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Technical Articles

1936-46 GMC Pickup Taillight Bracket

Monday, October 15th, 2018

So rare to have been on the large number of GMC pickups produced during these 10 years! Most GMC truck enthusiasts have never seen one or even have any idea what they look like if they see one not labeled at a swap meet.

This heavy metal one piece stamped bracket is secured to the left rear stake pocket and holds the same 4 “ round light used all 10 years.

This photo is of the “real thing’. It is correct for the left side as pickups did not come with right side taillights.­­

1947-1955 French Headlight

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

For those of you that want this took, here is what they should be like when the job is complete

1934-36 Chevy ½ ton gas sending unit

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

On this early under seat gas tank there is no sending unit with float being reproduced! Therefore, with a little American ingenuity there is a way to nicely solve this problem.

Obtain a now reproduced sending unit from a 1939-46 GM truck. The float rubs the tank inside so something must be done.

Turn the top 5 hole disc so that it’s humps (where the electric wire attaches) so that it is pointed to the 10:30 position on a clock.

The two top holes in the disc line up perfectly with the hole in the truck’s tank.

The more bottom three holes are now just slightly out of position.

With the side of an electric drill bit or “rat tail” file three holes to make them slightly oval.

Now just tighten these three screws into the tanks original holes with the gasket in between. What a nice not seen modification!

1941-46 Front Fender Cut-ins

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

When you are buying a 1941-46 front fender and you see it cut-in at the front: as in this photo, it is correct for the 1 ½ and 2 ton trucks! The factory cut-ins allows the big truck 20 inch tires to turn without touching the fenders.

Yes, it will fit the ½ ton through 1 ton but will look incorrect.

1947-55 Pickup Rear Bumper Guards – Wrong!

Monday, September 10th, 2018

On rare occasion you will see a pickup that has a pair of original design front bumper guards installed on the rear bumper. Big Mistake! This is a recipe for tailgate damage.

One slip of the hand while raising or lowering the gate will allow it to swing down until it hits these bumper guards. The result is evenly spaced dimples when it hits the top of the guards. What is worse: the dimples on a Chevrolet will be in the stamped letters. It’s more expensive by a body shop to repair this perfectly.

Moral: Don’t place bumper guards on the rear. That is not what GM intended. The attached winter photo may be of a pickup with an owner that wanted more accessories than were correct.

1955-56 Cameo Factory Red Rubber Floor Mats

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Back in the day when the fully appointed Cameo left the factory it was equipped with a red rubber floor mat, if it had the red cloth upholstery interior. In today’s world the possibility of finding a “New, Old Stock” mat is almost impossible.  Even if one was located rolled in a factory box it would be worthless after 60 years!  The quality of rubber made this long ago was not that of today.

What does a total perfectionist do now? Most settle for the currently available black mat OR use a red custom cut loop carpet with binding and shaped like a rubber mat.

Possible Solution: At a recent auto show we observed a 1955 Cameo surrounded by a yellow rope on posts. This implies “Do not touch”.  It was restored so perfect and it even had a red rubber mat! What is this all about? Who is now making them?

We kept our eye on the Cameo during the show hoping the owner would come by. He finally appeared and pulled up a folding chair. Our curiosity and questions could now be answered.

 

Surprise! His method came easy. We call it American ingenuity.

  1. Use a new 1955-59 black floor mat now being produced.
  2. Completely clean it of all possible grease with a solvent.
  3. After completely drying, spray it red with paint as used on non- metal bumpers of today’s automobiles.

 

It looked great but it had been done only a month. The owner was taking no chance of the ridges being worn down to black.  So he covered the red mat with small soft back carpet sections when driving the Cameo.

New cars today use bendable bumper paint. It rarely cracks when bent.  Maybe this idea will work for the long term on a floor mat!  We wonder!

Front Engine Mounts and Fuel Pump Changes

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Since the first inline six cylinder Chevrolet engines were introduced in 1929, they had been attached to the front cross member of the car and truck frame. There were no actual rear engine mounts. The engine was secured to the bellhousing at the rear which was attached to the frame rails.

For the Chevrolet “car only” this changed in 1952. A side mounting system was on the car however, the truck continued with the front mounting system. Beginning in 1952 three threaded holes were then placed on each side of all 216 cubic inch engines to secure the new mount. To keep it simple, trucks used this same engine block but no side mounts were attached. Therefore, the last two years of the truck 216 engine has three unused side mount holes on each side of the block.

Resulting Fuel Pump Changes: The new side mounts created a change in the car fuel pump construction. The car fuel lines could no longer run parallel to the engine block as the year before and on trucks. The new side mount became an obstacle. The fuel line to and from the fuel pump had to be modified to run around the newly introduced side mount!

To save money, GM was able to continue with the same fuel pump by removing the six fasteners that connect the top and bottom halves, twist the top one bolt position, and re-secure the evenly spaced fasteners. An easy fix!

Part’s Store Error: Some aftermarket part books list the 1952-53 Chevrolet fuel pumps with a different part number than the 1951 and earlier but, this is only partly correct. The trucks still required the earlier pump as they have no side mounts and should carry the older part number.

Imagine the owner of a 1952-53 truck who needs a fuel pump. He is sold a car unit at his local parts store (because they show only one part number.) The pump mounts to the block perfectly but his fuel lines with not connect. He does not realize he can remove the six bolts and reposition the top half. Even if he realizes this might fix the problem, he will not change it for fear of voiding any pump warrantee. The store counter man has no idea! Too bad for the 1952-53 truck owner! He will now need to buy different fuel lines and bend them to fit the incorrect fuel pump.

The source that wrote the fuel pump catalog had no idea. This can be a big problem for the owners of 1952-53 Chevy truck. The do it yourself mechanic then buys store brand straight fuel lines, bends them to fit and flairs the ends like the originals. Yes, he is back on the road but with ugly home-made fuel lines and lots of extra money spent.

Inexpensive Home Radiator Cleaning

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

With most local radiator repair shops now out of business (you can buy new radiators for modern vehicles much less than repairing the originals) finding repairs for original brass radiators is very difficult. Shop repairing large commercial truck radiators still are needed but usually in only larger cities.

If your older GM original truck radiator does not leak but is cooling capacity has become limited (coolant boils on most uphill drives) there is a successful home repair.

Several Solutions:

  1. Fill your calcium clogged radiator with 50% “White Vinegar” and 50% water and let set 2 to 3 days. You will be amazed at what comes out of the core when it is drained! It will even clean the engine block and head!

This old school method has been a proven success over the years and it is very inexpensive. Check your local grocery store. Price is about $2.50/Gallon

  1. A Customer recently mentioned a household cleaning solution sold at hardware stores and some larger grocery chains called CLR. (Calcium, Lime and Rust) CLR appears to be made stronger than white vinegar and it is also diluted 50% with water. Description shows removing these unwanted scale deposits. .

Radiator shops usually use long small diameter brushes to “rod out” the calcium build up in the tubes. If they puncture a cooling tube with fins, they block it off with solder, and also solder the upper and lower damaged tanks back in place. You will never know how many have been soldered shut. The new black paint covering the radiator.

Save your cooling tubes with fins. White vinegar or other liquids may be the way to go!

 

An Extra bonus: If you place is solution in your drained radiator and let it set, it will also remove calcium build up in your engine block. Thus, the block has more flowing water and operates at a cooler temperature.

Cooling the Early Chevy 265 Cubic Inch V-8

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

From 1955 through 1957 on trucks (their V-8’s all were 265 cubic inch during the first years) Chevrolet added engine cooling differently.

The radiator was moved further to the rear due to the V-8 shorter length over the 235 inline six cylinder. To force more air into the radiator core Chevrolet added an upper and lower metal spacer plate.  These were attached to the grill and radiator support to fill in the created space.  The enclosed drawing is from a 1955-1959 Chevrolet Truck Assembly Manual.

In recent years these plates have become very difficult to locate. Over many years, replacement V-8 engines (1958 and newer) were given the more traditional round shroud to help radiator cooling. Unfortunately, once these two parts become separated from the trunk, new-comers that were not there when the plates were removed, have no clue of their purpose.

More landfill material!

1958 Chrome Headlight Rings

Monday, June 11th, 2018

It did not happen!

There is no evidence that Chevrolet (the jury is out on GMC) ever offered chrome headlight rings the year they introduced dual sealed beam headlights.

The attached photo is of a 1958 Cameo (the most deluxe truck in this line-up) with 1.4 miles on the odometer. The Pierce, Nebraska Chevrolet Dealer closed his doors in the late 1950’s with several new untitled vehicles brought inside where they remained for 55 years!  It now sits in a private museum in New Hampshire with the U.S. lowest mileage vehicles of the 1950’s.

This ’58 Cameo is untouched with “no” chrome headlight rings. These rings are GM’s Bombay Ivory, the color that was used on places or as a total Cameo color.

Assume the occurrence of 1958 Chevrolet trucks with chrome rings in recent years is all from an overseas manufacturer that suspects Americans will only buy chrome!

It must be a correct assumption or the perfectionist restorers would repaint their originals or they just do not know or it is quicker and easier to add new incorrect chromed rings.

Illuminating the 1939-46 Panel Truck Interior

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Jim Winter’s 1941 Panel Truck

As an aid to delivery drivers working after dark, GM provided an overhead “reading light” on the headliner bow between the front seats. (Same place with or without the accessory right side seat) Its on-off switch is on the wood plank sheet panel metal protector at the left of the driver’s shoulder.

CARGO LIGHT: Because only some panel truck owners made deliveries in the dark, GM made their rear interior cargo light; a dealer installed accessory. Jim Winters of Rochester, MN, found one of these very rear Guide Cargo Lights at a local swap meet and installed it in his show quality 1941 Chevrolet ½ ton panel truck.  It was in the original Chevrolet box with a one foot square instruction sheet and the wiring harness that would reach to the headlight switch.

LEFT REAR DOOR POST LIGHT SWITCH: The switch button at the bottom in the photo comes with all panel trucks through at least 1955. It was GM’s idea that the original single left door taillight would not operate when the door was open.  Thus, the “spring buttons”.

The almost matching “spring button” plate on the top of the two and it was in the cargo light kit. This harness reaches the park light switch.  GM designed this light just right for panel truck making deliveries!  The harness connects to the parking light terminal on the headlight switch.  In this way when the driver needs the cargo light on at night during a delivery, the park lights are also on, to be better seen when it is parked beside the road.

A USED ORIGINAL

                The only one we have found in 30 years!  It’s lost its lens

SURPRISE: To make it easier to install for the Chevrolet dealer’s employee, Jim discovered the mounting hole was in his rear top bow ready for the included self-taping attaching screw. Its light is activated by a wire from the accessory harness in this kit. When the headlight switch knob is pulled to park position, the cargo light is activated.

