1952 Chevrolet 3100 Project
This journey started in February this past year and I am thrilled to be able to document my progress and share it with my fellow “Stovebolters. I grew up riding in my grandfathers 50’ Chevy Suburban, so this seed was planted over 60 years ago. I want to thank John and Peggy for allowing me this opportunity to take you all along for the ride.
Some of this journey has already happened, so some of what I documented has already taken place and was written when it happened. I have some catching up to do, so I am going to present this journal in chronological order until I catch up, then it will be in real time. I hope I don’t disappoint!A Little Background:
In High School during my Junior and Senior year, I attended a trade school in the morning then regular classes in the afternoon, to learn autobody. For me it was an easily way to get my diploma. I wasn’t the scholarly type, so working with my hands seemed to be my only viable option. Looking back, it was the first class in school that I really loved to attend. This program also helped place me in my first job, a “Mom and Pop” autobody shop in a little affluent town in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City. This opportunity allowed me to work on various vehicles including a model A Ford, Bentley and some other high dollar automobiles. My love for the industry started to bloom. However, this being a “Mom and Pop” shop, the “Mom” who was the bookkeeper, would show up usually about 10 or 11 am. Every time she entered the shop she would stop me in the middle of whatever job I was doing and instruct me to clean various areas of the shop. I got tired of this real quick and only lasted the summer. I landed another autobody job in a little less affluent town in another “Mom and Pop” shop and this didn’t work out much better. During this time I was making $2.50 an hour and if I wanted to, I could work a half day on Saturday and work “off the books” for $10 cash.
One of my best friends worked at a nearby Nuclear power plant as a janitor, a union position with full benefits paying $2.76 an hour with more overtime then he could handle. They were looking for people to hire, so to make a long story short, thus started my 41 year career in the “Nuc” industry. I remember my Mom questioning me why I would even consider a janitorial position vs being a prestigious Autobody repairman.
I had quite a few automobiles in my lifetime. My first car that I put on the road was a Covair. I replaced a few gaskets and O-rings to stop the fumes of oil coming in the car every time I used the heater, repaired some rust and dents, then painted it with some left over paint from previous jobs I had painted for other people as I didn’t couldn’t afford to buy paint. As I recall, grabber blue with a white top and two flat black hood and trunk stripes similar to that on a SS Camaro and a set of “thrush” mufflers to round out the sceme. I laugh today over what I, an 18 year old found appealing.
I followed that with a 1961 Chevy 2 door Impala bubble top in which I replaced the old tired oil burning stovebolt 6 cylinder with a 307 V8 from a 1968 Impala. Not that that motor was such a powerhouse but I quickly blew 2 transmissions and a rear end.
My new job afforded me the opportunity to buy a 1967 GTO, a HiPo 360 HP with a 4 speed and 3.90 gears, a true muscle car, from a colleague for $800. This was in 1971 and I loved that car. I got married in 1972 and was expecting my first child in 1973. Add the oil crisis in the fall of 73 that limited you to 10 gallons every other day and the fact she only got about 10 miles per gallon, the GTO had to go. I sold that car in 1974 in near perfect condition for $1,000, a fair price at the time to a serviceman who just returned home from overseas. I only wish I had the means to hold on to that car, but that’s life.
In 1976 after a divorce, I bought a 2 year old 1974 Chevy work van with a 350 automatic to get into the custom van scene. I customized the interior and the exterior including a new paint job, Keystone custom rims, BF Goodrich TA radials, fiberglass fender flairs and a front spoiler. I joined a local van club and traveled for two years with the club attending rallies from Englishtown New Jersey to Watkins Glen In New York. In 1980, I met my present wife and we continued to use that van for camping for several more years. We sold it in the mid 80’s as it no longer fit our needs.
Between the 1985 and 2012, I was not into the auto scene. Life got way too busy with the responsibility of 4 children and a couple of homes that needed allot of TLC, knowing all along that one day I would return to that scene.
I have always been a DIY type of guy. This is due to the fact that I am very meticulous, sometimes to the point of being borderline OCD and I can’t see paying for a job that I could do myself. A good portion of the work that I have hired out, I was not happy with. Doing it myself was the only way I could assure to get the job done right. I used to kid my wife that I could do brain surgery if I had the instruction book. I have since matured realizing I’m not an expert in every field. This realization was aided by the occasional “getting in over my head” and breaking a few things while trying to fix them. Additionally, as I became more financially secure, some jobs I just don’t want to do anymore.
I retired in 2012 after a 41 year career in the “Nuc” industry. During which time I worked as a janitor, operator, a mechanic, a machinist and finally as a Maintenance Planner writing work packages and procedures for the nuclear mechanics and technicians. From 1975 thru 2002 I honed my skills in metal working in the machine shop and welding shop.
All during my down in the custom/resto car scene, I was busy acquiring some of the tools necessary to restore a vehicle. A mig welder, HVLP spray guns, engine stand etc., all in preparation of my new retirement job, restoring old vehicles. 2012 thru 2016 slipped away prepping our house to be sold and bringing our new home up to spec. In 2017 I bought a 2008 Honda Civic SI from our son who was moving across the country. Mechanically the vehicle was sound but suffered with a few dents and the typical clear coat de-lamination for a Honda from this era. I figured that this was a good opportunity to get back into resto scene utilizing the new paints and products vs what I used some 40 years ago. I did underestimate how much work was involved as it went from repairing a few dents, and repairing the clear coat on the top of the car to a full paint job. I did learn allot about the new (to me) 2k paints and primers along the way. I also made a few dollars, enough for seed money for my first restoration.
I figured to obtain my ultimate vehicle, a late forty’s or early fifty’s Chevy or Ford pickup, I would need somewhere around 12 grand to buy something that wasn’t a total rust bucket, wasn’t hot rodded and was mechanically intact. I didn’t have that much money saved so my plan was to do another flip. I was looking for a early to mid 60 pickup, one that was unmolested and mechanically sound so it would not require allot of money to flip. New paint, fix any mechanical issues then sell it.
I’ve been looking in Craig’s List for the last six months and on 2/11/19 I saw an ad for a 1952 Chevrolet 3100 and she just reached out to me. The price was in the ballpark of the 1960’s pickup I was looking to flip and the condition seem to be too good.
She was over three hours away and the thought of the logistics of driving there, getting cash out of the bank, renting a U-Haul trailer almost stopped me but after talking with my wife, she got me back on track and the rest just fell into place. The owner already had several full price offers when I got there but gave me first shot since I was the first one to call. We bought the truck that same day and after a very long day and 5 hour journey home, she was now parked in our yard by 11 PM.
I woke up the next morning, glanced out the window and saw our new 52’ still sitting on the trailer, still in disbelief that we were able to score such a beauty as this. When I went outside to look her over I noticed that a headlight bezel was missing. I thought that it was there when I left North Carolina but was not sure. I had taken some pictures before we left so I went inside and grabbed my phone to look. Sure enough the bezel was there when we had left and must have fallen off during the trip. I checked the other one and that one could have fallen off too. The clip on the bottom that holds the retaining screw had rusted out. The passenger side was pretty beat up, so It was no big loss as I needed to buy new one’s anyway.
This was the start to my new project...
My immediate plan is to get her road worthy, enjoy her for the first summer then off to a full frame off restoration.
It looks like you scored a beautiful '52 3100, congratulations! Keep us posted on your projects and let me know if I can be of any assistance with your Project Journal.
Your story sounds familiar, I know how life gets in the way sometimes. Glad to have you on the site.
2/12/19: After doing research, mostly on this forum, I have found that a rebuilt 59’ 235 with hydraulic lifters from a car was installed by a previous owner, which is both good news and bad. The good news is, I have a bigger, rebuilt, full pressure, engine with 838 heads. The bad, the truck engine was not original and the modification was more of a butcher job. To compensate for the 235’s longer water pump, the radiator was moved forward, cutting the upper radiator support out, cutting the lower splash pan and cutting the hood latch pan. I am a bit disappointed that the motor isn’t original, but as I have found out on this forum, many of these swaps have been done after the old 216 gets a bit tired.
I’m recouping from yesterday’s adventure (yeah it’s great to be retired), so research is on the agenda today.
You most likely mean "848" heads (3836848 : 1956-1963)?
"838" heads (838773) might be 1937-1940 216s (valuable to a restorer/purist, maybe)?
You are absolutely correct. I wrote this in February, and I apparently did not proof read it very well. I now know better and thanks for the correction!
: Today I noticed the alternator is not aligned properly with the water pump and the balancing damper pulley. The existing generator bracket (mount to the engine) was utilized to mount the alternator by using a threaded rod and a few more nuts. The rod is too small and is bending under the strain of the tightened belt. In addition, the bracket to tighten the alternator was too short and extended by adding 2 additional pieces to the bracket to extend it.
The existing generator bracket looks like it could be modified to make a proper mount for the alternator. This could be accomplished by cutting the right side mount and welding it back in the proper position. I think the only solution for the tensioning bracket is to replace it.
Another solution is to buy a prefabricated mount and belt tightening bracket especially made just for this conversion. This kit sells for about $60. This sounds like the way to go.
2/15/19: I noticed that the resister mounted to the coil was not hooked up. One of the previous owners did a 6 to 12v conversion. 12v systems with a set of points usually run a resistor on the battery side of the coil to reduce the voltage down about 4 volts to keep it from burning up the points too quickly. This arrangement should have a bypass wire that supplies full voltage while the starter is engaged enabling better starts. This sets off a bunch of red flags for me. I don’t know if the 12v conversion was properly installed. This requires further research.
First to address, is the ballast resistor. I found and ordered a starter switch on ebay that has a side mounted terminal that supply’s full voltage while the foot switch is engaged. A wire from that terminal to the coil will enable full voltage to the coil, bypassing the resistor. The other issues require more investigation.
2/16/19: Today I noticed the following:
* The parking lights are not hooked up
* The wiring going to the tail lights although updated, the connections look questionable
* The passenger side headlight is not hooked up
* The brake light switch is sticking and the brake pedal is not retracting fully leaving the switch in the on position
* A kit to install signal lights was sloppily installed with wire nuts and all of the wires are dangling under the dash.
I removed the hood latch panel and discovered none of the wires for the parking lights, right side head light and horn were connected nor were the ends taped to prevent shorts. Basically the old wiring is disintegrating and any of the repairs or additions were not done correctly.
The installation of a new wiring harness is required. I plan on doing this after the truck is painted during the reassembly. In the meantime, the wiring needs to be identified and restored to a safe condition prior to me even thinking of firing this old gal up.
I see we kind of do things the same way. When doing my 53 I found much work done 1/2 @ssed or completely wrong. The biggest being the fact that the clutch disc was installed backwards and the hardened springs on the disc ground down the flywheel bolt heads, making it a complete whore to tear apart. Basic rule is the deeper you look the more you find. I purchased a 66 GMC a couple days ago and headlight dimmer switch doesnt work, nor the front parking lights, no tail lights, heater motor does not work, neither the radio or dome light/backup lights. So bad I unhooked the battery in fear of it burning down the garage and my restored 53. To be expected, old wiring and bad grounds, worn out headlight switch etc. etc. None of this upsets me because I am going through it all anyways. Enjoy the ride, it is so much fun. The sound of those solid lifters on that V6 bigblock is better than a Mozart symphony though, so it is all good.
The biggest being the fact that the clutch disc was installed backwards and the hardened springs on the disc ground down the flywheel bolt heads, making it a complete whore to tear apart.
Steve, the amazing part of that is that it apparently was driven that way. The first time the clutch pedal was depressed it probably let out a hellacious racket. That and that it probably didn't shift for crap.
I find stuff on my truck that makes me scratch my head, thinking "Why would anyone do that??", but nothing that crazy.
sstock, Stay tuned! I have six months of updates before I catch up to present day, and restorations by PO’s get worse. Thanks for following and for your sympathy.
* I removed both taillights, cleaned, reinstalled and spliced new wire where required.
* I traced out the wires and spliced in the right side head light.
* I removed both parking lights and cleaned. The housings on both lights have been modified for signal lights by drilling a 5/8” hole and installing a push to mount socket. The bulb is a single filament dash light bulb and is way to small to effectively work as a signal light. There are several solutions for this issue. One is to buy new reproduction (repop) parking lights with a dual filament bulb for about $60. I question the quality (made in China) and would prefer to either repair or replace the existing housing with unmodified OEM. New sockets are available to replace the single filament with a dual filament so the signals can be hooked up.
I disconnected the gauge cluster, headlight switch and the speaker trim from the dash to gain access to the wiring. The main 12v splice was a soldered joint made the original fabric wire. I looked over the wiring diagram and the configuration under the dash and determined how to eliminate the splice by utilizing the extra terminals on the headlight switch. I first:
* Connected the alternator to the 12v feed on the Head light switch using 10 gauge wire.
* I then made a jumper from 10 gauge wire connecting the the 12v feed to the negative side of the amp gauge.
* I then connected the positive side of the amp gauge to the starter with another 10 gauge wire to complete the circuit.
* To supply the current to the ignition switch I made a 14 gauge wire connecting the negative side of the amp gauge to the ignition switch.
These changes eliminated the rest of the old fabric insulated wire except the gauge lights on the dash.
I installed the new starter switch and installed a new bypass wire to the coil. I re-wired the coil so the current from the key switch goes thru the resistor. Seems to work, I need to get her fired up to see. Allot more work to do before I get to that point.
2/20/19:After discovering the butchery that was performed to accommodate the longer water pump, I looked for possible solutions to remedy the issue and return the truck close to it’s original condition.
The water pump sticks out further then the 216 did so your unable to mount the radiator in it’s original position. It is also lower by about 3”, so the fan is not centered. Apparently, the owner during the 216 to 235 swap decided to move the radiator to the front of the radiator support to gain fan clearance. In order to accomplish this, the lower splash pan was cut and the hood latch panel in front of the radiator was cut and bent down to provide the required clearance.
The solution, I found in this forum. “Pre ‘68 Dave” sells a water pump relocation plate that utilizes the original water pump and the original fan from a 216. The harmonic balancer must be replaced with one from a 216, in addition to the alternator pulley and the fan belt to 5/8”. This will enable me to return the radiator back to it original position. At that point I will be able the fix or replace the modified splash pan and hood latch panel. This is definitely a future project, but in the meantime, I’d like to get her running.
2/24/19:The gas gauge pegs to full when the ignition is turned on. To make a long story short, after spending the day troubleshooting, rewiring, checking grounds etc., I determined that the sending unit was bad. I ordered a new sending unit.
After taking out the sending unit trying to diagnose the gas gauge problem, I discovered that the inside of the tank is varnished from old gas and is rusting. I suspect that the whole fuel system needs to cleaned out.
2/25/19:I removed the shutoff valve and it was plugged with varnish. I cleaned it out and it appears to be good. I disconnected the gas line from the fuel pump and blew it out with air. It was really dirty and should be replaced. The tank was boiled out by a PO about 5 years ago but the bottom was still pretty dirty. I tried to clean out the tank with rags on a stick but I’ll need to remove it to clean it better.
2/27/19:I removed the gas tank to clean it out a little better. I plugged the fuel line inlet, added about a pint of gas to slosh around, then emptied into a pan. I repeated the process a couple of dozen times until my arms were killing me and I got it to run fairly clear. After reinstallation of the tank I added an extra in line filter between the tank and the fuel line to address any left over debris in the tank. The amount of rust and debris that come out of the tank was unbelievable.
Phak, good idea on the inline filter before the pump, dont use one of those little bitty ones, you will have issues immediately. I learned that lesson on my T bucket build years ago. A filter with a removable canister so you can clean it out like this one: fuel filter
The pump has to be able to draw through the filter under vacuum, some are built to be pressurized through them, definitely dont want one of those.
A rusty tank may mean all the anti corrosive coating is gone and it is just going to rust more, new tanks are just $150, you might rethink it later. Keep building, you are moving along.
I like that fuel filter you linked to and a new fuel tank or coating the existing is definitely in her future. Thanks for your suggestions and support!
FIRST START: 3/4/19
The first start didn’t go so well. In preparation I removed the valve cover, the distributor and fabricated a rod to turn the oil pump. I spun the pump with a drill and got oil up to the rockers. So far so good. I replaced the distributor, checking the timing mark and the firing order. I then added a little gas to the bowl via the breather tube and I was ready to go. The moment of truth had arrived. I turned the ignition switch, hit the floor starter and it started after a few cranks. The valves were clattering, the engine was shaking and quickly sputtered to a halt. I tried again to start her up and it results were the same. It acted like it was starving for fuel. I was both ecstatic that it did start but disappointed that it didn’t run so well.
Thinking it was starving for gas, I took off the carburetor, disassembled and re-cleaned with spray carb cleaner only to get the same results. After studying the downloaded Rochester Carburetor rebuild manual, I took off the carb again and found two orifices that were still plugged. One is in the throat where the throttle plate sits for the idle control and the other for outlet of the fuel pump. I thought for sure that I had found the problem. I reinstalled with the similar results. Very frustrating.
