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1934-46 Tech Talk

Illuminating the 1939-46 Panel Truck Interior

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Pin Striping Your Own Wheels

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

1934 – 1946 Chevy and GMC Technical Article Listings

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018




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



Lighting, Switches, Bulbs

Mechanical, Engines, Timing Gear, More


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


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.

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.


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.




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.



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




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



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.



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.




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.



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


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:


15“ Diameter 4 Blades

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

Before Restoration

18” Diameter 4 Blades

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

After Restoration


18” Diameter Heavy Duty 6 Blade – Optional


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)


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.


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

It’s been 30 years since we have seen one! Where could they all have gone?

Mike Russell of Fulton, Missouri sent these three photos of the real thing he found about 20 years ago. All trucks of these years had them. We can only assume the spring clip on their back side did not secure them well to the grill. That, with the road conditions of the time, causes many to fall off the road.

Anyone have this cover you can load us to make copies? You will be rewarded!




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.

Good spring in latch

The spring is broken!

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.

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

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

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

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




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.


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.


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!



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!





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

Before – As Dave found it.

After – The total waxing is completed

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!


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.


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.

Vertical Vent Tube (tank baffle in background)

Close up of inside 6 hole vent plate.

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

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.

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.


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.


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.

Rear View

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!


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.


High cab – early 1936                    Low cab – late 1936

6 and 12 Volt Alternator – Warning

Monday, October 10th, 2016

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.

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.



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.


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.

1931-32 Car Taillight

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.

test test
1934 Master Sedan – Red Body

test test
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?


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.

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

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.

Passenger Car T-handle and cowl attaching grommet

1/2 Ton Pickup Hexagon Nut and cowl attaching grommet

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.

1934-36 Duel Filament Bulb

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.

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.

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.


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!

The usual place for a 216 and 235 stamped engine number

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

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.

Longer Hood Lace attached to cowl 1939-41

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

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.

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.

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

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

The long stamped hole after worn hoodlace is removed.

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!



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.

1938-1953 Clutch Pressure Plate – WARNING

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

When sending in your early GM truck pressure plate for rebuilding it is important to check the center of the spring diaphragm. It is amazing how many have been damaged beyond repair.


The sealed throw-out bearing is pressed against the center of the spring diaphragm each time the driver presses down on the clutch pedal. All operates just right as per the GM design until the throw-out bearing seizes internally. Now the face of the bearing cannot spin internally. The bearing face starts turning when it is pressed against the diaphragm. NOT GOOD! This metal to metal rubbing wears down the pressure plate. It can just go so long before even breaking a few of the 18 tips on the diaphragm. It the diaphragm tips wear unevenly, the total unit is a loss.

Check your diaphragm for damage in this area when it is removed from the vehicle. The attached photos show a worn diaphragm where the shiny metal is exposed. The shine is usually not a problem if created by a good throw-out bearing. This diaphragm was never made to be rubbed by a seized bearing. We suggest you always replace the throw-out bearing during clutch replacing. The older bearing may be ready to seize and begin ruining your pressure plate!!

IMPORTANT: The opening on the ends of a used diaphragm pressure plate will always have a shine. This is caused when the stopped throw out bearing makes contact with the fast rotating pressure plate diaphragm. For a split second the bearing is rubbing the diaphragm as “total contact” is made. If the bearing never seizes, there will be little more than a shine on the opening at the hole with diaphragm. It is the cut curve in the diaphragm tip that warns of a possible totaled assembly.

Total Assembly

Close up of the spring diaphragm

“Shine” where bearing has rubbed diaphragm

FYI:  The diaphragm out of the assembly

1937 Heater Accessories

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

This is a copy from the 1937 Accessory Pamphlet showing heater items available. Interesting!


1937 GMC Sales Photo

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

From the front cover of a dealer sales brochure that was given to potential buyers by the dealers during the tough years of the “Great Depression”.

Notice they are appealing to the farm buyer where most of our population lived. This little ½ ton can even carry a cow!


Before Sealed Beam Headlights

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

The pure sealed beam headlight bulb, as most know them, were not introduced until about 1954. Prior to this, a similar design was used on new cars and trucks beginning in 1940. It looked like a modern sealed beam but it was not. Unless you look close, these appear to be the later modern sealed beam. Actually there is a duel filament small bulb inside the assembly. Both nicely interchanged in most vehicles from 1941 and newer. Only 1940 first year is an exception in this design, at least on GM trucks.

The 1940’s headlight eliminated the more complicated light design from 1939 and older. These older units had a silver plated reflector that tarnished, a head light lens, a socket that secured the light bulb, and a non -metal seal to prevent air from entering the silver plated interior. In today’s world we often see this in domestic hand held flashlights that have a removable light bulb.

