1947-55

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

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 their many 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

Mirror Polish Trim

Friday, January 24th, 2014

COMING November 2014!
The set of 12 mirror polished stainless trims used on the 1947-54 deluxe Chevrolet panel truck. Includes the needed attaching clips. Show quality Part Number TRT400 – set $1,550.00.

1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar

 

AVAILABLE December 2014
The long mirror polished stainless trim that secures to the upper front fender of the 1947-54 Chevrolet deluxe panel truck. Securing clips are built into strip. Show quality Part Number TRT402 – Pair $195.00.

1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar

 

NOW IN STOCK!
Rear door light switch. For rear left double door and door post on 1937-54 panel truck. Factory indentions are in the body and door. Many new parts make this switch fit just right.
Part Number EL409 – Pair $69.50.

1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar 1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar

 

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.

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!

1954 Chevrolet Hydramatic Transmission

Monday, April 22nd, 2013


The first year of the Chevrolet pickup with a Hydramatic transmission was 1954.  Though it did not find a large percentage of buyers, this truck did open the door for an increasing number of this transmission in the coming years.

When sitting in the 1954 Chevrolet truck cab with this new option, some changes are immediately noted. To operate the starter motor on the original six cylinder, a button is pushed with the driver’s thumb just above the headlight switch.  The ignition switch still has 2 positions as earlier years.


The truck with a Hydramatic has an automatic choke on the carburetor, there is no need for manual pull choke.  Thus, GM installed a small blank out plug in the hole where the choke lever is usually found (at the left of the radio position).  At the right is another plugged hole which is usually for a throttle lever.

Of course, the main focal point is the Hydramatic shift selector attached on the column below the steering wheel.


For the new owner not acquainted with a Hydramatic, a paper sheet is slid over the sunvisor pad.  It lists the instructions for successfully operating those types of transmissions.


An interesting feature on the Hydramatic:  Turn off the engine while stopped in reverse and the transmission is in park!

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.

1953 Chevrolet Radiator Cover

Monday, March 4th, 2013



One of the rarest Chevrolet dealer installed truck accessories of the 1950′s.  Charles Callis of Union City, Tennessee recently found this original radiator cover that he installs for shows on his 1953 1/2 ton.

Note the Chevrolet logo on the lower right side to prove it’s the real thing!

It is pictured in the 1949 Chevrolet Salesman’s Data Book on the Truck Accessory page.  Chevrolet describes it as:

“For all models of trucks.  Adjustable; constructed of Fabrikold.  Aids engine warm-up.
Protects engine from cold blasts.  Improves efficiency in stop-and-go operations.”

The thin oil cloth type material did not last long either on the truck or during off season in storage.  No doubt the dealer discarded his unsold stock in a few years.

You can contact Charles by email at:  charlespcallis@juno.com

Wood Bed Strips

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

What an unusual idea!  If you have clear coated your bedwood, replace the metal bed strips with dark stained wood.

 

Of course, this is for a pickup not used for hauling, however as the owner said “If you clear coated your bedwood instead of painting it as original, you were not planning to work with it anyway”.

Suburban Rear Quarter Panel Holes

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The full rear quarter panels for the 1947-55 Chevy/GMC Suburban were made all the same at the metal stamping manufacturer.  To save money these panels were not made different if the Suburban was to have the double doors or the tailgate style opening in the rear.

Thus, when the Suburban was provided with a lift and tailgate combination the 4 holes for the “double barn door” hinges in the quarter panels were filled with rectangular rubber plugs.  This was not just for appearance but prevent rain water from reaching the body interior.

These photos show the plugs painted in body color; however it is questioned if this is correct.  By 1950, Suburban buyers had the choice of the 12 pickup colors.  It would have been more economical for all to have black rubber plugs instead of 12 boxes with the optional color prepainted plugs on the assembly line.

The other thought:  These plugs were painted when the full body was given its final color.  This would mean GM planned on the enamel body paint being of the quality that would successfully adhere to rubber over the years.  We don’t usually see this combination in other GM vehicles.  Special paint for rubber only is used!

Comments on how it really occurred:  Email us at jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com

$100.00 Paint Job — Really Nice!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

On an early Monday morning a customer, Mike Riley of Kansas City stopped by our shop to obtain some older Chevy truck parts needed during the past weekend. As I followed him to his mid-1980’s Chevrolet pickup he brought my attention to his new white paint job. He read about a home garage procedure on the internet and decided to try it.

He certainly was proud of how nice the paint looked. The project began with the usual fine sanding, taping trim, and covering windows. Next came the surprise that has generated this article. Mike bought 2 ½ quarts of industrial grade Rustoleum paint from a local hardware store. He also purchase 2 ½ quarts of Acetone to be used as the thinner.

