09 March 2015
1949 Chevy 3800 1-Ton Flatbed with a Hydraulic Lift
From Bryan :
To start with, here is a little back background on me and my new project -- the old truck. I am new to the site (as of January this year) and was a mix of emotions when I began this project ... excited, overwhelmed, curious, inquisitive ... and plenty more ... and I'm sure plenty more to come!
I have always enjoyed working on old cars and trucks. For a long time, I have wanted to do a complete frame-off restoration but never had the room or time to do so. So over the years, I kept my fever in check by doing smaller projects like restoring furniture or old Coke Machines.
Then a few years ago, I retired from the military and moved back home to Missouri to be closer to family. We purchased our dream home that came complete with a large detached garage. Now, I had my own shop with plenty of room to scatter my tools about. I began the long search for the right truck.
I started out looking for a truck between 1941-1953, as those are my favorite body styles. Now I am a beginner, and when it comes to telling the differences between the years, I am no expert. But I thought as long as I could find one that was solid and a good candidate for me to restore, I would be flexible on the year.
So after many months and many trips to look at trucks that ended up being way to high on the rust-to-money ratio or just had too many parts missing, I stumbled across one in a Craigslist ad in neighboring Arkansas. It was a 1949 Chevy flatbed with a hydraulic lift. I liked the oddity of it, not your run of the mill pickup truck.
I looked at several others but kept coming back to it. I finally convinced my wife to take a Sunday ride down to Northwestern Arkansas to look at the truck. I immediately loved it! The truck had not been hacked up over the years. The fenders had no rust and were in excellent shape, except for a few small dings. The cab only had a few spots of rust in the typical areas in the corners. The bed had a sheet of steel welded over the wooden bed slats.
The seller fired it up for me and outside a few leaks, it sounded good. So we agreed on a price, shook hands on it and 24 hours later it was sitting my garage. (May I add, "your large detached garage" ... oh, such joy ... it's like having all the tools you need to do the job right! ~ Editor)
I walked circles around it for what seemed like hours, taking inventory and making a list of all the items I would need and what order, deciding what I would tackle first.
Now for the fun part: I started tearing it all apart.
As the parts started coming off, I started questioning what I knew to be true about my old truck. As I stated before, I am a beginner when it comes to telling the differences in years. So I started asking questions in the Stovebolt forums and I had all kinds of help from the members.
The chassis was indeed from a 1949 but one of the doors was from a 1951 and the cab I strongly suspect is a 1952. So now my 1949 Chevy pickup truck was starting to sound line a Johnny Cash song! Quite the mutt. With all that being said, I am still having a blast working on it.
I want to remove the bed (that lift cylinder looks very very heavy) and then remove the cab. I'll clean, repair and paint the frame and go through the various suspension parts, axle, brakes and engine.
Next the cab -- repair floor and cowl rust paint and wiring.
Last but not least, clean and paint the bed frame, replace all bed wood, replace the lift cylinder seal's and hoses.
So I have my work cut out for me in the coming months.
I want to restore it to a semi-original. I want to upgrade a few things like 6v to 12v and the upgrade the rear axle and brakes. I look forward to getting it all started and learning from the people on this site as I am sure I will have 1,000 questions.
During the tear down process, I learned a lot about my old truck's hydraulic dump feature. First, it's not a true dump bed but just one of several additions added by the original owner -- like replacing the wooden main support beams with steel beams. Don't think I will be re-installing the hydraulic lift.
I have a few decisions to make while I am restoring it. Do I keep it a flatbed or do I search for a long bed to put on it (finding one could be a tall order I would imagine) or put it back like I found it but in better working order?
I have to decide what to do about the doors. I can't have two different door handles so is it possible to modify one of the doors? If so which would be a better solution? Modify the '49 door to take the push button handle or modify the newer door to take the older door turn handle? I think I will keep the wings as they are just cool. ???
Currently, I am getting into the nuts and bolts of it -- stripping, cutting and welding new panels in. I will keep the pictures updates and questions coming!Thank you,
Keep track of the restoration project details in the Welcome Centre and check for new photos to the Photobucket album. Any and all questions welcome! Perhaps you can even lend a virtual hand in the restoration! If you post in the forum, others can share in the discussion and maybe it will help with their projects, too! (That's our goal here!) Thanks ~ Editor
Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Links | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop