1959 Chevy 1-Ton
24 January 2007 Update
Well, I have been very busy and have hardly been on the forum in weeks. I recently decided to go into photography, music recording, etc. Kind of sick of the corn-puter business.
When I am not doing that stuff, I started an eBay store where I buy stuff locally to resell. Sort of like a big junque hunt, and the skills found in scrounging bits for trucks, etc., comes in handy. I call it Weird Uncle Irwin's Trading Post.
Got some additional stuff done on the 1972 Chevy mostly. So that's the update on me and the trucks ... I haven’t died and dropped off the face of the earth.
Irwin has been co-moderator of the General Truck forum for about a year ~~ such a big help he was. We appreciate the time and effort he put into this. This week we "retired" him to the sidelines so he can pursue some more of his zany interest. Thanks much IA ... and thanks for all the graemlins! ~~ Editor
12 January 2006 Update
Hi there again. While working on nonsense, I stumbled up on this picture of my '59 along with the Age of Steam Railroad Museum’s 1625 -- a 1917 “Russian Decapod” 2-10-0 steam locomotive.
If you look carefully, you can see the Locomotive’s drivers are hanging over the rails slightly because it was built for the Imperial Russian Railroad’s 5 ft gauge, but never got delivered because of the Bolshevik Revolution! It served on the Frisco and was the last working steam locomotive in Oklahoma hauling coal for Eagle Pilcher Mines.
Anyhoo, the picture is called "Heavy Haulers" and even though this is a couple of months before I repainted big red, in this picture you can’t hardly tell. It's kind of a neat picture. Since "Red" is a 1-ton, she's definitely a Big Bolt and a working one at that.
Thought you all would enjoy the picture.
24 September 2005 Update
We have an
update for Irwin's Gallery page ... but not about his '59 but
about another blast from our past.
We thought you'd enjoy it -- specially since we have a lot of railroad fans amongst our Bolters. Read more in our Features Section. And if that's not enough, check out the story of the 1947 Jeep that goes along with Irwin's '59. Another neat story. ~~ Editor
13 December 2004
From Irwin :
In 2001 I had (more or less) decided that I needed a ‘race rig’ for my racing motorcycle and I remembered that my brother’s next door neighbor, TJ, had an old truck sitting out back in rot mode. I had always wanted an old truck and one of my best buddies who runs the local railroad museum has been driving a $300 1960 Chevy ½-ton to work and back everyday for over 10 years. I wanted something that "when they drop the big one, this baby will still be running."
I asked my brother to ask TJ what he wanted for the truck and the response was, "Come and get it. It's yours."
The typical free truck is that it's the "gift that keeps on costing." (Actually, once rebuilt, it’s a solid and reliable old rig.) A typical it-ran-when-I-parked-it, the truck was originally a Dallas Power and Light truck and was sold to TJ in 1966. He used it as a service truck for his earth moving business. The truck saw use, misuse, and abuse and was in "original" condition. It was last safety inspected in 1975 and had the requisite tree growing through the hood. [ Interior ]
With a lot of digging to free the wheels and some air in the tires (and believe it or not they would hold air), we finally dragged it out of its mud bath with brother’s Ford 8N. One wheel was locked solid but removal of the brake shoes got the truck freed up enough to get it towed to my home. As it was hoisted into my driveway leaking fuel/varnish, my brother’s response was "Great, now everyone will want one!" [ Image ]
I soon set to work rebuilding the truck. No sooner had I started ... one day I laid down my race bike and broke my collar bone. I decided then I was too old, fat, and stupid to race.
Then the truck just became a regular restoration project. Many friends said that it would not get completed but as Tweety mugged to the audience "He don’t know me berry well, do he." It took a couple of years and I made a number of improvements. The utility box was rusted through in enough places that I knew that it would be two years just to restore it. So I gave up on it and cut it up for scrap.
The truck had been pushed around by D9's so much that every box mount was busted and only 2 ¼” struts held the box on! It nearly fell off when I cut off the welded-on step bumper and struts. [ Image ] I also no longer needed a single bike carrier. I would eventually build the flatbed you see on it now. The flat bed is constructed of two 6” structural C rails down the frame and 2 x 2 3/16” thick box stringers with quarter inch plate for gussets on the stringers, on rear, and on sides.
I went for a wooden deck when I found out how much 3/16” guard plate would weigh and cost. I also built the tool box behind the driver’s door to hold tie downs, jacks, tow chains, etc. I also made the rear bumper and trailer hitch mount. I certainly learned a lot and improved my welding techniques with all that practice. You could probably put a tank on that deck -- I have hauled 3600 lbs of scrap with it at a time.