Almost all of the light bulbs during at least the early 1930’s had double filament headlight 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 were 32cp.

NOW ENTERS A NEW VARIABLE. An aftermarket company 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! The 50cp filament in the bulb MUST be aligned with wires from the main wiring harness. In other words, the high beam 50cp end of a modern light bulb must contact the high beam wire in the harness. (The bulb can only fit one of two ways) If incorrect you will have the 50cp as the low beam. Not good!

1934-36 Duel Filament Bulb

1937-39 Duel Filament Bulb

6 Volt “Almost” Sealed Beam Bulb, 1940-1955


Applying 12 Volts to a 6 Volt Starter

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

There comes a time with some 6 volt vehicles that an emergency jump start is necessary. Maybe the battery has been drained due to a light or ignition switch being left on. Or maybe it was stored over a winter without the battery trickle charger being attached. Whatever, the reason, you feel helpless without another readily available 6 volt battery to use as a jumper (and you need to move the vehicle that day!)

Buying a replacement 6 volt battery at a local auto parts store seems a last resort, particularity at the near $100.00 price. The option is to use your readily available 12 volt battery and jumper cables to get it started.

This can be an acceptable idea in an emergency but with some important limitations. If your vehicle was running when parked and the 6 volt battery did not freeze over the winter, it should start quickly with a 12 volt battery. Connect positive to positive and negative to negative when adding the 12 volt cables from the 6 volt in the vehicle. No need to unhook the depleted 6 volt battery.

If the engine still remains free (will turn over) a 12 volt jolt will get it spinning at twice the RPM as did the 6 volt original starter. It if drove and was parked under its own power, then it should start quickly! If at the higher RPM and it will not start, you probably have another problem.

Pouring a “small” amount of gasoline in your down-draft carb. Using the 12 volt cables requires less time to have it connected before starting. Less time pumping gasoline into a dry carb requires less time connected to a 12 volt system.

DANGER: Jumping 6 volt vehicle with a 12 volt battery can be done at a “maximum” of 15 Seconds! After that the solder in the commutator begins to melt, some wiring insulation is turning black, and the starter switch may be turning blue. Connect the 12 volt cables “ONLY” when you are ready to start the engine. Have a person ready to immediately to remove one of the 12 volt cables the second it becomes running. Remember: Not over 15 seconds or parts of your 6 volt system are cooked.

Headlight Reflector History

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Before the introduction of the sealed light headlight bulbs on automobiles and trucks the next best way of adding the most light was the use of reflectors behind bulbs. In this way most of the light was not lost. It was “reflected” to get the most light to shine in one direction.

(This method is still used today on many hand-held flash lights)

The shape of reflectors are designed to push the otherwise lost light into one direction so all become concentrated in a straight line. To get the most reflection in the 1930’s was to plate the surface with silver and then add polishing. This is still considered as the best in reflection and is rated as 100%.

Unfortunately, silver has a problem! It soon begins to oxidize (tarnish) as it combines with oxygen in the air. Headlight reflectors are at their very best the day they are polished. They slowly lose their quality after that day!

To help slow this oxidation, auto and truck manufactures placed a non-metal rim seal around the perimeter of the reflectors to lessen air flow. After a few years the seals also began to deteriorate and then oxidation continued. Of course, with each bulb replacement the outside air entered and oxidation was increased.

Much of this occurred during our country’s “Great Depression”. Little disposable income existed and replacing reflectors was almost out of the question. Fortunately there was little night driving and fewer vehicles, plus speed was so much less during the pre-World War II years.

NOW enters the modern technology of the 21st century! Reflectors can now be made with no oxidation at much less cost than repairing originals and having them silver plated. New coatings cover reflectors with a micro-fine spray on aluminum that give a 92% reflective quality of silver. Once sealed with a clear coating there is no oxidation! They remain at 92%.

NOTE: Two of these reflectors are available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and several of their full stocking early GM truck suppliers.

1934-36 Chevy and 1936 GMC Truck. Part # LGL110, 8.25 diameter.  Available now uses 1929-34 32/32 candle bulbs
Part # LGL110 8.25 diameter

1937-39 Chevy GMC Truck.  Use with halogen 12 volt
H-4 bulbs.  That are included Part # LGL109 7.5 ” diameter.

1937 GMC Hood Side Emblems

Friday, February 26th, 2016

LOOK WHAT JUST BECAME AVAILABLE! They have not been seen new since the late 1930’s. These one year only emblems are attached to the hood sides of the 1937 GMC.

Anodized silver aluminum with black background. Dimensions 2” x 21”. Quality is equal or better than when first introduced in 1937.

