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Old 04-19-2017, 06:24 PM   #1
kuda with the 55
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Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Hello everyone. My name is Kai and i'm 18 years old. I recently just closed a deal to pickup my 1955 Chevy 3100 series 2 step side in the summer. Its in relatively good condition with not a lot of problem rust and already some mods done to it. I have some ideas as to what i want to do but seeing how im only 18 i am not very experienced and have little knowledge about this truck (only that i love em). My first thing that i want to do for sure is upgrade the frame and suspension and brakes etc.. basically everything on the underside. I just want to get some advice and ideas on what i should start with and focus on and make sure is sound before i move on to other things. I eventually plan on air bagging her but thats a long ways down the road. i just want to lower her a little but now i keep rambling. again just any advice and ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:33 PM   #2
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

18 and not a lot of experience..hmmm..most of us have been there once.. the mods you listed are not necessarily something a novice should dive into alone..if your planning on doing the work yourself I would suggest you find some builders or car clubs local to your area to help you along..these mods arnt cheap either so be prepared for sticker shock on some of these items..if the trucks drivable, lowering and driving would be a great and relativality cheap starting place..
And welcome..
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:36 PM   #3
kuda with the 55
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

some photos
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:41 PM   #4
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Looks pretty solid..nice patina..
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:45 PM   #5
kuda with the 55
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Thank you. Im not going at this all alone. ive got my father to help me out but he's kind of trying to be involved as little as possible but he will definitely be there to help. but car clubs are a great idea thank you mongocanfly
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:35 PM   #6
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Nice purchase Kai, good to see younger generation liking the ole trucks too.
Check out the build threads here, these guys turn out some awesome trucks.
Just dig in , you will learn quick.
JT from SC
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:57 PM   #7
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Welcome.
Looks like a real nice start.
Guys on this site will give what ever help you need all you have to do is ask.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:29 PM   #8
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Welcome !! I got my 59 when I was 17. I did the same thing, got it running and drove it for a few years in stock form before I ripped it all back apart for phase 2.
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Old 04-20-2017, 12:04 AM   #9
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

I learned to drive my Dad's 1959 GMC when I was 16. He showed me how to rebuild the brakes, flush the rad and other things. This stage of learning are the building blocks of learning how these old time capsules work. I hope you see where I'm going here... get it road safe and reliable all stock first. It's cheap, easy and super rewarding and informative. Once you've mastered these basic repairs, you too will have the foundation upon which to really build it the way you want.

Side note. A couple of years ago a guy stopped by my house to admire an old car I had. He then showed me his car. A 1969 Pontiac Firebird with a factory 400! He was so proud of his car! All stock and so sweet!! He was 19 years old.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:53 AM   #10
kuda with the 55
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

I appreciate all the advice and wisdom on here. I plan on coming here for pretty much all the questions i have. I'm really excited to get started on her and just driving her around and cleaning up the patina as you guys suggested. thanks again
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:31 AM   #11
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

welcome to the forum. a bunch of real good guys on here with lots of years of work on everything from little tinkering jobs to full on complete build ups. if you run into a snag just ask, we are sitting by just waiting for a question, haha. we REALLY like the photos and that also helps us answer any questions you may have later. we can go back in the thread and see some detail before answering and come up with a more accurate answer for you.

nice looking project you have there. I haven't seen one with that style of heater before. it looks like it was a theft unit from a 61-66 style chevy truck. whatever, it works and frees up some space inside prolly. the battery was also relocated by the looks of things. it would normally be located on the firewall where the heater is now sitting

here are some common problem areas you may want to check out (and snap some pics for us onlookers please) that are prone to rust. hopefully you have a better truck cab than I started with.

the vent in front of the window allows water to enter the cowl area and should drain out the bottom of the cowl on each side. there is a small drain there and sometimes it can plug up with leaves or pine needles etc so the cowls actually fill up and start to drain out inside the truck on the floor. as it build up on rainy days the water drains through the vents on the kick panels by your legs. this rusts out the floor and the cab supports under the floor as well as starting on the hinge pillar areas around the lower door hinge where it attaches to the body.
the rear cab corners can rust out as well. there is a well area there, seen from inside the truck, that can collect stuff over the years (like rags or old gloves) and cause rust to start from lack of drainage
the eyebrow area, above the window, is a great spot for mice to nest in and store their little treasures. this can collect moisture and cause some pinholes of rust. mine was really bad so i had to replace the center section of the eyebrow.
the roof lower areas around the drip rail can get rust pinholes
the floor area behind the gas tank and rear cab mounts can collect debris and cause some rust to break down the integrity of the rear cab mounts and/or floor area
the rockers and steps are prone to being bent and rusty
the door hinges are usually worn out but can be rebuilt with new bushings and pins fairly easily
the doors can get cracked internally where the lower hinge bolts on, inside the door, and also in the area of the base of the vent window. there is a "web" there that connects the inner and outer door together and that web is prone to cracking. this causes the door to flex quite a bit so harder to get the door adjusted to fit properly

