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Hot Rods The Hot Rod Hooker: my first real build

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BadassBadger, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    I was gonna wait just a bit longer to make this post until work was actually being performed but i just cant wait any longer! im getting excited.
    so anyways this is a 1948 chevy wrecker. the story goes that im getting this from my friend who has been running a junkyard ever since his father passed away in 1966 and he started it after WWII anyways he has a bad (or good?) habit over the decades of buying many commercial vehicles and equipment (some new) that he never ends up using and this being one of them. in fact id say he has at least 15 tow trucks that he bought and never used including a brand new 1970 chevy flatbed wrecker thats sitting in a shed....and a brand new in the crate 427bbc he was going to put in it..... not to mention a brand new 1981ish 53 foot flatbed trailer that was used like 5 times.......and a brand new 1980ish massey ferguson 4x4 tractor with loader thats never scooped a load of dirt......oh where was i.... anyways i handed him a small wad of cash and told him to sell it to me. and he did. he found the title that he got from the previous owner in 1971 (he never registered it) and now i got it in my name!
    so the plans for this bad boy! im not going to fully restore it. but i am going to upgrade it. first thing i am doing is an axle swap. im getting a front and rear axles from a 90's chevy HD because they used solid front axles and are disc brake and even the rear axle is disc brake! though since there 10 lug im limited to 19.5 or 22.5 wheels meaning either plain steel or expensive alcoa aluminum ones...... im fine with steel and preferably 19.5. then the second major upgrade is the drivetrain. even though he said it was a good running truck a 235 6 banger is no good on todays highways. so i got a 70's 454 and a 700r4. and since it will be an auto i will be ditching all the pto driven components but thats ok cuz modern electric winches will work great. this truck has 2. one for the boom and one used just for dragging/pulling. then just redo all the wiring. oh and since its a wisconsin truck it will need some structural rust repair (for the wrecker unit mostly, though the cab will need some to) so yeah this is my hooker. and hopefully within the month i should be posting build pics.

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  2. JB_roadrage
    Joined: Feb 25, 2011
    Posts: 372

    JB_roadrage
    Member
    from Caintuckee

    Sweet... I love old Wreckers...
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  3. Timbofor
    Joined: Dec 4, 2014
    Posts: 192

    Timbofor

    That push bar looks like something out of a horror movie. I love it.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  4. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,833

    Inked Monkey
    Member

    I second that! That grille guard is amazing
     

  5. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    yeah i love the front bumper! im thinking red lights and a for machine come halloween and drive around slowly without the headlights on.
     
  6. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    FREE AT LAST! after 44 years of sitting in the same spot. its now on my trailer awaiting for sunday when i will get it where i want it for tear down and build up!
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  7. I'll be watching this one, old Wreakers are cool.:cool:
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  8. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    I love old wreckers, and that is a beautiful model. A Diamond in the rough.

    I don't understand why you would want a slush box in a work truck. But if you must, do it. Born with three pedals, nice.
    I might understand the 454, but by no means do I dislike the 235. Is it a twin stick or is the one of the shifter for PTO?

    I'm looking forward to see it come back to life.

    Will you be painting it like it was, or paint it like you want it?

    Why do you want 19.5 over 22.5? Tire price?
    Bigger wheels will give you better highway speed.

    Subscribed and following your updates.
     
  9. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    ya know i might look into a 90's 5 speed. but its a matter of finding one.
    nature spent over 4 decades wearing on that paint..... other than washing off the dirt and moss i will leave it for now. and since it used to work at a mobile station until 1971 maybe do a mobile theme.
    19.5 because WAY cheaper tires lol
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  10. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427

    Raiman1959

    Great idea for the old wrecker....that grill guard makes an awesome statement! I know I'd get a kick outta driving it for sure:D!!!
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  11. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    GM SM 465 should be plentyfull, but it is Granny first and 5th is 1:1. But comes with PTO avalible and got a long shifter for the truck feel.
    And you got the pedal for it. But you would need a Brownie box or a 2 speed.

    Is it a twin stick?
     
