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1947-55 Tech Talk

Pin Striping Your Own Wheels

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

 

Pin Striping Your Own Wheels

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

MATERIALS:

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

THE PROCEDURE:

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

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

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1947 – 1955 Chevy and GMC Technical Article Listings

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

 

 Accessories

Bed

Brakes

Bumpers

Cab

Door

Electrical

Frame and Chassis

Gas Tanks

Grilles

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

Interior

Lighting

Mechanical

Mirror

Misc.

Paint

Panel Trucks

Radio

Running Boards

Sheet Metal

Speedometer and Gauges

Split Rims

Suburban

Suspension

Transmission

Trim

Wheels and Covers

Window

The Ultimate Oil Filter Connections

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

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

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

Three Mid-Year Body Changes

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

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

1936

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

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

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

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

1947

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

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

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

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

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

1955

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

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

1937-38

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

1939-48

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

1949-53

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

1949-53 – COE Trucks

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

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

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

1954-Early 55

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

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

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Late 1955-57

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

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1958-62

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

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

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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!!!

Front End Alignment at Home

Friday, October 6th, 2017

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

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

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Add Extra Speed to your 1/2 Ton

Friday, July 14th, 2017

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

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

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

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

DIFFERENTIAL:

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

TIRES AND WHEELS:

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

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

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

SIX CYLINDER ENGINE EXCHANGE:

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

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

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

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

Suburban and Panel Truck Inner Gas Grommet Spout

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Wax Your Rusty Truck!

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Before – As Dave found it.

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After – The total waxing is completed

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

Frame Cutting – Be Careful!

Friday, November 18th, 2016

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

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

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

Gas Tank Baffles

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

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

Baffle Trivia!

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

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

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

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

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

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1937 Chevy truck tank cut in half showing one baffle

6 and 12 Volt Alternator – Warning

Monday, October 10th, 2016

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Alternator Warning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dents on Original Horns

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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

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

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

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Halogen Lights vs. Generator Charging

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

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.

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Total Assembly

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Close up of the spring diaphragm

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“Shine” where bearing has rubbed diaphragm

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FYI:  The diaphragm out of the assembly

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.

Advanced Design Trucks Produced into the 1960’s

Monday, March 28th, 2016

The famous 1947-55 Advance Design Trucks were so popular in the US that GM just could not let them go. Overseas factories used this basic US tooling for their version of the Advance Design trucks. This continued for many years after they had been discontinued on US assembly lines. Look at some of these trucks in other countries using GM’s older tooling. Doesn’t this cab tooling stand out as was used in the US during 1947-55? How interesting that these new trucks were still found new over the planet for at least another 10 years!

The mechanicals may be different but the cab is so familiar!

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1956 Opel – German                                                 1962 Bedford – India

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1961 Assembled in Brazil                                       1957 Bedford – England

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1956 Bedford – Australia                                          1959 Bedford – Scotland

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1956 Bedford for Shows!                                   1961 Bedford Restored in England

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1962 Bedford “House Truck”                                1960 Bedford Bed.  A little different.

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Nice 1959 1 1/2 ton – New Zealand

Late 1947 Chevrolet GMC Trucks

Monday, March 28th, 2016

General Motors wisdom had it correct. They waited about 2 years after the end of WWII before introducing a new truck body design in mid-year 1947. With the returning military from overseas the truck sales (and all other cars & trucks) with pre-war older designs were selling faster than the factories could produce them. GM continued with the same trucks that the returning soldiers had seen before the war began. Customers bought them as fast as they became available. America had been without vehicles to purchase during the war years and most were ready to buy any NEW truck or car. They bought whatever had the appearance of a new vehicle.

As expected GM noticed the Chevrolet and GMC truck market beginning to be saturated, and it was time to begin selling the NEW body design. These General Motors trucks, developed in the mid 1940’s, had their tooling created and waiting on what GM knew would happen. Fill the truck high demand with the pre-war existing tooling and then introduce a new truck body a few years later to start another rush to the dealer’s showrooms.

Both the Chevrolet and the GMC trucks were referred to as the “Advance Design” style beginning in mid-1947. They were so popular GM continued with the basic design over seven years and then the tooling was sent to other countries where at least the cabs were continued into the 1960’s.  See an adjacent tech article on these overseas AD trucks is now available on our website.   The following four photos will show the 1947 body change.

