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Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 41
NickE Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
Originally Posted by EdPruss
Now would be a good time to start searching for a 261 for your 1 ton.


Thanks Ed.
I'll probably stick with the 235 for a while. If it ever gave me a reason to swap it out, I'd go with an LS.


Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 223
Just my opinion:
Since you are starting to establish your ‘minds eye view’ for your project I will put forth my view ( worth exactly what you paid for it),
our trucks were designed before the word freeway was invented, design top speed was 45-50 mph and slower for the bigger trucks, I see members discussing driving at modern speeds 65 and above and I just don’t see that as appropriate while staying with the original steering brakes shocks etc, even in fully restored/perfect condition.
You can re-engineer the entire truck and safely go with the flow on the freeways, or you can get the stock truck up to those speeds and white knuckle it (prayer is good), or you can take the path of enjoying the world at the slightly less stressful pace our trucks were made for.
No judgement, it’s your truck and I look forward to following your progress….. whichever way you go is the right way.

Ps: btw, I have a fresh 235 with a T5 in my 46 1/2 ton, love the tranny, never use 5th……50mph I’m good….
PPS: nice shop!

Last edited by Hanks custodian; Fri Mar 10 2023 04:04 AM.

Hank: 46 Chev 1/2ton shortbed
2023 Miata RF Club
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 526
An old thread I know but for the record both Spicer and Clark made 5 speed overgear transmissions with the GM bolt pattern. Some went in buses and had a tall shift tower and these are not so useful unless you find the correct tower. I've been told that Clarks are hard to get parts for. I had one but it was rusty inside so I abandoned it without looking for parts.

1951 3800 1-ton
'62 261 (w/cam, Fenton headers, 2 carbs, MSD ign.), SM420 & Brown-Lipe 6231A 3spd aux. trans, stock axles & brakes. Owned since 1971.
In the DITY Gallery
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 6,211
Unrepentant VW Lover
Tommy -- just my limited experience playing with Big Bolts, but those Clark 5-speed OD trannies are hard to find. The 5-spd non O/D are easy enough to find but, alas, no improvement as 5th gear is still 1:1 frown

Been disappointed too many times in junkyards to spot a Clark only to rub the grime off the plate to discover its a non O/D ...


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers

1927 Chevrolet Capitol 1-Ton Express -- A work in progress
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,977
NP-540 series also come with OD(rare), problem is without two speed rear with a load, since 5th takes the place of third, there is a large gap between second and fourth, get stuck in second ‘til top of hill, really awkward. All 5 speed OD trans’ have this issue.


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
'55 GMC 370 w/270, 420 4 speed, grain, dump bed truck from ND. Works OK.
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,173
If your pocketbook can stand it a TKO 500 can take anything a six banger can put out and that's fully loaded on soft ground.

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,776
The T-5 will hold up well behind a 235. Ive put them behind 350 v-8's. Never had a problem. Just drive sensibly.


They say money can't buy happiness. It can buy old Chevy trucks though. Same thing.

1972 Chevy c10 Cheyenne Super
In the Gallery Forum
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 16
I have a Chev 1954, 3800 flat bed with dual wheels, I purchased a GEAR VENDER overdrive. I still use the original gear box 4 speed
and the only thing major
to change was a new drive shaft. I installed it maybe 20 years ago and it still operates perfect.

Last edited by 3800rao; Mon May 01 2023 12:48 AM. Reason: spelling
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 526
To further kick a dying horse er.. thread:

My recent experience running at highway speeds (almost Canada to Arizona and back) tells me that a 4.57 axle ratio is about all you want to pull when loaded. I don't think it would be happy pulling a 4.10. These old trucks will haul a heck of a load and not complain but they just get slower and slower in the hills as they get heavier; I recently weighed out of the gravel pit at 12,500lbs. Last summer I changed from a 5.13 to a 4.57 to go with the 261 and so I could have some selection of tires and not be forced to use a 33in. 255/85xR16 of which there are about two choices, noisy and noisier, off-road deep lugs doncha know. But with the full load of the camper's wind resistance and weight I almost with I had the 5.13 back. With 2.65/75 R16s I'm running 2550 RPM at 60 in overdrive (17%) and 2850 was better for the cam I'm using. So I spend a lot more time in direct drive. I need a gear in between, maybe a 4.88 if I could find one. With a smaller load the 4.57 is great;

1951 3800 1-ton
'62 261 (w/cam, Fenton headers, 2 carbs, MSD ign.), SM420 & Brown-Lipe 6231A 3spd aux. trans, stock axles & brakes. Owned since 1971.
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Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,345
Moderator for Tons o' Fun , Co-Moderator Driveline Forum
Since its an old thread and dying ....the point Chuck made about the speeds these trucks were made to operate at,45-50 mph, make me double think putting in a 4.10. ( yes I have one and a spare NOS ring/pinion set ). I find that 50 -55 is plenty of excitement as it is.

Ron - - Dusty53
"you can't dance with the Devil and then wonder why you're still in Hell"
" They will forget what you've said, and they will forget what you have done but they will never forget the way you made them feel"

1954 Chevy 3604
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