Still convinced it is starving for fuel I bought a gallon of carb cleaner so I could soak it for a few hours. I let it sit for the afternoon and this time it came out squeaky clean. Reassembled, reinstalled with exactly the same results. At this point I’m not sure what it is.
I read a few post in Stovebolt and one post hit me to keep it simple. I didn’t do much with the distributor aside from checking the points and checking for spark so I figured I would start there. I did a deep look and found that the rotor was a bit wobbly and the cap needed to be replaced. I wanted to get new points and a condenser also. Local parts stores didn’t have any of the parts, so I ordered them. Nothing to do but wait.
3/13/19:After my failed “First Start”, my new distributor parts arrived and I was anxious to install them. The distributor was pretty dirty so I figured it would be best to pull it from the engine. I disassembled the distributor down to the advance weights, cleaned out decades of old grease and dirt then reassembled. I tried to install the new Delco points and couldn’t get them to close. I removed them and reinstalled them a few times and it wasn’t going to work . I compared them to the old set and noticed that they were slightly different. arm was not bent properly. I needed another set of points that would take a few more days to get. Frustrating! I took the existing set, cleaned up the contacts, reset to .018” then installed the new condenser. I reinstalled the distributor, the new rotor and cap, rechecked the firing order then reinstalled the wires. The moment of truth. I stepped into the cab, pumped on the accelerator, pulled on the choke, turned on the ignition switch then hit the floor starter switch. Vroom! It started! A had a big grin on my face. Yea!
The engine was rebuilt by a previous owner and I didn’t know if a break-in procedure was performed, I decided to do the break in. I placed a stick between the seat box and the accelerator and brought the RPM’s up to 2,000 - 2,500 or so (I don’t have a tachometer), then set my timer. I was shooting for 25 minutes. The engine sounded great. I left the valve cover off so I could see if oil was getting the lifters and they were. It didn’t have any knocking and the valves lifters quieted down pretty quickly with no noticeable leaks. I kept an eye on the oil pressure and the temperature. The temperature peaked at about 180 and after 17 minutes the oil pressure dropped to about 15 lbs. This had me concerned so I shut her down, checked the oil and it wasn’t even on the dipstick. I had checked it before I started it and it was on the full mark. I needed to add oil so I decided it was best to just change it, that way I knew what I had. The oil looked a bit thin and had a strange smell to it. I don’t know if it was break-in oil from 5 years ago or it was diluted with old gas so changing it was the only way to go. I drained more than 6 qts of oil including what was contained in the by-pass filter. Off to the store again.
Later that day I checked the old condensor and found it to be defective. All that trouble for a tiny condenser.
3/14/19: “Maiden Voyage”: I bought 7 qts. of 10w-30 Valvoline and installed. I added oil to by-pass oil filter housing then reinstalled the filter and the cap. It took all 7 qts. to top her off. I started it up and it sounds great, oil pressure was good. The engine wasn’t running perfect but it was time to see if she would drive. I called for my wife to go for our first ride. We didn’t go far but enough to shift thru the gears, go in reverse, feel out the clutch and see if the brakes work. They all checked out OK. I am thrilled. I now have a running, driving antique truck. The gods are shinning down on me.
I parked her in the front yard, to show all the neighbors, (that have been stopping by to see my progress) that I had finally got her started. Later that day I went to move her back to the temporary shelter I erected and she wouldn’t start. I noticed that the ignition switch was in the on position. That couldn’t be good. I had my wife crank her over while I held the plug wire near a ground and there wasn’t a spark. One step forward, two steps back! I ohm’d out the coil and sure enough it was shot. A lesson to be learned. Although I can’t figure how I left it on when I turned it to the off position to shut her down. In the future I’ll have to make sure it is in the off position.
Congratulations to you, to your wife, and to your truck
And so the adventure begins. From the methodical way you're approaching problems you'll have a quality driver in no time. Good work and Good Luck!
Thanks for your vote of confidence! I'm sure glad I stumbled across this forum. There is such a wealth of knowledge and experience here for me and others to draw from. I’m sure I’ll be utilizing this resource allot as I progress.
4/10/19: Road trip to NC. I needed to get a signed “Bill of Sale” to get the truck registered because the guy I bought it from didn’t register it so the “title” was still in the previous owner’s name. Luckily I was able to track down the PO and he was more than happy to sign it for me. A retired gentleman in his late 70’s lived near Concord NC not too far from where I bought the truck. I have never been to that part of North Carolina and was surprised at how beautiful it was. Mostly a farming community, with rolling hills, Azalea’s and Dogwood’s in full bloom. I really enjoyed our visit with the previous owner. We talked about some of the issues that he had faced while he owned the truck. He said that he had the engine out several times and was concerned about the low oil pressure. I experienced the same issue when I first started the truck. Initially the oil pressure is pegged at 30 on my 30 lb. gauge but after she warms up drops to below 15 at idle. This does concern me but after reading several post in “Stovebolt” Forums, this appears to be very common to these 235 engines. I figure I’ll run it for the summer to determine if it truly is a problem. He also asked my intent and after telling him I am going to to a frame off he asked if I could keep him updated with my progress.
While in NC, my wife and I visited “The Truck Shop” in Concord NC. Amazing place! The showroom was packed full of antique Chevy truck parts, memorabilia and petroliana. I had a large list of some of the needed items, so we were there for quite a while to take in the place. I was able to get all of the needed parts to complete the new wiper motor install including new wiper arms, blades and all the assorted gaskets and grommets. In addition I bought all the needed electrical and mechanical parts to recondition and rewire the headlights.
Today I replaced the rear spring shackle assemblies. The job went smoother than I expected but I was well prepared. I read several posts on “Stovebolt” on how to remove and install and with a previous visit to a local hardware store, I assembled a removal/installation tool that I copied from this forum. It took a bit of wrenching effort but accomplished the task without a hitch. One of the bushings started to wear into the spring but I think I may have caught it in time so only a replacement bushing was required.
While I had the truck jacked up, I removed the rear brake drums to inspect the rear brakes. The driver’s side was covered with what I believe is rear end lubricant. I think the seal is leaking, requiring removal of the axle to replace the seal.
I am ill prepared for pulling axles on the grass under my temporary shelter so I decided to just clean it up and address the issue when I get the truck to my garage in New York I dubbed “Hak’s Alley Garage”. We are fortunately to own a winter home in South Carolina, splitting our time between our two homes. In 2013 when we moved to our retirement home in New York, my wife got me a street sign for our driveway located on a private road. The street sign say’s “Hak’s Alley” thus my garage we named “Hak’s Alley Garage. We’re thinking of putting that logo on the truck doors.
I like the way you are moving forward with this project. Getting it to start, run, stop and turn are all great things. Can't wait to see the logo for your doors. Good luck.
Seems like you should have the truck parked in SC.
I received the wiper motor from Fricken Wiper Repair and attempted the installation, but it did not go well. To make a long story short, I installed/removed the motor twice in order to get all the parts installed in their proper sequence before I heard the dreaded plink of something falling on the cab floor. A piece of the control arm pivot pin that was peened over holding the control arm on to the wiper motor fell to the floor. Disappointed, frustrated and pis**d off, I removed the motor. I packed up all of the parts and called it a day!
The next day, I contacted Fricken Wiper Service and they said they would take care of it , no charge. Today all is good!
My parts for the brakes came in today and I was anxious to get the truck back on it’s wheels again. I was also nervous that I would do something stupid like press the brake pedal and pop one of the wheel cylinders.
When I originally disassembled the rear brakes the emergency brake cables were not installed in their respective clamps but were instead cable tied to the clamps. Upon further investigation, I determined that they were not the proper cables for the 3100. I previously ordered the proper cables and it’s amazing when you have the correct parts, how much easier the job goes. The only issue I had wer the new boots that I bought didn’t fit on the threaded end of the cable. I used silicone to get them on, but they were stretch so thin I can’t see how they could possibly last.
I then installed the shoes and retaining springs without the proper tools. All of my brake tools are up in New York in my garage. I want to get my truck road worthy as soon as possible so armed with a screwdriver and a pair of vice grips I installed the rest of the brake components. I’ve done it before when I was young and couldn’t afford the proper tools.
I finished installing the rest of the components. While the truck sat waiting for parts, the wheel cylinders expanded and I could not get the shoes to contact the anchor pin. The pistons didn’t pop out but were not allowing the shoes to seat so I opened the bleeders to allow them to compress. Once I got the shoes seated, reinstallation of the drums and the brake adjustment went relatively easy.
Anxious to try out the brakes, I taped up the cut headlight wires and took her for a short ride on the street. The brakes and the emergency brakes seem to work as intended, another job to cross off my very long list.
On to the headlights. The first issue, the headlight bezel screw retaining bracket on both headlight housings were rusted thru and wouldn’t hold a screw. Thus the reason I lost the drivers bezel when I brought her home from NC. I was elated a few weeks ago, to find I could buy replacement brackets and didn’t have to buy new housings.That feeling quickly diminished when I installed them and discovered that they were so thin, bent easily and just another example of cheep Chinese reproductions.
I reinstalled my newly painted headlight housings with new gaskets. I then installed a new harness that I made, then reinstalled the headlight buckets. I anticipated the adjustment screws being frozen so I ordered new screws and nuts. Upon reassembly I realized why these parts were so cheap. I quickly stripped one of the new screws heads so I decided to reuse the originals, a little rusty but still worked fine. I tried to install the new bulb retainers (rings) and they also are inferior to the originals. The originals were rusty and cracked near the mounting screws so they needed to be replaced. I couldn’t get the replacements to sit right on the bulbs. There was too much of a gap (almost 3/16”) between the housing and the ring tabs. I took the ring off a few times to make sure the bulb was seated but ended up with the same result. I went ahead installed the screws and tightened them down as much as I dared, with the result bending the tabs and still leaving a slight gap between the ring tab and the headlight bucket. These will need to be replaced with originals or at least better copies. I installed the new stainless headlight bezels and she is looking pretty. Those bezels look like their nicely made and did install correctly.
The headlights are now installed and they do work!
4/28/19: I was having an issue with the signal lights. They seem to work fine when the truck was not running went haywire when the engine is running. I had some time to work on the truck today so I wanted to eliminate the possibility that a bad ground was the causing the issue. To make a very long story short, I added grounds to the tail lights, headlights, checked all of the frame grounds and replaced any wire or splice that I thought may contribute to the issue. It wasn’t until I discovered that the installed flasher was meant for LED lights, which I didn’t have that I solved the mystery. After adding the proper flasher, the signal lights worked flawlessly. A small success but a success none the less.
"A small success but a success none the less."
A big success. Thanks for the follow-up.
My electrical nightmare continues. When I turn on the headlights and the truck is running, after a few minutes they began to flash. After searching on this forum, I believe the bi-metallic strip on the headlight switch is opening and closing. I removed the switch and sprayed contact cleaner in it and operated the switch several times. I reinstalled the switch and it seemed to take a bit longer to blink but it still didn’t solve the issue. I spent the next week checking grounds but no joy, so I ordered a new switch from “Classic Parts”.5/15/19:
I received the new reproduction headlight switch and hi/low switch from and was excited to see if it would solve the winking headlight issue I’ve been battling for the last few weeks. The quality looks to be very good, almost an exact reproduction. Installation was easy with my experience of removing and reinstalling the switch several times in the last couple of months.
I removed and replaced one wire at a time so I wouldn’t switch them up. I used a little bit of terminal grease to help prevent corrosion. After reinstalling the switch I reinstalled the negative battery terminal (safety first) and tested it out. I started the engine, pulled the headlight switch and the lights came on and stayed on. I let her run for about ten minutes and all is good. I had also bought a new dimmer switch so I installed that too. Although it was a success, the headlights seemed a bit dim. After reading several post on this forum, I decided to look into installing headlight relays.
5/8/19: About a week ago I did some research as to why the clutch pedal seemed too easy to push and why it was making noise when fully released. I looked underneath and didn’t see any return spring that is clearly shown in the assembly manual. I found and ordered the spring from Classic Parts and installed it today.
Although the pedal now feels normal, the noise when the pedal was fully released was still there. Subsequent pedal adjustments didn’t help either. My truck didn’t come with a clutch inspection cover (another part I need to get), so it made it easy to look at. The clutch fork is riding on the fingers of the clutch causing the bearing not to fully disengage. Upon further inspection, the fork is pulling away from the pivot ball. It appears that the fork retaining clip is installed, so I will have to pull the tranny to see what is going on. Another step forward and two steps back. I wonder sometimes why I do this to myself. As “justhorsenround” so eloquently said, "Welcome to the Stovebolt madness. There is no cure!”
5/13/19: To my surprise my wiper motor has been returned from “Ficken Wiper Service” this morning. They drilled out the pot metal control arm pivot and installed a new pin. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the fix, but I was impressed with their work.
I removed the radio grill to gain better access then reinstalled the vacuum wiper motor, the arms and spring clips that secure the linkage arms to the motor. I hooked up the vacuum line to the intake on the intake manifold, then installed my new wiper arms and blades. The way I accomplished the blade alignment was to place the wiper motor drive lever in a vertical position, then install the wiper arms in a vertical position. This gives you a starting point for alignment. I started the engine and gave it a try. One blade was perfect and the other I removed and realigned. Much closer this time but I could not get the the blades to align with each other. I remembered the vacuum motor was slotted and a small adjustment may be possible by loosening the wiper motor mounting screws and sliding it one direction or the other. That worked like a charm. The wiper blades are now perfectly aligned. After reinstallation of the radio grill, the job was done. Yea! Another success!
I too need new headlight housings. Which ones/where did you pick up yours? Feel free to PM.
The headlight housings were original to the truck. I cleaned and painted them so they look new. What I did replace were the rings that hold the headlight bulbs into the inner buckets and the bezels. Those I got from Classic Parts
I have not seen those housing for sale but you can post that you are looking for them in the “Truck Parts Wanted” forum in Stovebolt.
In the interest of safety, after reading several post on Stovebolt Forums, I decided to install a fusible link wire in the 10 ga. wire that goes from the starter hot lead on the solenoid
starter switch to the negative side of the ammeter. I bought a 14 ga fusible link wire that had a 3/8” ring terminal already installed. That left one “Western Union Splice” as suggested by a fellow “bolter”, to make the connection. I practiced first on some scrap 10 ga and the end of the fusible link wire that was too long. I didn’t get anywhere near 10 wraps on each side as suggested but I do believe it is a sound connection.
Do you have solenoid or foot operated switch?
Checked attached pic.
I have a foot operated switch. I see the confusion. Its not really a solenoid that is mounted on the starter but a switch.
Ok, Where are the wires head to from the switch?
One goes to battery, one goes to ammeter, 3rd wire goes to where?
The third wire was a quick and easy way of supplying power to the horn relay.
I wanted a temporary bed to drive around with this summer because the existing bed needs a total rebuild including the bed front sheet metal, cross supports and blocking, not to mention all new wood, so I opted to wait until I do the frame off. I picked up a sheet 5/8” exterior plywood and a couple dozen 1/4”x2” carriage bolts. The 5/8” was chosen because none of the supports were in their correct positions so I adapted it the best I could to fit without spending too much money on a temporary bed. The plan was to center the plywood in the 50” wide bed and fill in the gaps with some custom moulding I’d make with a pressure treated 5/4x6. I fit the plywood, drilled 1/4” holes for the carriage bolts utilizing the existing holes in the cross beams, drilled additional holes in an existing 1x1x1/8” angle iron that is connected to the front bed panel (due to the bottom of the panel being rusted out), and another set in the rear cross brace (both going to be replaced). I then coated the top and bottom with some left over stain from a previous house project that just happened to match.
The next day after the stain had dried, I installed the plywood in the bed. All went according to plan but was a few carriage bolts short. The last few days have been brutally hot with temperatures near 100 degrees with high humidity, so any laborious work must be done in the morning or the evening, when it cools a bit. I took the afternoon off to go to the not so local “Blue” big box store (a 45 minute drive), to procure the missing carriage bolts and some caulking to fill any gaps prior to the final coat of stain. When I got back it had cooled quite a bit so using my portable table saw, cut up the 5/4x6 PT board to fit the gaps. After several cuts and an equal amount of trial fittings, the moldings were done. Some light sanding, a coat of stain, another day to dry and the moulding would be ready to install.
I installed them using construction adhesive. I didn’t want to add any more holes to the bed sides then necessary, so I opted to glue them in. After letting the adhesive set for awhile, I taped off the sides of the bed and caulked the gaps. While I waited for the paintable silicone caulk dry enough to stain, I turned my attention to installing the missing carriage bolts.
I previously procured some D-Rings from Amazon to install in the bed to be able to lash some items down that I may carry in the future. I installed them using the four corner carriage bolts.
I applied the second coat of stain to the molding and touched up any marks I made during installation. The bed, although temporary and not original, looks good and is now functional.
I installed my headlight relays that I bought on eBay, (4) 60 amp relays with pigtails for $13 (I only used two). I tapped power and a ground from the alternator and I decided not to hide the relays for a few reasons. First I didn’t like the idea of the relays being exposed to the rain they would receive in front of the radiator core and figured they would be better protected on the inner fender. Second, I wanted to keep the pigtails as short as possible without adding another splice, and finally, I plan on doing a full frame restoration after I work out all of my mechanical issues to include a new harness complete with a fuse box so I don’t know where they will be permanently located.