WHY A 1947?

This pre-war body design was sold through about May 1946. Then the 1947-53 was introduced. Thus, we have a split year with an early and late 1947.

READ ON if you have an interest in why the panel truck was so popular.

BACK IN THE DAY, seeing the interior merchandise in a panel truck at night was a necessity. Most of these trucks were purchased for transporting merchandise from retail stores to residential homes. In the time of one-family cars, (or no vehicle) and as the days became shorter in winter, the panel truck was important. Merchants realized that company profits would be increased if their products were taken direct to the consumer. With a phone call the buyer made arrangements for a delivery.  The panel truck was used so much for delivering groceries plus pickup and drop off laundry and dry-cleaning.  The stay at home mom needed this type of service and the panel truck brought merchandise right to the door.  Some delivery people even carried it into the home as an extra service.

Of course, the wide metal panel on the panel truck sides was a perfect place for advertising the store name. The light truck manufacturers picked up on this need very quickly.  During World War II, with the lady of the house working in war production plants, she had limited time for shopping, and clothes cleaning, plus the children needed attention.

You can always contact Jim Winters at: jewinters1@yahoo.com

Pin Striping Your Own Wheels

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

 

Pin Striping Your Own Wheels

For most people, placing pin stripes on wheels is very difficult. It comes at the end for most detailed restorations so having it done less than perfect is not acceptable.  So what is the option?  Here are some suggestions for a “do-it-yourself” method.  It is forgiving if you make a mistake and must try again.

MATERIALS:

  1. Show drying enamel (the color of the stripe)
  2. Enamel reducer for cleaning your brush and removing mistakes. A 1/2 pint is more than enough.
  3. Artist paint brush (the diameter of the stripe with short bristles is good, but not so short you cannot make one rotation)
  4. A clean wheel on the truck. It can then be slowly turned.

THE PROCEDURE:

  1. Use a step ladder or equivalent to tape the brush in place.
  2. Turn the wheel on the truck “slowly” once the paint brush is put in place.
  3. Lightly put on pressure. Don’t over pressure the paint brush holding paint.
  4. Big mistake? Wipe the paint off with a little enamel reducer and clean rag.
  5. Advertise in your local newspaper that you stripe wheels! Keep the secret to yourself.

1947-55 Chevy and GMC Three VS. Five Window Cab

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

During the 1947-55 series, the five window cab often referred to as the Deluxe cab, was available as an extra cost option.

Their two corner windows helped in visibility especially when backing. Cabs made during the same year are identical except for these corner window options.  Some buyers in the southern states rejected this option.  They felt the corner windows made the cab interior much hotter during the summer months.

Beginning in 1953, tinted windows became a factory option. Though today’s glass shops can easily add replacement tinted windows to most of the cab, it is as it can be cut from sheets of flat glass. The corner glass that must be found at specialized suppliers have connections with a manufacturer.  These tinted corners have recently been made available!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1955 – 1966 Chevy and GMC Technical Article Listings

Monday, April 16th, 2018

 

Accessories

Bed

Brakes

Cab

Cameo/Suburban

Door

Electrical

Frame and Chassis

Gas Tanks

Grills

Interior

Lighting

Mechanical

Misc.

Paint

Radio

Sheet Metal

Speedometer and Gauges

Speedometers to Go…

Suburban / Panel Truck

Split Rims

Suspension

Transmission

Trim

Upholstery

Wheels and Covers

Window

1967 – 1972 Chevy and GMC Technical Article Listings

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Bed

Blazer

Brakes

Cab

Decals

Door

Electrical

Gas Tanks

Knobs

Lighting

Mechanical

Misc.

Paint

Radio

Sheet Metal

Speedometer and Gauges

Speedometers to Go…

Trim

Upholstery

Window

1947 – 1955 Chevy and GMC Technical Article Listings

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

 

 Accessories

Bed

Brakes

Bumpers

Cab

Door

Electrical

Frame and Chassis

Gas Tanks

Grilles

1949 – 1955 GMC Grille
1947 – 1948 GMC Grille
1947 – 1953 Chevrolet Grille Restoration Tips

Interior

Lighting

Mechanical

Mirror

Misc.

Paint

Panel Trucks

Radio

Running Boards

Sheet Metal

Speedometer and Gauges

Split Rims

Suburban

Suspension

Transmission

Trim

Wheels and Covers

Window

1934 – 1946 Chevy and GMC Technical Article Listings

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

 

Accessories

Bed

Brake Cables, Drum Wear, System Changes

Cabs, Heaters, Dash Panels and More

Door Handles, Panels, More

Electrical, Horns, Ignitions, 6 Volt Starting

Frame and Chassis

Gas Tanks

Grilles

Interiors

Lighting, Switches, Bulbs

Mechanical, Engines, Timing Gear, More

Military

Misc., Headers, Long Beds, More

Paint Colors, More

Sheet Metal, Fenders, More

Side Mount Spares

Speedometer and Gauges

Speedometers to Go…

Split Rims

Suburban/Panel Truck

Suspension, Shocks, Axle, More

Trim, Hub Caps, More

Upholstery, Seat Covers, More

Wheels, More

Windows, More

Wipers

1940 Accessory Cooling Baffle

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Over 75 years ago the Chevrolet Motor Division offered an accessory in 1940 to help prevent work trucks from overheating during higher temperature days. The 1942 Chevrolet Master Parts Catalog shows it still available for the dealers to purchase and install.

It was referred to as a “Bafffle” and was attached to the inside of the upper radiator core and was combined with the larger 18” fan (if it was not already on the truck.) Smaller ½ and ¾ ton pickups would usually have their original 15” fan. The larger blade fan for more cooling capacity was expected to be paired with this new baffle.

The attached shows a New Old Stock 1940 baffle with an 18” factory fan. Its rounded center is to fit around the existing upper radiator hose. The purpose was to force more outside air through the top of the radiator core which received the hottest water as it leaves the engine head.

It appears to be a very practical accessory during very hot summer days with the trucks moving show, an example (for sure on a 1 ½ ton carrying a heavy load) would be:

  1. In a farm hay field the truck slowly moving to each bale of hay, stopping, and workers stacking the hay bales on the flat bed often beyond the recommended gross weight capacity.
  2. Making deliveries in a city’s downtown area from building to building with hot afternoon temperatures also radiating off the bricks on both sides of an alley with limited wind circulation.
NOTE: It is not likely this baffle would greatly effect cooling of the ½ and ¾ ton pickups. Their hauling heavy freight was limited, however because the baffle would also fit these pickups, Chevrolet listed them as an accessory. Adding just an accessory 18” fan would probably be adequate to lower coolant temperature.

The Ultimate Oil Filter Connections

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

We recently noticed this very unusual method of supplying motor oil to an era accessory filter. It was so different photos were taken for your enjoyment.

If you have not seen an original, the owner has replaced the original factory black rubber hoses with these copper lines. How unusual!

Three Mid-Year Body Changes

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

During the early years there were three occasions when General Motors decided it was in their interest to make truck cab changes in mid-year.  Thus, in today’s world, when these years are mentioned, one must always be sure which of the two trucks are being discussed.  The following will mention these years and why the unusual timing occurred in one year.

1936

The “Great Depression” was in full swing.  To encourage truck sales and save some struggling dealers, it was felt a new cab should be introduced as soon as possible.  This new entry would later be referred to as “the low cab”.  It had a more modern body and it was hoped potential buyers would be impressed to own a newer truck for the same retail price.

It cost General Motors only a little more to produce.  The cab would set on the same frame rails and the total chassis was almost unchanged including motor, transmission, differential and radiator assembly remained the same.

The difference was in the cab and the hood with different side panel louvering position. For the first time GM offered a truck cab with an actual glove box in the dash.  Instead of many small cab pieces making a wood frame with sheet metal tacked on, there were only four large cab wood supports.  They made part of the cowl and supported the weight of the doors and windshield assembly.  The low cab roof was formed sheet metal and was welded, not bolted to the remainder of the body. The window and door handles, wood floor, seats, hydraulic brakes, and steering wheel were almost unchanged.  The same ½ ton bed was used.

This total new package gave the dealers something to tell their customers that an almost new truck was available for about the same cost.

1947

During the first half of 1947, dealers had marketed the trucks offered before the war years.  There was often a six month wait for trucks (as well as cars) when factories opened for domestic vehicle production for the first time in 5 years.

General Motors could not produce the older pre-war body style trucks fast enough!  Therefore, GM decided to wait until sales demand began to slow before the new body style. Good Marketing!

If they had waiting lines for pre-world war II trucks, why stop production to make the factories ready for a more modern truck?  The 1947 year was half over before what GM called “the Advance Design” trucks were in the dealers showrooms. This new redesigned truck had been developed during WWII in anticipation of a later sales demand. They were introduced on Saturday June 26, 1947.

This sales technique was quite successful.  The many truck dealers in the USA couldn’t have been happier with GM’s strategy!  Truck buyers with money or at least good credit wanted to be the owner of this modern design vehicle.   The prewar body design was “old time”.

Therefore, once again there was a long line to have a new truck.  GM engineers that were not enlisted or drafted into World War II had many years to get ready for this new model.  However, it was the skilled GM advertising department that arranged the timing to get the “best bang for the buck”.

1955

The totally redesigned Chevrolet automobile was introduced in late 1954.  So much advertising on television, in local newspapers and by dealerships built up buyer anticipation throughout the country.  The Chevrolet advertising department in Detroit knew not to take any wind out of the excitement in the unveiling of this totally new car.

Therefore, GM wisely made a decision to not introduce the new redesigned 1955 Task Force truck line at the same time as the car.  They would wait at least 6 months until the car excitement slowed.  Then with the experience of building up potential new 1955 car buyers, the Chevrolet Truck Division would do it all over again!

Just imagine how successful the Chevy dealers were to have two new 1955 vehicles in one year.  It was about the biggest sales year in Chevrolet history.

Note:  Because the new Chevrolet Task Force was not introduced until about May 1955 and the 1956 models came in November, this would certainly have been the shortest for any Chevrolet model year.  Once again, so many waiting orders were received by dealers.  Customers had seen the same body design for eight years and were ready for this new truck line.  For the first time Chevrolet offered some new major optional features to increase sales:

V-8 engine, 3 speed overdrive transmission, the Cameo “Boulevard” pickup, white wall tires, power steering, all new paint color etc.  A new standard feature was a 12 volt electrical system and wrap-around windshield.

A few other new no extra cost features were redesigned pickup bed with “grain tight” tailgate, a higher ½ ton differential ratio of 3.55, additional padding in seat cushion, and more convenient gas tank fill on driver’s side. A very important change was the first time was an open drive line on their ½ ton (also on the short lived 1955 First Series).