Spraying the 1 to 1 mixture with his small home compressor was adequate. If the small compressor needed to occasionally build up pressure, no problem. It takes 20 minutes for the paint to dry to the touch, so it easily blends together. One coat does it all!

I was amazed at how nice it looked in our driveway that morning. Mike said the rules were to not polish the drying paint for 60 days. He had just polished the two month old paint on the nose of the hood that morning and I must admit it had a great smooth shine.

This procedure is probably not for the show truck but for the fun daily driver it may be just the way to go for the “do- it yourself” restorer. Mike says the industrial Rustoleum colors are limited so you must pick a more common choice when deciding.

Another important tip while using this painting method; Mike didn’t want to get paint overspray throughout his garage so he did the procedure outside in his driveway. A garden hose used by a friend kept the concrete wet during the spraying. This helped eliminate dust in the painted surface but equally important stopped overspray from settling on his driveway.

Before 1954

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Before 1954 on 1/2 tons, the frame rails were given a large arch as they passed over the rear axle housing. With a broken leaf spring or overloading the bed with too much weight, the frame rails will lower many inches before contacting an axle bumper. It was a system that worked for over 20 years on 1/2 tons when the frame rails were forced down toward the rear axle. A hard rubber axle bumper was placed under the hump in the frame to prevent metal to metal contact when this occurred.

For 1954 a totally redesigned pickup bed resulted in a three inch increased depth of the bed for more load volume. Some of this increase required a lower arch in the frame rail over the axle. There would be less space here so the rubber axle bumper was changed in length and was moved to the side of the frame. See photo!

Therefore, this prevents a correct interchange between the 1949-53 1/2 ton frame and the 1954 and newer frame. If this is done the beds will not have the correct relationship to the height of the cab.


1947 to 1953

1947 to 1953

1954 to 1955

1954 to 1955

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.

American Ingenuity

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Needed are some logs without bark and a table saw. Cut in half and add tongue and groove. You have a truck flat bed!

1947-1955 GM panel truck seats

Thursday, July 26th, 2012


Attached are some pictures of the correct 1947-1955 GM panel truck seats. The right side was a factory option. This would be special ordered if the owner was planning on two passengers.

Though they have been recovered with cloth instead of factory “leatherette”, they are correct in all other ways. What is interesting is how GM made the optional right side seat to fold up against the dash. This was necessary to allow easier access to merchandise up front. No need to unload freight to get to the front storage area.

It appears the seat frame and floor is painted the original grey color. A thin sheet of insulation is placed between each of the body supports. This was to lessen road noise and slow some heat from entering the cab on hot days.

Another interesting feature on panel trucks; the single horizontal oak board on each side of the interior helps prevent damage to the exterior sheet metal walls. If a stack of transported items tipped while the panel truck was making a corner, there was less chance of dents being placed on the sides.

Note the long metal lid over the tool box which is under the factory optional right seat. This is only provided in the panel truck and canopy express bodies.

1947-1955 GM panel truck seats 1947-1955 GM panel truck seats

1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light

Monday, June 25th, 2012

What an ingenious way to keep a tail light in view! General Motors realized that with the tail gate in the lowered position the center tail light still had to be seen by the following traffic. At times the gate will stay lowered when longer freight is carried.

Therefore, the 5” round light is attached to a swing bracket. This bracket is moved by a ¼” vertical rod inside the tailgate. As the gate is lowered, the rod is moved by a hidden attachment on the edge of the body. Thus, the light is always visible!

These photos are of a 1953 Canopy Express owned by John Dunkirk of Southaven, New York.

1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light 1947-55 Suburban/Canopy Express Tail Light

Solving Bad Gasoline Problems

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Leaving your truck, car, or most all gasoline operated equipment in storage is asking for trouble!  Many of us, as hobbyists, collect more cars and trucks than we will drive at least monthly.  They sit in the back of your garage or are stored across town in a friend’s garage, barn, etc.

Three to five years later when it is time to move them, they usually won’t start.  You find in some cases, you cannot even get fuel to the carburetor.

After placing the blame on the carb, fuel pump, or filter, you finally (after hours of work) it comes down to bad gasoline.  How did this happen?

The answer is simple.  In today’s world ethanol is added to some gasoline as much as 10%.  It gives more fire power to the gasoline that has been reduced in octane partially with additives that help lower air pollution.

This ethanol (alcohol) is damaging to many rubber and neoprene seals in your fuel system.   Even worse, with the formula of modern gasoline plus ethanol, it will even change to sludge in your fuel system including the tank during long storage.  Additives placed in ethanol gas to prevent fuel deterioration is said to be effective not more than about 1 ½ years.

All this spells “Big Money” to clean your fuel system. Just taking your fuel tank out of your vehicle, having it cleaned at a radiator repair shop (there aren’t many of these businesses anymore) will cost a minimum of $300.00.