The existing 6014 bulbs are much brighter and I feel allot better not exposing my brand new $50 headlight switch to the higher amperage, not to mention eliminating the high amperage under the dash. I added an inline 40 amp fuse at the alternator. Safer and brighter, all good! Another success!
Phil, congratulations on the "relay-success".
I assume the relay provides both a hot/power lead and a ground lead (most relays provide both)?
If so, I bet the relay solved your dimness problem by providing a good/clean ground. Many years of oxidation/rusting/painting decreases/eliminates the good/original ground through the chassis and sheet-metal connections/grounding. Around 1955-2nd/1956 (I think), a ground wire was added/included in all lighting circuits.
Your solution is the best/easiest solution on our old trucks, unless we are doing a total restoration, where-in we can clean-up/shine-up and "protect" with antioxidant goop on all of the body/metal connections/paths from a good ground to the light housing-screws.
The screw you see in the picture to the left of the terminal block, is a common ground. I took a ground directly from the alternator to that screw and everything else (lights and relays) is grounded to that screw.
5/30/19: At this point, our truck is ready to put her on the road. We will be going back to upstate NY next week with our 1952 Chevrolet 3100 proudly in tow. I will register her in New York and hopefully work out all of the mechanical issues, some known and some I’m sure to be discovered. I’m so looking forward to driving her, taking her to a few car shows and general tooling around town.
Wintering in South Carolina, we don’t have a garage, only an 8’ x 8’ shed that is packed to the hilt with yard equipment and carpenter tools used to make repairs and improvements to our winter home. This leaves little space for the mechanical tools needed to do the some of necessary repairs that our truck needs. It also means the I am working on the grass with only a temporary 10x20 canopy for my shelter. Although any work under the truck is allot more comfortable with grass on my aging back, I’m also exposed to the fire ants that are in abundance here in South Carolina. In New York, I have a garage to protect me from the elements, a cold concrete floor free of fire ants and most of the tools that I need to perform these repairs.
The journey to New York went rather well as we arrived with no issues, no surprises and the 52’ in the same condition as it was when we left South Carolina. It was rather long, about 950 miles in which we broke up into three days. The intent was try to get home in two with the realization that it may take longer, trailering an additional five thousand pounds. I rented a U-Haul car transporter that came with a little sign “55 MPH Max” posted on the front of the trailer fender, written backwards so it was readable every time I checked the side mirror. This created a constant battle that I was fighting in my head. Push down that accelerator and you’ll get home quicker, but every time I checked the side mirror, I’d see that ominous little sign warning me to slow down for safety’s sake.
We didn’t leave quite as soon as we had planned as our very good friends and neighbors invited us to eat at a local restaurant the night before. This did cost us some valuable packing time that we ultimately left for the day we were leaving. My wife and I are both retired so it doesn’t really matter if we leave a little bit latter as long as we’re not traveling in the dark. My old tired eyes don’t see as well in the night as they used too, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.
There’s allot to do when closing up a house for six months so we didn’t end up leaving until close to 1PM. Traveling thru South and North Carolina was a breeze. We clocked in about 400 miles that first day making it to Fredericksburg VA. Our confidence that we could do the 550 miles left on day two, quickly got squelched. My wife, my trusty navigator, informed me of a backup on I81, a route we usually take to avoid the intense traffic on I95 between Richmond and New York City. Living upstate in New York we find that I81 is a much nicer, more scenic and less stressful option, especially pulling an extra two and a half tons. We usually crossover from I95 to I81 in Fredericksburg VA via Rt. 17 to I66. This backup on I81 was just north of the I66 interchange and the delay at this point was over an hour, promising to increase by the minute. We decided to take some secondary roads to avoid this delay. In the past, using Google’s not so trusty map app on my wife’s phone has taken us thru some of the more rural, and sometimes dreadfully slow roads when taking detours. Google didn’t disappoint this time either. My wife and I have a theory that Google is somehow payed to route traffic into the local business sections. It seems that given a choice to use a bypass road or business section, Google will always chose the later. We did manage to avoid the backup after about two additional hours on the back roads of Virginia. Fortunately that part of Virginia is beautiful. Did we save any time? I would like to think we did, however I don’t really know.
Feeling smug that we outsmarted some of the traffic south of us, we quickly ran into two additional delays in Pennsylvania that squelched any thought that we could get home that day. We didn’t want to arrive home in the dark, then have to open up a house that had been winterized and closed up for six months. That involves turning on all of the utility’s, not to mention unpacking the truck.
We settled for making it to the New York border, staying in a hotel we found in Binghamton. We found a nice BBQ restaurant just across the street, with good food and craft beer. Life is good!
The next day we had about 160 miles to go, roughly a three plus hour trip. On a previous return trip to NY, we were greeted with a broken copper water pipe I failed to drain properly. I did this repair myself but it still cost us roughly two hours before I could cut in the water. I keep a running list of everything I need to do, to properly winterize my house, so hopefully I learned from my mistakes. I turned on the water and everything went fairly smooth with the exception of one shower mixing valve o-ring failure (not my fault) that I isolated with the supply valves. A minor problem I could deal with at a later date. Everything else, refrigerators, furnace, hot water heater, etc., I was able to get started with no issues.
The next day, which was Friday, I got our Ole 52’ Chevy off the trailer with satisfaction that we successfully transported her 950 miles with no issues.
Now some of the issues that I was not able to address in South Carolina could now be fixed with the resources available to me, in my shop affectionately called “Hak’s Alley Garage”.
Nice write-up, Phak1
Congratulations on a successful trip.
A couple of comments:
"We usually crossover from I95 to I81 in Fredericksburg VA via Rt. 17 to I66."
This is indeed a slow-down point (most of the day, every day of the week). Your "work-around/ride-around" is a good option/solution.
"On a previous return trip to NY, we were greeted with a broken copper water pipe I failed to drain properly."
We moved from VA to upstate-NY (Castleton-on-Hudson) in 1978. We did not know about northern "deep freeze" over the winter. Stupidly, we shut off the heat and went to VA for Christmas (a very cold Christmas on the east coast).
Luckily only a few copper water pipes burst near the outside basement walls. We found them quickly after we turned on the heat. But, they were a surprise for us Southerners.
The other slight freezing damage was all water drainage traps under sinks cracked and leaked. We lucked-out - no toilets cracked. My NY friends laughed at our ignorance (and, quickly helped me do the repairs). They said "why do you think that people with large trailers blow-out their pipes, empty water heaters, and put anti-freeze in toilets/traps"? Of course I said 'you do"?
We had two -30 nights during our 35 years (just below the Adirondacks).
We never lowered the thermostat below 50 degrees after that mini-disaster.
Oh yes, nice looking truck - congratulations.
Nice story. I usually treat that "55" on a uhaul trailer as a guide or suggestion. I want to run a water line to my garage, but I would have to dig a pretty deep trench to keep the line from freezing. (or maybe run a hot water pipe out and back to keep the cold water pipe from freezing?)
You would be better running heat trace on the line covered with foam insulation. It’s self regulating so you wouldn’t have to worry about it. In NY that’s what they do for the water supply line in trailers where it exits the ground and attaches to the plumbing.
Great write up Phil.
Hearing stories is the best of the forum, most of us really enjoy the read and can relate.
Thanks Steve! I’m grateful for the feedback!
Boy that is a mess. Shame on whomever did that carnage, certainly not to be proud of.
The balancer needs to be thrown in the garbage, since you are going with a relocation bracket and stock 216 pump try and find another 216 balancer so it will spin the water pump at the correct speed. I have installed three relocation brackets from pre68 Dave and they have all worked out well. I would remove the radiator and core support and that will give you the room to drill and tap the block for the relocation bracket.
I have also had good luck buying parts from the filling station, their orders go out usually the same day. check them out they are a dedicated bunch there to our cause. https://www.fillingstation.com
Last week I was able to order a new water pump, the alternator pulley and the water pump relocation plate but was not able to resource a new harmonic balancer. I have been wanting to go to Adler’s Antique Auto’s
in Stephentown NY, a place that specializes in AD trucks, since I first spotted it searching the internet several months ago. It was just under 2 hours away and the place did not disappoint. It is a treasure trove for us Stovebolt addicts. Acres and acres of glorious rusty AD trucks in various degrees of decay, truly a Stovebolters “Heaven”. Even my wife was impressed. As a amateur photographer she’s had a long love for rusty old pickup trucks. She was busy snapping pictures while I talked to Bob Adler, the owner who has been there since the 70’s. He is a very knowledgeable soft spoken gentleman and at times I could hardly hear what he was saying. Wanting to hang on every word the man had to say with over 40 years of living and breathing every aspect of an AD truck, was difficult at times. I told him what I was doing and that I needed a harmonic balancer with a 5/8” pulley, a fan for a 216 and a clutch inspection cover and he said he had them all. His filing system is in his head, so off he went to collect parts. He runs a cash only business which I didn’t know so off I went to find an ATM. When I got back about twenty minutes later, he had everything collected except the balancer. He said to follow him and out we went to the yard, first checking a old rusted out VW bus. He didn’t find correct balancer there so we went to his two car garage by the street. He dug on a shelf and pulled out a box with 3 correct harmonic balancers, one NOS and two used. I choose the later as the NOS he valued like gold. The one I chose also had the hand crank lugs, how cool is that! My 52’ has a hole in the lower radiator splash pan and a dimpled grille to allow the use of a hand crank. I suspect my 52’ may have had that style balancer as original equipment on the old 216. Now I’ve got everything but the hand crank. I can’t imagine having to start the ole gal like that. It’s tough enough to crank it over with the fan just to get the timing marks lined up.
We returned to his shop where we completed the deal. Toting my box of treasures, my wife couldn’t help to comment about the smile on my face. I didn’t tell my wife what those rusty, greasy old parts cost. In this case, “Ignorance is Bliss”, for me at least!
The pictures of Bob’s place were taken by my wife!
Yes, Bob’s place is Stovebolt Heaven.
And, Bob is The Expert.
I use to live about 20 miles from his “museum”.
I use to love going to Bob's Stovebolt heaven...glad to hear he is still around selling parts...
I don’t know. He told me the best way to contact him is by e-mail and he said he doesn’t always answer his phone. There’s a link to his e-mail on his website. http://www.adlersantiqueautos.com
I stripped down the front of the truck to install the water pump relocation plate and all the other parts associated with this mod. Starting with removal of the latch plate panel, then I drained and removed the radiator. When I removed the grille, I discovered that it wasn’t bolted in, aside from the bolts I removed from the latch plate panel. In addition, the radiator support wasn’t attached at the bottom, allowing me to lift the whole front sheet metal assembly.
Removing the existing water pump, alternator and associated brackets went easy as did the removal of the harmonic balancer. I don’t have the proper removal tool, but since the balancer was shot anyway, it didn’t matter if It was damaged any further. I have a three jaw puller so I used that around the outside of the balancer, a no-no normally, but it worked and it’s off. On to the oil seal. My seal had been leaking as evidenced by a small puddle on the cement floor so it needs to be changed. I used a small three jaw puller with the jaws inverted and was able to pull out the seal successfully without any damage to the cover.
I pre-fit the new 52’ 216 water pump and relocation plate. The two countersunk holes in the plate did not line up perfectly with the water pump. When I tightened them they would offset the other holes slightly. I can’t say if it was the new water pump I purchased from RockAuto or the relocation plate I purchased from Ebay. I figured that I could tweak the holes a bit to get them all to line up.
I installed the plate with the water pump attached to the block and used a transfer punch to mark the holes. After removing the plate, I drilled with a small bit to help keep the larger bit on track. I followed with the 5/16” bit marked with tape 3/4” from the end to keep me from going too deep. This went relatively quick, maybe a total of 5 minutes per hole. I then tapped the holes with a 3/8”-16 starting tap followed by a bottoming tap. This also went fairly quick.
I reinstalled the plate and attached water pump to check the alignment of the holes. The new tapped holes were off just enough that I couldn’t get the bolts in. They were only off a small bit so I enlarged the holes in the plate by 1/32” which solved the problem. I didn’t have the silicone I needed to finish the water pump relocation plate installation, so I spent the rest of the day cleaning and painting the new “old” harmonic balancer and fan blade I obtained from Bob Adler’s Antique Auto Parts. The area of the hub where the seal rides is worn slightly and after posting on Stovebolt forums I decided on sleeving it, so I ordered the sleeve.
The radiator support wasn't attached to the frame?? Yikes.
So based on all the things you have said including bashed on balancer, on your truck you have pretty much figured out you are going to have to go through everything to check for this kind of hideous workmanship. I think you will have no problem getting your truck sorted out so it can be a really fun safe vehicle.
A friend just brought me his engine because his 235 was making noise, look at what I found on all the intake valves... His PO obviously was related to yours. BTW, great writeups keep them coming they are very helpful for others.
Are they just assembled wrong or are the rockers the wrong style?
I agree, the PO’s must be related.
Believe they are 216 rockers on a 235, still researching
I installed the harmonic balancer today and it went pretty well. I went to the not so local plumbing supply (a 45 minute drive) and got a 1-1/2” coupling, 4” nipple and a cap to match. The existing Woodriff key was beat up quite a bit but procurement of a new one proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. NAPA didn’t carry them and kid behind the counter at Advance Auto looked at me like I was from outer space. There was an older gentleman working there that formerly worked at NAPA and said Tractor Supply carries them. TS did have them but they were in such a disarray and none were in their labeled place. Half of the plastic packages were empty. Unfortunately they did not have the right size, so I settled on one that was the next size up figuring I could grind it to fit.
After the 45 minute ride home, I chucked the coupling in the lathe to face it off and turn down the OD to fit inside the rivets on the balancer, assembled the three pieces and my driver was set.
After comparing the oversized Woodriff key the the old one, I decided to clean up the old one and reuse it. It would have taken me far too long to get the new one to fit.
I spent allot of time fitting the key to the shaft and the balancer and cleaning up the shaft and crank snout. As a career machinist, I know you only get one shot to get it on the first time correctly, so preparation is key. After carefully measuring to ensure the proper fit, I oiled the new shaft sleeve then slid the balancer on engaging the key. The moment of truth arrived. Using my newly made balancer installation tool and a 4 lb. mallet I drove it on until the sound changed indicating the balancer was seated. It didn’t take nearly as much force as I expected. Five or six good solid hits and it was seated.
I continued with installation of the water pump and relocation plate. I had pre-fit the pump to the plate and had given it a nice satin black paint job so installation should have been be a snap. That wasn’t the case and I needed to tweak the holes again as a couple of the bolts were difficult to get started. The rest of the job went easy. I aligned the alternator, installed and tensioned the fan belt and finally installed an original 216 fan to complete the package.
The final misalignment between the balancer pulley and the water pump pulley was about 1/32”, which I believe is acceptable. I reinstalled the radiator, the new preformed radiator hoses (had to trim the ends to fit) then filled the radiator with coolant, reattached the battery and started her up. Music to my ears as she purred like a kitten. I still have the grille, latch plate to install but it’s late and tomorrow is another day. Another success! To me this was a big success!
The last picture is what it looked like when I got it.
If you want to drill the end of the crank and tap a 7/16" fine thread in there for a crank bolt retainer, I have a fixture with drill bits and tap- I can let you borrow, send it out USPS priority tomorrow.
The balancer has the ears for a hand crank. I thought about doing that but decided the hand crank was to cool to remove. There is also a hole in the lower pan in front of the radiator and a dimpled grille. Technically I could get a hand crank and start this engine. I have a hard enough time turning the engine over with the fan to get to TDC. I couldn’t imagine trying to start this with the hand crank, especially with it’s higher compression ratio. I would have had to machine down the ears to accept a flat washer and decided I didn’t want to alter this original part.
At this point the front end is already buttoned up, but I really appreciate the offer.
7/7/19: My grandson, who is turning 15 this month, is visiting us for the summer and has shown an interest in restoring cars and trucks. His Dad and him have dreamed about getting an older Camaro and restoring it as a father/son project but finances have long stood in the way. This spring, I invited him to help on our project during his stay with us. He was very excited about helping. My grandson is good natured and always willing to help, and I am thrilled to be his mentor.
When I originally removed the grille to gain access to the harmonic balancer I discovered that the two radiator mounting bolts attached to the frame were missing the nuts. This made removing the grille easy as I was able to lift the front clip to get the clearance needed to get the bottom of the grille to clear the splash pan. After installing new nuts and securing the front clip that was no longer the case. With my new enlisted “Wrench Fetcher”, we needed to remove the front splash apron. This is attached with the bumper bolts, sandwiched between the bumper and the brackets, so the bumper needs to be removed. The nuts were rusted really bad. An impact doesn’t fit it the space so we used a breaker bar and six point socket . After soaking soaked them with PB Blaster, we successfully removed only one. At this point, removal of the whole bumper assembly is our only option. The impact removed the bracket to frame bolts fairly easily and we lowered the assembly to the ground. Now that we could use an impact on the bumper with we were able to remove three more bolts. The last nut was so rusted there was nothing for the socket to grab on to, so I cut it and the bolt off with a wafer wheel. A new bolt and new nuts were in order.