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Early 1947 Chevy                                                      Mid 1947 Chevy

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Early 1947 GMC                                                        Mid 1947 GMC

1954 GMC Radio Speaker Cover

Friday, March 4th, 2016

A redesigned dash was placed in the 1954 GMC. It was totally changed from the 1947-53 dash which had been in place six years.

Due to this new design there was a place to install the radio but not its speaker! The next best location for the speaker was in the headliner between the driver and passenger.

The GM engineering department realized that a protection was needed to protect this speaker from accidental contact with someone’s hand, a gun barrel of a hunter, or most any long item carried in the cab. The result was a metal perforated cover.

No doubt this was excellent speaker protection however, the heat from the metal cab roof in the summer probably did the most deterioration of the speaker.

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In Place in Headliner

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The Cover

1954-55 Chevrolet Deluxe Cab Arm Rest

Friday, February 19th, 2016

When the 1954 Chevrolet deluxe pickup was introduced (about two months into the production year) they came with a different design arm rest not used before. It wasn’t even found on the assembly line produced standard 1954-55 pickups!

Because the door panels and painted interiors of this new deluxe cab had four color choices, GM realized they could not use the one color fits all arm rest that had been available since 1947.

Thus, the introduction of the plastic arm rest molded in the four colors with top pad. These matched the four color coordinated door panels.

Such a rare option or accessory! Unfortunately after several years in summer or winter temperature extremes the old formula plastic base cracked or otherwise began to deform. This leaves almost none in existence except those possibly found on back storage shelves at a GM dealership. Even a new in the box unit would now be about 60 years old!

The following is the top of a page from the 1955 Chevrolet Master Parts Catalog. These manuals were once sent to all Chevrolet Dealers each year. They show what is available that the dealer could buy from GM and their suggested retail price.

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These may be reproduced by Jim Carter Truck Parts. Yes, we just bought the one in the photo, still in a GM box, to use as a pattern. Stay tuned.

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Panel Truck Optional Passenger Seat

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

We found this nice view of a 1947-53 Chevrolet/GMC panel truck interior. It shows a rear view of the very rare optional passenger seat in its raised position. It was necessary to give this right seat an ability to tip up and forward so access to stored freight would be more accessible from the passenger door opening. Very ingenious by GM!

Very few new panel trucks came with this extra seat. The metal platform in the photo is all that was there.

This platform always has a rectangular lid covering a storage compartment. This gave a convenient location for the driver’s important papers. This lid looks like the battery cover except it is longer.

Most business panel truck owners did not spend the extra money for the right seat and then find their driver’s friend riding with him during the work shift.

NOTE: The right and left seats are the same except for the attaching to floor brackets. Also of interest is the metal panels on the seat backs. This was to protect seated driver from freight moving forward in an emergency stop. Oops! The driver’s seat back can still swing forward pushing the operator against the steering wheel. Those were the days!!

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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

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

SIX VOLT TRUCK AND CAR OWNERS. A MUST READ!

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

1947-48 1/2 Ton Under-bed Gas Tank – Poor Location

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

With the beginning of the Advance Design trucks in 1947, GM introduces the first major gas tank location change since 1936! It was taken out of the cab on ½ tons and placed under the bed.

To save costs, GM designed one gas tank to fit a ½ ton pickup, panel truck, Suburban, and Canopy Express (not the same on ¾ ton). In theory it was a good money saving decision, however in the real world it was not successful. The tank was placed back in pickup cabs in 1949!

GM engineers appear to have not considered the abuse and overloading given the American pickup truck. On the farm and in construction use, the pickup was often used beyond its rated capacity.

It took little time for GM to discover their ½ ton under bed gas tank was positioned to receive major rock damage. Tanks often became punctured when the truck was in deep ruts of poor roads or used in the farm fields.

With the many dirt and gravel roads deep grooves from the tires could develop during rains or a spring thaw. This was often the case beside fields where trucks and farm tractors created deep ruts. Driving in these groves lowered the truck and the under bed gas tank became closer to the road center. An increased exposure occurred when the pickup was heavily loaded. The tank became even closer to the road center and was more of a target for protruding rocks. Just overloading a 1947-48 ½ ton pickup in a high grassy pasture was exposing the tank to contact by hidden objects.

Truck owners complained to the dealers and GM’s quality control department finally recognized the problem. By 1949, pickups were introduced with their gas tanks placed back in the cab. They remained there until the new body style of 1973.

Because the single unit body (Suburban, Panel Trucks, and Canopy Express) usually received less use in the field, their gas tank location was kept the same through the end of the series in mid-year 1955. Thus, the 1947-48 ½ ton gas tank is the same as on 1947-55 single unit bodies.