We recently visited a small engine repair shop where 30 hedge trimmers, chain saws, and weed whackers were waiting to be repaired.  The shop owner said 95% were there because of using gasoline with ethanol.

The answer to prevent this problem may be easier than you think.   If possible STOP using gasoline with ethanol in your vehicles that are rarely driven or started.  In our state, Missouri, there is no ethanol at many of the premium grade gasoline pumps http://e0pc.com/MO.php.  This maybe the answer in your area.  Check the gasoline pumps in your state and see if your premium gas is ethanol free.

Some of you may remember the days prior to the 1970’s when you bought a vehicle that had been sitting 5 to 10 years.  The gasoline smelled terrible but the motor would start.  If it had brakes, you could even drive around the block.  There was no alcohol in the gasoline.

Use premium gasoline in your stored vehicles or any yard equipment with limited use if it is without ethanol.

In Missouri, the approximately .20¢ extra per gallon for premium fuel far outweighs the headaches later!!

Solving Bad Gasoline Problems

1947-53 Gauge Mystery

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

We ask our readers: What is the correct color for the letters and numbers for the 1947-53 Chevrolet truck dash gauges? Were they white? Have they slightly yellowed after 50 years and now have a more cream color?

Our company has made the decals both with white and slight yellow hue. We had assumed the originals have slightly yellowed with age. See photo.

I welcome your opinions at jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com

1947-1953 Guage Mystery

1949 – 1955 GMC Grille

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Surprise!  The well known GMC grilles from 1949 through early 1955 use the same bars.  This includes the more popular ½ ton through the very large over the road and quarry trucks.  Chrome or painted, the four horizontal stamped metal bars are identical.  Look at the following photos.  The grille bars interchange!

1949 - 1955 GMC Grille

1949 - 1955 GMC Grille

1949 - 1955 GMC Grille

1949 - 1955 GMC Grille

1949 - 1955 GMC Grille

1949 - 1955 GMC Grille

Chevrolet Engine Oil Pump Screens

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

In the days when car and truck owners as well as mechanics did maintenance, GM made these responsibilities much less complicated.  An excellent example was the screen below the engine oil pump.

Due to no oil filters and no detergent additive in the motor oil (to keep dirt in suspension), the oil pump screen was necessary.  Tiny dirt particles settled to the bottom of the oil pan as was expected.  The small dirt particles finally became dirt chunks stuck to the bottom of the oil pan.

GM wanted no chance that a chunk or clot of dirt might be drawn to the pump.  Thus, oil pulled into the pump had to pass through this screen.

These photos show several early screens used by various Chevrolet six cylinder engines.  Note the used screen on the 1937-53  216 engine.  Its rounded screen is held in place by a single wire.  The wire can easily be unhooked from the housing.  The screen then drops out for easy cleaning.

Chevrolet Engine Oil Pump Screens
1929-36
Chevrolet Engine Oil Pump Screens Chevrolet Engine Oil Pump Screens
1937-53 wire holding screen 1937-53 wire unhooked to remove screen

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

Speedometers to Go…

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Rebuilt Speedometers for Chevy Trucks & GMC Trucks


Quality Rebuilt Speedometers

When your older truck needs a rebuilt speedometer, think of us! Our company, in combination with a local specialized shop, provides a quality product that you will be proud to place in your vehicle.

With most new repair parts, no longer available, we obtain used speedometers from across the country. Only the best parts are removed. These are combined with available new components to create a quality finished product. The following photos show various stages in the repair process.

Speedometers

Work Bench

Parts Inventory

Finished Products

1954-1955 GMC Gauge Panel

Monday, August 15th, 2011

It is very unusual that we are asked to create a 1954-55 GMC gauge panel.  Our customer had lost his due to an un-professional rebuilder and was in a panic.  We finally were able to create this set after an involved hunt in our various storage locations.  What a job!  All needed complete rebuilding and appearance upgrading.

We thought this should be on our Tech page to show their original new appearance.  After all, we may never find parts to rebuild another.

1954-1955 GMC Gauge Panel
1954-1955 GMC Gauge Panel

Aftermarket Dual Rear Wheels

Monday, April 18th, 2011


What a unique invention. When you have a 1947 through 1959 single rear wheel 3/4 or 1 ton GM truck and need more pulling power, this is the answer. American ingenuity at its best!

This new steel center hub extension includes eight long bolts to reach the original wheel studs. This holds the factory wheel in place and then provides a threaded end for the original eight lug nuts which are holding another matching wheel.

The buyer of this aftermarket kit just had to be sure his new outer tire was the same height as the original inner tire.

Pictures and data from Scott Golding, Stratton, NE.
email: scottandbetty@hotmail.com

1947-54 Radio Antenna Installation Warning

Friday, April 15th, 2011

It is very important where to drill the hole for the new radio antenna. The results of making a slight mistake will stay in your mind for many years to come!

