Posted By: Cheon57 Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Wed Apr 22 2020 01:16 AM
Hello all.
I picked up my 9 footer right after New Year's last year(2019).
We were looking for an older truck and immediately fell in love.
Original drive train, mostly original sheet metal. I am sure it took a hard lick somewhere in there left front area in it's past. The dash on the driver's side has a little ripple in it and the driver's door just doesn't match the body contour and refuses to close tight although it does lock.
Started right up when we went to look at it, no smoke, no puddle underneath.

Born at the GM plant in Baltimore and raised on a farm in Virginia by an elderly couple, it spent much of it's younger days hauling various things around the farm. I found a couple of chunks of anthracite coal in the stake pockets as well as some bits of hardwood. Not a lot of time out on the road as it only had 59k miles when we got it. It was adopted by a younger couple with a teenage son in 2006 with the I tention of maybe restoring it.
Around 2008 it was trucked to Arizona and sometime after that the tie rod somehow got bent and it was shuffled off to the garage where it would sit for the next 10 years. I did check driveability as well as I could under the circumstances. 25-30 miles an hour required 2+ lanes verifying that it ran, rolled, shifted and stopped was the extent of that ride.
Needless to say we still had no problems making a decision and a week later we had it trucked here.

What an adventure that turned out to be. I did considerable searching, even had a tie rod delivered that I was assured would fit even though I was fairly sure it would not. I got advised to go to an aftermarket conversion to a newer tie rod and end assembly but couldn't bring myself to even entertain the idea of going to an essentially smaller tie rod assembly on a 1-ton truck. I didn't believe that it would even work without a certain amount of modification which again I believe would weaken overall strength.

I considered going to a machine shop and asking them to manufacture one but wound up finding a solution by a little junkyard digging.
Length and diameter measurements in hand, I started looking under the front ends of the 1.5 and 2-ton trucks. 10 minutes in and WOOHOO!!!
'46 ton and a half Chevy with 20" wheels and without even measuring it, I knew I had my tie rod. $25 pull it yourself, <5 minutes from my house. Had already purchased new ends just in case I decided on giving a go at straightening out the bent one myself which I may still do just because.

1500 miles later runs like a top, still has some issues to clear up but so far so good.
More later.
Posted By: John Milliman Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Wed Apr 22 2020 11:03 AM
Welcome aboard, Cheon! Sounds like a fine truck that you are going about rehabbing in good order. We're here to answer questions so be sure to check out all our forums, as well as our tech tips and gallery -- see the menu bar at the top of the page. We have some tech tip articles specifically aimed at the bigger pickups.

Good on ya for wanting to keep the truck as unmolested as possible. There are many things you can do to improve safety and drivability that are low-impact to originality. Best advice I've read around here is to do as you are already doing -- get the truck driveable, do plenty of research and have fun with it for a season (or more) before you make any big decisions.

You are starting on a great old truck adventure (and education wink ) Ask questions, learn from the old guys, have fun and then, as you are able to, share what you've learned.

Lastly, yes, owning a 1-ton puts you above the rest. But we try not to swagger too much as it tends to demoralize the 1/2-ton guys .... [elvis]

Posted By: EdPruss Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Wed Apr 22 2020 12:50 PM

