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Projects '57 Chevy Panel Truck build "the Patch Panel"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by randy, May 29, 2013.

  1. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    I've been looking for an old panel truck to use for work. Right now I drive around to different jobs with my tools loaded in the back of a '99 Toyota pickup. I go completely schizo anytime I step away from the truck for more than 2 minutes at a gas station, constantly staring out the windows watching for evildoers who might try to heist my shit. So far I've been lucky, but I suspect my luck is wearing thin.

    Anyway, I found a running "driving" '57 Chevy panel on Craigslist. It was indeed running, but with super sketchy brakes and wiring, the idea of driving it anywhere was out of the question. The previous owner had plastered the interior with wood paneling and tropical fish and it had old aluminum framed camper style windows cut in the side. Oh yeah, it was rusty and the passenger side rear quarter was crushed. For the price, it was a perfect start...

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  2. RamJet1
    Joined: Apr 9, 2012
    Posts: 343

    RamJet1
    Member

    Looking forward to your build. The wife wants a Carryall of this vintage, still looking for a good piece to start with.
     
  3. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    The first order of business was cleaning out all the sweet custom paneling, curtains and tropical fish decals. Smoking bath salts and interior decorating your panel truck can have disastrous results...obviously! Also, the front seat had to go as it was a 70's car front seat that was built up on chunks of lumber.

    Once that was done, I took out the camper windows. The guy that installed them used hand shears and did his best to warp the panels while doing it. The big flat-ish panels scare me a little, but I can't make it worse! hopefully!

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    I made filler pieces and tacked 'em in. Had to shrink a little out of the passenger side where caveman had stretched it pretty bad.

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    Last edited: May 29, 2013
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  4. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    With the windows gone from both sides, I turned my attention to the many rust/damage spots in the truck.

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    The driver's side was pretty solid other than some bad rust behind the rear wheel arch. Also, at some point someone added trailer lights below the stock taillights. Why? If two taillights are good four is better. I figured I'd start there...

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    I had to make a new piece for inner section too because it was pretty rusty. Got that welded in & POR -15'ed the area

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    Once done with that, I made the exterior piece. As far as I know, nobody makes patch panels that fit the rear sheet metal on a panel truck or a fleet side (same thing...I think). I made the arch out of a front fender patch and some 18 ga. cold rolled. Worked out pretty well.

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  5. roll_low
    Joined: Dec 4, 2009
    Posts: 177

    roll_low
    Member
    from Rigby, Id

    Wow! Nice work man! This is going to be a cool ride:D

    Tell me that you are keeping the butter knife turn signal lever.............
     
  6. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Next on the list for me was the dash. Someone got a little agro back in the 70's and installed a new radio using a dull chisel and a couple sticks of dynamite... not quite, but you get the idea. I'm hoping for a fairly stock interior appearance, so I figured I should find a replacement panel...

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    As luck would have it, I happened on a '56 in a wrecking yard that had been picked over and was on it's way to the crusher. The dash around the radio was perfect! A little cutting and $30 later I took it home and welded it in. (radio delete plate bonus!)

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  7. lomonte
    Joined: Oct 7, 2011
    Posts: 142

    lomonte
    Member
    from Indep., MO

    Cool! Nice work, what's the motor/suspension plan?
     
  8. 65PANELRAT
    Joined: Jul 27, 2007
    Posts: 834

    65PANELRAT
    Member

    Very Nice work!
     
  9. chevy54man
    Joined: Feb 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,684

    chevy54man
    Member
    from NC

    That's some great work you're doing, looking forward to seeing more!
     
  10. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Motor/suspension plan is pretty basic. I have a newly rebuilt 1970 GMC mild 350 & a pretty fresh T-400. Although, I've got an eye out for a 700r4 in my price range. This thing will be a work truck & I'd like to get decent mileage. I recently scored a stock three speed column shifter to use with the auto from HAMBer "AllSteel36". Lokar stuff is great, but I hate to ruin a period looking interior with one.

    For the rear I have a '71 Firebird with 3.30-ish gears...also recently gone through.

    The axle will be flipped in the rear with a corresponding "C" notch to the frame. I've got a 4" dropped axle from Sid along with all the dropped steering arms etc. for the front. Also just got the front disc brake kit along with the Speedway dual M/C conversion bracket. I helped my buddy put one in a '59 Apache and the thing works like a charm - PLUS it can't be beat at $89!

    I kinda feel like I'm catalog building this thing, but I get the idea that's how it's done with these trucks. I'm use to working on stuff that has no whiz-bang bolt in kits and no reproduction pieces available. It feels like CHEATING...but fuck it! It's a nice change!

    Depending on how broke I am at the end of this, I may go with Astro Supremes. If not, I'll stick with steelies...maybe spider caps or ???

    I've got a few body mods planned too, but I'll reveal those as they happen.

    My overall vision is to build a super dependable, economical(relatively speaking;}), functional and tidy work mobile with a few mild custom touches. This ain't a Sunday cruiser.

    Thanks for all the kind words.

    -r
     
    Model T1 likes this.
  11. Very cool build! You work quick, that's good.
     
  12. servi53
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 338

    servi53
    Member

    dig the ride and progress, looking good
     
  13. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Good work.