Radios during these 1947-54 Advance Design years were never installed at the factory. This was done by the authorized GM Dealer. In the box that contained the new radio was a paper template that prevented mistakes when drilling the antenna hole. This hole in the cowl was so close to the belt line that the body to the antenna seal gasket even lacked an edge where it touched this body belt. Even with GM moving the antenna so close to the belt line there is still only about 1/2″ clearance to the hood when it is open. See photo.

The sad realization occurs later when a new radio antenna is installed by an amateur. He drills the hole in the cowl (correctly on the driver’s side) about another 3/4′ forward. He smiles as the radio works great. He doesn’t smile a week later when he tries to raise the hood to check the oil. It won’t raise! The rear hood edge hits the antenna. A rubber plug later put in the new hole is always a reminder of what a 1/2′ can do.

Hood Closed Hood Open Hood Open

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!

Cab Over Engine “COE” Scrapbook Page 2

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011


One of the most unique GM body styles is the famous COE (Cab Over Engine) design. By placing the cab over the engine of a large truck the wheel base could be shorter. This allowed the same maximum payload to be carried in a shorter truck.

These became quite popular in crowded downtown deliveries. The COE truck could turn in a shorter radius, on tight corners, iin narrow alleys, and still carry the same payload.

Disadvantages:

  • rougher ride for drivers
  • engine maintenance more difficult
  • cab interior was hotter in summer with engine under the cab
  • The driver and a passenger did not slide on the seat to get into the cab. They used two steps and a special hand grip to climb up and gain access to the cab interior

Back To – Page 1 COE Trucks


Click images to enlarge

Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE 1946 Chevrolet COE
1946 Chevrolet COE Owned by: Jim Cadorette 1946 with 2000 6.5 turbo diesel with 4 speed Over Drive

1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE coe steps
1951 COE 1940 COE 1940 GMC COE 1947-1955 Fender Pad

1948 COE 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle 1939 1946 COE mirror red coe
Owner: Koos Diedel from the Netherlands…1950 Red, 3 years to make it more “Freeway” friendly. Buick V-8, Air ride & so much more…”1951 Black – Bone Stock” 1939-1946 COE grab handles (to pull yourself up into the cab) 1939-1946 The left 2-leg mirror arm attached to the door. 1941-1946 Close Up – COE Grill

red COE 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle 1939 1946 COE Grab Handle coe steps
1947 – 1950 GMC COE
9 foot 1 ton 1947- 1953 pick up bed on a modern chassis.
1947 – 1953 COE 1941-1946 COE Steps, To get into the Cab…

1941 COE 1949 COE 1940 COE
1941 COE
1949 COE
1939 COE
Starting a COE restoration from the ground up.

1940 COE 1949 COE 1950 COE
1940 Chevrolet COE
Looks Expensive
The Restoration Begins 1950 COE

Stubby Gus

Bet you never saw one of these! A 2 ton truck you can park alongside all the automobiles in a shopping center parking lot.

This one of a kind 1952 COE truck is owned by Tim Tawney of Emmett, Idaho. He found it for sale three years ago and it was love at first sight. Its frame had been shorted to an unbelievable 91”. This is about the size of an early Volkswagen Beetle. Though 60 years old, it still has its correct wheels and 235 low pressure six cylinder engine. The paint, believed to be about 30 years old has the aged patina look that only time can create.

One of the trucks most unique features is the tow rig secured to the small frame extension behind the cab. It was manufactured by the Weaver Tow Company in 1918. This is a “2 speed hand crank” unit so the driver must manually operate the lever to lift the auto before it is pulled. Those were the days!

Tim is only the fourth owner. Fortunately, the 12’ door on his home garage allows for a place it can be kept in very bad weather. Where does he use this COE? Of course, Tim drives it to work every day at a local auto parts store. It must attract more attention than the sign on the building.

The Tawney Family has a name for most of their vehicles and this COE is referred to as “Stubby Gus”. You can contact Tim by email at: Tims70@hotmail.com or Facebook at: Stubbygus@facebook.com.

Back To – Page 1 COE Trucks

Cab Over Engine “COE” Scrapbook

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011


One of the most unique GM body styles is the famous COE (Cab Over Engine) design. By placing the cab over the engine of a large truck the wheel base could be shorter. This allowed the same maximum payload to be carried in a shorter truck.

These became quite popular in crowded downtown deliveries. The COE truck could turn in a shorter radius, on tight corners, in narrow alleys, and still carry the same payload.

