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54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
#1351845 Fri Mar 27 2020 01:50 AM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
Hi all,

I'm in the process of buying a 54 3600 dually. It has the (factory?) option 6.50-16 dually axle, and I'm wondering if, between tire and wheel options, and brake parts, if I'm biting off more than I can chew.

It appears to me that these trucks have "locking ring" rims? I'm really not sure how to identify these, but have heard enough horror stories about their dangers, I'd likely be looking for 1 piece wheels pretty quickly. Being a dually... how common are wheels that will work?

Doing research on brake parts and reading threads in here, it ALSO seems like drums, and possibly some other brake parts, are pretty difficult to come by. This truck has been well cared for, but has 62k miles on it. I would imagine the drums will need attention, and if they go beyond spec... then what?

Just looking for general feel for what I'm getting into. I really intended for this truck to be a regular driver, not a daily, but hauling home imp. supplies, mulch, etc. Intention is to use it significantly more than just showing up to a Sunday cars and coffee.

Thoughts?

Attached Files
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1351858 Fri Mar 27 2020 03:03 AM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 736
G
Shop Shark
Almost sounds like you are trying to get us to talk you out it..lol.. in that case you've come to the wrong place. Ha. More of a project than you want? That would be up to you to decide. Post some pics so we can get a better feel for it. Price? It all factors in. But in all reality, we love trucks and if you dont buy it, someone here might. But if you buy it, we all will be willing to give you a hand, both on here and maybe even in person. Good luck. Keep us posted.

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
glenns towing #1351863 Fri Mar 27 2020 03:20 AM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
Definitely not TRYING to be talked out of it, but I've just seen a couple references to particularly drums being near impossible to find. Kinda funny, the truck is the Ocean Green, my wife's favorite color... whole house is decorated in it. When I showed her pics of the truck she essentially /demanded/ I buy it, so I'm just being.... cautious... we'll say that I'm not making a more emotional than intelligent decision. Drums can be turned, axles can be swapped, and with the knowledge on the forums, I'm sure I can get through whatever it may need. That's the thing that really draws me to this era... they're just so dead simple... if the parts are available, there's nothing /mechanically/ that scares me about 'em!

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1351925 Fri Mar 27 2020 02:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
Forgot you asked for pictures. The couple times I've gone out to look at it I was focused on getting it running and having some brake pressure to know if I could drive it home or not, so I actually only have this one picture, other than a video of it idling. Once I pick it up, I'll take detailed pictures of everything as I document my work with it.

First idle video [youtu.be]

Attached Files
IMG_20200315_151715741_HDR.jpg (282.59 KB, 190 downloads)
Last edited by BLSully; Fri Mar 27 2020 02:25 PM.
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1351926 Fri Mar 27 2020 02:25 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,196
Shop Shark
Welcome to the Garage BL!
And keep us posted on your new project.

Don


Of all the things I've lost in my life, I miss my mind the most!

1967 GMC 9500 Fire Ladder Truck
"The Flag Pole"
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix on Photobucket
'46 2-Ton grain truck
'48 3/4-ton grain truck
'50 2-ton flatbed
'54 Pontiac Straight Eight
'70 American LaFrance pumper fire truck.
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1351936 Fri Mar 27 2020 03:59 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,371
H
Boltergeist
I don't know of any 16" multi-piece wheels that pose a danger of suddenly disentigrating unless they're rusty or damaged. The ones we call "widowmakers" are the 20" Firestone RH-5's, and they're used on bigger trucks. There are two styles of removable-bead wheels that were used on 3/4 ton and 1-ton trucks, one with a split outer ring that snaps over the main wheel barrel, and another that is a full circle with no split, with a relief area in two places that allows the ring to be removed and reinstalled. If you can post a clear picture of both sides of one of the wheels, we can offer a more informed opinion about what wheel you have. A typical 16" drop-center wheel intended for use with tubeless tires will be too small on the inside diameter to fit over your brake drums. If the 62K mile figure is accurate and the truck hasn't been abused, it's very unlikely the multi-piece wheels will pose much of a problem as long as an experienced tire shop with the proper safety equipment works with them. Once a tire is installed properly and inflated to the correct pressure, the wheels will be perfectly safe during normal use. Never, EVER try to add air to a tire on a multi-piece rim that's flat or seriously low on pressure!

