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Customs 53' Chevy 3600 rust rod pickup

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mudsong, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. mudsong
    Joined: Mar 9, 2014
    Posts: 32

    mudsong
    Member
    from Tucson, AZ
    1. A-D Truckers

    I just got a 1953 Chevy 3600 pickup that I dragged out of the desert and got a bonded title for. I would like to get this truck back on the road. I don't plan on hauling anything, but would like to use it as a truck, and have fun with my kids building it and drivin around town. I like the trucks rough look and have no plans on painting it, yet.
    (I have the hood and front end body parts, just not in this picture, they are stacked in the garage)
    20140707_180704.jpeg
    This is my first build. Truck has no engine or tranny. I plan on getting a chevy small block 350. But I need a plan for the suspension and brake system as I will be getting to that first. Having a small budget and for the integrity of the vehicle I would like to keep as much of the original truck as possible, like the leaf-spring suspension. But from what I have read, upgrades like having disc brakes in the front can be important for safety. So, I would sacrifice the integrity of the truck for safety and driveability. In my research I haven't found a disc brake conversion kit or easy disc brake fit for the 3600. Does anybody know of a cheap way to put disc brakes/power steering on this truck while keeping the stock straight axle?
    20140707_180727.jpeg

    If not I'm left with loosing my leaf springs and replacing the front straight axle with an IFS. But I would like the front and rear wheels to match, and because the 3600 gearing is pretty low, I would swap out the rear end too. (I know the S-10 chassis swap is popular but it doesn't interest me yet.)

    So I have started to research how to swap the front and rear ends for a more modern system, and what vehicles I can mine for parts. I found some good information on donor cars for Advanced Design Trucks here:
    http://www.chevytrucks.org/tech/ifs&rearend.htm

    I have to consider what will fit with the least modification, what is available to me, and what is cheap. I liked what I read about using a jaguar IFS:
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/tech-week-jag-xj6-ifs-into-f100.571296/

    And I could get a 1982 Jaquar XJ6, complete vehicle, for $500 this weekend. (but does the cost really stop there?)

    What do ya'll think would be my best option? Please let me know about your experience or link me to other resources. Thank you!

    20140613_073530.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  2. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    VoodooTwin
    Member
    from Noo Yawk

    Based on your stated goals, I would retain the original suspension and steering system. Just rebuild it all with new consumables. Things like leaf pins and bushings, king pins, rod ends, etc. Rebuild the steering box if it's sloppy. Consider updating the old style tie rod ends with newer style rod ends. Sid's Nostalgia here on the HAMB is a great source for this.

    Same for the brakes. Rebuild them with new consumables like shoes, wheel cylinders, brake lines, etc. have the brake drums trued, this will help a lot.

    I would upgrade to a dual master cylinder for the brakes, and I'd change the old ball type wheel bearings for modern tapered roller bearings.

    There's nothing wrong with the original systems, they just need a little updating for safer and more reliable service.

    Just my opinion.
     
    turboroadster likes this.
  3. mudsong
    Joined: Mar 9, 2014
    Posts: 32

    mudsong
    Member
    from Tucson, AZ
    1. A-D Truckers

    Well I like that opinion. Im open to others but like I said I want to keep the integrity of the truck.
    There are just so many articles out there about how the old brake system wont handle modern driving speeds and conditions.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  4. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,515

    327Eric
    Member
    from Diablo Ca.

    add a power brake booster.
     

  5. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,655

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Since this is your first build, keep it simple by rebuilding the stock systems with the very prudent upgrades mentioned above. You did not list top speed as an object. Biting off too much on a first build can lead to discouragement. Take on one sub project at a time. Get a shop manual. Join the AD group here. Good luck.

    posted via smoke signals made with a Mexican blanket
     
  6. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,075

    scrap metal 48
    Member

    I'd look for a newer bolt on front suspension from an 80's or 90's GM van, truck or others.. Search which ones have bolt on front suspension and go to the junk yard.. You might be surprised at how cheap they are and not that difficult to install.. You have the HAMB for help...
     
  7. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,495

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    My opinion, it is what it is. That's not really a bad thing.

    What I mean by that as far as a hot rod, it's just not there. It's a 3/4 ton hay hauler. If you want a hot rod, find a half ton. Some of the aftermarket upgrades will work on your truck and some won't. Most who do the suspension changes ect ect are working on half tons. If I was going to go that far, I would do a half ton because once your through with all those upgrades, it's still a 3/4 ton.

    I had a 3/4 Ford, a 63 F-250 with a Y block. I really miss it. 5.13 rear axle, tall tires, 292V8 with headers, floor shift granny 4 speed and a top cruising speed of 50 mph. That truck was a MAN and it was a blast just enjoying it as a 3/4 ton.

    Here are my two suggestions.

    Find a 55-62 235 Chevrolet six with full oil pressure or a 292 GMC six. Some of the 235s were full oil pressure in Powerglide cars back to 51. Find a HD manual transmission for the torque tube and use the original rear. Rebuild the stock suspension and upgrade the brakes with double cylinder. You can still do some of the "cool" performance upgrades on the six like Fenton duals and multiple carbs. Keep in mind it will still be a 3/4 ton, perfect for in town cruises plus you can pull a house. Interstate driving...not so much.
    My other suggestion...Stock SB Chevy HD manual or auto 400 or 350 hydromatic to a later model 3/4 ton rear axle. That way you keep a 3/4 ton with the top cruising speed around 50 -55 mph.

    These big trucks can be a lot of fun pretty much the way they are.
    Good luck.
     
