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1955-66

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 Cameo’s?

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 contained 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 contractor 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 6 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 remaining beds. It even caused GM to postpone the plans to introduce their new deluxe full trim fleetside pickup until 1959!

To help the Chevrolet dealers from having two designs of ½ ton deluxe pickups in 1958, the new full 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 had been good for 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!!

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.

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.

1954-59 Shift Knuckles

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1948-53

1954-59

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

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The New Knuckle in Question.

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Photo of the earlier years to give the placement.

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

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

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1961

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

 

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

Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban Wheel Trim

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

With the introduction of the new Cameo in 1955, GM added their most deluxe features as standard equipment.  This “Boulevard Pickup” was to stand out above all others.

            The following relates to the appearance of the wheel coverings on this special vehicle.

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1955 Wheel Cover

The wheel covers were not like that on the more standard pickup.  To save tooling costs on this limited production model, GM used the wheel cover on the 1955 Chevrolet Belair car.  Both vehicles had 15” wheels so the top of the line car wheel cover was chosen for the new Cameo.

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1956 Wheel Cover

The same procedure occurred in 1956.  The Cameo carried the 1956 Chevrolet Belair full wheel cover, not the same design as 1955.

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1957-58 Hub Cap and Trim Ring

The big change in Cameo wheel trim occurred with the 1957 model.  This was the first year for the 14” wheels on the passenger car.  The Belair cover was no longer a fit for the Cameo 15” wheels.  GM’s answer was to chrome the standard white ½ ton hub cap.  To add more to the appearance, a Cameo trim ring was created to cover the outer edge of the wheel.

GMC Suburban Carrier

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The 1955 year was the first for factory installed whitewall tires in both the Cameo and Suburban GMC.  It made an excellent combination with the wheel trim.  This is another major change in the GMC Suburbans looking less than work trucks.  The 15” wheels remained the same during the four years of the Suburban Carrier production.  GMC just chromed the small standard hub cap.  No wheel ring was used as standard equipment, however the wheel was given a contrasting light color.

 

 

1964 – 66 Chevrolet Deluxe Cab Seat

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Examples of the correct seat in the 1964-66 Chevrolet deluxe cab are shown below.  The original brown insert material is almost impossible to locate however our two examples are so close!  The most original seat is # 1.  It wins the show.  However both are excellent examples of how they looked about 50 years ago.

                Notice in the photos of this optional deluxe seat (part of the deluxe cab package) could be obtained on either the big or small rear window cab.  Under the upholstery covering the frame of the standard and deluxe seats are not the same.  This top of the line deluxe seat described in the Chevrolet Sales Brochure as a full-depth foam cushion and upholstered with vinyl in red or beige depending on the choice of exterior color

#1
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#2

 

1955-59 GMC Front Motor Mount

Friday, January 24th, 2014

1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar
1937 Chevrolet Lower Bar

 

1964-66 Optional Air Filter

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

What an unusual and almost forgotten Chevrolet Truck option. Most 1964-66 truck enthusiasts have no idea this option was ever available.

Paul Bremer of Seward, Nebraska recently discovered a 1964 Chevy ¾ ton in a back row of a salvage yard with the remnants of an option air filter. This was Paul’s first encounter with this option after over 30 years researching older salvage yards in the mid-west. He took the attached photos and then began looking through 45 year old Chevrolet option books. Two drawings were found in a Chevrolet truck assembly instructions manual. They show this extra air filter was a correct option on 1/2 through 2 ton trucks. The actual primary filter in the salvage yard had been lost but the piping remained.

An interesting discovery: This optional air filter attaches to and pulls air from the driver’s side inner top cowl. However, the photo from a different truck shows no opening for this special air filter. Possible the factory made the cut in the cowl when it was special ordered. This inlet must have reduced dust into the air intake system. The original air filter on top of the carburetor pulls in dust direct from the radiator fan air that adds more dusty air direct from the outside.

Therefore, did the dealer cut out the hole in the customer’s truck to install the heavy duty air filter or was it factory installed only?

With ideas contact Jim at: jcarter@oldchevytrucks.com


With Optional Air Filter (in salvage yard)

Without Optional Air Filter

With Optional Air Filter (in salvage yard)

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!

1955-1958 Cameo and Suburban Overview

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

The world famous Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban are known by most early truck enthusiasts. They were created due to US citizens having more disposable income after World War II. Demand for houses, appliances, and vehicles were at times more than some factories could produce in a timely manner. In regards to vehicles, General Motors realized that options (offered by the factory) and accessories (offered by the dealer) were selling well on both cars and pickups. After a slight slowdown during the Korean War years, auto and truck extras were again available and good sellers. GM sales just kept getting better!

To help draw attention to their new soon to be introduced 1955 commercial line, the Task Force trucks, GM would announce a special deluxe ½ ton pickup. It would not be like their well known stepside pickup. The retail price would be almost 25% above the regular ½ ton. Often referred to as a “Boulevard Pickup”, it was too deluxe and expensive for most to be used in its beginning years for just hauling merchandise. It would be seen beside homes in newer suburban neighborhoods that had developed so fast after World War II. Those using a ½ ton for city work or farming were not GM’s targeted buyer on this model.

To sell this truck the best, the sales marketing experts of the Chevrolet Division of General Motors made a smart decision to not introduce them or any new Task Force trucks until Mid-1955. The marketing at the first of the year was totally devoted to advertising their new completely redesigned Chevrolet automobile. Only when these cars had been marketed for about six months did the ads begin again introducing the new trucks that would be in dealerships in mid-year. Thus, the Chevrolet dealers made two large hits in one year to attract new buyers. No doubt, the dealers couldn’t have been happier!

Actually the Chevrolet Cameo and GMC Suburban were a gamble. GM hoped to attract the customer that wanted a truck more for looks than for hauling. These helped draw customers into the showroom and made a statement about the buyer. They cost more but hauled the same cargo. If you looked close these trucks were mechanically the same as the base pickup. The full trim package that could be added to the standard pickup was included. Therefore GM already had most of this trim in stock. It was the redesigned fiberglass bedsides and tailgate that really stopped traffic among the truck enthusiasts. From a distance these special ½ tons looked somewhat like a Fleetside bed that would follow a few years later. The traditional rear stepside fenders were eliminated! Yes, whitewall tires even came on most when new. The extra cost was not only in the cab trim, a more deluxe interior, chrome grille and front bumpers but on the large fiberglass outer bed sides, their attaching parts, a special rear chrome bumper and a different way to store the under bed spare tire and wheel.

A strong advertising campaign in early 1955 often featured the new Cameo’s and Suburban’s as leading the pack of GM’s redesigned trucks. The mid-year introduction of these new task force trucks took off strong. It had been 7 years since GM had changed their truck body style.


1955 Cameo Factory Photo

1955 Cameo Factory Photo

Only 5,220 Cameo’s were sold in this half sales year. They were offered only in the combination of Cardinal Red and Bombay Ivory with specialized red and white interior. The GMC Suburban’s were said to have sold about 15% of this number. Not necessarily great by GM standards but a good solid start and it pulled truck buyers into the showroom.

The problem was the sales drop in 1956 even with offering most all truck colors. Only 1,450 Cameo’s found new buyers during a full 12 month year. It appears those wanting this unusual more expensive pickup had bought the year before.


1956 Suburban

1956 Cameo

1956 Suburban

It was obvious GM needed to do something to boost sales for the 1957 year. The Chevrolet Divisions Cameo not GMC, added very attractive bed side trim with a contrasting color between a pair of horizontal stainless strips. It certainly gave it a more updated appearance. Unfortunately, it did little to increase sales. The Cameo sales in 1957 only reached 2244 units!


1957 Cameo

1957 Suburban

1957 Cameo

General Motors, or any company concerned with their bottom line, do not like products that are losing or have no serious future. Thus a decision was made to stop production of these special vehicles in 1957. The new Fleetside pickup with 50% more hauling capacity was scheduled for 1958. Why not offer a very deluxe pickup with most all options on this new Fleetside and replace the Cameo and Suburban? This would cost GM much less but yet the finished product should attract attention like the earlier Cameo and Suburban. They could add horizontal trim to their standard Fleetside bed and not increase the cost like the Cameo bedsides with related spare tire components.