A real attention getter was for the first time in the history of GM pickup trucks there were no cab outside running boards! Overall, the new truck gave a very different appearance. Suddenly, all the buyer’s friends immediately knew that he had a different truck! It was certainly not the “almost same” truck with maybe a different color as during the Advance Design truck years.

 

The First Chevrolet V-8 Full Pressure Oil Filter

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

The enclosed page from the Chevrolet Factory Assembly Manual is dated July 23, 1955. It appears to be announcing the new full flow oil filter that attaches to the lower left rear side of the 265 V-8 engine block.

For the early 1955 year- after the introduction of their first small block V-8 – the oil filter had been a dealer installed by-pass unit attached to the front of the intake manifold. See tech article under 1955-66, then click on accessories.

As per the attached drawing, this new mid 1955 filter was not a spin-on design. The cartridge was inside a round housing that Chevrolet calls an “oil filter assembly”.  One long center bolt was removed to replace the inner throw-away cartridge.  This system was used on Chevrolet small block V-8 s for about 10 years while some other vehicle manufacturers used the spin-on filter as used today.

Chevy V-8 Engine Instruction

Early V-8 Draft Tube

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Surprise to many, the first Chevrolet V-8’s had a lower end draft tube just like the six cylinders of the same years.  The V-8’s are hidden between the distributor and the firewall and not in easy view.

The Chevrolet parts catalog for 1957 shows this “tube assembly” number 3726641 available by the dealer from 1955 through 1957.

From almost the beginning of the internal combustion engine, some type of venting of the lower crank case was needed. It was not until the early 1960’s that many vehicle engines were designed to pull the vapor from below the piston rings to be burned in the engines combustion chamber. Thus, much air pollution was eliminated particularly from well-worn engines, often referred to as lower end blow-by.

V-8-Engine-Instruction

1954-62 Chevrolet 235 Power Glide Hydraulic Valve Lifters

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Very Important Cam Shaft and Valve Data

Occasionally when purchasing a used 235 high oil pressure engine, it may have been originally in a Chevy car with a Power Glide transmission. This will have a different cam shaft due to the Power Glide engine having hydraulic lifters. The lobes on the cam shaft must be a different height because of the lifters. In fact, hydraulic and solid lifters cannot be interchanged with non-related cam shafts!

To be absolutely sure if your 235 engine was originally from a Power Glide car do the following:

1. Remove the short side plate on the right side of the block.
2. Remove valve cover.
3. Loosen a rocker arm enough so one push rod can be removed.
4. Raise a valve lifter out of its resting place.
5. Place your finger in the valve lifter hole you have just created and feel for a
3/8” diameter hole on either side. Holes allow motor oil to lubricate and fill
the hydraulic valve lifter.

Engines with factory solid lifters will not have these 3/8” holes.

FYI: You can place a set of truck solid lifters with matching cam shaft in a 235 that originally came with hydraulic lifters. However, the reverse will never work! Without the 3/8” holes beside the hydraulics the lifters will not oil.

Chevrolet V-8 By-Pass Oil Filter

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Its 1955 and Chevrolet trucks and cars offer their first small block V-8, a light weight with 265 cubic inches. (Not counting their short lived V-8 in 1917-18).

This series of V-8’s, along with the high pressure inline 235 six cylinder (1954-62), are probably the most successful engines in the General Motor’s history up to that time. With proper maintenance they were long lasting and repairs were possible even by medium skilled “shade tree” mechanics.

As with their 235 six cylinders through 1962, the first V-8 did not come with an oil filter. It was a Chevrolet dealer accessory. Adding an oil filter was usually done by the dealer from a GM kit. There was no place on the side of the engine block to receive a filter! To create this V-8 filter assembly the Chevrolet Division used a canister from a 235 six cylinder and welded a right angle lip on the bottom. Here, this unit was secured under the thermostat housing on top of the intake manifold. Quite unique!

The big change was in 1956.

It was this second year of the 265 V-8 that GM added a position in the engine block casting for the oil filter on the lower side. This was not a spin-on filter but was in a canister held to the block by a large center bolt. Now for the first time the new truck or car had a factory installed “full flow” oil filter like vehicles today. Motor oil goes through the filter before it reaches the engine!

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Accessory Oil Filter Installed

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Oil fill pipe on side of canister

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Close up. Lip under water outlet

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265 V-8 without option oil filter

Valve Cover Trivia

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

If you really like learning about old Chevy truck six cylinder history, this article is for you.

We recently visited Jerry’s Chevy Restorations in Independence, Missouri and noticed an interesting display on a side wall of his shop. Jerry has the complete series of Chevrolet “Stovebolt” six cylinder valve covers used on cars and trucks between 1937 and 1962. This 25 year display is even painted the correct gray color for trucks.

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No doubt it took much time cleaning, repairing, and painting to make them ready for their place in his restoration shop. Here is the order they were used in Chevrolet vehicles.

1937-38

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The two mounting stud grommets fit in a pocket below the surface of the cover. The valve cover must be removed to replace them. See the backside where the small metal strip secures the rubber grommet. (Not on 1940 and newer) Three necessary venting slots are on the top to allow the engine to breathe.

1939-48

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Redesigned with two larger attaching holes in cover so it is not removed to replace the mounting stud grommets.

1949-53

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New Idea: For the first time the add-oil hole is on the top of the valve cover. Now the mechanic did not add oil through the side engine draft tube. Good change! Less chance of some oil spilling as the oil container was placed down to the draft tube on the side of engine.

1949-53 – COE Trucks

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This different valve cover is used on the cab-over-engine “COE” trucks. Because the engine is under the cab, oil cannot be added through the top of the valve cover as with a conventional cab. Therefore, add oil hole is not punched but the spot remains where it is placed in a conventional cab of the same years. GM wanted no part of a gradual oil leak from a capped hole and it being so difficult to reach. The continual oil seeping would not be good for the truck owner or repeat new COE sales.

NOTE: The Chevrolet Master Parts Catalog for April 1, 1950 shows the buyer of a COE valve cover must purchase one for a conventional cab. The manual states it will be necessary to seal the oil filter hole with a thin sheet metal disc to provide clearance. Therefore, the photo in this article is of a pure factory GMC valve cover, not a modified unit altered by a dealer.

Of course, the Chevrolet Motor Division knew the chance of a protected valve cover under the COE cab would probably never need replacing. This pure COE valve cover was probably never not available!

1954-Early 55

The new high oil pressure 235 engine is introduced in trucks! Oil cap continues to be sealed as 4 small breathing slots are in a different position and are front to back on the top. This gives a place for the Chevrolet script lettering to be stamped on top. Good advertising.

Now, instead of 2 vertical studs with nuts for keeping the cover attached to the engine head, an overdue improvement is introduced. Four short machine screws press directly down on the new perimeter lip surrounding the valve cover. This presses on the valve cover gasket and stops oil leaks that occurred on the earlier design when the two studs were over tightened.

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Late 1955-57

More technology! To stop engines from sometimes leaking oil out of the 4 breathing holes on top of the cover they were removed! Breathing now occurred through a redesigned add-oil cap. It was used through the end of the series in 1962.

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1958-62

The add-oil cap is moved from the front to the middle. Because this 235 engine is tapered in its mounts to the rear and the new 1958 cars have a lower hood, GM moved it. This gave just a little more space and prevented hood contact with the oil cap.

NOTE: Because of the new center location of the add-oil hole, the Chevrolet script must be “half the size” on the valve cover top.

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1934-46 Chevy and GMC Door Latch

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Ever seen the inside of a 1934-46 Chevy truck door latch? When heating and straightening the 4 small prongs that secure the steel cover over the working mechanism, it is surprising to see how simple GM made the contents.

Basically it is an enclosed ½“diameter x 2” long coil spring that pushes the pointer into the door striker plate on the cab post. This spring pushes this pointer back into this neutral position when the handle is released on either the inside or outside of the door. Quite simple in design and it usually does what is necessary for the life of the truck.

Of course, GM did not expect the latch to survive 80 years but so many still operate with their factory lubrication dried to be of no value.

Too bad, because even after only 30 years the latch moving parts should have received some light oil (a little thicker than WD-40). This almost never happened because the latch is unseen behind the door panel.

1930’s and 1940’s Chevrolet Truck Typical Wiring System

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

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Additional Points of Interest on Early GM Wiring

1. Six volt systems MUST have 2 woven wire cables as a ground to allow plenty of current flow.
a. One from the battery to the frame rail. See drawing.
b. One from the ear of the starter attaching bolt to the frame rail.

2. The insulated cable from the battery to the starter switch, see drawing, MUST be a heavy one gauge thickness. NEVER use a small diameter 12 volt cable. It cannot carry the extra current flow required
by the starter. A small cable will cause the starter to turn slow!

3. As much as 75% of all electrical troubles are traceable to poor connections in the circuits.

4. An old timer way of tracing down an electric drain in your truck:
a. Touch a removed battery cable end against its battery post. If you have a short, you will see a tiny spark due to current flow. Sometimes dim outside light is necessary.
b. Disconnect suspected areas where a short may exist. When you no longer have the tiny spark, you have found the electric drain.

WD 40 Who Knew?

Friday, December 1st, 2017

WD-40 Who Knew?
What is the Main Ingredient of WD-40?
Before you read to the end, does anybody know what the main ingredient of WD-40? No Cheating WD-40 ~ Who knew!

I had a neighbor who bought a new pickup. I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray painted red all around the sides of this beige truck (for some unknown reason). I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news. He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do. .. probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open. Another neighbor came out and told him to get his WD-40 and clean it off. It removed the unwanted paint beautifully and did not harm his paint job that was on the truck. I was impressed!

WD -40 who knew? “Water Displacement #40”. The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and de-greaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953, by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a ‘Water Displacement’ Compound. They were finally successful for a formulation, with their fortieth at-tempt, thus WD-40. The ‘Convair Company’ bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

When you read the ‘shower door’ part, try it. It’s the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as on glass. It’s a miracle! Then try it on your stove-top. It’s now shinier than it’s ever been. You’ll be amazed.

WD-40 Uses:

1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4. Gives floor that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.
5. Keeps the flies off of Cows, Horses, and other Farm Critters, as well. (Ya gotta love this one!!!)
6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
7. Removes lipstick stains.
8. Loosens stubborn zippers.
9. Untangles jewelry chains.
10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
12. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
15. Camouflages scratches on ceramic and marble floors.
16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicles doors.
18. It removes that nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off.
Just remember to open some windows, for ventilation, if you have a lot of marks.
19. Remove those nasty bug guts that will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly!
20. Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
21. Lubricates gearshift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22. Rids kids rocking chair and swings free of squeaky noises.
23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
31. Removes grease splatters from stove-tops.
32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
35. Removes all traces of duct tape.
36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
37. Florida’s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’
38. The favorite use in the state of New York, it protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants
that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
41. It is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray it on the marks and wipe with a clean rag.
42. Also, if you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and re-wash.
Presto! The lipstick is gone!
43. If you spray it inside a wet distributor cap, it will displace the moisture, allowing the engine to start.