    There is a Chevy panel on a used car lot near Pella Iowa, right on Hwy 163.
     
  14. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Progress!

    The passenger side of this truck was BEAT. The quarter panel behind the door had 3/4" of mud in places and the lip of the wheel arch was crushed completely flat beneath all the filler. I dug it all out in hopes I could fix it.

    NO DICE. I couldn't get behind it & wasn't sure it was fixable even if I could. I picked up a clean passenger side door & a semi beat, rust free step side rear fender at a local swap to use for the wheel arch.

    I finally got it welded up & it came out pretty straight. Still some straightening work to do + hours of grinding, but it's already 300% better than it was.

    Hard to believe, but the Patch Panel needs only a few more patches.
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 7,600

    1oldtimer
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And I thought I was the only one who hated windows on panels or even wanted panels. I looked for years locally to find an uncut one (and have 14 folders of pictures for each one i looked at). Looks great keep the panels rolling.

    BTW, that is the BEST interior I've seen..........and I've seen some pretty cracked out ones.
     
  16. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Update:

    After a few busy weeks of work, I finally got some time to devote to the old Patch Panel. The mechanical portions of this truck are TIRED and suffer from 30 years of deferred maintenance. The motor looks like a tar battered Mcnugget, the frame & suspension are plastered with a 1/2 of grime, the exhaust is broken in three places and everything squeaks and rattles like a Sherman tank.

    I'm building a daily driver and I hate working on greasy, neglected shit. If I ever want to rely on this truck for transportation, it all needs to be cleaned, inspected and rebuilt.

    So...
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    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
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  17. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    With the front clip, motor & suspension out of the way, I figured I should probably replace the rusted out toe-boards.

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    ...and weld a million holes closed in the firewall.

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    I found out in removing the heater unit that this truck has the desirable "deluxe" heater although it does not have the "deluxe" controls. Luckily, they pop up on ebay pretty frequently.

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    I got the frame pretty well cleaned up and the sheet metal repair work mostly finished up on the firewall & toe boards

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    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
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  18. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Finally got to paint the frame. Went with Por-15 because I had an unopened quart in the cabinet. The frame was surface rusted and/or ground with a 50 grit roloc and then degreased. Seemed to stick pretty well...

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    I got the leaf springs cleaned up, removed one leaf and reassembled with teflon liners from Speedway. Also, pressed in new leaf spring bushings and reassembled it all with a 4" dropped axle from Nostalgia Sid. Scrub line??? what scrub line???

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    Model T1 likes this.
  19. Great metal work,love TF panels!
     
  20. tjet
    Joined: Mar 16, 2009
    Posts: 1,272

    tjet
    Member
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    I put one of Sid's 4" axles' in mine too

    Make sure you install a set of Napa 6 deg wedges so the tie rod clears the spring

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  21. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Yep, wedges installed. Thanks for the reminder though!
     
  22. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349

    Buzznut
    Member

    The wedges also change caster for the better. After I installed mine I realized I got more tie-rod clearance, but I saw that as an unexpected bonus. The real reason is to improve steering...in my opinion.

    The panel build is looking great.
     
  23. Rick Sis
    Joined: Nov 2, 2007
    Posts: 710

    Rick Sis
    Member
    from Tulsa OK

    I'm loving this thing. Really looking forward to how it comes along. Really good
    job on the pics too.
     
  24. merc-o-madness
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,544

    merc-o-madness
    Member

    looks like its coming along nnicely, careful, i accidentally over cleaned the frame on my 41 ford pu and painted it with por 15 and it flaked off too easily. apparently it only works good on lightly rusted areas or you have to use their other chemical stuff to make it adhere to clean metal.
     
  25. Keep the blinkah handle...................
     
  26. gordspeed
    Joined: Jul 9, 2013
    Posts: 216

    gordspeed
    Member
    from Oregon

    Coming together nice! Just filling the window openings in the panels was a 100% improvement! :)
     
  27. docmike
    Joined: Oct 2, 2011
    Posts: 239

    docmike
    Member

    I'm going to be watching this one. I'd love to have a panel as a daily driver. When I was about 21/22 years old (early 80's) I had a friend with an early 60's Chevy panel sitting out behind his shed that he said that he would sell to me "cheap". The body was in nice shape but the motor was blown. I had just enlisted in the Army and there was no way that I could have taken him up on his offer. Years later after I got out of the Army he told me that if he'd known I really seriously wanted the panel he would have just left it behind the shed instead of having it hauled off to the junk yard.

    Doc :(
     
  28. pila38
    Joined: Mar 25, 2009
    Posts: 763

    pila38
    Member

    Nice work, lookin really nice.
     
  29. bishop327
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 31

    bishop327
    Member
    from CO

    Quick question about the caster shims...
    should I use them on monoleafs?
    Like the 'burb
    thanks.
     
  30. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Firewall stripped and shot in etch primer... Still have a few spots to mud, but I'll just strip the primer in those areas when it comes time. This poor truck has to live in the driveway while in progress, so bare metal gets shot before mud work usually and then stripped later, skimmed and re-primed after blocking. Not the most direct method, but it's the best I can do for now.

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