Restoring a 1955 Chev Pick up

I’m restoring my first vehicle - a 1955 Chev Pick up with my 15 year old daughter. My dad bought it for my brother and me when we were 16 and 14 years old. It survived two teenage boys!! It is all original except for converting it from 6 volt to 12 volt. It has some rust and a bad paint job that two teenagers did back in the early 80’s!

It has been stored in the shed on the farm since 1987. What things do I need to do to the motor before trying to start it? Anything special since it has not run for 27 years? About 10 years ago, we did pour some gasoline down the carburetor and it ran fine (the fuel pump apparently doesn’t work).


well all of your fuel lines and the carb and the gas tank are probably fouled by old degraded gasoline. I would replace all the fuel lines and brake lines and check all the steering components and possibly get a new wiring harness. after that it should be safe as long as the structure isn t rusted too bad and the tires are good. then you can work on the cosmetics

First, if the fuel pump has failed there may be a great deal of gasoline spilled into the crankcase so draining the oil before attempting to start it would be advisable. Remove the spark plugs and pour a few ounces of motor oil in each cylinder and allow it to seep down the bore overnight and then crank the engine with the plugs removed to get everything lubricated before any load is put on the crankshaft.

If the starter cranks the engine over without any troubling noises or hesitation check the fuel pump for leaking at the weep hole and post back.

thanks. I din’t think of replacing fuel lines. Good idea about the engine oil in each cylinder. We will try this weekend!

Here’s a book you might find useful:

Im pretty sure it will need a new belt and hoses after 27 years.Even if you arent planning on driving it the first time you start it I would replace the belt and radiator hoses and make sure the radiator is full and there are no leaks anywhere.

I had a 68 firebird that I let sit behind my brothers barn for 5 years.When I went back and finally got it started water was leaking from everywhere.I guess the gaskets had rotted and/or the freeze plugs had popped out of the block.

the old fuel lines were not designed to handle the ethanol in todays gas either

If you’re bent on trying to start it without tearing it down first, I have a few words of wisdom for you (gained the hard way)- do not attempt to start the engine using the starter until you are sure it is freely turning over by hand first!! After that much time, the rings are likely rusted to the cylinder sleeves. The starter motor will easily overcome this and crack them in the process.

Pull the plugs and inject some ATF into each bore. Leave the plugs out until you get it turning over by hand. Allow it to sit for some time and then use a breaker bar on the crank pulley bolt to try and turn it over by hand. If it won’t budge, STOP. Let it rest over night with the ATF soaking the top rings. Take your time, it will be well worth it, trust me.

If the ATF doesn’t work, get some B’Laster PB and hose down each cylinder with that. Repeat trying and hosing down over a couple of days before giving up or horsing it. Lather, rinse, repeat if necessary.

Once you can rotate the lower end, then prime the engine with the distributor tool to get oil circulating before attempting to start it.

The rest of the common sense stuff needs to be done too, just wanted to help you avoid significant damage without realizing it could happen.

Is this an early series 1955 Chevy pickup? I ask this question because the second series I think had the 12 volt system. However, the early series did not. The early series looks like the 1954 Chevy pickup which was very similar to the model that came out in 1947. The last of the early series was produced in March of 1955. Unless the engine has been changed, you have the 6 cylinder engine known as the stove bolt 6.

thanks all for the help. Lots of stuff to consider! The pick up is the early series 1955 (rounded fenders, corner windows, etc.). I believe the second half of 1955 is when they changed body styles.

After you clean out the fuel lines and tank, replace the fuel pump, pour a little oil in each cylinder to sit overnight, and change the oil and filter, if I remember right, you can pull the distributor, then you get a long flat blade screwdriver, cut off the handle and chuck it up in a drill, stick it down into the distributor hole to engage the oil pump shaft and run the drill slowly (600 rpm) until you build up oil pressure. The reinstall the distributor and run it.

Points can get corroded over the years so you may need to file them down a little or replace them to get a spark. You may also want to put a little oil on the shift linkage and clutch linkage and grease up all the suspension joints. Check the transmission gear oil and rearend gear oil before actually driving it anywhere.

the carb should be re built as well