Michael Hazelmyer's

1948 Chevy 2-Ton w/Tulsa Winch


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26 March 2007
# 1896

From Michael :

           Well, I found "Boomer" basking in the hot (100 degree) summer sunshine, looking rather forlorn in the weeds outside a farmer's barn near here. After watching the rig sit for a few years without moving, I stopped and asked if it might be available. (Of course, that came with the "story" as well.) Seems that the farmer was the second owner of Boomer.

           The truck is a 1948 Chevy 2-ton truck with a commercial lattice-boom and winch assembly mounted on the frame, operated off the PTO via 4 speed and 3 speed transmissions to a 22,000 pound Tulsa winch (with capstan). The transmission arrangement is such that the 4 speed sets the winch speed, while the1st and reverse gears of the 3 speed set the cable direction ... in / out. Here's a shot of the interior.

           Well, according to the farmer, he purchased the truck at a surplus auction down in the south-central desert of Washington at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The truck had been operated at the Nuclear Reservation since new. He bought it in the late '80s. He drove it 200 miles home to use on his farm.

           So after some friendly haggling and a promise that I'd give it a "good" home, it was mine. Now came the time to get the truck home ... a mere 12 mile trip. Never have 12 miles seemed so long, and so frightening. The engine in the truck is a well worn 261 cid that hadn't been started in several years ( although the farmer claimed he put a re-built carb on it when he parked the truck). Oh yea, "it ran when I parked it."

           After a look at all the bare wires under the hood (from baking in 100 degree summers), I chose to tow it home. So we used his tractor to lower the boom into a horizontal position and removed the front counterweight. So off I went to get my trusty tow-bar. Well the counterweight hung from a heavy duty bracket welded to the front frame horns and was too long and a little too wide to allow me to attach the tow bar normally. So I had to adjust the tow bar to fit between the brackets (a little too narrow for my taste). I figured it's only 12 miles. So I hooked the towbar to the hitch on the back of my Bronco (full size). Of course, all the while my wife is asking "Will this really work?" Ahhhh famous last words.

           Well off we went, towing Boomer across the barnyard. As I made the turn onto the county road, the front wheels of the '48 wanted to "crab" (a common problem with tow-bars). So I had Liz (my ever-faithful wife) get into the '48 to steer while I got us straightened out on the road. Once on the road heading towards home, I ran into another little problem. Yes, here I am with a 4,000 pound Bronco, trying to tow a 9,000 pound truck (with a tow-bar adjusted a bit too narrow). You guessed it .... a BAD case of the "tail" wanting to "wag" the dog. So I volunteered Liz to continue steering the '48 (with trans in 1st gear and clutch depressed), with instructions that if ANYTHING happened, to (a) let the clutch out and (b) pull back on the emergency brake handle as hard as she could!!!

           So off we went ..... at a blazing speed of 15 mph. Seems that anything over 15 mph and the '48 wanted to pull the poor Bronco ALL over the road. Well everything went well on our way home. I did need to lock the hubs on the Bronco and put it into 4WD low the last couple miles. Those last couple miles included a 1.5 mile 6% downhill grade ... heehee. But alas not a problem. Just kept it nice ... and ... slooow.

           We did manage to get home without doing any damage to anything but our nerves ... lol The next day it was time to see if the old rig would actually start. I drained the old liquid varnish out of the gas tank and added five gallons of fresh fuel. Put in a new set of plugs / points / cap / rotor and a fresh battery. Now the final test .... will it actually run?? Remember, the farmer said it was an IRWIPI truck. After priming the carb and giving the button a good STOMP, it coughed and sputtered and then settled in to a nice idle. YEA!!!!! I just gotta convince it that "smoking" is not good for its health.

           Oh .. almost forgot ... the winch works great, and thus far has lifted everything I've asked it to. Whoopie! After a long winters sleep, this spring will be time to re-build the brakes so it can run down the road on its own without that pesky Bronco in front. We'll take a good look at the smoking issue (maybe some 50 weight ... hummmm ). But for now, it runs smooth and strong with no clatter......YEA

Michael Hazelmyer
GreatNorthern Images, Inc.
Bolter # 11697
Near Spokane, Washington (the dry side of the state)

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