There are some brake upgrades available with a moderate amount of modification to deal with the scarce supply of parts for the original-equipment brakes. Fairly recently, a disc brake conversion for the front end has been developed that retains the 8-lug wheels, and there are several later model rear axles with newer brakes and better gear ratios that can be adapted to a flat bed truck. A GM corporate 14-bolt axle from a cab and chassis box truck, or a class C motorhome is one example.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
Hotrod Lincoln #1351942 Fri Mar 27 2020 05:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
Originally Posted by Hotrod Lincoln
I don't know of any 16" multi-piece wheels that pose a danger of suddenly disentigrating unless they're rusty or damaged. The ones we call "widowmakers" are the 20" Firestone RH-5's, and they're used on bigger trucks. There are two styles of removable-bead wheels that were used on 3/4 ton and 1-ton trucks, one with a split outer ring that snaps over the main wheel barrel, and another that is a full circle with no split, with a relief area in two places that allows the ring to be removed and reinstalled. If you can post a clear picture of both sides of one of the wheels, we can offer a more informed opinion about what wheel you have. A typical 16" drop-center wheel intended for use with tubeless tires will be too small on the inside diameter to fit over your brake drums. If the 62K mile figure is accurate and the truck hasn't been abused, it's very unlikely the multi-piece wheels will pose much of a problem as long as an experienced tire shop with the proper safety equipment works with them. Once a tire is installed properly and inflated to the correct pressure, the wheels will be perfectly safe during normal use. Never, EVER try to add air to a tire on a multi-piece rim that's flat or seriously low on pressure!

There are some brake upgrades available with a moderate amount of modification to deal with the scarce supply of parts for the original-equipment brakes. Fairly recently, a disc brake conversion for the front end has been developed that retains the 8-lug wheels, and there are several later model rear axles with newer brakes and better gear ratios that can be adapted to a flat bed truck. A GM corporate 14-bolt axle from a cab and chassis box truck, or a class C motorhome is one example.
Jerry

THAT is great info. Thanks for that detail. I'm closing up the office early today, maybe I'll call up the seller and ask her if I can come out and take some more pics while we wait for her replacement title to show up so we can finish the deal.

I live in farm country, and my friend's father restores international tractors. There are dozens of small shops around me that deal in AG and trucks, so I don't think I'll have a problem finding someone who will service them then.

How low is "seriously low on pressure"? All of the tires appear full except the front left. It's definitely squishy, but is NOT letting the rim rest on the ground, there's still a lot of sidewall holding the weight of the truck. It's just definitely *not full*. I planned on taking a LOCKING chuck with a ton of hose and filling it away from several feet away. I understand this is one of those areas where it's tough to give advice without seeing it in the flesh, so if the picture above isn't clear enough on the inflation of the front left tire, and the safest answer is "let a pro look at it and tell you", that's perfectly fine smile

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1351977 Fri Mar 27 2020 08:45 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,371
H
Boltergeist
Take a piece of heavy chain that will loop around the tire and wheel in several places, and wrap it loosely before you add any air. That's the safety process we used when changing tube type tires with sectional rims out on the road where a safety cage was not available when I ran a truck shop and road service. Even if you need to remove the wheel from the vehicle to do that and use the center hole of the wheel for the chain to go through, it's still the safest method. I used to use a 25 foot air line with a clip-on chuck and a ball valve for inflating truck tires, and hide behind something sturdy before opening the valve.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1351980 Fri Mar 27 2020 09:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,196
Shop Shark
I do the same thing Jerry.
After 30 pounds, I hit the tire with a sledge hammer. Not the rim.
And repeat at 60 and then full inflation.
The rim is is fully inspected and clean before I mount the tire.
20 foot log chain works good.

Don


Of all the things I've lost in my life, I miss my mind the most!

1967 GMC 9500 Fire Ladder Truck
"The Flag Pole"
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix on Photobucket
'46 2-Ton grain truck
'48 3/4-ton grain truck
'50 2-ton flatbed
'54 Pontiac Straight Eight
'70 American LaFrance pumper fire truck.
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1352005 Sat Mar 28 2020 12:31 AM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
All good suggestions, thanks. The log chain is genius... sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones. I appreciate the suggestions for this newbie.

I went to NAPA today and got a clip on chuck and a remote valve with a 10ft coil. That plus a chain should keep things within a reasonable margin of safety. I'll throw my sledge in the car too when I go to fill it up for extra insurance.

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1352066 Sat Mar 28 2020 12:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,441
E
Shop Shark
Unless the truck is close to home, it would not be a good idea to drive it home unless you have good consistent brake pedal. It is not worth it.

Ed


'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.
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1352075 Sat Mar 28 2020 02:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 736
G
Shop Shark
Nice looking truck from the angled pic. Id be all over it, i priced right of course. I guess you bought it? Or are you really bugging the current owner? Ha

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1352076 Sat Mar 28 2020 02:14 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 736
G
Shop Shark
Just watch the short video. Congrats.. i think you got something pretty sweet there. thumbs_up

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1352078 Sat Mar 28 2020 02:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,998
Master Gabster
That is a good looking truck. I think there are good times ahead! Congratulations!


1951 GMC 1 Ton Flatbed -- It is finally on the road and what a great time I have driving it!
1951 1 Ton Completed


My Chevy Master 4 Door is on the Road!
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
EdPruss #1352082 Sat Mar 28 2020 02:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
Originally Posted by EdPruss
Unless the truck is close to home, it would not be a good idea to drive it home unless you have good consistent brake pedal. It is not worth it.