The front splash apron was pretty beat up so I spent some time beating it back into a better shape. The tab that attaches it to the bumper bolt in the middle had broken free from its two spot welds and needed to be fixed. I prepped the tab and its associated mating spot on the splash apron by grinding then mig welded it on. Testing my weld job, it snapped right off. Three try’s later with the heat and feed set properly, it’s finally on. Taping off the patina that matches the rest of the truck on the top of the apron, I sprayed primer on the repaired area. After its installed I don’t think it will be noticeable.
When I was cleaning the bumper brackets, I noticed that the two didn’t match. The drivers side leg was bent in more than the passengers side. I temporarily installed the brackets on the frame and sure enough the drivers side was bent in. Removing them, I put the bent one into my vice and tried to remove some of the bend. These are original brackets made of spring steel so I didn’t want to use heat if I could avoid it. Beating it with my BFH, I got it close. Being a perfectionist, which at times is a curse, I needed to get that last little bit so in the vice it went. Sometimes in the heat of the moment I tend to get too wrapped up into what I am doing so I had forgotten to don my leather gloves. Well one more heavy swing of that BFH and the bracket popped right out of the vice and hit my middle finger. Yeow! The pain! OMG, I can’t believe I just did that! Well, its not broke, no trips to the hospital, a quick trip inside to clean it up a and a bandaid, and it’s all good. OMG it still hurts! Time to call it a night!
7/12/19: We went out to yard and estate sales today, something that my wife and I share a common interest in. Over the years I have picked up some pretty good bargains. A couple of years ago, I bought my Craftsman 12” lathe (made by Atlas) for a $150. The only issue with the lathe was it needed to be cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. It came with a three jaw and four jaw chuck along with a milling attachment. After working on South Bends and other quality lathes during my career as a machinist, the Craftsman is not in the same ball park by any means but it works really well in my home shop, and allows me to do things I could not otherwise accomplish without it.
After pounding out the bumper apron on the concrete floor yesterday, I told my wife that I really needed an anvil or at least a 1/2” steel plate mounted on my workbench that I could beat on, something solid and heavy. Today, at an estate sale, I ran across a 18” length of railroad track that I was able to pick up for five dollars. I plan on forming a anvil horn on the one end and squaring the other end. At least I can now throw it on my workbench and have something heavy (over sixty lbs.) and solid to beat on and I’m not bending over on the floor, a big plus.
I received a couple of firewall to fender rod supports from a fellow “Bolter” today, which I was missing. The hood to fender alignment is terrible. The hood is currently touching the drivers side with a 1/2” gap at the front on the passenger side. While I bolted the radiator support down, I pushed the support over to the drivers side as much as the bolts would allow and it was still not enough. I’m hoping the support rods will correct the problem. I was able to blast all the parts including the rods, give them a coat of primer and paint. Ready for installation tomorrow, I hope!
That is a great find! I have been looking for a blacksmith anvil from Tennessee to Maine, the cheapest I have seen is $300.00.
I have a piece of rail, about 24" long, been beating on it for years. An anvil would be great but as 63'C-10 said $$$$. I guess the old steel rail will need to do for now
You never know what you might find at a yard sale. One day I might come across an anvil at a reasonable price and buy it. Until then, I have something to beat on!
7/12/19:, I told my wife that I really needed an anvil or at least a 1/2” steel plate mounted on my workbench that I could beat on, something solid and heavy.
I have beating on a piece of 1/2" flat stock for years, it is bolted to my workbench, works like a champ.
Somebody say Anvil?
That is another addiction I have and may have a few.
Today with the assistance of my grandson, we installed the bumper and bumper apron. We first installed the bumper arms with the bolts hand tight. When we went to install the bumper and apron, the holes wouldn’t line up. We then loosened up the brackets and then installed the bumper and apron aligning bolt by bolt. Once we got all the bolts installed we tightened them snug. The whole bumper was not centered to the grille. We loosened the bolts on the bumper to get the bumper to slide over to no avail. I even hit it a few times with my BFH.
At this point I decided that the installation of the firewall to fender support rods might help the alignment problem. We installed the passenger side first, pre-setting the length. The rod had quite a gap having to wrench it tight the last 1/2”. The drivers side presented a different problem. The front 5/16” bolt was missing. Taking a better look I noticed that the previous bolt had been sheared off in the fender. I looked on the back side and it was flush. The engine side was recessed slightly but not flat so getting a drill started on center was going to be a problem. I used a die grinder with a 1/4” rounded bit to at least give a chance at getting the bit centered. To make a long story short, I did manage to get the remainder of the bolt out, but had ended up drilling off center so a nut on the backside was in order. Another thing to fix during my frame off resto. The drivers side rod fit perfect but made no difference on the alignment. The front end seemed to be much more solid with the rods installed.
There are too many factors in the alignment of the front end, that I decided we should accept it as is, until I can get a grasp on the alignment procedure. We finished tightening the rest of the bumper bolts and frame bracket bolts.
A few weeks back I bought a clutch inspection cover assembly from Adler Antique Auto Parts. A bit pricy but my only source to quickly obtain the cover. At this point, I am ready to get the “ole gal” registered and start enjoying driving her so I needed to get the covers installed. Over the last few days I blasted them in my new HF blast cabinet and painted them. That was next on the list to get installed. While I was under the truck, I had wanted to see if the clutch fork pivot retainer spring was still there maybe just dislodged. I have an issue where the clutch fork won’t completely disengage the throwout bearing from the clutch fingers causing it to spin when the clutch is fully disengaged. Having previously determined that the fork pulls away from the ball, I wanted to see if the retaining spring was still there. Using a small inspection mirror and a flashlight I was able to see that the spring was in fact still there. In any case the transmission will still need to be pulled at least enough to remove the clutch fork to see what the issue is.
I also noticed that the clutch pedal rod where it engages on the petal was really worn. The hole in the pedal arm was worn too. I welded up the worn spot on the rod and fabricated a oversized plastic bushing on the lathe for the arm. My Grandson who has never seen such an operation was fascinated. I reinstalled the clutch pedal rod and we made an attempt to adjust the clutch. The proper adjustment only worsened the problem of the throwout bearing failing to totally release. I set the clutch with more free travel in hopes it would help pull the bearing free of the clutch fingers. At this point my Grandson and I installed the covers. The two screws on the back of the cover were a real bear to install due to the fact it was located just over the rear transmission support. Fortunately the cover was slotted so we could install the screws first, not having to struggle with both. Tightened the bolts and we were done for the day.
I asked my grandson if he was enjoying wrenching on the truck and He said he was. I can’t think of a better way to spend time with my grandson!
Phil, I just wanted to thank you for your posts. I lost my 17 year old Grandson in October. I haven't really been able to get to a point where I was ready to work on the Truck again, although I know He would have wanted me to finish it. I will get back to at some point.. Reading about you and your grandson does help in that process. Thank you.
Craig, My sincere condolences. It’s always disheartening to hear about the loss of loved ones, especially at such a young age. I'm sure your grandson would want you to go on and finish your truck. When the time is right, you’ll know it and it will feel right.
Today I discovered a puddle under the engine which lead straight to the water pump. One of the thru bolts that tighten the pump to the relocation plate was weeping. I tried to tighten to no avail. Long story short, I disassembled from the radiator down to the pump and realized that the thru bolts were not sealed. I looked at the instructions and there was no mention of sealing these bolts. It has a direct leak path from the coolant jacket in the block right thru the pump. The plate appeared to be adhered to the pump so I pulled the affected bolts, added silicone to the plate and bolts and reinstalled the fan, belt and radiator. This time I reversed the bolts so the heads were in the water jacket and the nuts were outside. My logic was that it would only have one leak path, under that head of the bolt vs. two, under the nut and thru the threads. I want to wait to add the antifreeze until the silicone is fully cured for 24 hours
I started fixing the hood latch plate where a PO cut and bent back the top edge to allow more clearance for the radiator. Now that the radiator is in its original position, I wanted to fix the the PO’s sins. Finally I was actually getting to do some bodywork, a passion I’ve had since High School. Not being a scholarly student, I elected to go to a tech school for autobody. I spent half a day in tech school and the other half taking the minimum classes that enabled me to get my high school diploma. As career, it didn’t work out, but that’s another story.
I picked up a a piece of railroad track at an estate sale recently and found it perfect for reforming the edge back to the the way it was from the factory. This was the first time that I welded thin sheet steel with a MIG welder, and it went awesome. Forty years ago, the common practice in autobody was to do lap joints and braze the panels on, and that was the technique that I learned. Following advise I found on YouTube and this forum, I used tiny tack welds, spreading them out so the heat would dissipate before returning to that spot. A few try’s at getting the heat and feed settings set and I was off to the races. It was much easier than I thought. After grinding down the welds and a bit of planishing, I applied a light coat of plastic. A bit of sanding, a coat of prime, a bit of Satin Black paint and she was ready to reinstall.
Just like it never happened, great work.
7/15/19: Today, I finished the job of resealing the water pump by adding antifreeze. Prior to her first “Road Trip”, I want to check the fluid levels in the rear and transmission. I’ve had an issue removing the plug on the rear end, because it is worn, rounded and I can’t keep a wrench on it. I took my die grinder and sharpened the flats so it would retain the wrench better. That did the trick as I was able to remove the plug. Once removed, I further filed the plug in a vice to give me a nice square. I topped off the rear end with 90 weight oil and reinstalled the plug.
While I was filling the rear end, I saw that there was a puddle under the engine. Yeah, the water pump was leaking again. Sh..! Sure enough, the leak was coming from the back of the relocation plate where it seals against the engine block. I re-drained the radiator and removed everything associated with the removal of the pump and of course the pump itself. 15 minutes tops. Lots of practice! The leak was at the very bottom, an area that is only 1/4” thick and looked as if I didn’t put any silicone on it. Evidently, whatever I’m doing is not working and I needed to go back and read directions. Something most men don’t like to do. The instructions stated “Apply a 1/4” bead and assemble immediately tightening until the sealant had squeezes out a bit. Let it sit for 1 hour the tighten an additional 1/2 turn.” Previously I had applied the sealant very sparingly so as not to get gobs squeezing out into the coolant jacket. I know from experience that practice sometimes creates more issues down the road. Thus the reason I prefer gaskets over silicone. I suppose I applied it a little too sparingly. Another reason may be that I only waited 1/2 hour to let it setup before tightening. This time I applied about a 3/16” bead, assembled and tightened until I got a squeeze then let it set for the hour then tightened the additional 1/2 turn. I didn’t feel that was enough to keep the water pump from coming loose so I decided to re-torque in 24 hours after it fully cured.
Leaving the radiator and the remaining parts off so I can re-tighten and refill again, I turned my attention to the transmission to check the oil. I rolled back the floor mat and removed the transmission cover to gain access to the tranny. The cover is another PO debacle, where a thin sheet of galvanized steel was used as the cover. The replacement was not fastened down so it is easy to remove. This will be replaced in the future when I replace the floor pans. The tranny plug was easy to remove and I added the rest of the bottle, which wasn’t quite enough to top it off but hopefully enough that the tranny won’t disintegrate. Time to quit, tomorrow is another day!
7/16/19: She Finally Hit the Road:
For Fathers Day, my wife purchased a set of NY vintage plates for me to install on our truck. Two 1951 plates with a single 52’ tag for the back plate. The only place that handles vintage plate registration is Albany NY, so today we made the one hour trip to see if we could get her registered. We did get her registered but with new “Historical” plates instead. Turns out that there is another place in Albany the handles “Vintage” plates and that is thru the mail. Leave it to NY to complicate the process. There is only a few requirements to register “vintage” plates in NY. They must be original to the year of the vehicle, not repainted and the plate letters and numerals must not already be in use. With the use of computers today, I don’t see why that couldn’t have been done at any of the local DMV offices. I’ll get the vintage plates registered and on the truck soon but in the meantime she is on the road.
I installed the “Historical” plates and the registration sticker on the windshield, but before we take her first shake down cruise, I need to get her back together. I retightened the water pump and reinstalled the radiator, fan, belt hoses and the other associated parts, added antifreeze and checked for leaks. So far so good. Started her up and let her heat up and rechecked for leaks and found none. Yea! Another success!
Time to get my wife and take her for a spin. The first thing I noticed before I even got her into gear was I felt naked without a seat belt. I know that I am from an era that thought nothing of putting our sleeping kids in the back of a station wagon with their pillows and blankets, so you could get an early start on your vacation or in the bed of a pickup truck to go and get some ice cream, but with more than 30 years of required use, I got used to it and now use them religiously.
When we started down the road, the truck was all over the road, following every bump and curve, with quite a bit of steering wheel play. The next issue is the brakes. It did stop the truck, but not without allot of force, a little bit of squeal and allot of anticipation, which would not be good in an emergency. This issue definitely made the top of my “To-Do” list.
Next issue was she is extremely noisy at 40 MPH. At 45 MPH, I felt like I was really pushing her past her limits and I didn’t feel safe. The only good thing that I could say was we drove her for about 16 miles and she ran good, real strong and she didn’t overheat.
My wife was not impressed. To tell you the truth, I was a bit disappointed myself. I still have allot of work to do, but I have the confidence that as I work out these mechanical issues, I’ll get her tamed down to the point that my wife will fall in love with her as I have. Much, more work to do!
Hang in there, with the truck all over the road = clearance in the steering system as you know, Seems the clearances can all add up, so if you have loose tie rod ends and worn kingpins and a loose steering box, they all add up to a scary experience, then it is multiplied times two with those fat tires you have on there. You can get it to steer very well but you are going to have to throw parts at the old girl. Course the same thing with the brakes, just need to throw more parts at it, clean it all, you and adjust it, fix the leaky wheel cylinders and so on.
Dont give up and hang in there, plenty of us run around with original style parts just fine, still safe and sound.
In New York state there is a difference between "historical" plates and "vintage" plates (see links at bottom).
North Carolina has different rules and procedures.
Also, in NY you have to have an inspection every year; buy, in NC there is no inspection after registration.
I have done one vintage plate in-person at the Albany, NY DMV office and one by mail (sent in a color photograph) and one at my local/main DMV office (Troy, NY DMV). I could not use my local/town DMV office.
In both states:
If the year of your vehicle only had one plate, you can use one plate.
If the year of you vehicle had two plates, you must have both plates.
In NY, if you take your vehicle off the road (and/or let registration lapse), you must send your plate to a DMV office for "storage".https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-historical-and-vintage-plateshttps://dmv.ny.gov/apply-vintage-plates
I run a 1963 NC Farm Truck Plate on Ginger. As long as you are legally registered and insured and have the "new" tag under the seat to show your friendly local LEO your good in North Carolina. I live very close to Virginia and usually buy all my fuel over there as its cheaper and have been pulled a few times. I find that kind of funny as all you have to do is go into your local farm store in Virginia and buy a "farm use" placard and hang it on and drive anything down the road with relative impunity/ Seriously, I have seen everything from Pick-ups to relatively new Benz's driving down the road.
Seems like all states differ in the minutiae. My state, Washington, has both collector and restored plates. In each the vehicle has to be at least 30 years old and the vehicle can only be used for parades and car shows and pleasure without compensation. It is a one time registration fee that is lifetime. Like usual many are abusing the privilege and some are using these vehicles as every day drivers. Now there is legislation to have five year renewals. Some ruin it for all others, but I digress.
In NY, if you take your vehicle off the road (and/or let registration lapse), you must send your plate to a DMV office for "storage".
Just to clarify, that applies to Historical plates only. If you read down further it states “ DMV offices do not store vintage plates.”
What if you purchased your plate it still belongs to NY DMV?
Pa will require them to be surrendered also or impose a fine if the insurance is lapsed. I didnt and dont feel like reading all 10 pages of this post so im just chiming in. If it aint " on the right track", please disregard..
No, NY doesn’t own my “Vintage” plates. Thus the reason “DMV does not store vintage plates.” Any plate issued by DMV, is just like PA where you have to turn them in.
7/18/19: After posting my ”Wondering Truck” issue on “Stovebolt”, one of the first things that was suggested was tire pressure. Did I ever check the pressures since we got the truck In February? No, Duh! How stupid I feel. In my defense, the tires were new when we bought the truck, they looked properly inflated and they looked good. Not much of a defense. “Guilty as charged” of improper tire maintenance. Logic dictated that was the first place to start.The pressures were all over the place from 24 PSI To 39 PSI. After checking a suggested website for tire pressures that you could punch in your particular tire, size and load rating, I decided that 26 PSI was a good place to start.
My grandson (who has never added air to a tire) and I, set the tire pressures at 26 PSI. I did the first to show him how it’s done and he did the rest. Another test drive with my grandson riding shotgun proved that it helped immensely. As HRL (Hot Rod Lincoln) once said in one of his responses to my post, I’m no longer “herding the truck down the road“. I still have way too much play in the wheel, so the next step also suggested by this forum, is to adjust the steering box. So a trip to Wally World for a fish scale is in order.