By placing them back under the 1973 pickup bed (this was a strong safety requirement by the US Government) GM created even a more dangerous problem because they were attached to the outside of the frame rail! Of all dangerous places, it was only protected by the lower section of the sheet metal bedside. If being hit broadside collision, in the correct place, gasoline could be forced out in all directions. Are sparks created in a broad side collision? Hmm!

The “Real” 1947-52 Brush and Contact

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015


Six volt horn without a factory relay doesn’t sound? If you use the original 6 volt system, you “cannot” use the gray plastic incased brush and contact that also slips into the steering wheel hub on the 1947-52 First series Chevrolet/GMC Trucks. It is continually advertised for the 6 or 12 volt system. This is made only for the 12 volt second series 1955-1966 trucks. (Or can be used with 1947-55 with a 12 volt system)

Unfortunately for the 6 volt people this incased brush and contact also fits the 1947-55 steering wheel. It burns out instantly when their horn button is pressed if you have on original 6 volt system! With a complaint to their supplier, the owner may receive a replacement but it is ruined just as fast. NOW both buyer and seller are lost!

ANSWER: The 6 volt brush and contact has a heavy woven wire inside that carries the extra electric flow needed for the original system. It is not incased in plastic as is necessary to protect the single fine gauge internal wire of the 12 unit. The 6 volt brush and contact fits into a non-metal black cylinder which is separately pressed into the steering wheel hub. This cylinder should be found in the hub even without the brush and contact. They are two separate parts. See Photo.

BEWARE: If your supplier tells you the horn brush and contact is the same on 6 and 12 volts during 1947-55 he is a “lost ball in high weeds”. Don’t buy it if you have a 6 volt system!!

The correct 6 volt replacement is now available from Jim Carter Truck Parts and a few other full stocking dealers. Pricing about $7.50 to $9.50. Our part # EL520.

Non-Metal Cylinder


1947-55 NOTE: Heavy Copper Internal Cable 6 Volt


1955-66 Fine Gauge Wire Incased, for protection 12 Volt(only)

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

1954 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Brake Lines

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

On the ½ ton only of this one year of pickup, the hydraulic line coming from the master cylinder to the tee connection block on the right frame rail and the two rear axle cross lines, have a larger diameter than the lines in the remainder of the system. This can create some confusion when replacing the total system.
Enclosed is a paragraph from the 1954 Chevrolet shop manual explaining this change and a rough drawing that helps show the differences. It is important these dimensions are correct on the new lines when the instillations begin to save loss of time, money, and confusion when they do not fit the two tee connection blocks.

1954 gm transition

Front wheel lines bend back 180*

Front Rear

Advanced Design Safety Treads, Dimensions 9″ x 21″

Thursday, August 28th, 2014


About 15 years ago, Jim Carter Truck Parts decided to reproduce the “real” GM step plates used in the years of 1947-55. Though there were hundreds of step plate designs available during the early years, only one is pure Chevrolet/GMC and was made available by the GM dealers.
No lettering exists so they will fit both Chevrolet and GMC. They are stamped steel with black exterior paint. In the center between the outer raised edges are a non-slip adhesive sheet. This attractive accessory prevents visual scratches when people step on restored boards.
MOST IMPORTANT: GM referred to these accessories as “Safety Treads”. It was discovered from dealer feedback that on occasions a wet metal running board used to enter or exit a truck with smooth shoe soles caused a major fall from slipping. Broken bones sometimes were the results. Thus, the creation of “Safety Treads”.

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Just like GM made them!

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Taken from an Advance Design Salesman’s Data Book

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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!

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But it’s my home!

COE Shift Lever

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

As vehicle owners begin to use their truck (cars as well) they report to local dealers of developing problems. Many things show up in long field use and not during short laboratory tests.
An excellent example is the 4 speed shift lever on the 1947-55 Chevrolet and GMC Cab over Engine “COE”. It was found that wear in the lower end of the vertical lever would develop. Even a little wear moved the top end of the lever closer to the dash until finally a drivers knuckle could actually touch the dash!
By 1950, a factory correction was made. The lever was shortened and moved away from the dash. Photos by Kent Zimmerman – Mesa, Arizona
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1947 – 50
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1951 – 55

Photos by Kent Zimmerman, Mesa, Arizona

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.
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1934 – 36
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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!