I included some pics of a dissassembled cowl area so you can see what it looks like behind the sheet metal. there would normally be an outer cowl to cover up the hole you see there that is the back side of the floor vent by your legs. also a pic of the lower door hinge area and the eyebrow and a pic of a scotts hotrods front end. hope it helps.

if you are planning on a new IFS (independent front suspension) at some point then do lots of research and ask lots of questions. check out the scotts hotrods style. they are a one piece crossmember that can be bolted, or welded, into the truck frame. the good thing is that the geometry is already done for you as far as placement of the control arm pivots at the frame end of things. a lot of the MII (mustang II) front ends require you to weld in the crossmember and the upper control arm attachment point and this can leave room for error. a little error here can cause a nightmare for front end alignment and once welded in it becomes a huge job to fix it after. besides, who doesn't like a bolt in.

anyway, I am getting ahead of things but understand you are dreaming of all the thngs you want to do to the truck to make it really cool and have your own signature. it already looks pretty cool as it is now, waaaay better than my project when I dragged it home or most of the other projects you will see on here. again, snap lots of pics as you go and post some on here to jump start us guys on our own projects and also keep us current on what you are doing. pics on a thumb drive are a great reference when you have torn something apart and can't get working on it again for awhile. memory for the details fades and you end up asking yourself how it is supposed to look. a quick check on the thumb drive has saved my butt lots of times. besides, it is a photo album to show your buddies what you are doing or have done.

have fun, work safe, wear safety equipment, take and post lots of pics. journal it so you can reference later when the truck is apart and you forget a key point. ask lots of questions. you're gonna learn lots.

try to keep the same thread going or start a build thread so your identity becomes known and/or can be clicked on for reference by the guys looking at a new thread by you possibly asking a question. the ideas can get lost in a bunch of different threads but the build link will be a good reference for us to go back and see what you are talking about. (ya, I know, I don't have a build thread. I am guilty as charged. mine went into oblivion somewhere. I really gotta start a new one. I never seem to have time and I have a million pics to sort through first. excuses I know).
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:33 AM   #12
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Welcome to the site. Looks like you have a decent start. Don't be afraid to ask questions on this site. Unlike many other sites these guys and gals are here to help.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:34 AM   #13
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

the cutaways in the inner fenders, are they for headers?
what does the inside of the cab look like, stock or slightly "personalized" over the years?
looks like a pretty solid unit. complete too. nice!
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:20 PM   #14
kuda with the 55
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Heres a couple more photos that i have. Im not sure about the cutaways. The previous owner has a 325 from a early 60's chevy car. Hes an older man with some dementia so he forgot. as soon as i have it in my possession in a bout a month ill know for sure what he has but its aftermarket for sure.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:59 PM   #15
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Quote:
Originally Posted by kuda with the 55 View Post
I appreciate all the advice and wisdom on here. I plan on coming here for pretty much all the questions i have. I'm really excited to get started on her and just driving her around and cleaning up the patina as you guys suggested. thanks again
Kai,
You've got one hell of a nice truck to start with and for what it's worth, starting at 18, will make you a lot smarter than me when you get my age. My suggestion would be to go over the essentials, electrical, brakes, steering and overall make sure it's safe. Do you know body work or welding? I'd suggest clear coat the body and drive it. I mean, have fun with it and when money and time allows, go for the other upgrades you've suggested. good luck.
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:07 AM   #16
Dan in Pasadena
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Kai,
Congratulations for appreciating this era truck at such a young age. Let me impart a little advice. There are three important basic steps:

1. Make it STOP! Nothing else is more important to start
2. Make it go. This means make it reliable, not necessarily fast - it won't be with a 235 but it CAN be super reliable.
3. Make it cool. This is when you begin to make it look like you want it to look. I'll add that almost every car guy you will run into wishes they'd kept the first car/truck they "loved" and had never sold it. Be patient.

Making your truck nice doesnt have to take an incredible amount of money unless you want it done in a month - then it costs a fortune. Take a look at the start of my thread, not the end.
I started out with a truck in worse condition than yours.

I'm NOT a fan of what guys call "patina" these days. To me, what they're calling that is the result of decades of neglect. To me patina is when an old vehicle has been so well cared for over the decades that the paint has been polished-through, the chrome still shines in places but has been polished until removed in the most noticeable places, etc.

My truck went from looking like crap; a derelict that hadn't been driven in over 10 years to a decent looking "shop truck" look with a bunch of Rustoleum spray cans, a LOT of elbow grease and $160 of vintage Torq Thrust knock off wheels from Craigslist.




