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Old 06-22-2009, 04:12 PM   #1
MrTucker
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Project: Pack Rat

Like many of you - this will be a slow moving project, at first anyway! I wont be able to do much for the next 8-10 months because many reasons, but I thought you guys will get a kick out of this...

A little background first -

Back in February, after a pretty crappy day at the office, I went home to find my wife and father in law talking on the patio, she has an excited grin and then my father in law ask if I want a truck. Duh! So he says he has this 1953 GMC pickup that used to be his grandfather's, and it's been sitting in a barn in Montana for about 18 yrs and is in "pretty good shape." (remember that quote). The truck has a lot of history. He purchased the truck brand new in '53, and used it as a farm truck, mainly. The entire family has many memories of the truck. Nobody wants to get rid of it, but nobody wants to restore it either. When they heard I wanted it - everyone was excited and very glad that someone finally wanted it.

So for the next 4 months I'm getting more and more excited and finally the day to go pick it up comes. One of my good friends offers to help, so we take his truck and trailer and drive the 800 miles to my father in laws ranch in Montana.

Here's what we find:

the shed the truck was sitting in:


the big hole in the shed:


after the shed was torn down:


the interior


notice the light grey pile of crap under the passenger door:
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:26 PM   #2
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Nice looking truck but why did they build a chicken coop around it? Didn't they have a roof over it? Anyway, very nice and good luck with your project.
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:33 PM   #3
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

the interior with most of the crap shoveled out:


the motor (a 228):



a "dont do this at home" loading job:




As you can see - the description I got beforehand was not so acurate.

First off - the plates are from 1978, which means the truck hadn't been sitting for 18 years - it had been sitting for 31 years!

Second, the "shed" had no roof, and a huge hole in the front - which mean a family of pack rats had a hell of a home for 3 decades.

Third, it wasn't in "good shape" - it has some minor frame damage, a chevy front fender, no bumpers, and the interior, well, the pics tell the story!

but the bottom line is I got it home, and now have a big project on my hands!

More about the truck:
1953 GMC 1/2 ton long bed
228 in line six
4 speed hydramatic auto transmission
and almost zero rust! It has some spots on the floor that will need patched and the driver side rocker might be starting to rot - other than that, it's savable!


Last edited by MrTucker; 06-22-2009 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 06-22-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
TwiggyTheDrummer
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Haha. I love story of it and the fact that the shed had to be torn down around it. But all in all you're pretty well off. One rotting fender and a few rust holes in the floor is a deal. Man that is a sweet looking truck. Congrats!
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:28 PM   #5
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Just to clarify - the name for the project is Pack Rat because of the family of pack rats that destroyed the interior. There was a male, a female and 7 babies. These little bastards hoard everything possible to make a nest, and I mean anything! Almost every wire in the truck was stripped, every hose was chewed up, the entire seat was gone...it was insane!

The name "pack rat" has a new meaning to me


Last edited by MrTucker; 06-22-2009 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:37 PM   #6
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

I think it still has some life left....just needs some attention.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

nice beginning i did notice you are towing a 53 with a red dodge. just like i did. keep us up to date with too many pictures!
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:00 PM   #8
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Very cool story!
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:45 PM   #9
MrTucker
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Quote:
Originally Posted by mylow53 View Post
nice beginning i did notice you are towing a 53 with a red dodge. just like i did. keep us up to date with too many pictures!
GT
Yep! the red Dodge is my father in law's - a 2500 with the Cummins diesel. My buddies truck we used to tow it back to Denver was a 2003 Dodge 2500 Cummins with 6" lift and 37" tires...He's running about 700 hp, so we towed the '53 home at 85 mph, and averaged 12mpg!!

Last edited by MrTucker; 02-24-2010 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:03 PM   #10
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

the plot thickens...

Before we unloaded the Pack Rat from the trailer (where it will sit for the next 8 months ) we took the rig to the car wash to give the interior a good cleaning. When we unbolted the seat we found ANOTHER f'ing pack rat and 3 more babies! I couldn't believe they survived the trip. My buddy wanted to kill 'em, but I turned them loose into an empty field across the street. If they fought that hard to stick around - I couldn't kill them.

Anyway, the interior seems to be not as bad as I first thought. We've blasted out all of the crap (literally, there was probably 50 lbs of rat crap in there) we got down to the floor boards and to my surprise - they're not that bad! There are some spots where the toe board and floor board meet that are rusted through, but those spots are pretty small. The crusty crap on the dash seems to have really loosened up after a full bottle of cleaner/degreaser. I think either a very stiff nylon brush, or a soft wire brush and some more degreaser will really help clean up that dash. As for the rest of the interior, I'll probably just have it media blasted - it's pretty gross throughout and I think I'd rather pay someone else to deal with it

This will probably be it for the updates for a while. The truck is parked in my condo parking lot (no garage) so I'm limited on what I can do. Good news is we will be buying a house within the next year, then it's on!
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:19 PM   #11
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

...

Last edited by MrTucker; 02-24-2010 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:12 AM   #12
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Now thats on a whole different level than a little "mouse house"!!! Got any pics of it cleaned up?
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:20 AM   #13
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

This started out with a great history, I can't wait to see how the build turns out. Best of luck with the build, and be sure to keep us posted with your progress. Can't wait to see more pics... (hint, hint)
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:37 AM   #14
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Thanks for the comments! Pack Rat sure does have a fun history, and as aggrevating as the pack rats are - it actually adds to the character of the truck. I've already decided that I'm going to pin stripe "Pack Rat" into the tail gate and my wife thinks I should get PACKRAT for a liscense plate. Nobody will really get it, but there's a handfull of us that will get a kick out of it. Also, the fact that I was sent home with 3 sets of wheels and tires, and about 5 other lights, and the fact that the seat frame is now in the bed makes the truck look like a pack rat of it's own

I'll snap some pics of the "cleaned up" interior when I get home today. It still isn't much to look at, but it's a huge improvement.

