club has hosted an annual show for the past 25 years, and he surmises that '57s are the most popular of all years. The '65 and '72 editions run close behind, but Stewart suspects it's the one-year grille that makes the '57 so popular.

    "The main thing is the sheetmetal," Stewart suggests. "Look at the steps, and look at the lower door hinge post. Those are always the first to go. If they're in shape, you have a decent truck. Check the fenders closely too...there's a rib behind the front fenders that collects junk, and above the headlamp bezels there's a shelf that likes to collect mud, too. Check the cab corners, of course. If you have those, you have a good, solid truck."

    As for other mechanical issues.... "The three-speed transmissions were kinda faulty...the synchronizers were bad. I've driven my truck 397,000 miles and had six transmissions in it--but I never touched the rear end. Kingpins tend to freeze up if you don't keep 'em lubed, but that's true of all vehicles back then. Engines didn't have oil filters, they were an option, and canister-type filters--not the greatest. Oiling in the early trucks was not good.

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