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Old 06-15-2012, 01:27 AM   #1
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1950 18' Clipper
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1942 Chevy Panel truck as TV, Need real advice on Motor, rear etc

Hi everyone,

I'm sort of a 'wolf in airstream clothing'... ha ha...
I actually own a 1949 Curtis Wright Clipper 22' (just like the airstream of its day. I think its just a copy of the airstream actually and is near to 3,000lbs) As there are way more Airstreamers out there with way more knowledge... I thought I'd ask you all.

My trailering experience is somewhat limited. I've only had the trailer less than four years, one year of which was actually in storage. I did drive her, 'Ella' from the East to the West Coast in preparation for my move, and tow other longish trips. All in all I've had her out less than a dozen times lets say.

My previous TV was a 2002 Chevy s-10 extended cab with a standard V6. To which I added a hitch, break controller, rear weight distribution stiffener package, and a trans cooler. With a full load of gear in the bed and the trailer , we were pretty maxed to capacity if not a bit over. But the S-10 served me well until someone decided to turn into my front end and totaled the truck.
So now I am stepping it up a notch...

I just bought a 1942 Chevy panel truck, this is to be my tow vehicle AND only vehicle.

I'm just getting started on my research for getting the half ton '42 chevy panel truck to get her back on the road for use as a daily driver. I also need it to occasonally haul my travel trailer, a 22 foot vintage Curtis Wright (about 3,000lbs). So it needs some power, though only necessary for driving and towing, I'm NOT looking for crazy awesome power. Gas mileage is a factor, as it'll be my only vehicle. Also I need it asap as I have no wheels right now, luckily I live in San fran so I can often do without. That's the basics here are some more details

The truck as it stands:
Seats replaced with bucket seat from 70's or 80's sports car
It has a running 1970's Mustang engine in itI presume the rear in it is also from the Mustang. - master cylinder is bad and it needs a new fan, the lights rewired and some minor body work.

It has original leaf springs on the rear but not the accompanying original supports. No shocks were added and the leaf springs have started to shift sideways slightly. We plan to fabricate some brackets or mounts to add in shocks and perhaps a package to stiffen/distribute the weight in the rear as it will be used as a tow vehicle.
We also plan to replace or stiffen up the front end for better handling.

The Plan:
To outwardly keep the truck as original looking as possible, while givng me the power and handling for a daily driver:
Stiffen up the front end for better handling.
Replace engine with a 350 or larger v6 and adding support brackets for additional wieght- assuming it needs that
Replace auto transmission and rear end
Add shocks to rear
fabricate a mounting to the frame for a tow hitch to pull trailer
install disk brakes all around
power steering
tilt steering (for long drives this will be needed especially)
install a heat/AC/Defrost unit



Suggestions thus far:

A- a new 350 with auto trans perhaps an R4 - giving me an overdrive and achieving better mileage. With this it has been also suggested to me that a 4.11 or some such lower geared rear ratio would be better. The best way to do this I am told is to keep it simple without a computer. I assume while this would be the most expensive it would yeild the most reliable towing capability and suit my needs the best. I am told fuel injected is more $ but better for fuel consumpiton, I assume the increase in cost might even pay for itself over some years.
Replace steering wheel with a 69-71 cadalac tilt/telscoping steering wheel as one option

OR a use a larger modern V6 with new trans etc.

B- get an 350 engine and trans from a 1968, 69,70, 71 or maybe 72 or 73 ruck chevy truck and presuameably the rear end as it will have the power I need and be far cheaper. The problem I guess is locating one and then getting something that may not have the longevity of a new engine as well as needing more maintenance and replaced/rebuilt sooner.

C- to quote a reply on Stovebolt : some have suggested using a Chevy s-10 frame as a donor. Another person “using a modern chassis cut to fit. I think I'd perhaps go for a later model perhaps like a 96'+ to get the 5.3 Vortec and OD transmission. Also you'll likely have to rewire the truck anyway so getting the computer circuitry from a donor is a no brainer and lots of people have done this swap so there's lots of good input both here and at Inliners & Chevytalk. This is likely to be the best and least expensive route in the long run plus you'll get PS and PB in the deal so there is all you've asked for;
Drivability, dependability, economy, safety and performance. “

