Jim Jeffries'

1954 Chevy Suburban Carryall

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09 May 2007
# 1932

From Geoff :

           I am submitting this cool 1954 Chevy Suburban Carryall for its owner, Jim Jeffries.  Jim kind of hit a wall during the restoration process so I have stepped in to lend him a hand. 

          I am the nuts and bolts man in the restoration of this truck. Jim hired me to help him do the mechanical things beyond his abilities. When I started the truck was painted and the engine had been completed.Tom Langdon provided parts and references to have a Stovebolt 261 ci engine built.

          We installed power disc brakes, power steering, new Ron Francis wiring, new front roller bearings and updated tie rods. As you know, a lot of stuff -- like the steering column and power steering brackets -- must be custom fabricated.

          I converted this truck to 12-volt and removed the floor starter and installed a solenoid activated one with a clutch (neutral) safety switch -- (necessary for any street rod association) but originally not available on these trucks. Now just push in the clutch and turn the key and your off to the races.

          I removed the frame mounted steering box and installed a GM 605 saginaw box. This involved cutting the column and securing it to the bottom of the cab. I needed to insert a bushing at the bottom of the column housing to center the steering shaft. The rest of the components are from a "brothers" kit. Power disc brakes are now slowing this sled. We used all new lines with appropriate residual pressure valves front and rear.

          With the use of wider radial tires, we decided to remove the old front wheel ball bearings and install new tapered roller bearings. This was a purchased kit. The only problem is with the dust seal. With the custom inside roller bearing race used the seal provided does not seat in the hup bore. I will need to find a new seal with a longer leg on the outside diameter surface.

          The front tie rods have been replaced with modern tie rod ends. This process was pretty involved as I had to remove the pressed in ball from the spindle arm. Some drilling, lots of heat and a press solved the problem. The new ball joint neatly bolts in the hole of the spindle arm previously occupied by the old pressed in ball.

           The color scheme is light tan with dark brown fenders, bumpers and grille. The wheels will be stock solids with Chevy caps. We are going with new Stockton 16" x 7" wheels with a little wider tires than stock.

           I am not sure what Jim is going to do with the interior. It will have air conditioning. He is going to re-cover the stock seats but with what I am not sure. This guy is an artist so I am sure it will be in good taste. We have all new window rubber and door seals that will be going in soon.

           Many of the kits for these trucks are haphazard at best.  When doing them, we have found that grease seals for roller bearing conversions don't fit properly.  Just as when doing a power steering conversion, cutting off the bottom of the column involves installing a bearing to pilot the bottom of the steering shaft in the housing.  Nothing is easy but the results are well worth the effort. 

           On the list is air conditioning and Dakota Digital gauges.  Jim is keeping the stock 4-speed manual with torque tube rear end.  The plan is to eventually install a Tom Langdon adaptor plate and a 4 speed automatic with 9" Ford rear end.

           We hope to have it on the road this summer.


Geoff Southart
Bolter # 14480
Rochester, Michigan

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