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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

First of all, let me boldly state that I know absolutely nothing about diesel engines or drivetrains other than driving an Army deuce-and-a-half several years ago. My main reason for joining this forum is to get a little bit of insight and possibly a bit of knowledge about GM 6.2 L Diesels, and here's why.

I recently bought a project vehicle from a friend, and I really don't know which direction to take it in. It's a 1955 1st (Advanced Design) 1-ton Panel Van. It has a 137-inch wheelbase, and is flippin' huge! One look at it and you can see that it just screams "BIG TRUCK!" That's what I'd like to do with it.

The previous owner started on the project by putting an independent front suspension from an 80's Chevy 3/4 ton pick up, and basically stopped right there. In looking at the 50+ year old frame etc, I've decided to do something a bit different and do a complete frame swap. Basically, I'll be taking the body off the original frame and fabricating body mounts to drop it onto a more modern chassis. That way the engineering is for the most part done, and buying parts for something a lot newer will be a lot easier.

In doing some looking around, both online and in various magazines, I came up with the idea of finding an 80's 1-ton dually basket case and swapping the body onto that chassis. I love the idea of turning this panel van into a dually! It's understood that I'll have to either lengthen or shorten the frame, depending on the wheelbase of the donor vehicle, and there will be a lot of bodywork needed to cover the duals out back.

Well, about the time I came up with this idea, I found a mid 80's 2WD Chevy 1-ton dually that's sitting at an acquaintance's house, and he needs to get rid of it. The truck was a project of a friend of his, and this friend suffered a debilitating accident. The friend has no interest in the truck and is willing to sell it to me for $300 (clean title and all.) Here's the kicker and my reason for joining the forum: it has a 6.2L diesel in it, and I don't know a thing about them.

From what I've been told, the engine was rebuilt about 2 years ago. According to my friend, they were working on getting the fuel system (new fuel pump and associated plumbing) together when the other guy had his accident, so it was never started at all. There are all kinds of receipts and such in the truck, and it appears he has about $6000 total into the engine and trans. It has a manual transmission in it now, but I'd like to swap that out for an automatic - if possible.

I'll not be asking any questions here, as I know to keep such things in the proper forums, and I'll be searching the forum for any/all info that could even remotely pertain to my project. This is just a "Hello" message, and a bit of background on where I'm coming from, and where I'd like to go. To be honest, this idea is still simply that - an idea. Whatever info I gather here and other places will help guide me in the decision as to whether or not to keep the diesel or sell that engine and go gasoline. Either way, I WILL be using this chassis for my panel van.

Thanks for reading this, and I hope to correspond with some of you soon!

Dusty
 

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:welcome: from Florida.
Good to have you in the brother (and sister)hood. When you get a chance, create a signature and list whatever you can about this project truck so users can help you better. Also, create a "Garage" and post pics of your rig throughout the process because....


:nopics:​

This sounds like a :cool2: project.
 

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Welcome to the forum! You will find it a particularly useful source of information.

That should be a very interesting project. Those '55 era chevys are pretty interesting. Should be a lot more interesting with the diesel! Sounds like you've got a pretty good "donor" truck. Those duallies are pretty cool in and of themselves.

If you have any questions on that engine or fuel system or wiring, don't hesitate to ask. The 6.2L forum (my "home forum" on this board) is very informative, and any questions you have will be answered.

Again, welcome to the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the welcome, Folks! As soon as I get my act together, I'll post a few pics of my project. Here's a peek at what I'm working on, but I need to stress the fact that this is NOT my truck - it's just the same body style as this one:

http://www.stovebolt.com/gallery/sam_reed_1954_01.htm

Doesn't that just scream DUALLY? Mine is about 3 different colors, but mostly white. The previous owner's wife dubbed it "Moby Truck - The Great White Whale." I think I like that, and plan to run with it.

I'm reading everything I can on the 6.2L, and as it sits right now I can see it's gonna be a steep learning curve. I'll figure it out though.

Thanks again!

Dusty
 

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Well, I suppose that would make a nice dually. Looks like a pretty big truck.

...as it sits right now I can see it's gonna be a steep learning curve. I'll figure it out though.
Don't worry about it. These 6.2s are as simple as simple gets. It's basically just a fuel injected engine with no electronics or ignition system. I doesn't get much simpler. They don't break very often because there is nothing to break. No chance of having bad spark plugs, ignition coils, rotors, points, distributor cap, wires, ECM, O2 sensors, MAF sensor, MAP sensor... You get the point. Yet you get all the benefits of fuel injection. Plus you get much better fuel economy and torque. You can burn almost anything as fuel.
 

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I say dually only if they're tucked under the body (no flared fenders).
Just my
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I say dually only if they're tucked under the body (no flared fenders).
I'll have to do some pretty agressive modifications to the rear fenders to cover a dually rear end. These things are pretty narrow. The front and rear track width is almost the same as a mid 80's Chevy S-10 series truck or Blazer. Imagine putting a 1-ton dually rear end under one of those and you see what I'm up against. I'm trying to figure a way to tastefully widen the stock rear fenders, or use the fenders off of a pick-up of the same vintage to cover the rear tires. Maybe a combination of the two. I'm not going for fiberglass bolt-ons from JC Whitney or something cheezy like that. This puppy is going to be driven, and I want durability as well as style out of it. Otherwise, I might just as well buy something newer and forget the whole thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I finally got a garage and posted a few pics.

The first 4 are of the 55 Panel Van, taken by the previous owner in front of his house. The next few are of the 83 donor truck, taken by me behind the business of the guy I bought it from. I have no under hood pics of the engine, but I'll get some taken and posted today or tomorrow. And yes, that is another 6.2L in the bed of the yellow truck. That's the original engine that was replaced. I don't know anything about that engine, other than the fact that it's been sitting in the bed of that truck for about 2 years.

I'll get more pics as soon as I can. I must also tell you that we've been moving, so time is precious right now, and this is going to be a long project. I'll post updates as soon as I can get started on it.

As it sits right now, I have to strip the '83 down to the bare frame, and stretch it 6 inches to bring it up to the 138 inch wheelbase (the extra inch is needed to center the rear wheels in the wheel openings) I'm looking for. The stretch will take place in front of the forward leaf spring mounts, behind the fuel tanks and the center support for the 2-piece driveshaft. After stretching and boxing the frame, I'll drop the body onto it, braced temporarily on blocks, while I fabricate body mounts and fill in the floor. As you can tell by the interior shots, there's a lot of rust to repair, but getting there is half of the fun. :D

Sorry to drag up such an old thread, but I figure posting in an existing thread is sometimes better than starting a new one, and it answers some questions raised in this thread.

Feel free to comment, whether negative or positive, either here in the forum, PM, or in my garage. I've been reading everything I can about the 6.2L, and got hold of a complete set of CUCV manuals from a National Guard buddy (my wife - hehehehe) as I figure that except for the electrical system and a few other minor things, they're basically the same trucks. I have to say that this site is probably the best source of real-world info on these engines in specific, and Diesel engines in general. You guys don't know how much you've helped me to make the decision to go with the 6.2L in this project, and I thank you all for it.

Thanks for the input on this project, and your unintentional input through other threads.

:cool:

Dusty
 
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