Building a clone of grandpa's service truck

Discussion in '1947-1954' started by SinclairChevy, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    Nice !

    A very nice working environment there you have .

    THANK YOU for sharing the pix ! .
     
  2. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    I put in a 13 hour day yesterday working on tearing down the blue truck (body donor). Jim gave me a hand when he was done working his fender magic about mid-afternoon. Thanks again, Jim! Here's a list of things that were accomplished:

    1. Fuel tank is removed.
    2. Seat is removed.
    3. Sun visors, headliner & all retaining strips, and dome light are removed.
    4. Interior windshield trim, rear view mirror, and exterior windshield center strip are removed.
    5. Glove box, defrost vents, heater, center speaker grille, gauges, all switches, and wiper motor are removed.
    6. Steering wheel is removed, steering column (and box) is loose but has to remain where it is until the inner fender on the driver's side is removed.
    7. Door handles, window cranks, door panels, door controls, and lower access panels are removed.
    8. The front bumper, splash panel, grille, hood latch panel, and headlight assemblies are removed.
    9. Fender braces, majority of the inner-to-outer fender bolts, horn, voltage regulator, fuse panel, and both the top center and driver's side cowl vents are removed.
    10. Probably more that I'm forgetting...

    I still need to remove:

    1. The gas, brake and clutch pedals.
    2. The inner fenders, outer fenders, and steering column (already unbolted).
    3. The radiator support and lower grille support.
    4. The cab mounts (but I'll probably wait to do this after the cab body work is done).
    5. The door windows, regulators, etc. and the windshield with exterior trim.
    6. And probably more that I'm forgetting...

    Pictures will be forth-coming when I get the chance!

    Damon
     
  3. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Here are some photos from yesterday’s work.

    First up… three pictures of what I started with. When I bought the truck last summer, it was complete except for an engine and transmission. Everything else (as far as I can tell) is there: trim, sun visors, retaining strips, etc. I think I was pretty lucky to find this truck. When I started yesterday, only the rear bumper and bed had been removed, so there was a lot of work to do to get the remainder of the truck broken down and ready for body work.

    The first picture is a general view from the passenger side of the truck.

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    The second picture is a close up of the typical passenger side toe-kick panel/floor board rust that seems to plague most of these trucks.

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    The third photo is of the headliner. As you can see, all of the headliner retaining strips and hardware are present, as are both sun visors and the done light. This truck also has a rear view mirror, which I believe was an option back then.

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    The fourth picture is the seat out of the truck. It has been recovered at some point, as in pretty darn good shape. I’m planning on going with something a bit newer, so if anyone knows of someone wanting an original seat in good shape, let them know I have one available. I was wondering if anyone could tell me if the tire irons shown were original equipment? They were under the seat. There was also a spare engine belt tucked into the driver’s side cab corner… score!

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    I’m also planning on moving the fuel tank out of the cab and into the stock location for the ’47-’48 AD trucks. The tank in this pick-up is in great shape, a little surface rust here and there, but overall it’s solid. I’d also make it available to someone if they wanted it. Here are some photos:

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    Here are before and after shots of the cab ceiling after the headliner was removed. The first shot shows the massive mouse nest that was located on the passenger side of the truck towards the windshield. I don’t think I got a picture of it yesterday, but there’s a tiny spot of rust-through where the A-post and roof meet on the exterior of the passenger side… I’m sure it was caused by this mouse nest collecting moisture.

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    Next is a shot of the engine bay. I had already removed the voltage regulator. Everything was intact here, minus the engine itself. All of the factory wiring was in place, but it was shot. Even the sending units from the dash gauges were still hanging out in the open.

    [​IMG]

    To be continued...

    Damon
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  4. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Continued...

    I was hoping you folks could give me some input on heaters. The one from this truck, I believe, is the deluxe model. It’s in great condition, as you can see. I’d like to hear some input on which heater you feel is better, and why. The half-ton (red) truck I bought has the fresh air heater in it. I’d like to know which one I should keep to use, and which one to sell. The cores for the recirculating air heaters are REALLY expensive, but I don’t know if the fresh air heaters heat as well as the recirculating heaters. Thoughts?

    [​IMG]

    The next three pictures show the truck as it sits right now - minus all of the stuff listed in the previous post. There’s still a ways to go, but I think I made pretty good headway in getting the truck ready for body work.