Posted By: Bill Marlow Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Wed Apr 22 2020 12:55 PM
Welcome to the site and congrats on the one ton! My truck was built in Baltimore as well. We know it spent some time in West Virginia but not sure of the rest of its history. The cool thing is it is back to close where it started life, just 20 minutes south.
Yes, keep us posted on your progress and adventures with the truck. Feel free to post some pictures of it too, we love pics.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Wed Apr 22 2020 05:58 PM
Thanks for the warm welcome.
Today we are on a new mission.
Currently the truck is wearing 8.00 shoes on 16.5" rims that are just like the ones I had on my '68 3/4ton. As we all know 16.5" is pretty much a thing of the past so I would rather not order tires that are going to become harder and harder to get.
I want to go back to the origional 17" rim diameter but not the original split rim configuration. Not trying to fancy it up with rims that don't look age appropriate, if you catch my meaning. I would prefer it to look like the stout truck that it is. Final paint scheme will be about as fancy as it will get. Matte black, minimal chrome as, pretty much looking like the farm beast that it was meant to be.
I am having some difficulty making this happen without going to a custom ordered set of rims. Most of the new ones seem to be more set up for disc brakes which changes the whole offset of the rims. If it were a smaller bed, it doesn't appear that this would be as big of an issue but with the 50" wide bed, there is little space for the tires to move towards the center of the rear end. On the front, the tie rod ends are very close to the wheels so any movement towards the center would create a rubbing issue or worse.
I am at an off-road shop right now waiting on a rim to arrive that may or yymay not work. The shop does mostly rims and tires and by the time I left here yesterday, the guy behind the counter was scratching his head.
I am open to suggestions.
My parameters are
1. The 16.5" rims have to go.
2. I don't want to downsize to 16" but am willing to go as tall as 19" as long as I don't have to change drums or lug patterns.
3. "E" load range or better.

I am thinking that moving up to an 18" or 19" will give me more room in the front where the tie rod ends are concerned.

By the way, the truck is only 5 years older than I am and I have seen a thing or 2 so I am rarely if ever surprised by suggestions but always open minded.

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Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Wed Apr 22 2020 06:01 PM
I just noticed you Maryland guys there. I was born and raised in the D.C. Metro area. Been out here in AZ since Jan '88. Love it here.
Posted By: John Milliman Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Wed Apr 22 2020 11:16 PM
Nice pics -- thanks. BTW, is that a 235 we see in the engine compartment? If so, somebody did a good job installing it without needing to butcher the radiator support or having to move the radiator forward.

Yeah, those 16's need to go. You will enjoy the drive better with 17's or bigger. I have 17's on the original multi-piece rims and they do fine.

Posted By: EdPruss Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Thu Apr 23 2020 12:16 AM
Aren't modern 17" rims available, I put modern 17", 6 lug wheels on my '47.1 GMC 4wd. and they clear the tie rods, etc., just fine. Modern tubeless tires fit fine.

Posted By: John Milliman Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Thu Apr 23 2020 12:58 AM
I think so, Ed -- although they don't look period correct, nor do they take the hubcaps. Also, the Chevy AD 1-tons are 8-lug.
Posted By: Possum Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Thu Apr 23 2020 01:16 PM
Welcome! That's a great looking truck! Its neat seeing the dealer emblem still on it.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri Apr 24 2020 03:35 AM
I tried to verify whether it is a 216 or a 235 but so far have not been to get a positive answer checking block and casting numbers.
Looking back thru the spec books online, it appears that unless the 235 was requested, the 216 was the default power plant until '53. I could be wrong but then that is why I am here. Well, one of the reasons anyway.
Only place I haven't checked yet is the number that is under the valve cover. Planning on checking that over the weekend while I am doing plugs, wires, etc... Just need to add a gasket to the list.

On the rim and tire front, I decided to move to a newer rim in a 17". Went with a simple American Racing rim, satin black with 8 holes around the perimeter. For tires went with a Toya AT II 225/65/17.
No pics yet, they should be in by Monday. Tires are Load range D. I would have preferred to go to an E but I still have much to do on it before I will need the heavier tire. These will be fine for dirt and gravel roads and whatever light desert traversing I will be doing.

Next project is already on the board. Cooling system. It is getting warm here in the Sunny Sonoran Desert and that little radiator isn't going to cut the mustard. First is a pressure test and a flush. I noticed that the alternator isn't exactly lined up with the water pump, pulley-wise. Alternator is a wee bit askew which may or may not be causing an issue with the pump. I am sure the off angle can't be good for the water pump bearing. I am sure it sat with the same fluid in the radiator for at least 10 years and not sure if the system has ever been flushed so it couldn't hurt.

