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Projects 51 Chevy 3100 project

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by simplestone, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. I got the pushrod side cover back on, adjusted the valves, and started the engine to see how she ran. Much better! It started easily and idled better than it ever has since I have owned it.
    I think at one time someone had adjusted the valves assuming the engine had solid lifters instead of hydraulics.

    That's the good news. Unfortunately, while the engine was running I noticed the oil being pumped to the lifters was not a nice dark black, but rather a muddy brown color.
    Right away I suspected a bad head gasket. I was about to go buy a new head gasket and tear into it, but then started thinking about it. I had checked the oil before and hadn't noticed any oil discoloration. So why all of a sudden would the head gasket be bad when I hadn't even been running the engine? During the past week while the valve cover was off the engine we had quite a few rain storms. Possibly, water ran through the hood holes where the hood ornament used to be, or maybe the vent cover drain (which has a broken hose) leaked water into the engine?

    So, I drained the oil and removed the oil pan since it was leaking around the old gasket anyways. After I pick up the oil pan gasket today I will put the pan back on, put a few quarts of new oil in, and run it again to see if I have any contamination. No sense in doing a new head gasket if there is a chance that rain water getting into the engine is the problem.
    Here is a pic of the nasty stuff I drained out.
    Keeping my fingers crossed that I will not have to replace the head gasket!
  2. Good news - I cleaned all the gunk from the pan and put in new oil. Now the oil being pumped to the lifters is clean!
    Thinking about it more, water could have gotten in when I degreased the engine. After degreasing when I removed the pushrod cover I noticed that a lot of the gasket was completely missing. This could have let a lot of water & degreaser into the engine.
    Anyways, one more step done. :)
    Time to get the front clip back on and complete the wiring to the front lights.
    shadams likes this.
  3. I haven't made any updates here for awhile, but I have been busy trying to button up loose ends. Mainly with the dash and interior wiring. One thing I wanted to fix was the original horn. A previous owner had installed a push button on the side of the column telling me there was something amiss with the original. And sure enough, when I wired up the original horn it was always on!!
    Took me a bit of trial and error to find the problem, but turns out that the bearing sleeve rubber had deteriorated and the brass ring was grounding against the column. To fix the problem I removed the bearing sleeve, and then used a piece of one of my left-over carburetor gaskets as the insulator - since one of the gaskets had a cutout that was the exact diameter of the sleeve. I slipped it over, trimmed off the excess and applied some silicon glue between it and the brass ring.
    Here is a picture that is not really clear enough to show the finished product.


    I'm using the original 6volt horn which is a little shrill, but seems to be working fine with the 12 volts. Haven't installed a horn relay yet, but thinking that might be a good idea.
  4. Worked a couple of days on the front fenders. Welding up the splits in the rolled fender openings and repairing the worst of the rusted areas. After that I wire wheeled the complete undersides and put on a coat of POR-15 and top coated that with black rustoleum.
    Got the front end in place with a few bolts and had to snap a couple of pictures. Starting to look like a truck again! :)


    Oh yes, redid the headlight buckets with the best of all the parts I had, and installed the wiring for those. I forgot to put on the headlight rings for the picture... :(
    chryslerfan55 and Bowtie Coupe like this.
  5. I finally got around to finishing up the seat belt installation. These were belts that I had stripped years ago from a 1980 Ford Courier before I junked it. They went in pretty well and I am happy with finished result.

    Getting the belts done let me move on to the seat back. I used the same technique that I did with the seat bottom - foam on plywood backing with a layer of polyester fill batting over the foam.
    I used 5/8" plywood and just traced my original spring seat back for a template. Also gave it a coating of paint to help seal it from the weather.
    I purchased 4 inch medium density foam for the back (6" high density for seat bottom) and used a 2" polyester batting. After sculpting the foam with an electric carving knife I glued the foam to the plywood with contact cement. A layer of the batting was placed over the foam and glued in various places to prevent shifting during the seat cover install.
    Here is a picture of the trial fit of my first attempt.

    After testing I really wasn't happy with it. With the seat positioned all the way back I felt I really needed more leg room. It was drivable, but just not comfortable. I am 5'10", and my wife is 5'2" so I had her test it. She could reach the pedals fine with the seat slid all the way back - so I knew something wasn't right.
    So I popped the staples, removed the cover, and peeled the foam away from the plywood. I cut almost 2 inches off the thickness of the foam. Here is a pic of the portion I removed.

    I put it back together and tested it again. Much better! If you look closely at the two pictures you will notice that I also tucked the seat back inside the seat frame this time (which is the location I think the original seat back was positioned). This provided over an inch of additional room.