Recently approved by General Motors for quality and authenticity. The “GM Restoration” label will be included with each pair of these emblems.

These quality GMC emblems are priced less than having most repaired, re-anodized, and background painted!

Available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and a few of their full stocking dealers of early GM truck supplies.

Part # TRT3637



Note: If you have a 1935 or 1936 GMC, their hood side emblems are also available as TRT3436.

1935-36 GMC Hood Side Emblems

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Now available after 80 years! Quality hood side emblems for the 1935-36 GMC large truck as well as the 1936 GMC ½ ton and 1 ton. Having a beautiful restored early GMC truck with poor or no side emblems does not have to be anymore!

Anodized silver aluminum with black background. Dimensions 2” x 21”. Quality is equal or better than when first introduced in 1935.

Recently approved by General Motors for quality and authenticity. The “GM Restoration” label will be included with each pair of these emblems.

These quality GMC emblems are priced less than having most repaired, re-anodized, and background painted!

Available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and a few of their full stocking dealers of early GM truck supplies.

Part # TRT3436



Note: If you have a 1937 GMC, their hood side emblems are also available as TRT3637.

1939-46 Under-Seat Gas Tank

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Finally we have just received another large delivery of 1939-1946 Chevrolet / GMC metal gas tanks. The demand picked up faster than we expected so we had been without for about six months until our order for our tanks, was manufactured and shipped. The manufacturer makes over 100 gas tanks so we had to get in line!

Ours are the best on the market. Made to exact GM specifications. They are even zinc plated inside like original so rust does not appear for many, many years!


These 18 gallon metal tanks are made for the safest place on the truck. Here’s why.

1. They set below the seat assembly and are surrounded by heavy 12 gauge ribbed steel band that is welded to the cab floor. (Almost impossible for most body shops to straighten this heavy plate)

2. This is surrounded by a cab with two layers of 16 gauge metal. (also not easy for most body shops to straighten dents)

3. There is no rubber hose connection to leak between the tank and the gasoline add pipe.

4. Just below this gas tank is the two long steel frame rails as well as a heavy cross member just behind the rear edge of the cab.

5. The narrow distance between the drive line and the frame rail prevents placement there without it being a very small size. This would require frequent refills.

Yes, General Motors knew the safest place for their tank!!

QUESTION! We have seen restorers place a non-original tank behind the rear axle. WOW! Could this really be happening? That’s a bomb ready for a rear end collision. Remember the 1978 Ford Pinto car fire disaster that killed 3 people? Check Google on your computer and then “Ford Pinto Fire”. This may bring back some memories.

Your gas tank is an area surrounded by three layers of steel! Placing it behind the rear axle with almost no protection puts it in a very dangerous position.
Protected by 3 layers of metal, 2 frame rails, and a cross member

And this owner really thought it was safer than GM did it!

1937 Chevrolet Grill Attachment

Friday, September 18th, 2015

What a unique find! We have never owned a 1937 Chevy truck grill with all of its clips in place. It was necessary to get photos before this assembly got away.

These clips (4 on each of the four sides) are actually an extension of the large stamped metal housing. Obviously, GM did not plan on the inside grill being removed more than one or two times which then might break these clips during bending. Certainly GM had no concern if the clips would break on a work truck over 75 years later during a restoration.

Thus, a recommendation: When removing the 1937 grill, gradually bend each of the 16 clips just slightly so none are given a more than needed straightening. Bending them back less when replacing a restored grill will lessen their chance of breaking. Good Luck!

The Complete Grill Housing (without grill)
NOTE: Visible clips on top and bottom

4 Clips Below Top Edge

Right Side of Housing

Clips on Left Side of Housing

Clips are Part of Sheet Metal Housing

1936-46 Crank Out Windshield Handles

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Getting more outside air in the early truck and car cabs was usually done by a swing out windshield frame (in addition to a top cowl vent). With no insulation on the inner firewall, engine heat was always radiating into the cab interior.

During the final 10 years of this hinged swing out on Chevy and GMC, the windshield opened by a center mounted splined turn handle.

For the perfectionist these handles slightly changed during 1936-46. The earliest handle (1936-38) will not interchange with later due to the dash shape. When you want your restored truck just right, the following photos should be of help. NOTE: All are available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and are exact reproductions.


1936-38 Chrome Die-cast Knob

1939 Photo Soon with Black Plastic Knob

1940-46 Tan Plastic Knob

1934-36 Chevrolet Low Cab Gas Tank Changes

Monday, June 29th, 2015


If you have one of these unique low cab Chevrolets (made about 6 months) you might have not realized there are two gas tank locations.

For ½ tons (116”WB) the 16 gallon gas tank was positioned between the frame rails and just behind the rear axle. The mechanical fuel pump on the right side of the engine pulled the gasoline about eight feet distance to the carburetor.

½ ton gas tank position between rear cross members



A change was made with the 1936 low cab 1 ½ ton trucks. Chevrolet continued to realize it was not acceptable to have the tank so far from the fuel pump on a long wheel base. Therefore, a 17 gallon tank on both the longer 131” and 157” wheelbase continued to be placed under the seat cushion.

Remember: The cabs are almost the same on the ½ and 1 ½ so the only universal place available was below the seat cushion! On the longer wheel base 1 ½ ton trucks the passenger door was opened to get access to the gasoline fill that was inside the cab. This had been the way to add fuel since 1934!

The late 1936 1 ½ ton (low cab) were all the same except in the gas tank related area. Here is why!

EDITORS OPINION: In 1936 and earlier, the USA was experiencing the height of the Great Depression. Car and truck sales we show and most everyone was feeling economic slowdowns.

General Motors looked for ways to cut expenses, especially on truck production. They were workers not pleasure cars. A perfect example is changes on the 1936 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton. The new truck under seat gas tank was planned due to complaints and a side fill added. This would eliminate the inconvenience of raising the bottom seat cushion to add gasoline. Unfortunately, so many of the older designed tanks remained stored for future truck production. GM was not about to dispose of these new tanks during the depression so they used them until their supply was eliminated.

It was much less expensive to be ready for what was coming later in the year. It was a matter of economics! Therefore, the stamping in the right seat riser and scoop in the inner door panel was part of the 1936 1 ½ tons. When the extra tank supply ended, it would be inexpensive to have the truck ready for the new design.

We thought this might be of interest to the perfectionist with a 1936 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton low cab.

Late 1936 1 ½ ton gas tank spout

Under-seat cushion positioning on late 1936 1 ½ ton

Oval dent in door panel on all 1936 1 1/2 tons


Without the spout on early 1936 1 ½ tons.

Wood Floor Edge Protection in Older GM Trucks

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

From 1936 and older the GM truck cabs used plywood for their floors!

The floor and tow board set between the metal perimeter edges of the sides, rear, and firewall which held the two pieces in their proper position. Millions of these older trucks, and probably many real early Chevy cars came with these wood floors.

A recent surprise was found when we discovered a floor in a pure low mileage 80 year old pickup. Its edges had a narrow band of “tent canvas” tacked along the edges. It seems like a great General Motors idea to protect the plywood edges. The surprise was that we actually found a pure unaltered floor with some of the canvas still attached.

We understand this photo is not the best but look closely. Some of the canvas protection is shown coming loose on the lower left side!

If you must have everything just right in your early GM truck restoration, this article is for you!


1934-36 Side Mount Tire Clips

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

What a surprise! We have been in the old GM truck collector and parts business for 35 years and just discovered this hidden feature. In the single wheel well of the 1934-36 ½ tons there are 4 clips to help secure the wheel well spare tire. These clips each have sharp points to secure the rubber tire from moving in the indented wheel well. What a good idea considering the rough roads that then existed, especially in rural areas.

Did the dealers stock replacement clips? We doubt it. Did the truck owners pay much attention to their existence? Probably never. Can you see them with the tire in place? No. When you do a complete restoration do you look for new ones? No.

For most, this article is about as close to seeing one as you will get! We just thought you would like knowing.

Two pointed clips at top and bottom

Bottom Clips with Points

Top Clips with Points

1934-36 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Taillight Bracket

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Yes, it’s special only for this these three years. It lowers the license plate below the horizontal license bracket and attaches to the stake pocket. (This is not like the later 1937-38 bracket that raises the license above the horizontal).

This photo shows a pure unremoved bracket attached correctly to the left stake pocket (the taillight is an aftermarket) though bent from probably being hit on a fence post, one can see the bracket and how it once was. It even still has the correct metal loom and clip to secure it to the original oval taillight!

Good News! This special bracket (as well as the oval taillight, metal loom and clip) are now available from Jim Carter Truck Parts – 1-800-842-1913. Mention LGB230L for bracket.

Original Left Taillight Bracket (See correct metal loom and its attaching clip)

Incorrect taillight on correct bracket.

Right side as looking toward rear of pickup


A question has occasionally surfaced. Does the 1934-36 Chevy ½ ton have a different taillight bracket if the pickup came with a rear bumper than one without? When the pickup came without a factory bumper (as most did) then a standard taillight bracket was included. See Photo.

It was always attached to the left rear stake pocket, the normal place for all left hand drive GM pickups.