So there are the suggestions thus far please keep them coming I'm all ears.
If anyone has photos of successful mounts for under a panel or pickup, engine reenforments for adding the 350 or mounts for rear shocks or a tow hitch or info on such , I would love to see

photos can be sent to me directly at frockan@gmail.com

My background :

I'm an artist, I wont be doing these alterations to the truck as I dont have that knowledge myslef. I will be assisting to help save time and money. My mechanic is willing to to whatever I want but wants me to let him know in what direction we need to go. We both want to do this right the first time,

Any and all feedback is most appreciated, sorry for the length just trying to get you all the details I have

Cheers
frockman
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:54 AM   #2
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Frockman,

Being someone that currently owns a few old cars (five) and has had more throughtout my life, I will say like many in the old car biz,

"It's cheaper and faster to buy them already re-done than to do one yourself".

You maybe better off in the long run to look for a well documented redone car/truck that way when you go looking for parts you'll know you need brakes for a ????.

Unless your buddy is not going to charge you a penny in labor and make a year or two long commitment of every night and weekend of free time, you will be asking the same questions two years from now.

Not trying to deflate your balloon, just trying to let you know how it works in the real world of car re-do's vs. the vision of how you think it's going to go.

Good luck. Restoring old cars for tow and daily use is a task that even many of the toughest old school cars guy's have fallen short on.

Enjoy,
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:01 AM   #3
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It is all a great plan and a fun project. But, Rideair is absolutely correct.
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:37 AM   #4
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You can do about anything you want...all it takes is time AND money.

I have multiple restorations and built up hot rods under my belt. The only two sure bets:

1) It will always take longer than you expect and

2) It will always cost more than you budgeted for

Ditto old Airstreams

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Old 06-15-2012, 08:19 PM   #5
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Jeremy, you have some reasonable options there but for a daily driver you might consider combining b and c. the donor parts truck idea works well but forget the 70's technology. lots of power and fun but the reliability and longevity aint there. In the 70's a truck with 100,000 miles was toast, now a newer vehicle is just ready for its first tune-up. If I was going this route i would find something as new and lightly wrecked as possible as a donor but you can expect this to be expensive and long term whichever way you go. most people decide that this type of vehicle is a really cool second car but not a realistic primary. like some of the others here I have done this more than once professionally (18 years) and I would not go this route myself if this was to be my only transportation.
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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I too have built up cars and done the drivetrain swaps. The last was the AMC Pacer (Avatar) which got a 70 Boss drivetrain. The project took 5 years.

I too agree with Paul. Your project will be expensive and take a lot of time.

If you do go through with it I would find a vehicle that measures up and transform the drivetrain into your vehicle. A modern V6 can have 300HP and in all aluminum be very light. 5 or six speed trannys are nice too for towing. Don't be afraid of FWD. As a unit may be easier to install and the front disk brakes are already there.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
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Being both a street rodder and air streamer, if you want to make a "restorod" that is original looking outside, and modern, safe to use and dependable, I would suggest getting a donor truck that has a vortec V8 and overdrive trams. You can then use a great deal of that truck in and under your old truck. All will modern and a available.
I have built several street rods, for myself and others, using a donor car. When finished there isn't much left of the donor as I use the entire running gear, front and rear suspension, electrical system, fuel system, cooling system, and anything else I can. The donor usually gets hauled off in a box trailer as there is not much left except sheet metal parts and part of the frame.
You can sometimes get a donor in good mechanical condition which has been totaled by an insurance company due to body damage too costly to repair.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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How about some pictures of the Chev?
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:59 AM   #9
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Hi, put a 292 Chevy inline six in it so it runs good and looks somewhat original. I'm just not a fan of the 700 club. [350/350]
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumrunner View Post
Jeremy, you have some reasonable options there but for a daily driver you might consider combining b and c. the donor parts truck idea works well but forget the 70's technology. lots of power and fun but the reliability and longevity aint there. In the 70's a truck with 100,000 miles was toast, now a newer vehicle is just ready for its first tune-up. If I was going this route i would find something as new and lightly wrecked as possible as a donor but you can expect this to be expensive and long term whichever way you go. most people decide that this type of vehicle is a really cool second car but not a realistic primary. like some of the others here I have done this more than once professionally (18 years) and I would not go this route myself if this was to be my only transportation.
tim
That was a fear of mine, using repalcement parts that had already a limited and perhaps unkonwn amount of time left on them.
In way this is an experiment about it being only transporation. I do live in the city, so I have my feet, public transportation is good here, bike, perhaps a scooter, and there is a car share that is fairly cheap if its just once in a while. I'll know in time if it works.