For General Motors this would be a winning decision, however what to do with the near 1,500 Cameo and Suburban beds at the end of 1957? Because of their large fiberglass sides, these complete beds, stored by most assembly plants in different states, had been made and assembled at the Corvette factory in St. Louis, Missouri. Dumping 1500 beds at the end of 1957 into a landfill would be a big financial loss even for General Motors!


1958 Cameo

1958 Suburban

1958 Cameo

To prevent such a loss, it was decided to continue selling the Cameos and Suburban’s until the supply of GM’s completed beds was eliminated. To protect the dealers from overstock of Cameo’s and Suburban’s the introduction of the most deluxe Fleetside pickup that was to have the attractive side trim would be postponed until 1959. The hope was this would keep most dealers from still having 1958 Cameos and Suburban’s in stock when the full trim Fleetside came out in 1959. Of course, this postponing of the full trim Fleetside until 1959 insured the dealer he could buy a remaining Cameo or Suburban and still sell them in 1958 to customers wanting a total deluxe pickup. If a buyer knew about the coming Fleetside pickup, he would probably pass over the 1958 Cameo and wait to purchase the totally new deluxe full trim Fleetside in 1959! Dealers would take a big loss on their remaining 1958 Cameo’s and Suburban’s in stock. It would also be bad public relations for those that had paid the larger price one or two years ago and now see the new 1958 models being dumped at a low price. They would see what they had thought was a Boulevard pickup being bought and worked. It would now become a low price ½ ton.

Note: The GMC “Suburban” was given that name to appeal to those extra income people that were moving to the fast growing suburban areas at the edge of the cities.

This 1959 Deluxe replaced the Cameo

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”.

1957-62 GM Tool Bag

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

One of our good customers, Scott Phaneuf of Hatfield, MA recently purchased a NOS (New Old Stock) GM tool bag with all the correct tools. It was found in a San Diego dealership back storeroom. Somehow it had not been thrown away over these many years.

In earlier years canvas tool bags were with the vehicle when new at no extra charge. Later they became an extra cost option and this design is our feature item. As the quality of clear vinyl improved, they could now use this material as part of the tool bags.

Photos show the pouch, the enclosed tools, and the original cardboard box that kept the total package. The part number 987322 was for customers that had bought most all General Motors cars and trucks between 1957 through 1962.

$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.

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!

1960-66 GMC V-12 Engine

Monday, July 2nd, 2012


1960-66 GMC V-12 Engine

Forgotten by most is the gasoline V-12 engine made by the GMC Division of General Motors in the mid 1960’s. This very large one piece engine block was made for GMC’s largest trucks. Examples of these vehicles were water carrying fire truck, and off road vehicles such as quarry trucks which hauled tons of rock. As can be imagined, the pulling power of these trucks must have been at the top for GMC’s fleet.

Unfortunately, due to the weight of the truck and engine, most were sold to metal recyclers when their working days were over. Most of the few remaining V-12 engines are in fire trucks that have been used only during fires or fire training.

The attached photos show a ½ ton 1964 GMC with one of these V-12’s made to fit for display at shows. Owner unknown. What a mechanical project to fit it into a small ½ ton.

As far as gas mileage, we suspect they almost have to pull a gasoline trailer to keep the engine supplied!

1960-66 GMC V-12 Engine 1960-66 GMC V-12 Engine
1960-66 GMC V-12 Engine 1960-66 GMC V-12 Engine

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

1961 Chevrolet Truck Assembled in Brazil

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012


During 2012 National Convention of the American Truck Historical Society, we met some real truck enthusiasts that had traveled to the show from Brazil. One was, Antonio Sergio Hurtago, an owner of an older American truck museum in San Paulo.

I was given a very interesting current 12 month calendar from this museum. The most surprising page featured a 1961 Chevrolet truck assembled in Brazil. Study the attached images carefully of the cab on this larger work truck. It can be immediately recognized as a United States 1947-55. So that’s where GM sent some tooling for their famous Advance Design body! The GM factory in Brazil continued with this popular cab for additional years!

Look closely again. GM in the US did not continue to produce Advance Design gauges, so look at the photo of the 1961 dash. Yes, the 1955-1959 Chevrolet dash gauges were the ones of choice in the Brazilian factory during at least 1961.

This new Brazilian Chevrolet truck is so different from the US models, yet there is just enough prior parts, it makes it an excellent candidate for study.

1955-59 GMC Heater Control Panels

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012


For the first time in truck manufacturing General Motors made a heater available at the factory for Task Force trucks in the 1955-59 years. Yes, the dealer could still add a heater if you requested after the new truck purchase.

Here, we feature the GMC heater dash panel for these years. In the photo, the deluxe fresh air controls have chrome die cast housing, temperature control and defroster levers plus the fan speed switch. You could even adjust for inside or outside air intake.

The recirculator heater control also has a very interesting control panel installation. A hole is punched in the heater blank-out plate. A double switch is pulled to allow more water flow into the heater core. The same knob can be turned to operate the fan motor speed. See the photos with the remaining screen printed lettering on the plate. Very ingenious.

Another interesting photo is a GMC blank-out plate with the round heat knob. Here, the owner used the punched hole and an aftermarket switch. Of course, this is for fan speed and the water in the core is not regulated.

Note: The shape of the two heater inserts in the photo look as though they have a different bend, however this is only the angle of the photo!

1960-61 GMC Deluxe Pickup

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012


1960 GMC Deluxe Pickup
As the US economy was making its gradual improvement that began after WWII, truck and car buyers started ordering more options and accessories.

To help attract buyers that wanted a little extra, manufacturers such as the GMC truck division, began offering a more deluxe package. It gave no additional working ability to the base model trucks but certainly added eye appeal. A different paint scheme, add-on trim, and more tasteful interiors were usually part of this deluxe package. The customer could pay one additional price and all the extras came together. The dealership made additional income and buyers received all the extras GMC engineers designed to be part of this one price extra.

This example of a now rarely seen deluxe 1961 GMC pickup is owned by Steve Colburn of Salinas, CA. It is an untouched original! What a great way to see how GMC did it over 50 years ago is to look at Steve’s GMC.

Though sharing most of the metal panels with Chevrolet, the GMC Division wanted no part of using most any trim other than their own. They created it only for the 1960-61 GMC.

Look closely at the changes GMC placed on Steve’s ½ ton to be different than Chevrolet.

Paint scheme: The color division line is often under the trim though sometimes at the point where two body lines meet. For example: The top of the bed exterior side is welded to the lower panel. This is a division line.

The horizontal stainless trim under the rear window was used on all 1960 and 1961 deluxe GMC’s. It was similar to Chevrolet but each end is totally different. See the cab article-1960-66 Chevrolet Cab Trim on this website.

The stainless vertical cab trim behind the upper door is a GMC only item.

Of course, the grille is totally different than the Chevrolet and is chrome on these deluxe models.

Bumpers are like Chevrolet and are chromed.

The white standard GMC hub caps were chromed.  Steve has them, but he is looking for the wheels.

The cab seat cushions are the same between Chevrolet and GMC, however the vinyl and cloth covering is designed differently.

The word “Custom” displayed on the deluxe 1962-1966 GMC, is not used on the 1960-61.

The stainless windshield trim is shared with Chevrolet.

The V-6 hood side emblems (GMC only) are chromed only on the deluxe cab.

Steve Colburn’s 1961 GMC deluxe package pickup is the “real thing”. In its over 50 years the correct trim and colors remain. Even its 305HP V-6 is still in place. To find another example in this untouched condition would be almost impossible! You can contact Steve at stevencolburn@gmail.com

1958-59 GMC Economy Pickup

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

There is certainly truth in the statement:  Auto and truck manufacturers are in business to show a profit!  Based on this, the General Motor’s truck division made a decision for 1958 that sales could be increased in an area that had been mostly ignored in prior years.
1958-59 GMC Pickup

The GMC division found they were weak in commercial truck sales and yet the market was there!  The large quantity buyers were commercial fleet and government agencies.

