1963 Chevy C10: First efforts

About a month ago I finally began in earnest on one of my dreams. After a lot of searching, I bought a 1963 Chevrolet C10 truck. I have wanted an old truck to work on and drive for years. For many years, it simply wasn’t practical. I’m finally reaching a point in my life where I can afford to be less practical and realize a few more dreams.

The Chevy C10 is a long bed, still wearing what is left of its original cameo white over turquoise crystal. The paint is tired and has seen better days but it also qualifies as a ‘patina’ that seems to be in vogue of late. The truck has the original wood bed with the wood still in excellent condition. There does not appear to have ever been any significant body damage. There is a repairable dent to the front left fender. The rear suspension is trailing arm with coil springs which makes it ride like a car. Not great for hauling heavy loads or towing things but excellent for a vehicle whose primary purpose is daily driver.

The truck originally had a 230 CID inline 6 engine connected to a column shifted, 3 speed transmission. At some point the 230 was replaced with a 1976 250 CID 6 cylinder. The truck ran well enough to drive it the 125 miles home but there was plenty of work to be done. It leaked a lot of oil. The carburetor badly needed to be rebuilt. The shocks are probably the factory originals from 1963. The truck rides like my first ship. I had the opportunity to buy a very similar Ford F-100 that was pretty much done for about the same price. I am not sure how I will feel in a couple of months but right now I prefer this diamond in the rough that needs work. When it is ‘done’ (we all know project vehicles like this are never done) it will be my work of art. I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I am responsible for how it looks and runs.

The first thing I tackled was the seals and gaskets. Valve cover gasket, push rod cover gaskets and we tried to replace the oil pan gasket but discovered that requires at least lifting the engine off its mounts. We were not quite ready to do that. The drips from the truck when it is parked are less but not gone. No drips ever is important to me so, I need to find the other leaks.

Next on the list we tackled the carburetor. The truck has a Rochester B manual choke carburetor. I purchased a carburetor rebuild kit from Mike’s Carburetor Parts. We bought a can of Berryman Chem-Dip carburetor cleaner. We removed the carb from the truck and began to tear it down. There are a lot of little parts in a carburetor. The Rochester B is a pretty simple carb, definitely one of the easier ones to rebuild. We were pretty happy for that. It will be a while before I am really to take on the challenge of rebuilding a Holley four barrel.

The truck now gets 12 and half miles to the gallon. The filler neck on the gas tank leaks so about a half gallon to a gallon of gas goes on the floor every time I fill up. The gas tank is currently out so that I can replace the filler neck. While the gas tank is out I am also dealing with the rust on the floorboard. Nothing cancerous but some pretty severe pitting. I wirebrushed in all out. I will treat the areas that were rusty and then put a couple of coats of paint down. Over that I plan to put sound deadening material over the painted surfaces. My goal is to make the truck quieter than my wife’s new Nissan. I have a cool stereo system designed for it but first I have to make sure I will be able to hear it.