would you suggest parting out a new "wrecked vehicle" or doing what some have suggested and that is to remove the whole truck body panel off and put onto a donor chassis ?
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:37 AM   #11
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Thanks...further details

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Foster View Post
Being both a street rodder and air streamer, if you want to make a "restorod" that is original looking outside, and modern, safe to use and dependable, I would suggest getting a donor truck that has a vortec V8 and overdrive trams. You can then use a great deal of that truck in and under your old truck. All will modern and a available.
I have built several street rods, for myself and others, using a donor car. When finished there isn't much left of the donor as I use the entire running gear, front and rear suspension, electrical system, fuel system, cooling system, and anything else I can. The donor usually gets hauled off in a box trailer as there is not much left except sheet metal parts and part of the frame.
You can sometimes get a donor in good mechanical condition which has been totaled by an insurance company due to body damage too costly to repair.
So here is a question for you... for my same position, and obvioulsy you've been there.
You are suggesting to essentially gut and reuse parts from a good modern donor sounds logical.

Someone else suggested the same thing but instead of cutting up the panel truck frame and trying to fit everything, they suggested to start with a while new chassis from the donor as all the parts will be there and mounts and P/S. brakes etc

. Either way yes, its a lot of work, would you do it the way that I just mentioned ever ... Why or why not ?
The suggestion also mentioned to always cut and modify the newer donor chassis and parts, not the panel truck. The panel truck body woudl be removed from its original frame, and that frame sold for someone doing a restoration. I'm sure there are plusses and minuses... but you've done it your way... it "sounds" easier the other way IF you could get a similar sized donor...no?
Now, say I go the route of the modifications, does it pay to have someone take appart a donor to then put it on the panel , or just buy new parts to add to the panel directly.. in general I am speaking as I am paying for labor?

thanks for the added input.

Also my mechanic is thinking a V8 also either new or low mielage used and then buying front end. It would have a computer in it then, and he has someone to do the wiring... sounds like repairs later though might be harder? Maybe not ?

Also FYI.. I am buying the parts directly, so he' not charging a markup on them.
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:57 AM   #12
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Which ones ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Ruler View Post
I too have built up cars and done the drivetrain swaps. The last was the AMC Pacer (Avatar) which got a 70 Boss drivetrain. The project took 5 years.

I too agree with Paul. Your project will be expensive and take a lot of time.

If you do go through with it I would find a vehicle that measures up and transform the drivetrain into your vehicle. A modern V6 can have 300HP and in all aluminum be very light. 5 or six speed trannys are nice too for towing. Don't be afraid of FWD. As a unit may be easier to install and the front disk brakes are already there.
Can you steer me in the direction of such a V6... the vortec 4200 is just about there with 291 HP

As for the 4wd... would the 4wd still be enambled or does it become dissalbed when doing so. I always assumed 4wd are one of those things things that can be problematic... You are the first to suggest this, so I am curious. Also, would any mechanic be familiar with such... It would be a nice added feature when camping and trallening with the trailer in national parks etc. especially given that the truck has some good ground clearnace to begin.
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Old 06-16-2012, 07:12 AM   #13
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You seem willing to take on a pretty aggressive project here. Just a thought to ponder, would it be more feasible to locate a modern donor vehicle ie. pickup, suburban chassis with engine, trans, running gear and put your '42 body onto it ??? That would give you modern, safe mechanics and you'd know what parts you need for maine. / service when necessary.

Good luck, I think this will be a great project when done. Hope it doesn't turn into a "MONEY PIT".
See ya on the road sometime
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:30 AM   #14
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My buddy has a Porsche 917 repicar. He bought it as a complete running car with a Ford 302 V8 in the rear. He has already upgraded the wheels, tires, and brakes (pulled from a Porsche 928).

Not happy with it he just purchaced a Porsche Boxster (donor car). He is currently evaluating the project. I believe he is goiing to drop/adapt the 917 body on the modern, 6 year old Boxster chassis/drivetrain.

In your case the project needs to be evaluated as there ar so many options.
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