In fact, even the smaller towns in America use at least a few trucks for daily maintenance responsibilities.  General Motors wanted more of this high volume business for their GMC division.

There was one problem.  The lighter GMC’s were known for extra trim and larger engines.  The pricing separated them more from being sold to volume customers.  The truly big buyers usually wanted more bare bones, lowest price transportation.  Chrome and engine size had limited interest.  A person in an office buying fleet vehicles for a company is usually told to obtain the best price and stay within a budget.  The make of a car and truck was not as important as the price.  This was costing GMC a very large number of sales.  It appears they could not compete when price was the first criteria.

Behind closed doors, steps were taken to increase volume but not lower GMC’s profit line. Thus an economy model was introduced in 1958.  A few of the changes are as follows:

1)      Gone was the expensive chrome grille with the attractive multi-piece park light assemblies.

2)      Even single headlights reduced the price.

3)      One piece stamped steel bumpers were painted black.

4)      The full inside metal dash is replaced with less expensive 1955-59 Chevrolet design.

5)      The small Chevrolet bowtie at the bottom of the 1955-59 Chevrolet gauge face was replaced with GMC letters.

6)      The seats were non-pleated vinyl.

7)      The smaller inline six cylinder engine was standard equipment.

8)      Hubcaps and emblems were painted.

9)      Extra cost options would be rear bumper, radio, heater and 4 speed transmission.

Do any of these GMC economy trucks exist 50 years later?  Most second owners bought them from the fleet owner with only work in mind.  Few restorers today will look twice at these ultra economy trucks when deciding on a project to build.  However, if you want a truck that is almost one of a kind in today’s world, find a 1958-59 GMC economy model!

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

1960 – 1966 GMC V-6 EMBLEMS

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011


During these years, GMC’s claim-to-fame motor was their V-6. In fact, from 1960 through 1964 this is the only engine they offered in their vehicles. The emblem on each side of the hood showed the world the truck had the V-6. A strong large cast-iron block had a two-barrel Stromberg carburetor. The spark plugs in the head were above the exhaust manifold, quite different than the Chevrolet V-8 design (even today) with the plugs below their manifold.

In 1965, GMC began to also offer an inline 6-cylinder, which was the first time ever that GMC and Chevrolet shared motors. It was actually the great little 250 6-cylinder that Chevrolet introduced earlier in 1963. As their base motor, it had a lower price point, provided better gas mileage, and required less expense when repairs were needed.

GMC held strong to this V-6 motor design. It was offered through 1969, even after they began also using the Chevy V-8 in 1967. The V-6 emblems were not displayed at the end of their 1966 body style.

1960 - 1966 GMC V-6 EMBLEMS
1960-62
1960 - 1966 GMC V-6 EMBLEMS
1963-66

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!

1956-1959 Panel License Plate Bracket

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The rear license plate bracket for the 1956-1959 panel truck-very rare!



For the first time, this body style did not incorporate the tail light into the license light.

When GM designed the body to have two tail lights on the corners, it was necessary to design a license plate light that remained independant on the door position. This small bracket and light has become very rare in recent years.

NOTE: Strange, the first year of this panel truck body style (1955) continued with the combination tail and license light combination as the 1947-1954 design.

1955 1959 panel tail light 2
1956-1959 (above)

1955 1959 panel tail light 1
1955 only (above)

1956-1959 Panel License Plate Bracket
The complete combination – 1956-1959 (above)

Rear Bumpers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

GM step beds during 1955-1966 are almost the same. They even use identical tailgates. Thus GM did not find it necessary to change the rear bumper stamping during these 12 years. However, there is one important difference which distinguishes the 1955-1959 from 1960-1966 rear stepbed bumpers.

 rear bumper plate

During 1960-1966 GM placed two stamped square holes (not in 1955 through 1959) on either side of the center dip below the license plate. This is because the later series had their license plate bracket attached to this bumper, not to the rear bed cross sill as in the earlier 1955-1959

Introduction of the GM Fleetside

Thursday, February 11th, 2010



Though fleetside pickups are the common style today, they certainly had a unique appearance in the late 1950’s. Until then, the stepside body style with outside rear fenders was the norm. With smaller horsepower from available engines, the limited hauling capacity in the stepside box was well matched to the existing power plants.

If the customer required a pickup with more hauling volume, the stepside was simply made longer. To compensate for the extra gross weight, the manufacturer lowered the differential gearing. Thus the small engines continued to serve well but the result was a slower highway speed.

With the introduction of the Chevrolet high oil pressure 235 six and 265 small block V-8 engine, power was now available to allow for a radical new bed change. Pickup bed dimensions would be increased side to side in addition to length. Extra hauling capacity on the same wheelbase could be now handled by the additional horsepower. With the same wheelbase, an approximately 50% increase in bed capacity was created with GM’s new fleetside.

Both Chevrolet and GMC introduced the same fleetside in 1958. It came in both six and eight foot lengths on the 1/2 ton chassis. The eight foot box could also be ordered on the 3/4 ton frame. (If you needed a 1 ton pickup the prior long stepbed model still remained the only choice.) No doubt, these new fleetsides created much notoriety in a world of stepside pickups. To draw even more attention GM placed chrome die cast “Fleetside” lettered emblems toward the rear of each bed side.

This first GM fleetside box style was offered only two years until a redesigned side was introduced in 1960. The early bed 1958-1959 sides can be easily recognized due to their long 5″ wide horizontal spear stamped in the middle. These terminate at a unique round rear taillight which is also special to just this bedside.

A very deluxe optional model of this new fleetside was introduced in 1959. Some feel it was to replace the recently discontinued Cameo Carrier. It featured additional bed trim, stainless window moldings, chrome grill and bumper, plus a nicer interior. Its sides came with long stainless steel strips and die-cast ends beside the horizontal bed spears. This bed trim is very rare today! Unfortunately, the few original beds remaining make reproducing these horizontal trim strips financially impractical.

introduction gm fleetside 1

introduction gm fleetside 2

The featured early fleetside for this article is a 1959 Chevrolet short bed. Its owner is Olen Moore of Odessa, Missouri. He recently completed a three year ground up restoration to exact factory specifications. Olen even used the correct Galway Green, a very popular color during that era. Notice the stamped side spears and upper rear fleetside chrome emblems.

introduction gm fleetside 3

introduction gm fleetside 4

introduction gm fleetside 5

GM’s First 4×4

Thursday, February 11th, 2010



The momentum of four wheel drive popularity definitely began after World War II. The need for this off-road extra during the war forced 4×4 technology to develop at a fast pace. Thus, during the early 1950’s, several independent companies began to appear offering a four wheel drive kit for light duty trucks.

Major pickup manufacturers were not yet offering this as one of their factory options so a great opportunity existed for new companies. Kits from emerging companies such as Marmon Harrington, NAPCO, American Coleman, and Fabco were designed to fit specific makes of trucks. For those that traded their vehicles regularly, these kits could be removed and installed under a newer truck. This was a big selling point as the finished product plus labor usually retailed for almost as much as a new light truck.

It didn’t take long for General Motors and other major light truck producers to realize a 4×4 option should be made available to their new vehicle buyers. Why should their franchised GMC and Chevrolet dealers be taking new unsold pickups to nearby independent installers to add the 4×4 option?

General Motors solved this problem and with less investment capital! Rather than engineer a totally new system (4×4 were not big sellers nationwide), GM installed an assembly line unit that was already being used. The Northwest Auto Parts Co. of Minneapolis, MN (NAPCO) was contracted to provide kits to one of GM’s truck assembly plants. As NAPCO was already the main installer of 4×4 systems under GM vehicles, this marriage was a natural.

NAPCO would continue to have their franchised installers in most major cities, however GM would offer the same system from their assembly plant. Of course, when GM used the system in 1957-59, they left off the chrome NAPCO trim fender plates and did not refer to the word NAPCO in their shop manual. The large letters NAPCO were always cast in the front axle housing in view to a person looking under the front bumper.

