So this will definitely not be a fast build, but I want to keep myself motivated and having a build thread is a huge step. This truck was my Grandfather's. I was given it when I was ~15, and it has so far just hopped from one Uncle's garage to another. I thought when I bought a house 7 years ago I'd have room to work on it finally, but it wasn't until this year when I built a bigger shop that I have finally gotten the truck into a building I own with my tools it in (just happened today in fact)!. If I was picking a truck to start a build from I'd have picked one in better shape, but it's my Grandfather's and it has to be brought back. My Grandfather bought this truck sometime in the late 50's. It had been a parts truck at the Pontiac dealership he worked at for many years (he was there for 34 years when he retired). The truck came to the farm where it was used hard until it quit, then it was parked. My uncle took a shot at restoring it in the late 70's and gave up and parked it in the barn. He rebuilt the engine, but it's seized again, and the bed was already beyond repair when he started so it got scrapped. The end result is in the pictures below.

Although I haven't been able to work on the truck I have been collecting parts for a decade and a half. The front fenders are shot, but I've scrounged up some really clean steel replacements. The 216 in the truck is shot (and it's a 216) so I got a '54 235 from a powerglide car; short waterpump, full pressure, hydro lifters. I've also got some motor goodies like an Edmunds 2x2 with Stromberg 97's, custom 235 valve/side cover, Fentons, and a T5 adapter plate. For the truck I've got a '59 front axle to rob of it's better bendix brakes, a '59 rear axle also for the bendix brakes and the open center section, and a cool vintage flatbed for the missing bed.

Still missing a decent grille (not sure mine can be saved), and a valence. The cab is fairly solid, but there's some rot at the windshield hinges, the brakes are stuck along with most everything that should move (but the windows in the doors roll up and down!). Also, my uncle said he thought he patched the cab with some fiberglass somewhere, but I can't find it with a magnet so it's either really small or he's mis-remembering the truck's history.

So I've gotta fix the rot, settle for sure on a drivetrain (still torn on 235 vs 283), figure out the replacement bed, source the missing body parts, and then of course paint/wiring/interior/etc. I want the truck to be clean, usable, and fairly period-correct (although I'll lose a couple points for the T5 if anyone actually crawls underneath). I know the flatbed will also be pretty tough to pull off 'right' but I'm gonna go for it.

I need to find a new cab trim piece at the top of the windshield (seen below). What's the right name for this panel?

Passenger side windshield hinge. Not sure what the deal is with the fiberglass packing? Both hinges have it coming out above the hinge from inside the cab. Couldn't pull it out from the outside, I guess it's packed in behind that trim panel above that rotted. It seems to have held some moisture and cause the worst of the cab rot I've found (so far).

So that's just to get myself motivated. I hope to really get into this project this fall/winter, but I know I won't be having weekly good solid updates. There will be questions, and mistakes I'm sure.
Posted By: Achipmunk Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Oct 26 2015 03:17 AM
That's a nice worthy project. Thanks for the pictures.
Posted By: Straightjacket Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Oct 26 2015 04:50 AM
Cool truck, you'll enjoy bringing it back. Mice tend to fill that portion of the body with stuff. Probably where the fiberglass came from?
Posted By: VEW Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Oct 26 2015 01:37 PM
Hey John. Looks like our trucks are in about the same condition right now. I'm going with the "slow but steady" approach on my '41. I'm not too far from you...near Brunswick, MD. If you need a hand, give me a shout. I don't know a lot, but I'm good at moral support! Good luck!
Posted By: Paul_WNC Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Oct 26 2015 05:43 PM

Cool truck and an even better history. Best of luck with your project. I certainly hope you better success than your various uncles!

The insulation your are seeing up around the windshield hinges behind the header panel is most likely the seat padding. Mice think that area is the most wonderful location for a penthouse condominium complete with bathroom facilities. Much of the corrosion up there is from their urine. Unfortunately GM body design engineers made it possible for vermin to gain unimpeded access the header panel via the a-pillar. Worse yet, the rodents can get into the header panel area in a completely tight and assembled cab. When you get the floor and toe boards out look at the front cab mount area and you we see what I am talking about. When I restored my truck, I focused on all original, but this was one rare exception. I formed a couple of barriers to keep those little buggers out.

As from the factory, notice that any creature can get into the door c-channel perfectly protected.

With rodent baffle installed

Good luck!