  12. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    not sure if its twin stick, havent looked.
    anyways i already see one major problem that i could use some suggestions on.....
    as i stated im putting in a v8 and a bbc for that matter and while overall there a bedroom sized space for it to go into the steering box i see will be all kinds of in the way! so it will have to go! and since people have been putting chevy v8s in these since 1955 whats the best manual and best power steering box use and where to put it.
    also posting pic of front axle i intend to use.
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  13. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,871

    Buddy Palumbo
    Member

    Old wreckers rock . I'll be watching this thread closely - can't wait to see how it turns out .
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  14. Take a close look at those newer axles....they may be way too wide.
    Also, is that a home made wrecker boom setup? I don't recognize it..

    Cool old truck, have fun building.....keep posting progress!
     
    volvobrynk likes this.
  15. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    no its not home made its a factory built but its very obscure i couldnt find much information on the brand. prolly the first ever rotator!
     
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  16. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    thanks for thinking of that! but i just looked up the dimensions and it looks that the 90's chevy 3500hd were a little over 76 inches wide and the 1 1/2 ton chevy trucks of 1948 were almost 75 inches wide so it looks like i wont have any issues with that!
     
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  17. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,097

    UNSHINED 2
    Member

    Cool! I've looked that wrecker over a few times myself....
     
  18. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    holy crap does it look like a new truck today!
    i got it unloaded at a friends place and then got the front tires inflated and the rear up on jack stands so it sits level. then we spent nearly 2 hours cleaning the crap out of the cab and 45 years worth of dirt/mulch/crap out of the wrecker unit, and then finished with giving the truck a good wash to get rid of the remaining dirt and all the moss. and like i say it looks like a new truck. it also let me know how the wrecker is put together and how to go about fixing it and actually while it still will need a lot of work its not quite as bad as it looked like it was going to be before hand. also it let me know why the boom leans backwards. its because when they mounted the wrecker they put wood in between the wrecker and the frame and now since has completely rotted away thus the ubolts holding the boom down now are 2 inches loose.

    also looked it over and it indeed is a twin stick. so a 4 speed main and a 3 speed secondary (each with a pto to drive the winches) and a 2 speed rear axle. so in other words its a 24 speed truck!

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  19. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    That is one awesome truck! I like it a lot!

    And twin stick. makes it so cool.
    But also a pain to drive, for a untrained driver. But it would be cool keep one or the other.
    But that is your call. But I get if you wants to install the BBC, im a little lost in the part about changing a three pedal truck to a automatic. And even less a twin stick + two speed rear. But that's just me.

    It looks a lot better, after a wash and shine!

    Keep up the good progress.
     
  20. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    i looking into a stick now! but my question is which would be better a nv3500 or nv4500. im assuming due to the wight and purpose i should lean towards a nv4500 but how are they for 75-80 mph? i would assum the axle im getting is in the 4.10 or higher gear ratio.
     
  21. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    I believe this to be solid info, although I can't say about the gear box flange pattern. But there might be some guys who have first hand knowledge.

    http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/transmission-drivetrain/129-0608-trail-transmission/#__federated=1

    I don't mind the four speed, but if you want highway speed, you must give up some of you stump puller ability. But there is a lot of possibilities, mixing and matching for the best combo.

    I would think long and hard about how you want it to drive/handle/pull.

    Because you could get a long way with 454, a SM465 and a two speed.
    But you get there a lot faster with a 454, NV4500 and lower gears. But lower gears means less torque down low, but better top speed, but you might get issues with pulling a full size pick up with low gears.

    But I would go for the 454, 4 speed, the 2 speed rear and tall tires on old 8x20 dully rims. And loose a little top end, because I want it to tow.
    But I'm so weird a would rarther run it as is, then go automatic.
    Even if that means I have to find a old truck driver that can teach me to drive a twin stick!
    If old timers could, I can too!