The following pictures are from an original 1957 Chevrolet 4×4 brochure. Note the emphasis on rugged use.

GM's First 4x4

GM's First 4x42

1955-1959 GMC Hood Emblems

Thursday, February 11th, 2010



On the task force body style, 1955-1959, the GMC hoods began quite different than Chevrolet. Beginning in 1955 a large opening, 5.25″ x 25″, was used to hold a set of die cast GMC letters attached to a decorative grill.

In 1957 this grill was removed in place of a perimeter ring. Why the less attractive ring was added is a question. Possibly this grill held leaves and restricted some air intake or maybe it was a change just to be change. There was no hood opening in these last two years of this series.

By 1958-1959 GMC and Chevrolet shared the same design hood with only trim differences.

1955 1959 gmc hood

1955-1956 (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1957 Starndad (above)

1957 Chrome Hood Emblem

1957 Deluxe (above)

1955 1959 gmc hood

1958-1959 (above)

1955 1966 Truck Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1955 Second Series-66 Chevy Truck Model I.D.

1955 1966 Truck

We hope the following information on Axle, Transmission and Model identification will help many of you with your questions. Accuracy was a concern as we compiled this information. Because GM made so many scheduled as well as unscheduled changes, there is much discussion about these changes.

The following is used by permission from Pickups and Panels Magazine and artist Bryant J. Stewart

1955 2nd Series

1955 truck tech 1

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
H 3100 116 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
H 3124 116 ½ ton Cameo pickup
M 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed pickup
F 3400 104 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
G 3500 125 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
J 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed pickup
K 3700 137 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
L 3800 135 1 ton longbed pickup, panel, flatbed, stake
N 4100 130 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
P 4400 154 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
R 4500 154 1-½ ton school bus chassis
S 5100 112-5/8 2 ton low cab forward
T 5400 136-5/8 2 ton low cab forward
U 5700 160-5/8 2 ton low cab forward
V 6100 130 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
W 6400 154 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
X 6500 172 2 ton truck
Y 6700 194 2 ton school bus chassis
Z 6800 220 2 ton school bus chassis

1956

1955 truck tech 2

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
3A 3124 114 ½ ton Cameo pickup
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed pickup
3C 3400 104 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3D 3500 125 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed pickup
3F 3700 137 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3G 3800 135 1 ton pickup, panel, flatbed, stake
4A 4100 130 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
4B 4400 154 1-½ ton flatbed, stake rack
4C 4500 154 1-½ ton school bus chassis
6A 6100 130 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6B 6400 154 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6C 6500 172 2 ton
6D 6700 194 2 ton school bus chassis
6E 6800 220 2 ton school bus chassis

1957

1955 truck tech 3

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
3A 3124 114 ½ ton Cameo pickup
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed pickup
3C 3400 104 ¾ ton longbed pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3D 3500 125 ¾ ton longbed (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed pickup
3F 3700 137 ¾ ton pickup (double duty) (forward control delivery chassis)
3G 3800 135 1 ton pickup, flatbed, stake rack
4A 4100 132-1/2 1-½ ton truck
4B 4400 156-1/2 1-½ ton truck
4C 4500 156-1/2 1-½ ton school bus chassis
6A 6100 132-1/2 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6J 6200 129-5/8 2 ton truck (forward control chassis)
6B 6400 156-1/2 2 ton flatbed, stake rack
6C 6500 174-1/2 2 ton truck
6K 6600 153-5/8 2 ton truck (forward control chassis)
6D 6700 196-1/2 2 ton school bus chassis
6E 6800 222-1/2 2 ton school bus chassis

1958

1955 truck tech 4

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed pickup, panel, Suburban
3A 3124 114 ½ ton cameo pickup
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, stake
3G 3800 135 1 ton stepside pickup, panel, stake rack

1959

1955 truck tech 5

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
11/1280 119 El Camino L-6/V-8
3A 3100 114 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
3B 3200 123-1/4 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
3E 3600 123-1/4 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, stake rack
3G 3800 135 1 ton stepside pickup, panel, stake rack

1960

1955 truck tech 6

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
11/1280 119 El Camino L-6/V-8
C/K14 115 ½ ton 4×2/4×4 shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban (Apache 10)
C15 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup (Apache 10)
C/K25 127 ¾ ton 4×2/4×4 longbed step/fleetside pickup, 8′ stake bed (Apache 20)
C36 133 1 ton longbed stepside pickup, panel, 9′ stake bed (Apache 30)

1961-1963

1955 truck tech 7

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
C10 1404-34 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
C15 1504-34 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C25 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban, 8′ stake bed
K14* 1404-34 115 ½ ton 4×2/4×4 shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K25* 2504-39 127 ¾ ton 4×4 longbed step/fleetside pickup
C36 1404-34 133 1 ton longbed stepside pickup, panel, 9′ stake bed

1964-1966

1955 truck tech 8

SERIES WHEELBASE VEHICLE TYPE
A5380 115 ½ ton El Camino (6 cylinder)
A5480 115 ½ ton El Camino (8 cylinder)
A5580 115 ½ ton El Camino Custom (6 cylinder)
A5680 115 ½ ton El Camino Custom (8 cylinder)
C10 115 ½ ton shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
C10 127 ½ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup
C20 127 ¾ ton longbed step/fleetside pickup, Suburban, 8′ stake bed
K10 115 ½ ton 4×4 shortbed step/fleetside pickup, panel, Suburban
K20 127 ¾ ton 4×4 longbed step/fleetside pickup
C30 133 1 ton longbed stepside pickup, panel, 9′ stake

Note” The vehicle serial number on 1963 Four Wheel Drive models may be used to determine if the model is a First or Second Series Design. The following chart indicates each assembly plant and the sequence of vehicle serial numbers which apply to First Series or Second series.

*1st Series up to and including # *2nd Series including and begining wit # Assembly Plants
106084 106085 A= Atlanta
106732 106733 B= Baltimore
106559 106560 F= Flint
110340 110341 J= Janesville
112645 112646 N= Norwood
125965 125966 O= Oakland
118544 118545 S= St. Louis
109948 109949 T= Tarrytown

Disclaimer: This truck I. D. information is correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and is only to be used as a guide. Pickups ‘n panels and/or the National Chevy/GMC Truck Association, and Jim Carter Truck Parts, make no guarantee of accuracy, and disclaim any liability incurred in the use of this information.

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)

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

Trees and Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

There couldn’t be an easier place for a tree to grow. If you don’t move your truck for a few years, trees will find it. As they grow wider, the truck bends to fit!

Here livestock cannot eat the first growth.  Lawn mowers can’t reach it.

It’s free to grow.

tree trucks 1

 

tree trucks 1

trees trucks 2

trees trucks 3

trees trucks 3

The Finale

In this example this small young tree sensed the light coming through the square bumper bolt hole and grew in that direction.

It went on through the hole and continued it’s growth. All was growing good until a weed sprayer came on the scene.

Compliments of Jerry’s Chevy Restoration Shop. Independence, Missouri.

test

test

Plaid Valve Covers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Strange but true, 305 V-6 valve covers on 1963 GMC 1/2 ton pickups came with a red, yellow, and black plaid design. The red color was used on the remainder of the engine without the yellow and black markings.

These photos are of an original untouched V-6 GMC engine. At this time, we are unsure why GMC used this appearance. (Maybe Scottish plaid implied good fuel economy.) Whatever the reason, it will be almost impossible for most perfectionists to restore a pair of the valve covers with the correct plaid appearance!

plaid valve cover 1

plaid valve cover 2

GM Vintage 1950 Overdrive

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet’s 1/2 ton and car overdrive 3 speed transmission was optional equipment installed on the assembly line during the 1950’s. The reduction of engine RPM’s in high gear resulted in less wear on the drive train as well as additional speed on level roads. Today, this is still important but of increased importance is better fuel economy.