    Also ordered (and received) a tachometer and electronic speedometer. I am looking at incorporating these into my original gauges. I will post more on that when I make some progress.
  6. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,698


    Looks great. Where did you get the seat covers?
  7. shadams
    Joined: Mar 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,491


    Great Lorena bobbit said, wont be long now.....
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  8. Here is my '53. Semi-custom king cab. I shortened the bed 1', lengthened the frame 1' and lengthened the body 2'. Has a late model Chevy truck rear end, 2004R tranny, tricked out later model 235. Power seats, power windows, power brakes A/C, tilt GM column. It has been sitting in this condition, finished, ready to start and run for about 7 years. I HATE starting new engines!
    Full side upholstry finished.jpg P1010559.JPG P1010560.JPG P1010561.JPG P1010564.JPG P1010593.JPG
  9. Wow, that is pretty sweet looking Willys36! You have to get that out on the road. What a unique AD.
    Bowtie Coupe likes this.
  10. Well, after over 5 years I finally took the old truck out on the road for its maiden voyage. My wife and I drove about a mile to her mother's house. Her mother is 83 years old and has fond memories of riding in the back of their family's pick-up when she was young. She wanted to go for a ride, and actually wanted to ride in the back! But since I only have a piece of plywood that is not bolted in I convinced her to ride up front. My wife took a short video of us backing out of the driveway and heading out for a trip around the block.
    I'm trying to post the video here...
    And coming back...

    Lots of apprehension, rattles, and smells, but overall a very successful first drive. One problem I addressed first thing this morning was to buy a shut-off valve to the heater since it was circulating coolant (hot) the whole time. Not a good thing on an 80-degree day. That $10 fix made a big difference. :)
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    shadams, Bowtie Coupe and low budget like this.
  11. Dropped the truck off this morning at the service station for its official inspection! I'm hoping nothing major is found, and I can start driving it. :) I can't believe its been over 5 years since we picked it up!
    shadams and Bowtie Coupe like this.
  12. Truck passed inspection with nothing needed! Only cost me $10. I think this is the cheapest vehicle inspection I have had in over 20 years. :)

    So, I am officially ON THE ROAD!
    shadams and Bowtie Coupe like this.
  13. That truck will run forever in that condition! I bought mine in a little better condition than yours but still VERY tired. I drove it for about 4 years trying to kill it so I could tear it down and rebuild it as shown above. I put about a quart of oil in it a week, knew it was time to add oil when the pressure gauge started bouncing on zero. The crazy thing just wouldn't die!!
    Bowtie Coupe likes this.
  14. Well, I certainly like your rebuild Willys36! Maybe someday I will have to do the same. :)
    Bowtie Coupe likes this.
  15. Holy Crap! $10.00 for an inspection. In my area, it costs $70 just to bring your vehicle into the inspection bay!!
  16. Inspections here usually cost $21 dollars just for bringing it in. I think mine was less because they did not have to do any kind of emissions check.
    Bowtie Coupe likes this.
  17. shadams
    Joined: Mar 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,491


    Congrats man! Love seeing a build thread to this point....
  18. Thanks Shadams!
    But it's not all smooth sailing yet.
    I've been trying to get rid of a chattering sound in the engine. Mostly occurs during acceleration. I have re-checked the lifter adjustments, adjusted the timing, and tweaked the carb idle mixture. It is better, but still not gone. Engine just isn't running smoothly when accelerating or at higher RPMs.

    But now I have a bigger issue. Started making a grinding noise upon decelerating or when disengaging the clutch.
    At first I thought it was the throw out bearing, but that wouldn't make sense because it also occurs when the clutch is engaged (unless it wasn't fully disengaging - which I have double checked). So then I thought it must be the pilot bearing.

    I decided to pull the transmission to check that, but upon disconnecting the drive shaft from the rear I discovered that the pinion nut was very loose, and there was a lot of play in the yoke! So that is a definite problem, and I hope I didn't screw up the rear axle gears. I sure hope I don't have to start looking for a rear axle... :(

    But before I finish pulling the transmission, do you think the grinding I thought was coming from the tranny could have been from the rear end?

    I guess it's worth a try to put some Loctite on the nut and give it a quick spin to find out.
  19. Unfortunately, that wasn't it. Noise is definitely coming from the tranny.
    Going to have to pull that out tomorrow. :(
  20. I pulled the input shaft pilot bearing - it is definitely shot. Now I need to figure out why it wore out so quickly. Looks like there is a lot of wobble in the input shaft. Not much end to end movement, but a good amount of side to side.
    I removed the bearing retainer, and the bearing & race appear to be fine. After looking at some youtube videos I see I need to check the needle bearings & output shaft where the input shaft mates. Hopefully the main shaft is not worn, but I will know more tomorrow.
  21. Input shaft bearings appeared to be fine. I re-shimmed the input shaft retainer bearing, and there is barely any wobble anymore.
    Replaced the pilot bushing. Boy, that was fun. It was a very tight fit, and it took a bit of pounding to drive it in. I probably should have thrown it in the freezer first (like I saw suggested in a couple of posts). Next time for sure.

    Unfortunately, after getting the transmission back in and starting the engine there is still a grinding when I disengage the clutch. I'm afraid I'm going to destroy the new pilot bushing again. So I'm not going to drive it this way.

    Not sure at this point what the problem might be. Could a worn out engine main bearing be causing this? How would I know if this is going bad? There is an engine tapping noise that I have been trying to chase down...