I've cut through a bunch of the crud solidified to the dash, and apparently the interior is dark grey - which is one reason it looks so dark in there. I doubt the original paint on the dash is salvagable, but we'll see!

Anyone have any suggestions on a heavy degreaser/cleaner I can spray all over the dash/floor board to cut through the thick crap?

Last edited by MrTucker; 06-23-2009 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:48 AM   #15
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Try Krud-cutter. Its tough stuff but not too harsh. You can buy it at Home Depot or Ace hardware
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:23 PM   #16
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Smile Re: Project: Pack Rat

great story on that truck, looks like another one is getting saved! good job! as far as the plate you wife suggested, PACKRAT , it would be cool with a big block chevy in it, then you guys will always have the "inside joke" and it will still make sense to other people... either way good luck with the new project, no matter which way you go with it... good job!
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:48 PM   #17
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Honestly, I woulda kept the little stragglers...they were the True owners of the truck. I think it woulda been cooler to show them off at shows with the truck. Besides, in these times...can we really afford to boot families out of their house? haha...good story
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:23 PM   #18
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

No real updates here. I power washed the hell out of this thing after we pulled it out of the field, but never took any new pics. After watching a couple car shows on tv I decided I'd go check out the old girl - hadn't seen her in a couple months.

On with some better pics:

Side shots




"Cleaned up" interior






Motor



As you can see - it's going to be a big project, but not as bad as the pics make it look. The motor should just need a fresh set of gaskets and a tune up, and the tranny just a flush (hopefully). Ultimately I will rebuild both of them. The rest of the truck just needs sand blasted, painted and put back together.

I'm going to do a different route on this truck than what's on this board - stock

Seriously though, I planned on doing a typical hot rod project (not that there's anything wrong with that) but this truck is too rare and collectable to turn into "another" hot rodded 47-53.


Anyways, as you can see I've done nothing but clean her up a bit - but I know how you guys love them pics. Got a baby on the way so the truck will have to sit a bit longer than I had hoped, but that's ok.
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Last edited by MrTucker; 03-01-2010 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:33 PM   #19
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Interesting smell isn't it? I own a '59 Fleet option and it use to be the Pack Rat Inn. We removed the seat and had to pressure wash the floor forever! Then I scrubbed it with Bleach and Comet. After a year on the road I am finally able to drive it without "pack rat supplies" flying thru the cab. Nasty critters. Great project! I like it.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:45 PM   #20
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTucker View Post
...The rest of the truck just needs sand blasted, painted and put back together.
I'm not saying you're wrong but you're definitely being optimistic - which is good, BUT... I would caution that if you are thinking this is all she really needs you may come to rely on it and when the reality of extensive rust repair (probably) becomes apparent you may lose your enthusiasm for the project overnight...which would REALLY be too bad. Are you up for it, if that turns out to be the case?
By the way, I think a stock restoration/refurbishment would still be VERY cool. I like these trucks no matter what. I'm not a fan of laying frame, but I see plenty here done that way that I think are fantastic...I just wouldn't do my truck that way. But I definitely appreciate them
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:15 PM   #21
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan in Pasadena View Post
I'm not saying you're wrong but you're definitely being optimistic - which is good, BUT... I would caution that if you are thinking this is all she really needs you may come to rely on it and when the reality of extensive rust repair (probably) becomes apparent you may lose your enthusiasm for the project overnight...which would REALLY be too bad.
I tend to agree with Dan. Seldom can you get off as easily as it appears. It is however a good looking truck. Good Luck!!
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:12 AM   #22
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Ditto, you might want to add cutting and welding to that list.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:32 AM   #23
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Thats too cool!
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:29 AM   #24
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan in Pasadena View Post
I'm not saying you're wrong but you're definitely being optimistic - which is good, BUT... I would caution that if you are thinking this is all she really needs you may come to rely on it and when the reality of extensive rust repair (probably) becomes apparent you may lose your enthusiasm for the project overnight...which would REALLY be too bad. Are you up for it, if that turns out to be the case?
By the way, I think a stock restoration/refurbishment would still be VERY cool. I like these trucks no matter what. I'm not a fan of laying frame, but I see plenty here done that way that I think are fantastic...I just wouldn't do my truck that way. But I definitely appreciate them
Yah, I was trying to be sarcastic - sometimes hard to do over the internet. For sure, the floor will need some attention. Mostly likely the cab corners as well. BUT - the rest of the truck isn't in too bad of shape - it's just uglier than, well, rat chit

I know this will be a hell of a project, but it's really not as bad as it looks. The motor turns over, the tranny is free and shifts easily - it just needs cleaned up, some rust repair, and pretty much everything else


I've been sitting on this project for over a year now and have been looking the truck over every couple of months, so I'm very aware of what it needs. And I'm not wrong when I say she just needs a good cleaning, along with a totally new interior. But - "a good cleaning" is one hell of a job with this old girl...
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Last edited by MrTucker; 03-03-2010 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:33 AM   #25
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Re: Project: Pack Rat

Great thread! enjoyed reading it look forward to seeing you put it together.

Neal,
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