Bunch of Questions for a '58 Apache

Discussion in '1955-1959' started by sixdown, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. sixdown

    sixdown Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    So I am looking at this truck and its needs. Rust is minimal but it needs a lot of cosmetic stuff, like new glass and seals, door seal, bed and upholstery. The truck has no fuse box which I understand was an option (?). So where do I find a wiring diagram for a truck that has no fuse box?

    2. The truck has a manual transmission (3 on the tree) with a 350 crate GM engine. What are my options for going to a 4 or 5 speed transmission? The owner says it will cruise fine up to 50 mph at which point the rpms climb. This doesn't make sense to me. I would think a 350 would have no issues cruising at 70mph. As i would like to use it regularly I would like something I can drive both country and highway with no issues.

    3. While I have no issue with the 3 speed, should I change it to a floor 4 or 5 speed?

    4. Should I change the brakes to disc, and is this a relatively easy thing? I am mechanically inclined but I have not done a lot with brakes.

    5. My idea is to have a truck that looks stock but is more reliable and safer than it was in '58. Not really a question so much as a statement.

    6. Is it worth dropping the chassis a few inches?

    Lots to digest but i have lots of time and space.
    Thanks all for your insights.
     
  2. Bill Hanlon

    Bill Hanlon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    2,323
    Location:
    Klein TX
    2. The truck has a manual transmission (3 on the tree) with a 350 crate GM engine. What are my options for going to a 4 or 5 speed transmission? The owner says it will cruise fine up to 50 mph at which point the rpms climb. This doesn't make sense to me. I would think a 350 would have no issues cruising at 70mph. As i would like to use it regularly I would like something I can drive both country and highway with no issues.

    Your truck is likely to have a rear end ratio of 3.9:1 or 4.11:1, which is what keeps the engine spinning at an elevated RPM. It shouldn't hurt the 350, but it might give you a headache on a long road trip. And gas mileage won't be great. What size rear tires? I have 225-85 by 16 on mine. 31 inches tall.

    3. While I have no issue with the 3 speed, should I change it to a floor 4 or 5 speed?

    Most 4 speed transmissions are 1:1 ratio in high gear, so changing to a 4 speed would not change your RPM in high gear.

    4. Should I change the brakes to disc, and is this a relatively easy thing? I am mechanically inclined but I have not done a lot with brakes.

    I did. Lots of kits out there. Most involve changing to late model hubs. Many are 5 lug, which means your spare tire won't fit. I bought a "kit" from Buffalo Enterprises that consists mostly of a set of mounting brackets and a list of parts to buy at your FLAPS. It mounted 6 lug rotors on the stock hubs. I liked this idea because it is hard (and/or expensive) to find replacement parts for the kits.
     
  3. garrison

    garrison Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
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    11
  4. coilover

    coilover Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,398
    Location:
    Plano US
    Two options on lowering the engine rpms down to a more ear pleasing level and upping fuel mileage. The first and easiest is to replace the 3sp with a Borgwarner overdrive transmission which is a direct bolt in replacement although the shifting rods usually have to be re-bent to work the levers on the BW. Probably the cheapest as these units run about $250 at swap meets. The second is the 3.38 ring and pinion which are under $200 so if you can set them up yourself are also easy on the pocket book. The final drive ratio with the 3.38's will ALWAYS be 3.38 which when loaded or trailer pulling may be a strain. With the BW overdrive you retain the 3.90 for heavy loads and yet have a 2.73 for low rpm highway cruising---the best of both worlds.
     

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