What if the optional rear bumper was added at the factory? Using the normal taillight bracket, the rear bumper covers most of the numbers on the license plate. It this correct?

Unless it is proved otherwise, we contend that the same bracket was used with or without a bumper. In checking a 1938 Chevrolet Master Parts Catalog, (what parts were available at that time to the dealer’s parts departments), there was also only “one” bracket available. Having the license partially covering the license plate numbers was probably of little concern to the new pickup owner or the state law enforcement officials. Remember, trucks were workers. They really got no further than the local neighborhoods or if used on a farm they might have an occasional drive to the local town! Road conditions were fair at best so the speed of these pickups was not an issue. Law enforcement personnel could easily catch up with a pickup. With no police radios yet available, police could not call in a license number to their headquarters!

Big Truck Front Bumpers

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Shortly after WWII the Chevrolet Truck Division introduced a heavier truck with a maximum gross weight of 16,000 pounds and was rated as a 2 ton. Up to this time their top rated truck had been 1 ½ tons with a gross weight of 14,000 pounds.

With this increase, a major change occurred in the front bumper. No longer was this bumper little more than a heavy duty ½ ton. They now used a totally different design. A top and bottom horizontal ridge and additional thickness did much to prevent bending when pushing another vehicle or by an accident.

The 1 ½ and 2 ton bumper, introduced in 1946 was not continued through the next series of trucks, 1947 through 1953. The next series no longer had the bolt heads in the middle. Now the bumper center extended out (even wider) and the recessed bolt heads were on the top and bottom. This gave more pushing surface without damage to the bolts.

1941 front bumper
1941 Front Bumper

1946 front bumper
1946 Front Bumper

1947-53 Front Bumper
(COE and Conventional the same)


Monday, June 8th, 2015

One of the more common reasons for slow engine turnover using an original six volt system is under size battery cables. Most of today’s auto parts stores only stock the smaller diameter 12 volt design. Unknowing owners mistakenly replace their original worn cables with shinny new ones that are as much as half the diameter as needed. In Addition the owner does not know he needs two. Ground cables: One from the battery to the frame and one from a starter mounting bolt to the frame.

Six volt starters require twice the electrical flow to operate properly. Don’t blame your six volt system for slow unacceptable starter motor speed! Many restorers go to the expense of changing their 6 volt system to 12 volts. They feel their original system was inferior and believe what they did was necessary. The problem could have been corrected with just adding the three proper cables.

Remember: Millions of cars and trucks were made with 6 volt electrical systems each year. If they had not operated correctly they would have come with 12 volt systems!

Battery Cables 6 Volt

Buy Parts for 1934 to 1946 Trucks

Engine Vacuum Leaks

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Even the smallest vacuum leak on an internal combustion engine can prevent it operating to the level of its capability.

No matter how well you rebuild the carburetor, adjust the timing, or clean the gas tank, the engine will continue to operate below what it should even with a small vacuum leak.

On older engines a quick, easy way to check for leaks near the cast iron manifold will often uncover the problem.

    1. Place a large piece of cardboard behind the radiator cooling fan. See photo. This stops fan air flow in the area of the meeting point of the manifold, carburetor and engine head.1
    2. Use a spray can of starting fluid (available at auto parts stores). Let engine idle, and lightly spray in areas of where air flow will let into the carburetor through.2
    3. If you have even a small vacuum leak the starting fluid will be pulled incorrectly into the engine combustion chamber. The engine RPM will instantly increase. Your engine problem has been found! A new gasket or insulator plate will usually make all well.3

Re-circular Heaters and Rubber Defrost Fan Blades

Friday, February 20th, 2015

When you purchase the base Re-circular heater in the 1940’s and 1950’s most did not come with the defroster outlet. This standard heater usually forced air to the floor (not on the windshield) to keep your feet warm and gradually warm the cab interior. It worked fairly well and to the driver it was so much better that a generation before when heaters were almost nonexistent.

The problem with these heaters: They warm the humid interior air from passenger breathing and did not use the dry outside air. On a very cold day with one to three people in the cab, the windows soon fogged from the breath of the passengers. The fog might even freeze on the glass.

Standard equipment for many was a rag on the seat to keep portions of the windshield clear for driving. Opening the window to get in dry air was not a consideration. It was cold outside!

General Motors and a few auto part suppliers soon realized there would be a demand for an accessory steering column mounted electric fan that blew more warm air on the driver’s part of the windshield. A good idea when all was operating correctly, however probably never worked well in very cold climates.

The attached photos shows a General Motors fan with rubber blades. This material was to either protect the blades or keep driver from cutting fingers on metal blades.

NOTE: There was even an aftermarket fan that did not use power from the 6 volt battery. It operated from the air vacuum created from a hose to the intake manifold. What a unique idea especially for the car or truck owner having little power left in his older battery!

