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1955-66 Tech Talk

1958 Chrome Headlight Rings

Monday, June 11th, 2018

It did not happen!

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

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

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

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

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

Pin Striping Your Own Wheels

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

1955 – 1966 Chevy and GMC Technical Article Listings

Monday, April 16th, 2018

 

Accessories

Bed

Brakes

Cab

Cameo/Suburban

Door

Electrical

Frame and Chassis

Gas Tanks

Grills

Interior

Lighting

Mechanical

Misc.

Paint

Radio

Sheet Metal

Speedometer and Gauges

Speedometers to Go…

Suburban / Panel Truck

Split Rims

Suspension

Transmission

Trim

Upholstery

Wheels and Covers

Window

Three Mid-Year Body Changes

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

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

1936

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

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

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

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

1947

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

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

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

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

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

1955

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The First Chevrolet V-8 Full Pressure Oil Filter

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

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

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

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

Chevy V-8 Engine Instruction

Early V-8 Draft Tube

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

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

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

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

V-8-Engine-Instruction

1954-62 Chevrolet 235 Power Glide Hydraulic Valve Lifters

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Very Important Cam Shaft and Valve Data

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

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

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

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

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

Chevrolet V-8 By-Pass Oil Filter

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

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

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

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

The big change was in 1956.

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

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Accessory Oil Filter Installed

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Oil fill pipe on side of canister

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Close up. Lip under water outlet

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265 V-8 without option oil filter

Valve Cover Trivia

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

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

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

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

1937-38

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

1939-48

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

1949-53

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

1949-53 – COE Trucks

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

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

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

1954-Early 55

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

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

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Late 1955-57

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

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1958-62

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

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

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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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How Rare are 1958 Cameos?

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cameo Trailer Hitch Assemble

Monday, June 26th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

This will soon be marketed by Jim Carter Truck Parts.

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Hitch in place

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Bar Removed and on a tailgate

1956-59 Chevrolet GMC Suburban, Panel Truck Taillight

Friday, January 6th, 2017

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

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

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

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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

1955-59 1/2 Ton NAPCO Springs

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

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

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

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

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1955 GMC Electrical Trivia

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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.

1955-58 Cameo Taillight Lens Securing Plates

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Most are badly rusted and are not usable! A small metal plate was once used to secure the red taillight lens and clear back up light lens against the long gasket that fits inside the taillight housing. A machine screw pulls this plate against the two plastic lenses behind the reflector to stop inside water leaks.

When the metal plate deteriorates, water seeps inside the lens (particularly the lower clear back-up light lens) keeping the gasket always wet and in colder climate freezing any water accumulation.

We recently received an excellent original used plate from Scott Phaneuf of Hatfield, MA and we are having them reproduced just like GM’s.

NOTE: Check your Chevrolet Cameo or GMC Suburban carrier taillights. This metal plate is important to prevent lens and gasket deterioration!

We will soon offer these plates and machine screw. This screw threads into the large housing behind the red reflector. Available in late May 2016. Call and order now with no money down. When they arrive you will be invoiced! Cost per pair $6.90 + postage, Part # MS527

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1955-59 Utility Tray

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

What a useful dealer installed GM accessory! This takes advantage of the lost space above the gas tank, behind the seat back cushion.

The attached page came in the box with the parts. It greatly helps in installation for the dealer’s mechanic or a customer buying it across the counter.

It was quite practical to keep stored items off the floor and the seat cushion.

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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

The Death of the Panel Truck

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

After a life of hauling merchandise, those taken to salvage yards often found a final use. They set on the ground and stored the yard’s generators, starters, radios, heaters, and other unique items removed of vehicles going to the crusher. OR They might be left too close to a stream that floods in the spring. See Photo.

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1960-62 Over-Load Springs

Monday, August 18th, 2014


When you owned GM ½ ton in the early years and occasionally need to carry a load above the manufactures suggested limits, over-load rear springs were the answer. They were GM installed or aftermarket.
When installed they were not part of the rear suspension until the stock springs were overloaded. When the bed lowered due to additional weight, the auxiliary springs were contacted and helped support the extra pounds. With rear leaf springs, the different over-load springs companies made them all on the same principal.
A big change was required in this ½ ton over-load system in 1960. A totally different ½ ton now had rear coil springs as standard equipment. A redesigned ½ ton over-load system was now needed.
We recently found this complete revised system attached to a 1960-62 ½ ton. How unusual!
Because the ½ ton differential is the same on 1955-62 and only the new 1960-62 has coil springs, a very unusual overload system was created. The following photos show a used system still attached to a 1960-62 differential. It was such an eye catcher in comparison to the leaf spring system we had to take these digital photos.

Note: It is assumed it will not attach correctly to the 1963-66 as this uses a different differential with their coil rear springs.

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Upside down in truck. Thus reversed camera photo.

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Unique “wrap around” Differential System.

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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!

1960 – 1961 Chevrolet Grills

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

To help recover from high tooling costs, all car and truck manufacturers attempt to make items that can be used as long as possible. This is a great way for reducing costs per part.

Examples of automotive leaders in this field are:
The original Volkswagen Beetle bodies were basically the same about 20 years.
The longest run metal body is said to be the Divco neighborhood dairy and bakery delivery truck. Used the same sheet metal tooling over 30 years. Of course, more modern engine updates were added as the years passed.

Of the many General Motors sheet metal items that were repeated, a good example (maybe not the best) are the 1960 and 1961 Chevrolet light trucks. Between the two years few items changed. Yes, their ½ ton 6 bolt wheels and hub caps were very different, but this was the beginning and the end of the same item in that series. It is the grills and parking light housings that were one year only items. As grills are considered by General Motors as the vehicle’s front focal point, GM wanted to make the “change conscious” public realize they were buying a pickup that would show to others it was really a new model.

On the front of the 1960 and 1961 light trucks, there are almost no changes except for the grill and parking light housings. Therefore, these items can be perfectly inter-changed with even the same fasteners.

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1960-1961 Parking Lights

Thursday, April 10th, 2014


The most unique feature of the 1960-1961 Chevy / GMC Truck is the design of their hood. It is not in any way similar to the year before. Whether you like it or not, there is no other vehicle with an appearance like this Chevy and GMC Truck. As GM was known for saving on tooling costs (especially with trucks) this is a perfect example. The large sheet metal hood is the same on GMC and Chevrolet trucks but the parking light housings are different!
Look at the attached photos. You will see how GM gave each of their two brands a different look while keeping the same hood.

1960-61 Parking Lights -1 1960-61 Parking Lights

Chevrolet                                                                                 GMC

 

1955-59 GMC Front Motor Mount

Friday, January 24th, 2014

1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar
1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar

 

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!

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.

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!