P.S. As for that Basic, Main Ingredient

Well…. it’s FISH OIL!!!

Fan Blade Trivia for Most 216 Engines

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

One of the most important factors in successful engine operation is to keep the water at far below the boiling temperature. This is best done by matching the radiator with the fan blade.

On 1939-53 Chevrolet trucks there was a change in cooling fans depending on the demands the truck might have. The following three fan blade assemblies were as follows:

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15“ Diameter 4 Blades

Standard equipment on ½, ¾, and one ton. Matched with 3 core radiators.

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Before Restoration

18” Diameter 4 Blades

Placed on most 1 ½ and 2 tons. Matched with 4 core radiators.

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After Restoration

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18” Diameter Heavy Duty 6 Blade – Optional

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The Chevrolet Master Parts Catalog defines this fan “for use in low speed operations”. It was available on 1 ½ and 2 ton that would require slow moving or much of their RPM’s at idle speed.

Examples: A fire truck setting at idle speed while running the pumps to furnish water through their long hoses.

A flat bed farm truck during hot summer days. It slowly moves in a field while hay bales are loaded at almost idle speed.

No doubt at higher RPM’s this 6 blade fan would create extra wind noise under the hood but, after all, it was the price you paid to have a non-boiling radiator. (And it did the job successfully)

TEMPERARY FIX

Overheating ½ or ¾ ton? As calcium builds up over the years in engine and radiator, heating problems may surface. As a “Band-Aid” to get by for a while, some owners install the larger 18” fan. With more air passing through the radiator core, major repairs can sometimes be postponed.

Front End Alignment at Home

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Accurate front end alignment on any straight axle can be done in your home garage. Stop unnecessary tire wear and pulling side to side.

This basic blue-print shows it all. It’s a no-brainer! The two small notches on each end of the alignment plate are a suggested place to secure your measuring tape.

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1960-72 Gas Tank Danger, Is There a Problem?

Friday, October 6th, 2017

There appears to be a rumor being spread that the 1960-72 behind the seat gas tank (in a carburetor engine) should be relocated. The major reasons said is “gas fumes or safety”. Here is the other side of the argument.

General Motors was not stupid! Do some people today really think GM would have sold millions of unsafe trucks in those years? Even then, there was a large supply of lawsuits if accidents occurred due to a deliberate sale of improperly engineer trucks.

The most negative comment heard from some gas tank relocating companies is “a gasoline smell might develop in the cab at any time”. Almost impossible!

Beginning in 1960 the gas tank and the fill spout were welded together as one unit. The very slight possibility of any gas fumes would be from under the sending unit gasket in the middle top of the tank. There is no place to store merchandise there. Then this gasket or seal is never disturbed and its five machine screws in the attaching plate are not moved.

The gas spout (part of the tank assembly) has the filler hole outside the cab. A tight gas grommet in the opening where the spout exits the cab prevents gasoline or rain water from ever entering the inside.

It goes even further. There is no fuel exiting the bottom of the tank. Gasoline leaves the top of the tank by being pulled by the fuel pump on the engine.
Here is a comment of safety in a vehicle collision in a front or rear hit or the truck gets a major side on its cab. What is the chance gasoline will leak unless the tank is ruptured. Very unlikely!

Compare this with someone placing the gas tank behind the rear axle below the bed versus it being mounted in the cab as General Motors did it.
Remember the 1973 Ford Pinto car parked on the roadside in 1978 that was rammed from behind at about 30 miles per hour? The gas tank was behind the rear axle. It burst into flames and Pinto occupants were all burned to death.

Reports range from 27 to 180 deaths as a result of rear impact related fuel tank fires in the Pinto. For additional data: Check Google and type in “Ford Pinto Gas Tank Explosion”.

1937 GMC Pickups, US and Canadian Differences

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Though 1937 GMC pickups were made in both Canada and the US, there is one major difference between them. They have very different engines. Here are some facts:

The 1937 US made GMC ½ tons used a flat head six cylinder engine from an Oldsmobile and in 1938 a flat head from Pontiac. These automobile engines were dependable with a proven record. This saved the egos of the US GMC dealers from trying to explain to customers why these “high-end” pickups were using the competitor’s engine.

In the US, the first year for the GMC ½ ton was 1936. They were all the longer 125 inch wheel base. The following year the GMC pickup was introduced in Canada and were made in the GM assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario Canada. Just like GMC in the US in 1937, Canada offered a short wheel base 112” and optional long bed 125” wheel base. The Canadian Pontiac dealers were given this pickup to market alongside their car line. Unlike the US, there were no stand-alone dealerships for these new GMC pickups!

The long awaited introduction of the 216 six cylinder overhead valve engine was in 1937. It was used in Chevrolet cars and trucks in Canada and the US. This engine was quite successful for the existing roads in both countries. It was used in production Chevrolet vehicles 16 years.

When the GMC pickup first came on the market in Canada, it was given more horsepower than Chevys ½ ton. GM did this by adding a 216 Chevrolet engine with bored cylinders to create 224 cubic inches. This bore sizes increased from 3 ½” to 3 9/16”. Aluminum pistons also added more power over the Chevy cast iron units.

It appears the engineers designing the GMC pickup in the US wanted no part of using a Chevy engine for their first introduction into the pickup truck market. (GMC had previously been the big truck arm of General Motors). Because the Great Depression of the mid 1930’s GM needed to make emergency changes. Big truck sales in the US had reached such low numbers that something (a small pickup truck) had to happen quickly. Many US GMC dealers had gone out of business. Some were surviving only by repair work or selling additional products such as farm equipment, used cars and laying off employees.

In Canada financial disaster was not as imminent as there were no dealerships that sold only large GMC trucks. The newly introduced 1937 GMC pickup would not be marketed in a one marque location. GM of Canada used the new GMC to help the Pontiac dealers that were also feeling low sales. These dealers would probably be required to stock only a few GMC pickups and a basic supply of repair parts. After all, the Canadian Chevrolet car and truck dealer would also have a supply of new mechanical parts that covered all the items that the GMC pickup needed, except for aluminum pistons. Many of the Pontiac / GMC dealers would probably obtain the mechanical parts from local Chevy dealer and not wait for an order from Oshawa, Ontario of a week or more.

The big engine change for GMC in the USA was in 1939. Now GMC had developed their own six cylinder engine. All GMC pickups came with a 228 cubic inch power plant had overhead valves in the head.

The New 1937 Canadian GMC Pickup

Friday, August 4th, 2017

It appears the GMC Division of General Motors in the United States wanted no part of using a Chevrolet low oil pressure engine for their 1936 introduction into the pickup truck market. GMC had previously been GM’s big truck provider however the Great Depression of the 1930’s required emergency changes. Quickly.

Large GMC truck sales in the US had reached such low numbers that something (a small pickup) had to be introduced immediately. Many US GMC big truck dealers had gone out of business and others were surviving only by repair work or equipment selling, marketing used cars, and laying off employees.

In Canada the GMC financial disaster was not the same as there were no “stand alone GMC dealers”. A ½ ton GMC pickup would be good in Canada but no one would be required to have a “GMC Only” franchise. GM of Canada used Pontiac Buick car dealers to market the GMC pickups for many years. Each of the dealers were probably required to stock at least one pickup at the beginning and a supply of new very basic repair parts that would be needed. (In Canada, the new GMC pickup was introduced in 1937, not 1936 as in the US). Canadian sales were slow in the beginning, mostly because of the Great Depression years. Only about 800 found owners throughout Canada that year.

The Canadian Chevrolet car and truck dealer would also have a supply of new parts that covered everything that the GMC pickup needed mechanically except the aluminum pistons. Many Pontiac Buick dealers would probably obtain their mechanical parts in their town from the local Chevrolet dealer rather than wait for an order from the main GM supplier in Oshawa, Ontario of a week or more.

There was not a GMC with larger gross weight produced in the factory at Oshawa, Ontario. If you wanted a large General Motors truck made in Canada, you bought it from a Chevrolet dealer under the name Maple Leaf. Most all came with 20” tires as did the US made GMC 1 ½ ton. The Maple Leaf was available and assembled only in Canada from 1931 through 1951. Most all was like the US Chevrolets except for the grill, front fenders, bumper and related attachments. We assume GM of Canada gave it a more patriotic name to encourage sales as well as the front sheet metal looking much different than the US Chevrolet large trucks.

The new 1937 Canadian GMC ½ ton was to be (by tradition) a truck that provided more power than Chevrolet. Therefore, the total Canadian ½ ton truck would cost a bit more with a totally different front grill and bumper but lowered some production costs by not using an Oldsmobile engine that was in the US GMC at the beginning.

The new Canadian GMC powered pickup used a 216 Chevy engine with larger diameter cylinders to create 224 cubic inches. Bore size increased from 3 ½ to 3 9/16. Aluminum pistons also added more power over the 216 Chevy six cylinder engines with their heavy cast iron design. Note: This extra horsepower 224 sic cylinder (modified 216) was continued in the GMC pickup through 1939. It was in 1940 that GM of Canada began the traditional 216 as was in all Chevrolets. (The oversized aluminum pistons were no longer used). This 216 continue to be the GMC pickup power until the end of 1952.

1939-1940 Chevy Crank Hole Cover

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

There is sometimes a discussion among early Chevy truck owners if their trucks came with a crank-hole cover in their grille.  Here is the scoop!

All of their original 1939-1940 Chevrolet grilles came with this cover!  Without it they would look incomplete.  A very unattractive hole is visible when the cover is removed.  The cover must be in place to have a smooth center vertical bar.

Important:  Replacement 1939-40 grilles (not made by General Motors) have no cover produced.  In place of a cover is a decorative round outer hole attached to the inner hole that is usually not provided.  The two items attached together allow the necessary opening to enable a hand crank to rotate the engine by a person standing in front of the truck.  Thus, there is no need to remove anything to crank the 216 engine manually as there was when the truck was new.

FYI:  There was originally a removable crank hole cover on original Chevrolet truck grilles from 1946 back to at least the early 1930’s.

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How Rare are 1958 Cameos?

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

This was the end of the series! It is said the 1957 year would have ended production for this “Boulevard” pickup. Their unique bed was why they continued about 6 months into the next production year.

GM either had too many complete beds in stock or they were locked into a contract with the outside bed producer. Either way, GM did not want to send most of their expensive beds to the land fill or be sued by the bed factory for not buying the agreed number.

