10 April 2014
1941 Chevy 1 1/2-Ton WW2 G4112 4x4 Dump Truck
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From Paul :
Hello fellow Stovebolters! I have finally overcome my procrastination to write my Stovebolt story. So here it is:
Like many of you, I consider owning and working on an old vehicle part of life’s journey. As with any journey there are many paths and opportunities to experience various places, objects and people.
My particular truck journey most likely began over four decades ago. As a little boy (like the little fellow above), I used to live to play with my little cars and trucks pretending to make them “drive” over all sorts of terrain ranging from the sandbox to the tile floor of retail stores while I waited for my Mom to shop. As a boy, I recall one day my best friend and I were dreaming about actually owning a real vehicle … ah the dream. My particular dream was to go into the desert (like the photo on the right) and recover an old sun bleached antique to restore.
I had been on the search for some sort of project and always desired old four-wheel-drive vehicles. As a teenager I had owned various 1967 Camaros and 1971 Novas, so I was inclined to look for a vintage Chevrolet.
In March 2012, my dream became reality with the purchase of a 1941 Chevrolet G4112 military 1.5-ton 4 X 4 dump truck which we named “Audra” after the 16th century old English name meaning "of nobility and strength" ... a perfect name for an old beast of burden from the last World War.
My wife and I decided to make a vacation out of the truck purchase so we flew to south western Utah to purchase my “new” Chevy.
I bought the truck from the son of the previous owner who was a veteran of World War Two. Unfortunately, the Father had died so I was never able to determine much as to the provenance of the vehicle, other than the son mentioned that his Dad had owned the truck since the 1980s.
It appears as though the truck had spent much, if not all, of its life in the arid southwest as there was very little rust. The truck also must have lucked out with some light service duty as dump trucks are typically used hard. This one had little signs of wear in the bed, considering that it was over 71 years old.
The unknown 50+ years of her history will be Audra’s secret. The only disappointing part of the truck was that somewhere along the line of owners, the 235 was removed and a 1978 350 engine and SM420 transmission were crudely installed.
Other than the engine and transmission, the farmer / ranch fixes were relatively minimal.
After waiting several months, one day in July 2012, my transporter called me and said that he was about an hour away from my farm … what joy. I have a set of pictures of her arrival.
The drivetrain has been completely disassembled, inspected, and rebuilt as needed including a laundry list of NOS parts (thank goodness that many parts can still be found, at least with some patience).
This truck was put into service on February 1941, nine months before the United States entered the war. As consequence, this early production war truck shares many parts with her civilian cousins.
I was fortunate to locate a 1954 235 from a gentleman that was hot rodding an AD Stovebolt. I have since had the engine rebuilt by an old school Inliner, and have found the rest of the original driveline parts.
A bit of a side story on the engine. For the first time in ten plus years, fire once again coursed through the cylinders. After several agonizing failed attempts (see this thread for the gory details or to boost your electrical ego), November 12 was the magic night!
When I got the truck, the engine had no wires under the hood as mice / rats / hoodlums had greater need for them ... ? I had to start from scratch.
With the help of fellow Stovebolters ( I like hearing that ~ Editor ), I managed to wire a rudimentary primary circuit. The engine unfortunately is a SBC transplant that a previous owner had installed. The engine is of unknown condition, an apparently common theme on this site. It was a classic IRWIPI, so I assumed it "could" run again. It turned over freely, had pretty good compression (120-150), and after solving some spark / timing issues, it attempted to turn over. A couple of more attempts with breaks in between to let the starter cool, I got it to run.
Working the throttle linkage while touching my hot wires together to energize the starter solenoid simultaneously is no easy task!
Once I got the engine warmed up, it idled very well as though it was a daily driver.
Revving up the engine, I noticed a good amount of smoke coming out of the left tailpipe. Initially I thought it was just burning off residue from sitting for such a long time. Smoke persistently poured out of the exhaust, but only the left side.
I then came to the realization that the smoke smelled more like wood smoke than oil smoke. Showers of sparks blew out of the exhaust each time I cranked the accelerator. It was eviction time for the mouse condo!
After about 10 minutes the smoke ceased and the engine ran rather smoothly. I suspected a blockage hindering my starting problems. No singed rodent projectiles were reported. ( You can see a Utah rodent if you like on his picture site, but better yet ... you should see this motor! ~ Editor )
I was even lucky enough to find many numbers-matching parts from a donor vehicle in Idaho. With the exception of the insert bearing 1954 engine, all original parts have been used to make this a true restoration.
Since February 2014, Audra is once again able to move under her own power, but there is still much to be done. With luck and determination, she should be on the road by the summer of 2014.
If you happen to be driving in western North Carolina and you see a big OD green Chevy lumbering along with its 6.67:1 gearing, it will most likely be us. When you pass by, slow down to wave to me and Audra as we continue on our journey.
What a great-looking truck. Paul's been all over the forums with questions and in-put / feedback. So, he doesn't actually have a DITY thread to follow. If you want to see what he's up to, check his Bolter profile and see where he's been hanging! It'll be a good way to see progress on his Bolt! ~ Editor
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