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Nils Paulsen's

1946 2-Ton Chevy

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From: Nils:


    Hello. I am a 33 year old man (boy) from Oslo, NORWAY.

    I happened to see your site about old GM's, and would like to write some words about my trucks. I have a '37 3/4-ton Chevy, this '46/47 2-ton Chevy and a 1943 2.5-ton GMC War truck from W.W.II.

    The '46/47 served as a farmtruck from '46 to '76 when it was sent to the junkyard for scrapping. Neither the farmer or me who is the second licensed owner really knows how it was saved from there.

    To get it running again, I had to repair the brakes and service the cylinderhead. At the same time the plugholes were bored to fit larger and better sparkplugs. I have not decided about restoring it or not. The problem is that once you have restored it, you'll be afraid to use it.

    As it is now, I can use it without thinking of a new scratch or two, and it also looks like a 50-year-in-use truck. Don't let the shiny paint fool you -- it's preserving oil just to keep the condition status quo. Since I bought it in '88, I have built a new bed, repaired the tip, overhauled the brakes and the cylinder head and finally got some new tires. The dimensions of the tires are 8.25 x 20 and they were optional. A lot of people in the car world have told me these are not the original dimension tires, but they are WRONG.

    The '46/47 Chevy is actually one of two that I bought together in '88. Both of them were then in bad shape, so to decide which one would live and which one would die. I tried to turn the engines. The one in the photo won.

    Next thing was to get it in my garage, which was a little complicated as both the front wheels were locked. A friend of mine "gladly" used his Nissan Laurel to pull the truck inside (I had to buy him a new clutch after this). Now I tried to start it up after a oil change, and it did run -- on four cylinders. I could also hear by the starter sound that the compression was not the same on all six.

    The head was dismantled and overhauled, and the plugholes were bored to fit the same plugsize as earlier models. The original plugs were of a microscopic size which seemed impossible to get anywhere, and they didn't work well either. By the way, my truck has the optional 235cid engine, 90 horsepower SAE.

    Then it was time to try the engine again, and this time it ran well, but now, as it got to working temperature, a crack was discovered along the entire left side of the engine (in the bottom of the waterjacket). Later investigation showed that this was a result of both freezing and corrosion, and that this is the weak point of the stovebolt engine. The same thing as on my '37.

    I took the engine out of the truck, and "cleaned" the block. I then asked a welding expert if it was possible to weld the crack. But the answer was negative. However, I don't remember how, but I met a guy who happened to have a 235cid firetruck engine in his garage. It had only run a few miles after having been restored, and looked like new outside and inside. But this engine had babbit bearings with all the shims missing, and my old engine had inserts. So I had to take a "spanish one" as we say when you do something not quite after the book. I took the new block with it's pistons (cast iron), my old rods, my old crankshaft and my old head and got a engine out of it. And then I finally had a no-leaking engine which ran like hell.

    I decided to change the clutch as well before mounting the engine, and I went to a repairshop which is known for possible and impossible brake and clutch parts. And they had a new clutch in the original carton for me! After getting the driveline together again, it was time for the brakes. I took several days to get the front wheels loose, and the same shop overhauled the shoes and the wheelcylinders. I had to buy a new masterpump too, and look over the hydravac brake booster which also is a option originally mounted on the truck.

    Finally, it was time to try driving the truck. What a "Shaking Stevens!" The wheels had four sides (or was it three?) so the trip became relatively short. After a while, I got six wheels in exchange for the body of the other truck that had to die. But these wheels had studs every half inch and I had to pick them out with a screwdriver (150 in each tire). I can tell you that was a hard job for my hands. Here in Norway we use studded tires in the wintertime due to all the snow and ice at the roads when not salted.

    Next trip lasted for so much as 15 minutes when the bed fell off. Somebody had screwed the fastening bolts away. Now I took the hydraulic tip system from the dead one, and mounted it on the behind. This system had been standing in the sun and rain for the last 20 years, but some new hoses, oil and grease did the trick. The new bed was built on this system.

    At last I painted the whole truck with preserving oil just to keep the condition status quo. I have been driving the truck hundreds of miles since this, and it has never let me down after I got all the "faulties" away.

    But remember, this is not a restored truck, only repaired. I have a feeling that it's more right to keep it as it is now. However, I am buying parts for it just to be ready to restore it some time in the future maybe.

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