The truck tracked perfectly straight down the road when I let go of the wheel, but seemed like it had a bit of understeer. After posting my success on “Stovebolt”, it was suggested by adding a pound or two might help with the understeer. I have that gut feeling inside, that this is only the tip of the iceberg, but I have to start somewhere, so I give it a try!
Today my wife, grandson and myself, went to ATCA (Antique Truck Club of America) Truck Show at Washington County Fair Grounds in NY. There was mostly big rigs there and just a few smaller trucks. Two AD Stovebolts, in which I didn’t take any pictures, an art deco with a gorgeous grille and another art deco 4x4. I enjoyed sharing some knowledge of the old trucks with my grandson. Overall a great day!
I had some time to look at my wandering truck issue and lackluster ability to stop the truck. After jacking up the truck and supporting her on the frame with jack stands, I remove the front wheels and brake drums so I could inspect the brakes. Once I removed the spindle nut and outer bearings the drums came right off. The shoes and drums on both sides were loaded with grease. Further inspection showed the grease seals were shot. The shoes, which looked to be new, were covered with grease rendering them useless. New seals and shoes were in order. I ordered a new set of AC Delco shoes from RockAuto.
When I disassembled the drivers side brakes assembly, I noticed that one of the lock washers on the bottom bolts that attach the backing plate were installed on the wrong side, in other words p, installed under the bolt and not the nut. Removal of those bolts proved harder than it looked as one of the steel spacers (sleeve) between the knuckle assembly and backing plate were rusted solid to the bolt. I tried soaking the spacer with PB Blaster and holding it with a Vice Grip while I used an impact, but it only spun in the Vice Grip Pliers. I removed the whole backing plate to allow me better access. Once I got the plate to the bench, with a little heat on the directed to the spacer, I was able to drive the bolt out of the spacer.
Disassembly of the passengers side went a bit easier. This time I disconnected the tie rod from the steering arm, removed the whole backing plate assembly, then removed the spacers from the bolts. Again a little heat was in order. I media blasted all of the brake components and steering arms, applied a coat of prime then a coat of my favorite spray paint, Ace Premium Satin Black. This stuff is amazing. Has primer in it, two coat coverage, drys quick with a nozzle that sprays in an elliptical pattern just like a spray gun. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough, so off the the hardware store.
I made some time to work on the truck today and boy did I open a can of worms. The drivers side rear spring mount which is riveted to the frame is loose, in addition to both spring pivot bolts that have slop. After removal I confirmed their degraded condition requiring replacement. I also checked the king pins and tie rod ends. The tie rods ends are good only needing cleaning and re-greasing but the king pins are another story. The passenger side had a bit of slop, about .006” - .008” of radial movement as measured at the bottom of the yoke. I’m not talking about thrust clearance. The drivers side had .002” - .003”. So my question is how much movement is too much? I posted that question on stovebolt and I’m waiting for some responses. My gut feeling is at least the passenger side king pin will need to be replaced.
Since I almost had the entire front axle out I decided to remove the shackles and springs to check them Out more thoroughly. The shackles checked out OK Requiring only replacement of the grease seals but both rear spring eyes are worn thru the bushings into the main leafs in the spring assembly’s and need replacement. Now the question, do I replace both front spring assembly’s or disassemble the spring sets and replace just the main spring? I think disassembly is required to assess the damage before I decide. It’s no wonder the truck wandered!
I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now.
Phil, I know that you'er playing catch up on your postings so most of this work has probably been completed by now. If you had that many issues with the front spring sets, they may also be sagging a bit more than stock height. I'm sure that replacing the bushings and king pins will tighten everything up but it wont help the spring pack. Did you replace the rivets with grade 8 bolts or just heat and tighten them back down?
I'm facing a similar issue with my truck. The front spring mount is egged out and the bolt is loose with the truck sitting flat. The other side was already replaced, so Hopefully, I can find a new mount soon.
TUTS 59 & Rusty Rod, you’re right, it’s already done and full details will follow in a few days on my post. To answer your questions though, I replaced the rivets with grade 5, 1/2 NF bolts nuts and lock washers and I bought two new main springs from Classic Parts and reused the rest of the spring pack.
I decided to use nuts and bolts because I had no equipment to re-rivet the existing rivets (a new impact hammer because mine wasn't large enough and the proper bit) and the limited amount of room I had with the engine installed. I’m glad I did because a couple of the rivet holes were wallowed out to .450”. I doubt it I could have tightened a 3/8” rivet that much.
.....the only consolation in finding, and fixing these problems, it driving down the road and knowing you are SAFE. Most of us spend days,months,years getting these on the road and I learned over 20 years ago to take it one step at a time.
IT WILL BE REWARDING....and you will enjoy it. Thats a promise.
Stick with it Phil, the end goal is in sight.
.....the only consolation in finding, and fixing these problems, it driving down the road and knowing you are SAFE. Most of us spend days,months,years getting these on the road and I learned over 20 years ago to take it one step at a time.
IT WILL BE REWARDING....and you will enjoy it. Thats a promise.
Stick with it Phil, the end goal is in sight.
.....the only consolation in finding, and fixing these problems, it driving down the road and knowing you are SAFE. Most of us spend days,months,years getting these on the road and I learned over 20 years ago to take it one step at a time.
IT WILL BE REWARDING....and you will enjoy it. Thats a promise.
Stick with it Phil, the end goal is in sight.
Alvin, Where were you 30 years ago...
Thank you all for giving me several shoulders to lean on. Your support is reassuring. It’s a disappointment when you find these problems but I do know its for the best. Thanks again!
8/8/19: Today I’m tackling the removal of the loose spring mount and have decided to use bolts instead of attempting to re-rivet them. The limited space and lack of the proper equipment (my pneumatic impact hammer was not large enough for the task), was the driving force. Removing them was not an easy task. After reading several post on this forum, I decided to drill the heads, out to 3/8, then shear them off with a impact hammer. That worked well, however when I tried to use a drift to punch them out, the rivets just rung indicating they were really tight. Using a technique I learned as a machinist, I drilled a bit deeper with a 5/16” bit (so I didn’t nick the spring mount or frame) and without the use of a lubricant (so it would heat up the rivet). I drilled an additional 3/8”, then the rivets punched out.
As a machinist, I’ve removed many bushings by concentrating heat on the bushing and avoiding the outer casing as much as possible. The science behind the idea is the bushing is going to expand with the heat but the cooler casing will not allow it to grow outward so it expands inward. When it cools it contracts the OD and the bushing usually falls out, taps or presses out easily.
In this case the drill acted as the heat source and it was enough to loosen the rivet as it cooled. The rivets on the side of the frame were fairly easy but the two under the frame were another story. Laying on my back, I tried drilling out the rivets with little progress. I ended up using a 2’ long piece of 1x2 pine and a block of wood as a pivot to apply some upwards pressure on the drill. That finally did the trick. What I wouldn’t do for a lift right now.
As a apprentice mechanic/machinist in a Nuclear Power Station, I learned this trick from an elderly German gas welder. This gentleman’s gas welds looked almost as nice as TIG. Fifty years ago, most senior men from the trades had the mentality that they needed to protect their jobs. They would send you off to get tools or to perform some other menial task when a critical part of the job, so you wouldn’t see what they were doing. But there were a few who shared their knowledge, and thank God he was one. I learned allot from this man and think about him every time I pick up a torch.
It was the right call removing the spring mount rather than trying to re-rivet it. The holes in the spring mount were tight, but ones in the frame were oblong. The worst was .450”. Looks like I’ll be opening them up to 1/2”. Tomorrow’s another day!
8/14/19 Today I tackled the removal of the kin pins. I first tried to loosened the king pin retaining pins from their taper by loosening the nut, turning it to the end of the thread so the nut protected the thread then tapping on the nut to drive out the pin. This was starting to distort the thread and the the retaining pin didn’t budge, so I threaded the nut down so it just had about a 1/16” gap between the nut and the steering knuckle, then added a second nut to aid in protecting the thread. This did the trick and I was able to hit the pins with enough force to get the pin to move, then I reset the nuts to drive the pins out. On to removal of the grease caps. I used a Dremel with a wafer wheel to grind out the punch marks retaining the caps, then drilled a 1/4” hole in each cap to give me something to pry on. Using a small cold chisel, I was able to remove the caps. The king pins were easy to get. I used my new 20 ton HF press but I could just driven them out with a punch and a hammer. Thats because they looked new and appears to have just been replaced by a previous owner without addressing the real issue. Unfortunately it’s the ID of the steering knuckle where the OD of the bushing rides that is worn. I took measurements of the pins and of the bushings and they appeared perfect. The ID of the spindles are worn. The good news is that the axle is in great shape. Nice and straight and the ID of the holes where the king pins attach are perfect.
The clearance was as follows:
Drivers: .003” on the top and .005” on the bottom.
Passengers: .002” on the top and .006” on the bottom.
It appears that I need oversized bushings and a reamer to match, or the complete replacement of the spindles. A subsequent search on the internet returned zero results in both scenario’s. After posting on “Stovebolt” forums, it was suggested to use Loctite 660 to fill in the gap and secure the bushings. This apparently is a common and accepted practice in the industry. It has a second advantage of preventing additional wear on the steering knuckle. What a relief knowing I don’t have to replace the scarce steering knuckles.
I farmed the King Pin out to my machine shop, I know my limits
A good part of my career (27years), I spent in a machine shop so farming it out for me would have been blasphemous!
I didn’t get much done on the truck last week as my Mom (who is ninety four) and sister came to visit. I feel truly blessed to have my Mom still around, so time spent with her is priceless and working on the truck takes a backseat.
I needed to determine if I could replace just the main leaf spring and reuse the rest of the spring stack. I used a small pry bar to pry open the spring clamps. This method worked on the first spring assembly but on the second it created a crack on one of the bends. I want to reuse the clamps to keep the originality. I broke out my torch to heat the bends so I could open them without breaking them. This worked on the remaining ones, but I still have to repair the broken one if I reuse the springs. I placed each spring assembly into the vice sideways, then loosened up the center bolt and opened the vice slowly releasing tension on the spring until it came apart.
The first thing I noticed was an odd looking spring on the drivers side. It stuck out like a sore thumb. There were nine leaves on the drivers side and only eight on the passengers side. Further inspection on the drivers side showed one spring was cracked from the center bolt out to one side. It appears a PO added a leaf to compensate for the one that was cracked. I suspect the truck was sagging. The odd spring was longer than the cracked spring so I figured I could cut it down to replace the cracked one if the rest on the stacks were good.
At this point, the remaining springs from the stack looked good but I’ll reserve final evaluation until cleaning is done. The one clamp that cracked needed to be removed from the spring so I could weld up the crack. I used my new twenty ton press (a bit of overkill) and just pressed out the rivet. I will be making replacement rivets on the lathe. After reworking the six clamps with a bit of heat, my MIG, a vice and a ball peen, I spent the rest of the day media blasting and painting the remaining hardware (shackles, etc.). The springs themselves would need to be cleaned with a wire wheel on my Metabo (side grinder). That will be for another day.
Looking good and i enjoy reading your post.
You can buy those rivets from McMaster-Car at a good price. I think mine were 50 to a box.
For the straps that hold the spring pack together I purchased a 3 ft 3/4" wide steel strip from Lowes for cheap. It bent nicely and I just drilled a hole in it.
Depending on the condition of your springs you may want to consider using vinyl spring liners with the lip on it which keeps the liner in place. I used them on my 52 panel and like them.
.....just some ideas. Keep us posted.
EDIT: Shoot me a PM let me know how many rivets you need and I'll drop some in a mail pouch for you.
I really appreciate the offer, but I already made the ones I need on my lathe. I agree on the liners and placed a order with Speedway.
9/6/19: My wife and I went to the Adirondack Nationals put on by GoodGuys in Lake George NY today. This show has been a favorite of ours since we first started vacationing in this area back in the late 80’s. We went looking for ideas for our truck. Although most of these vehicles were absolutely fabulous we didn’t really find what we liked but instead what we didn’t like. Most of the AD trucks we saw were resto-mod’s with V8’s and all of the other amenities that go along with that style. We didn’t leave with allot of ideas, but we saw some amazing work by some very talented craftsman. Every time I go to these shows, I get torn between restoration and custom. My wife and I agree at this point that our truck is too original to go resto-mod, but instead, restoration (within reason) is our chosen path.
This show is too big for us to see the whole show in one day. We planned to return the next day but that didn’t pan out because when we arrived at 11AM, we couldn’t find any parking. We instead had to be satisfied with a very slow cruise up and down Canada Street watching the cars, trucks and the occasional burnout urged on by the spectators. Overall a great weekend!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been cleaning, painting and waiting for parts to arrive to get my front end back together. I started prepping the springs for paint and reassembly. After making a weld repair on the drivers side spring clamp, I used my (garage sale find) railroad track as the anvil, a ball peen hammer and a rivet I made on my lathe, to re-riveted the clamp on to the spring.
To clean up the springs, I used a wire cup on my side grinder to remove the grime and rust then ground out the ridges left behind by adjacent springs. This was a time consuming task requiring about two hours for just the passengers side assembly. A bit of wax and grease remover and a nice coat of my favorite rattle can paint, and that set was ready for reassembly. I was burnt out with wire brushing and grinding so I left the drivers side for another day.
Next on my list was the loose spring mount. I first secured the mount tight to the frame using 3/8” bolts and bolts. On the first hole, I tried using progressive drills in slow speed. Starting about a 32nd of an inch larger and working up, but the bits would only dig in and stop the drill. If I ran it at high speed with light pressure it would drill but then start to chatter. A trick I used as a machinist was to flatten the cutting edge of the bit slightly by either grinding or using a a small stone (so it scrapes rather then cuts). This would stop the bit from digging in, especially in soft materials like brass or copper but would also work on soft steel. Not having any sacrificial bits like I did when I was working and I not wanting to have to resharpen numerous bits, I decided to try to enlarge the holes using just the reamer. This worked out nicely, fairly easy to drill and left very clean holes. I had previously bought grade 5, 1/2”-20 x 2” shoulder bolts, nuts and lock washers figuring on cutting the length to fit. Although the reamed holes were to size, the bolts measured undersize by about .002”, so I added some Loctite 660 to fill the gap.
This may spark a conversation on rivets vs bolts. The tensile strength of a single 1/2”x20 grade 5 bolt is 19,200 lbs. and there are four of these bolts in two different planes. I don’t think it will ever pose a problem. I will however check the torque on these bolts on a regular basis. They say hindsight is 20-20. If I had to do it again, I would buy a .010” undersized reamer and size the bolts on the lathe to fit.
9/8/19: First on my list today is the cleaning and prepping the drivers side springs for reassembly. Previously I found that it had nine leafs vs the passenger side having only eight. I was able to cut that extra spring to take the place of the cracked one I found (sometimes things work themself’s out nicely). I accomplished this by slowly cutting with a side grinder and a cut-off wheel so I wouldn’t generate too much heat. Another two hours of cleaning with a wire wheel, grinding out the ridges, a quick paint job with rattle can satin black, a day to dry and the drivers side is ready for reassembly.
I needed to get the steering knuckles ready for reassembly. The 1/2 ton has floating bushings that are not secured to the knuckle. However in my case the ID of both knuckles were worn between .002” and .006” thousands and after recommendations from fellow “Bolters”, I decided to use Loctite 660 to secure them in, hopefully preventing further damage to the knuckles. I think this design, limited to the 1/2 tons, was to help the truck owner’s change the king pins and bushings themself’s. With the bushings not being a press fit (3/4 ton and up have pressed in bushings), it would make changing them an easier task. This however sets up the knuckles up for wear. A poor design in my opinion. These are getting harder to find in good shape and are at a significant cost, so preventing any more damage is a priority.
After coating the new bushings with Loctite 660, inserting them into the knuckle, insuring the lubrication holes were aligned, I used the king pin to keep them in alignment then set them aside to dry.
I'm late in reading this (I'm a new guy), this is the best site on the Web. I'm an old guy but I can tell you to be patient, In my racing day's I didn't have patience due to schedule's etc. Now I love working on my 54 - 3100, for me it's great therapy. Have a good time and enjoy, keep us updated. Doc.
The one thing I learned thru life is patience. When I was a young teen building plastic model cars, I couldn’t wait for the paint to fully dry before assemblIng the car. I messed up a quite few before I got it right. Now that I’m retired, I have allot more patience, allot more time and allot less energy so it kinda works out right!
My problem now is I love to work on my truck (definitely a Stovebolt addict) so balancing my time between my truck and my family seems to be my biggest issue.
Phil, I'm having the same issue with balancing time, It's T -Ball season here for my youngest Grand Kids, and Little League for my 12 year old Grandson. After losing his older Brother last fall my time is better spent with him. My truck has always waited patiently. It's All Good...
