04 December 2014
1942 Chevrolet Brush Truck (Firetruck)
From John :
The story of the restoration of this firetruck started with the owner, Jason, reading my Linked-In page. On my page, I have a time-line showing I use to work for the County but started my own business restoring and making hot rods and rat rods for 1941-1946 trucks on S10 frames. When Jason saw the '41-46 Chevy information, he contacted me about his '46. When I saw the firetruck, I knew I could do it!
Jason had the firetruck for advertising in his business. He had purchased an out of service fire station and the truck came with the property. He converted the fire house into a brewery (with a firehouse theme) and he used the firetruck as a static display for advertising. It sat for a long time.
After a while, Jason switched from a pub to an event center and no longer needed the truck. So he plans to give the truck to his son for surfing. The truck should easily carry his surfboards. He may need to make some new racks and there is space for the smaller boards in the water tank area. The opening to the tank (probably 500 gallons) is in the back and would be easy access. ( I thought about putting a motor home size fuel tank in there but kept with the regular fuel tank under the seat ... so they could still have the carrying space.)
Jason towed the truck to my property on October 25, 2012. He brought boxes of parts, bits and pieces. The truck had already been worked on at someone else's place and it floundered. They did a little bit but it was apparent they were over their heads. (Some of the wiring in the truck was with house wire ... opps!)
The truck ran ... but not very good. The challenge would be to re-make this truck into a daily driver, and change from manual to automatic transmission (among other things). I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.
The cowl on it is just for mock-up purposes. It has a very clean cab and front sheet metal.
I ended up taking out the 261 Inline six due to a knocking on the bottom end. The new engine / transmission combination is a 292 Inline and 700R4.
The 292 was purchased thru Craigslist in Roseville, CA. The transmission came from a 1988 Astro van I had laying around.
I had the 292 totally re-done by my buddy Joe Goodacre at Advanced Engines in Madera. He bored it .030 over, and polished the crank journals, re-sized the rods and provided the engine kit.
The transmission was re-done by Joe Baker at Banner Transmissions in Merced. He swapped the electronic speedometer sending components to a mechanical setup.
I fabricated all new mounts for the engine and transmission, including modifying the firewall and accelerator linkage. I had to fabricate a new accelerator linkage assembly.
The steering box had to be replaced since the new engine crossmember was installed where the stock box was located. So I installed a 1947 1.5-ton steering box which sits on top of the frame. I modified the pitman arm to incorporate the '41 style end. I had the arm modified by Ronnie Bass welding in Chowchilla, CA.
I have overcome a lot of obstacles in order to get the firetruck running and driving. The biggest was the old style transmission had a lot of brackets and things that were bolted to it. The E brake handle was bolted to it along with the 2 speed shifter for the rear differential and the entire brake pedal assembly.
I have hooked up the main brake and e-brake. The 2 speed rear shift, I am not using it -- with the 700R4, I don't think it's needed.
To switch to automatic, you have to find places to mount the emergency brake handle and the steering. When I put in the crossmember for the new engine, the mounts were in different places than the old engine. When I put the crossmember in the frame, it interfered with the stock steering box. The box was out of the equation from the beginning so I had to find a different way to put the box in there. A friend who owns a towing business had some old stuff around his place. When I went to look, there was a 1947 with the steering box mounts on top of the frame. He "donated" it to me, which was a perfect solution. Then I just had to graft on the old ends of the pitman arm and weld it. It's a little more than a foot but it steers really nice. The whole steering column moved about 2" to the left.
The running boards look like they were hand made. They run from front fender to the rear fender and are pretty wide in the back. There is also a rear fender. I thought it may have come from the factory as a cab, front sheet metal and frame. You get a fire truck body and build it from there.
It has taken me over a year and a half to get this far, but we are almost done! I took it for a drive yesterday and it's doing fine. ( There is a good video of the engine running. ) I still need to put the front sheet metal on. The emergency brake works but I have to check on the regular brake -- it goes to the floor.
I have a lot of the lights, siren and an air horn. I'm going to mount some of the lights (stock). I don't know how they made them flash. They may have to have a flasher system put in it. I do not have the gum ball light for the top.
Maybe getting laid off was the best thing for me, I get to work on classic cars and trucks -- most of the time at least..
John had a 1941 Chevy 1/2-ton that he was restoring at the time he got laid off. He had to give it up; but his attitude certainly didn't give up! This looks likes a great arrangement for you and those who benefit from your passion. What an inspiration for folks who have to let go of an old love (truck) but don't necessarily have to let go of the love of old trucks. Dang ... and now you're getting PAID to do this stuff! Good on ya! ~ Editor
Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Links | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop