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Stovebolt Fever
There is no cure


Kevin Pennell walked us through putting the old truck up for winter storage (perish the thought for some of our guys!). And if during the winter, you found a great classic to restore, Barry Weeks, showed us how to bring the old truck home in one piece. Well, now it's time to get ready for all those shows, cruise-ins and parades. Let John Smith show you how to wake your treasure from its winter nap. The snow is gone, the trees are in bloom (or should be soon), it's time to get ...

On the road again
By John "johntsmith" Smith
1965 Chevy 1/2-Ton
1953 Chevy 5-Window 1/2-Ton
Bolter # 26358

More discussion about this topic in the General Truck Forum

Pictures used from Stovebolt Homecoming 2014 and 2015

Update: March 2016
First issue: January 2007

Doin’ the Spring Thing!


The warmer weather is here so let’s run out to the garage, fire up the ol’ truck and run to the ice cream place, or a cruise with the Bolter Buds!

Congratulations if that is all it took to get the ol’ girl going. I, along with many others, have work to do while you eat your double fudge banana split with sprinkles!

You know all you want to do is “kick the tires and light the fires.” But you need to go on a “look see” tour of your truck - over and under - looking for puddles, loose stuff, kid toys, and ... MOUSE NESTS.

First off, check the crankcase oil before doing anything else! Do this first thing. Do not pass go. Do not collect $100. Check the oil! Especially if you stored your truck on a dirt floor, you might have had a leak over the winter.

Got oil? Good, then check the antifreeze.

Finally you can hook up the battery, spray some ether to the carb, stomp the starter, and fire it up.

Once it starts, keep an eye glued to the oil pressure gauge to be sure you have sufficient oil pressure. Better yet, drag the significant other out to your garage and have him or her fire it up and watch the oil pressure gauge for several minutes, just to be on the safe side. This frees you to watch for smoke, fire or to utter other profanities.

Once the engine seems to be running and the fire is out, run it up to a fast idle and warm up the motor like it was a fresh one.

For those with stock exhaust, check to see if your flapper is working. It doesn’t take long for one to rust shut.

Now, check the brakes; assuming they work, pull it out of the garage before you die of carbon monoxide poisoning. (Editor's note -- If you are Kevin Pennell, take the tarp off. )

As the truck sits and warms up, check the lights while your helper is there. Helpers seem to disappear at the first opportunity, so use them now. Keep an eye on the gauges and when it gets to operating temperature, shut it off.

Is it time for an oil change?

Let the oil drain while you check tire air pressure, tire condition, wiper blades and get out the cleaning stuff.

An easy way to speed up cleaning the inside is a blowgun. Open the doors, toss out the mats and blow the crap out. This is a good way to clean crevices and hard to clean places easily.

"VFW" adds in the 2016 update: Before starting the engine, I take a screw driver to the radiator and fuel hose clamps. They loosen up during hibernation sometimes.

"jockbolter50" (from Scotland) adds: This is just a personal preference, I haven't done it for some time as my truck gets used all year. But before start up after a long time stationary, I prefer to crank the engine over with the high tension (coil) lead disconnected to lubricate and build oil pressure to all the engine's moving parts before adding a spark. Over the weeks and possibly months of winter (depending on your location), the oil drains much more completely than if it were being started regularly. By doing this, it ensures there is sufficient lubrication and oil pressure before the first start up. I had an issue with a VW engine many moons ago where the seal had stuck to the crankshaft due to the engine lying for some time. During the first fire up, it tore and resulted in an oil leak behind the flywheel. It went unnoticed until it was too late (over 200 miles from home with the big ends gone).

Before we forget, let’s finish up the underside. Put the plug in, change the filter and add the oil.

While you wait for the oil to run in, check the antifreeze. Squeeze the upper hose to check for pressure and then check the level. Remember old radiators have a fill level about 1/2” to 3/4” from the top.

Get the grease gun out and go to town. If you are lucky, you only have 25 zerts to fill! Lest we forget, original spring bushings have zerts.

Take the plugs out of the transmission and rear end to check fill levels.

Change or clean gas filters, check belts, timing, idle, and whatever else could possibly give problems. Generators have oil holes at each end. Lube with lightweight oil.

Clean battery cables and fill the brake fluid.

Can we go yet?

The dirty work is over. Now, on to cleaner things. Let’s just wash it this time. Leave the dish soaps for the dishes and use a regular auto soap. Scrub, rinse and dry. Dust out the inside. Try using regular ole Lemon Pledge on the interior - looks good, smells good and no slick feeling or residue. Next week, we’ll wax the exterior. I better stop by the parts store and pick up some finishing glaze or non-abrasive wax to get ready.

If I am out of chrome polish, I’ll use some 0000 steel wool on the bright stuff. But, that comes later. Right now the dog is in the back, the kid and the significant other are packed in the seat so WE must be ready to go.



“I’ll have the cookie dough and sprinkles, please.”




If it ain't broke, break it. Then fix it ! ~ Wrenchbender Ret.

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