Next on the list is to get the springs mounted. I found it easier to mount the front of the spring, the side with the shackle than the back that uses a single bolt. This bolt is very tight and with the front being supported by the shackle, it helped with the alignment of the bolt to the frame mount. After mounting the drivers side, I found that the front shackle had a bit of movement that was not in the passengers side. I had not noticed this before and will need to be replaced.
On to the front axle and new king pins. With the steering knuckle bushings already set in place. Starting with the passengers side, I placed the knuckle with the thrust bearing and tried to insert it in the axle. There wasn’t enough room. Further inspection revealed that the upper bushing had slipped down slightly which prevented me from fitting it into the axle. I was able to remedy the situation by using a draw file technique to file it level with the steering knuckle, I then chamfered the bushing, blew it out and it fit like a glove. Now I was able to fit it to the axle and insert the king pin. Using a wood clamp to remove the slack, I measured the gap between the top of the axle and the bottom of the upper bushing. The gap was .009 thousands of inch. I inserted .005” total shims and reduced this gap to .004” which is within tolerance. Before reassembly, I coated the axle where the king pin rides and the tapered retaining pin with a coat of anti seize. I also packed the thrust bushing with grease prior to reassembly. Once reassembled. I inserted the dust caps, expanded them with a small ball peen hammer, then staked them in four spots with a center punch to help prevent them from falling out. I repeated this procedure for the drivers side. This side only required one shim to get the assembly within tolerance. After a good greasing with the grease gun, the axle was ready for installation.
Positioning the axle under the truck by myself, I used my floor jack to raise it. This however did not work too well as it wanted to topple. Once I got the axle contacting the springs, it stabilized it. After positioning the caster shims and inserting the u-bolts, it became apparent that one u-bolt on each side, was not going to be long enough to stick completely thru the nut. This was due to the spring liners that add a bit of height to the spring stack. I foresaw this with the center bolt but not with the u-bolts, an over-site on my part. It was however long enough to continue reassembly knowing that it would have to be changed before her next test drive.
I reinstalled the shocks and called it a day! More to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I had a little time to start reassembly of the front brakes. I mounted the backing plates, the steering arms to the steering knuckle with the bolts, spacers lock washers and nuts using anti seize in the appropriate places. I then torqued them all to specifications and inserted the cotter pins to retain the nuts. I tried the new AC Delco wheel cylinders and they appeared too wide to fit between the tabs of the keeper bracket. When I previously removed the old wheel cylinders, the boots were damaged in that same spot. To me that throws up a red flag, so now, I wondering if the wheel cylinders are correct or the maybe the backing plates may have been changed. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully will supply the answers to this issue.9/13/19:
After posting the issue on “Stovebolt” forum, I found that the bracket is there to keep the pistons from overextending and may pinch the rubber dust cover a bit. I also found out that I can compress the boots and pistons on the new AC Delco wheel cylinders enough to get them installed. Armed with this new information I proceeded to install the new wheel cylinders and new brake shoes. Installation went really smooth with no issues.
Next on my list was to install the brake drums. Not that I have a written list, but a mental list that basically follows what I consider is the proper order of reassembly. Getting out my previously cleaned and inspected bearings in zip lock bags, I was getting ready to do a final cleaning on the bearings making sure that they were spotless when I noticed a spot on a single ball that started to spall. darn, I had previously done what I had thought was a through inspection and had not spotted this. The races were perfect and the balls looked to be in good shape. Previous to disassembly I spun each drum to feel for bearing problems and they were both as smooth a silk. This is another set back as I now need to order a new set of bearings. I think I will use this set back and turn it into an opportunity to upgrade to roller bearings.
Next is to install the tie rod. I had already cleaned and painted it so reassembly and installation was next. This went relatively smooth. I greased each piece as I assembled. After installing it on each steering arm, I tried to do the ball and socket adjustment. The adjustment was not as straight forward as I thought but I believe that I did manage to get it right. Installation of the cotter pins and a final greasing completed the job.
Next was to adjust the steering box. Although the Service Manual makes this sound relatively easy, it is no easy task. The locking nut at the very bottom for taking the slack out of the worm gear is not easy to loosen. It is large, about 2-1/4” and is blocked by the oil filter. I did manage to get it loose after removing the front and loosening the back clamps on the oil filter which enabling me to slide it forwarded enough to access the locking nut. Using a large slip joint pliers (water pump pliers) I did manage to loosen the nut. After unsuccessfully making the first adjustment, it became apparent that I needed a special wrench for that nut or I will risk damaging it with the water pump pliers. The pliers kept slipping and was hard to loosen and tighten due to the ill fitment and limited room I had to work in. I think fabrication of a proper wrench is in order. Tomorrow is another day.
Today I wanted to finish adjustment of the steering box. I needed to fabricate a tool for loosening the worm gear adjustment screw lock nut. I decided that a spanner attached to a 3/8” ratchet would be the easiest to make. I used a piece of 1/4” x 1-1/2” flat steel about 4” long. After getting the spacing of the pins to fit the nut, I drilled two small holes, slightly smaller than 3/16” to press in pieces of round stock. I cut the chuck end of an old 3/16” drill bit to use as pins. To get a 3/8” ratchet to fit, I drilled a 3/8” hole then filed it square to fit a 3/8” ratchet. This fit the lock nut perfectly and I was able to finish the steering wheel adjustment as per the Service Manual.
During the adjustment, I noticed the steering wheel was not centered. To center, I turned the wheel and counted the turns lock to lock, then split the difference. I then pulled the wheel, re-centered, reattached then reattached the drag link to complete job.
I finally got back to working on the truck today. I previously bought two new u-bolts to to replace the two that were not long enough. This was due to the spring liners I installed which increased the stack height when I rebuilt the front springs. I started on the passenger side, removing the lower shock hardware then compressing it to release it from the lower shock mount. I then removed the nuts and washers and removed the u-bolt and the lower shock mount. Looking in the Factory Assembly Manual, I noticed that the washers were sandwiched between the axle and lower shock mount. I don’t believe that was the way it was when I disassembled it. Following that illustration, I reassembled the longer u-bolt with the washers, lower shock mount and the nuts, running them up snug. The rear u-bolts were also a bit short but the ones I removed were longer so I used them instead. The Assembly Manual didn’t show any washers so I reassembled them accordingly. I torqued the nuts to 80 ft. lbs. I repeated this on the drivers side.
When I had previously assembled the front leaf spring shackles on the drivers side, I noticed a bit of side to side movement so I ordered a new shackle assembly. This included new bushing and pins. The new main leaf on the rebuilt spring assembly, had the bushings installed so all I needed to replace was the frame mounted bushing and the pins. I tried the new pin in the old upper bushing and it seemed to have a bit of slop. I tried it in the new bushing and that also was sloppy. I decided to leave the existing bushing as it’s a bit of a chore to remove the old one’s. The instructions in the Chevrolet Truck Shop Manual say to tighten securely then “Strike each end of the shackle a sharp blow with a hammer to insure seating of the tapers and retighten the draw bolt.” I did not do this the first time I tightened it. I surmised that that may be where the slop came from. I tightened both shackles per the instructions. I can’t really tell if it is fixed, but my gut feeling says it is.
I turned my attention to installing the bearings. When I previously tried to install the hubs, I noticed that one of the roller bearings had a small spot that was spalled. Needing to order new bearings, I used this opportunity to upgrade to the new style tapered roller bearings. After removing the old races, cleaning up the hubs and brake drum, I installed the races by lightly tapping with a sawed off hammer handle and a small ball peen hammer working my way around. Once the race was flush, I used a brass rod to finish seating the race. I repeated this process on the outer race. After cleaning the hub and drum assembly, I greased the roller bearings, installed the inner bearing, followed by the grease seal. The grease seal was a bit tricky to get it started but I did manage to get in installed tapping it in place.
I then set the dust shield in place on the spindle, slid the hub onto the spindle then installed the outer roller bearing, washer and nut. I torqued the nut to 33 ft. lbs. while rotating the drum, then backed off 1/12th to 1/6th to align the cotter pin. I installed the cotter pin and center dust cap. I then installed the wheel and torqued the nuts to 80 ft. lbs.
Adjustment of the brakes were next up. Per the instructions in the Shop Manual, while the anchor pin is just loose enough to move, tighten the shoes until a heavy drag is felt on the drum, then tap the anchor pin and backing plate lightly to allow shoes to center in the drum. If the drag on the drum changes, tighten the adjustment screw a few more notches, tap the anchor pin again and repeat until the drag remains the same. Once this was achieved, I torqued the anchor pin to 80 ft/lbs. At this point I backed off the adjustment nut 14 notches and the wheel spun freely so all is good! Tomorrow I get to do this again on the drivers side!
10/02/19: (morning) Second thoughts haunted and interrupted my sleep last night about the wheel bearing adjustment I did on the passenger side yesterday. It suddenly dawned on me that the tapered bearings would not be adjusted the same as roller bearings. I’ve adjusted tapered roller bearings dozen’s of times before so I don’t know why I feel so unsure about doing it. I guess I don’t want any re-do’s. I reached out to my fellow “bolters’ and posted that question. It set off a string of reply’s and the general consensus was it’s not the same as setting ball bearings. Nobody had the same answer as to the proper procedure. I’m sure some of them are right on, some are close enough and some are dead wrong. It’s up to me to apply logic and sort out the reply’s. In the past I have always applied enough torque to seat the bearings, back off, retighten to take of all slack, then back off at least 1/2 flat to the first notch. This had worked for me in the past and seems to line up with most of the reply’s I received. This is the procedure that I applied to readjust the passenger side bearings.
The drivers side was next to install. I wasn’t too thrilled with the way I installed the bearing races yesterday,. Since I have a 20 ton press, I decided that I would use that to install the races. The races are recessed into the hub and after looking for and not finding a suitable socket to finish the press, I took the old bearing races and ground the OD enough to slip into the hub. My 20 ton HF press needed a little tweaking to get the spindle parallel to the frame. It was welded in crooked and the only options were to remove the weld and re-weld it in place or just grind the face of the spindle flat. I choose the later as it was easier, took much less time and accomplished the same goal.
Pressing in the bearing races went perfect. Using a steel plate to press them in flush then using the old ground races to finish seating. I used the flat plate and the press to install the grease seal and that went flawless. I finished greasing and installing the remaining wheel bearing components, the hub and final wheel bearing adjustment. I installed the wheel, torquing to 80 ft/lbs, then adjusted the brake anchor pin and shoes.
This completed rebuilding the front end. YEA! I opened up this can of worms on July 22 and it took over ten weeks to close it back up. Unfortunately, during this debacle, I noticed that the brake master cylinder was weeping so I won’t get to test out my newly rebuilt front end until I fix that leak. I ordered a rebuild kit and removed the MC but found the internals too rusted to be rebuilt so I ordered a new master cylinder and I’m just waiting for it to arrive. Does it ever end?
10/2/20 (afternoon) Awhile back I ordered a new 12 volt gas gauge to replace my 6 volt with a shunt. My gas gauge, sending unit and wiring has plagued me since I bought the truck. Since my new master cylinder hadn’t arrived, I decided to install it. I have been putting this job off for awhile dreading the grueling task before me. As anticipated, this was not easy. Removing the cluster from the dash went fairly well but I had no clue how to get the gauge out of the cluster. Trying to minimize the work involved I didn’t completely remove the cluster from the truck so I could work on it at a bench. This later proved to be a mistake. The bezel is crimped in several places around the perimeter and I carefully pried at the crimps with a screwdriver and managed to separate the bezel from the cluster. To my surprise, the fuel gauge has lips on both sides that go under the adjacent gauges, requiring their removals prior to releasing the fuel gauge from the cluster. All this while the cluster was hanging under the dash, making working on it fustrating. I did manage to get the new gauge, the adjacent gauges and the bezel reinstalled only to find that the fuel gauge did not move. I had tested it outside if the cluster so I knew it worked. I had read on “Stovebolt” forum about this exact issue. Some of the Chinese made gauges are a bit higher and hit the inner frame of the bezel and that was indeed the problem. I did not find the issue immediately and it took a couple of times removing and reinstalling the bezel before I realized. I remedied the issue by gently pressing the interfering frame toward the glass in the bezel. Now the gauge responded as expected.
Reinstalling the cluster into the dash went as expected, grueling and punishing to my back. I did however stumble into a little better way to install the tiny nuts that hold the cluster to the dash. Having trouble getting my hand on a deep socket and having the ability to turn them, I thought an extension would be the answer, only to find some braces blocked getting the socket straight. I tried a flexible extension and that worked perfect. I was able to get the socket on the nuts and tighten. I only used my hand to tighten as I’ve heard some horror stories about cracking the glass. I did not want to take that cluster out again.
I previously had removed the sending unit so I could test full movement on the fuel gauge. After inserting it into the tank the new fuel gauge went right to empty. I expected an 1/8 of a tank or better. I removed the sending unit and found the float had gas in it. More Chinese reproduced crap. I’m running about 50% good vs. bad with the parts I’ve received. The float is made of brass and soldered together. I removed it from the arm, inspected it and found the seam leaking. The float was half full of gas so I used a small drill and reopened the previously drilled hole on the end to drain the gas. Leary of applying heat to the float that was just submerged in gasoline, I decided on using epoxy to seal it. I sanded it with 220 grit paper, cleaned it with degreaser then mixed enough to just cover the seam and hole in the end that I just drilled. I set this aside to remount allowing 24 hours to dry.
10/03/19: I reinstalled the float on the sending unit and installed it in the tank using black gasket maker to seal it to the tank. I went to turn the ignition on only to discover that I had left it in the on position he night before. dammm! I’ve done that before and know the consequences. I popped the distributor cap off and sure enough the points were closed which burned the points and drained the battery. Who knows what else I destroyed.
I placed the charger on the battery and left for the day.
For the gauges I like using knurled nuts. Avoids having to use any wrenches
That’s a great idea. It would also avoid over tightening and breaking the glass!
10/03/19: I reinstalled the float on the sending unit and installed it in the tank using black gasket maker to seal it to the tank. I went to turn the ignition on only to discover that I had left it in the night before. darn! I’ve done that before and know the consequences. I popped the distributor cap off and sure enough the points were closed which burned the points and drained the battery. Who knows what else I destroyed. I placed the charger on the battery and left for the day.
10/06/19: My master cylinder arrived on Friday, so today I wanted to install it. I bench bled the master cylinder in my vice by plugging the outlet, filling the reservoir with new Dot 3 Fluid then pumping the piston gently until no more bubbles appeared. I installed the master cylinder and adjusted the clevis to the brake lever, installed the pin and cotter pin. I removed the plug that I previously installed to bench bleed. I quickly installed the distribution tee and tried hooking up the brake lines. The one for the rear and right side went on with no issues. The one line that goes to the front left brake would screw in only a few threads before locking up. After removing it I discovered that the flare was not made up properly. I have a flaring kit but it is missing the 3/16” anvil to perform the initial flare for the double flare so I couldn’t re-flare the end.
I am getting so frustrated trying to get the truck back on the road. It seems I take two steps forward and one step back, making progress to the end goal but keep pushing back driving her again. It’s been over 2 months (7/22/19) since I started diagnosing the “Wandering Truck” issue. I’m only one fitting away. Still very frustrated and disillusioned.
10/8/19: I picked up a flaring kit and a tubing bender from from HF yesterday in addition to a 50” length of 3/16” steel brake line with pre-made ends from my “FLAPS” in case I couldn’t re-flare the the bad flare that attaches to the master cylinder. I attempted to double flare the end that was leaking last night and was unsuccessful. It appears to me that the cheaper flaring kits aren’t strong enough to do a proper flare on steel lines consistently, so today my plan was to form the new brake line using the old one as a template. The routing of this line was not run as the original, but due to the limited room I decided this was my only viable option. I plan on replacing all the lines when I do the frame off restoration so at least this will get her safely back on the road.
The first problem I faced was the new line was 50” long and the old was 46”. If I was confident that I could re-flare the end, I would have cut it down to fit, but wasn’t the case. I figured I could make a u-bend to shorten it. I duplicated the installed line, then put a u-bend in it and I was still too long by about an inch. I added another small u-bend and that did the trick. I finished making up the line and prepped to bleed them. I previously bench bled the master so I needed to bleed all four lines going to the wheel cylinders. I own a vacuum bleeder but it is in South Carolina where I spend my winters. Not any help here!
I took a 2’ length of tygon tubing that fit the bleeder valve and found a salad dressing bottle in the recycle bin. After unscrewing the top, the shaker hole in the inner cap matched the tubing perfectly. I added a cable tie under the lid to keep the tubing from pulling out and submerged in the brake fluid. I added some tie wire twisting it around the neck then formed the remainder into a hook so I could hang the bottle.