Disadvantages:

  • rougher ride for drivers
  • engine maintenance more difficult
  • cab interior was hotter in summer with engine under the cab
  • The driver and a passenger did not slide on the seat to get
    into the cab. They used two steps and a special hand grip to climb up and gain
    access to the cab interior

Go To – Page 2 COE Trucks

Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE Billy Marlow 1946 Chevrolet COE
1946 Chevrolet COE, Billy Marlow (all above) Read Billy’s Story..click here

1948 COE 1954 COE 1954 george coe 1951 Jim Carter coe
1948 Owner Ken Wedelaar, Midland Park, NJ
1954 Owner George Coe
1951 …Owner Jim Carter, Independence, MO

1940 COE 1946 chevrolet COE 1946 chevrolet COE 1946 chevrolet COE
1940 Owner, Unkown
I found this 1946 COE in Fall City, WA and it is now in Soldotna, Alaska. I shipped the truck From Tacoma Wa to Anchorage Alaska on Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE). I have driven it about 500 miles since I bought it.
Jim Fassler
Soldotna, Alaska

1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE 1948 COE
COE Salvage Yard
1941 – 1946 for Parts
1946 for Parts
1940 Unknown Owner

coe three headlights
coe red truck
coe red truck
coe red truck
Three clear seal beams on a 1946! What could have been the purpose? 1941-1946 GMC owner unkown 1938 GMC COE… Owner Jim Raeder Altoona, PA.
1954 Chevy COE

big ugly cab over engine
Cab Over Engine….Chevrolet Ugly Truck
Owner Unknown

If you would like your Chevrolet or GMC Cab Over Engine featured on our website, please send us an email along with your name, year, make, and model of your truck along with your photos. You can email your information by using our contact email form…click here

We don’t care if they are Ugly!!!


COE Cover Photo

Another fine example of an old
Chevrolet Cab Over Engine Truck…

NOTE: You can make a beautiful COE from misc. parts. This truck has a 1954 cab (one piece windshield), 1947-1953 grill and 1954 parking light housings in the fenders.

Go To – Page 2 COE Trucks

Split Rim Wheels

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Article courtesy of Rob English (rob@oldgmctrucks.com)



The issue of multiple piece rims and safety comes up frequently. There seems to be a quick rush to judgment about any rim that has more than one piece, and while certain types of multiple piece rims have indeed been outlawed and are no longer made, many others are not only still in service, they are still made new.

1947-1954 light duty trucks offered split rims in 1/2 ton (optional only) up to 1 ton trucks. Many people are unaware that there was a 1/2 ton two piece 15″ six lug rim option available in GMCs and I presume Chevy too. More often than not, we run into eight lug two and three piece rims on 3/4 ton and one ton trucks and these are the subject of most of the misinformation.

There were two types of split rims offered originally a 3/4 ton GMC; 15″ TWO piece split rims (Kelsey-Hayes type WK-3), and optional 17″ THREE piece split rims (Kelsey-Hayes type WK-4)

The two piece split rim uses a lock ring that is fixed and is one solid piece. There’s a notch in the rim where you can remove and reinstall the bead retainer ring while mounting and breaking down tires. To remove, you tip the ring at an angle and then slip it by the notch. To mount, do the opposite. This type DOES NOT require prying apart the ring and if you try to pry it off, you’ll ruin ix

The 17″ split rims originally would have been the Kelsey-Hayes type WK-4 and are three pieces; the rim, the bead ring, and the lock ring. They are put together pretty much the same way they do now-a-days on big truck rims. The tire goes on the rim, then the ring slips on and then the third ring is “zipped” on/off using a sledge hammer and pry bar.

The safety of these rims is directly dependent upon their overall condition. I have split rims on all three of my vintage GMCs. You will find knowledgeable truck tire places will work on them without hesitation and car tire places will go screaming in circles with their hair on fire spewing misinformation about “suicide” rims which may or may not be applicable, but does more to spook people than inform them with facts.

I have many many miles on my original split rims and find them to be great for my purposes. Others may have different views of what works for them. See the illustration below to understand the three basic types of original stock rims you’ll find on the old GMC trucks.

View PDF Chart of 1947-1954 Split Rims Click Here

Jim Carter follow- up on this article by Rob English:

I have three 1 to 1 ½ ton Chevy’s that were restored at least 10 years ago.  They all have the correct split rim wheels.  There has been absolutely no problem with any of them.

The tire quality in today’s world is so superior to that of 50 years ago!  In the 1950’s I would see someone on the road changing a flat tire almost every two weeks.  Now, it has changed to about once in 6 months.

Suggestion:  To improve the appearance of your split rims, zinc plate (like GM did when new) or paint the small lock ring silver.  This will nicely contrast with the painted wheel.  You might say they even look a little like white walls!  It really helps the appearance!  See photos.

1 ½ and 2 Ton ¾ and 1 Ton

Rear Bumper Options

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Ever wonder why GM pickup rear bumpers have been an option for so many years?



Beginning in 1951 these bumpers became an extra cost option and have remained this way ever since on most pickup models.

The reason relates to trucks being mostly for work. Though protecting the bed from minor rear damage, a bumper also kept the driver from backing up against a loading dock. GM found that many farmers and construction workers had been removing the rear bumper to get the truck flush against a dock. This eliminated most of the gap between the truck and dock. Broken legs of livestock and employees during loading were also greatly reduced.