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    Speaking of body work… that brings us to the last two pictures. The first picture is the passenger side door. As you can see (hopefully), the door was banged into fairly hard at some point. The handle rubs the exterior door skin when it’s operated. There’s a significant dent in the area of the handle as well. My question to those with the experience is: should I repair this door, or replace it? I have a spare set of doors in decent condition. My understanding is, however, that the cab doors were fit on a case by case basis with the cabs. In other words, the best fitting doors were put on each cab from a selection of doors. Thoughts?

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    The last photo is of the driver’s side cowl vent. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a clear shot of what I was wanting to show you (it was a long day and I was whooped). There’s a pretty good crease in the cowl below the vent. I believe it occurred when someone opened the driver’s door too forcefully. I’ve seen patch panels for this, but none include the cowl vent. Body guys… is this type of area too difficult to repair without a patch panel? I’m going to have a couple of local trustworthy body repair guys take a look at it and give me some feedback, I just wanted to throw the question out here as well. I will follow up later this week with better photos of what I’m trying to describe.

    [​IMG]

    That’s all for now. I’m planning on finishing the tear down tomorrow and/or Friday. More photos of that work will follow when the work is complete. Thanks for staying tuned in!

    Damon
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  5. federale

    federale Member

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    Re:

    Damon, we all appreciate the attention to detail on your build. You and ole chebby have helped some of the future members in a big way. Personally I'd go with the recirculating heater. It doesn't take a lot to keep the inside air warm rather than sucking in cold outside air. You'll see the dents in the cowl a lot. Most were caused by backing up with the door open and banging into the garage or barn door frame. I haven't had to repair this type of damage myself, so no help.
     
  6. Elky67

    Elky67 Member

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    Original Parts

    Damon,

    that´s funny, your mice and mine must have been relatives, they´ve made the same nest in my truck on the same spot, using stuff, they ripped out off the seat:D

    For the door etc., i´ve done quit a bit of body work so far, i´d say, keep as many parts stock to your truck as possible, as the fitment seems to be a bit poor. Even trying to align a door, which formally has been in your cab, is pretty difficult, as there´s not much play or travel space...
    A good body man should be able, to get this dent out, though the pillar could be a bit tougher, as it is more rigid in this area.

    Looking very good so far, it´s always nice, to see someone else´s pictures and the way, they approach their tasks.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Blueflame236

    Blueflame236 Member

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    Endjoying your enthousiasm and spirit !

    You have the best environment to get the work done , tools and space. To get help and asking friends to assist makes it even more friendly to do all that crappy work in the beginnng (rusty and dirty tasks are waiting) :) When starting rebuilding the truck things get more intresting and plessant. But you have done an amazing work allready. I am not shore about the heater . I restored the Harrison heater wich works fine in both ways , supplying anough fresh air and heating when needed.
    Asked my son whom is a carpainter and bodyworker about the dent in your left door. He mentioned that its best to have the door lifted of the hinges , stabelize it and work from the inside towards the outside with your tools (hammer and backstop) . The metal is stressed there so be carefull not to punch holes in it with sharp tools. If you have a spare thats fits well and is`nt damaged you can ofcourse go for the "easy way" .

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. Keep up the good work. Martinius.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  8. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    NICE Truck !

    And , it looks to be a good shape and a good start you have made .

    The door fitment on AD's was notoriously poor when new so I'd test fit the spare door and if it fits better , use it , otherwise , fix the current one and have some bragging rights about being all original ! .

    I always prefer fresh air heating , once you buy the new core , it's done , forget about it and enjoy it .

    The amount of heat you get , depends on running the correct , 180° thermostat .

    Mice ! ugh .
     
  9. Kens 50 PU

    Kens 50 PU Member

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    Damon, looks like you're heating up!

    Looking good Damon. Brings back memories and nightmares for me.:D

    Speaking of heaters, Chevy had 2 types of heaters that they sold as options. The standard recirculating heater (first pic) and the deluxe fresh air heaters (second pic). Here's pics of both.

    50_chevy_pu_014.jpg

    heater19lg.jpg

    My personal preference is the recirculating one. It is a lot easier to install and will definitely keep you warm. The fresh air heater requires a Ranco valve (can be problematic) and a cable to operate when switching from heater to defroster.

    The heater you show in your pics is a standard recirculating heater and looks really good for its age.