Yes, we have come a long way in heater design!

Re-circulator Heater (No defroster outlet)

Steering Column Mounted Fan

Ground Hogs and Dirt Floors

Monday, August 18th, 2014

We assume the increase population of these little 12 to 15 pound rodents in the past 20 years is due to stricter in-city zoning that does not allow dogs outside without some type of restraint.
Beware! Ground hogs (woodchuck) are on the hunt for a dry place out of the rain to call home. They love a dry dirt floor barn or related storage building. These rodents continually dig their tunnels throughout which is protection from possibly any predators. They have keen eye sight, even can see you 200 feet away, and run for a tunnel!
Look at this 1959 Chevrolet Napco 4×4 stored out of sight about 5 years. Ground hogs placed one of their tunnels under the front wheels. The trucks weight soon dropped it into a tunnel and the straight front axle is on in the dirt!






But it’s my home!

1937-38 GMC Lower Grill Bar Support

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Did GM make a mistake in designing the rubber grill bar support? The six vertical grill bars are each held in a slot in a lower rubber V-block. It keeps the bars in proper position and protects them from damage when driving over very rough terrain.
The problem: Almost all (now 76 year old grills) have their vertical bars ends rusted away due to water seeping into these slots securing the bars. Should General Motors have added a water drain hole in each slot to stop standing water? An enclosed photo shows the extra thoughts by a customer a few weeks ago. A small drain hole was cut in the bottom of each slot in the V-block. He was attempting to stop grill bar rust!
We suspect General Motors would say: “We do not build trucks to last 50 to 75 years. That is just the way it is.”


Grill Bars – Rusted Away


Close-up. Grill Bar ends gone


With Bar Slots


Aftermarket Drain Holes on Bottom

The 20 Year Chevrolet Horn

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

This new horn design was introduced in 1934. It is attached direct to the 207 six cylinder engine and was so successful there was almost no changes through 1952.
As shown in these photos this 1934-36 horn was attached to a flat foot that secured it to the center of the intake manifold. A long nose directs the sound to the area very close to the radiator cooling fan.
A slight change to the exterior appearance occurred with the new 1937 216 cubic inch engine. Possibly to keep it away from the high temperatures of the exhaust manifold, the horn was relocated. It now was attached to the forward leg of the intake away from engine heat.
The “bell” part of the horn was shortened to keep it the same distance from the fan. There, it remained on cars and trucks with the 216 engine through late 1952.
It was so well designed it rarely required attention. A single screw secures the rear half circle cover. When removed the inner workings are exposed for an occasional tone adjustment.
1934 – 36
1937 – 52

Short Shaft Water Pump Discussion

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The revised Chevrolet 235 and 261 high pressure inline six cylinder engine (1955 through 1962) was given a much better cooling system than prior years. This was due to a big change in the water pump and how it attached the front of the engine block.
The prior 216 and early 235 design pulled coolant out of the engine block through two quarter size holes, into an exterior pump, then forced it through the lower radiator hose and back into the engine block. This system worked well for millions of Chevrolet cars and trucks for at least 16 years.
One of the difficulties began to develop as these vehicles became older and were exposed to faster speeds of more modern roads and radiator coolant water contained a high calcium content.
Calcium started to slowly accumulate inside the block but even more in the radiator cooling tubes. The coolant temperature would rise in the block due to slower water circulation.
This was first noticed in the low geared 1 ½ and 2 tons, even with their extra row of radiator cooling tubes. Local radiator shops would remove the top radiator tank and “rod out” the cooling tubes to restore most of the original radiators ability.
With the introduction of 2 new Chevy six cylinder in 1955, General Motors made a change in the water pump that would at least postpone this over-heating problem for many more years than the earlier engines.
Now, the water pump propeller actually was inside a 4” hole in the front of the block. It could move a higher volume of coolant through the block. Chevrolet cars and trucks could now be used so many more miles before this rodding of the tubes was necessary.
With General Motors wisdom, they designed their new high pressure 235 and 261 engine to easily fit in the place of a failing earlier 216 engine. The main problem with this engine exchange was the longer length of the new water pump shaft.
Local mechanics would then either cut some metal from the upper and lower air dam to move this radiator forward a few inches or shorten the pump shaft to provide radiator clearance for the fan on a new 7” pulley.

The word spread quickly that the shaft could be cut and the 4” diameter pulley from a 1953-1954 would press in the proper position. (Most shops could find one of these pulleys on a nearby used engine)
All fit well but the rotating RPM speed of this small 4” pulley turned the fan and pump 20% faster at the same vehicle speed. Because of the low engine gearing of the larger 1 ½ – 2 ton trucks we have heard owners feel their water pump experienced “cavitation” (the fan is turning so fast water flow will almost come to a stop). It may not boil the coolant but it just might! At slower road speeds the water temperature returns close to normal. A small 18” fan from an early 216 donor engine was also required to prevent contacting the lower radiator tank.

NOW enters another modified water pump that has a much flatter 7” diameter pulley. This lowers the fan speed to the correct RPM that GM intended to be used on ½ ton up to the 2 tons. It was a one size fits all!
It is the other short shaft pump design! You can easily install this modified 235 and 261 engine in the 1953 and older truck (and cars). It is strongly recommended that you use this pulley pump for Chevy trucks rated over ½ tons!
It requires the correct wider four blade 235 fan, however the blades must be bent slightly forward to miss the lower radiator tank.

Therefore, if you want to operate your 235 and 261 engines water pump at a slower speed as GM intended, the 7 inch pulley design is the way to proceed. It will cool ¾ to 2 tons with lower differential gearing at high speeds with no boiling, just as the vehicles were designed. Yes, Jim Carter Truck Parts has the new updated pump assemblies available at a price of $159.00 (a used original wide blade fan is by another order).
A small 4 inch diameter pulley water pump have been placed on a 235 or 261 engine since they were first introduced. They usually work well with vehicles with clean radiators on cars and ½ ton light vehicles that have been given a higher speed differential. Not recommended for larger trucks as water temperature will raise at higher speeds! We have these that operate well (without add-on air conditioning) at our company at $130.00.
As the owner of Jim Carters Truck Parts, I can assure you we have sold over 500 short shaft water pumps with 4 inch pulleys in the last 10 years. Return rate is about 4%. I suspect it is rarely due to an inefficient pump but rather the new customer not aware of the difference between a 216 and later 235 six cylinder. Maybe a few were using them on a low differential ratio ¾ to 2 ton truck.
Does the 4 inch pulley cool as well as the 7 inch design? Probably not on larger trucks! In some situations, if your radiator has calcium build-up, the coolant flow can be so restricted, your temperature gauge will show an increase at highway speeds. The 4 inch pulley turns the water pump much faster than GM intended!
With the low differential gearing (as in the ¾ ton to a 2 ton) plus driving higher speeds, the increase engine RPM will definitely cause temperature increase. It can go so far at very high speeds causing the water to cavitate and the coolant circulation will almost come to a stop! It may not boil the coolant but it just might!

4 inch pulley

7 inch pulley

1940-46 Map Lights, All Trucks Had Them!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

 Within 10 to 15 years the delicate factory three position light switch under dash usually broke.  Replacing this switch on a working truck in the 1940’s was usually not an option.  Now almost 70 years later few owners of these early GM trucks even know the light switch existed.  In most cases the little single filament light bulb and socket still remains hidden behind the middle of the dash panel.  A horizontal slot in the dash once allowed light to be emitted into the cab area.  Just right for reading a map!

NOW, they are once again available.   Various tooling was made so all parts of the switch would fit together.  One side illuminates the dash cluster, one side is for the map light and the middle position is off. Just like GM did it!  All 1940-46 Chevrolet and GMC trucks have the factory under dash holes for installation.  Contact Jim Carters Truck Parts at 1-800-842-1913 or check on line at www.oldchevytrucks.com. Mention item # EL157.  Price $29.50


Accessory GM Reflector

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

To add better night visibility to all trucks, Suburbans and panel trucks, General Motors offered a 4 inch diameter reflector as a dealer installed accessory.   With the single small factory taillight, seeing of these vehicles on the road could be difficult especially if their one bulb burned out.  To help correct this problem GM offered a larger reflector that could be attached to the rear license plate bracket.  It greatly improved visibility to others at the rear during night driving.

This was a time when town street lights were limited.  Of course, on the open road these were no lighting along the highways!  This simple GM reflector was offered by the dealers to prevent rear end accidents.  The customer could buy this dealer accessory from about 1940 through 1953. One of the attached photos is taken from a 1949 Chevrolet Truck Data Book. The 4 inch lens is a Stimsonite # 24 and the metal Guide ring has a stamping of X-19.

Jim Winters of Rochester, Minnesota has both a restored 1946 panel truck and ½ ton pickup.  He found these reflectors for both his vehicles at local swap meets.  Few people recognize what these reflectors were used for.   Jim found his in a box of miscellaneous unmarked parts.


1939-46 Panel Truck Rear Windows

Friday, October 11th, 2013

General Motors made it very simple to replace the two small windows in the rear doors of these early panel trucks.  It made it especially fast on the factory assembly line.