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4 inch pulley

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7 inch pulley

1954 GMC Deluxe Pickup

Friday, January 3rd, 2014



The Korean War has ended and copper used in quality chrome plating is now readily available at an acceptable price to commercial buyers. General Motors loses no time introducing a deluxe pickup in both their Chevrolet and GMC lines. Quality chrome plating was required for this project and was now in stock. Other metals have also dropped in price including stainless steel.

The new deluxe GMC pickup was far above the appearance of earlier years even though the mechanics were virtually unchanged. With more disposable income in the US, General Motors gambled that many buyers would purchase a new upscale truck even if they did not have immediate hauling needs.

Actually GM invested very little to make their top of the line pickup stand out above the crowd. Using their base model, the following made up much of this special pickup:

  • Grille, bumper, grille surround and hub caps are chrome plated.
  • The exterior side window and new one piece “panoramic” windshield is surrounded with high polished stainless steel.
  • Wing vents assemblies are combination chrome and polished stainless.
  • The end of the rolls in the bed sides have plastic reflectors (actually from a 1953 Buick) and held in place with a GMC only stainless ring. A small screw hole was in only the deluxe pickup bed side to secure this assembly. Not on Chevrolet.
  • Chrome tail light ring.
  • The interior upholstery consisted of cloth covered cushions rather than traditional vinyl material on trucks of all prior years.
  • The pleated door panels matched the material in the seats.
  • The unusual metal interior was painted the reverse of the deluxe Chevrolet colors. Thus, dark being the primary color. A lighter shade was the dash, steering column and steering wheel.
  • Driver’s side are rest.
  • Yes, like the deluxe Chevrolet, the running boards were the lower body color.M
  • A different contrasting color, not necessarily the body, is placed on the wheels.

A few items in the attached GMC advertisement, placed in a major magazine. Were extra cost factory options:

  • Hydra-Matic transmission.
  • White top, to reflect sun.
  • Jet plane hood ornament.
  • Factory Clock.

Note: A rear bumper was always an option in 1954. Their problem: They prevented a pickup from backing close to a loading dock. When carrying merchandise or walking livestock into the pickup the gap caused dangerous falling problems for some owners. The beginning attached factory photo of this article shows the tailgate totally open and thus down vertically to eliminate the gap. This can only happen with no rear bumper.

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.

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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!

1947 Suburban

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013


If you like non-original suburbans, you will love this 1947. Seen in a recent advertisement at $115,000. Look at the large quarter panel window!

1954 Chevrolet Grille Guard

Thursday, April 11th, 2013


A nice dealer installed accessory in 1954 was the grille guard. It was easily installed by using the pre-existing bumper bolts.

A problem when installed was that it lessened the visibility of the front license plate. Therefore, another change was made during the installation. The license was moved to the center of the front splash apron from the factory position on the right side. In the kit were two small rubber plugs. These filled the factory license bracket holes that existed when the factory license bracket was removed.

Installing an Updated Duel Chambered Master Cylinder

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Warning:  When installing an updated duel chambered master cylinder under the floor of an older GM truck, a brake line modification may be necessary.

It is not acceptable to allow the modified brake line to touch or be very close to the exhaust pipe.  During long trips, the exhaust heat can cause a rise in the brake fluid temperature to near boiling level.  Modern master cylinders do not have a vented cap to release line pressure so fluid will be forced out through wheel cylinders.  The early single chambered caps are vented to prevent this.

Check your brake lines on non-original trucks.  Do not allow a safer system to leave you without brakes.

An Inner-Line Oil Filter

Monday, October 10th, 2011

An Inner-Line oil filter from Long Island, New York!  Rarely seen today but a popular early aftermarket option.  It secures to the engine block after removing the oil distribution cover.  No oil lines.  No moving the horn forward to make room for the intake manifold mounted oil canister.

Inner-Line Oil Filter Inner-Line Oil Filter
Inner-Line Oil Filter

Technical Articles

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Over the many years we have collected a wealth of knowledge working with Chevrolet and GMC trucks from the years 1934 – 1972. We have gathered our Tech Articles, write-ups and how to’s and divided them into categories. You will find a list of helpful Articles that will help you get your old truck looking and running like new again.

1934, 1946 Chevy, GMC Trucks 1947, 1955 Chevy & GMC Trucks 1955, 1966 Chevy & GMC Trucks 1967, 1972 Chevy & GMC Trucks

Jim Carter Truck Parts….

Your #1 Source for 1934 – 1972 Chevy & GMC Truck Parts!

