Brad Birdnow's

1947 Chevy Pane1 1-Ton Dually

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12 June 2006
# 1561

From Scott :

          Brad's panel is a 1947 1-ton dually which, as far as we can tell, came directly from the outfitters that way. I believe it was a Gulf Oil truck with either a pump engine mounted in the truck or some sort of a generator truck. Either way, it had a power supply mounted in the rear, because of the hole cut in the roof for the exhaust, the extra floor bracing to hold the weight up, the louvered rear barn doors that were the fresh air intake and the hole just above the gas tank through the floor to fuel the engine. I have to admit, it's a unique truck. Too bad the butcher got to it.

          This is what it looked like the day I started to take it apart. This was the last time the panel was in one piece! Here's a picture where we are taking the body off the frame. We set the body on furniture dollies to make it easier to roll around.

          First off, Brad's panel is too "unoriginal" to restore so we upgraded. Thanks to the previous owners' hack jobs, we really had our hands full. They cut several holes and notches in the frame to accommodate their really poor design. They cut two four-inch holes in the rear frame to fit an old Impala gas tank fill neck through. Why two? I think they missed the first time and just torched in another hole right next to it. The only thing holding the tank in place was the homemade hitch it was laying on.  They also cut out two crossmembers -- the trans member and the rear most member. I had to pull the frame together 3/4 inch to get the new member in -- that's how far it spread. They also torched a notch in the frame for an exhaust manifold.

          After fixing all of the frame problems, we started the upgrade. We bought a '78 Chevy 1-ton dually that had just about everything that we would need. The upgrade consisted of a modern independent front with disc brakes and more modern 16" wheels. Luckily, this truck had a fresh small block in it, which ended up being a brand new crate engine with very few miles on it. Whoever installed the engine put every possible new part on it also. Even the carb was new.

          To put the IFS under this '47, I had to cut an 1 1/4" out of the center to make it narrow enough to bolt up to the frame. After that, I disassembled all of the front end parts and had them sandblasted or replaced. After making a P/S box adapter and getting all of the steering linkages mounted, I reassembled the front end while painting everything as I went.

          Next, I put the engine and trans in. I had to make new mounts to adapt the V-8 bellhousing to the old '47 crossmember. I also put aftermarket engine supports in and did away with the P.O.'s welded in hack job mounts. I reworked the battery box so it will fit the modern 12-volt battery and totally re-invented the e-brake system to work with the '47 frame and the '88 rear differential.

          This panel has the original gas tank and now it has an auxiliary tank at the rear for long hauls. After having the driveshaft rebuilt and balanced, we now have a rolling chassis.

          If anyone wants more info on this, I have many pictures I can share. These are just highlights of what's been done.

          Now you can see why I've been to busy to participate online as much as I used to. Now I can get my 63 done so I actually will have a living, breathing old truck to drive again,

Scott Ward
Stovebolter # 4443
Center Point, Iowa

          Scott also has two 1948 1.5-Ton Loadmasters - a black on to push snow and a red one for dumping and hauling. He recently got a 1955 Chevy First Series 5700 COE. He has too much time on his hands! Also, this was quite the collaborative effort. Jeff "Iowa trucks 59" Lauber's 1950 1.5-ton donated it's dash, rear motor mount cross member and rear most cross member. ~~ Editor

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