Just missed out on a 49 Conventional Cab 2-ton flatbed, 164" wheelbase for $900. Cab was stripped but that was a good thing because that made it clear that the entire cab was rustfree. If I understand the assembly and service manual specs I read, it should have bolted right on my frame. Only difference would have been front fender size. If this is incorrect, someone let me know because I think I may know where another one is.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri Apr 24 2020 03:38 AM
Originally Posted by Possum
Welcome! That's a great looking truck! Its neat seeing the dealer emblem still on it.
Yeah, I figured one of the East Coasters would get a kick out of that. IIRC Williard Chevrolet was a major car dealer back in the day.
Posted By: 1Ton_tommy Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri Apr 24 2020 07:19 AM
Based on appearance that is a 235. Further, based on the heater hoses, though I can't see the water pump, it appears to be a 55 second or later engine. The radiator appears to be dropped in the mount, which is necessary for the fan to clear the lower radiator hose. Patrick's (former AZ chev parts person, now gone to his last reward) produced a pulley to move the fan back toward the block for the 235 2nd engine. You had to press the pump flange further onto the shaft. Patrick also produced an alternator mount to replace the generator mount. You could slot the holes where it mounts to the block and slide the alternator as necessary to align. It may also have come that way. But you can only go so far or the alt. pulley will hit the fan, at least with a high pitch fan. If you want to run AC there are various brackets made by several vendors. Patrick used to make one.

Another solution is to find a 2 ton radiator, which has larger tanks and a 3" core; and team that with a high-pitch 5-blade 16" fan. You will not have cooling problems even in AZ as long as everything's clean. This setup does require that you mount the radiator on the front side of the radiator mount and cut the welds to move the cross piece to clear the top radiator tank. Drill a couple of holes to bolt it back in. Do not go without. You'll have to modify the cross piece to clear the top tank. On a hundred degree day I pulled my 4,000# camper north from Page and on up to Torry UT. Never went over about 200 deg on the temp gauge. I also have AC, with the condenser mounted below the radiator, which is necessary for that kind of driving.

Before settling on tires make sure that the rears are at least 32" tall. These trucks were already slow with 7.50x17, like 48 MPH at 2500RPM and 3300RPM at 60MPH. You can't run 3300 RPM for any length of time; 2900 maybe if you want the engine to survive but you won't like the fuel bill. You could hunt up a 4.56 pumpkin from a 3/4-ton; or even a 4.10 from a later pickup if you don't plan on heavy loads.

Ive researched the tire/wheel situation repeatedly over the years and if I had it all to do over again I would go with a 2.25x19.5. These tires are used on thousands of motor homes and are readily available, plus they're 32.5 inches tall and carry 4500 lbs. each. The wheels will not look original unless you search wrecking yards every weekend from now to kingdom come. I'm told original-looking wheels can be found. But you can always buy new, steel or alloy.
Posted By: tclederman Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri Apr 24 2020 09:44 AM

What are your block and casting numbers?
Find and post the codes - we should be able to help you ID what year/size engine you have.

With that type of valve cover, it is a high-pressure 235 or a 261 (1954-1963).
Posted By: glenns towing Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri Apr 24 2020 12:52 PM
Way nice. Looks solid. Congrats and welcome to the site. A ton of knowledge and insite at your fingertips.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sat Apr 25 2020 03:35 PM
The need for tires was immediate on the front so we decided to go with the 17's for now. Shouldn't have any trouble recouping most of what we spent on these if we decide to size up in the future. Here are the before and after shots.

Vet appointment for the dragon this morning and then the rest of the day will be spent on the truck.
Will post casting numbers this afternoon. Once I have a definitive engine size, I will order a complete gasket set so I can open it up and check everything for wear, etc. The search for a 2-ton radiator will commence forthwith.
Have a great day all.

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Posted By: 1Ton_tommy Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sat Apr 25 2020 04:31 PM
The hay bales in the bed are a really nice touch. Mine presently has a 3 yards of manure in it. So you know what I'll be doing with the rest of my day.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sun Apr 26 2020 02:06 AM
OK, took a picture of where the engine # is located. If I am understanding the manual correctly, this engine is actually a Flint made '57 235. October 13.