The standard 3 speed transmission gives a 1 to 1 ratio in high gear. The overdrive is rated .7 to 1. The case and main gears are identical in both transmissions. The difference is in the rear extension tail. Here, the Borg-Warner gears electrically drop the RPM’s in the output shaft. GM’s wisdom created the 3 speed overdrive to be the same overall length as their standard transmission. This makes transmission exchanges very uncomplicated. There is no modification in the shift linkage rods or drive shaft.

With several basic tools a person can remove a standard 3 speed and add his overdrive in an hour! No problem if you don’t have the factory dash levers. Simply connect two insulated wires from the solenoid to a small dual position flip switch you add to the end of the shift lever. (It can be bought tat a local auto parts store and taped in place.) The driver can then shift in and out of overdrive using his thumb.

These overdrives were Chevrolet optional equipment from 1955 through the early 1960’s. Though they are becoming difficult to find, they do surface at swap meets, older salvage yards, and from owners totally modernizing their older vehicle. Find one and give your car or ½ ton a different personality!

Exploded View of GM 1950 Overdrive Transmission…PDF Click Here

Floor Shift Foam Collar

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This drawing is from the 1955-1959 Chevrolet Factory Assembly Manual. We have added our part number ( FL137 ) with an arrow to show the new floor shift foam collar that is now available at Jim Carter’s Truck Parts.

Click to enlarge

Floor Shift Foam Collar

First Year Oil Filter

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It’s the first year for the successful Chevrolet V-8. (This basic small block design continues even today over 50 years later.) One very unique characteristic of this first year V-8 is the lack of a traditional block connection for a positive flow oil filter. For this one year, this 265 engine carried the by-pass oil filter system much like the standard 235 six cylinder. It was dealer installed!

The filter canister has a welded on right angle bracket that is secured under the thermostat housing at the front of the engine. The supply and drain lines are small like the 235. If the filter becomes clogged and the oil stops flowing into the cartridge, the engine continues to run with good lubrication. These photos show an excellent example of the 265 V-8 accessory oil filter system, with it being a dealer accessory, it probably was placed on few engines when they arrived at the dealership.

first year oil filter

1963-1966 Power Steering

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1963-1966 Chevrolet Power Steering

Chevrolet linkage-type power steering is now available optionally on Series C10, 20, 30 models. This was formerly a dealer installed item. The equipment consists of a hydraulic pump, power cylinder, control valve, relay rod and hoses.

The power cylinder is mounted to the frame and is connected to the control valve through the hoses. The control valve is mounted on the steering drag link between the knuckle arm and the steering arm and it serves to control the flow of pressurized power steering fluid to either side of the power cylinder piston. This in turn pushes or pulls the tie rod as required for easier steering.

Power steering helps to combat driver fatigue and aids maneuverability. It also dampens road shocks and vibrations at the steering wheel and provides extra comfort and ease of handling.

1963-1966 Chevrolet Power Steering 1

1955-1959 Fan Shroud

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1955-1959 Chevrolet Fan Shroud

By 1958 the Chevrolet V-8 fan shroud (not GMC) changed to the more traditional round design. During the V-8 beginning years in 1955-1957, it was little more than four pieces of custom sheet metal that helped pull air through the radiator core.

The enclosed pictures are of an original fan shroud for a 1958-59 Chevrolet 283 V-8. It fits only these two years of light trucks. Dimensions of the barrel is 19 inches in diameter and 20 inches deep.

The other shroud is from a 1958-1959 1 1/2 and 2 ton with V-8. There is a big difference. Be sure you purchase the correct design for the truck you have.

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 1

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 2

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 3

1958-1959 Pick Up (above)

1958 1959 Chevrolet fan shroud 4

1958-1959 1 1/2 – 2 Ton (above)

1955-1959 Starters

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Two totally different 12 volt starters were used on the 235 six cylinder Chevrolet light trucks during 1955-1959. They attach to different bellhousings and are not interchangeable.

1955 1959 starters 1

As shown in the photos, the Hydramatic transmission starter has three bolt holes for securing it to the bellhousing. A solenoid on top reacts to the drivers key switch in the dash.

The starter for the 3 and 4 speed transmission has a top mounted foot start switch. It attaches to its bellhousing with two bolts

1955 1959 starters 2

1955 1959 starters 3

1955 1959 starters 4

1955-1959 Power Steering

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Chevrolet’s linkage-type power steering is available as an RPO (Regular Production Option) on all models except Forward Control Chassis. New ease and fingertip steering control are provided because up to 80 percent of the steering work is done by hydraulic power. Maneuvering a heavily loaded truck in a small space becomes much easier, and straightaway highway travel is less fatiguing. In addition, power steering effectively damps road shock and vibration at the steering wheel.

A hydraulic pump, driven by an extension of the generator shaft, provides hydraulic pressure of 750-900 pounds per square inch. (A 30-ampere or heavy-duty 40-ampere generator is included with the power steering option.) The control valve on the Pitman arm reacts to movement of the steering wheel and regulates the flow of fluid to the power cylinder.

This valve directs fluid under pressure to either the left or right side of the piston in the power cylinder, thus providing assistance for both left and right turns. Manual steering, in case the system is inoperative, is always available.

1955 1959 power steering

1955-1957 Radiator Shroud

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1955-1957

With the introduction of the new small block V-8’s in 1955 Chevrolet trucks, modified sheet metal was created to help in cooling. The new truck design came standard with the proven 235 inline six cylinder but when an optional V-8 was added, cooling modifications were necessary.

The short length V-8’s cooling fan was too far from the radiator and could pull air from above and below the engine and less through the core. To prevent this, all V-8 trucks came with an upper and lower metal baffle plate to help better pull air through the radiator.

These metal plates have become very difficult to locate in recent years. The lack of these two plates on (restored?) V-8 trucks are usually a strong indication the vehicle has been converted from an original six cylinder. The mechanic was either not aware these plates existed or had no idea of where to locate them.

During 1958-1959 the shroud was redesigned. It became a more traditional metal circle as is found on more modern vehicles. This allowed even more air to be pulled through the radiator core.

The following photos show original Chevrolet radiator cooling sheet metal from 1955-1957 V-8 trucks. The dark lines on the drawing relates to how these plates fit in the original vehicle.

1955-1957 Chevrolet Radiator Shroud

Speed Up 1948-1959 GM Pick Up

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

1948-1959 GM Pick Up

We often get requests for a formula to make the Advance Design pickups more freeway friendly. Their original ring and pinion gears were created to make the truck’s six cylinder work well with a load and also keep up with the 1950’s traffic on gravel roads and two lane paved highways.

Though a higher speed reproduction ring and pinion was introduced several years ago, some owners still ask for another alternative to get in the “fast lane”. One method has been used successfully for several years and requires most parts from local salvage yards. Obtain the Borg-Warner 5 speed overdrive transmission from an S-10 pickup. It must come from an earlier model with a mechanical speed sensor (on the side of the case). It can not have the more high tech electronic speed sensor as used on the later S-10 pickups with computers.

This transmission will bolt against the original bellhousing of a 1948 and newer (a nice surprise). The clutch shaft which extends out of the front of the transmission is usually too long to allow the ears to bolt flat and secure to the bellhousing face. Therefore, if this occurs, shorten the tip of the shaft about a half inch and all will fit together. This is a must. Otherwise you can even break off a transmission ear when you begin tightening the four attaching bolts.

The ears that attach the transmission to the bellhousing are usually drilled for a metric bolt. They will need to be enlarged for a standard 1/2 inch bolt as is threaded into the bellhousing.

The V-8 Camaro 5 speed transmission is also similar to the S-10. It is said to not be as low geared and this makes it more desirable. The Camaro shift lever is too far back for the 1948-59 pickup. The bench seat is in the way. To correct this, use the S-10 tail shaft housing and case top cover. This will allow the vertical lever to come through the original floor in the correct position.

The input shaft of the 5 speed will have either 14 or 26 splines. Therefore, the clutch disc must match the transmission and not the 10 splines from the original 1948-1959 truck.

