Posted By: TUTS 59 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Fri Aug 23 2019 05:15 PM
So I have been posting on the site for sometime. I figured it was time I really got going on my truck. Many of you have beautiful projects and great stories that go with them, well this is mine.
Flashback to 1990, I just left the Army after 8 years and found myself in Georgia, I didn't start out there but sure wasn't going back to California. Don't get me wrong I love California, but after 8 years it wasn't home any longer. I started a job as an Air Guard (Yes "Air Guard") Civil Service Tech for a Unit in Brunswick Ga. The job also required that I enlist in the Air Guard, so I went from Green to Blue in less the 2 weeks. I worked on Mobile Generators and Power Units, I had a background in the Army with Heavy Equipment and Large Diesels and Turbine engines. The new job was a great fit and I settled into civilian life. I got married and bought a small house on some land. At this time I had a 64' C10 SWB fleetside, the truck had been with me since High School. It was solid and looked fair, could have used some paint but solid just the same. My father and I had built a 396 and slid it and a muncie 4 speed in the truck years before, loved that big block. Forth of July that year I was hit broadside by a drunk and that ended the 64' C10. I parted out what I could, the insurance didn't pay off much on a truck that old, I kept the 396 and the Muncie.
So the hunt was on for a body to put the engine in, I really wanted another truck. My dad had a 56' LWB stepside when I was a kid, always liked that truck, finding a solid donor in South Georgia was proving to be a challenge. While at work my supervisor told me he had an old truck for sale, I could look it over and make him an offer. I followed him home and found a 59' Apache 31, someone had replaced the 235 with a 283 but it still had the 3 speed. the truck was as solid as most I had seen and the price was right (and he was willing to take payments :D) The deal was and I drove it home. The wife was not so impressed but I knew that ahead of time
The Apache had seats from some 80's compact and a homebuilt wooden box between them, The steering was so loose I could change lanes without trying, the exhaust was straight pipes and the 283 had a 4 barrel mnifold with a 2 barrel carb (a piece of plywood served as the adapter.) and brakes, well there was a pedal. I loved that truck.
I moon lighted for a friend at his home body shop back then. Johnny was maticulis with fit and finish, so the truck came apart. We worked on it when I had a chance and it set the rest. I deployed later that year for Operation Desert Storm and again the truck set. Two months into my deplyment I recieved word that Johnny had died of sudden heart attack. I was hurt that my friend was gone and angry over his kids cleaning out his shop, I didnt know where my truck was. After many foul words and as many phone calls I found the truck, in pieces at another body shop. I contacted my Brother in Law and and arranged for the 59' to be delivered to his house. As I said the truck was in pieces, down to the bare frame.
I retuned home for the Gulf War and life took over, the 59' was moved a dozen times over the years. I would get offers to buy it but I always refused, that was a very heated topic around the house. Time went on and I would work on little things again and again, gathering parts and pieces but never really had the means to get it back together. My Son and two Daughters were born and no truck, I went to war 2 more times (the second time I discovered "") and still no truck. I lost my wife to an early stroke, and life stopped for awhile. Still no truck.
So now here I am 10 years later and have finally gathered all the parts and pieces in one location. I retired from the Air Force this last spring and have remarried. My wife now wants to know why I never finished the truck, life is funny. You folks on the "Bolt" are my motivation and I have run out of excuses so here we go. Just a side note, the truck is named "Ernest" after the Senior Master Sergeant I bought it from, he for reasons only know to him took his life, he is deeply miissed. (RIP) frown

With all that now said lets get to work:
some Pics of the frame so far.

Description: Early frame mock up
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Description: Frame after sandblasting and Ospho
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Description: Frame with base coat of POR15
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Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Mon Aug 26 2019 12:08 PM
I suppose I'll be playing catch up for a bit with this updating the project journal. Here is a picture of the 59's VIN. As far as I have been able to decode the truck was built at the Atlanta Plant, seems to have spent it's life in Georgia. Originally it was equipped with a 235, 3 speed and was Galway Green, the VIN has a 3104 desination. Plans for the truck include a 68' 327 (last year for the 327) and 68' Muncie 4 speed with a 72' 10 bolt rear end. thumbs_up

Description: VIN plate
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Posted By: Dragsix Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Tue Aug 27 2019 12:41 PM
If the frame is indicative of the rest of the truck, you have some good bones to work with. Take your time and enjoy the build. I look forward to your updates.
Posted By: popcornBen Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Thu Aug 29 2019 12:20 PM
Tuts 59 Thank you for your service! Life brings many down the same dirt roads. Prof. firefighter for 21 yrs. I had a wife that had a massive stroke, now married to a school teacher who loves old metal. My 59 sat in the shop for many yrs after a very terrible motorcycle accident 2016 decided it was time to get er done! My son and I built a 350 into a 383 added a Monster 700 R4 tranny. Complete frame off restoration it has been challenging but everything has been updated brakes, PS, rear end ect. My last hurrah lest say building it for my son and grandson! Good luck I love the Chevy dual lights!

Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Thu Aug 29 2019 01:52 PM
I dug around and found a picture of the frame with the top coat of POR15. POR15 is easy to use and goes on evenly with a brush, it levels out as it drys and leaves a smooth finish. Putting the top coat on requires that you you scuff the base coat with 320 grit paper, i found it was easier to use it more like a wet sand. After I rised the frame down I used final perp to do a final de-greasing. POR15 works best if you use small portions at a time, do not paint out of the can, it tends to set up pretty quick. I had the wife keep the small container that sandwick meat and cheese came in, these worked great to paint out of. I also bought an assortment pack of small brushes form Horbor Frieght, they were lest than $4.00 and I didn't worry about cleaning them. Overall the I'm happy with the finish on the frame, POR15 is hard once cured and should hold up for years. thumbs_up

Pops: this was supposed to be a Father Son project as well, seems I have to bribe my Son with food or beer to get him envolved. headscratch[img][/img][img][/img]

Description: Finsh coat on frame
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Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Fri Sep 06 2019 06:08 PM
So we survived hurricane Dorian, my thoughts and prayers go the those folks in the Bahamas and Carolinas. I worked on the rear axel over the last week or so. I have a 1972 GM 10 Bolt, 8.2 inch. I removed all the coil spring mounts and welded on leaf spring perches from Speedway. The axel was originally from an El Camino so the width is about right. I cleaned and painted the housing with POR15, painted the rear cover red and used stainless hardware. The red is the same color I am using for the engine, it's a ceramic engine paint from Eastwood, it's a shade of Buick red. I rebuilt the axel, replacing all the seals and bearings, ring and pinion and adding a locker. The axel had a 2.56 ring and pinion, I changed that to a 3.08. I calculated the engine RPM using a 28 inch tire (255/60R15) the 3.08 gives me 2400RPM at 65MPH. I can live with that as I'm using a 4 speed. When changing from a 2.56 to a numerically higher gear you need to change the carrier, I found it costly to replace an 8.2 inch carrier. Years ago my father used a ring gear shom in a 12 bolt, I managed to find a vintage one to work with the 8.2inch 10 bolt. Essentially all the shim does is move the ring closer to the pinion allowing you to use the original carrier. For a locker I chose an Auburn Gear Max Locker, it allows the diff to operate as an open spool in corners and locks when torque is applied or one wheel slips. I think this will be a solid set up for my 327 and Muncie, if the gear choice is not enough I can always chang it out later. cool

Description: Rear axel assembled
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Description: Rear axel cover
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Description: Rear axel housing
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Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Mon Sep 16 2019 12:27 PM
Worked on the drop axel this weekend. Cleaned it up and gave it a coat of POR15. The axel is from Sid's in Ok, really nice job with a 4 inch drop. If I had to do it over I believe I would have stayed with a 2 or 3 inch drop, you can always make up an inch or so somewhere else. I had my local machine ship fit new kingpins and bushings. I pruchased a disc brake kit from CPP so I mounted the brackets before I painted the axel. I still need to paint the tie rod and ubolts. grin

Description: Drop Axel
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Posted By: Canadian_guy Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Mon Sep 16 2019 01:26 PM
Looking good, those spindles are going to need some buffing though!
Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Tue Sep 17 2019 12:11 PM
Nah, the spindles just have a coat of really old grease on them, it's been awhile since a lot of these parts have been touched.
Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Fri Oct 25 2019 11:51 AM
So it's been another busy month, I have been neglecting the 59' just to complete the To Do List.

I spent the last few evenings doing some prep work on the front leaf springs for paint. I pulled the springs apart a few years back and cleaned and primed them with self etching primer and a Rustolium top coat. Now I have them ready for a coat of POR15. I am also adding teflon inserts between the leafs to help with the ride and stop some of the squeaking. I removed 3 of the shorter leafs to soften up the ride and aid with lowering the front.

I replaced the spring eye bushings, shackle bolts and the spring pack bolts, the originals were worn beyond reuse. I have the shackles ready for paint as well.
Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Fri Jan 24 2020 02:51 PM
Back again, I keep finding myself playing catch up with My own projects.

This last weekend it was raining here so I thought I would just take inventory of the parts I have assembled for my engine. The truck wasn't stock when I got it, the 235 was long gone and a 283 was in it's place. The engine mounts were crude at best and the motor was tired too. I made the decision to replace the 283 with a 327 (this was in 1992). I had the 327 from another project and it was ready for rebuild. I have been keeping with a RestoRod theme for most of my ideas and the engine is no different.

Bottom end:
Block; 1968 327, 2 bolt mains, large journal (from an Impala) now bored 0.030 over to 331.
Line bored and decked, shot peened and magnifluxed
Crankshaft: Steel 350, turned -0.010 under on rod and mains.
Rods: GM 5.7" "pink" rods, shot peened and magnifluxed , polished I beams with ARP wave loc bolts
Milodon windage tray.
Melling high volume oil pump and pick up tube.
ARP main bearing stud kit.
Clevite P series rod and main bearings and cam bearings.
Keith Black flat top hypereutectic pistons (2 valve reliefs)
Speed Pro plasma moly piston rings.
Cloyes True Roller timing set
Clay Smith Tracksmith cam ( 280 Advertised Duration / 238 @ .050 / 108 Lobe Center / .427 Gross Lift Based on 1.5 RR)
Felpro Gaskets and seals
Jeg's one piece oil pan gasket.
Factory 283 truck oil pan.
All the machine work was done locally by my good friend Jim Bailey, he completed all the final balancing as well.

This is just the bottom end for now, I'll list the top end later. This next weeks 15 min a day project (thanks RustyRod) is to get the engine on the stand and start assembly.

P.S. For Alvin, thank you for the push.
Posted By: Apache1 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Fri Jan 24 2020 07:03 PM
Tuts 59 - What kind of HP/Torque are you hoping for...once you decide on a top end arrangement? I suppose the dyno will reveal that.
Posted By: TUTS 59 Re: 1959 Apache 31 "Ernest" - Fri Jan 24 2020 10:39 PM
I have something in the 400 to 425 HP in mind. I basically took a build sheet from a 70's Super Chevy (I copied it down while in 11th grade English class) and changed it meet some of today's needs. Their engine made 440 HP, and had about the same amount of torque. I want the engine to thump with a lumpy idle, it will make power on the top end for sure.. I know that about as practical as a brick bat, that will be fine. I missed the whole teenager HotRod thing so I'm trying to make up for it now. Lots of work on the top end, more on that later.
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