Tune in as Fred “Truckernix” Nixon leads discussions on the repair of that classic piece that’s mounted in your dash (commonly known as the radio!) and other subjects theretofore related (dash, mounting, antenna repairs, etc.).
Or, if you’re a little more high fidelity than that, feel free to send in your questions, tips, and suggestions on upgrading your Bolt to include some of the latest available sound technology.
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17 October 2014 Update
1951 Canadian GMC Model 9430 1-Ton
From Fred :
Back in 2002, I was working at a generator station and I happened to be wearing an Old Navy shirt with an antique truck on it. My co-worker asked if I liked old trucks. He said he had one behind the barn on a piece of property he just bought.
That "barn" on my friend's property is a 100 year old barn. (Those are impressive pictures ~ Editor) There are quite a few of them in the area. They are built like a log cabin and just sit on the dirt.
We went and looked at the old truck (and barn). The truck was in, more or less, derelict condition. When my Mother was still alive and she first saw the truck, she called it "Rusty," which was a very fitting name. Here's a link to the pictures "As Found" in my Photobucket album.
I told my wife about it and she said, "Do you want it?" and I said, "Sure!" This would be my first truck. I always wanted an old vehicle. Like most folks, time and money never came about until the kids were grown up.
The original owner was an elderly guy, who used the truck mostly to drive around the property to look for deer. He worked out a deal with my friend to purchase of the property and signed the papers from his hospital bed. A few days later, the farmer died.
My friend, who sold me the truck, had no use for "Rusty" as he has beef cattle on the main part of his farm (which is actually only a few miles away). He was going to grow crops on this new property.
We brought the truck home on a flatbed trailer. This was my first restoration job and I gave it a good look-over to get a sense of what I had and didn't have. I had done mechanical things before. But welding, cutting and fitting metal was all new. It proved to be hard, nerve wracking and a challenge.
Starting in the area I was most comfortable, we took a look at that original 216 motor. I got it running fairly easily but it still needed work ... it smoked a lot. I worked on the engine IN the truck, which was actually fun. I did a test run to make sure it was okay and then I was ready for the next step.
From sitting 17 years in a field, the brakes were all rusted. All the mechanical parts were there but they needed to be overhauled.
I started on the metal work on the cab next. All this would be a learning and self-teaching process. An early "practice" session was making braces for the cab. I leaned over and my shoulder touched one of the braces and they all fell off ... so I figured I didn't do that right.
No fear ... there was still plenty to practice on. The bottom of the entire cab, except for the back, was all rotted. I removed all the sheet metal. I used every patch panel that they sold. The door frames at the bottom were bad. The doors themselves were good so I just had to put new inner and out panels on them.
I got the front fenders off eBay from a fellow out in Arkansas. At the time, you couldn't buy much up here in Canada that wasn't rusted out.
The interior was all rusted and the headliner was trashed. A friend gave me a better seat and he gave me panels for the doors. There was a lot of clean-up to do on the metal surfaces.
The gauges all worked but I put new facings on them. I made my own new wiring harness. Once I learned it was silly to try and put my head under the dash board to work (went through instead), the harness installation went easier.
The original bed was all rotten wood. I had them take it off before we brought it home. I designed my own bed. It's made of White Ash and stained to look like Oak.
These beds are normally nine feet long. Well, this truck with a nine foot bed would not fit into my garage where I could close the door and work. So, I put on a bed that is a little under eight feet.
The original bed may have had stake pockets but there wasn't enough of the bed to tell. All I carry on the bed is a spare tire. I get a lot of looks and inquiries about the spare tire coming off the bed ... but it's bolted down.
The wheels are modern from an 1980's style Dodge.
I had the transmission rebuilt. It worked fine but I wanted a different gear set. So, I put in a 410 rear out of a 1971 3/4-ton. That allows me to drive 60 mph.
I painted the whole truck with a spray can. It was a 10-foot job ... from 10 feet away, it didn't look too bad. I had to take it to a mechanic in order to get it certified for a license. I didn't want it to look so bad with all that rust.
Once I got certified, I drove it to a body shop to have it painted properly. I had done all the sanding on the body but when the body shop looked at it, they sanded off all my filler and put their own filler. The color is actually a very light gray. We use to have a car that was that color.
By the fall of 2007, I had it completed and on the road. Since then I have put around 30,000 miles on it. I've taken the old truck to car shows and cruise nights.
My favourite yearly venture is the trip to the show at Bothwell, Ontario, which is a little over 300 miles from home. We usually spend about seven hours on the back roads to get there on the Friday, attend the show on Saturday and drive back home on Sunday. Bothwell is the home of our Canadian newspaper / magazine publication, Old Autos.
My new project is a 1938 Chevrolet Sedan 2-door (also called a Town Sedan).
I really enjoy driving my truck and especially enjoy hearing stories from people about driving or riding in a similar truck so many years ago. I also enjoy being a member of the Stovebolt family and participating online. Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend the Stovebolt Reunion in Kansas City. The event was made even more special for me as I rode down and back with Leo "1953 Panel" K in his 1953 Chevy Panel. Those are times I will never forget!
Yesterday, I did my first transport mission for the Golden Rescue organization. They take Golden retrievers in from people in various situations, place them in foster care and then arrange for their adoption. We picked up a really cute one year old female named Maggie and delivered her to foster care up here. We adopted our present Golden from them last December. If you are curious to see who they are, here is their website.
Fred is the moderator of our Radio Bench in the forums section of the site. This has been a great addition to the restoration forums and Fred is great help with about that radio in your old truck. And it was a wonderful treat for all of us to meet him at the Kansas City Reunion last year. ~ Editor
13 December 2005
From Fred :
My Background: I was born in 1949 and by the age of around 12, I had to get permission at the local library to use the adult section so that I could read all the electronics books. At the age of 15, I was busy repairing people’s TVs and radios on the side.
After University, I worked as an Electrical Engineer for Ontario Hydro from 1974 to 2000 in the field of Computer Control. In 2000, they had a down-sizing and I took early retirement. I have been working with a consulting firm part time since then. My work is thinning out now and I now have more time to spend at home with my wife.
While I was working at the Chenaux generation plant several years ago, I discovered that one of my colleagues had an old truck on a piece of farm land that he bought. I also found out that he wanted to part with it! It was in more or less derelict condition and it was just the type of project that I new I would enjoy working on. I figured that I would be able to get into every aspect of restoration as, previous to this, most of my experience was in the mechanical ends of things -- rebuilding motors etc.The truck is a 1951 Canadian GMC, Model 9430, which is a 1-ton. I have a separate album in my Photobucket account that shows the truck how I found it. It had a typical farm flatbed on it, or the remains of one. I have seen a few since with the big lumber bed.
I had the truck brought the 300 miles to my house on a flatbed. Since that time, I have rebuilt the front end suspension, steering and brakes, and rebuilt and tested the motor. At present I am completing the rebuilding of the cab. I have installed every patch panel known to man!
I always enjoy my time in the garage working on the truck.
I thoroughly enjoy your site and it is always the first thing that I look at every day on the computer. Besides all the great advice, I really enjoy the “extended family” or community that the site fosters. It will be a real pleasure to make a contribution to it.
Fred has been gracious enough to hold a Virtual Clinic on Radio Repairs for The Stovebolt Page. Be sure to check it out. And if you want to see some more photos, Fred has a site set up for you to do so. ~~ Editor
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