1954 GM Transition Year

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This was one of the most unique years for Chevrolet trucks. The Korean War and some resulting material shortages were now history. The economy was growing and the average worker brought home more wages than ever before. Sales of luxury options on automobiles were showing definite increases.

To capitalize on this trend for transportation improvements, GM was fast working on total new automobile and truck models for the coming year. When introduced, the result would be record sales which put General Motors even further above it’s competitors.

But what about the 1954 year for GM trucks? Waiting buyers had the demand for a new updated truck but the tooling was not yet complete. Other competitive truck manufacturers were beginning to offer many deluxe features.

Therefore, General Motor’s 1954 answer to temporarily satisfy new truck buyers was a major facelift of the prior models. To keep costs down, GM continued to use the basic cab introduced in mid-1947. To update this seven year old design, an enterprising engineering department added items such as a modern one piece curved windshield, completely redesigned dash board, and created a totally different grill. All this while keeping almost identical hood, fenders, bumpers, running boards, seats, doors, etc.

Another big first for 1954 Chevrolet truck cabs was the optional color coordinated interior and the two tone exterior. This had never been offered before by GM on truck cabs. Advertisements defined it as “The Bold New Look”. For an extra cost (only on cabs with rear quarter windows), the customer could order interior color combinations including two tone blue, gray and maroon, two tone green, plus dark and light brown. Each of these four base color combinations were harmonized with the headliner, floor mat, door panels, windlace, arm rest, and interior sheet metal. Pearl beige was the standard color on non optioned cabs.

This deluxe two tone interior package was introduced in mid year. Therefore, it is not shown in early 1954 Chevrolet truck brochures and many perfectionists do not know it was available later.

The above mentioned colored floor mats also added little to GM’s investment when they produced quantities.  These have never been reproduced.  Note:  For the perfectionist that requires all extras for the 1954 deluxe pickup, we have heard that a restorer spray painted his new black floor mat with flexible rubberized paint used on newer automobile exterior front and rear bumpers.

Here is another very exclusive item on the 1954-55 deluxe pickup were their armrests: These were not found on other GM vehicles. The more basic pickup still used the arm rest introduced in 1947. See our tech article & photos on these arm rests. They came in the four door panel colors so both could be correctly coordinated.

The two tone exterior paint option included a white top only (shell white) and only on the deluxe cab. For the short run in 1955 of this body design (first series), the two tone was still with only a white top but the shade was changed to Bombay Ivory.

Another very unusual feature, that cost GM no extra, was colored running boards.  They matched the lower body color.  On standard and prior years, the boards were black.

With fears of Korean War shortages now over, chrome and stainless steel could now be offered again as part of a long option list. On the deluxe model this included stainless exterior window trim plus chrome hub caps, grill and bumpers.

The option list also increased greatly for the 1954 year with new items available not offered during previous years. Examples were full wheel covers, electric wiper motor, automatic 4 speed transmission, ride control seat, day-night inside rear view mirror, etc.

It is also important to remember that for 1954, Chevrolet chose to introduce two major items and not wait for the totally new later 1955 models. This was the high pressure insert bearing six cylinder engines and the deeper restructured pickup bed. Thus, the 1954 shares both the early and late features and is a true “transition truck”.

At present, the 1954 GM light pickups, particularly the deluxe models are showing a fast increase in popularity among restorers. They stand out as a unique transition truck having various characteristics not associated in total with any GM commercial vehicle. It is felt their future pricing will also stay higher than either 1947 to 1953 or the 1955 to 1959 models in equal condition. Of course, all older GM trucks are on their way to the top in popularity and value. They are to restorers “the Model A’s of a New Generation”.

1954 gm transition

Early Chevy and GMC Engine Trivia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Though the major cab and fender sheet metal change began in mid 1947 (Advance Design), both the Chevrolet and GMC trucks kept their same proven six cylinder engines as used in prior years.

The base engine in GMC light trucks was the 228 cubic inch inline six cylinder introduced in 1939. This overhead valve unit had a full pressure oil system with its rod and main bearings lubricated from drilled lines within the crankshaft. Their high oil pressure is reflected on the dash gauge reading 0-50 pounds.

This family of engines during the Advance Design years also produced the 248 and 270 cubic inch units. The cylinder diameter in their main difference. They all share the same overhaul gaskets, water pumps, oil pans, distributors and side plates. On GMC, not Chevrolet, the cubic inch is the first three digits of the stamped serial number on the flat surface behind the distributor.