Posted By: John Leatherman Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Nov 02 2015 04:31 AM
Not a ton to report from this week. Stripped off the roached fenders. The inner fender panels were very nice. All the braces are still there. I have a beautiful set of stock/steel fenders waiting for this truck I picked up a couple years ago (coming in a post soon). Couldn't get the header panel removed, all the screws stripped. I'm going to have to drill them (and there are a lot). In the mean time, can anyone ID the heater in my truck? Supposedly my Grandfather installed it out of some other car he had at the time?
Posted By: John Leatherman Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Nov 16 2015 02:55 AM
While waiting for my new clutch-head drivers to try and get those headliner screws out I dragged out the '59 truck rear I had picked up for this project. Much like the '59 front axle, the springs on the rear axle are angled much less than the '46. It's also spring-over vs. the spring-under on the '46. I need the open center section for the T5, and I want the better brakes of the '59. So as I see it I have several options:

a) Cut the mounts off the '59 axle and weld on the mounts from the '46 axle.
b) Swap the center-section and backing plates from the '59 axle onto the '46, and then weld the existing mounts solid on the '46 axle.

Personally I think I prefer option b). Has anyone swapped later backing plates onto the earlier '46 axle? They look to be the same bolt pattern, but the '46 has 13" brakes and the '59 has 11" brakes. The '46 also has the backing plates offset inboard farther than the '59. Still looks like it should work, but right now both axle are soaking before I start trying to break loose the various bolts and fasteners.

'59 Spring Mount

'46 Spring Mount
Posted By: GWWirth Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Nov 16 2015 03:42 AM
I finished my 46 last year. I took lots of pictures so if you need to figure something out take a look at my photobucket. Sometimes when you can,t get those clutch head screws out you can grind a slot in the head and use a straight blade screwdriver. Have fun. Mine took 4 years.
Posted By: Larry_58_Burb Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Mon Nov 16 2015 11:12 AM

That is a great truck and story. When I first looked at your thread I opened the pictures to see what you were working with. First thing I saw was the front fenders. I immediately thought of the movie Heartbreak Ridge. They may not kill you but they'll definitely break your heart trying to get them right. Then I saw that you have good replacements and had to chuckle.

Anyway, your plan sounds good. If I had to provide one opinion, I'd say go with the 235 over the 283. A straight six is in that truck's soul.

Good luck!!
Posted By: J Lucas Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Thu Nov 26 2015 09:10 AM
Hello John,

Very cool to own one that's been in the family a long while.

Thanks for sharing (the story and the picks) with us.

Posted By: John Leatherman Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Sat Dec 19 2015 04:15 AM
I haven't posted for a while. A month ago we had our first child. Shop time has gotten scarce all of a sudden... Nonetheless I have made a little progress. I disassembled the '59 rear axle I picked up for this project and the '46 rear axle still under the truck to see what my options were for converting the truck to open rear and Bendix brakes. Here's what I learned:

1) The axle spines and bearing sizes are the same. I could use the '59 open diff in the '46 housing with the '46 axles. This would, however, leave me with Huck brakes.

2) The brake backing plates are not the same bolt pattern. They are also not sufficiently different to leave room for an adapter plate, so swapping the '59 brakes onto the '46 housing is not gonna happen.

3) The '59 axle tubes are larger, so I can't put the '59 axle under the truck using the '46 mounts.

4) None of this matters because it turns out the gears in the '59 axle are too pitted to use, and the input bearing is frozen. At least it was cheap...

So I'm looking for a different rear axle. I want to keep the 6-lug, and I want it to be narrow enough to be close to stock track width. After scratching my head a bit I realized that my Colorado (my daily driver) is a 6-lug. A bit of measuring confirms that the track width is very close to the '46 (the 4x4 Colorado, the 2wd is 2" narrower). As an added bonus, most of them are 3.73's and they're already spring-under-axle so I think I can rework the existing mounts slightly and run them on the '46 springs. I'm on the hunt for a suitably cheap Colorado axle now.

In the mean time, here are a few of the other goodies I've been collecting for the truck:

These are the new front fenders. Both are GM steel. One is nearly NOS, the other is very very nice. It has a small rust spot at the rear where the fender meets the running board. I think I can patch it with a piece of one of the old fenders.

Edmunds 2x2 manifold with rebuilt Stromberg 97's.