    Here's a couple fun links that might come in handy. The first is an excellent "how to" showing a deluxe model being restored. The second link is an online copy of the 1951 Accessories Manual for cars and truck that gives instructions on how to install both kinds of heaters.

    http://speedprint.com/deves50/heaterrestore.php

    http://chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com/accessories/1951am/index.htm

    Keep the pics coming in.

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  10. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Thanks for the comments, guys!

    Thank you also for your input on heaters. My half-ton cab still has the deluxe fresh-air heater in it, so I have two to choose from... I just gotta pick one and go with it.

    Now for the short update. Jim and I put in a pretty good day's work today, though it wasn't the marathon like last Tuesday. Jim had some stuff to take care of in the morning, so I was able to remove the lower grille support, gas, brake and clutch pedals, the remaining wiring, and most of the fender bolts before he came out to the shop. When he showed up, I finished up removing the last of the fender bolts and he helped me remove them. I then took the steering box and column off, and we accomplished what I was wanting to achieve... getting the truck stripped down to just the cab on the frame! I was also able to remove the rest of the small stuff (radio delete panel, windshield wiper transmission rods and bezels, side view mirror, and door weather stripping sill plates) from the cab itself. Here are some photos of the progress. As you can see, I have some patching to do on the cab, but that's to be expected.

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    It appears the first order of business is going to be replacing both of the front cab supports that are welded to the cab floor. The passenger side of the cab floor and support had rusted through and given way, causing the cab to 'sink' on that side. At some point, a board was placed in front of the battery tray to help hold up that side of the cab. Also gonna need to get the cab sand blasted. Kinda hate to think of what that's gonna cost, but I wanna do this job right the first time. I'm also planning on closing up most of the holes in the firewall, keeping only the bare necessities. I may even move components around to try to dress it up a little.

    That's all for now. The plan is work on the truck again tomorrow. Hoping to get the cab doors disassembled as well as removed from the cab.

    Damon
     
  11. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    Progress !

    Looking good there , that cab looks nice in spite if the rust issues .

    Is that Mariner Blue ? .
     
  12. Blueflame236

    Blueflame236 Member

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    Sandblasting the cabin ?

    Remember to use low pressure when sandblasting this soft rusty metal. It might cause that the metal streches when blasting with to much pressure. If posseble you could use fine sand or chalk blast wich is even better. Frame sand blasting is no problem as the metal is much thicker normally. Maybe dipping the cab and your other parts in a catalytic bath would be posseble instead and gives a very good result. This method is well aproved. Maybe the costs are higher but all all the old paint and rust comes very easely of. 2 component Acid grey surface paint is nice to use after your parts are cleaned.

    Just a thought !
     
  13. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Thanks, guys!

    Another update: the cab is now completely stripped, except for the glass and the two front cab mount bolts. I will wait to remove the glass until I'm ready to sandblast the cab. The front cab mount bolts will come out after I've rebuilt the rear cab mounts and secured the cab to the chassis. The rear cab mounts have been removed already. I got a cab mount rebuilding kit for Christmas (thanks again Jim & Vicki), so all I need to do is sandblast the hard parts of the cab mounts and paint them, then I can install new rubber and hardware and I'll be good to go.

    Removing the door guts and goodies went pretty well, there were only a few stubborn fasteners that gave me trouble. But everything is removed, so that's all that matters. Removing the doors went as planned, too... but I found a speedbump that will slow me down a little. When the driver's door was opened too hard and creased the cowl, the door must have refused to open and close as it should after that... as someone made a relief cut in the front door sill side sheet metal so the door would flex a little. What a nightmare. Also discovered: both driver's side door hinges are damaged beyond use. Fortunately, I have a spare cab with doors still attached... so hopefully the driver's door and its hinges will work for me. Please cross your fingers!

    Here are some photos of yesterday's work. First up are driver and passenger side views of the cab as it sits now, stripped nekkid!

    [​IMG]

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    Here's a shot of the brilliant 'door relief' body work.

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    Here's what the passenger side door looks like. Not too bad at all on the inside. Still a bit concerned about the damage to the outer skin in the area of the door handle though. Hopefully it's repairable.

    [​IMG]

    Another opinion question: I'd really like to have a sharp looking grille on my truck, even though it will have the big push bumper in front of it. Is it possible to fix small dings in chrome-plated steel without needing to have it re-plated after the repairs? The grille I'm starting with is an original, and it's in fantastic condition. There are a few small dents in the chrome, which I'd like to fix before I use the grille. I also plan on disassembling it and repainting the splash panels as well. Here are a couple pictures of the grille. Let me know what you think.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the encouragement, it means more than you could realize.