The attractive S-10 boot is still available from GM and the shift knob of choice is from a late model 5-speed Jeep. It screws on perfectly and looks great! The S-10 shifter clears the seat cushion and looks like it was installed by GM.

The next step is the differential. An open drive shaft style will be necessary to match up with the 5-speed but this is a subject for an totally different technical article.

The result of this change is lower RPM’s and speed to keep up with traffic flow on most modern highways.

Casting Numbers

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
Casting Number Make Year CID
1970 Chevrolet 1964-1967 292
2135412 GMC 1946-1954 248,270
2193980 GMC 1952-1954 302
2324003 GMC 1955-1963 270
2324004 GMC 1955-1962 302
2404929 GMC 1955-1963 270
2192402 GMC Military 302
289890 Chevrolet 1963-1977 292
328575 Chev/Buick/Olds/Pontiac 1968-1984 250
328576 Chev/Buick/Pontiac 1968-1976 250
328880 Chevrolet 1963-1977 292
329990 Chevrolet 1963-1977 292
358825 Chevrolet 1966-1976 250
3629703 Chevrolet 1950-1952 235
366855 Chev/Buick/Olds/Pontiac 1966-1984 250
3692703 Chevrolet 1950-1952 235
3692708 Chevrolet 1950-1952 235
3692713 Chevrolet 1950-1952 235
3693374 Chevrolet 1942-1949 235
37001481 Chevrolet 1953-1955 235
3701946 Chevrolet 1953 235
3703414 Chevrolet 1954-1956 261
3733340 Chevrolet 1955-1957 261
3733813 Chevrolet 1958 261
3733946 Chevrolet 1954-1955 235
3733949 Chevrolet 1953-1955 235
3733950 Chevrolet 1954-1955 261
3737012  Chevrolet 1955-1957 261
3738307  Chevrolet 1958-1962 235
3738365 Chevrolet 1960-1962 261
3738476 Chevrolet 1958-1962 235
3738813 Chevrolet 1955-1963 261
3739365 Chevrolet 1958-1962 261
3739716  Chevrolet 1958-1962 235
3759365  Chevrolet 1959 261
3764476  Chevrolet 1958-1962 235
3769716  Chevrolet 1958-1962 235
3769717  Chevrolet 1959-1962 261
3769925  Chevrolet 1958-1962 261
3773949  Chevrolet 1954 235
3782856  Chevrolet 1962-1967 194
3782858  Chevrolet 1962-1967 194
378307  Chevrolet 1960-1962 235
3783949  Chevrolet 1953-1954 235
3788378  Chevrolet 1962-1974 292
3788406  Chevrolet 1962-1969 230
3788514  Chevrolet 1962-1970 153
3788813  Chevrolet 1955-1959 261
3789404  Chevrolet 1963-1976 292
3789412  Chevrolet 1963-1966 292
3789716  Chevrolet 1963-1972 292
3792852  GMC 1962-1966 194
3792858  Chevrolet 1962-1967 194
3821970  GMC 1967-1972 292
3833057  Chevrolet 1962-1970 191
3833067  Chevrolet 1963-1970 194
3833340  Chevrolet 1955-1957 261
383340  Chevrolet 1955-1957 261
3835253  Chevrolet 1942-1953 216
3835309 Chevrolet 1942-1949 235
3835335  Chevrolet 1942-1949 235
3835353 Chevrolet 1948-1952 216
3835363  Chevrolet 1954 235
3835374  Chevrolet 1942-1949 235
3835491  Chevrolet 1954 235
3835497  Chevrolet 1942-1953 216
3835527  Chevrolet 1951 216
3835692 Chevrolet 1950-1952 235
3835794  Chevrolet 1942-1953 216
3835846  Chevrolet 1953 235
3835849  Chevrolet 1942-1953 216
3835894  Chevrolet 1953 216
3835911  Chevrolet 1953-1955 235
3835917  Chevrolet 1954-1955 235
3835946  Chevrolet 1953 235
3835949  Chevrolet 1954 235
3836012  Chevrolet 1955-1957 261
3836223  Chevrolet 1955-1957 235
3836233  Chevrolet 1955-1957 235
3836340  Chevrolet 1955-1958 261
3836386  Chevrolet 1955-1957 235
3837004  Chevrolet 1955-1957 235-261
3837012  Chevrolet 1955-1957 261
3843363  Chevrolet 1953-1955 235
3850817  Chevrolet 1962-1978 230-250
3851656  Chevrolet 1963-1972 292
3851659  Chevrolet 1963-1976 292
3851859  Chevrolet 1963-1972 292
3854036  Chevrolet/Olds/Pontiac 1962-1976 230-250
3855914  Chevrolet 1963-1966 292
3855987  Chevrolet 1963-1971 292
3855991  Chevrolet 1963-1970 230
3856233  Chevrolet 1955 235
3858190  Chevrolet 1954-1955 235
3877178  Buick/Olds/Chev/Pont/GMC 1962-1978 230-250
3879875  Chevrolet 1962-1970 194
3886061  Chevrolet 1963-1966 292
3890011  Buick/Chev/Olds/Pontiac 1968-1972 250
3890013  Chevrolet 1968-1972 250
3892858  Chevrolet 1964-1967 194
389770  Chevrolet 1942-1951 216
3897702  Chevrolet 1942-1953 216
3921770  Chevrolet 1966-1976 292
3921967  Chevrolet 1964-1969 230
3921968  Chevrolet 1964-1976 230-150
3921970  Chevrolet 1963-1976 292
828575  Chevrolet 1972-1977 250
837751  Chevrolet 1942-1949 235
839770  Chevrolet 1942-1953 216
8397715  Chevrolet 1942-1949 235
839910  Chevrolet 1942-1951 216
839931  Chevrolet 1942-1949 235
8994256  Chevrolet 1964-1977 292
9890043 Pontiac 1968-1969 250

The Forgotten 261 6 Cylinder Engine

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


Between 1954-1962, Chevrolet produced their famous full oil pressure 235 cubic inch six cylinder in trucks and it soon proved to be one of the greats among engines. However, at the same time a lesser known “big brother” to this base engine was being used. This was the quality built 261 cubic inch six cylinder! The 261 was available in 2 ton (5000 or 6000 series) trucks and school buses. During it’s early years (1954-1957) it was an extra cost option above the standard 235 six cylinder.

In 1958-6192 (the 261 now had a full flow remote oil filter) it became standard in the 2 ton chassis up to 19,000 pounds gross weight. Above that Chevrolet substituted a V-8.

This larger six was not offered in US cars, however there was an exception in Canadian built full size Pontiacs. Their base engine, also produced only in Canada, was the 261 not the V-8 as in the US. This provided basic power, great dependability, and better gas mileage.

Basically, this larger engine was a 235 with the same crankshaft but GM engineers made various modifications to give it extra strength and horsepower. It’s standard bore diameter increased from 3-9/16 inches to 3-3/4 inches. The connecting rods were heavier and attached to increased diameter piston wrist pins.

Its higher lift cam shaft, for better breathing, was shared only with the early 235 six cylinder Corvette. A modified larger Rochester carburetor was also a 261 only feature. Unfortunately most of these larger sixes have long since had their original Rochesters replaced with 235’s and therefore do not perform to their full potential.

In pure big truck form the 261 has a larger thermostat housing holding a double acting thermostat. This is designed to circulate water through the block and head before the thermostat opens to allow hot water into the radiator. Thus, no internal steam hot spots during warm ups, especially in winter. This is particularly important with very cold coolant. Vital engine spots can become very hot before the total coolant becomes hot enough to open a normal thermostat on the front of the block.

