Technical Info for '39-'40
by Barry Weeks, Harold Compton and Charles Hoback
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 - For Chevrolet's only -

    A huge thanks to Barry Weeks, Harold Compton and Charles Hoback for information provided in this section for the tecnical specifications for the 1939 and 1940 Chevrolet trucks. Barry is the '40 Commercial Vehicle Technical Advisor for the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. Mr. Compton and Mr. Hoback former TA's.


The Engine || Casting Numbers || Engine Numbers || VIN || Transmission and Rear Axle || Wheel Base
1939 Standard Colors || 1940 Color Specifications || 1939 Truck Equipment plus options || Unit Capacities

The Engine

       The durability and soundness of the design of the "Stovebolt Six" is evidenced by the fact that it was produced in the same basic design from 1929 to 1960. Of course, minor design changes included adding a fourth main bearing and insert bearings along the way. Here are some specs on the venerable 216 cid engine to help you:

Casting Numbers

     

Engine Numbers

       Six-cylinder truck engine block and head casting numbers. Check here to see if your engine is correct for your year truck.   1939 engine numbers run 1915447 through 2697267
1940 engine numbers run 2697268 through 3665902
"Stovebolt" Specifications
Valves   In head/2 per cylinder
Cylinders   Six, inline
Bore and Stroke   3.5" 3.75"
Piston Displacement   216.5 Cu. In.
Compression   6.25:1
Horsepower (SAE)   29.4
Horsepower (Brake)   78 @ 3,200 rpm
Torque   170 Lbs-Ft
Firing Order   1-5-3-6-2-4
 

 

In both years, the numbers are located on the pad at the rear of the distributor.

NOTE: All truck engines have a "K" prefix. Example: K*2759129


Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)

Assembly Plants with Number

1 = Flint, Michigan
2 = Tarrytown, New York
3 = St. Louis, MO
5 = Kansas City, MO
6 = Oakland, CA
8 = Atlanta, GA
9 = Norwood, OH
14 = Baltimore, MD
20 = Van Nuys, CA
21 = Janesville, WI
       The body plate is located on the firewall under the passenger side of the hood. The number on the plate is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the truck. Some trucks, like Kevin Bremer's '39 1/2-ton , don't have this plate and are titled off the engine number (which makes the decision whether to rebuild the original engine or go with a long block REAL easy).

       Here's how to decode a VIN:

6KC074567*

       Break this *hypothetical VIN into these parts:

So, that particular VIN (not a real VIN) belongs to a 1940 1/2-ton built in July, 1939, at the Oakland, CA, plant. It was the 4,567th truck off the line.

      For an actual '40 truck example, try 21 KC 07 11077. This is Barry Weeks' '40 made at the Janesville,Wisconsin plant in July of '40.

      Someone told Barry those numbers start at 1001, but he's not sure. Barry's canopy is 3KC0514450 (St. Louis plant, May of '40). Note high sequence number, due to being late in the model year run. Production ended in August, but Barry doesn't think many were made in that month because they would have to re-tool for the upcoming model change. Barry also has a 21KC0610891. He has some extra titles, including one for a '39. (21 JC 10 1281 - '39 1/2 ton made at Janesville in October of '38) and a 21WA102415 title, too. (Janesville, '40 1-1/2 ton, short wheelbase, Oct. of '39). Big trucks (utilities) use different letters than light duty (commercial) trucks.


'39 Transmission and Rear Axle
'39 & '40 Wheel Base
1st Gear2.94:1JC,KC (1/2-ton) 113.5 inches
2nd Gear 1.68:1JD,KD (3/4-ton)123.75 inches
3rd Gear 1:1JE,KE (3/4-ton HD) 123.75 inches
Reverse 2.94:1
'39 & '40 Tire Sizes
Rear axle typeSemi-floatingJC,KC (1/2-ton)6.00x16x4 ply
Gear typeSpiral bevelJD,KD (3/4-ton) 7.50x15x6 ply
Ratio4.11:1 (3.82:1 was optional)JE,KE (3/4-ton HD)7.50x15x6 ply

'39 Standard Colors

      Some background on paint and colors -- By Keith Salter
CAB & BOX STRIPE
Black Silver
Swift's Red Silver
Export Blue Silver
Brewster GreenGigolo Green
Apple Green White
WhiteEmerald Green
Medium CreamBlack
Aluminum Export Blue
Armour YellowExport Blue
Boatswain BlueRegal Red
Omaha Orange Chess Blue
Circassion Brown* Medium Cream

see also: Painting Your '39

* For CSUB (with Airedale Brown insert panels)
Belt colors are not known for '39. Fenders, running boards, headlight buckets, wheels and undergear are black on all trucks. All cabs have smooth Thunder Gray interior finish

'40 Color Specifications

      (From page 78 of the Chevrolet Service News of 1939, provided by Barry Weeks) "The following colors will be provided during 1940 on all Passenger Cars and trucks, except the Cabriolet and Station Wagon which will be treated separately.
      "All colors are Metallic Duco on Passenger Cars except the Maroon, Black, and Kingston Grey, which colors are High Lustre Duco.
      "Striping on Hood and Body Moldings of the Special Delux Passenger Model is not used as the model has stainless Hood and Body Moldings."

