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02 September 2012
# 2970

Owned by
Lisa Johnson
Being Restored by
Don Jameson
Bolter # 26492
Southern California


1964 Chevy Panel

"The Good Karma Project"


More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck in the Panels & Burbs Forum


From Don:

I decided to share this story in a series of installments in the Panels & Burbs forum as I get the parts in for each portion of the project. (This is GREAT ... and what we had hoped the forums and Gallery would evolve to! Thanks for taking the effort to do this. ~ Editor)

This 1964 Chevy Panel truck is actually owned by a single woman, and was originally built by a long-term fiancée who was tragically murdered a few years back. However, I don't know the whole story on that and I'm not sure I want to.

So, she gets the old Bolt and takes it to some dude who's supposed to get it going. Something happened and the wiring harness burned up. The guy tells her it's not worth fixing -- a big piece of junk. Then in the same breath, he says he'll buy it from her! After two years of the old truck sitting there, she said she had enough! She rescues it, gets ahold of me and so here it is.

I'll back up a little ... we had an Employee Appreciation Car show at my work and Lisa's Mother saw my 1957 Chevy Panel truck. So, Lisa's Mom asked me if I could help out her daughter. Lisa had no clue about the truck and little money. After two years of waiting, she also had little faith it could be fixed.

So, that's the "Good Karma" part? (Lord knows, I need all I can get) I'm not charging her anything for the labor, just pay for the parts. And besides, I kinda enjoy doin' this kinda stuff.

As you can see from the pictures in the Photobucket link above, there has been a lot of poor wiring jobs done. Twist on wire nuts -- really?? After a phone call to EZ Wiring, I ordered a 12 circuit harness -- haven’t tried this one yet. I did rewire my own Panel with a Ron Francis kit. RF had very easy to follow instructions and it went in easily. Of course, it costs quite a bit more. So I thought I'd try the EZ Wire and see how that goes.

The more I look at this old truck, the worse it gets! Fuel system weirdness, electric pump problems, pressure regulator issues, and two filters!

Then I see this ...

A rubber fuel line drooped down the outside of the frame, two more filters, and two more electric pumps? I'm gonna get a stock mechanical pump and hook the stock metal fuel line back up.

The tranny cooler was zip-tied to the grille and the lines ran between the block right up against the headers! No no no! Gonna re-route those inside the frame away from all that heat.

The body is straight and mostly rust-free but a lot of the rubber is hard and brittle. That comes from being out here in the desert. The steering looks good. The power steering reservoir is full, but the brake master cylinder is empty. This is not a good sign since brake fluid doesn't evaporate. The power booster looks cooked as that was right above where the fire was. I'll look into that stuff later.

The EZ Wire wiring harness showed up. You need super human sight to read the tiny printing on the instructions, but it's there. I managed to find a firewall plug. They by-passed this, drilled a hole above it and ran the wiring thru, without any rubber grommet. That's where the fire started!

I went to a local auto electric shop and bought the new clips to be able to reuse this plug. All the lights and horn will run thru this so if the need ever arises, they can un-plug here and remove the entire front clip.

I re-routed the transmission cooler hard lines, and then I needed to hang the trans cooler on the radiator and put that stuff back in.

Oh boy -- my favorite guy, the UPS man, showed up with a box of goodies from Golden State Parts! I got the gas tank sending unit, rubber grommets for the firewall, headlight switch, temp gauge sending unit. I rounded up a copper oil pressure line kit so the stock gauges will work (hopefully), and the new ground cables are in and the plug wires are sorted out.

It was time to start the reconstruction!!! On to the EZ Wiring ... I finally got the panel installed (not to brag but yeah the floors are rust free)! and then I just needed to hook up all the stuff.

The rear lights, along with the new fuel sender were done first. Put the gas tank back in and got it all plumbed. When I went to remove the grille to rewire the headlights, the previous owner had come up short a couple of bolts that held the grille on, so in their infinite wisdom, he got out the stick welder and attempted to weld the stainless grille to the inner sheet metal! Amazing! Lucky for me they were lousy welders and I was able to break the crappy blobs of weld off and remove the grille ... Sheesh!

Man, there was lots of split plastic conduit and black zip ties. I managed to use the stock firewall plug with new clips. So if needed, the front wiring can be un-plugged and the entire front end can be removed in one big piece (the only way to do engine work on these old trucks).

In the next round of work I uncovered more weirdness still -- but ya gotta give 'em credit for being creative on this one. Took a right side lens, cut it very carefully then inverted it to try to make a left lens ... oh well.

I got all the "under hood" stuff done the next weekend. Ignition, charging, starter and some sending units for the gauges, and re-routed the plug wires. A good guy who is an accomplished hot rod builder himself made a two hour drive from Bakersfield, CA to volunteer his time and wired up the ignition and headlight switches and figured out what goes where behind the dash. Thank you, Frank.

A high school buddy of my son works at O'Reillys behind the Parts Counter. He knows nothing about this old stuff, but he loves it! He's been pulling out books to help me find stuff -- little brackets, sending units, stuff like that. Stuff that is really old. He's been a huge help. You really need to get the right parts guy. For some places, if it's not on the computer, they are of no help. I am fortunate to have this kid in my corner!

Now, if only I had a better idea of how the dash is supposed to look. I'm not real sure where the switches go, and there is no heater controls but a blank plate where I think the controls should be. I'm gonna pull the steering wheel off and try to see what's up with the turn signals next. I'm really need some help with the turn signal switch wiring.

Lisa says that the engine was "really loud" and it seems to be some kick-a$$ motor. I haven't started it up yet but that will be easy for me. I can make it run. I have all the pieces here. Once I get the dash put in and the turn signal done, I'll get to the motor!

Hope everyone has enjoyed this thus Rebuild Diary so far. There is still some work to be done, so head on over to the forum page for more pictures and updates.


This is a great way to document a re-build or restoration. Especially when there's no one to hold a tripod (especially if you don't want them to hear you screaming or crying! Too much trouble to edit out!). We wish you good Karma ... this is an outstanding thing to do for this lady. Hopefully some readers can chime in if / when / where you need advise. Or someone close by can come to a "bring a wrench" partay at your place one weekend! Definitely a good cause ... saving a Stovebolt and helping a lady in distress. ~ Editor

Don Jameson has two trucks in the Gallery. A 1957 Chevy Panel truck that he had submitted in February 2011. In September 2012, he submitted a 1964 Chevy Panel, "The Good Karma Project" that he was restoring for a lady in distress!


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