261 engine 1

6 Cylinder Engines Jobmaster Thriftmaster
Displacement 261 Cu.In. 235.5 Cu. In.
Bore 3 3/4″ 3 9/16″
Stroke 3 15/16″ 3 15/16″
Firing Order 1-5-3-6-2-4 1-5-3-6-2-4
Compression Ratio 7.8 to 1 8 to 1
Horsepower 33.7 (AMA) 148 (Rated) 30.4 (AMA) 140 (Rated)
No.of Main Bearings 4 4
Wrist Pin Diameter .927 inches .875 inches
Rod Shaft Thickness Front to Back .595 inches .595 inches
Rod Shaft Thickness Side to Side .975 inches .760 inches
Crankshaft Journel Diameter 2.435 2.435
Engine Color in trucks Green -some later Yellow Gray

The block and head surface have three pair of matching small “steam holes” that allow any steam hot pockets to vent away from the open water cooled areas between the cylinders that are not solid metal. Of course, this means the 261 must have its own specialized head gasket.

261 engine 2

After four years into production, the major quality feature was added to the 261 engine. For the first time a Chevrolet inline six cylinder came standard with a full flow oil filter system. This improvement, used only with the later 261, forced oil through a remote filter cartridge before it reached the engine. It was not like the optional by-pass oil filter system as found on 216 and 235 Chevrolet sixes. This extra helped insure longer life to this larger six cylinder that was often subjected to heavy commercial use.

A full flow oil system has been a characteristic of almost all automotive engines for over 40 years but it was just beginning in the mid 1950’s. With the 261, the disposable filter is remote and not built in as with later engines. It still resulted in a major design improvement.

As with the 235 light truck engine, the 261 came standard with solid valve lifters and an aluminum camshaft timing gear. The passenger car’s 235 was equipped with hydraulic valve lifters and a fiber timing gear for quieter operation.

During the 1955-1962 Canadian Pontiac application the lifters were the hydraulic type, the cam gear was fiber not aluminum, and it did not have the full flow oil filter. These Canadian made 261’s did not add the full flow filter in 1958 as in the U.S.

Visually the 261 looks almost identical to the 235. It perfectly replaces the smaller engine and in stock condition increases horsepower from 140 to 148.

Those planning on a major rebuild or adding performance options to their Chevrolet inline six should seriously consider locating a 261. Often there is no extra cost in purchasing a re-buildable unit, and the results will be rewarding. If you plan on adding additional carburetion, a higher lift cam, or just want additional performance and more lower end strength in your daily driver, the 261 is for you!

Locating and Identifying a 261

Though last placed in larger Chevrolet trucks almost 40 years ago, this now scarce engine can still be located and often at a price no higher than for the smaller 235. Many still remain in the original Chevrolet trucks and are now setting in salvage yards or behind farm buildings. In Canada, the big Pontiac cars are sometimes in the back rows of more isolated older wrecking yards.

Don’t overlook the wrecked and badly rusted Chevrolet cars of the 1940’s and 1950’s, particularly those showing signs of some past exterior customizing changes. The Chevrolet enthusiasts of that era knew about the 261 and its potential for added performance. Some of these will already have had extras added such as a higher lift cam shaft, extra carburetion, or dual exhausts.

When you have found what you suspect might be a 261, check a few specifies to verify you have the real thing and not the visual almost identical 235. Casting numbers, not stamped numbers, on the 261 head are very visible beside the rocker arm cover. A different set of numbers relate to the 261 block. These seven digits are located on the right side between the fuel pump and starter except for 1954 where it is located forward of the fuel pump. See chart below.

YEAR ENGINE SIZE BLOCK NUMBER HEAD NUMBER
54-55 261 3703414 3733950 3703570 3836850
55-57 261 3733340 3837012 3703570 3836850
58-62 261 3739365 3769717 3769925 3836850

Watch for the “Captain’s Bars!” The 261 has two pairs of parallel raised 3/4 inch long bars cast in the block. This is not seen on a 235 except 1954. One pair is above the starter and the second pair is at the top middle of the left side of the block very close to the head. See photos below. The one exception is the early 261 produced in 1954 to mid 1955. It has only one “Captain Bar” above the starter but keeps the pair on the left side.

261 engine 3

261 engine 4

261 engine 5

261 engine 6

Most used 261 blocks are rebuildable, however often their cylinder heads will have a few very small cracks in the combustion chamber. This is typical due to occasional abuse of over heating in past years. If you choose not to add to your expense by having the cracks repaired, an alternative exists. The more common 235 head is the same except for the three pair of internal steam holes. These can be manually drilled to make the water flow just like in the 261! Sorry, but some 235 heads can be cracked even more than the 261 because they lack heat releasing steam holes.

“Warning” When Installing a 261!

The stock remote filter system has two very visible 3/4″ lines threaded into the block. One is from the pump to the filter and the other from the filter back to the block. Oil must leave and return to the engine by these lines (even if the filter is eliminated) or the engine will fail from lack of lubricant. Many 261 engines have been quickly seized after persons plugged the two oil line holes. They had many years experience on Chevrolet engines without the full flow oil system. Some thought it was an easy fix to just remove the 3/4″ lines if one was leaking and cap the holes. This procedure was acceptable on the older 216 and 235 but never on the 1958-1962 261 truck engine.

Buy Parts for 1947 to 1955 Trucks

 

Ghost Windows

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The door window is cranked up tight in the cloth channel and off you go on your daily errands. Suddenly, the glass begins to slowly lowers as you drive over side roads or contact a rough surface. In comes cold air, rain, and wind! Even the window handle turns. What’s this all about? Do you tape the window closed or wire the handle so it will not turn?

You have a window regulator spring problem! This large 2″ diameter round spring has either broken or become disconnected.

With no spring tension on the regulator, the weight of the glass creates the lowering of the support arm and window. Sorry, there is no good fix other than removing the regulator from inside the door. The picture below shows this circular Clock spring. It must be large to hold the weight of the glass panel.

ghost window

Chevrolet Cameo GMC Suburban Wheel Trim

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

With the introduction of the new Cameo in 1955, GM added their most deluxe features as standard equipment. This “Boulevard Pickup” was to stand out above all others.

The wheel covers were not like that on the more standard pickup. To save tooling costs on this limited production model, GM used the wheel cover on the 1955 Chevrolet Belair car. Both vehicles had 15″ wheels so the top of the line car wheel cover was chosen for the new Cameo.

cameo wheel 1

1955 Wheel Cover (above)


The same procedure occurred in 1956. The Cameo carried the 1956 Chevrolet Belair full wheel cover, not the same design as 1955.

cameo wheel 1

1956 Wheel Cover (above)


The big change in Cameo wheel trim occurred with the 1957 model. This was the first year for the 14″ wheels on the passenger car. The Belair cover was no longer a fit for the Cameo 15″ wheels. GM’s answer was to chrome the standard white 1/2 ton hub cap. To add more to the appearance, a Cameo trim ring was created to cover the outer edge of the wheel.

cameo wheel 1

1957 1958 Hub Cap and Trim Ring (above)


With the limited Cameo production in 1958, the same wheel trim was used this final year.

The 1955 year was the first for factory installed whitewall tires. It made an excellent combination with the wheel trim. This is another major change in the GM deluxe 1/2 tons looking less than work trucks. The 15″ wheels remained the same during the four years of the Suburban Carrier. GM just chromed the small standard hub cap.  No wheel ring was used as standard equipment, however the wheel was given a contrasting light color.

cameo wheel 1

1957-1960 Hubcaps

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the early years of GM truck production, many examples exist which relate to their vehicles being designed more for work. Changing a trim part for appearance reasons was usually secondary if it resulted in unnecessary expense. Often parts were used that had already been on GM automobiles. This eliminated expensive new tooling costs and kept GM truck prices in line with the competition.

An excellent example of this type thinking is shown with the 1957-1960 hubcaps. Even though the 1960 pickup was a totally redesigned vehicle, GM carried their older hub cap on this new pickup. The reasoning goes back to keeping truck prices low. The 1960 1/2 ton wheel was to be the last carrying the inside spring clips to secure the hub caps. As truck hub caps were used several years, it was not likely a new 1960 design would be created for only one year. GM held off from using a redesigned hub cap until 1961 so that it would fit on the new non-clip wheel. To stay with tradition, this new 1/2 ton cap was then used three years.