Fix that front bed panel for $80 and sweat equity:
http://www.truckandcarshop.com/trucks47_59/t47_068.html

Here's your passenger side door for $150. An EXTREMELY good price by the way:
https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/pts/6085963691.html
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:05 PM   #17
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Hey Kai welcome the club! Like everyone has already said that is a nice solid looking truck and should be lots of fun.
Most important thing dsraven said: have fun, work safe, wear safety equipment ! Protect your eyes, ears and fingers! make sure the truck is solidly blocked when you work on it, jackstands under it before you get under it.
Check out Dan in Pasadena's build thread ( start with the first 40 pages or so ) http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=463698. This is a great way to get the truck reliable and ready to have fun with without breaking the bank.
I have done it one panel at a time like that in the past, late at night in a corner of the underground parking lot of the apartment I lived in when I was in college. Always cleaned my mess up, nobody didn't know nothin' lol.
Brakes, fluids, safe steering, tune-up the 327, clean everything, adjust, fix, learn. If your door is not rusty you can repair that dent easily and it will fit better than one you can buy.
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:17 PM   #18
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Don't mean to offend anyone but I'm not really a fan of this fad of spaying clear over patina, for all the trouble to spray the clear you can do a little more prep like sanding all that red primer smooth, and shoot it with a cheap auto or industrial paint, (maybe like the turquoise on the hood?) then a week or so after it dries give it a good scrubbing with coarse rubbing compound and rub through the paint in small areas on tops of fenders and hood. Then clean up with soap&water and you'll have patina or skip the rubbing and leave it like Dan's, very nice and easy to live with. The yellow 57 is mine, I painted it with urethane in my home garage and it turned out great (the flames were a lot more work and other materials)
ONE thing though: I would use some type of industrial or automotive(tractor paint etc) instead of Rustoleum or similar oil based enamels unless you are not planning to repaint the truck someday. Every spec of it will have to be removed completely before painting with automotive paints FYI...just my 2 cents
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:51 PM   #19
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

No offense taken here. I think everyone can agree and from i've gathered so far is that all opinions are valid on here. Ill definitely take what you said into consideration.
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:39 AM   #20
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

I have to admit that you are starting out with a real good candidate. Will be following your progress. Welcome to this site.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:33 PM   #21
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

The orange under the hood might suggest it may have been a public service vehicle, maybe for a city or a highway dept.
If you research the vin and the plate, you may discover the original owner was a city or dept. of transportation.
Some of the orange trucks were sold to Santa Barbara, and after 10 years of service, they were auctioned off, some for as low as $150
Great purchase.

You might do as the others have suggested, get the brakes working, engine running, trans shifting, and drive it for 6 months or so.
then you can get a feel for what your vehicle needs, and putyour money where it's needed.
Dan in Pasadena spent a year fluffing up his truck. It went from a beater to a 20 footer.
And If I remember right, it didn't cost him a thousand dollars to get it to be a nice driver.

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Old 04-26-2017, 08:35 PM   #22
Dan in Pasadena
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coupeguy2001 View Post
Dan in Pasadena spent a year fluffing up his truck. It went from a beater to a 20 footer.
And If I remember right, it didn't cost him a thousand dollars to get it to be a nice driver.
No, it didn't cost anywhere near that much cosmetically. It was all Rustoleum satin rattle can paint. The rims were a steal at $160 from Craigslist and the tires came from CL too very cheaply.

Mechanically it took more. All filters, fluids, tuneup, plugs, plug wires, converted to Pertronix ignition, redid radiator, rebuilt carburetor, yada, yada. But i did a lot of that piece meal so it didn't feel too costly all at one time.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:55 AM   #23
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Looks like a nice truck to start with and welcome aboard!

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Old 04-28-2017, 03:08 PM   #24
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Re: Starting my 55 series 2 short bed step side

Since you have some good patina going there, I would mask off the fenders and the cowl, and get some spray cans and paint the blue on the hood to white.
Then buy some 2000 grit sand paper and lightly wet sand the new paint until the blue is just barely seen coming through the white.
Do not sand the rust on the top of the hood, as you will mess up the patina.
You can deal with that when you paint the truck at a later date.
But for now, I would just kinda make it flow.

I would buy some baby moon hubcaps for the wheels, and use brillo pads and water to bring back some shine to those wheels.
Then clean all the windows, and if you need to, get the door seals so you can stop some rattling.
Then drive it like that for a few months.

Look on the internet at pics of 1955 chevy trucks.
See what you like and then go after it.

I would just get the stock mechanicals working for now.

It will take a lot of money and lots of time to make it a lot better. make a resolution that you will never sell it.
That way, you have eons of time to change things.
If you sell it, you will miss out on a totally awesome learning experience, and an indepth look into the 50's.

The best thing I did was to vow after I got mine running, I would never take it apart so far that I couldn't drive it on Monday to work if I had to.
That perspective allowed me to drive it, find parts, and install them until I was ready to do anything major.

When I did most of the mods, I put it down for three months and worked day and night till i got it back up.
It runs good, there are things that I need to do, but i can drive it anywhere.

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