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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 don't have any experience with mono leafs, but the principles should be the same as a normal leaf spring...so, yes.
     
  2. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Haven't updated in a while, so...

    I've been occupied lately building a clone of the Dean Jeffries custom "Black Beauty." The owner is pretty particular about details, so it's a painstaking process. Anyway here's a few pics to prove I've been busy...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This weekend, I finally got some time to throw at the panel! I rebuilt my steering box with a kit that included bushings, bearings and seals. Everything looked pretty good and went back together well. Adjusted it on the bench and installed it.

    I also installed a CPP disc brake kit to my dropped axle that went on EASY.

    [​IMG]

    I'm using what turns out to be an early Camaro rear @ 60" wide. I thought it was a Firebird @ 61.5" until I picked it up and measured it for myself. So...I decided to try it out. If it didn't fit I could always sell it and go hunting for a Firebird rear. Well, it fit. It's a little tight on the insides of the wheels but it fits. I just ordered wheels for the rear with backspacing that should correct for it.

    Unfortunately, I didn't take photos during this process. I flipped the Camaro rear on top of rebuilt, teflon lined and re-bushed springs. I have yet to do the C-notch... All I have for proof is this picture in my tight driveway that really doesn't make the truck look low at all. Honestly, it's A TON lower, but it isn't that low. I'm happy with it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. shadams
    Joined: Mar 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,491

    shadams
    Member

    Wow man that thing is looking killer! I am super impressed with the metal work.....
     
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    looks like fun! I got my 57 suburban done after piddling around with it for 15 years, and I love it. I've used it to haul all kinds of stuff....10k miles in 3 months! Right now it's 500 miles from home, with the back full of equipment. The suburban is a lot easier to drive than a panel because you can see out of it, but folks can see what's in back pretty easy.

    keep rockin it, you'll have a really neat ride when you're done. Everyone seems to like mine.
     

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

    randy
    Member

    Man! I love it too. That thing is CLEAN. I hear you about the visibility in a panel...pretty terrible. I'll bet that 'burb is great though, like driving in a fish tank. I see you swapped out for the earlier grill and hood. I'm planning on running the '57 hood with a 55-56 grill - something looks a little odd about those '57 grills.

    What motor/tranny are you running? Is it lowered? I'd love to see more pics...Interior shots would be neat.

    Don't suppose you have any spare parts;)? I'm having a hell of a time finding a few Suburban/Panel specific items.
     
  6. jfreakofkorn
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 2,640

    jfreakofkorn
    Member

    looking good ...

    nice pace in progress .....
     
  7. Man this thing is going to be cool! Awesome job so far!
     
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    I have a few parts left, not much though. Mine has a 72 camaro front clip. Rear suspension is kind of strange but it works, used the front spring hangers, under the frame, and put the axle on top of the stock rear springs. no C notch, it's about as low as it can get and still be useable without notching the frame/floor. Has a tired old 350 and TH400 in it, with a 9" rear from a 57 wagon. Suburbans look more finished inside than panels.

    On the grille...the front end parts are all different between 56 and 57. The pieces above and below the grille are slightly different, the fenders have an extra hole and flat spot for a bolt at the grille opening on a 57, you need to fill this to use the early grille. My 57 front end was crunched pretty bad, and I like the looks of the early one better, and I had a 56 parts truck, so it was a pretty easy decision for me.
     

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  9. ME.GASSER
    Joined: Sep 18, 2007
    Posts: 3,617

    ME.GASSER
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nice job. Beautiful
     
  10. mikejohn56
    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 11

    mikejohn56
    Member

    Randy great job on the patch panels on rear quarters. i have a 55 panel and have to do same repairs . yours looks great.

    squirrel .nice suburban i believe i saw it at bonneville this august , got a pic of it near pits
     
  11. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

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

    randy
    Member

    Couple of minor updates:

    FINALLY got the passenger side metal finished enough to put primer on.

    [​IMG]

    It still needs a little bit more hammer work, but it's close!

    Closed up the giant hole cut for the add-on taillight.

    [​IMG]

    Shot that side in zinc rich primer to preserve it for the winter. Come spring, everything will get stripped for final bodywork and primer/paint. Went ahead and mocked up a bumper on it for fun...

    [​IMG]


    During the rainy months I'll be focusing on getting a motor in it and running brake & fuel lines and installing a Rebel wire harness. I want this thing to be cruise-able by next spring even if it's all primered up like a pinto bean. Once it's a runner I can focus on cosmetics...
     
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  13. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    neat

    I have the inner side pieces from another suburban, I think the front, but no rear? I'll have to look in the barn.
     
  14. Nice work...un-related but I have a set of 55-57 headlight buckets "repo" if you want them, they appear to be nice quality ...just have to come to Windsor "20 miles" to get them...Joe
     
  15. ltownrodder
    Joined: Jul 17, 2007
    Posts: 310

    ltownrodder
    Member

    Squirrel....We are in the process of doing a 1956 Burb. Do you have ,or know anyone with the 3rd seat?? Your Burb looks great.
     

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  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    Seats are kind of hard to find. I have a middle seat for mine, no rear seat. But since the kids all left, I haven't even got the middle seat done, I don't really have much use for it.
     
  17. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Joe, I've got a solid set of original headlight buckets, but I do appreciate the offer. Windsor isn't far, maybe I'll see you around.

    ltown...looks like a fairly solid start. My truck had the same taillight setup with the trailer light below the stock light. Why was this a common mod? I've seen another with almost the exact same configuration.
     

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  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    It's real common to see added on turn signals on the old trucks. Turn signals were a relatively rare factory option at the time, and aftermarket turn signal kits were very common. The most common kits added lights front and rear, so they didn't need so many wires to be connected under the dash. Mine had those neat "lollipop" lights sticking up from the rear fenders, kind of above the original tail lights.
     
  19. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Finding time between holiday obligations has been tough.

    I stole a few hours today & tackled my rear doors. The left side has the latch mechanism that hold both doors closed to the body and the right side latches to that. Without a sound latch on the left door, both doors are prone to popping open. Aside from sounding like a bag full of pots and pans when on a bumpy road, they did come unlatched a few times. I figured out why...

    The latch point on the bottom of the door looked like hamburger
    [​IMG]

    ...and the latch itself was broken free from its plate
    [​IMG]

    so, cut and weld...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and fixed a few dents and cracks in the bottom corner door skin
    [​IMG]

    I still have a few random holes in the door skin to weld up.
     
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  20. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    pretty common problem....my suburban has really nice doors, and the latch was messed up like that.
     
  21. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    The right side door had MAJOR cosmetic issues. Something pointed had caved in the door and split the skin at the point of impact. I found a set of doors that were straight but rusty and the guy wanted $300. Screw it, I'll fix the one I have...

    [​IMG]

    The first step was creating access...

    [​IMG]

    Got it roughly hammered back into shape and decided the impact/tear point was so distorted and stretched that I'd have a ton of time in shrinking and hammering if I left it in. It was also preventing the rest of the door from going back into shape...bye, bye

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
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  22. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    It started getting dark, so I cleaned up and took a minute to lay out my new parts. I had been looking for the interior roof perimeter paneling since I got this thing. I'm not actually convinced that all panel trucks came with them. Mine does not have the holes to attach the sides or rear and I've seen another with no holes drilled.

    Anyway, they were standard in Suburbans and I have seen one panel with them...so who knows. They really finish off the interior and this is not a restoration. I'm running them.

    [​IMG]

    Big thanks to Squirrel for the side pieces! I searched high and low and came up empty until he helped me out. I really appreciate it. The back piece was no easier to find and NOT cheap. That's it 'till after the holiday...Merry Christmas!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
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  23. Nice Work....
    If you decide to use any aluminum sheet for interior, PM me. I'm sitting on several sheets of 4 by 12ft sheets various gages if you can use some. This is aircraft quality left overs...good luck
     
  24. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Joe,
    Thanks for the offer, I'll keep it in mind.

    Took a break from metal work today and slammed a motor and trans in the Patch Panel. The motor is a fresh rebuild that I am currently stripping for paint and the trans is a T400...might as well place the mounts before I get a nice paint job on it.

    I turned it around in the street and took a few pictures.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Then I had my wife steer it back into the driveway while I pushed...

    [​IMG]

    Dropped it in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used one of those universal 47-59 Chevy truck tubular crossmember mounts. Wasn't blown away with the quality, but it saved me a ton of time and only cost $80. Basic stuff, but it's a step. Now that the mounts are in, I can pull the motor for paint.
     
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  25. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    looking good!

    So...your wife rates a lawn chair? what's wrong with the traditional milk crate?

    :)
     
  26. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    Chicks...man.
     
  27. you made the right call on the doors as they seem to all share in these ailments after 58 years!
     
  28. young'n'poor
    Joined: Jan 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,280

    young'n'poor
    Member
    from Anoka. MN

    It's coming along great! I'd love to build a simple and solid panel like that to haul and drive to and from work(I only live two miles from work, all city surface streets) what will it get for paint in the end?


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  29. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677

    randy
    Member

    That's a subject that I'm currently wrestling with. It's kicking my ass.

    Whatever I pick, I'll probably be as surprised as anyone. I like a white painted grill & bumper, so it has to look good with that. Not a huge fan of most reds and I was thinking solid...no metallic.


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  30. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,881

    squirrel
    Member

    My suburban looks surprisingly nice in the original Indian Turquoise, with a white roof and grille/bumpers.

    but there are way too many neat color combos to pick one easily.
     

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