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Posted By: 53 green 1- ton Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sun Apr 26 2020 02:40 PM
That defiantly is not a 216cu. It’s a later 235cu. Probably full pressure. When she is running, what’s the oil pressure. 235 at idle is around 25 to 30 psi. Mine was a 216 until it let go, doing what it shouldn’t have been doing! 65 mph for at least 1.5hrs on the turnpike heading to a gathering. Now the truck is equipped with a newer 235 heart and cruising easily at 65mph. “Oh” the rear has been also upgraded to the 4:10. That info can be found in the this site!
Good luck!
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sun Apr 26 2020 03:30 PM
Great, now I can proceed.with ordering a gasket set. That info should also clear up the inability to figure out what the deal is with the carb. I should be match the number on the tag with a.model #. Going to clean the oil bath air cleaner today and get that back where it belongs instead of sitting on the work bench.
Lubrication question.
It gets mighty toasty here during the summer. The book calls.for.a straight 30wt oil. When I have had to top the oil off, I have been using a non-synthetic oil. Should I consider using a little heavier multigrade during the summer or maybe a SAE30 diesel motor oil. I don't do much during the heat of the day is absolutely essential. Also most of the gear oils I am seeing at the auto parts stores are listed as 85wt. I seem to recall seeing straight 90wt at Tractor Supply. Should I stick as closely to what the manual says or are the newer multigrade lubricants going to be ok? Are synthetics ok to use?
Picked up time up parts from NAPA on Friday and it appears that the cap and rotor I got are not the right ones. The cap is too shallow and the rotor doesn't look the same. When I attempted to.put them on, the rotor does not allow the cap tightly on the distributer. Guess that will go back on Monday.
Is there house associated.with Stovebolt where I can confidently order that will fit correctly. I would much rather order online and know the parts are right than drive 20 miles multiple times only to find that I will wind up exchanging 1/2 of what I got or be told that the particular part is unavailable for whatever reason.
Posted By: Justhorsenround Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sun Apr 26 2020 04:43 PM
Take your old parts and match them every time. There are 2 different cap/rotor combinations. Tall/Short.🛠
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sun Apr 26 2020 07:45 PM
I figured as much. I have yet to find a place local that ever seems to have the parts in stock to compare with. They all seem to keep everything at a central warehouse locally for the older stuff and just order and have sent on demand. Certainly not the way I remember parts houses to operate. It is getting harder and harder to even find someone that has more than a rudimentary knowledge of how engines work let alone the ability to cross reference to anything comparable or gives a rats keister.
Whew, short rant, I feel better now.
Time to do some "Honey Do" items before I chase down the cause of the non-working fuel gauge. Looks to be the tank sensor itself.
Posted By: 1Ton_tommy Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Thu Apr 30 2020 03:32 AM
I have run 20/50 motor oil for many years except if I know I'll be in sub-freezing weather for a while. I can't speak to gear oil but when I put house-brand 85/90 in the rear axle a year or so ago I noticed it's more noisy but that could be because it's going gunnysack and I just don't want to admit it. Years ago I used to put 140 in the 2-speeds on our big GMCs in the summer time. Sounds like have the later distributor used up to 1962. I had a problem with my gas gauge where it would register low even when I'd just filled the tank. Then it would go down from there. Eventually it stopped registering at all. After much troubleshooting I figured out that the cork float on the sender had absorbed enough alcohol to get heavy and it sank. I bought a new sending unit that didn't fit but robbed the brass float from it. Problem solved.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Thu Apr 30 2020 07:05 AM
I am in the Sunny, sometimes sweltering Sonoran Desert so for me the heat is far more of an issue than any 2 week winter cold stretch. I did decide to go with the VR1 oil and for the summer I plan on running straight 50 in the crankcase and considering a 140 for tranny and diff. The heat here is insane during the summer. Search for replacement diff. hasn't begun yet. Full gasket set first then I'll work my way towards the back, follow the drive train.
What you encountered with the sending unit would not surprise me at all. It did sit in a garage for almost 10 years. Started right up so I would imagine that they at least started it up fairly often and the gas didn't smell like varnish.
Posted By: Frank50 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sun May 10 2020 11:42 PM
Are you sure the wheels you bought will clear the tie-rod ends? I made that mistake on a 55.1 3600 about 30 years ago. I know the tie-rods are different but the space is still tight. Good luck.

