Thanks for doing the articles on restoring your I-beam in the July-August issues, as I'm trying to build a low-buck '50 five-window with a 235. It was parked for 12 years and started right up with a junkyard carb and a tune-up, and of course running the gas from a gas can! I look forward to attempting to do as instructed from your articles on restoring the front suspension.
One of the questions I have is with my rear axle already being swapped with a Nova 10-bolt , I want to convert the front to a five-lug (5x4 3/4) as low-buck as possible. I have heard that '49-54 car drums (not 4 3/4?) will go right on the spindles I have, and I have heard I will need to change the spindles also. Is either true, or can I change to aftermarket hubs and drums? If so, who has them? All the suppliers I have called just start talking about disc brake upgrades. I have not looked for a six- to five-lug adapter-that kind of gives me the creeps.
This truck is so low-buck that I cut an even trade deal with a neighbor who I bugged for years to sell it to me, but of course I always got the "I'm gonna fix it up some day" story. But after watching the truck deteriorate, I gave up after about eight and a half years. Two years after that, out of nowhere, he just asked me if I still wanted it! I cannot wait to get it in some primer and the red Corvette rallyes with police caps that are just waiting for the five-lug hubs.
Thanks for any help, and keep up the good work on the magazine.
Via the Internet
All right, Charles, let's see if I can help you out here. From what my research tells me, you can convert your six-lug frontend to five-lug pretty easily-and not go the disc brake route, if that's what you want-just make sure you completely and competently rebuild your drum brakes! First off, you don't need the '49-54 Chevy passenger-car spindles, as they have a completely different caster than the truck spindles. Find yourself a good, complete set of hubs, backing plates, and drums and swap them out for the same parts on your I-beam. Make sure you use the spindle spacers that came on the truck, too. The hubs on the passenger cars are the standard 5x4 3/4 bolt pattern, so you're good there. Other than that, unless I'm missing something (which isn't uncommon), that should get you handled.
I was enjoying my usual cop of coffee while reading the local newspaper this morning when all of a sudden I was hit in the face by yet another possible threat to our wellbeing! Said something along the lines of California legislators were once again trying to revive the old smog bill they've been trying-unsuccessfully, thank goodness-to pass. What the heck, don't they have enough on their hands as it is? It's a joke that we have yet to pass a state budget-you'd think the last thing they'd be worrying about was having to smog old cars and trucks! Can you shed any light on this? Thanks.
Via the Internet
Thanks in no small part to the SEMA Action Network (SAN), Bo, the great state (?) of California has once again been defeated in this matter. That said, don't think they won't try to bring this back to the legislative tables again eventually, as those fools seem to love kicking this poor old dead horse-which by now ought to be nothing more than a pile of dust and bones. Here's the official release from SEMA:
"The SAN defeated California legislation to require annual (rather than biennial) smog-check inspections for vehicles 15 years old and older. The bill would also have required that funds generated through the additional inspection fees be deposited into an account which could then be used to scrap older cars. In an effort to sneak the bill through in the closing days of the legislative session, California Assemblyman Dave Jones amended a completely unrelated bill with the annual smog-check inspection language.
"While pre-'76 motor vehicles would have remained exempt under existing California law, this proposal ignored the fact that vehicles 15 years old and older still constitute a small portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reductions. This latest action represents the second time the SAN was able to defeat this legislation.
"Special thanks to the countless enthusiasts and car clubs whose quick and powerful response to this harmful bill prevented it from moving forward."
In the current issue of Vintage Truck magazine (Oct. '08), a fellow says that an S-10 transmission, a five-speed manual with overdrive, bolted right up to the stock bellhousing on a 235-powered '53 3100 pickup. He didn't give any other info. I checked with a local tranny shop and they told me that there are several bellhousing patterns. Beyond that, they hadn't a clue. You're well-connected to truck and tranny shops. Can you sort this out? I don't have to tell you that many readers, including me, would love to know the details of this swap. Any chance of you doing an article?
There are only two bellhousing patterns you'll encounter with the Chevy trucks in question-you want the one with the Muncie-style pattern (wider at the bottom). Furthermore, to avoid having to grind the splines on the transmission's input shaft, you'll want to consider running a 1/4-inch spacer plate between the trans and the bellhousing (have a machinist pattern the face of the tranny to make the plate). Get a hold of our Back Issues Department-www.primediabackissues.com-and order yourself a copy of the Aug. '06 issue that's where we show an installation of a Tremec five-speed behind an inline-six. Good luck.