Since this would never be a concourse winner but my work truck, I decided to make some pragmatic improvements. I converted the brake system to a Corvette (power) master cylinder dual system and used Kevlar brake shoes up front. The truck stops very well, and the Kevlar brakes are a huge improvement over the standard linings. [ Image ]
I added GMC van seats (power on driver’s side) [ Interior image ] as I appreciate a bit o' comfort in me old age. However, I haven’t made the effort to replace the heater with an A/C or even another heater, but I did add a rubber fan on the dash board and turned in travel points to mooch a free am/fm/cd player. Got to have yer priorities straight. The player is mounted under the dash as I didn’t have the heart to hack it. I used a Painless wiring universal 18-circuit wiring harness that worked out rather well and removed what was left of the original mess. The speedo doesn’t work but I use a small 2” sun tach on the steering column with a chart of speeds in the gears taped to my sun visor to adhere to speed limits.
The truck is painted in Zero Rust Safety Red, White and Black and top coated with their Crystal Coat. The Crystal Coat didn’t work very well as it was much thinner and sagged like crazy and now is hazing up -- making the truck paint job look older than necessary. Oh well, the ZR paint itself works very well and is easy to work with.
I replaced the side and vent glass, but the windshield and rear windows are originals. I did add a passenger door mirror. Nice thing is that the door was already set up to take the mirror and all you have to do is drill through the holes from the inside and you are in business. I also converted to electric wipers. I added that peel and seal roofing material to the flooring of my truck and then laid the 1/8” thick polypropylene floor mat on top of that. Quieted the old truck down quite a bit, but still makes plenty of noise.
The transmission is one of those indestructible SM 420 3 sp + granny, and I had the drive shaft done by the Drive Shaft King here in town who did a great job at a very reasonable price. The original 230 was locked up and after every kind of oil and solvent poured down the plug holes failed to help, I found the builder’s plate showing the engine .060 over on jugs, and .020 over on crank. Since the engine was a junque yard candidate, I found a nice 1969 C50’s 292 from an inliner and bought it for $400. The 292 never went in a truck that old so I bought some Jim Carter universal 292 mounts, but those were designed for a ½-ton. I cut off the frame ears, attached the mounts to the motor, located it with an engine hoist, and then boxed in/welded the now-flush-mounts in. I also welded on cab corners, and a new passenger step rail as the old one was rotted out. I also replaced the kicked in passenger door which was a complete mess with a door from a bone-yard transfusion. [ image ]
The motor is virtually unchanged from its dump truck daze other than adding a pertronix for convenience sake. While doing all this I also broke my left ankle on a dirt bike so that slowed the project down for six weeks. I replaced the old 17” two piece stinky rims with the pretty 16” chrome wheels you see now and a nice set of used tires. Makes the old truck look pretty "butch." [ image ]
I also went ‘crazy’ and boxed in the rear frame and added rear shocks which were an option not opted for on this jewel. However, even with new shocks, when someone sez their car "rides like a truck," it's my truck they are talking about. One thing though, to make a 230 haul 1-ton, the truck came with execrable 5.26 gearing and fortunately it has a full floating rear axle so it wasn’t too hard to find 4.10 gears for it and swap them in. Just pull out the axles, remove the back of the differential which carries the gears, shove in the new gear set, and put the axles back in. Easiest gear swap ever. That took the top cruise from 45 mph to almost 60 mph.
My biggest goal now is to add a Brownie/Spicer 5831 auxiliary 3-speed so that I have 12 speeds forward, 3 reverse, and thus I can shift at least 4 times before I make it through an intersection. If anyone has a lead on one at a reasonable price with the shifting bits and flanges, please email me. Highway speed to 70 mph would also be nice, but I wouldn’t want to go much faster with the straight axle. The axle was a mess too. The previous knucklehead who worked on the king pins spun the right side bushing while reaming it and didn’t check it. So that part never got a bit of grease other than when assembled. It only took a 60,000 lb shop press with 20 minutes of huge blue flame speed wrench to get that nasty bugger out. I upgraded to Kaiser spiral wound bushing kit and highly recommend that improvement as well. I also replaced all the clutch-head bolts and every other bolt I could get to with stainless steel. Next rebuilder won’t have to use the torch on every nut and bolt to pull the thing apart.
I really like my tough old truck and it gets many positive comments and high-signs on the road. Most of all I would have to thank all the Stovebolt members who, through their sage advice, helped me rescue a nice old truck from the scrapper. I showed TJ the truck and he was so please he gave me a junk '47 Willys to monkey with. The game is afoot … but that’s another story for the Jeep-bolt page!
Wow! If you learned so much stuff from our Stovebolters ... I'm sure we all can still learn a LOT from you!! ~~ Editor