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Old 03-24-2014, 07:06 PM   #1
59chev
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59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Welcome to the build thread for my 59 Apache. I’m currently 34, married and have two daughters ( 2 and a half years old and 2 months ). Needless to say I'm not working on the truck as much as I would like to right now, but slow progress is being made. I first bought this truck when I was 17 and got it on the road a few years later. This build thread will start with the day I towed it to home to current day, then cover the progress and the current re-build plan moving forward.

I first saw my truck from the window of the school bus sitting out in front of a body shop in a small town when I was about 14. At the time I didn’t know what it was, it just looked cool. I used to drive my parents crazy always talking about it. They finally said “Why don’t you see if you can buy it?” For $300 it was mine. These pictures are from the day we towed it home. It was in pretty sad shape, every single body panel except the doors had serious dents or rust. There was almost a foot of metal missing from the cab corners. Someone had left water without antifreeze in the original 235 engine and the block was cracked from one end to the other through the water jacket. The truck had sunk into the dirt a good 6 inches but the old tires still held air. In restrospect I would have been better off finding something in better shape, but at the time it had to be this specific truck.







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Old 03-24-2014, 08:30 PM   #2
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Welcome.
This should be a nice build thread.
Kim
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:35 PM   #3
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

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Welcome.
This should be a nice build thread.
Kim
Thanks. I am currently building it for the second time. The first time the truck stayed mostly stock. Funny thing, when it was done it rode and drove like a 50 year old truck

This time I'm taking a different approach.
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:05 PM   #4
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

I started tearing into it right away. I had no real tools except for hand-tools, no shop to work in and the limited cash flow of a 17 year old. I had the crazy idea that I would have it ready for my high-school graduation. Wow was I wrong!!

First I pulled off the front clip and the box and gave it a “Rustoleum Restoration”, scraping the rust off the frame with a scraper/wire brush and de-greasing the front end then painting everything with rattle cans of gloss black rust paint. Notice how much of the passenger side cab corner is missing.





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Old 03-27-2014, 03:47 PM   #5
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Next, I focused on making it stop and go. My grandpa taught me how to rebuild drum brakes, and I did my first ever brake job on this truck. The drums where worn so thin that we ended up just busting them off with a big hammer. The brake lines and fuel lines where completely rusted through so I also learned how to cut and flare tubing as we replaced all the brake and fuel lines on the truck. I also replaced the engine with another supposedly “good” 235. This was the first of many “learning experiences” I had with this truck. Instead of checking to see the condition of the engine or that it even ran I moved on to more important things, like painting the engine and starting on the body work. More on this later…







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Old 03-27-2014, 05:19 PM   #6
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

It does look nice.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:38 PM   #7
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

I guess we all know where this "engine" thing is headed! Good looking truck, can't wait to see additional pictures.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:01 PM   #8
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

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I guess we all know where this "engine" thing is headed! Good looking truck, can't wait to see additional pictures.
Let's just say I've gotten good at swapping engines .

Engine #4 is sitting on the stand waiting to go in. The "good" 235 was engine #2 for this truck.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:32 PM   #9
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

The next thing to get done was cab corners and the dent on the back of the cab. I also bought a different set of fenders that did not have the headlight brows rusted out. I didn’t own a welder yet, but the gentleman I bought the truck from owned a body shop and let me help with the repairs.

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Old 03-31-2014, 03:14 PM   #10
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Here is my first try at the interior. I sanded it down and painted every thing everything GM tan and gloss black with a rattle can. Notice my excellent repair of the floorboards. At the time fixing the holes in the floor meant bending up some sheet metal by hand and screwing it to the floor with sheet metal screws. I am currently re-doing this the right way , only 15 or so years later. Also notice that the seat has been replaced with a seat I found in one of the old cars on the farm. It was out of a 66 Dodge Fury 3 and fit perfect in the truck cab. Once I threw a seat cover on it it actually worked good and didn’t look half bad.

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Old 03-31-2014, 08:36 PM   #11
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

I rattle canned car dashes when I was younger. Was cheap and got the job done.
Kim
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:08 PM   #12
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

and preserves your truck for when your an old empty nester with the time to redo it again, like ogre
been there, done that. looks good too
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Old 04-01-2014, 03:06 PM   #13
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Next, the exterior got some attention. The cab, fenders and hood received some body work and a coat of primer. I mocked the front end up and painted the hood emblem by hand.



My first car is in the background, a 78 Pontiac Grand-Prix. It was the only car I have ever owned, the rest have been trucks. It had a small 301 Pontiac engine in it but it was still a fun car.



The original box was extremely dented and rusted out. It got replaced with a rust free long box from a 58 GMC.

In the background you can see my brother’s first project, a ’64 Valiant Barracuda. He sold it before really starting on it and replaced it with a running 1974 Dodge Dart.



The drivers fender on the GMC box had the spare tire cut out which I didn’t want, so we cut the good top out of the original fender and welded it in as a patch to eliminate the cut out. I think that was the only part of the original rear fenders that wasn't dented or rusted out.The body work wasn't perfect but at least there was no visible rust and the huge dents had been repaired. I can't remember why a different color primer was used on the box vs the cab.

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Old 04-01-2014, 04:46 PM   #14
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Nice work.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:12 PM   #15
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

At this time, I also replaced the bedwood. We cut and notched some plain spruce boards and replaced the bed strips with 2” flat steel.