The following picture is an example of a 1955 and newer GM step bed pickup. Its owner went against the current trend of adding the optional rear bumper during its restoration and kept his truck basic. It is important to note, that to protect the license plate bracket without a bumper, GM placed it on the left side. Holes are in the middle of the rear cross sill from the factory to make it easier for the dealer to install the rear center license plate bracket while adding the optional bumper.

Note the rear spare tire arm is at an angle to also protect it from damage if backing or being even lightly bumped in traffic.

This picture shows an optional right taillight. From the assembly line this truck would have only the left light with attached license bracket.

rear bumper options 1

Without optional bumper. Owner has added a right tail light. (above)

rear bumper option 2

Factory installed optional bumper including correct tail lights and license bracket (above)

New Cigarette Lighter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Purchasing a 1947-1953 optional cigarette lighter assembly from some vendors provides reproduction that is far from original in appearance. A manufacturer recently offered the optional lighter assembly but used a knob from the headlight of a 1947-1953. There is no similarity to the real lighter!

Don’t be embarrassed at a show where your vehicle is being judged.

new cigarette lighter 1

Reproduction (above)

new cigarette lighter 2

Image of original (above)

Korean War Shortages

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Prices of more valuable metals such as copper and nickel reached their height during mid 1951 through 1953. Though U.S. shortages were much less than in WWII, there were price increases in the market that affected the financial bottom line of auto and truck manufacturers.

America almost demanded chrome on cars even if it raised prices. Decorative shiny trim was almost necessary to get buyers into the showroom.

Trucks were a different story! They were work vehicles. Eliminating the chrome extras did nothing to lessen the load capacity or operations off road. To keep the price down GM and other truck manufacturers removed much of the chrome and replaced it with paint. The steel stampings were the same, they were just painted. It was very necessary for GM’s base model to be priced low. City, county, federal, and many companies bought fleet trucks that offered the lowest price. Purchases had little to do with appearance. Even a $10.00 savings could make a sale.

The noticeable changes on GM light trucks is the lack of chrome on hub caps, grill bars, bumpers, and even the wiper knob. Stainless steel also felt the Korean War shortages. The deluxe five window pickup cab no longer had the stainless around the windshield and side windows. The glove box as well as the radio speaker horizontal trim was now painted steel. The deluxe panel truck with all its extra stainless side trim was now history.

By 1954 the chrome and stainless was back stronger than ever though some base models were kept in paint to hold their price low.

The following photos show just a few examples of GM’s Korean War era trucks. Considering their uses it doesn’t look too bad.

korean 1

korean 2

korean 3

korean 4

korean 5

First Series Chevrolet

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The 1955 year put Chevrolet on top! All stops were removed in announcing and continual advertising of the totally redesigned passenger car and their first V-8 engine. Television, radio, news papers and dealers regularly told the public that Chevrolets best year had arrived.

It was not good timing to also begin an equal advertising campaign for the totally new truck that was ready for manufacturing. A good business decision by GM was to wait about six months until the car ads had slowed, then advertising could begin again for their redesigned trucks. This would hit the customers twice in one year on major changes in the Chevrolet market.

It was unheard of for GM to not introduce a new Chevy vehicle each year, therefore at least something had to happen with trucks at the beginning of the 1955 model year. The answer was later called a “First Series 1955″. Chevrolet would introduce the 1955 truck by making several changes to their pre-existing 1954. With the new “Second Series” only months away, little investment was made to the early 1955 trucks.

First Open Drive Shaft

First Open Drive Shaft

The most noticeable change on the popular 1/2 ton was the first open drive shaft in Chevy’s truck history. This was actually created for the later 1955 trucks but with dealer demand it was moved up to be in the early body style. This major drive line change required a different 3 speed transmission, rear leaf springs, shift linkage and shift box.

1955 Hood Side Emblem

1955 Hood Side Emblem

The outside visual changes were minimum. During the about 5 months production, the 1955 early truck was given totally different hood side emblems. However, to reduce costs the number portion of the emblem could be changed depending on the size of trucks. Example: 3100 on 1/2 ton, 3600 on 3/4 ton and 3800 on the 1 ton.

Vertical Stripes

Vertical Stripes

A no cost difference was changing the vertical stripes on the front hood emblem from red on the 1954 to white on the 1955

Non-Chrome Grill

Non-Chrome Grill

The paint arrangement on the non-chrome grill was also a non cost change for Chevrolet. The grill bars were changed from body color to white.

Dash Color

Dash Color

Interior paint (again a no cost change) was slightly modified from a pearl beige color 1954 to a light metallic brown.

