Randy Luton's

1952 GMC 3/4-Ton Farm Truck

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22 May 2006
# 1536

From Randy :

           Hi all. My truck is a 1952 GMC 3/4-ton farm truck from central Kansas and this is my first experience at working on an old truck. I had been looking for a pre-'55 Chevy / GMC truck for a while but was a little surprised when I won the auction on eBay earlier this year. My wife said getting another truck was ok as long as I sold the '92 Mazda that I already had. The old "one comes, one needs to go" rule. That worked for me.

           So in early March, a couple of friends and I rented a trailer, borrowed a truck to tow with, and made a 500 mile round tripper across I-70 to Wilson, Kansas and back. I was kind of surprised the whole town wasn't there to see what city slicker had bought the truck that had been in that field for so long. In truth, the Father and son at the farm were great. They pulled the truck up on our jackknifed trailer with their tractor while their dog raced around and barked. Away we went.

           The trip home was pretty uneventful. Getting the truck off the trailer was a challenge because. I needed to put the truck in the garage and my driveway slopes downward. The truck had no brakes and didn't run. We backed the trailer up to the garage, tied some ropes to the front bumper and wrapped them a time or two around the front of the trailer. We slowly raised the front of the trailer and hand winched the truck into the garage. One of the ropes broke as gravity took over but luckily my wife wasn't home to watch it glide into it's new space and stop with the help of some strategically placed cement bags.

           Over the next few weeks, I realized that this had been a deluxe hotel for pack rats, mice, and mud wasps. The spark plug wells were each filled solid with mud nests and the fan was attached to the radiator via several nests. The mud nests were everywhere. After determining that my 228 engine would not turn over by pulling on the fan blades, I put penetrating oil down the sparkplug holes for several days and read some posts here about stuck engines. Someone suggested pulling the starter and trying to turn the flywheel through that opening. I removed the starter and tried to crowbar the flywheel but it didn't move and I was afraid of breaking off a tooth. Looking down at my starter on the floor, I realized that the pinion gear was entirely encased in mud. If the wasps had been there, maybe they had also been at work around the flywheel? Sure enough, when I pulled the flywheel cover and looked up there were several nests attaching the flywheel to the surrounding housing. After chipping them all loose, I was able to slowly turn the flywheel with a screwdriver. Problem solved!!!

           That's about as far as I have gotten for now. I have removed the seat and been cleaning out the cab (bags of lint, stuffing and thistles from the pack rats). I hope to see if the engine starts soon. I have been reading posts about cleaning gas tanks and radiators and I will definitely be working on the brakes. I need to read more about a possible dual chamber set up as I am going to redo the entire brake system.

           You are probably wondering about the blower on the driver's side of truck. It is PTO driven off the truck tranny (I think mine is the 4 speed SM 420) and was probably used as a silo blower to move grain from the truck bed. The whole setup is still intact. There is a small rectangular opening about 4 x 6 inches through the side of the bed directly behind the blower that has a sliding door that allowed grain to flow into the blower. I'm sure some of you know much more than I about this and I would like to hear your comments.

           My plans for the truck are short range for now. I work on it when I have time and first will be finding out if the engine will start and then the brakes.

           My next door neighbor came over yesterday to give my son a high school graduation gift and saw me working in the garage on the truck. She said, "I didn't know you had an old truck here. That looks alot like my grandfather's old truck in Iowa that I learned to drive in." I was pleased to gain a fan and happy that the truck could take her back to some old memories.

           I'm having fun with it. I have learned alot since becoming a member of The Stovebolt Page. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

           I hope you all are enjoying your old trucks and they keep stirring up pleasant memories for others.

Randy Luton
Bolter # 10583
Overland Park, Kansas

           That's funny. Our "rule" is "toys for toys" -- something in / something O U T !! And I think you're right about your wife not being home when you unloaded the truck! Good write-up. Hope we all can continue to be of help! ~~ Editor

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