    If you are gonna pull the transmissions setup with the 4speed and a brownie, please don't throw it out. And take good pics of it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  22. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427

    Raiman1959

    Twin stick trannys aren't seen too much these days...pretty popular back in-the-day....I learned to drive with that setup in my grandfathers old Mack....took a bit of practice, and figuring out the 'strategy' if any hills were in view (and watching him twitch with remorse while grinding gears:confused:) ....the gear options were for heavy loads, and with weaker engines available to the public at the time....that said, I think it's a cool choice if you want to retain the originality of the what your Wrecker was used for....a lot of people have not seen a twin-stick setup, and it's ALWAYS a fantastic conversation starter....cool old wrecker ya' got for sure!;)
     
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  23. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    well on to some good news...i went back and looked at the truck im gonna rob the axles from and waddaya know its got a 5 speed in it! it looks like a nv4500 but im not 100% sure so im post a few pics of it and if anyone here can confirm 100% that would be great!
    even though its missing the clutch and flywheel the parts store said the whole clutch/flywheel assembly new is only $225 which i thought was pretty cheap.
    also i think i will use the 2 piece drive shaft as well!
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  24. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,539

    indyjps
    Member

    I'm not a patina guy, but I think I'd leave that truck the way it is. derust and paint the boom, then just put a coat of wax on the rest.
    This is gonna be a cool build.
     
  25. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    That looks a lot like the NV4500 from the I posted. Should be fine, with that rear end, should do fine.
    So that would be a fine combo with a 454 and the rest knows how to work together. The was an item before. Please keep us posted.
    If I can find transport for your gearbox, I would be interested in buying the 4+3. If they are any good that is.
     
  26. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,556

    mike bowling
    Member

    I'd second that- do the mechanicals and leave the exterior as is- that's one " bad to the bone " lookin' unit, brother!
     
  27. BadassBadger
    Joined: Oct 24, 2010
    Posts: 461

    BadassBadger
    Member
    from wisconsin

    i dont mind selling them to you. my friend that i got this from drove there in 1971 so they should be okay. though i would strongly recommend rebuilding them.
     
  28. LN7 NUT
    Joined: Sep 9, 2010
    Posts: 2,164

    LN7 NUT
    Member

    Looking good man, that is a sweet truck and you are going to love having a tow truck when it's on the road!

    I know I do!

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  29. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

  30. telekenfun
    Joined: Mar 9, 2010
    Posts: 250

    telekenfun
    Member

    What a cool truck! I have a 54 GMC 1/2 ton so I can appreciate your being intrigued with this rig. It took me 20 months @ 20 hours a week to get it on the road. And it is mostly stock, I only put a rebuilt 6 back in it and added power brakes and steering, put taller gears in the stock rear housing. Many issues pop up in the course of these projects. I agree with others that you should for the present at least keep the body's patina in tact. Knock the rust off where you need to, paint over those areas and paint up the boom. But I would not try to do too much at first. The disc front brakes is a must, but knowing GM, I would bet that the late spindles and disc hubs can be made to fit the original axle. I wouldn't remove the original gearboxes either. Just take that V8 bell housing and bolt it to the first tranny (I bet it is a straight bolt up or the simple relocation of a couple of the mounting bolts). The clutch should hook upwitha minimum of modification. Then just stab in the 454 motor and build some new motor mounts. After that you're going to have plenty to do freshening up the brakes, lines and electrical stuff to make it safe. It would be best to have the radiator recored with a 4 tube core. The old will come apart with a 454 pumping through it. All those gears are going to be bullet proof as they are and will give you any speed you want to go. The 2 speed rear end will probably be a 2:1 with something between a 5.13 or close to 7.2 :1, while high speed would be half that. 4th gear and "over" from the "Browny" will have you cruising faster than you want to go. It is doubtful that the old 235 could even pull that top gear which a 454 should have no problem going.
    Also you'll won't have to re-engineer all the lash ups to the winches and PTOs.
    Think about getting a Hydro-boost brake setup from a G30or C30 truck and adapt it into the original master cylinder's place so you have separate brake sections and power brakes drive by the 454's power steering pump. Changing to power steering could be another job unless you can score a drag link valve and ram from some old forklift.
    What ever you decide to do, the resurrection of this Rig is going to be quite the project, don't underestimate the amount of work it is going to take. Keep it simple and get it on the road before the summer's over.
    Best Regards and good luck with all your endeavors, KB.
     
    volvobrynk likes this.

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