Thus, with little extra investment Chevrolet had a new truck for the beginning of 1955. This was the final offering of this body style that began in 1947. GM referred to it as the “Advance Design”. It has become one of Chevrolet’s all time greats. It’s popularity today is as strong with hobbyists as it was with new buyers 50 years ago.

Then came the totally re-designed trucks in mid-year 1955. That will be another story!

Accessories vs Options

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

As per GM, accessories during the 1930′s through mid 1960′s were the extra cost items sold and installed by the approved dealer. The truck was prepared for these during production so the dealership could later add them with less effort.

As much as possible GM would punch holes, attach removable plates, press in dimples, etc. to help the dealership in placing the accessory in just the right position. Several accessories using the pre-placed holes or dimples in these early Chevrolet and GMC trucks are the right side taillight bracket, fresh air heater, radio, front bumper guards, cigarette lighter, arm rest, glovebox light, and windshield washer.

Options were added at the factory. They were more difficult to install by individual dealerships and were therefore placed on the vehicle during production. This included items such as a chrome grille, 4 speed transmission on 1/2 and 3/4 ton chassis, double action shocks, tinted windows on 1953-55, two speed rear axle on larger trucks, double action fuel pump, hydrovac power brake, etc.

1954 GM Transition Year

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This was one of the most unique years for General Motors 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 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, 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 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.

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

1947-1954 Rear Spring Alignment

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Tech Tip from Ron Hansen
Wakefield, Massachusetts

Jim Carter Truck Parts

Alignment Solution for Installing a Late Model Rear End in a 1947-1954 Pick Up

On the original rear end, the spring centerbolt is offset to the front of the spring by 2″to 3″. If you install a modern rear end (with an open driveshaft) and retain the original springs, the wheels will end up offset forward (inside) of the original wheel openings in the fenders. To correct this problem, remove the original springs and reverse them end to end (front to back) as they are the same on both ends. This will bring the spring centerbolt to the rear of the axle and place the new rear end in the center of the fender wheel openings.

Click to enlarge

Jim Carter Truck Parts

Lost Engine Numbers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GM trucks titled prior to the mid-1950′s were usually registered using the stamped engine number not the body digits pressed in the door ID plate. This practice has created many problems in later years as states became stricter in titling.

Unfortunately, many older vehicles outlast their engine and owners rarely rebuild the originals. To save time and certainly expense, a rebuilt unit or a used one from another vehicle would often be installed. This worked great until years later when state safety inspections began or the vehicle was sold out of state. With a prior engine transplant, there was no ID numbers that would match the title.

Even today, this problem occurs as older trucks with different engines are pulled out of barns and from the property line of a farmer’s back field.

Lost Bumper Bolt

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

On 1937-55 1/2 and 3/4 ton rear bumpers there exists an unused center square bumper bolt hole that sometimes brings up questions from restorers. “Why does this hole exist and what is it purpose?” The answer relates to the attitude toward trucks during those years. They were for work and keeping their production cost low was a priority.

The bumpers during 1937-47 were the same front and rear. The center hole at the front held a vertical steel bracket which was needed if the truck was hand cranked. Rather than make a 4 hole rear bumper, GM simply used their front on the rear. Even in 1947-55 with a slightly different horizontal shape, the factory 5 hole punch was used on front and rear. Therefore, the rear bumper hole has no purpose. To cover this hole, GM produced a special bumper bolt that has become very rare. To save costs (it is a surprise that anything was used) GM created a one inch long stud held in place with a sheet metal speed nut. It has no threads and its head is covered with a stainless cap so it looks like the other bumper bolts from a distance.

Most of these original rare filler bolts will have dents and scrapes on the stainless cap. A skilled person can place a new stainless cover from a more common replacement bolt and make this rare unit look like new.

lost bumper bolt

GMC 1/2 Ton Long Bed

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Of the many differences between the Chevrolet and GMC 1/2 ton during the early years (1936-54), the GMC offering of a long bed pickup box was one of the more noticeable. Only GMC provided this option. To obtain this extra bed length on a Chevrolet, the buyer ordered a 3/4 ton.

This difference existed with the first GMC pickup in 1936 and continued through the end of the Advance Design series in 1955. Possibly the reasoning for this was the horsepower difference between these two marquis. The base 216 six cylinder Chevrolet engine provided 92 hp. The standard 228 GMC six boasted 100 hp.

To get the approximately nine inch extra GMC chassis length not only were the two frame rails longer but the drive shaft was extended. GMC engineers did this by developing an extension which was the connecting length between the standard short bed closed drive shaft and the rear of the transmission. None of this interchanges with a Chevrolet and both makes use a totally different drive shaft design on their 3/4 ton series.

