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  #1  
Old September 8th, 2016, 04:24 AM
John Mann John Mann is offline
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Default '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Hi everyone,

I bought a '63 Fenderside about 12 years ago, drove it some, then let it sit. Now, I'm disassembling it to rebuild, etc. Here's the story so far, with a few pictures. I'll try to keep this up to date.

Disclaimer: I'm an amateur at this. Did a top overhaul on a '53 Chevy engine in 1967. Since then, not so much. I will be asking questions. Thanks already to TJ; thanks in advance to everyone who steps forward with advice.

I bought this one-owner at, basically, an estate sale. The gentleman had owned it for 40+ years, had all the registration receipts, etc, until he died in his 90s. I think he had driven it okay. But I'm not sure about servicing--the tie rod ends are buried in caked dirt/grease; there is about an inch of sludge in the bottom of the tranny. And I think he rode the clutch at stop lights, as the throwout bearing is beyond shot. It has its share of dents and dings, and some rust. But overall, it will be a fun project.

The day I was to pick it up, the guy's niece called and said a tire was flat (front right), could I come the next day. I did. On the way home, I noticed a wobble in the steering wheel. That progressed to more of a vibration. Then it got a bit more serious, so I decided to pull over. As I coasted down, I heard a "ting" sound. At about 15 mph, I touched the brakes; that is when the front right wheel came off. I landed on the drum brake, and the wheel kept going down the street.

Turns out there was only one lug that was tight. The others had vibrated off the lugs, then that last one broke. Lucky I was at 15 mph. Drove on the drum a couple hundred yards to get out of the road, got a tow from there.

And, the fun began!
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  #2  
Old September 8th, 2016, 05:59 AM
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Welcome and Nice truck! I love the GMC fendersides. Wish had one. haha My story getting my GMC was not as exciting, but I will say.....I had to try and drive with a motor running on 4 cylinders....two backfiring because the plug wires were crossed

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, a clutch pedal that only came out halfway, brakes so touchy that all 4 wheels would lock and throw you through the windshield....seat belt hurt worse...and steering that was 90 degrees off. lol Oh yeah! Not to mention the monkey that owned it wired the fuel pump to the head lights!!! And also wired the high and low beams together.

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Luckily I live out of town and was only 2 miles from home. But it was a journey none the less as getting to 45 was a chore. haha Once I switched the wires back she ran like a top and 2 years later is where she is today. Good ol memories!

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  #3  
Old September 8th, 2016, 03:42 PM
John Mann John Mann is offline
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Thanks, TJ.

Disassembly has gone pretty well. A couple surprises. The right front fender was bowed out when the wheel came off--it landed on the wheel on the way to the ground--which impeded the pax door opening/closing properly. But when I tried to unbolt it, it just wouldn't come off--it acted like there was that "one more bolt" holding it on, near the cab at the bottom. Well, it wasn't a bolt. Someone had tack welded the fender to the body. Can't figure out why.

My goal is to disassemble, clean/paint/modernize and drive it again--hope I live long enough. Also, I want to do as much as I can by myself. It's a learning project. The bed came off okay using the engine hoist. I had to get creative with the cab. Those are 2x10s running through the cab.

One of the bolts I found in the flywheel dustcover belongs holding the cam cover in place on the block.

I didn't think I'd ever get the U Joints pounded out.

I was a little surprised at some of the rust. Supposedly it's a Colorado truck, but I'm not so sure. I need to replace sheet metal on the driver side floor and I think both cab corners. Also, the inner fenders, at the front, are rusted through.

I've never welded, but want to give it a try. So I'll try to repair the rust damage to the radiator support bracket.

I won't show a picture of the brake/clutch fluid. It is x-rated and Jeannie would kick me off the forum, and rightly so. The drum brakes are scary--leaks everywhere.

The exhaust manifold bolts were snug, at best. One was missing and another was finger tight only.

Sludge in the bottom of the tranny. About the consistency of warm grease and an inch deep.

That's all for now. More later. Disassembly is almost complete. That means I'm halfway done to driving it again, right?
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Old September 8th, 2016, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Hey John! This looks like a fun one. Very much subscribed to see where it leads. HAha on the tack welded fender. I think back in the farming days if you didn't have a bolt handy you just dragged out the stick welder and Arr Arr Arr! did a "Tim Taylor" job on it.