I opened the bleeder on the drivers side, installed the tubing then started pumping the brakes. This was supposedly a one man bleeder I found on Youtube. This worked, however I could not see what was going on. I surmise, if you pumped it enough times you would purge the air, but you would go thru allot of fluid. Before I purchased my vacuum bleeder, I relied on my wife to pump the brakes, so off to get my helper. With my wife pumping the brakes and I, operating the bleeder, I quickly ran the master out of fluid. I didn’t even get one wheel completed. Apparently not much of a reservoir. Adding fluid and a few short pumps purged out the air from the master so I continued this bleeding and filling until I did all four wheels. With the help of my wife, this went relatively well. A bit tedious working thru a 3” hole, getting the cap off the master cylinder, filling without overfilling, reinstalling the cap then repeat another dozen times. You get the picture. I did overfill it a couple of times, “cleanup on aisle four”, but the job is done.
After frying the points the other day, I purchased a set of points and condenser from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts yesterday. I tried installing the points but quickly found out they were not the correct ones. This was the second time that I received the wrong set. I need to figure out what the difference is so it doesn’t happen again. Off to town to get another set of points. The local Napa didn’t have a set in stock. Living in the Adirondack Mountains in NY, I have always considered it as a blessing, however, cell phone service is scant at best. I wanted to see if there were any auto parts store nearby and I had no service. I decided to drive to the next town a couple of miles away, to see if reception was any better but no such luck, so I headed back home to clean up a set of old points that were not previously burnt. On my way home I passed a Car Quest that I never noticed and they had a set. Once I got home and installed the points and a new condenser and after a long road repairing the front end, I finally got her started. After sitting for over two months, the hydraulic lifters were clattering like crazy. I figured a short drive might silence them and after about five minutes they started quieting down. She also was not wandering all over the road and no longer had slop in the wheel. The braking was better but I suspect could be much better as I still have the rear brakes to go thru.
I took a short 15 mile trip beaming over my triumph. A long fought battle but another big success! On to the next battle!
Great going. Seems like all the little steps take the longest. I know your pain with using the flaring tools, I have 3 different kits and not happy with any of them. I'll invest in a quality kit prior to doing my brake lines.
I plan on doing a frame off in a year or two after I straighten out all of the mechanical issues and I’m leaning toward copper-nickel. From what I heard, Cu-Ni double flares nicely because it’s soft and has the added benefit of being corrosion resistant. I’ve looked into quality flaring kits and they run around $200 and it may be a one time use tool. I can’t quite justify that expense. I have one questionable brake line left to replace on the rear end and picked up a 25’ coil of Cu-Ni for $25 from Amazon for that purpose. I see how that goes.
I got around to addressing the distributor advance slop. I previously found the pin connection was worn so I fabricated a shoulder bolt on my lathe and it tightened it nicely. When I pulled the distributor, I also noticed that the gear was turning slightly on the shaft. I ground out the pin, and found a suitable roll pin to take it’s place. It is now tight to the shaft. After reinstalling the distributor, resetting the points and timing the engine, the timing mark is still bouncing around about 3 degrees.
I removed the distributor from the truck, disassembled to troubleshoot the wandering timing and this is what I found.
* The grease cup had the spring and the fiber disk
* There was no noticeable lateral movement between the shaft and the housing
* I ran a dial indicator on the shaft and on the lobes using v-blocks. The shaft was perfect and the lobes ran out about .002”.
* I also measured the vertical movement on the assembly that contains the point cam and that read .035”.
* The shaft had quite a groove where the fiber washer rides. I measured it on V-blocks with a dial indicator and it ran true.
* The .035” of vertical movement (on the cam assembly) will be lessened by the spring on the rotor and should not be an issue.
* The .002” runout on the cam lobes will make the timing vary.
* The groove on the distributor shaft is not good but since its even should not be an issue.
After cleaning and painting, I reassembled the distributor and installed it. I reset the points, re-timed it and readjusted the carburetor. This time I used a vacuum gauge to set the timing. I plugged the vacuum advance, set the idle to 450 RPM, adjusted the timing to the highest reading then backed off 1Hg. It ended up to be about 10 degrees advanced and still jumping back and forth, but it doesn’t seem to be quite as much. The engine is running better but I know that the distributor will need to be replaced in the future.
Maybe a HEI is in her future!
During the last test drive I noticed that she was pulling hard to the left during breaking, so I wanted to readjust the brakes. The drivers side was close to adjustment but the passenger side was real loose accounting for the uneven braking. I readjusted the rears also.
I also re-torqued the front spring u-bolts to 80 ft/lbs.10/23/19:
After frying the points one too many times, I wanted to install an idiot light telling me when the ignition was on. I had previously bought some small red LED lights from eBay and set out to get it done. After posting this idea on Stovebolt, I had some diagrams on how to do it. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it to work. At this point, I am not sure my one wire GM clone alternator is capable of hooking up an idiot light so I decided shelve this idea at this time.
Part of my plan of not frying the points is to install a battery disconnect switch. I bought a high amperage switch from eBay and drilled a 3/4” hole in the passenger side seat pedestal. I temporarily installed the switch to locate the holes for the battery cables to pass thru the floor and to measure the battery cables length required. Drilling small holes in the floor pan to route some wire, I was able to determine the lengths I need. I going to switch the negative side so power is not under the seat in the off position. I ordered the cables from eBay.10/28/19:
My battery cables came in today so I set out to install them. I started with the positive cable and it installed without a hitch. I drilled out the floor where the cables pass thru from the switch, a little bigger than 5/8” to install a grommet. I used silicone spray to aide installing the 2 gauge wires thru the grommet and the floor pan. One cable was about an inch too long but I was able to turn the switch to accommodate the additional length. Installed the switch and tested. I feel much better having a way to isolate the power if ever there is an electrical fire. All is good.
I purchased two 3 point seat belts and another lap belt for a center passenger from Seat Belts Plus. After living with seatbelts for over 30 years, I feel naked driving or riding in a vehicle that doesn’t have them, so today I set out to install them. With the gas tank still in the truck, I opted to install them strictly with bolts. I figure I can weld the mounts in when I do the frame off restoration.
I studied several websites, YouTube videos and several posts from fellow “bolters”. It took me more time to decide how to mount them then the actual installation. I utilized the Deve Method
] with the exception of welding in the L bracket on the floor. Instead I fabricated a 1-1/2” x 4” x 1/4” plate and tapped it 7/16-20 to install under the cab to accept a thru bolt installed in the L bracket. So the L-bracket has two bolts holding it in place. First picture shows the plate that is installed under the floor. The second shows the L-bracket (overhead view) that holds the retractor. That L-bracket is bolted thru the floor into the plate. Note the bolt that the retractor is bolted onto, wasn’t long enough so I replaced it with one that accommodated the retractor, washer, lock washer and nut.
The top backing plate, purchased from Seat Belts Plus, I trimmed and bent it to fit the contour of the roof pillar similar to Deve’s installation. I also installed one 3/16” pop rivet to hold the plate in place so the seatbelts could be removed easily when I do a frame off restoration. I replaced the plastic grommets with steel bushings I fabricated on my lathe so the d-rings could freely rotate. I ended up adding an additional washer against the cab so the d-ring would clear the windless weather stripping. I should have added additional length to the steel bushings had I known, but the washers did the trick.
The next step was to attach the buckle straps and the middle seat belt. I opted to fabricate these brackets rather then mount the belts to the floor and use the big flat washers provided in the hardware for two reasons. I could make one bracket to accommodate two belts and I could mount the attachment points closer to the seat using a tall L-bracket. These were made from 3x3x 1/4” angle. I also tapped 7/16”-20 threaded holes in the plate under the cab floor so I didn’t need to use nuts. I radius’d the corners and the edges that were against the cab so the sharp edges of the plate wouldn’t cut thru the cab floor in case of an accident.
I am very happy with the result.
In my area at least, most of the parts stores have a tool loan program. Tools like; pullers, brake piston reset and possible a flaring tool may be available. The only other suggestion I would have, aside from purchasing one, would be to take the brake line down to a local shop and see if they would flare it for you. As long as you have an accurate measurement for where the flare needs to be... could go either way
Great suggestion Steve, next time I have another option. Thanks!
After installing the seat belts, I was concerned what could happen in an accident now that we the occupants were securely strapped to the cab and the seat was not. I was looking at the seat and how it was attached to the cab. There is four 5/16” bolts that attach the seat frame to the seat riser. One of mine was changed to a bolt with no identifiable marking, wasn’t re-welded in, necessitating the use of a second wrench to tighten it. Since I had to change out the bolt and weld it in, I decided to change all of them to 3/8” grade 5. I used a die grinder with a cut-off wheel to remove the spot welds. Installed new bolts, welded them in, then added bigger, thicker washers and lock washers to complete this upgrade. While I was working on the seat slides, I noticed that the brackets holding these bolts were only spot welded in. I added a few welds to strengthen that attachment. I’m sure that there is still some weak points, but with these mods, I have eliminated the obvious ones.
I have been experiencing low oil pressure once the engine warms up, since I got the truck last February, I posed this question on Stovebolt forums a week or so ago. The general consensus was 5 lbs. at idle, was way too low for a full pressure 235.
I suspected that the bypass oil filter may not have had the restrictor orifice installed but was schooled on this forum that the orifice was internal to the filter housing. After removing, inspecting the filter and finding no issues, I installed pipe plugs to eliminate the filter until I diagnose the problem fully.
The lifters are prone to collapsing and take too long to pump up so it was suggested I clean and inspect the hydraulic lifters. Today I took out all the hydraulic lifters, one at a time, cleaned, reassembled, filled with oil, then reinstalled. At the same time, I cut slight grooves into the bottom of each pushrod to alleviate any trapped air as suggested by HRL. I followed Chev235Guy
They all looked like new and I found only one that collapsed. I reassembled everything and I’m waiting for a pushrod cover gasket I ordered before I continue. I want to run the engine to see if that solves the problem before I go into the crankcase.
11/24/19: My push rod cover gasket came in and I installed the cover to start the engine. The engine ran terrible with the same #2 cylinder still missing. I shut down the engine, thinking the lifter was still collapsed so I removed the subject lifter and disassembled to do a thorough inspection. After cleaning I blew thru it and it appeared that the check valve wasn’t working properly. I blew it out with compressed air and it now seems to work correctly. After reinstalling, It still ran terrible with the same lifter cylinder missing. Now I’m thinking that maybe a valve is bad. Never having done a compression test on this engine, I decided now would be a good time. The test came out good, with all cylinders between 150 to 160 PSI. That eliminated any piston or valve problems and points right back to low oil pressure.
The plugs looked like they were burning overly rich, but I can’t really relate that to the rough running, because at this point, it won’t run without the choke being pulled out at least half way. I media blasted the plugs prior to reinstalling and as I was reinstalling I noticed that two gaskets were missing. Thinking that I blew them off in the sand blast cabinet, I emptied out the blast media thru a strainer, but couldn’t find the gaskets. I searched high and low but could not find the gaskets. Now I’m thinking that they may not have been installed in the first place. In any case I need to get new plugs.
11/25/19: I purchased new AC R45 plugs and installed them today. I started the engine and it still was missing with another collapsed lifter. This time it was a different lifter. I also noticed that none of the rockers were not getting any oil so I quickly shut her down. I had removed the distributor and side cover several times to gain access to the lifters so apparently the last time I didn’t get the distributor seated enough to engage the oil pump. I pulled the distributor and reset it, this time I measured to insure I engaged the oil pump. I restarted the engine and it sounded so much better. Running on all cylinders, oil weeping at all of the rockers but it still has one lifter that was clattering. I think at this point I need to drop the oil pan to measure the crank and rod bearing clearances.
4/11/19: 4/11/20: This will be my last post in “Project Journals” for a while as we are wintering in South Carolina and won’t be returning to New York (where the “ole gal” is) until mid to late May. I’ve been playing catch-up with my posts since I started this journal and finally reached the point where I have caught up.
When we left NY in early January, I was battling a low oil pressure issue. The general consensus from this forum back in December was the lower end bearings needed to be looked at. I was a bit reluctant to pursue this road as I was not convinced that other discrepancies were not at least contributing to the issue.
One of the contributing factors is I have a ‘59 235 with a ‘61 “848” head and hydraulic lifters. The rockers are pre ’59. The earlier 235 (pre ‘59) had a 1/16” restrictor installed in the oil supply to the rockers presumably to limit the amount of oil being supplied to the rockers preventing oil spewing all over the place. In ‘59 they opened the restriction up to 11/32”, closed off the overflow tube and offset the weep holes in the rocker arms in relation to the supply holes in the rocker shaft, which now pressurizes the shaft. I have pre ‘59 rockers with the supply overflow tube so it won’t pressurize the rocker shaft. I have since obtained a set of original ‘59 style of rockers and plan on installing them when I return.
The engine was rebuilt by a supposable reputable engine rebuilder in 2013 and I don’t know if they put in any type of restrictor nor if they knew that was a change in the rocker oil system. This truck sat for six years before I bought it in February 2019, so there is little mileage since the rebuild, thus my reluctance to check the lower end.
However, I was able to locate and contact the PO that had the engine rebuilt. He was more than happy to talk to me about the truck and told me some history about the engine rebuild. After the original rebuilt, he had a main bearing ceased up due to a bearing being too tight and the builder remedied it by adding .001” shims to all the main bearing caps. He had also experienced low oil pressure issue after the rebuild.
Finally conceding to the fact, that the main and rod bearings need to be looked at, I am contemplating which direction I should head when I get back to NY, to fix this issue. As I see it, I have two roads to go down:
Remove the pan, inspect and plastigauge the main and rod bearings and replace the rockers to the correct ‘59 style.
* Should take allot less time unless I find a bigger issue
* This would involve me doing most of the work on my back which is something I’m not looking forward too.
Remove engine and totally go thru it.
* Much easier on my back
* Can do a much more thorough job
* Can paint engine
* Easy access to clean up engine bay
* Much, much more time consuming
Presently, I’m undecided in which direction I should go. What are your thoughts?
While I'm all for the least invasive method to a solution I don't believe you'll find the piece of mind in having really isolated the problem unless you pull the motor out. You stated that the PO had the same issue with low oil pressure after the main bearing caps being shimmed, maybe this wasn't the right answer to the problem. I don't think you'll be happy until your able to mic the crank and bearing completely.... Just my thoughts. The rocker arm situation is a head scratcher there are a lot of issues going on with all the different parts.
The plus side is being able to clean up the engine bay and paint the block, I'm sure you'll find some other projects in there as well. Good luck, I'll be following.
Y’all do know he’s documenting a build that is already finished?
Justhorsenround, At this point, my journal is caught up, so I’m now at real time. As I said, my truck is in NY so I contemplating my next moves to solve the low oil pressure issue when I get back in May.
My bad, I was looking at the 2019 date. Carry on.
Sorry, my bad it should have been 4/11/20 not 4/11/19.
I thought I was reading this correctly, now I'm scratching my head
l’m back in NY now but I’m busy getting all of the chores done first. Quite a few things need to be done after winterizing a house for four months. In addition, I’m going to install a new T&G floor on my porch, and that is the priority so it will be a few weeks before I start working on my truck.
I have decided to pull the engine and Tuts 59 nailed it when he said...
I don't believe you'll find the piece of mind in having really isolated the problem unless you pull the motor out.
This in addition to a few other issues that can be sorted out if I pull the engine, was the deciding factor.
At least I’m putting my truck to good use. I didn’t have a dry place to store the T&G Douglas Fir.
I have my grandson here to help and he’s as anxious as I am to get going and figure out this problem. I’ll start my journal when I get started. Till then...
I finally got to pay a little attention to our ole ‘52 yesterday. She’s been sitting since last December and started right up so I took her for a little spin. I didn’t go far, but it sure felt good driving her for a few miles. The oil pressure was pegged at 30 lbs. when I left but didn’t take long to go down to 15 lbs. while driving and about 5 lbs. @ idle.
I have to make some unexpected repairs at our home in NY so I can’t spend the time required to pull and possibly rebuild the engine. As many of you know (if you’ve followed my journal), the rocker arm assembly is pre ‘59 and my engine is a ‘59, so the pre ‘59 rockers offer no restriction at the end of the line. This always had me thinking, that the miss matched parts might be the cause or at least a contributor to the low oil pressure.
Jumping on an opportunity last December, I found a complete rocker arm assembly on eBay for $65 that was described as “Some of the arms are hard to move”, making me think that they must not have much wear if they are tight to the shaft. This was not the case. After disassembling, I found that the shafts were severely worn and needed to be replaced. In addition the rocker arms were worn where they contact the valve stem. Another lesson learned. Last January, just prior to going south for the winter, I cleaned up the entire assembly, soaked them in oil and bagged them to prevent any further damage until I decided what to do with them.
Over the winter, I had decided to replace both shafts with new and reuse the arms as there was no appreciable wear on the ID of the arms where they contact the shaft. The worn ends that contact the valves could be refaced to get them serviceable again. When I got back to NY in May, I bought new shafts on eBay for $94. Now I’m into this for $159.
My intention had always been to replace the rocker arm assembly with the correct assembly. I made the decision to do this first, since I could accomplish this in a relatively short amount of time. There is a chance, that this may be the issue and if not, I’m not wasting any time as I would be replacing these anyway when I pull the engine.