The adjacent photo shows this unique connector link installed in its GMC. A 7 3/8 inch steel jack-shaft is surrounded by a cast iron housing (it is still a closed drive shaft) and includes an extra u-joint, bearing, and seal. Though, a strongly built drive shaft system, this portion becomes the long bed 1/2 ton’s weak link after 50 years of use and abuse. Without a doubt this link has performed almost flawlessly beyond the miles expected by its designers. However, it does have its long term limitations. The many prior miles, lack of regular maintenance, and occasionally overloading the truck makes the failure of an original in today’s world a definite possibility. Watch for sources for the rare replacement parts in this connector link just in case. Otherwise surprise damage in this area can keep your GMC 1/2 ton long bed out of service for quite some time.

long bed 1

long bed 2

long bed 3

Home Made Garage

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

When you would like to restore your truck and no workshop is available, there is a solution. Most all the repairs can occur in a temporary shop and at a very low cost.

Jim Valano of Marion, Indiana is a true example of ‘American Ingenuity.’ He purchased a ‘canvas storage tent’ and assembled it at a convenient location. He even made the floor using the backside of used carpet on top of sheet plastic. Its roll-up sides are adjusted for the weather.

Jim’s 1957 Chevrolet ½ ton is now almost restored and most of the work occurred in this canvas enclosure. It can later be removed and stored in the original box.

If you need a building for your restoration, this may be your answer. Just check with your city for possible zoning restrictions!

home made garage 1

home ,ade garage 2

home made garage 3

Screw On ID Plates

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

screw on ID plates

The body I.D. plate – every GM truck had one attached at the factory. Basically it states the vehicle’s gross weight limit (weight of truck plus its maximum allowed load) plus stamped digits that give the assembly plant year, size of truck, month built, and sequential numbers as it came off the production line. These plates are necessary for positive vehicle identification.

A unique characteristic of the 1950 and older GM truck is that the I.D. plate was not riveted at the factory but rather held in place by two small clutch head screws with a hexagon perimeter. Thus a wrench or a clutch driver can tighten or remove them.

Over the years if the two screws begin to loosen, the owner would either retighten them from time to time or often remove the plate for safe keeping. Usually this plate stayed in the glove box or at home and just never got reattached. Thus we find some of these pre-1951 GM trucks with no I.D. plates. In the early years this was often of little concern as most trucks were titled on the engine number.

After 1950 these I.D. Plates were riveted to the door post. Probably not so much to prevent vehicle theft (we lived in a different era) but just to keep them from being lost.

In today’s world this can cause big problems in registering particularly if the transfer is to another state and an I.D. number verification is necessary. Even if the I.D. plate remains secure with screws as it left the factory, a problem may still exist. Unfortunately most inspectors today weren’t even born when these trucks were built. Sometimes an officer refuses to OK the truck, saying that I.D. plates do not come with attaching screws and it is not legal. You now have an uphill battle with an inspector that really believes he is correct.

Yes, you can attach this original scratched and painted-over I.D. plate with rivets. However, what is this inspector going to say when he sees this worn and painted on I.D. plate attached with two new shinny pop rivets? Have you ever been accused of car theft? It is then you wish the truck was titled to the engine!

Remember, on a left hand drive truck (1947-55) the I.D. plate attached to the left door post. It is attached to the opposite side on the right hand drive truck. The two holes for the plate screws or rivets are punched at the factory in both door posts.

Advanced Design Lighter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

To keep the 1947-1955 GM trucks base price low, their 6 volt cigarette lighter was a dealer accessory. The vehicle always came from the factory with a round blank out plug at the lower center of the dash.

To save tooling costs both the Chevrolet and GMC truck divisions used the same lighter as was found in Chevrolet’s passenger car. It did not match other knobs in the cab. Its double ring chrome head is exclusive to General Motors though it does not carry their logo. They are often seen at swap meets and flea markets mixed with lighter accumulations from all makes. The chrome head is easily unscrewed when a replacement heating element is needed. It will attach to either a 6 or 12 volt element. The in dash receiver also must be changed. GM made a slight difference in element diameters so 6 and 12 volt units could not be accidentally mixed.

advance lighter 1

advance lighter 2

1954-1955 Example (above)

1954-1955 GMC Spring Wind Clock

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In contrast to 1954-1955 Chevrolet trucks, the same year GMC had a position in the dash for an optional gauge. It was here that larger GMC’s had a tachometer or vacuum gauge installed. The 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ton GMC’s usually did not require these engine gauges and a blank-out plate is normally found there. An option here in these smaller trucks is a spring wind clock. It was produced by General Motors and installed at their GMC dealerships.

1954 spring wind clock 1

1954 GMC dash with clock installed (above)

To save production costs, GMC used the clock that was already on the 1953-1954

Chevrolet car. In this way, their investment was limited to a chrome adapter ring that fit in the opening that held the blank-out plate.

This chrome ring has recently been reproduced and is available from most full stocking dealers including Jim Carters Truck Parts. Restorable 1953-1954 Chevrolet car clocks are found at most any medium size automotive swap meet.

1954 GMC spring wind clock 2

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

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