What books would you recommend for me to learn about my antique truck

I am hoping there are a couple of really basic books someone could recommend for me to learn about and teach me how to maintain and repair my 1953 GMC 1/2 ton pickup truck. I know nothing about engines and such, but it is my understanding that these trucks from this period are very basic and reliable. It is all original with an inline 6, 228 with 3 on the column.

I spent a lifetime in my 49 Chevrolet pickup (same as yours) never needed a textbook. I would think by 53 you are running the 235. I bored one .090 and installed a hydraulic cam, ran away from 292 Chevrolets. One thing to watch with the 235/216 lineup is they like to crack cylinder heads.

You may get into where you need to deal with the front torque tube joint, but all this stuff is just basic automotive technology ,from the 40’s. The cloumn shift at times needed tightening up.Blew the side off a 3 speed trans once,in fact the transmissions did give some trouble (lost 3rd gear twice).

What are these trucks going for these days? I paid 550.00 for mine in 1973, kept it till 1986.

Your best bet would be to find an old fart to be your friend. Find a shade tree mechanic and offer to help. You may be surprised the knowledge you gain in return. Sure you can buy books, and guides that break things down to the microscopic level, but many times in these older vehicles it is an overload of information for something a screwdriver and a pair of pliers can fix.

Thank you WB - i could not agree more, however, i feel i need some basic knowledge and understanding of the engines, trans, from this period so i am not wasting the ‘old farts’ time. I did find an ‘old fart’ farmer to do the body work and he is AMAZING, but he is 1200 miles from where I live, so I can only visit from time to time. I did have a guy with a truck of his own offer to help me overhaul the engine a couple years ago, but the original engine only has 23k on it, so I doubt it even needs it yet. Not sure he is even still around, but I like your suggestion. It is just that I live in S. Florida and not sure how to find a reliable shade tree mechanic around these parts. Oh, and don’t forget baling wire - that i know how to use already…

Hey OS - thanks for the first hand experience information. Much appreciated and I will watch for those things. From my understanding, yes the Chevy and GMCs from this period were the same in most specifics, but the engines were different in size in some cases. I am guessing you could still buy one of these trucks for several hundred $ if you look hard enough in the rural areas. There are still most original parts out there too for restoration. And just about everything in reproduction parts from China of course. And thank goodness for Ebay. I paid $1500 7yrs ago for mine but will have about $10k+ total in it when back from body work and parts. this includes $200 i gave for a complete parts truck. If i had to do it over again, I would have put money into getting it perfectly running sound and road speed ready and saved the body work for later. It has been all this time and I have not been able to enjoy it.

As oldschool and waterboy note, basic automotive knowledge and some kind of old fart mechanic to consult with will get you pretty far.

I will mention though that I once had a '64 Ford, almost no automotive knowledge, and no old fart mechanic. I don’t recall where but I managed to find a factory repair manual for it. It was basically a bound photocopy but I got it for something like $30 and it was incredibly helpful. Search the web a bit and see if you can come up with one of those.

Here’s something from a quick look: http://www.gearheadcafe.com/servlet/Categories?keyword=1948-1953+Chevrolet+Trucks

There are all kinds of books you could buy and read. Books specific to the make/model, engine etc. There are places online to buy them but perhaps the best place is a swap meet. Most areas have old car swap meets at some time during the year. Many have them in the spring and fall. The best advice I can give you is to go to your local hot rod hang out and talk w/people who have the same interest. They will gladly talk to you about anything and everything related to your new hobby as long as you’re nice and show an interest. Local malls, auto parts stores and drive in restaurants are common places for weeknight car shows where these guys and gals hang out. Go there and strike up a conversation. You can’t get that kind of valuable info from a book…

motorbooks.com is one place to check, as well as your local Borders, etc car section. Here’s one you should already have: http://www.motorbooks.com/store/ProductDetails_16277.ncm

Also, you need to find a forum for these, I’m sure there’s one (or more) out there with folks that know LOTS about them.

I don’t know where you are located but if you come to the Back to the 50’s car show on the Mn state fair grounds in St. Paul, you will surely find a few of these with the owners to chat with. Also there will be parts vendors and repair manual vendors and so on. Over 10,000 old cars in one place the weekend of June 18.

The 235 stove bolt has oil pressure to the top of the cylinder head, but the 216 did not, so it is a better engine. If you are in driving distance of Pamona CA. they have the worlds biggest automotive swap meet there several times a year at the L A county fairgrounds and you can get all kinds of books and parts too.

You will find some great guys at 50’s chevys. Check on line for this auto club, and see if you can hook up with someone in your balliwick.

You are correct that the GMC pickup trucks of this vintage had a different displacement size engine than the Chevrolet pick-up trucks. You may be correct that it was 228 cubic inches. I do remember reading about hotrodders exchanging the 216 engine in early 1950’s Chevrolet cars for a GMC truck engine. These were called “jimmy” Chevrolets.

Through the 1950’s and into the 1960’s GMC pickup trucks had different engines than the Chevrolet pickup trucks. When Chevrolet introduced its V-8 engine into its 1955 pickup trucks, GMC introduced a V-8 engine that was Pontiac’s V-8. In the early 1960’s, GMC had a V-6 engine for its pickup trucks which Chevrolet never had.

T - you’re right. I already do have that one (1991 version though). Thanks!