01 May 2016
1947 GMC EC-302 1.5-Ton Short Wheelbase Dump Truck
From Al :
I am very partial to the 1940's vintage rigs. I like them all but have a soft spot for the "Big Bolts."
As a kid, I use to run a 1946 Chevy 1.5-ton grain truck. I spent much of my youth hot and sweaty running these trucks, listening to the gears whine, and appreciating the grunt of a working truck. I also vividly remember planning to slow down for a stop sign, allowing time to pump up the brakes to have some stopping action and not roll through the intersection.
I still have that truck but it doesn't run.
I ran across this early 1947 GMC EC-302 Dump Truck in a local ad in an area north of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I negotiated back and forth with the owner for a while. He said he had been using it some but it really hadn't been run for five or six years. My Son and I decided to make a road trip -- six hours one way.
The truck previously (originally) came from a farm on the Idaho side just down from Jackson Hole. The current owner bought it from the farmer and used it on his farm for a while.
When we got there to check out the truck, the owner could not get the engine to start -- the engine would not take up fuel. We were short on time as a big storm was coming in. So, we loaded it on the trailer and headed for home.
We dropped the truck off at a friend's place and he messed around with it. A few weeks later, he got it running -- it ran good -- and still does.
To get the truck from my friend's place to mine (8 miles), my Grandson (8 years old) got a big bang out of driving it home - a real Grandson - Grandfather moment! Whenever the other grand kids are here at the house, they have to have a ride in the dump truck.
The truck has a factory 248. It came back to life in early March of this year, after a 10 year sleep. I am impressed at how smooth it runs and holds 40 PSI oil pressure. It smoked for a bit, then cleared out as it warmed up. I came across a replacement and may put it in the truck in a year or so.
The truck was missing some other parts. A Stovebolter friend from South Carolina provided a generator for it.
Our weather has acted a bit like spring finally and has been just warm enough to melt snow and dry up some of the mud. I have been anxious to mess with the dump truck.
First thing was to fill up an empty master cylinder. First kinda good news is I have enough brakes that I dare use the truck on the farm. So, we've put the truck to work. I raise sweet corn and early this year, I spent a whole day hauling "sunshine" (cow manure) down to my corn patch. All the neighbors came out to watch me come out in the old dump truck.
The next bit of good news. I grabbed the handyman jack and lifted the bed high enough to reach the fill port. Carefully, I put in a gallon of what is prescribed on the data tag. Cranked her and up went the bed, nice and smooth.
Now that I feel confident that it is healthy mechanically, I will get after the brakes, which at this moment do not work. Thanks to a Stovebolter in Michigan, I have a set of correct wheel cylinders and a replacement dual master cylinder, for a brake upgrade. If needed, I am prepared to do king-pins (it does tend to wander) and have a full set of Snap-On adjustable reamers to get the job done right. I have a full set of new rubber to put on when it gets a bit warmer. I plan to sandblast and then repaint all the wheels, which came from a fellow in Colorado who had some pieces from a truck that he had junked (got door parts, too).
I plan to keep the old truck mostly stock. I will need to do a little body work. Sometime down the road, I will repaint it to its original Brewster Green with Apple Green belt wind and wheels.
I live in a rural area. Right now, I have the oldest operational dump truck in the whole area. It is fun to drive and to work it. When I was hauling the sunshine, my Grandson was in school. He came right over to help me work when school let out. I let him sit on my lap and drive when I am down in the field.
The Stovebolt forum is a pleasant and helpful place to get information. Besides getting all my questions answered, it has kept me enthusiastic about this old truck and been very useful in finding parts and stuff.
For the last part of February, we had a great picture of Jimmy the GMC covered in snow on our Home page, figuring that would be the end of snow for most of us. Well, surprise, surprise ... NOT. Especially out west (Colorado got a big dump in April), spring has just taken a long time to get here. ~ Editor
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