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Project Build Up

1949 Chevrolet 3600 ¾ Ton Pick-up

Serial # 21GR-H8557

Assembled in Janesville, WI

125.5” Wheel Base

Production # H8557

 

For

Jeff Edwards

Fargo, ND

 

September through December, 2003

 

 

The truck had been purchased by Jeff from a party in Valley City, ND. Previous work had been done on the truck some years before and did look ok. As shown in the following, many things were hidden.

 

Jeff wanted a good dependable driver that could be used on the highways as well as town. A low mileage Chevrolet V8 was installed with an overdrive 700R4 Transmission which allowed the truck to be driven and cruise at 70 mph with ease.

 

The following pictures and captions give the story of the restoration and improvements on the truck for Jeff.  

 

This shows the engine and drive train removed from the truck. The replacement V8 is in the background. The 6 cylinder did run quite well, but was not capable of highway speeds and cold winter starting.

 

 

31 Chevy in back room

38 Ford on the side

 

The front clip was removed as a unit to facilitate the engine change and frame work. The amber turn lights a top the fenders will be removed and the grill bars will be straightened.

Here the front frame is cleaned up and stripped in preparation for media blasting for painting.

 

After media blasting to bare metal. The engine and transmission cross member mounts will be fitted as well as the V8 prior to painting.

Here the front frame and firewall is painted. Cross members have been welded in place and painted.

 

The V8 is installed along with new wiring for the engine compartment.

 

The engine was offset 1.5” to the passenger side for clearance by the stock steering gear.

 

Another view of the engine mounted. Note the cab glass has been removed as well as the windshield. Jeff wanted all new seals to make sure there are no leaks or glass problems. This also makes it easier to paint.

 

This is how not to do quality body work. The driver side cowl had been pushed in, most likely by the driver’s door. Some attempt had been made to pull the 2” deep dent, but little success. It can’t be seen but a vent door is under the 2” of filler.

To repair the driver’s cowl, we removed the damaged panel at the seams. A different cowl was cut from a parts cab and welded back in place. The driver’s door is removed for access.

 

The back fenders also had been patched, but not very well. Again, a good 1” or more of fill was used to cover the fender. Other rust holes added to the decision to throw the fenders in favor of some better used ones.

 

Rust, Rust, Rust in the usual places on these trucks. The toe board, kick panel, floor seams always seem to go on these early 50 trucks.

The drivers floor has similar problems though not as sever. This will be cut out and new metal fitted in and welded in.

 

Here the front clip and hood are moved to the back room and disassembly and stripping will begin.

The grill is removed and media blasted to expose all the blemishes. The 2nd and 3rd bars needed some work and were actually replaced with better ones from a parts grill.

One more look at the grill showing metal work being done.

 

The stripping begins, using 80 grit sand paper and chemical stripper to get to the bare metal. The previous job had been down to metal, but very little metal work was done, thus lots of filler.

One fender almost stripped, all the colored spots are dents that had been filled over.

 

More grinding and some metal work to get the dents out. There were also some dents on the headlight area that needed to be addressed, the fender well was pushed out and needed to be worked back in.

 

A thin paper skim coat of filler over the metal work to take care of any minor imperfections. This is blocked down with 80 grit, then 180 grit. More primer is added and blocked with 220 grit and any imperfections re-primed. A sealer is added and blocked with 400 grit prior to painting.

The hood is stripped including the top nose strip. The same process is used to get it straight as the front fenders.

Just an example of rust that is found on much of the box. Just way to many to justify repair to the box sides.

Upon further examination of the box sides, more filler was found and more not so great body work.

This is the used rear fenders we had that were stripped, repaired as needed and prepped for paint.

After block sanding the fenders are ready for final sealer, 400 grit blocking and paint.

Here Kelly is repairing some rust on the cab corners. It had just started on the very bottom edge. Also the back of he cab still shows the wrinkle on the drivers side. This was moved to the bottom and off the cab by using a “heat shrink” method.

Another look at the stripped cab and stripped rear frame.

This is the lower passenger door area behind the lower door seal. This was cut out and replaced with new steel.

This is the new metal welded in but not ground and finished.

A stripped drivers door. Media blasting was used to remove the material in all the tight small areas around the door.

Here is the rust hole Kelly was patching in the picture above.

This is the patch area on the driver’s side.

The rear of the cab after working the dents and wrinkles out.

This shows Kelly using a “stud gun” to pull some dents on the cab top. The gun welds a stud onto the metal and then we can pull the metal out and minimize the filler needed. This was used on all the panels and hood.

 

Note Kelly’s fashion statement.

Kelly is using the stud gun on some small dents in the cowl area.

The passenger side cowl area on the bottom also needed repair and the damaged area was cut out.

The damaged part is shown, looks like swish cheese. Most times if you see a dime size rust spot, you will need to remove a dollar size area or more to get all the rust.

Here the patch is welded in and ready for grinding, then fiberglass sealer and final body work.

The front cab area ground and ready for fiberglass sealer and body work.

The purple stuff is a fiberglass product that bonds and seals the metal so no moisture can migrate through. This is ground down and worked with the filler which is next.

The interior of the cab is stripped and filler work is being done on the exterior, note the long file being used on the back of the cab.

 

The Driver’s door had been damaged before and did not fit when reinstalled. We had to jack the door opening to get a proper fit.  This had been hit hard at one time.

The steering wheel was cracked and split in multiple places. This shows the areas trimmed out and ready for a fiberglass bonding filler. One this is done then the same process as any body panel to prepare it for paint.

The running boards were solid but bent a bit. Some hammering and very little filler gets them is shape. The box filler panel shown needed lots of work.

These are the top and side cowl vent doors prepped for final work.

The truck was torn down to almost nothing  so Jeff said go ahead with the dash as well. Here it is stripped of components and paint.

Back of the cab is in primer and ready for final block sanding.

New box sides arrive. The stake holes are filled with metal and welded in, ground and filled.

A stake pocket ready for fiberglass sealer and final body work.

Finally!! A very smooth original blue color. Base coat with clear coat Dupont was used. Note the dash is assembled, seat belts are in, the Lokar shifter is the tall nostalgic unit.

Front clip is installed, rear view mirrors, the glass is in as well as the radiator. It’s taking shape.

The entire cab was painted inside and out. New seat belts were installed for 3 people.

Assembly always seems to take so long? But details are what make the job. Should make steady progress now.

A look at the new box! All new sides and front and WOW! Look at that Oak bed! The Oak was sanded with 320 grit prior to the first coat and then sanded between each of the 3 coats. The bottom side got a good coat first. All new stainless hardware with painted metal retaining strips. I don’t think hauling rocks is an option.

A close up of the finished dash. The original gauges were retained with some auxiliary temp and oil mounted below the dash. All the rubber seals around the doors were replaced. Note the clutch pedal is removed, now an automatic.

Here she be, running and driving down the road. Very original and stock on the outside, but a nice cruiser under the skin. Full 12 volt system, V8 with overdrive automatic. Everything works!

Original style taillights, new chrome bumpers, new tail gate and all the chrome shined up.

One more look at the finished interior with door panels, seat and that very neat steering wheel.

Jeff picking up his baby. Note the wheels are now the original 15” ring lock wheels. The chrome moon type caps have not yet arrived. Jeff’s intention is to drive this baby every day!

 

 

 

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