  8. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    VoodooTwin
    Member
    from Noo Yawk

    It all depends on what you want to do with the truck. You said the goal was "driving around town, and having fun with the kids". To me, this sounds like a rebuilt original suspension and braking system will fit the bill perfectly, and it won't break the bank. And it'll teach the kids how things used to be and how they can be re-cycled and made to work again today. What's better than that experience?! If you do a good job with the brakes and have the drums trued, it'll stop as well as any other truck on the road.
     
  9. mudsong
    Joined: Mar 9, 2014
    Posts: 32

    mudsong
    Member
    from Tucson, AZ
    1. A-D Truckers

    Looks like the previous owner had installed a dual master cylinder for the brakes. Probably needs to be rebuilt, its been exposed in the elements for years.
    20140805_071016.jpg
     
  10. mudsong
    Joined: Mar 9, 2014
    Posts: 32

    mudsong
    Member
    from Tucson, AZ
    1. A-D Truckers

    It also had a later model steering column installed, but came with the original column and steering wheel in the back of the truck so I will be putting that back in.
    steering column.jpg
     
  11. turboroadster likes this.
  12. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,728

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    A cheap way to get disc brakes would be to swap the front axle to one from a 1/2 ton- they are easy to
    find from guys swapping to IFS. This allows you to use an inexpensive disc brake kit such as speedways.
    The axle is a bolt in, they use the same springs on the 1/2 tons and the 3/4 tons. The axle capacity is
    slightly lower but you probably would not be putting that much of a load on it anyway. The stock rear end
    on a 3600 is 4.56 gears, you probably will want to change the rear end to something more
     
    FlynBrian likes this.
  13. James Curl
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 370

    James Curl
    Member

    Be sure any axle from a 1/2 ton that you get is for a 48 through 54 as the 55/59s are wider and the springs are 34" apart. If you want to rebuild your original front and rear springs, you can diss assemble them and tapper the bottom of each spring and grind then sand out the lip that is in the top of all of the springs. Speedway and Summit and most hot rod shops sell a Teflon spring liner that goes between the springs for a softer ride. If you decided to go with an independent front suspension like was mentioned earlier find a bolt in front end from a 65 through 87 Chevy 1/2 ton pick up. It will require a spacer on each side between your frame and the attachment points. With the stock wheels that come with the new front suspension the tires will stick out of the fenders about 3" per side. This can be corrected with late model wheels which have more back space to some degree before hitting the tie rods.
     
  14. mudsong
    Joined: Mar 9, 2014
    Posts: 32

    mudsong
    Member
    from Tucson, AZ
    1. A-D Truckers

    I like what your sayin about rebuilding the original suspension, steering, and brakes with all new "consumables". I have a catalog from classicparts.com where I can order parts from like the leaf pins and bushings, king pins, rod ends, etc.

    I think I need to keep this job simple like you suggest, especially being my first build. I'm noticing that when I read about axle swaps my head starts to spin, so I know that would be getting in way over my head.

    HaHa! I think your right. I could go crazy or lose interest trying to turn it into a hot rod. Plus I like it being a rusty big-n-beefy ol hay hauler.

    Yes! This! and I like your confidence that it'll stop as well as any other truck. Most things I read really condemn the drum brakes. But it sounds like the dual master cylinder and a rebuild makes all the difference.

    So, I think I've decided to rebuild whats there. That feels right and a lot more manageable for me. I've got a parts catalog, the shop manual, the factory assembly manual, and the HAMB to help. Plus MotherTrucker lives in town with an amazing parts collection for Chevy A.D. trucks and he's one of the coolest dudes you'll ever meet. I guess its time to order some parts and pick up a wrench.
     
  15. I walked in the same roundy round circle as you when I bought my '51 GMC. Then I came to realize that I really do need a truck that I can use as a truck, that I don't need to go 90 in an old truck, and that the old girl is pretty nifty if you just stop and appreciate it for what it is. Mine has 228 with a granny 4 speed.
     
  16. mudsong
    Joined: Mar 9, 2014
    Posts: 32

    mudsong
    Member
    from Tucson, AZ
    1. A-D Truckers

    You know whats funny about that is I fell in love with this truck because it is old and the technology is old but worked fine in its day and there it was rusting away in the desert and I was hit by this irrational urge to get it back on the road without changing a single thing. Then when I start doing research and seeing pics of all the cool hot rod trucks, my mind starts to spin and wheel away from that initial inspiration of just getting it moving again, just like it is. But the more I discuss it I am brought back to lovin it for what it is and wanting to give it a new life. And my two boys (5yr old and 11yr old) are all fired up to help me.
     
  17. your on the right path, at least your reading up instead of just asking questions and expecting others to do your searching. Kudos and good luck! Keep the mindset of working on it with the kids, no matter their age, it will make an impression later in life.
     
  18. mudsong
    Joined: Mar 9, 2014
    Posts: 32

    mudsong
    Member
    from Tucson, AZ
    1. A-D Truckers

    This is the sight I fell in love with when I saw it for the first time back in March. It looked left for dead and forgotten. I just had to take it home... sheesh!
    20140307_101226.jpg
     
  19. LB+1
    Joined: Sep 28, 2006
    Posts: 581

    LB+1
    Member
    from 71291

    Being this is your first build, i am going to be blunt but ment in a good way. You have bit off more than you can chew. You are looking at a second job here. Hours and hours of thinking looking and wishing. Then comes wife, kids you have got to keep them motivated also. The fun is in the chase of finding one that has everything intact. Then you have a better understanding when you take it apart of what is what. You are lucky to have Mother Trucker living close! Good luck - lb+1
     

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