    Damon
     
  14. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    ! Stop !

    That original grille is stainless steel not chrome and yes , they're VERY repairable but BEWARE ! each part is different and the bars each have notches in the back so you can pay close attention to how it comes apart , else you'll never get it re assembled . I know someone wrote a detailed post about this years ago .

    IIRC , you use rounded end wooden dowels to bump out stainless steel dents , read up on it and beware the sites what tell you to sand the beejeebers out of it to remove scratches ~ all my DeLuxe trims are off seriously abused work trucks and I got every scratch out by patiently hand polishing....

    I left the dents in , no big deal to me , my buddies have tried the sanding thing , ended up with paper thin stainless that doesn't age well and dents *really* easily from normal use .

    Your barenekkid lady there , is going to be GREAT ! .

    .
     
  15. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    Thanks, Nate. I knew the windshield and window trim was made from stainless, but I didn't realize the grille was, too. There's a fair amount of surface rust on the grille, and I didn't figure it would form on stainless. I will do some homework on that old tread you mentioned, maybe it's still out there somewhere on the inter-webs.

    To answer your question about color... I'm not sure. Are you referring to my truck or Jim's in the background? I think mine was originally the darker color, but it was painted over with a lighter shade of blue at some point. The firewall is among the areas that weren't repainted, so it's still the deeper shade of blue.

    Damon
     
  16. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    I Thought

    The firewall was Mariner Blue , no ? . maybe I don't know quite what it looks like or my monitor is off...

    If your grille has rust , it's prolly not original as I well remember seeing trucks back in the 1960's that had gaping rust holes but the stainless steel grilles shone brightly , if Evan says I'm wrong here , trust him over my foggy recollections .

    It was a *very* popular thing to do , chroming painted grilles as soon as the Korean War was done and the price on chrome came back down again.
    '
     
  17. Kens 50 PU

    Kens 50 PU Member

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    Guys, as long as Nate is doubting himself here, I will interject my 2 cents. Back in the '70's, dad and I bought several AD trucks, some in good shape, some nothing more than junk. We had several deluxe cab trucks with shiny grilles, all of which had rust forming to some extent. Naturally, I formed an opinion in the '70's that they were chrome plated steel.

    I looked at some of my reference materials and I think that they were chrome plated. First reference is the "Chevrolet Truck Data Book for Chevrolet Salesmen" which references RPO 386 "Chrome Radiator Grille" and RPO 390 "De Luxe Cab and Equipment" which also states "Chrome-plated radiator grille included for Series 3000 trucks." Second reference is the "resto-pack" for '50 Chevy trucks which references the same.
     
  18. 1952Bowtie

    1952Bowtie Member

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    Mariner blue

    I grew up with a Mariner Blue AD and it doesn't get any more Mariner than this. Your monitor is fine, Nate. It's my favorite for sentimental reasons.

    Also my original grill is chrome I think...pretty scratched up though.
     
  19. SinclairChevy

    SinclairChevy Member

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    After looking at the paint charts from that era, I believe you guys are correct: both Jim's daily driver and my firewall are Mariner Blue. I'm not sure what shade my truck was repainted, but it doesn't really matter... as it's GONNA be Sinclair Green and White!! :D

    I think Ken is right about the grille being chrome. Jim's was shiny at some point, but is now suffering from surface rust, and the underside lip of mine has some surface rust as well. Which brings me back to the original question: if I disassemble this grille to repair the dents, is it likely that it will need re-plated?

    Not much of an update to post for ya today. I spent most of yesterday's time in the shop organizing parts into marked bags and bins for storage. I wanna be able to find everything when it comes time to reassemble this thing. However, my girlfriend decided to help out and bead-blasted the components for the rear cab mounts for me, after which I primed and painted them. I may stop by the shop later today to reassemble those cab mounts.

    I'm going to add a lock to the driver's side door. I've searched for a tech article on how to do it, but I've come up short. I see the parts that I need to make and should be able to accomplish it without too much trouble (I think). Have any of you guys performed this modification before? Results?

    Damon
     
  20. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    Chroming

    Yes ;

    You'll be wanting to have the bars re chromed , take some time to choose the Chrome Shop well ! .

    It's not cheap .
     

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