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'56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
#1320454 Sun Aug 04 2019 11:45 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 15
R
RmJr Offline OP
New Guy
First let me say, this site is great. I've been searching around for a couple of weeks now and, the knowledge here is amazing.

I am new to Stovebolt ownership. Actually I won't get her home for another week or so.
What I know so far: 1956 Chevrolet 6409, 2WD, 1.5ton, 4speed, 6 bolt Budd wheels, 16,000GVW, 6cyl.

I am really excited to get started. The truck has been "parked" for at least 30 years. It has been in the family since it was discharged from the Army.

First major item on the list is getting her highway capable. I won't be on the highway a lot but, materials and supplies
are 60 miles away down I-25, with a 75 MPH limit. I have read several threads on axle swaps for the AD's and, possible donor vehicles for the swap.
I wouldn't mind doing the swap however, if I could find compatible gears for the diff I'm sure I could save a bit of money (really needed for other parts).
The axle swap might be near impossible for me, no salvage yards nearby.

So, if I could pick the community brain. Who has had good highway results with a gear or axle swap? Were the pieces relatively easy to get?
If you had it to do over would you do anything different?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320470 Mon Aug 05 2019 01:37 AM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,086
Big Bolt Forum Moderator
welcome to the site! If your truck is a 6400 series, it should have a 2 speed rear end, does it? 6400 series is a 2-ton. If you have 22.5 wheels on it (tubeless tires) you should be able to get 9R22.5 tires (at least on the rear, might need a bit shorter on the front for turning clearance).

My 58 2-ton will go 70mph @ 4200 RPM. 3600RPM is 60 mph just so you get an idea. (I have 9R-22.5 tires all the way around).


Mike

1955 Chevy 6400 ex-flatbed (no bed now!)
In the Stovebolt Gallery


1958 Chevy 6400 flatbed W/dump
In the Stovebolt Gallery

1959 Chevy Suburban Owned for almost 20 years, Daily Driver -- sold May 2016
In the Stovebolt Gallery

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320474 Mon Aug 05 2019 01:57 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 608
R
Shop Shark
RmJr, Welcome to the site. Lots of knowledge here.

I don't currently have a running big bolt, but for years I had a 46 2-ton. It was a stock truck with 8.25 rear tires. Single speed rear end. It ran the original 235 splash lubricated babbit rod bearings. I freshened up the engine, but all stock. I was even running points ignition and the original radiator. The only non original things were a 12 volt electrical system and disc front brakes. The truck now resides in Arizona and I'm sure the owner would give you a ride if you are close to him.

I was able to run on the highway comfortably at 55. I would occasionally see 60 and at one time I looked down and I was doing 68. It most liked the 50-55 range. Loaded was another story. The most I had on the back at one time was 12,000. It went, but not very fast.

Get it running on all the stock stuff. Make sure the brakes work well. Then go drive it and judge for yourself if it will work the way it is. I suspect it will as any modifications to make it go faster will likely become very expensive by the time you are done.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.


Randy Domeck
Indianapolis Fabrications
rdomeck@me.com
Indianapolis, In. 46254
317-258-0039

Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320479 Mon Aug 05 2019 02:10 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 8,781
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Just to make sure we are all on the same page, nomenclature wise, your truck is not an AD. You may already know this but your post says you’ve been reading on the AD’s. Your truck is the next generation called the Task Force era. Later model truck rear ends can be swapped in but require some fabrication skills and a welder. Search the site some more and see what further information you can find.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2)
‘39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe
USAF 1965-69 Weather Observation Tech (got paid to look at the clouds)


"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop!

Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320482 Mon Aug 05 2019 02:50 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,546
M
Shop Shark
I echo Randy's comments...get it running and stopping and see if it's the truck for you. These trucks were not designed to go as fast as we go now days.

What kind of loads will you be hauling?

As for different gears, there are none. If you want a faster gear ratio you'll have to do a axle swap to something newer.

IF you're lucky you 'll have the 22.5" tubeless wheels, if not you'll have the 20" tube type widow makers.

The standard engine was the 235, the optional engine was the 261.

The 4-speed will be the SM-420 (granny gear 4-speed).

The rear will be the 13,000 pound 6.17:1 single speed as standard issue or the optional 15,000 pound 6.17:1 or 7.20:1 single speeds, or the 15,000 pound 5.83/7.98:1 or 6.40/8.72:1 2-speeds. Hope you have the 5.83 2-speed, but with the 16,000 GVW I'm betting you have the 13,000 pound standard issue single speed rear...the Army liked to keep things simple.

Mike B smile

Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320484 Mon Aug 05 2019 02:56 AM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,086
Big Bolt Forum Moderator
both of my 6400 trucks are 16,000 GVW and have the 2-speed rear but, yours may not.


Mike

1955 Chevy 6400 ex-flatbed (no bed now!)
In the Stovebolt Gallery


1958 Chevy 6400 flatbed W/dump
In the Stovebolt Gallery

1959 Chevy Suburban Owned for almost 20 years, Daily Driver -- sold May 2016
In the Stovebolt Gallery

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320485 Mon Aug 05 2019 02:57 AM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 15
R
RmJr Offline OP
New Guy
WOW! best response time ever! Thank you.

I believe the tire markings were 20 x ?8.25? up front. I can't remember the rear.

She is tagged as a 1 1/2 ton, 4x2. I was hoping to find a 2 speed diff but, no luck.

Honestly I'm not 100% sure it will even roll. I have prepped and started her but, only in neutral.

Attached Files
rear.jpg (419.25 KB, 145 downloads)
Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320486 Mon Aug 05 2019 03:20 AM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 15
R
RmJr Offline OP
New Guy
I agree, check the brakes, drive it.
I know that modern brake linings can sit for quite a while before (if ever) needing replacement. I understand that our brakes have to be relined,correct?
So that might take me some time to find someone, good, that can do it.

Around town, for work, I might actually load her up to capacity. I'd like to show up on site with 9000+ on the bed.

Not close to AZ, sort of. I'm in the NM Rockies. Obviously I won't be loading her down to often.

This will be the oldest truck I have worked on. I am extremely excited and, a bit worried. whatever happens it'll be fun.

Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320488 Mon Aug 05 2019 03:32 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,549
R
Shop Shark
If it's been parked for 30 years the chances are it has 20" wheels.
But I would agree to get it running first and drive it some, rather than just assume it won't be fast enough. It may surprise you.


Rich

'47 Loadmaster

Life is like a roll of toilet paper--the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!






Re: '56 6409 1 1/2 ton highway drivability
RmJr #1320528 Mon Aug 05 2019 02:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,086
Big Bolt Forum Moderator
1956 was the first year for the 22.5 wheels on Chevy trucks.. A lot of people did not trust the tubeless tires as much as the tried and true tube type so, there were still a lot with the 20" tube tires sold as well. My 58 had 22.5 tubeless on it, except for one rear wheel, they had swapped both on that side for 20" (widow-makers). They probably needed new tires and had those sitting in the shop or on another truck that was not in use.


Mike

1955 Chevy 6400 ex-flatbed (no bed now!)
In the Stovebolt Gallery


1958 Chevy 6400 flatbed W/dump
In the Stovebolt Gallery

1959 Chevy Suburban Owned for almost 20 years, Daily Driver -- sold May 2016
In the Stovebolt Gallery

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
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