    Or do I give up and drop the transmission off at a shop to have it checked out? I'm guessing that is going to cost me $$ that I just don't have. :(

    Very discouraged right now after spending most of the weekend wrestling with the installation of the transmission. Definitely not a one person job.
  22. I pulled the tranny again and re-looked at the throw-out bearing. Although it spun freely it did seem a little "sloppy" so I decided to pick one up from the auto parts store and try it.
    No more grinding! :)
    I didn't have a chance to take it out for a spin because it started to rain before I got the driveshaft back in, but everything sounds good with the engine running and working the clutch while in neutral.
    I hope to be back on the road in the next few days. Only time will tell if there is something else going on with the transmission, but at least I'm feeling good about it once again.
  23. shadams
    Joined: Mar 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,491


    Awesome, glad it all worked out! Take a look at the last post in my thread when you have a few...
  24. Spent some time the last couple of weeks working on the bed of the old truck. I have been driving around with an old piece of plywood since I got it on the road a year ago and I figured it was time. I had already purchased the rails and bolts a few years back in anticipation of cutting & routing the boards myself, but last year I purchased a set of pine boards from a guy on craigslist that was re-doing his pickup bed with hardwood. Since they were still solid and already drilled, etc I figured I couldn't go wrong for the price.

    I gave the boards a quick sanding with my belt sander, then applied boiled linseed oil on top (two coats), bottom, ends, and sides. After letting it thoroughly dry (about a week) I applied teak oil to give it some UV protection. Here is a picture of it laid out in the truck before the teak oil was applied.

    Really happy with the way it is turning out. Today I started bolting it in for the final time. I'll post another picture when it is finished for good.
    LAROKE and Bowtie Coupe like this.
  25. I'll tell you though, it's a real pain in the a$$ installing all the washers, lock washers, and nuts on the bottom side. The bolts that don't go through the rails are easy enough, but the others - trying to get the washer, lock washer & nut on the end of the bolt when your fingers barely fit up inside the rail... :mad:

    Oh well, I'm getting there. I was hoping to finish it up today but it is currently raining.

    I also freed up the cowl vent for the first time since I have owned the truck (6 years). I was putting that off since it was not leaking in its frozen shut position, and I was also afraid of what I might find (rust, etc). It doesn't look too bad, but I still need to take the wire wheel to it before the jury is back.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
    Bowtie Coupe likes this.
  26. Well, it's been a long winter. I've finally been able to take the truck out for a few trips now that the town has stopped salting the roads. Although we did get another 6 inches of snow on April fools day! Haha - very funny...

    Just for reference, here is a picture of the bed wood after sitting out in the weather all winter. The yellow has all but faded out leaving the wood a brownish color - kinda fits the look of the truck better.
    I still have a little left to do on it (fastening the side rails to the bed sides), but I hope to get back on it now that the weather has finally turned.
    Also, hoping to get the running boards on and also start weather/sound proofing the cab.
    Bowtie Coupe and LAROKE like this.
  27. I haven't had much time this summer to work on the truck, but I thought I would share some pictures my sister-in-law took during one of her photo shoots. These pictures were taken using our truck and one of our dogs, Theo (a beagle pug mix). The pictures were for my wife's blog which features professional pet photographers. If you are a dog lover you might want to check out the great photos at

    Here are a couple of the pictures taken from the shoot.


    The link to my wife's blog which has the other pictures from this photo shoot is:

    PS: Feel free to enter the giveaway for a chance to win some pet food and treats!
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
    Bowtie Coupe and LAROKE like this.
  28. I posted the following in the "Best Reactions" thread and thought it should probably be included here as well.

    I was out doing yard work behind the house today when I heard someone out front honking their horn. I go out to see what's going on, and there is a car in my driveway with an older gentleman (turns out he is 85) behind the wheel. He tells me he wants to buy my truck!

    I politely tell him it's not for sale, but he starts asking questions about it; does it run, is it original, etc...
    I answer his questions and eventually ask him if he would like to take a closer look at it since it was parked about 80 ft away. He said he would, but thought he might need some help since his legs were not as strong as they used to be. As I assisted him to the truck he told me that he used to have one (it was also black) and he had named it Jimmy. Unfortunately, he had to get rid of it many years back.

    As he looked it over he continued to ask questions and even pointed out a few things it still needed. He also told me a few stories he had had with his old truck, and I could see that it was bringing back a lot of good memories. At one time he paused for a moment with his hand on the front fender, silent and deep in thought. Then with a sigh, he patted the fender and headed around to the other side.

    As we walked back to the car, I asked him if he lived in the area. Turns out he lives in the next town over and was just passing by on his way to check out a trailer for his daughter. He said, "When I saw your truck I just knew I had to stop."

    The visit only took about 20 minutes, but it made my day. And I was glad I could bring a smile to his face as well. :)
    five-oh and LAROKE like this.
  29. five-oh
    Joined: Jan 10, 2008
    Posts: 411

    from Arkansas
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    One of my favorite things about these old trucks are the memories and smiles it give people, especially the old timers.

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