This is my 1965 Chevy C-10 Short bed Step side pickup. It was originally purchased by my grandfather new on February 10, 1965 from Central Chevrolet Company in Columbia, SC. The cash price my grandfather paid for the truck was $1,843.70.
The truck passed to my uncle when my grandfather died, and then I purchased it from my uncle in August 2000. The truck is in fairly decent shape, and I used it on a regular basis up until June 2012. The engine finally gave out on me, and since I did not have the time or extra cash to get it fixed then, I parked it, put a cover over it, placed it on jack stands, and there it has sat for a bit over a year. In August 2013 I decided it was time to get it back on the road. I pulled the cover off and snapped the pics below to get it ready to head to the garage for an assessment.
After sitting for over a year, the battery was pretty much dead. However, a night on the charger brought it back to life, at least enough to get the truck cranked up and coaxed out of the parking spot by the shed down to the drive. From here it would be loaded up and hauled to the shop. The cloud of smoke is because the piston rings had failed, and probably about as much oil as gas was burning through the engine.
I stopped by the shop on September 6 to check on the progress. The original thought was that they could do an “in-frame rebuild” to minimize the cost for me. However, seems that these old trucks are so simple, pulling an engine really is not that much of an effort, and when I stopped by the stripped block was bolted to an engine stand. The verdict was of course the rings, but it seems the fuel pump was also leaking internally. Also, while the head is off, it is at the machine shop and will have hardened valve seats pressed in, so no more lead substitute needed when I fill up at the pump.
With the engine out, seems like now is a good time to also address that occasional chatter when shifting into 2nd gear. The worn pressure plate is the culprit, so a new clutch is going in too. The bill for this one will be up there, but once I get it back it should be in good running condition, with a rebuilt engine and new clutch, so it will be time to start on the body work.
September 28, 2013
Four weeks later and it is still in the shop. Seems that there have been a few minor setbacks, but each one adds a week. It took a week on the head. The machine shop called and said it needed new valves too. Then a couple days later called and said new valve guides, then a couple days later it was ready. Then it made its way back to my mechanic’s shop.
The rebuild started and as the last piston was going in one of the rings broke. Upon closer inspection the top of the piston was cracked and the top ring groove was damaged. Time for a replacement. There were no “40 over” pistons for a Chevy 230 available locally so it had to be ordered. A “two business day” delivery time turned into a week. When he made it down to the shop to pick it up, it was the wrong piston. Apparently when the remanufactured engine was installed 20 or so years ago, it was a 250 block, with the old 230 head. While the heads are interchangeable with no problems, the pistons are not. So as of late this week we are waiting on a 250 piston to arrive now, and it could be another week.
October 2, 2013
Progress! Stopped by the shop today and saw a bright Chevy orange engine on the stand. Various other accessory parts, like the fan and water pump, had a fresh shiny black coat of paint. If all goes well I hope to have it home by Friday and can start some major cleaning and a few minor repairs.
The old bed boards had rotted to the point years ago that I had “upgraded” to a sheet of treated plywood. This plywood had warped a bit and pieces of the old wood were falling out going down the road. Since the truck was back on the road, I decided it would be good to replace it with something a bit more bolted down. I decided to just go with inexpensive whiteboard and reuse the bed strips I could use. This is a temporary repair, so the cheaper the better. I found that if I used three 1×12 and two 1×8 boards, I could match up the original bolt holes for the bed strips, even though I was going from seven down to five boards. I only had to rip about 1/2 inch from two of the 1×12 boards to make this work.
It was a weekend project, and I found that my new angle grinder was a necessity for this project. Since I consider this a temporary repair, I went with off-the-shelf hex head bolts instead of the originally correct bolts. I found out during this process that I will indeed need to replace the front bed panel some day. Not only is the front bed panel bowed, but the edge that would have been under the wood, with the ends of the bed strips bolted through it, was mostly rusted away and gone.
Really need to make an update, and will soon. Since last posting I have upgraded brakes to a dual pot MC, HEI to replace the old points distributor, new reproduction rearview mirror inside and on the driver’s door, and did a little rattle-can paint job to brighten up the bumpers and grill.
I have about 800 miles on it since the rebuild. It is running nicely, and I have even braved the interstate a few times. I drove it into the office one Friday in the spring and it was an uneventful trip–except for a couple trips back out to the parking lot during the day.
More to come soon, with pics.