Chevrolet’s six cylinder used during most of the Advance Design years was very different from the GMC. Its standard 216 cubic inch engine was a result of continual improvements since the first Chevrolet six cylinder began in 1929. The 1940’s 216 truck engines were almost identical to that in the Chevrolet car. Therefore, millions of 216’s were on the road by the beginning of 1947. Their basic design and easy maintenance made them one of the greats in lower priced vehicles. When used on the roads of that era, they provided dependable service both on the farm and in the city.

The 216 engine was the standard power plant in the 3000 and 4000 series trucks. Its big brother, the 235 was optional on the 4000 series and standard on the 5000 and 6000 series. It is almost identical to the 216 but the increased displacement gave the needed extra power to work trucks. The 235 truck engine was not used in pickups, however, was matched to the Powerglide transmission cars with some modifications between 1950-53.

These 216 and early 235 are designed to operate without oil lines drilled in the crankshaft to lubricate their bearings.

The early 235 should not be confused with the more famous later 235 full pressure engine first introduced in Powerglide Chevrolet cars and the Corvette in 1953. During this transition year trucks continued to have the lower pressure design. By 1954 the full oil pressure 235 became the standard of the Chevrolet fleet. It was modified for trucks by using solid valve lifters in place of the hydraulics in cars. The camshaft gear was changed from fiber to aluminum.

Battery Shields

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

As time progressed, GM realized their under floor battery position needed extra protection. The battery on the 1946 and older trucks were only protected by their partial tray. No doubt some hard working vehicles in rural areas lost their battery from fractures.

Thus, the 1947-1955 trucks were provided with a front vertical metal shield. The attached photos show a bare frame with this shield still in place.

battery shields 1

battery shields 2

1947-1948 GMC Grille and Bumper

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Used only the first 1 1/2 years into this body style, these GMC grilles stand out for their different shape and very heavy duty construction. Because of it’s weight this assembly, it sets on the frame and is given extra support by a pair of steel rods extended at an angle to the frame rail.  See photo.

The grille has three horizontal bars and uses a heavier gauge metal than the four bar grille introduced in 1949. This same unit is found during 1947 and 1948 in all 1/2 ton through 2 ton GMC trucks.

On these early 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton trucks the splash apron from the grill to the bumper is even different. The front bumper is the most unusual. It is rounded much like an automobile and has three bumper bolts on each side.  They all have the small grill guard on the 1/2 and 3/4 ton.

Some suppliers of 1947 – Early 1955 bumpers and grilles state they are all the same.  But, they are not.  The 1947-1948 stands alone!

1947 1948 gmc grill 1

1947-1948 “3” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill

Note the 3 bumper bolts.  The center secures the front splash apron and securing braces.  The other two are used by the dealers to attach GMC accessory larger grille guards to the bumper.

1947 1948 gmc grill 2

1947-1948 “3” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 3

1947-1948 Angle Grille Support (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 4

1949-1955 “4” Bar (above)

1947 1948 gmc grill 4

Safety Treads

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Without the rubber covering over the metal running boards like GM cars, trucks immediately show scratches from the driver’s shoes. This is frustrating to the restorer who has placed so much effort in repairing and painting these boards to pristine condition.

Fortunately, a solution exists! The original running board safety treads have been reproduced. These treads were a GM accessory and available from the dealers. They were marketed to help prevent a person from sliding off the running board if their shoe or the metal surface was wet. No doubt legs and arms were occasionally broken in this hazardous area.

Today, these safety treads still help prevent falls but also stop the unsightly scratches that occur during normal use. Most all full stocking dealers have them including Jim Carters Truck Parts.

The following is from a 1954 GMC accessories catalog. Their wording also tells the story in a full page ad.

test

1954-1955 Radio Blank Out

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

All 1954-1955 Chevrolet/GMC trucks came from the factory with a blank-out plate to cover where the radio would be installed. As this accessory was dealer installed the plate could be removed (probably thrown away) and the new radio added.

This blank-out plate and its two special clips has become very rare in recent years. They are not being reproduced. The enclosed photos show an original painted plate. The Chevrolet unit is the interior cab pearl beige color with a stamped bow-tie in black. GMC chose to not add their logo. These plates are just like Chevrolet except have a smooth surface with no trade letters.

1954 1955 radio blank out 1
Chevrolet (installed)

1954 1955 radio blank out 1

Chevrolet (above)

1954 1955 radio blank out 2

GMC (above)

1954 1955 radio blank out 3

Back View (above)