I’ve always liked what we did to the tailgate, strips of metal where welded in to smooth the rib that surrounds the Chevrolet in the center. I have had it so long now, that a stock one looks incorrect.

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Old 04-03-2014, 02:45 PM   #16
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Now that the truck was starting to look decent, I then finally bothered to check on the condition of the 235 that I had previously purchased and found out that it was shot. I pulled it out before the truck ever drove under its own power and replaced it with a rebuilt 261. The 261 ran great and was the engine that I drove the truck with once I got it on the road. I recently replaced the 261 with an engine that will be slightly more fun. More on this later..



I found out that it is a lot harder to install an engine, especially a long inline 6 with the front sheet metal still on the truck.



The original 3 on the tree shifter was wore out and had so much slop in it that it would get stuck between gears, I replaced it with a Hurst truck shifter on the original 3 speed transmission.

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Old 04-04-2014, 04:14 PM   #17
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Time for wheels. I was still running the stock axles at this point so I needed 6 lug wheels. 80’s chevy 4x4 wheels had the same pattern. It took 3 different wrecking yards to find a matching set of 5 wheels with the same width, backspacing,ect. I took them to a do-it-yourself sandblasting place to get them cleaned up then primed,painted and clear-coated them with rattle cans. They still look good almost 10 years later.



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Old 04-05-2014, 03:53 PM   #18
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

By this point, I had the truck running and driving, but it needed to be a single color. By this point my girlfriend ( now wife ) and I where renting a townhouse with a small single garage. I scuffed the whole truck with a small electric jitterbug sander and had to finish it by hand with sanding blocks after I burnt it out from overuse. I then took it to a body shop and had it sprayed with epoxy primer.







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Old 04-05-2014, 04:09 PM   #19
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

This is the end of the first build of my truck. I drove it like this for 4 or 5 years until the original 3 speed transmission wore out. It would jump out of 3rd gear so bad that it got to the point I had to hold the shifter in order to drive it.

The truck got parked for another 5 years. I didn't mean for it to sit for that long but I got busy with getting married and building our first house and the birth of our first daughter. During this time I researched and planned how I was going to build the truck differently the second time.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:31 PM   #20
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

It came out real nice for a first time build.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:39 PM   #21
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

I agree with Kim, so are we going to transition in to phase II...
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:59 PM   #22
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

I've been collecting parts over the past couple of years. Progress began on phase 2 this past October, stay tuned...
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:04 PM   #23
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

While the truck was parked I had some time to think about what I wanted to accomplish the second time around. The first time I built it, it ended up pretty much stock. As far as a learning experience of rebuilding my first project this was the easiest way to go because you pretty much remove the old part and bolt on a new one. The downside to this was when I was done, it handled and performed like a 60 year old truck ( big surprise ). I knew that I had to do something about the transmission, so my planning started here. I considered 4 options:

1) Repair or replace the 3 speed – I threw this option out right away. With the 3.90 rear gears and the non-sycro-2nd, 1:1 3rd gear. This transmission just wasn’t much fun for a young guy in my 20’s. If I started in first I was shifting by 10 mph, so I would start in 2nd most of the time. Also on the highway, I could only do about 50mph before the RPMs got too high. I could replace the rear with a higher gear but then I still had the non-syncro 2nd to deal with.

2) T5 behind the 261 - Cheapest option, better top speed on the highway, would need a new driveshaft.

3) 700r4 behind the 261 – seriously considered this as an automatic was looking better and better with stop and go driving in the city. However the adapters I priced out where around $1000 by the time I got it to Canada. Would need a new driveshaft as well.

4) 700r4 behind a V8 – More performance than the 261 could offer without serious work and the benefits of an overdrive on the highway. Would need a new driveshaft anyway.

Along with this I also wanted the truck to sit lower. I considered two options:

1) Camaro clip- sits lower and rides better than stock or dropped axle, disc brakes and v8 motor mounting included. Downside was it would be more difficult than anything I had ever done before.

2) Drop axle, mono or reversed eye leaf springs – by the time I upgraded to disc brakes, would cost the same or more than the Camaro clip. Benefit would be that it was bolt/unbolt and I did the first time.

I ultimately ended up deciding on the Camaro clip with a V8 and 700r4. I decided that this time around I wanted to only do things the way I wanted them the right off the bat instead of going the easiest/cheapest method. Lux Blue's thread on the Hamb convinced me that this was something that I could accomplish. I definately recommend this for anyone attempting a camaro clip for the first time.

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=148978
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:41 PM   #24
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Style

Even though I was born in 1979, I am drawn to the styles of the 50's and 60's. The plan is to build this truck in a mid 60’s low-rider / hot-rod style. Below are some of the trucks that are inspiration for my build.

Rob Fortier’s ( Classic Trucks, Rod and Custom ) 55
Classic Trucks - March 2003 http://www.classictrucks.com/tech/03...nsion_install/


Von Zipper’s 57


Mitch Titus' 56
Classic Trucks - January 2011 http://www.classictrucks.com/feature..._chevy_pickup/


Delmo's Jackalope and Kraken


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Old 04-07-2014, 08:42 PM   #25
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Re: 59 Apache - Lifelong obsession

Those are some nice trucks for inspiration.
Kim
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