Mike Buehler's

1959 Chevrolet 2-Ton

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30 January 2006
# 1389

From Mike:

         Hi. I’ve been visiting your site since 1999. Bought stuff from Swap Meet, too.

        Here’s my 1959 2-ton Chevy. It’s a flood survivor. When I bought this truck, the owner had let it sit after a flood for 6 years. It was completely submerged for three days back in 1996. Then, the owner did the right thing … nothing! So I picked it up five years later and had to go through e-v-e-r-y thing.

        The body was fairly straight with a few minor rust holes. But most of the big trucks don’t pile up the mileage so they tend to have less cancer than the smaller trucks.

        When I got it home, I had to clean it. There was about an inch of dried mud everywhere. Places you would think wouldn’t get silt, did. All along the frame rails, under the dash, hidden areas in fender pockets, everywhere. The real bummer was that it was a clay silt so if you tried to wash it, it would instantly turn into a gummy play-doh and would not come off.

        So I had to blast it dry with air, then wash out the residue. Then I had to replace parts that were ruined. Every electrical component was replaced. I am still using the original wiring harness, but it looks like that has to go, too because the silt wicked into the wire connector ends about an inch or so. Things like the gas gauge and the temperature gauge don’t respond correctly and I think the added resistance in the wiring is causing interference. You can see the brown silt in the ends of a wrapped wire by peeling back the black harness wrap. The dirt is trapped in the stranded wire. What a mess!

        I replaced all the wheel cylinders. The master cylinder was sent out for re-sleeving. And the vacuum booster was bad, too. All the brake lines were corroded or split. And this truck also has many vacuum lines that I had to replace. So I spent about two weeks making new brake lines and vacuum lines. I remember working on my first truck and the stress of bending my first 3/16” brake line to replace a bad one. I thought that was something. Then I ran into ˝” double compression lines on this truck. That was a wrestling match making new lines. Now the brake lines seem so easy in comparison! Funny how that works.

        The brakes took the most time, tracking down parts, spending time on each wheel. Opening up each drum ... hoping ... praying that this wheel cylinder would be okay. Repeatedly saying, “Wow, this one’s worse than the last one.” The rear brakes have the “Twin-plex” set-up with double cylinders. That was the double-whammy.

        I’ve been restoring it from the inside-out. I’ve completely restored the interior. The mechanical part is done. I sanded and repainted the frame and all the components underneath. So I have only the minor body work on the cab, paint, and a new bed to go. I’m in the home stretch! Have you heard of anybody who sells the old double rib rail for making the rim of a flatbed? They used to have rounded corners.

        I really love the big trucks. They are the forgotten work trucks of a vintage age. It’s been a challenge, but as we all know in this hobby, “When you run into problems, parts don’t fit right, and your back starts complaining, it’s time to sit back and have a beer.” A talked to a retired truck mechanic and he told me there were only two types of vehicles he would not repair: fire and flood. Now, I know why. But this one was worth it.

         It’s fun to drive. People pass me like I was tied to a tree. But who cares!      


Mike Buehler
"Mike 2-Ton"
Bolter # 10,113
Roseville, California

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