SYMBOL
BODY
MOLDING
STRIPE
T-180
#386
Black
#2896276
Omaha Orange St. Duco
#28950666
Chess Blue St. Duco
T-185
#255
Swifts Red
#2072122
Molding Black Duco
#2894202
Argent Silver St. Duco
T-190
#267
Brewster Green
#2896596
Cream Med. St. Duco
#2893133
Emerald Green St. Duco
T-195
#269
Boatswain Blue
#2894202
Argent St. Duco
#28950165
Totem Scarlet St. Duco
T-200
#257
Apple Green
#2896596
Cream Med. St. Duco
#2893233
Emerald Green St. Duco
T-205
#312
Armour Yellow
#2896276
Omaha Orange St. Duco
#2072122
Molding Black Duco
T-210
#234
Cream Med.
#2897128
Export Blue St. Duco
#2894202
Chess Blue St. Duco
T-215
#314
Export Blue
#2894202
Argent St. Duco
#28950165
Totem Scarlet St. Duco
T-220
#262
Omaha Orange
#28950666
Chess Blue St. Duco
#289008
White Striping Duco
T-225
#313
Aluminum (Silver)
#28950165
Totem Scarlet St. Duco
#2072122
Molding Black Duco
T-230
#301
Hollywood Tan
(Oak. Only)
#2072122
Molding Black Duco
#289008
White Striping Duco
T-240
#251
Bordeaux Maroon
(T. & Balt.)
#2072122
Molding Black Duco
#SM-681A
Gold Bronze Powder
T-245
#264
White
#28950701
Kildaire Green St. Duco
#289008
White Striping Duco

PPG Color Offsets for '40 Trucks
May also be used on some '36-'46 trucks
SYMBOL
BODY
Original No.
Modern Offset No.
T-180
Black
-9000
T-185
Swifts Comm Red
DAL-70073
-70073
T-190
Brewster Green Med.
DAL-40042
-43845
T-195
Boatswain Blue
DAL-10039
-13599
T-200
Apple Green
DAL-40034
-40034
T-205
Armour Yellow
DAL-80089
-80089
T-210
Cream Med.
DAL-80091
-82142 or 82167
T-215
Export Blue
DAL-10154
-10154
T-220
Omaha Orange
DAL-60001
-60156
T-225
Aluminum (Silver)
UNKNOWN
T-230
Hollywood Tan
DAL-20017
-23534 (Shade lighter)
T-240
Bordeaux Maroon
DAL-50004
No match
T-245
White
UNKNOWN
  • The DAL prefix in fron tof the original numbes was for straight lacquer
  • Add DAR in front of the offset number for acrylic enamel (Delstar)
  • Add DAU in front of the offset number for urethane (Delthane). Barry says it's possible to leave the flattening agent out of the urethane and not clear coat it (to look original), but you are on your own there as he's never tried it...
  • Wheels are black (Except for the occassional yayhoo who paints them red -- RED?! -- and then, to add insult to injury, puts huge whitewalls on them!!! I can't mention names of course, but his initials are BW)

  • '39 Truck Equipment

    Standard Equipment:
    Engine, 216.5 CIDHarmonic BalancerAC oil pressure guage
    Oil Cleaner, AC screen typeWater Thermostat, HarrisonVulcanized fabric fan belt
    Thermostatic heat controlCarter 11/4" downdraft carburetorAC-46 spark plugs
    Delco Remy 100 amp, 15 plate batteryDelco-Remy starterHeadlamps (sealed beams began in 1940)
    Foot-controlled dimmer switchSafety glassDefroster openings
    Hydraulic BrakesChassis lube fittings (hydraulic)Front & rear AC shocks
    Hand brake3-speed transmissionSpare tire and wheel
    F & R bumpersF & R license plate bracketsTool set and jack
    Horn (Vibrator)
    Optional Equipment
    Oil Bath air cleaner Rear Fenders HD 4-speed transmission Vacuum booster brakes Back of cab wheel carrier
    Economy Engine HD radiator Double acting rear springs Double acting shock absorbers De Luxe platform body skirt
    Long running boards Low gear axle Two-speed rear axle Long rearview mirror bracket Frame side-member plate
    Sign Panel Frame extension Screen equipment (canopy express) Knee-action shocks (sedan delivery, coupe pickup)
    Steel platform Aux. Springs Cowl and dash with windshield Right hand front seat and rearview mirror (for canopy express and panel trucks, I think)

    Unit Capacities

    1/2-Ton3/4-Ton1-Ton/1 1/2-Ton
    Use:
    Crankcase5 Qts5 Qts
    5 Qts
    20-W or 10-W*
    3-Spd Trans1.5 Pts1.5 Pts
    N/A
    S.A.E. 90**
    4-Spd Trans6.5 Pts6.5 Pts
    6.5 Pts
    S.A.E. 90**
    Rear Axle4.5 Pts4.5 Pts***
    9 Pts
    S.A.E. 90**

    * Use 20-W when temperature is above -10 degrees F, 10-W when below -10 degrees F. Be careful not to use modern, multigrade engine oils as they have been known to leave deposits and cause buildup on the cast iron pistons of the 216.
    ** When extremely low winter temperatures are encountered, use S.A.E. 80. For heavy Summer use in hot temperatures, use S.A.E. 140
    *** For 3/4-Ton and 3/4-Ton Special, use S.A.E. 90 Hypoid Lubricant

    v. November 2000


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