I read, in this forum, that the rocker arm valve contact surface could be refaced on a belt sander or grinder. I surmise by keeping the flat sides of the arm (where the shaft goes thru), one could grind the contact point with reasonable accuracy. I found that the table on my belt/disk sander needed to extend around the face of the disk in order to grind the entire arc of the contact point. I clamped a 1/8” plate on one side to wrap around the existing table on the disk side sander and squared the table to the disk. I followed up with a medium grit flat stone and hand stoned it smooth. The pictures show before and after.
After flushing and blowing off each of the parts, I reassembled the rocker arm assembly with the new shafts. The installation went easy once I backed off all of the adjusters. I tried first without doing so, but quickly realized by taking the alignment of the push rods out if the equation it made aligning the six shaft stands much easier. A quick adjustment of the hydraulic valves and she was ready to start.
She started right up, the valves were quiet and the initial oil pressure was about 40 lbs., a bit higher than before. All of the rockers were getting oil, so I was real hopeful that I solved the problem. After running it for about 10 minutes, the pressure dropped to 15 lbs. I shut the engine off so I could install the valve cover in order to take her for a short ride. The ride proved that the pressure did come up a bit but not significantly enough for me not to continue to look further. The pressure at 30 MPH was 15 lbs. and dropped to about 5 @ idle. Strange thing was when I slightly accelerated, the pressure would drop and when I let off the pressure increased significantly. I can’t explain that. Another strange thing was the new oil pressure gauge that I mounted last year on the engine, is now showing 0 lbs. at idle and the dash gauge (which originally matched the new gauge) was showing 5-7 lbs. At any rate, it looks like the next step is to remove the engine to look at the bearings. Unfortunately that will have to wait.
At least I can now rule out the mismatched components.
Today I removed the engine from my truck, to diagnose a low oil pressure issue. It went quite well with the exception of the actual removal of the engine.
I started by draining the transmission and removing the floor cover to gain access from above. Listening to fellow Stovebolters, I super cleaned the drive shaft housing where the bell collar slides and it slid back perfectly with little effort. I borrowed a friends engine lift and used it to lower the transmission to a tire dolly, a trick I also learned by reading prior post on this forum. The engine lift also made easy work of removing the hood.
Next was the dreaded exhaust. As images of using OA torches and broken studs danced in my head, they broke freely with no issues. After removing all of electrical connections, linkage, gauge lines and the motor mounts the engine was ready to be removed. I fabricated a plate to bolt on where the coil mounts to act as one lift point and used a chain around the front of the intake manifold for the other as suggested again on this forum.
That’s when Murphy’s Law came into effect. My first attempt at removing the engine, the front mount got hung up. Having never removed this engine, it felt like it was still bolted in place and I thought I may have missed a bolt. The back came up but the front didn’t move. Relooking at the mount, I assured myself that it just needed a little more persuasion. I rocked the engine a bit more aggressively and it finally broke free. Thinking I was on the home stretch, the lift stopped lifting while needing only six more inches. Now I’m stuck halfway in and halfway out. I previously tested the lift, by pumping it up to the my nine foot ceiling and successfully lifted my hood off. I surmised that it needed more pump oil due to the additional weight. Looking for the fill plug, all I found was a rubber plug about a third of the way up. I pulled the plug, added fluid until it ran out, replugged the hole and proceeded to pump the engine up. Yea! It works. Disaster averted! I proceeded cautiously and got the motor high enough to clear the radiator support. I didn’t have enough room in front to clear the truck so I had to back the truck up which I had previously planned on doing. My plan was/is to store the truck outside while I work on the engine, parked under a temporary canopy. This will enable me to to clean the engine bay outside so it won’t make a mess inside my garage. Backing out was easy as my garage floor has a pitch for drainage purposes. Now Murphy wasn’t done with me as when I was lowering it down, pump oil started spraying out of the fill hole thru the rubber plug, squirting about six feet all over the floor. I suppose I may have overfilled it. What a mess! I did land it on some blocking and spent the rest of the day cleaning up and putting away my tools.
Please note that the rope was not used to support the engine. After putting a sufficient amount of strain on the chains I used, I got an uneasy feeling that disaster might occur and added the rope as a fail safe measure.
I started this project about 10:30 this morning and the engine and tranny was out by 3:30. Unfortunately my grandson was not available to help so I did this solo. Not to shabby for an old geezer!
Don't you love it when a plan comes together. I hope you don't find anything catastrophic once you open it up. Man I love the look of your wheels and cap with that paint color, gets me thinking about painting my Ralley wheels..
I started disassembling the engine and here is what I found under the main bearing caps.
First a little history: I was able to locate and contact the PO that had the engine rebuilt six years ago. He was more than happy to talk to me about the truck and told me some history about the engine rebuild. After the original rebuilt, he had a main bearing ceased up due to a bearing being too tight and the machine shop remedied it by adding .001” shims to all the main bearing caps. He had also experienced low oil pressure issue after the rebuild.
The first shim under the rear main is not .001” thick, but .009”. I had planned to Plastigauge all of the bearings and ordered a set on line last year. That’s when Murphy’s law came into effect. I went to use them and there wasn’t any plastic line in the package. Neither the green (.001”-.003”) or the red (.002”-.006”) that I ordered contained any gauge. I figured I could go to the “not so local” NAPA dealer 20 minutes away and buy what I needed. The only gauge they had was .001”-.003” so I settled for that.
I Plastigauged the rear main bearing and it is larger that the .003” the gauge is limited too. It just started to squeeze out but not measurable on the scale. I needed the red package. I stopped right there as I don’t think Plastigauge is going to tell me the story.
I was anticipating having to pull out a small shim, but when I encountered the .009” shim, that has me really perplexed. It would seem to me if they needed a little more clearance, why would they put a .009” shim in? At this point, I’m going to pull the crank and get proper mic readings. That way it will tell me what the real story is.
Sounds like some machine shop magic, Not Good. I would thing that undersized bearing are still available for that engine. Glad you were able to discuss this with the PO, answered a few of your questions about low oil pressure. I think your going to be fine once you correct the bearing issue.
7/29/20: Yesterday, with the help of some knowledgeable Stovebolt experts, I was finally able to disassemble the engine and pull the crankshaft. What I found was not unexpected. The crank was already reground .030” under and the rear main bearing was ground to .027” under standard, which is .003” shy of what it should have been. We found the smoking gun.
Jerry suggested either find a shop that could handle regrinding the main journal the .003” it needs or find a another crank to regrind. If It could be reground, I would still need to address the rear main seal area.
I had a couple of Automotive Machine Shops in my area, recommended by some fellow “Bolters”, so I’m going to give them a call and see whether its possible.
8/04/20: After finding one cam bearing that has .005”-006” clearance, I’ve decided to take the entire block to a machine shop to hopefully straighten out my low oil pressure issue once and for all. They are going to check out all of the clearances then give me a call with their findings. They said if the other journals check out, they could grind the one oversized crank journal and go back with 30 over bearings.
I dropped it off early today trying to beat hurricane “Isaias”, so while its at the shop I’ll be cleaning the rest of the engine parts for reassembly and clean/prep the engine bay for painting. Once the engine is reassembled, I’ll be giving the engine a new paint job. My thoughts are I want to get rid of the “Chevy Orange” and go with the original gray paint from 1952.
I will also be replacing the leaky rear seals and brake shoes on the rear end.
Last on the list is a noise I have when I release the clutch. I originally thought that the sloppy clutch fork pivot wasn’t pulling the clutch release bearing away from the clutch far enough to disengage. After initial inspection of the transmission, I found that the pilot shaft is worn where it enters the pilot bushing. I need to measure to confirm this but the crank is at the shop. I suppose I’ll need to check the roller bearings too.
One of the items on my list while the engine is out was a noise that was coming from the clutch/transmission area. When I release the clutch fully and the transmission is in neutral, there is a noise that sounds like the the clutch throwout bearing was still engaged. When I was investigating the noise, I found that the clutch fork was loose on the pivot ball. When I removed the bell housing, the pivot was indeed worn needing replacement.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of my problem. I checked the transmission and found the both the input shaft and the output shaft have slop. Today I disassembled the transmission to diagnose the issues and found that the input shaft (sometimes referred to as the clutch shaft) ball bearing was bad. I believe that accounts for the noise I was hearing. I found that most of these parts are readily available. Unfortunately, I found that the rear bearing support bushing is severely worn. According the the shop manual, if this bushing is worn, You are suppose to replace the bearing support and bushing as a unit and I have not found where I could buy a replacement.
I removed the main shaft, synchronizer drum and first gear cluster and decided not to remove any of the other gears. They physically look great and have no noticeable slop. My plan is to get a rebuild kit, replace the input shaft bearing, the associated roller bearings, main shaft bearing and attempt to procure a replacement rear bearing support.
I suppose if all else fails, I could pick up bearing bronze, press in a bushing and cut it down to a finish size.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning the parts and getting the casing ready for a satin black paint job.
That's a slick repair on the heater opening, you really need to look close to see it.
Over the past week I have been trying to tie up some loose ends in preparation of reinstalling the engine.
The block is still at the machine shop. The owner, a week after accepting the block, got a “Killer” deal on a crank grinder that was to be installed last week. He said because one journal only needed to be ground an additional three thousands, it would be best to do it on the new grinder. I agreed and now I’m hoping to hear about it soon.
I finally received all of the parts I needed, rebuild the transmission and gave it a nice coat of satin black ready to reinstall when the engine goes in. I replaced the input and main shaft bearings, the tail shaft bearing and retainer, tail shaft universal yoke, one of the shifting forks as well as all of the gaskets and seals. I follow a YouTube video (by jayhawker) to rebuild it and it made it easy. The tail of the tranny was slightly different but everything else was spot on. It feels so much smoother and sounds so much better, I totally expect it to silence the transmission noise I had when the clutch was out and the tranny was in neutral. I’m also hoping that some of the transmission whine is gone.
I also wanted to relocate the horn relay, the headlight relays to better locations and accomplished that task. I also relocated the ballast resister to get it off of the coil it was previously mounted to.
I’ve been wanting to fix a leaky drivers side axle seal that I discovered in the spring of 2019, that leaked all over the brake shoes. During that time, I was wintering in South Carolina and didn’t have the tools to accomplish pulling the axles, so I cleaned up the shoes, reinstalled them until I got back to NY. Since, I have been repairing higher priority stuff and was not able to get to the brakes. Since I’m still waiting on the engine, I pulled the rear drums, brakes, axles and the axle bearings and seals. I didn’t expect any issues as the axles didn’t have any slop. I was surprised to find both axles had corrosion on where the bearings ride and on the seal area necessitating replacement.
Now to find the axles.
Do you think the axle will polish out? I may be worth the effort as long as you don't remove to much material.
Not a chance. If it was just the seal area, reducing that a few thousands may work with a new neoprene seal, but its also where the bearing rides. I can't take anything off of that.
: Over the past few weeks I’ve been cleaning, taking dents and dings out of the sheet metal parts, getting ready for the return of the engine that is still at the machine shop. The news on the engine is not good. Basically they need to re-machine the entire block taking the journals out to the next oversized bearing. That includes the main, rod and cam journals. During the last engine rebuild (two PO’s ago), that has only about 200 miles on it, the shop never properly cleaned the block, so particles dislodged and ran thru the bearings scoring most of the bearings. That was in addition to the poor machining that was done. I elected to have them assemble the block so all I will have to do is put on the head, the sheet metal and the rest of the components.
Today, I wanted to feel like I accomplished something on the truck so I installed a new top cowl drain hose and hood to cowl seals along with new hardware.
: Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to resolve the rear axle issue. I haven’t had any luck in finding any axles in good shape, so I’ve been exploring my options. I found that some Buick’s use the same bearing that my ‘52 3100 use but in addition they use an inner sleeve that gets pressed on to the axle. I ordered two of these sleeves and I’m working on machining the axles to accept those sleeves. I’m optimistic that this sleeve will work on our axles. There is another thread on this same subject that explains all of the details. LINK
The pictures show the before and after. I’m optimistic only because the sleeve was barely long enough to cover the area that both the bearing and the grease seal area the ride on, making locating the sleeve difficult. I’m pretty sure I have the location correct, but I won’t be sure until I reinstall the axles.
I also picked up my engine block today and ended up leaving the head for them to look at. Two of the pistons had evidence that an exhaust valve had made contact with the piston at one time. They popped the suspect valves out and found no issues. While I was there, they performed a leak down test and found a few valves were leaking, so I left it with them so they could clean, magnaflux and regrind the valve and seats. At this point, all I see is $$$ flying out the window! With all of this work I’ve been doing, hopefully will finally put the mechanical issues to bed! Only time will tell.
Reading through your posts, man you ripped that can of worms wide open!
Good choice though, I would hate to waste all that time, effort and $$’s.
The research you must have done on the valve train to figure out the various pieces, jeesh!
The firewall repairs look good, nice work.
Keep posting, I am very interested to hear how it all comes together.
Thanks, and you’re right, it was a can of worms. Unfortunately, I really didn’t have much choice. Like many of our fellow bolters, I’m trying to restore a 68 year old truck back to a reliable status that has been cobbed together by PO’s that owned a hammer and an adjustable wrench, and actually called themselves mechanics.
The biggest shocker was that engine was rebuilt by a supposedly reliable engine shop (and I have 1,800 dollars of receipts by a PO to prove it), and it would not hold oil pressure. I tracked down and spoke to the owner that had the engine rebuilt and he said that right after he got it back, a main bearing froze up. He removed the engine, sent it back to the shop for them to fix it. After reinstalling, the engine oil pressure would drop to less than 5 lbs when it got hot. The poor guy didn’t have a mechanical aptitude, so he hired somebody to do the work. After the low oil pressure issue, he gave up, the truck sat in a shed in his back yard for five years, then he sold the truck. I spent over a year trying to diagnose the issue hoping for an easy fix. When I finally gave up trying to fix the problem with the engine still in the truck, I discovered the fix the shop had done. They added .010” worth of shims to every main bearing cap, so its no wonder why it was dropping pressure. The work was so sub par, that I had to have the entire engine re-machined by a reliable shop.
Hopefully when I finally get the engine and drivetrain reinstalled, I will have a reliable truck. Thanks again for your interest and support!
I finished machining the drivers side axle and pressed on the sleeve. I also temporarily installed both axles and it looks like the replacement sleeves are going to work.
I was able to complete this job in about two hours, a considerably shorter time it took to machine the first axle.
I searched for new gaskets that get installed between the inside of the axle flange and the grease deflector and only found them for 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. Fortunately, its not a high tech gasket and is easily reproduced using 1/32” paper gasket material. After making the gaskets, I used coppercoat gasket sealer on both sides, then assembled the axle assembly by pressing in the axle studs with my 20 ton press. I finished by giving the flange end of the axle a nice coat of satin black. All ready to reinstall!
Some very creative solutions to your problem. I am seriously jealous of your machine skills. I worked at a small machine shop in High School run by an old Russian man. He was one of the biggest influences in my life and no doubt the best Boss I ever had. He retired and his son ran the business into the ground, he had no interest in seeing his fathers shop prosper. I often wish I had pursued that career field farther... You are doing some really great work.
I got the axles installed and it looks like the new sleeves are going to work. While I was working on the axles, I was also going to make up new brake lines on the axle and inspect the brake cylinders prior to reassembly. I pulled out one the rods that go into the wheel cylinder on the passenger side and it had moisture in it. I pulled that cylinder and tried to pry off the dust cap. Not knowing how it was assembled , I end up destroyed the first one but saved the next three after finding out how they were assembled. This came back to bite me in the a$$. I was able to press out the frozen pistons and hone out the cylinders so I thought I was on easy street. That was not the case as I was not able to get a rebuild kit that contained the proper dust seal. I ordered a kit from my local NAPA dealer and the dust seal attached externally not internally like the original. I then looked online in the major auto parts suppliers and none of them carried the rebuild kits, just the cylinders at $40 apiece.
I relented that I was not going to get the wheels back on the truck anytime soon and decided I would order the kits from my go to online supplier “Classic Chevy Trucks”. Their rebuild kits was also on backorder but had new wheel cylinders for $30 apiece, so I ordered them. I also needed to replace a brake shoe hold down that mysteriously disappeared some time before I disassembled the drum. I figured I would order a hardware kit and replace everything so I added that to my list, in addition to a few other odds and ends. When I got my conformation email, I saw that the hardware kits were also on backorder. When I placed the order it did not say anything about a backorder! I guess I’ll have to call them to find out how long the backorder is.
In the meantime, I have turned my attention to reassembling the engine. I got my head back on Friday. They hot tanked and Magnaflux the head, refitted the valve guides because some were too tight, re-ground the seats and valves, decked the head and gave it a nice Chevy orange paint job! It looks fabulous but unfortunately, I’m changing the engine color back to the factory original color gray in which I already purchased from Bill Hirsch.
So far I got the oil pump reinstalled and fabricated a bushing to center the timing cover on the crankshaft. I’m actually seeing light at the end if the tunnel!
I know that you have plans to complete a frame off sometime down the road, looks like your ahead of game already. With me the light at the end is usually stars from being hit in the head with whatever I was working on. Making progress is a good thing and you have a lot to show for your work.