Thus we have a 1958 Cameo to help dispose of the oversupply of complete beds. The result was a total 1958 Cameo production of 1,405 units produced in just a few factories, not the six assembly lines during the other three years.  This was not enough Cameos to supply one to each dealer!

All this occurred because there were too many beds. It even caused GM to postpone the plans to introduce their new deluxe full trim fleetside pick up until 1959!

To help the Chevrolet dealers from having two designs of half ton deluxe pickups in 1958, the new trim design was held back until the next year. Without GM doing this, the 1958 Cameo would really have been difficult to sell.  For about the same money the style conscious retail buyer would not look twice at a 1958 Cameo when a new updated deluxe Fleetside ½ ton was available.

In this way dealers were given time to reduce their inventory rather than GM giving the dealers a percent off the unsold Cameos. This helped sales of the new last year Cameos.  This would not have been good for the three years of previous Cameo owners that had paid the full retail price.  All this, because these- too many- remaining beds postponed the plans to introduce the new Deluxe Fleetside pickup.

What is an unrestored 1958 Cameo price in today’s market? It’s like most any limited survival item. It is what the market will bare at any particular time.

Look at the attached photos of Scott Phaneuf’s recent 1958 Cameo purchase. To most it would be a total loss other than maybe the bed.  This will be Scott’s 6th ground-up restoration of a 1958 Cameo (he still has them all) and an expert in his field; he knows what he can do to make it a show quality restoration.  Saved from the landfill!

Another item of interest about Scott’s Cameo Fleet: How do you get your four best 1958 Cameos to a car show? It’s easy!  You restore a 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100 tractor and a 1964 four vehicle carrier and all arrives at the same time.  Photos to follow!

Note: If you really like very rare GM trucks, watch for a 1958 GMC Suburban Carrier. It has the same bed, cab, and differential.  Less than 500 found new owners 60 years ago.

 

Add Extra Speed to your 1/2 Ton

Friday, July 14th, 2017

The early GM ½ tons roll along relatively well on today’s highways considering the roads they were designed for 50 to 60 years ago. As highways became better Chevrolet and GMC added extra horse power six cylinder engines (each model had its own inline six cylinder) to satisfy the demands of many buyers.

Even with this improvement the ½ tons could still not keep up with the higher speed limits on the open road. American ingenuity comes to the rescue! In recent years many owners that love their early GM ½ ton pickup and want no major changes, have develop methods to overcome this lower speed handicap. Just when enthusiast think they know why your ½ ton rolls along with traffic, they become shocked when they see what looks like an all original drive train. They thought it had a small block V-8 but appears to be a ½ ton just like it came from the factory! The following describes one method to create a ½ ton that is a pleasure to drive for the enthusiast.

Enter Bill Miles of Ashland, Massachusetts with a near show quality 1953 GMC ½ ton. He really enjoyed driving his pickup however, on even the flat flat smooth highways he was held back in the slow lane. He thought “there must be (maybe a combination of things) that can increase speed and less the engine RPM”.

Here was Bill’s formula to increase speed, reduce engine RPM’s, and make even many experts say “I cannot believe what I am seeing”.

DIFFERENTIAL:

He replaced his original 4.11 ratio ring and pinion for the recently introduced 3.55 ratio. All is hidden inside the differential housing. This alone gives almost a 20% increase in extra top end speed.

TIRES AND WHEELS:

Bill removed his aftermarket 15” 6 bolt wheels. Their radial tires were 27” in diameter.

He went back to the original GM 16” wheels that increased the size to 30.5. The tires added were 215/85 R 16 radials. This 3.5” increase in diameter made a noticeable difference!

In fact, Bill states the improvement with the differential gearing and tire diameter increase dropped the RPM 800 at 65 mph.

SIX CYLINDER ENGINE EXCHANGE:

For the maximum speed increase using the factory “big brother” engine in place of the standard ½ ton engine was the adding the larger six cylinders used by GM on the 2 tons, cab-over-engine bodies, and most school buses. Most use almost the same overhaul gaskets, so they are almost identical in appearance.

CHEVROLET: The engine of choice is the 261 cubic inch full oil pressure in line six. It will really wake up your early GM ½ ton! See our very detailed article on this engine on our website tech article series at www.oldchevytrucks.com.

GMC: The 228, 248 and small port 270 original GMC six cylinders are good solid engines but when you really get serious on extra horse power it is the 302 that is on the top of the list. GMC even use a 2 barrel carb to get the most from these extra cubic inches. It also was in the 2 ton, cab-over-engine and school bus from about 1956 to 1959.

For Bill Miles, his 1953 GMC ½ ton has become a pleasure to drive. He has driven through the USA on vacation about 40,000 miles in the last 15 years. It is a nice cruiser at 65mph. Yes, once he tried it at 80 mph but he noticed strange body sounds occurring so he decided to keep it at its best speed of 65 to 70 mph!

Cameo Trailer Hitch Assemble

Monday, June 26th, 2017

What a surprise! After 35 years in the old GM truck business we discover there was a custom trailer hitch made just for the 1955-58 Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban Carrier. Installs with no damage to these rare classic GM trucks.

The assembly is secured by placing only two approximately ¾ inch bolt holes in the frame rail under the bed. The two rear chrome bumperettes are removed. Their securing holes become the rear support for this hitch. No damage to the truck. Very impressive.

This is not a home-made one of a kind hitch. Scott Phaneuf in Massachusetts with six Cameos says he has seen three of these exact hitches on unrestored Cameos in the past 30 years. However, he can find no GM data showing these were available. He can only assume these were marketed by a private hitch manufacturer and sold by non GM installers.

Two photos are when the 1958 Cameo was first bought with the hitch in place.  The second photo is the horizontal bar removed and placed on the white tailgate.

Several months later the hitch has been sand blasted and painted.  The four plates are the later pictures.

This will soon be marketed by Jim Carter Truck Parts.

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Hitch in place

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Bar Removed and on a tailgate

Suburban and Panel Truck Inner Gas Grommet Spout

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

This large grommet is so hidden, most owners have no idea it exists. It is exclusive to the 1947-55 (Advance Design) Suburban, panel truck and Canopy Express.

Because the body is so much wider than a step side pickup the full add pipe must be longer. The body also has an inner as well as outer panel. The inner panel protects the outer sheet metal from accidental damage when merchandise with sharp corners is hauled.

To prevent metal to metal contact from the gas spout touching the inner panel, GM provided a different grommet for inner and outer metal panel. It is the unseen inner panel that has the seldom seen grommet.

Check these photos. They show the inner grommet in position as well as on a table for photos.

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Above data made possible by allowing US a close view of this 1948 Suburban. The owner Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop in Independence, Mo.

1939-46 Sagging Door Handles

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Drooping outside door handle? Repairs are available. A small broken spring in the hidden latch assembly is the problem.

Probably most were never repaired by prior owners! If requires removing the inner door panel and then the latch assembly. This latch is usually placed in a vise for replacing the small inner spring. Right and left are different.

It is not a difficult procedure, however a big concern is damaging the paint on the large inner door panel. The many small screws must be removed to gain access to the latch.

Good News! Both the right and left side spring have recently been reproduced. They are available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and other full stocking dealers of older GM truck restoration parts.

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Good spring in latch

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The spring is broken!

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Good working spring

1934-38 Horn Wire Metal Loom and Connection

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Bet you didn’t know!

The two electric wires extending from the main harness run vertically beside the intake or exhaust manifold to the horn, depending on the year.

Here is the way Chevrolet did it on trucks and cars: From 1938 and older trucks and cars the two horn wires run vertically up to the horn between the exhaust manifold and the intake manifold. When looking at the rear of the intake manifold mounted horn (on the early six cylinder) the two wire attaching posts are on a 4 o’clock position. This results in the two wires being close to the heat of the exhaust manifold. To better protect these wires from heat damage, the factory harness includes a 14 inch corrugated metal loom as part of their complete harness assembly. This metal loom was on all early Chevrolet inline six cylinder vehicles as well as on factory replacement harnesses.

Even with this loom protection, there was still occasional heat damage to the two wires! To solve the problem beginning in 1939, the vertical horn connecting wires changed position. Now, the wire was found on the exterior side of the intake manifold. The two connecting posts were rotated to be at the 8 o’clock position. This made it possible to keep the wires away from the manifold beyond heat. Thus, the protective metal loom was no longer necessary.

Surprise: The mechanical part of the 1934 to 1953 horn can be rotated by the hobbyist. Remove the six securing fasteners, on the perimeter rotate it to the new position, and retighten the securing nuts. Therefore, the horn is easily changed from the early to the later years design. This replacement loom is now available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and other full stocking dealers.

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1934-36 horn. Connecting points at the 4 O’clock position

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1937-38 horn with wires in metal vertical loom (beside exhaust)

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1939 and newer on left. 1934-36 on right (connecting post on opposite sides)

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1939 and newer. (Mounted on intake) 8 O’clock position. No metal loom required

1938 Chevrolet Grill Trivia

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

This data may be of interest to those restoring a 1938 Chevy truck or car grill to look very authentic.

After the chrome plating was added at the factory additional appearance steps were necessary. The extended metal on the horizontal bars were given a satin black paint. The two outer verticals were also given this satin black coating on their visible inners.

How was the color added after plating? It is suspected the total grill was painted. Then a person could quickly wipe the black from the outer edge of the horizontal bars with a solvent. This would not require a high paid skilled painter, just a person with moderate talent and a good wiping cloth.

The single indentation in the six wider horizontal bars were given a red stripe. The attached photos of a New Old Stock, never installed grill, shows the red strip was probably added by a painter in the plant not using a stencil. There is an inconsistent look in how the red was added on this near 80 year old new grill. Trimming this total paint package results in a very nice appearance. The GM designers had a good eye!

Photos by: Nancy Russell, Columbia, Missouri

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1937 Chevrolet Bumper

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Currently only one factory in the world reproduces the 1937 Chevrolet ½ ton bumper. Basically a very nice chrome reproduction that will satisfy most all restorers.

Only one error in its production stands out. Sometimes perfectionist make comments but this is all there is! Either use it as is or straighten and re-chrome or re-chrome an 80 year old original.

The enclosed photo shows the extra rolling bend close to each end. We can only assume it was placed there to save some tooling cost by using the existing metal press in some factory.

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Slight extra roll about 10” from each end

Suggestion: The 1937 Chevy passenger car uses the same bumper as the pickup and they were not exposed to abuse during regular work duties. There is a good chance a used car bumper will be better to start with for a successful restoration. The problem here is a nice used car bumper is usually still on the car and no one will allow it to be removed.

