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Old 07-14-2020, 09:42 AM   #1
jasonpotts
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55 truck build

I wanted to share some pictures of what I am building.

55 with a caprice chassis, LS and 5 speed..

Once we got a caprice home and stripped it we found the frame was bent on both sides at the body mount that is under the B pillar. Apparently this is common and Impala's and some cop cars have this mount added where my basic grandma car just had the empty mount.

I used my hoist a propane torch, cable puller, all thread and a hammer. I was able to pull the dips out of the frame, and suck it back in parallel. To keep from pulling the top away from bottom i used a long eye bolt and snugged nuts under the top and bottom section of the C at the same time, to make it pull as one piece

Once I had it straight enough I welded in internal gussets inside the C section, then wrapped the frame in 12 gauge plate and fully welded it in
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Last edited by jasonpotts; 07-14-2020 at 12:21 PM. Reason: re-orienting pictures
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:51 AM   #2
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Re: 55 truck build

The kit comes with cab mounts which i put in the wrong place, and a rear suspension section that replaced the factory one. I Used the plasma to cut the heads off of the factory rivets and then knock them out.

I had a lot of figuring out as I went, and a few mistakes. I think without a plasma cutter it would have been very hard to get it all done
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Last edited by jasonpotts; 07-14-2020 at 12:15 PM. Reason: re-orienting pictures
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:08 AM   #3
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Re: 55 truck build

I did not know you could buy pre-built control arms. Not having a press, replacing all the bushing and ball joints was the most frustrating part of the project so far.

I test fit the motor with Ebay motor mounts for a ls motor in a caprice.
I found an easy way to get the motor mount bolts up through the frame. I used a weight and thread to drop down through the holes, and then tied the tip of bolt to thread and pulled it up through the frame.

The truck sits up on the frame a bit and so the motor is really down in the engine bay. Its actually pretty hard to work on with the fenders on the truck.
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Last edited by jasonpotts; 07-14-2020 at 12:19 PM. Reason: re-orienting pictures
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:10 AM   #4
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Re: 55 truck build

I used a few websites and you tube videos and thinned down the engine harness. It really was not too bad, but next time I will use a fuse block pigtail. Making up the fuse block was the hardest part, just getting it all to fit.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:22 AM   #5
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Re: 55 truck build

I ordered a new TKO 500 as a kit from speedway.

I could never get the bellhousing to zero out when trying to align it. I had a "machine shop" true it up. Well they ruined it ended up taking almost 1/8" off of one side. I had to replace it and went with the cast aluminum piece. It worked great out of the box and only needed the use of offset dowel pins to get it right.

So... i ordered a mid shift kit for the TKO. I went to install it and and it all went sideways.

As i pulled the tailshaft housing off. all sorts of shims, needle bearing etc came loose, and jammed up the housing. I could not remove it no matter what i tried.

So head bowed in defeat i carried a box of parts and the transmission to a local shop. $400 later that had it all together.

I install it in the truck and it will not shift right. Every time i go into 5 or R it binds up and you have to slam the stick to get it out. On top of that it is super notchy in and out of gears.

I pulled it back out and shipped it up to Bowler. They got it all right and re-installed the original shifter as it turns out i had room for it all along. (Bowler found parts missing from the first shop that fixed it)

Im not thrilled with the stick I have but it can be changed out later on
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:57 AM   #6
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Re: 55 truck build

The caprice frame is really wide, and i wasn't happy letting the back of the cab look all chopped up. My buddy made me these pieces and i was able to weld them in to make it look better
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:01 PM   #7
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Re: 55 truck build

I spent months getting mad and walking away from the brakes. I was bound and determined to keep the ABS functioning from the caprice donor car.

The caprice uses a Bosch 2U ABS system. It is completely stand alone from the caprice, and not integrated into the caprice wiring at all. I re-located the pump down onto the frame rail and ran all new lines.

I used a firewall mounted booster and master system from CPP setup for rear disc. For that i used a kit for some other 10 bolt. I cannot find a good kit for the 5 on 5 bolt pattern so I used a different kit and turned the axle flange down on a lathe to fit inside the new rotors.

No matter what I could not get brakes to bleed. I could get all the air out, but they would never make pressure, pedal would go almost to the floor.

I got another abs pump and made up a box to cycle and hold the solenoids in the pump while i was bleeding.... still no pressure.

I removed the ABS and made all new hard lines, still no pressure

One day i was under the dash while the motor was running and i could hear a whistling vacuum noise. I found that the brand new booster was bad. it was drawing vacuum around the pushrod. When i took it off the truck all sorts of parts fell out.

So I will still get around to making the ABS work, and i will try to document what i do
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Old 07-14-2020, 01:20 PM   #8
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Re: 55 truck build

the bed had been pretty badly treated as well. The stake holes had been welded closed, and the tailgate too. They ran a bead all the way around the tailgate from the inside, cut off the chain hardware and latches, welded up the holes for tail light brackets, and worst of all the little folded over seam on the bedside at the tailgate had been cut off.

We found an old trailer/bed on my BIL's farm and while it was rusty it was all there.

I opened up the stake holes but the factory metal was missing where the punching process should have folded it inside the pockets. I cut those out and replaced with old pieces from the trailer.

I did the same at the back, removing the last 2 inches or so of the bedside and splicing it in.... I did have to order a new tailgate

Maybe two weeks after work, but it saved my buying and shipping two new bedsides
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:36 PM   #9
straight6chevyguy
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Re: 55 truck build

Looking good!
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1965 chevy c20 292 4speed http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=777601
1976 chevy c10 250 4speed http://www.67-72chevytrucks.com/vboa...d.php?t=787037
1998 chevy c1500 4.3L 5speed (My current driver)
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:58 PM   #10
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Re: 55 truck build

Thanks, I know its not as good as alot of the work on here, but im doing it with a hammer and drill and welder... mostly hammer. Some of the work these guys on here do makes chip foose look like a hack
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:19 PM   #11
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Re: 55 truck build

You look to be doing very well with what you have.

It must be a precision hammer you are weilding there.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:11 AM   #12
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Re: 55 truck build

Thanks for the reply,

Ive got it ready for first drive, but other cars in the way, house projects, trying to get a home and shop packed, cleaned and repaired so we can get it on the market, trying to get closed on a new place, and renovations there too...

The first drive looks like it will be onto a trailer, maybe by the fall ill be able to report back that it is moving under it's own power
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