To keep the 1960 3/4 and 1 ton hub cap appearances similar to the 1/2 ton, GM again retained the earlier style. This occurred even though the larger truck inside clip split rim wheel design was basically unchanged between 1946 and the late 1960’s.

Chevrolet and GMC each had their own different hub cab design during this time, however, they both changed styles at the same time. A full Chevrolet or GMC wheel cover was unavailable for the deluxe 1957-59 truck models. GM simply chromed their standard caps that were otherwise painted white. An optional chromed GM wheel ring could be added on the 1/2 ton series in 1957-1959 Chevrolet but not during 1960. These trim rings were stock on the 1957-1958 Cameo but dealer installed on other 1/2 tons.

In 1960, a full wheel cover was introduced on the Deluxe 1/2 Ton Package. Actually, it was from a 1956 Chevrolet Belair car and 1956 Chevrolet Cameo. Once again, GM used this stamping from five year old tooling and saved production costs.

1957 1960 hubcaps 1

1960 Wheel Covers (above)

Stainless Steel on the Deluxe 1/2 Ton Pickup. 15″ Wheels only.


1957 1960 hubcaps 2

1957-1959 Wheel Rings (above)

Chromed steel wheel rings that blend with optional chrome hub caps to give appearance of full-chrome wheels. 15″ wheels only.


1957 1960 hubcaps 3

Muffler Tech

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

muffler tech

Prior to about 1962, Chevrolet trucks were equipped with round straight through mufflers. These units reduced back pressure and allowed the engine to breathe to its full potential. This caused a little extra exhaust noise in comparison to the larger more engineered oval car mufflers but trucks were for work and power.

About 1950 truck mufflers were given slightly larger inlet and outlet pipes. This allowed increased air flow which related to the slightly larger carburetor installed that year.

During the late 1960’s the Chevrolet truck Master Parts Catalog no longer listed mufflers. It appears they discontinued these units and left them to be provided by auto parts stores. By about 1995 the larger 1950’s straight through muffler was the one style available and any remaining older pipes were modified to fit 2″ inlet and 1 7/8″ outlets. Length is about 20 ½ inches.

The cars were lower to the ground and thus, required an oval muffler.  This oval shape allowed it to be higher and less likely to hit an object on the road.  Trucks were high and a round muffler was satisfactory.

Correct copies of these mufflers are available from Jim Carter’s Classic Truck Parts and a few other full stocking GM truck dealers.

 

Original Engines Must Breathe

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Before the modern Positive Crankcase Ventilating System (PCV) most automotive engines breathed externally and removed their excess products of combustion into the atmosphere. It was a standard of the industry!

The lower end of the engine (below the pistons) had an attached draft tube that extended outside and below the block. It released blow-by from worn piston rings and other pollutants created from the crankshaft turning in hot motor oil.

The upper end of the overhead valve engine also must breathe. On early Chevrolet and GMC inline six cylinder engines, the venting is usually in the valve cover through factory slots. When an add-oil cap exists on this cover, it seals tight. It does no breathing.

On 1955-62 Chevrolet 235 six cylinders the valve cover slots were illuminated. It is assumed badly worn engines at high RPM leaked oil at these slots. The venting requirement was now moved to the oil cap. These redesigned caps have two features. They cover the add oil hole and vent the upper end of the engine. Their disadvantage is their internal filter can clog with oil vapors and dirt from a badly worn engine. This type venting cap must be kept clean!

The following photos show venting methods on early Chevrolet and GMC engines. Note the oil and breathing cap on the later six cylinder Chevrolet engines.

original engine 1

1937 through 1953 216 sealed oil cap (above)

original engine 2

216 valve cover vent slot (above)

original engine 3

1954 Chevrlot Vents (above)

original engine 4

1955-1962 non vented cover (above)

original engine 5

1955-1962 vented oil cap (above)

original engine 6

1963-1972… 230 and 250 with PVC system (above)

After Market Wheels for Older GM Trucks

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

From 1934 to 1959 GM 1/2 tons came from the factory with a tie rod assembly that extended side to side to almost touch the front wheels. With everything stock, the tie rod sits about 3/4 inch from the inside of both original six hole wheels and all fits just right.

A problem exists when someone attempts to add a more modern wheel. For example, the mid 60’s and newer 4×4 wheels have this 6 hole bolt pattern but their width causes them to contact the end of original long tie rod. Changing from the approximate 4-1/2 inch original to at least a 6 inch width just won’t work.

Solutions for adding a more sporty wheel are very limited with the original suspension. One almost unknown method is to replace the original GM multi-piece tie rod ends with the more modern knuckle ends introduced in the 1960’s. There are currently available and are 3/8 inch shorter on the outer end giving that much extra room for a slightly wider wheel. (It is not recommended that flat washers be placed over the stud between the wheel and drum as this can cause breakage.)

This GM six bolt pattern is also shared with several Japanese pickups. Some very attractive more narrow aftermarket wheels have been produced for their imports in past years.

Venting the Differential

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Sometimes overlooked by mechanics and restorers is a small vent in the rear axle housing. This part is necessary to keep internal pressure equal to the outside atmosphere. Thus, as the internal temperature of the differential warms during use, any expanding heated air is vented and no pressure occurs. This saves wheel and pinion seals from leaking.

Check for this vent in your truck. From years of abuse many vent assemblies are missing. A sliding log chain wrapped around the axle housing for pulling is a way many vent assemblies were accidentally removed. The owner usually didn’t know the damage has been done or that a vent ever existed. Now, the small hole that once held the vent assembly is able to take in water. This will certainly cause long term damage to differential parts.

Differential Vent 1

Differential Vent 2

1946-1972 3/4 Ton and 1 Ton Ring and Pinion

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One series of the famous “drop out” GM differentials was used between 1946 and 1972 on 3/4 and 1 tons. The complete assembly (often called a pumpkin) will interchange during these years with no alteration.

The highest gearing in this series is the 4.10 ratio and is found in most 1967-72 3/4 tons with automatic transmissions. Therefore, those “low gear blues” often associated with 3/4 and 1 tons during the late 1940’s and 1950’s can be greatly improved with no visible exterior changes. Originally these older trucks had a ratio of 4.57 in the 3/4 tons and 5.14 in the 1 tons.

Once a 4.10 pumpkin is located (usually in a local wrecking yard) it is a basic interchange requiring little more than new gaskets and gear grease. Your truck’s personality is now changed!

This interchange will fit perfectly if the “complete” pumpkin is used.  The 1963-1972 carrier is necessary and it will be part of this total assembly.  The change-over will not work if you only use the ring and pinion.

The only negative to this changeover is if you are hauling a ton of gravel up a mountain road with the original smaller six cylinder!! In this example a lower geared differential is best.

Updating 1955-1959 Seats

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those not requiring the original seat cushions on their 1955-59 Task Force truck, a roomy comfortable substitute is available. This unit is from a 1988 body style Chevrolet or GMC truck and is almost a bolt-in.

The legs or side brackets on this newer seat comes attached to the cushions from a used truck and sets nicely by the floor edge of the 1955-1959 cab. It almost looks factory installed! Yes, the cushion edge will slightly touch the doors but cause no closing problems.

The result is a much softer seat and a definite increase in distance between your “middle” and the stock steering wheel. Almost no interference with the in cab fuel tank.

Suburban Back Up Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those on a quest for near unobtainable GM options, this one will provide years of searching. During the mid 1950’s, backup lights began to show growing popularity and were occasionally seen on pickup trucks near each rear fender.

The limited production 1955-56 Suburban was no exception but the location for its backup light was unusual. Their single center tailgate running light was given this attachment on its right side. The foot on this small backup light was curved to secure just right to the round tail light housing. The photo below shows this option as it was installed by GM.

Activating the light on a factory column shift three speed or Hydramatic was relatively easy. The switch attaches to the shift linkage levers on the steering column.

The 4-speed transmission backup light switch must be totally different as there is no external linkage. This photo is of this very unusual switch attached to the base of the floor shift lever.

suburban back up light 1

suburban back up light 2

suburban back up light 3