Great truck! Congrats. Have fun with it.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Thu May 14 2020 06:56 PM
I was very careful about that possibility and made the tire shop bring in a rim from their warehouse and put it on the truck, front and back to make sure I would have clearance. Went with the 225/65 to ensure that very little if any tire would extend past the rim edge. I am pretty sure that if I had chosen any wider a rim, I would have had to go with a negative offset rim on the front.

Picked up a '53 GMC rolling frame last weekend with what is supposed to be a 261 power plant.
As soon as I get out there and clean it up, I will be able to run the numbers on it so I will have more info on it later.
Posted By: EdPruss Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri May 15 2020 02:58 AM
GMC will not have a Chevy 261 as std. equipment. Right side, behind distributor, on machined surface will be SN stamped starting with displacement.

Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri May 15 2020 10:16 PM
This number?

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Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri May 15 2020 10:25 PM
The chassis has 137" wheelbase with the overall length being 235"+/- an inch or 2. It has short steps on the sides and it certainly looks like it was either a stake or flatbed if these marks are any indication.

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Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri May 15 2020 10:48 PM
This may help. I have all the engine numbers except inside the valve cover but they don't quite match up exactly to posted numbers. I also have tranny and differential numbers. 8-lug, 7 leaf front springs and 13 leaves in back, 6 close to frame then 2 spacers and 7 leaf attached to frame underneath.

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Posted By: tclederman Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Fri May 15 2020 11:14 PM
“I have all the engine numbers except inside the valve cover but they don't quite match up exactly to posted numbers.“

What are the codes that you have (besides the Engine Serial Number, attached a few posts above this)?
Posted By: EdPruss Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sat May 16 2020 01:43 AM
That is not a GMC number, Chevy, someone on here will now what it is.

Posted By: tclederman Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sat May 16 2020 02:08 AM
F 722 A

F = Flint MI engine plant
7 = 7th (I think it could/should have been 07?)
2 = February
2 = 1962
A = Regular Production 235 high-pressure engine with standard 3-speed transmission

Maybe someone else will decode/correct/confirm this?

The head/block casting codes will help to confirm/correct this interpretation.
Posted By: drdoug Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sat May 16 2020 03:29 PM
I believe that decodes as:
F = Flint, MI
7 = July
22 = 22nd day of that month
A (quoting the '58 Chevy Master Parts Catalog) = "Regular '235' -6 cylinder" (with passenger car models listed as original service)

The year was dropped from the later serial numbers from '57 onward, so best indication of year is from the block casting date code located above the starter. This decode is made based on the '58 Chevy Master Parts Catalog, pp 12-14.
Posted By: Cheon57 Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sat May 16 2020 10:12 PM
The number behind the starter is Con 4 G177.
Here are the numbers off the head and the one on the block between the distributer and the fuel pump.

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Posted By: drdoug Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Sat May 16 2020 10:36 PM
Starting with the codes over the starter... you can disregard the CON 4. That just tells what conveyor line was used in the engine foundry.

The digits that follow decode the date as G = July, 17 = 17th day of the month, and 7 = 1957.

That is consistent with the block casting number, since 3837004 was used '55-'57, and it is a 235 as was indicated in the earlier post by the stamped engine number.

Interesting, the head casting 3836850 is a 261 head ('54-'62). Nothing special about that other than it was just a bit lower compression (somewhat larger combustion chamber) compared to the head casting originally used on the '57 235, and has 3 pairs of holes drilled into the water jacket that were needed to properly cool the siamesed cylinders in the 261. They are simply blocked off by the head gasket and 235 block. It's more common to find the standard '57-'62 235 head casting on 261s than the other way around, but there is nothing wrong with that. If you are interested in finding the date code for the head, it is located under the valve cover (valve cover has to come off to see it), driver's side, toward the back.

Posted By: Buckkoo Re: Another Proud '52 1-ton owner - Tue Jun 23 2020 02:57 PM
I think you'd really like the 19.5"s on that truck. I have the same truck in GMC and the 19.5s really fill out the fenders and help with mph as well.
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