1938 Chevrolet Truck Color Sheet

Friday, January 6th, 2017

For the perfectionist that wants his 1938 (and 1937) just right, here is an original page from an 80 year old sales booklet. It shows the eleven colors that could be requested when a new Chevrolet truck was ordered. Because of the page’s age, it might be 10% off in color even if it was in the dark among stored papers.

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1956-59 Chevrolet GMC Suburban, Panel Truck Taillight

Friday, January 6th, 2017

General Motor’s method of saving tooling cost on commercial vehicles shows up in the production of these tail light assemblies. By the mid 50’s years the increase demand for turn signals, two taillights were required on the panel truck and Suburban’s. GM built them right and left, installed in the body, at the factory for the first time.

These were made so one light fit the right and left side. They were turned 180 degree and they would interchange. The red lens was also turned in the housing at 180 degrees. It got the job done with half the tooling.

Surprise! These are now produced new in pairs at Jim Carter Truck Parts and other full stocking early GM truck dealers.

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1934-35 Chevrolet Truck Headliner – Real

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

This is for those that consider originality very important! We recently received a photo of a “real” truck headliner still in place after over 80 years. Amazing!

We just could not trash this photo of one of probably the only example in existence. Most people today were not alive when it came off the assembly line. It appears to have been held in place with the two parallel metal strips that run between the doors. They still have some of their black paint.

One addition added years later are the four metal rusty “c” shaped strips that extend from the horizontal wood support above the rear window to behind the original rear long strip. It is assumed this was added later to stop the sagging of the aged headliner material.

Interesting: The headliner is a dark olive color, not the expected brown or black. Mike Russell of Fulton, Missouri recently received these photos from a truck customer that had asked some technical questions. He also knew it was probably the only one in existence!

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1940-46 Chevrolet Accessory Radio

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A very rare Chevrolet dealer installed accessory would have been a radio. Placing this more luxury item in a work truck was very unusual. Most people had limited incomes and a radio would be a big extra even for the family car.

To save tooling money on a new 1940 radio creation for the Chevy truck, General Motors used the base AM radio made for their 1940 passenger car. In the factory GM box delivered to Chevrolet dealers, a pair of right angle brackets were included. They attached to the front side of the radio head for mounting to the dash and could fasten to the radio at a 90 degree difference depending if it was attached to a car or truck.

On the car the radio it fit in a pre-made hole in the dash. On the truck it was secured to the underside of the dash to the left side of the steering column. The attached photos show the attached right angle brackets attached to the radio and set up for the truck.

Warning: Most all radios of this design have the dial made of a round rolling thin white “plastic” cylinder with red numbers. Shown in photo. When it is allowed to be exposed for many years in direct sunlight, this plastic in the window becomes very dark. It is as if it is burned! If you find a used unit for sale, be sure you turn the roller dial to see if the burned red numbers have not been rolled out of site.

This burned window portion of the plastic roller is not repairable and to date no reproductions are available. Yes, the radio may play with good sound but there will always be a black window on a certain radio station!

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Wax Your Rusty Truck!

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Many truck owners have chosen to leave their vehicle’s old paint or rusty surface just as they found it setting in a back lot or farm field. Then the mechanicals are restored to new condition for safety and dependability. They now are called a “RAT-ROD”.

Enter now a great way to protect the aged metal surface and keep that old look. At a recent swap meet we met Dave Allder in Nebraska. He introduced us to a process that keeps the old appearance with an added dull shine. The appearance of his 1929 Ford Model AA big truck really draws attention and trophies at local special interest car shows. Of course, this is done at a fraction of the cost of patching, preparation, and painting the metal surface. Here are some steps that will make the rusty exterior metal surface a real eye catcher.

  1. Supplies: A can of Johnson Paste Wax (found in a flat yellow can in most medium size hardware stores. It has been popular in this type can in households since the 1940’s).  A hot hair dryer and grease free wiping rags.
  2. Clean metal surface of all dust and dirt. Let dry.
  3. For best results, go over the dry panel first by buffing the rust with a “fine” grade brush on an electric drill.
  4. Heat one panel at a time with a heavy duty hair dryer or commercial heat gun. If a panel is heated with the sun on a summer 100 degree day, you can forget the electric heat gun!
  5. Important: While panel is hot, apply Johnson Wax evenly with a dry cloth.
  6. Allow to dry before removing the haze with a dry rag!
  7. Now you have a great protected panel with a satin sheen. It will make people wonder, “How did this happen”? It looks so nice!
  8. For better results, experiment with some rusty metal to learn the technique before you really get serious with the real project.

 

These photos show why Dave’s truck gets so much attention at local shows. Also attached is a headlight bucket from a 1941-46 Chevy truck.  The close-up shows 50% hot waxed and the remainder as it was found in a lot behind a barn.  Not a great picture due to a poor camera but it does show the small panel before and after.

You can contact Dave Allder @ dave.allder@gmail.com

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Before – As Dave found it.

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After – The total waxing is completed

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Left side: As most find older untreated bare metal
Right side: After the hot wax process

Frame Cutting – Be Careful!

Friday, November 18th, 2016

General Motors realized that after larger work trucks left the factory some owners would want to lengthen or shorten the side frame rails. Replacement beds would sometime require a different wheel base.

Therefore, as a warning GM painted or etched letters to tell owners the importance of a good, safe connection after the frame is cut. The attached photo shows a 1936 Chevrolet still showing this lettering on the inner frame rail. It is understood a similar warning is also on more modern trucks. Note: Even in the mid-1930’s the attorneys of General Motors were suggesting these warnings be visible to lessen laws suits!

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1936 1 ½ ton from a farm in Western Kansas. Still displays the warning after 80 years! Seen just after the cut. Sorry photo does not help seeing the letters!

1937 Gas Tank Venting

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

An unusual gas tank venting system was on 1934 – Early 1936 Chevrolet 1 1/2 ton trucks and 1937 to early 1938 1/2 tons. This was necessary because their under seat gas tanks did not have a fill spout. They were filled directly into the top of the tank. (A few late 1936 Chevrolet low cabs 1 1/2 tons did have a short fill spout which extended through the right side of the seat riser. However, the passenger door needed to be open to reach the filler cap). See tech article titled “1934-36 Chevrolet Gas Tank Changes”. Why General Motors did this is unknown however it surely created a big inconvenience as gasoline could only be added to the tank by raising the passenger side lower seat cushion. On cold or rainy days a passenger would need to stand out of the cab while the station attendant also stood outside to make the fill.

Because air must enter the tank to take the place of gasoline used by the engine, somewhere it must be vented. If there is a cap on a filler spout it is not a problem. A small hole in the cap allows air into the tank. Placing a fuel tank under the cab seat in a truck without a spout brings up a problem. How do we vent the tank without having fuel vapor enter the cab while the engine is not running or how does it vent to the inside when the engine is running?

General Motors created an ingenious method of solving this problem. The attached photo shows a 1937 fuel tank cut in two halves. A hidden vent tube is installed vertically inside the tank.

IT SOLVES TWO PURPOSES

1. While setting without the engine running, vapors reach the 6 holes in the inside vent plate. If a light vapor pressure develops on a warm day (or in a warm garage) it is easily released under the tank through the vertical pipe.

2. When the engine is running, air enters the tank through this vent in a reverse flow as gasoline is pulled out by the fuel pump.

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Vertical Vent Tube (tank baffle in background)

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Close up of inside 6 hole vent plate.

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Vent tube ending on tank bottom. (also see shut off valve and line connection to fuel pump)

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Top of 6 hole vent plate assembly (also nearby, the opening for adding gasoline)

Gas Tank Baffles

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

For the many people that have not seen a gas tank baffle, this should be of interest. These are usually flat metal dividers welded inside a fuel tank. They slow the side to side movement of the fuel. Numerous openings between the welded dividers cause a slower movement of fuel. See Photo.

Baffle Trivia!

1. All tanks in a vehicle that moves must have baffles so a sudden sharp turn or stop does not cause all the liquid contents to instantly surge to one side of the tank.

2. The surge of fuel can even uncover the low filled fuel tank’s pickup inlet so the engine hesitates or stops.

3. Noise of fuel moving from side to side can create an annoying sound if near the passenger area.

4. On early vehicles the fuel can be forced out of the fill inlet to drip on exterior paint or running boards.

5. Example of a non-baffle moving tank with liquid inside: Ever been behind a yard spraying truck moving in a neighborhood? The liquid fertilizer or insecticide freely moves from side to side
as the translucent plastic storage tank is moved on the side streets.

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1937 Chevy truck tank cut in half showing one baffle

1936-46 Rear Brake Line Protection

Friday, November 11th, 2016

For those that have not looked under the differential of an early Chevy / GMC truck, the following may be of interest.

Protection of the metal rear brake lines are shown in the attached photos from a 1939 Chevrolet ½ ton. They are separated by a brass division block (gray in photos) which is on the right side of the differential.

The result is a much shorter brake line section on the right side that connects to the wheel cylinder. It is interesting to see how GM protected the lines from stumps and rocks in the field. The line reaches from the top of the axle housing down to the wheel cylinder it is run behind and above the shock attachment arm and spring attaching bracket. It is kept away from incoming materials as the truck is driven in very rough terrain.

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Close-up

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Full View

1934-39 Chevy Tail Light Loom

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Buy Chevy & GMC Truck Parts only @ Jim Carter's Old Chevy Trucks. 1000's in stock now!
GM always made sure the taillight wires were protected from unexpected damage! Because vinyl covered wires were not yet invented, the cloth covered wires required extra protection. This is certainly true for wires in the wheel well area that are continually hit by road debris.

This was done by a 5/16 diameter inch galvanized metal flexible conduit. The length was different between the ½ ton and 1 ½ ton which depended on the distance from the back of the taillight to the factory hole in the frame rail. See Photo. All made in the USA.

Good News: This kit is available especially made with flexible conduit crimped on brass ferrules on ends and the curved metal connector that secures it to the oval taillight. This connector must be used to correctly attach the wires to the original oval taillight.

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Different length on 1 1/2 ton.

Tow Ring 1936 1 1/2 Ton

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Buy Chevy & GMC Truck Parts only @ Jim Carter's Old Chevy Trucks. 1000's in stock now!
An unusual accessory from a pre-World War II era. When you bought a 1936 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton short or long bed truck, they all came with a round hole in the center of the rear cross sill.

This allowed the dealer to easily add a tow ring with threaded attaching rod. This rod was simple inserted in the hole with a nut and washer securing it to the center of the cross sill.

This extra allowed for a quick connection when the 1936 was needed to tow a disabled vehicle.

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Rear View

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Side View

1936 High Cab Doors

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Buy Chevy & GMC Truck Parts only @ Jim Carter's Old Chevy Trucks. 1000's in stock now!
This subject came to the surface recently by a customer, Jake LaRose of Maynard, Iowa. He had purchased an outer door skin for his 1936 Chevy ½ ton however the fit was just not quite correct, close but not right! Jake was at a loss! We immediately began to research for an answer to his dilemma.