Good luck!

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Old September 8th, 2016, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Great start John! Good luck! If you ever need an extra pair of hands let me know.
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Old September 10th, 2016, 02:51 AM
John Mann John Mann is offline
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Successfully pulled the motor, and got it on an engine stand. That was tricky, as both the hoist and the stand have two legs, and extended they run into each other. I ended up putting the stand legs on top of the hoist legs, attaching the engine, then hoisting engine plus stand into the air, then pulling the engine/stand assembly free of the hoist legs while I lowered the whole thing. Not sure Ralph Nader would have approved, but it got the job done.

I was so focused on removing the engine safely and mounting it, I didn't notice but a small pad was left behind, ended up on the floor under where the engine was. It looks like some sort of mount pad, but I can't find its twin and don't know where it goes during re-install. I included a picture. Anyone recognize it?

Still scratching my head about how best to remove the front coil springs. They just look scary and I want to be sure I'm ready for this.

So I'm working on removing the rear axel and leaf springs. The manual says jack the frame so the weight is off the axel--check. Then remove the wheels--check. Then remove the nuts on the U-bolts--not check. Did I say they were on tight? Sheez. These make the flywheel bolts look like child's play. My impact wrench can only turn one nut, and that is very slowly. The other seven won't budge. (Maybe I should check them for spot welds, like on the front right fender?) PB Blaster is working right now. I'm guessing I need about a 3 foot breaker bar for this.

In the meantime, I have a parts washer/degreaser, and it is working overtime, and helping me create an ecological disaster when I dump the water. But, I've used a water-based degreaser, so it isn't all that bad. I got a vibratory tumbler from Eastwood and I'm using it on nuts, bolts, etc--it vibrates all day and I'm using the corncob media. But so far I think I can duplicate or do better on the wire wheel.

Has anyone ever used Eastwood's tin-zinc plating system?
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Old September 10th, 2016, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

That mount is part of the bell housing mounts. If you look under the bell housing cross member you should see the other one still in between under neath. I've had that happen many a time. haha

I won't say the way I remove coil springs.

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Hey! Reminds me of when I pulled my 305 a few weeks ago! lol Just as dirty! Little de-greaser and a pressure wash and it was clean.
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1966 Chevy C10 292 hotrod 6/TKO600
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  #8  
Old October 19th, 2016, 05:45 AM
John Mann John Mann is offline
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Still working on the coil springs. I started to use a floor jack to raise the lower A arm. But with the engine and body panels off, there isn't any vehicle weight to compress the spring. So I'm trying to get a coil spring compressor that will work with these guys. Got one from Auto Zone today that might work. I'll get to it Thursday or Friday. The day-job thing is overrated...

In the meantime, I had to take a cutoff wheel to the rear leaf spring U-Bolts. The nuts were on too tight. I was a bit surprised when the first one cut through--it sprang open more than I thought it would. I put the floor jack gently on the bottom of the remaining bolts before cutting them off--that helped.

When I pulled the tranny, I only drained about half a cup of oil. The rest is goo in the bottom of the tranny. Any suggestions for cleaning all that out? Solvent good or bad?
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Old October 19th, 2016, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

John-Mann,

In regards to the cleaning of bolts, a soak and was in liquor thinner (LT), this will cut right through 99% of all oil and grease, (even 50 years old stuff) THEN throw then in the tumbler.

Also use the LT thinner to cut through the crude in the tranny. IF you have a electric parts washer, rig up the tranny over the bin and use a small diameter tube to reach the inside of the casing and let it fall into the parts washer, You may need to clean the solvent once or twice. Disposal of the very dirty LT can be a possible local used oil drop off or with fall coming you'll need some fire starter......
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  #10  
Old October 21st, 2016, 02:33 AM
John Mann John Mann is offline
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Default Re: '63 Fenderside in Colorado

Thanks, JB. I do have a parts washer--water soluble only. But I like the idea of using it with the tranny suspended over it. I'll let you know how that works.
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