Anyone who works on old trucks has to be an understanding sort. After all, you’re dealing with something that has been used, often abused, and most likely neglected, so it takes TLC to bring many of them back to life but the results are always worth the effort.
In most cases there are three basic areas that need to be addressed on classic trucks—rusty sheetmetal, dealing with the fact that these were simple, unsophisticated vehicles that can benefit from modern technology, and the fact that many of the moving parts are worn out. As a case study we offer Buck Lyons’ 1949 Chevrolet.
Considering the age of Lyons’ truck, it was in reasonably good condition. That’s not to say repairs weren’t needed—not long ago in the pages of Classic Trucks we documented the installation of a new toeboard, firewall, and cowl repair panel from Classic Parts of America. Now we were on to the second phase of the cab’s rehab, so we made another call to Classic Parts of America for POR-15, Dynamat, and Dynaliner, along with replacement parts for the doors.
As the damaged sheetmetal had been replaced earlier, the remainder of the cab needed to be protected from any future corrosion. That required removing surface contamination with a wire brush and then chemically treating the bare metal with POR-15 metal prep; it etches the metal to provide the best adhesion for POR-15 Rust Preventive Coating and also leaves a zinc phosphate coating to aid chemical bonding of paint and steel.
Once the interior metal surfaces were pronounced rust-free we turned our attention to one of the shortcomings of every early truck: the lack of insulation and sound deadening. On a hot day you can boil an egg inside the cabs of most old trucks and when it’s cold you need an ice scraper for the inside of the glass. Couple that with a sound level that is similar to riding in a 55-gallon drum full of rocks and the need for insulation is clear.
Reducing noise inside the cab and keeping the temperature in check is best done with two products. To reduce road noise and vibration we used Dynamat, a thin, supersticky butyl rubber bonded to an aluminum alloy skin. With the interior surfaces covered Dynamat makes truck cabs feel solid—the doors close with a solid “thunk” rather than sounding like dropping loose change into a tin can.
The second component in the quest for a quiet cab was a layer of Dynaliner. A lightweight thermal insulator, it’s made from soft, self-adhesive, closed-cell rubber. With tiny cells packed close together it has the ability to reduce heat as well as resist oil and water. Since it will not hold water, it will not promote rust or mildew like most under carpet padding and thermal insulators. Combined with Dynamat, Dynaliner nearly doubles the total thermal resistance ability, which is what we were after.
After dealing with rust and adding installation the last step in our cab’s rehab was replacing the worn door hardware. Considering how many times the doors have been opened and closed over the years it’s somewhat surprising they’re still attached to the truck. To make everything old new again we ordered new door hinges, latches, and related hardware, window regulators, and a box full of other parts to be used later from Classic Parts of America. New hinges and latches will not only make the doors operate smoothly, they will correct body line alignment issues—and rolling up the windows without having to grab the glass and pull is just one advantage of new regulators.
With the necessary replacement parts and supplies from Classic Parts of America, and the efforts of Christian Arriero in the TEN Tech Center, Lyons’ truck cab is well on its way to completing rehab. Next time around we’ll give it a few more treatments and the Chevy will be ready to face the world.