The answer was discovered after so much research and locating people with these pre-war trucks.
The answer was that 1936 is a split year between the low and high cab designs. The doors did look the same, however, we found a fraction of an inch prevents a high cab door sheet metal patch panel from fitting on a low cab door frame!

With this unusual data discovered, it only seems appropriate to place the findings in writing for the few that may be stumped with this part of their 80 year old Chevy truck restoration.

The 1934 through mid-1936 Chevy truck doors were equipped with three hinges. The difference here is that the 1934-35 years had doors supported by a wood frame. The outer sheet metal skin was tacked to the wood. As long as the wood held up from deterioration, they closed very well. (This door construction was the method used even on Chevrolet’s first trucks in 1918)

Problem: The wood in most trucks setting outside was effected by morning dew and many rains each year. As time went on, door sagging and thus worn hinges and latches, became common.

GM designers in 1934 and 1935 were aware of what would usually occur to the current doors on new trucks based on those of prior years. Therefore, the decision was made not to wait for the coming late 1936 high cab design to improve on the wood frame design. The Great Depression was underway and new truck and car sales were very slow. GM improvements like eliminating wood frames in door construction for longer life was hoped to add more sales by hesitant buyers of these large high ticket items.

Thus, an unusual change (near the end of the high cab era) was introduced at the beginning of the 1936 year. Though the actual cab construction remained the older wood frame with a metal skin tacked over. Doors in early 1936 changed with sides and interior supports made of stamped sheet metal.

Their three door hinges required a slight modification. The hinge half that attached to the front cab door post were unchanged (this vertical door support remained wood) however the hinge half that attached the new metal door frame used holes designed for fasteners that secured to metal.

In summary: If you are under a major restoration of an early 1936 Chevrolet truck, be sure you do not purchase late 1936 door sheet metal repair skins. They will not fit!
As of this writing, early 1936 door skins are not available, however bids are currently being requested from several skilled metal workers to create a limited number of these handmade skins!

IMPORTANT SUMMARY:

What is so unique about the above text? The dimensions of the new metal door skins on the 1936 high cab with metal frames remained the same as the 1934-35 with wood frames.

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High cab – early 1936                    Low cab – late 1936

6 and 12 Volt Alternator – Warning

Monday, October 10th, 2016

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Alternator Warning

As some owners now replace their original electric generators with a modern alternator, here is an important warning that must be considered.

This is in regards to the in-dash original amp gauge used on most all vehicles. This gauge was made for a lower amperage flow provided by the early factory generator, usually a max of about 35 amps (sometimes 45 amp if factory air conditioning) on most 1950’s vehicles.

When a modern alternator is added, sometimes they have the ability to create a current as much as 75 amps.  Sometimes this is not good! The original dash amp gauges were not made to carry this high charging level and they could be permanently ruined if one thing happens.

If your alternator equipped older vehicle has a totally drained battery (lights left on, small electrical short, etc.) there may be trouble.

The alternator charging the dead battery starts operating to its full capacity when the engine begins running.  Remember during this charging period, if it’s a 60 to 75 amp alternator, it may ruin the original amp gauge with the “catch-up” to reach full battery charge.  If the battery is almost at full charge, no damage will occur.  The older amp gauge is not made to withstand this high current flow.

The older gauge can be identified by the two posts on the back side (positive and negative post). All current created from the alternator passes through the amp gauge. If this is a concern, running the current through an add on volt meter below the dash will be the option or use an alternator with not over 50 amp charging capacity.  A 50 amp alternator will provide the service most require on older vehicles.

1955-59 1/2 Ton NAPCO Springs

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Buy Chevy & GMC Truck Parts only @ Jim Carter's Old Chevy Trucks. 1000's in stock now!
If you have a NAPCO 4 wheel drive ½ ton, the following might be of interest. Owners sometimes wonder if their NAPCO 4 x 4 was installed at a franchise NAPCO shop that were in most medium size towns or was it installed on a Chevrolet GMC factory assembly line when GM began offering them in 1957. (NOTE: GM first offered 4 wheel drive trucks in 1957 and used the pre-existing NAPCO system) Of course, the letters NAPCO were never printed in GM literature and the NAPCO fender emblems were not attached as they would be by a franchised dealer.

If you have a 1957-59 Chevrolet or GMC, you can always tell if it is a NAPCO system by looking at the front of the axle housing. The N-A-P-C-O letters will be in full view!

Another quick way to tell the source is the leaf springs. From a NAPCO installed kit the ½ ton front springs are not changed but have 6 leaves on the front. The GM assembly line used 7 leaves. On the rear NAPCO installed kit they used the original 7 leaves. GM used an 8 leaf spring.

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1941-46 Chevrolet Pickup Grill Guard

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Buy Chevy & GMC Truck Parts only @ Jim Carter's Old Chevy Trucks. 1000's in stock now!
Of the limited number of dealer accessories available for the 1941-46 Chevrolet pickups, one was made more for appearance rather than practicality. This was defined as a “grill guard”.

This chromed u-shaped guard was said to protect the grill from accidental damage. (The sheet metal grill was of a thin metal gauge that could be easily damaged by most outside contacts) It would be most important to protect it from parking lot bumps. Here chances increased to have another vehicle park too close and make contact with the grill.

Note the attractive simplicity of this grill guard. The u-shape bar is bent to allow a “hand crank” to have access to the engine. As per the photo all 1941-46 Chevy grills also had an opening for the hand crank access.

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Early Chevrolet 1930’s Taillights – Car or Truck?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

The 1931-1932 Chevrolet cars were equipped with chrome plated oval taillights. Their attractive design added to the overall appearance of the new passenger car. This was to help attract potential customers that were experiencing some of the worst years of the Great Depression.

Surprise!

We find that GM reused parts of these car lights again on the 1934-1939 Chevrolet Trucks. This was the housing or bucket and the many internal connection parts to secure the light bulbs. This saved GM much rather than designing new tooling.

As repeats they were not noticeable to most because the buckets were now painted black and only the painted outer ring and lens were different.
Just another way GM saved much tooling money by passing on earlier car parts to their trucks a few years later. After all: Trucks were for work. Their appearance was secondary.

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1931-32 Car Taillight

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1934-39 Truck Taillight

1934 Grill Verticals

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

For many years we have heard rumors about the 1934 Chevrolet Master Car Grill. Some have said they came with alternate chrome and black vertical grill bars. Others say they did not. A large piece to this debate was seen at the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America 2016 Convention in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Here, we saw two 1934 Chevy Masters with this grill paint design being judged.

One owner said without a doubt his is correct. His 40 years as an early Chevrolet car enthusiast made him very sure he restored his 1934 grill correctly. He had seen it in various 1934 brochures and it had to be correct.

The attached photos show the two chrome and black 1934 grills on Chevy Masters in the judging row at the Lake Tahoe Convention.

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1934 Master Sedan – Red Body

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1934 Master Roadster – Blue Body

Editor’s note: One of the 1934 owners describes the process to get the alternate vertical bar appearance in his restoration. A very skilled auto painter gave the total grill a coat of semi-flat black. Then very skillfully wiped every other vertical bar to expose the chrome. A solvent such as lacquer thinner is used. No mistakes allowed or the painting must be started again. What a nice appearance that was not expensive for GM and might have helped sales during the height of the Great Depression! Or did these restorers get their proof on this grill painting from drawings in sales brochures? Therefore, in reality did this alternate grill bar painting actually come on Chevy Masters cars on the assembly line?

TRUCK GRILLS

As this article section is actually meant to be about GM trucks, the big question is: If the alternate painting actually existed, was it also on trucks?

In early 1934 only two sizes of Chevrolet trucks were marketed, the ½ and 1 ½ ton size. The larger 1 ½ ton had all black grills. The only debate may be on the ½ ton pickup. We stand by our opinion that GM never took the extra step to create alternative vertical grill bars on trucks. They were made for work and appearance details were secondary. The manufacturers would not add extra expense to a work truck while they were attempting to get the lowest price to encourage sales. The economic future of the US was the major concern to General Motors during the Great Depression. Keeping their dealer network in business was a must. The lowest price to make a sale was the goal.

1937-38-39 Headlights – Car Verses Truck

Monday, August 15th, 2016

With the headlight ring and reflectors now being reproduced for the 1937-1939 Chevrolet truck, we are occasionally asked, “Will these parts also fit that year of Chevy passenger car?”

Sorry they will not on US made trucks! The passenger cars have a slightly smaller lens and reflector. The car reflector has a diameter of 7 inches while the same year of truck is 7 5/8 inches.

To give the car headlight a more streamlined appearance the bucket (without the ring) is 11 ½ inches long. The trucks have a length of 8 inches.

Just a note: We discover that these three years of trucks in New Zealand and Australia were given car headlights! (In those years their trucks were imported from Canada). No doubt this extra length on these trucks requires extra care in raising the hood. Otherwise the back of the headlight bucket will receive continual scrapes on the paint due to the extra length.

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1937-39 Passenger Car Headlight Bucket. Plus Chevy trucks in New Zealand and Australia

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1937-39 Truck Headlight, US Production

Side Mount Spare Tire Bracket – Passenger Car Verses Truck

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The early Chevrolet side mount bracket on the 1936 & older ½ ton and passenger car are almost identical. However, there is a part that is so different that this article needed to be posted.

The securing fastener that holds the tire clamp in place on top is totally different on the two vehicles. The passenger car uses a chrome plated die-cast T-handle that blends nicely with the chrome plated steel tire clamp. It’s an attractive pair that adds to the cars appearance. This T-handle is made to be turned by hand to begin the removal of the tire and wheel from the wheel well in the front fender.

On the other hand, the ½ ton (designed as a work vehicle) does it different. The tire clamp is painted black, not chromed, but most unique is the securing fastener. A long hexagon nut with internal threads holds all together on the ½ ton. It is designed to be turned with the vehicle’s lug nut wrench in the tool kit. It is so rare to see the correct hexagon nut on an early truck!

During the 2016 Vintage Chevrolet Club of America in Lake Tahoe, Nevada no early pickups had the correct fastener.  They either had a car t-handle or hardware store nut.

Good news: Bids are currently being sent out by Jim Carter Truck Parts to have these special nuts made in quantities.

It seems the Chevrolet Motor Division, to save money, would have used the same side mount hardware in both the ½ ton and passenger car during the 1934-36 years. They did not! The attached photos show quite a difference in the cowl gasket and the horizontal support rod that is between the cowl and the long vertical support rod. Even during the Great Depression, they chose to make several changes in this area between the passenger cars and ½ tons.