Ed

It's close, and all farm roads. I got it to build good brake pressure with a firm pedal, but I'm going to do a short test drive with it before committing to the whole drive back. I've got friends who move tractors around all the time, so I'm sure i could get them to put it on a flatbed and tow it back if it feels unsafe.

Chomping at the bit to hear from the seller they got the replacement title from the state. Patience, I hear, is a virtue :-P

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1352093 Sat Mar 28 2020 03:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,371
H
Boltergeist
If a transporter is available, I'd be very reluctant to try to drive it home. That truck is too nice to risk ending up in a wreck from a sudden brake failure, steering problems, etc. or even a blown-out tire. The cost of paying for a tow might be cheap insurance, especially if another vehicle was involved in an accident. I won't venture out on the road with any vehicle that's not properly licenced and insured. Having a brother who's a legal beagle has opened my eyes to just how sleazy some of those guys can be!
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1354068 Wed Apr 08 2020 07:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
Well, I like to live life on the edge.. I drove it home this past weekend. I hear COVID is going to kill me anyway ohwell Got started cleaning out the years of mouse colonies, etc. Started a build thread. It's definitely going to be some work, but having gotten my hands a bit dirty with it, I don't think it's going to be all that bad. While rusty, most fasteners I've tested still move freely. I kind of dread pulling the drums, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Can anyone tell me if these wheels are one piece or not? I can't find a split or retaining ring or anything in them anywhere. Even though they appear to be one piece to me, I took proper safety precautions and wrapped chain around them and filled from several feet away just in case.

Attached Files
IMG_20200404_130430197_HDR.jpg (357.99 KB, 93 downloads)
IMG_20200404_130522752_HDR.jpg (408.25 KB, 92 downloads)
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1354089 Wed Apr 08 2020 09:14 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,434
W
Shop Shark
Look like 2-piece to me. Are those the kind they called "Safety Rims"? Or were those some other kind.

Last edited by Wally / Montana; Wed Apr 08 2020 09:16 PM.

1948 3/4-Ton 5-Window Flatbed Chevrolet

28 Years of Daily Driving. Now with a '61 261, 848 head, Rochester Monojet carb, 4.10 rear, dual reservoir MC, Bendix up front, 235/85R16 tires, 12-volt w/alternator, electric wipers and a modern radio in the glove box.
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1354216 Thu Apr 09 2020 04:43 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,434
W
Shop Shark
You in S WI? Perhaps your truck was made in Janesville.


1948 3/4-Ton 5-Window Flatbed Chevrolet

28 Years of Daily Driving. Now with a '61 261, 848 head, Rochester Monojet carb, 4.10 rear, dual reservoir MC, Bendix up front, 235/85R16 tires, 12-volt w/alternator, electric wipers and a modern radio in the glove box.
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
Wally / Montana #1354243 Thu Apr 09 2020 07:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
That would be interesting. I have the engine/frame numbers if that helps figure out build locations. Live about an hour from Janesville, didn't know Chevrolet ever made vehicles there. I drive past the Chrysler plant in Belvedere, IL pretty regularly (along I90)

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1354400 Fri Apr 10 2020 03:07 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,434
W
Shop Shark
The VIN on the driver's side post of my '48 is: 21FRC1812.
21 = Janesville
F = 1948
R = 3600
C = March
1812 = Production Number (Starting at 1000 but, according to one other source, starting at 1. Who cares.)

Your '54 would follow a different code, such as: J54J000001.
First J = 3600
54 = Obvious.
Second J would be for Janesville. Other letters for other locations.
Then, production number.

This comes from the "Chevrolet Pickup Red Book." What's your VIN?

We lived in Whitewater from 1976-79. I wish I had known about my future interest in Stovebolts. I would have tried to talk to folks who had worked in the Janesville plant making these trucks.

Last edited by Wally / Montana; Fri Apr 10 2020 03:11 PM.

1948 3/4-Ton 5-Window Flatbed Chevrolet

28 Years of Daily Driving. Now with a '61 261, 848 head, Rochester Monojet carb, 4.10 rear, dual reservoir MC, Bendix up front, 235/85R16 tires, 12-volt w/alternator, electric wipers and a modern radio in the glove box.
Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1354411 Fri Apr 10 2020 04:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 19
B
BLSully Offline OP
New Guy
Mine is J54J-014484, so looks like a Janesville truck 😁

Truck was originally an implement dealer's delivery and service truck in Green County, so it's likely lived it's entire life within 50 miles of where it was built. Pretty cool.

Re: 54 3600 Dually. What am I getting myself into?
BLSully #1354446 Fri Apr 10 2020 07:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,506
M
Shop Shark
The 1948 Truck Serial numbers started with 1001 in each plant, so Wally has the 812th truck built in 1948 out of Janesville.

The 1954 Truck Serial numbers started with 001001 in each plant, so BL's has the 13,484th truck built in 1954 out of Janesville.

Mike B smile

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