This is the flatbed that's going on the truck. I believe it's a factory GM flatbed from a 3/4 ton truck, late 50's or early 60's. It bolts together out of pieces of beaded channel. I need to shorten it about 18" and narrow it about a foot, but that's pretty simple since it bolts together.

That's all for now. In another month or two when I'm back to getting some sleep I'll probably have more to report.
Posted By: Achipmunk Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Sat Dec 19 2015 04:25 AM
John, thanks for the update and congratulations on the birth of your first child. Most all of us have been in your situation.

Its still progress though. Just 15 minutes a day will work wonders over time. I've never seen an Edmunds intake before. That thing is wicked looking. Thanks for sharing the pics.... and just think, in about 90 days it'll be springtime and you'll be sleeping all might. LOL

Merry Christmas and continued good luck on the rear end.
Posted By: homer52 Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Sun Jan 03 2016 07:35 PM
Sent you a pm
Posted By: Gmans 46 Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Wed Jan 20 2016 01:07 AM
Those clutch head screws can be a bear! What did not come loose with a tap of the hammer I would use the mig welder to the head then hit it with water and they came right out. Went back with stainless!
Posted By: tclederman Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Wed Jan 20 2016 01:24 AM
Originally Posted by Gmans 46
Those clutch head screws can be a bear! What did not come loose with a tap of the hammer I would use the mig welder to the head then hit it with water and they came right out. Went back with stainless!
Yes, I like the few stainless clutch head screws I can find.

If original clutch head screws are a bear to take out, I can assure you that regular slotted/phillips-head screws would have been as/more difficult to remove.
Posted By: 46Sparky Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Wed Jan 20 2016 02:23 PM
This may be a dumb question, but I've wondered I'd using a dab of antiseeze, the stuff used by some to assemble other parts of the drive train etc., on each new clutch head or other fastener threads would help keep the fastener from being such a bearcat to remove in the future? If it works it would be cheaper than stainless steel, I would think.
Posted By: realsteeler Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Fri Feb 05 2016 08:35 PM
Beware of using stainless fasteners in mild steel. Over time, the stainless will react with the steel.( Look up dissimilar metals, electrolytic reaction) I would stick with steel fasteners and antiseize. On my 46 I used a 57 car diff. I knocked out the wheel studs, mig welded the holes,machined the axle face true, then re drilled to 6 bolt wheel pattern. Good luck with your project.
Posted By: tclederman Re: '46 Chevy Truck Build - Fri Feb 05 2016 09:38 PM
Many of the stainless-steel anti-seize/anti-galling compounds also have an anti-oxidant/anti-galvanic-reaction component.
Well, I'm a bit surprised my thread hasn't been kicked out of the Project Journals yet for lack of updates. Hopefully I can get this project back on track. Doesn't hardly seem possible, but I haven't touched this project for 9 months again. Who knew a baby would keep you this busy? Here's my little future hot-rodder herself to kick things off:

Tonight I finally got the inside header panel off. I ended up cutting slots in the screws and heating them to break them free. One or two snapped off, to be dealt with later. There wasn't just a mouse nest in this thing, there was a mouse mansion...

Then I had to grind off the heads of the screws holding the windshield hinges on. The driver's side hinge wasn't too bad (still being replaced) but here's what the mouse pee did to the passenger side hinge:

A quick shot with the wire wheel and it turns out the damage isn't as bad as I'd feared. I will have to replace the passenger side hinge mount and about 3" of material on either side, but it's (mostly) flat and I think I can fab it without too much trouble.

The external cab fared well enough that a little high-build primer and no one will ever notice.

And the driver's side is a little thin, but useable without rework I think:

Also, I found the patch my Uncle was talking about. Nearly invisible from the outside of the truck, but I pulled the seat out today and there it was. Center of the cab, half way between the rear window and the floor. Seems like an odd place for a hole?

That's all the progress. The only other picture is the very very nice grill I picked up for the truck:
Posted By: Peggy M Re: 1946 Chevy 1/2-ton Shortbed -- slow build project - Wed Sep 14 2016 04:40 PM
Oh my ... I love this: "Who knew a baby would keep you this busy?" Thanks for including her in the pictures!

No kicking off. I was about to PM you to see if things were okay on your end. Then I got side-tracked with the other build blog info that was coming in, and various what-not on the site.

So, good to see you are back at it. Actually, this may be comforting to other people who need to realize that sometimes the truck just has to wait.

Glad to see you back. Keep including some photos here and there of the little charmer.

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