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Passenger Car T-handle and cowl attaching grommet

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1/2 Ton Pickup Hexagon Nut and cowl attaching grommet

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Hardware store nut if original is lost. (Yes, you can still use the lug wrench)

Early Headlight Bulbs

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Almost all of the headlights during at least the mid to late 1930’s had double filament bulbs. They were 32cp (candle power) on either the low or high beam setting. This made replacing the burned out bulb a “no brainer”. You just pushed the bulb in the receiving socket and gave it a slight turn. This locked the bulb in place.

Even if you were 180 degrees different each time the bulb was added, it made no difference. Both high and low beam filament in bulb was 32cp.

NOW ENTERS A NEW VARIABLE. An aftermarket company later introduces a new bulb with a brighter high beam! It is rated 32cp low and 50cp high. Better roads allowing faster driving needed a brighter high beam.

Because the original bulb receiving sockets remain the same, this new 32cp / 50cp bulb must be placed in the socket just right! In other words, the high beam 50cp contact of this modern light bulb must contact the high beam wire in the harness. The bulb being added can only fit one of two ways. If incorrect you will have the 50cp as the low beam. Not good!

To prevent this low-high beam problem from occurring on the assembly line or at least at the dealership, a different bulb base was introduced. In 1937 on new vehicles and continued until the sealed beam began in 1940. The different holes in the flat ring around the bulb base prevented a mistake. The bulb could only be attached in one way. Most all vehicles by then were 32cp/50cp.

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1934-36 Duel Filament Bulb

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1937-39 Duel Filament Bulb

The Earliest Sealed Beam Bulbs

Two major changes have occurred in General Motors sealed beam bulbs. The early version are actually not sealed beams as we buy them today. They were first installed on vehicle assembly lines in 1940. The perfectionist restoring his truck to exact original specifications must have the correct headlights for his year. In very competitive judging, it’s these details that can make a difference. No doubt, replacement bulbs from a small GM dealership could sometimes be placed on newer vehicles a few years after the units were discontinued, however this article is based on bulbs you would have bought new from the factory during that particular year.

From 1940 through about 1955 seal beams had a double filament small bulb built inside. The large glass reflector in the back was sealed from the elements. It stayed bright even after the inside bulb burned out. It was not like earlier open reflectors that could tarnish with age due to the silver plating. The assembly comes with a metal black back attached for support. If the outer glass gets a rock hole, the light continues to work well. The filament is still encased in the smaller argon gas filled glass bulb through in the photo it is hidden behind the large glass cover.

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1940 through about 1955 (above)

More Modern Seal Beam Bulb

The first truly sealed beam bulbs, as are in auto part stores today, were introduced about 1955. Between the reflector and the outer glass covering is the open unprotected filament (no small internal bulb). The total interior is filled with argon gas to protect the filament from air which causes instant burn out when a rock places a small hole in the glass.

It is suspected rural car and truck owners quickly learned to stay their distance from the vehicle ahead with these new design seal beam. A flying rock causing a small hole in the glass can total the new sealed beam instantly.

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1955 and newer (above)

Beginning in 1955 both the 6 and 12 volt sealed beams have the three glass aiming bumps molded in the edges of the lens. The bumps were needed by new light aiming equipment provided to most all dealerships. These early second series GM bulbs with aiming bumps have the letters T-3 molded in the center of the glass lens. Most sold by the GM dealerships will also have the word Guide at the top of the lens.

Note: These modern bumps will interfere with properly attaching the chrome factory bezel on a 1940 Chevy/GMC headlight bucket as well if a 1937-1939 bulb light that has been converted to sealed beams. The bezels were not designed for the bulb still 15 years in the future. The 1940 GM vehicle owners will have a long hunt to find sealed beam bulbs without the three bumps.

It is interesting to note that the small two filament bulbs before 1940 had only a pair of contacts on their base. The bulbs were grounded by the metal reflector and the through the light housing.

A three wire plug was pressed to the seal beam in 1940 and newer. In this way the lighting had a ground wire which would carry the current to a solid metal part of the chassis. This gave less chance of a dimming light from rust or related corrosion at connection points.

Mirror Accessory

Friday, August 12th, 2016

When your truck has a side mount spare tire in the front fender, this rear view mirror accessory adds much to seeing what is behind you.

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Double Engine Numbers

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

You think you have seen most of the characteristics of the 216 inline six cylinder of the early Chevrolet years then up pops something that you have never seen. What was the reason for an identical engine number stamped on the same block, on the same side, about 9 “apart?

While visiting Jerry’s Early Chevy Repair Shop in Independence, Missouri (816-833-4414) we noticed this double stamping. The 216 six cylinder had just been returned from a degreasing and reboring of the cylinders. Thus, this 1946 block was perfectly clean so the numbers were all exposed.

NOTE: The normal engine number, as we have seen, was on early Chevrolet six cylinder blocks beside the hole for the distributor. However, this engine also has the same number under the side plate gasket! It is not seen until the gasket is removed. See photo.

Why would a Chevrolet engine factory take the extra effort to stamp this number behind the side cover gasket? So unusual. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Yes, we thought a law enforcement person could see if the original numbers by the distributor had been ground off and re-stamped. However, certainly much extra effort taking a full side plate off a 216 engine block to see a factory number was not for a roadside check!

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The usual place for a 216 and 235 stamped engine number

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A surprise find. The same number on this block was behind the side plate gasket.

1955 GMC Electrical Trivia

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

In mid-1955 General Motors introduced their long awaited new trucks, often referred to as the Second Series. The first half of the year 1955 (the first series)) GM continued to market the 1954 body style. They remained with the 6 volt system.

Though Chevrolet trucks made a complete change-over from a 6 to 12 volt electrical system, GMC did it different. Only the newly introduced V-8 (actually borrowed from Pontiac) was given the 12 volt system. It was the expected thing for GMC to do as the adopted Pontiac V-8 was equipped with a 12 volt flywheel, starter and generator.

GMC’s almost bullet proof 270 six cylinder was another story. They continued through the end of 1955 with their proven 6 volt positive ground electrical system that they had provided for over 40 years! After all, the main two electrical accessories were a radio and heater, so a 6 volt system continued to be adequate.

Just another area that divided the two marquis, GMC and Chevrolet, into different trucks even though they shared their cabs, beds, transmissions, wheels, suspensions, and most differentials.

Early Woven Cloth Hood Lace

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Prior to the pre WWII era, the quality of rubber was not advanced as would be later years. Real quality rubber was yet to be introduced. One big example is the hood lace on the GM trucks up to about 1941.

The hood on 1941 (and some larger trucks built during the war years) continued to be in protected by woven cloth to prevent metal to metal hood contact with the cab. This protective material was woven water treated cloth lacing rather than rubber in following years. The unique feature used by GM to secure the cloth hood lace, was a thin hidden wire in the hood lace full length so it could be tightened on each end.

To secure this hood lace to the truck, special slots were stamped by GM in the metal panels to allow it to “thread” in place and do its job for the many years ahead. See Photos.

Surprise! This cloth and wire combination hood lace was recently made available after 70 years. It is equal or better than the pre-war original cloth hood lace.

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Longer Hood Lace attached to cowl 1939-41

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More distance view. Left side view shows the front filler panel with slotted holes
to secure the shorter front cloth hood lace.

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Close up of 1946 on right should have 2 rubber bumpers toward the front of hood.
Photo even shows one original still intact on the bottom of the right panel.
Older panel on left side has slots for fabric hood lace and two securing screws.

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About 1945 & older has two slots (top and bottom) for holding the 5 ½” length
of cloth hood lace to cushion the front of the hood. Thus, no metal to metal
hood contact. The screw heads, deep in the fabric hold the hood lace ends to the back side.

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The ends of the early hood lace show an extended middle wire which is tightened with a special hook.

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Worn front hoodlace where it wraps to reach the long stamped hole.

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The long stamped hole after worn hoodlace is removed.

1954-59 Shift Knuckles

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

A big mistake! We can think of no better example of mistakes in producing older Chevy / GMC truck parts than this offering of a reproduction shift knuckle that is described “for the 1947-53 GM ½ and ¾ ton”.

Not only were they produced for the wrong year, but they continue to be sold in this way after over 15 years being manufactured! Strange but true. Could this be all about money?

A main wholesale supplier (furnishes to most local dealers) does not want to throw their mistake into the dumpster so they just keep selling them to the dealers.

This shift knuckle (GM refers to it as a “support”) appears to have been given to an overseas factory by someone to make it in quantities. Unfortunately, the US supplier did not do his homework to realize his 1947-55 description was very incorrect. This shift knuckle was 1954-59 only! It is now being marketed as 1947-55. That is even double wrong. (There was no column shift 3 speed in any of 1947. They were still floor shift top loaders!) The unit they wanted it to be only reaches 1954. Therefore, the new shift knuckle, out about 15 years, it actually 1954-59 as per the 1955 Chevrolet Master Parts Catalog. No wonder we at Jim Carter Truck parts kept getting them returned!

The good thing for the serious parts supplier: They are correct for 1954-59.

What can be done to correct this unprofessional mistake? We at Jim Carter Truck Parts has sent 1948-53 samples to several factories for quotes. Stay tuned!

NOTE: the difference in these photos. Being “similar” in size and appearance does not make one fit all. Here are the differences:

 

1948-53

1954-59

Length 1.63″ – (1 5/8″)  1.53″ – (1 19/32″)
Widest Diameter  1.38″ 1.45″
Widest distance of far edge of knuckle where it attaches to the mast jacket 1.77″ 1.70″
Inside thread length 5/8″ 1 1/16″

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The New Knuckle in Question.

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Photo of the earlier years to give the placement.

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1948-1953 on left side and 1954-1959 on right side.

Dents on Original Horns

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

After 35 years in business, a walk-in customer told us why so many car and truck horns have miscellaneous dents. They are on the surface sheet metal in no particular place.

To our customer, it was easy to understand. He told us: “If the horn fails to operate the vehicle owner hit it with a wrench or hammer to start it working again”.

We went a step further. If the first few hits does not get the horn to make noise, then you hit it harder!

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Halogen Lights vs. Generator Charging

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

With the introduction of Halogen headlights, night driving is a little safer due to more illumination. However, this improvement comes with a negative for those still using a generator for their electrical charging system.

To get the extra lighting from Halogen bulbs, the available amperage should be about 60. This will come from an alternator systems which has a charging ability of at least 75. If you are still using your original 6 or 12 volt generator, as was on most pre 1963 vehicles, the available amperage is approximately 45 at normal driving speed.

Therefore, with a generator charging system, there is not the amperage created to get the proper Halogen lighting. When at engine idle speed the lights dim much like the generator lighting systems. When at faster RPM, the advantage of Halogens is not reached.

Suggestion: Keep your original headlights when you have a 6 or 12 volt generator.