Simply place the rubber seal (now available from full stocking early GM Truck Dealers) around the pre-cut glass.  Press into the inside window opening. Three special clips secure it in place. It could not be easier! See Photos.

Oops, one big problem. If you don’t have the special clips, Good Luck!
This 1941 Chevrolet Panel Truck owned & totally restored by Jim Winters, Rochester, Minnesota.

Outside of door

Inside of Door

Economical Gas Tank Cleaning

Friday, July 19th, 2013

We recently had a local radiator repair shop clean the rust from an older used gas tank.  They submerged it in a cleaning acid tank overnight.  The price was $65.00.  WOW!   Several months later we discovered an “old school” method that would have cost about $1.00.  Oh well, we live and learn.

Back in the days of the Great Depression money was a scarce commodity and economical methods in life were used or otherwise things probably did not get done.  It was discovered that agricultural molasses (not what you buy in the grocery store) mixed with four parts water removed rust.  Fill your tank with this combination and wait about a week.  Surprise!  Your gas tank is shiny clean inside.

You can even put a lid on a five gallon bucket from a hardware store and small parts covered with this formula will have all the rust removed in less than a week.

Agricultural molasses is used to mix with livestock feed.  It causes farm animals to eat otherwise less desirable feeds because of its attractive sweet taste.

Retail price at a livestock feed store is about $2.00 for 10 pounds.

This data is provided by MIKE RUSSELL of COLUMBIA, MISSOURI.

Another cleaning Technique!

Several years ago, we heard of a gas tank cleaning method that cleans most tanks every time and its FREE!

Attach the gas tank to a farm tractor large rear wheel before a day in the field.  Add about a pint of ¼” gravel.  The slow rotation of the large wheel will move the gravel continually inside the old tank.  Sometimes even by noon, the rust is all removed as the gravel continually moves inside the tanks. Just pour out all contents and the tank is cleaned!

1946 Chevrolet 2 Ton with Thornton Drive

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Owner: Howard Jones

During the recent annual convention of the American Truck Historical Society in Yakama, Washington we noticed that among the 813 registered trucks there was a Chevrolet that may be the only survivor of this design.

The vehicle was a 1946 Chevrolet 2 ton with a Thornton dual rear drive. How unusual! This non-General Motors accessory allowed all four rear wheels to give pulling power. There is no disconnecting two wheels when on a highway!

This was featured in the 1946 “Chevrolet Silver Book” which has pages of accessories that were not dealer or manufacturer’s products. Sorry, the pages from this book are so small in the Thornton photos. A few other photos taken at the convention are also included.

The owner had made an opening in the new bed so there was a good view of the differential by the general public.

This particular Chevy with Thornton drive is said to have carried a D-6 Caterpillar dozer off road in the 1950’s to clear the right of ways for local power lines. It also had a large water tank mounted to the front of the bed.

The odometer reads 15,775 miles. It will reach a speed of 40mph on level ground.

More details on the Thornton Drive and its current owner will be with our August 2013 Feature Truck of the Month.

A Real 4 X 4!


1939-46 3/4 Ton Rear Bumper Braces

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Yes, they are different than 1/2 ton!  Though the “C” shaped brace that attaches to the bumper is like the 1/2 ton, the brace from there to the frame is much different.  A curved single heavy brace connects to the frame rail in place of the pair on the 1/2 ton.  Of course, all are of spring steel to prevent distortions when occasionally hit in daily use.

Before Dual Filament Headlights

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

During the early years of automotive history, the invention of the dual filament light bulb had not emerged.  Therefore, there was no high and low beam headlight bulb on cars and trucks.  Only one beam existed for night driving.

This created a problem with the headlight beam from an on-coming vehicle on the narrow roads in town and country driving.  It was not until the late 1920’s that the two filament headlight bulbs came from the factory on new vehicles.

The attached photos show a great example of American Ingenuity sold in some vehicle parts stores during the 1920’s.  It is an electrical rheostat that allowed the driver to lessen the amount of light from the headlight.  This accessory was mounted on the steering column.  By moving the long lever with a finger, the driver could regulate bulb lighting.  How ingenious!  This very attractive assembly was recently found in an old trunk.   The unit is nickel plated as chrome was not yet available during these early years.  It is a very high quality part.

The price was $7.50, very expensive considering most workers made less than $1.00 per hour.   The sales company is shown to be the Universal Distributing Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

No doubt, the sales were limited due to the price but also because of a human trait.  Yes, the vehicle owner could lessen his light on the road but chances are good, the on-coming vehicle did not have one of these inventions.  The person that had spent the money on this accessory still received just as much light in his eyes from on-coming vehicles while he suddenly had less lighting from his vehicle!