Time became a factor for Dylan and Shawn, “So, the truck sat for a year. Then, in the fall of 2012, Dylan and I moved his truck to the front of our garage and work began.

Dylan had a great interest in having the truck, and getting it to run, but, like his grandfather, that is where the interest stopped. This is also about the time when his grandfather passed away”.

Shawn explained more about the man, “Tom lived every moment of his life to the fullest. When he was a teenager, chasing girls, he would drive from Rock Creek to Grand Forks in an afternoon after work, party with the ladies, then drive home. You have to go through Greenwood to do this so Tom would stop and have a big plate of chow mein on the way. Then he would have another on the way home. His love of Chinese food would stay with him all of his days, and none was as good as the Chinese food of his youth. He once hitchhiked all the way to Vancouver to go to the PNE, hitchhiked home except the last twenty miles…which he walked in riding boots. In his words it was worth it. One time, in his later years, Tom put in a pond in his back yard, with pond fish and everything. Dylan, who was four at the time, was spending the afternoon with Grandpa and as Mom came to pick him up, she caught them in Tom’s backyard, with homemade fishing poles trying to catch Grandpa’s fish”.

This was a goal-oriented build and Tom’s passing was a factor in the project, “Part of the reason Dylan wanted to get it running and driving, was to take his grandfather for a ride in this truck. With Tom’s passing, it wasn’t to be. I regret that. I wished, for the two of them, we could have made that happen”.

The goals clearly changed on the project, “On to winter 2012…Oh, and by the way Dad, I want to drive the truck to prom.Really? You’re kidding , right? Now the pressure is really on”.

Shawn adhered to a game plan that was seasonal, “So, over the winter, I worked on stuff that I could do inside. An example would be the water pump pulley. Tom had tried to get a water pump pulley but the only one he could get was $500 in a dress up kit. That isn’t going to work. So Tom found a steel pulley that the bolts fit in, and sort of lined up, but was too big by ½”. I built a mandrel, mounted the pulley and turned it down on a lathe to fit. It isn’t perfect, but it works, hot rodding at its best. Modifications to the alternator mount will line the v-grooves up better but that will have to happen later. For now, it works”.


The calendar dictated terms,Other repairs had to wait until the snow was gone. To get the frost plugs in, I reckoned the engine was going to have to come out. The rad came out (not rubber mounted)…another thing to track down), the starter and the one side of the exhaust that was hooked up. A conversation with my wife’s brother-in-law ended in a suggestion…rather than pulling the engine to put in the plugs, why not press them in place with a hydraulic jack? He had done it on his Chevelle and it had worked. So…with a borrowed bottle jack and some new frost plugs the installation began. One of the four was able to go in with the bottle jack pushing against the frame, the second one was hammered in with a socket/extension/hammer combination but the last two were under the engine mounts and hard to get at. The Sweptline has a solid front axle so by jacking up the engine, placing wood blocks between the axle and the oil pan and then lowering the engine down onto the blocks, there was enough weight off of the engine to remove the mounts and get at the frost plug holes one at time. An hour on a lathe to fabricate an installation tool, two afternoons laying down on my back hammering the plugs in and the engine is bottled up tight”.

“Well, almost tight. After the plugs went in, with a couple weeks to go before grad and prom, the rad went back in along with its hoses. When the rad was filled up there appeared two leaks in the rad cores. One of the frost plugs was weeping. The thermostat hosing wasn’t sealed well enough and the heater hoses were split. The rad was pulled again and sent to Autorad up at Lone Butte. Chad had it fixed in a couple of days and we put it back into the truck. Some replacement rad and heater lines, thermostat and clamps and the cooling system was solid again…we hope”.

While the rad was being fixed the issue of the wiring was taken care of. First of all, wiring on an early sixties truck is really simple. What makes it complicated is when previous owners tie into the existing harness poorly and as stuff is worked on, wires are pulled out of their locations. Think of it this way, STRIP, TWIST and WRAP. With no owner’s manual available the job just gets harder. So…with some patience and time, every hacked up section was replaced, soldered (rather than quick connected or twisted) and shrink tubed (rather than wrapped in electrician’s tape). Battery clamps and engine grounds are replaced or improved. Wires are zap strapped together every six inches to clean up the harness. Takes time. However, two afternoons and evenings later all the wiring under the hood was cleaned up except for the horn (more on that later). Add a new battery and fabricate up a battery hold down clamp (snappy hookers suck for that kind of thing) and we are ready”.


Not quite, as Shawn recalled, “Ready for what? It needed an exhaust. So on the Tuesday night before grad, Dylan, my Dad and my daughter Ryley, winched the truck onto a car trailer and the next morning I hauled it into BIG “O” to have dual exhaust, with glass packs and dumps in front of the back wheels installed”.

There were instant results, “The truck was ready the next day”.

There also a few more mountains to climb, “Still wasn’t runnin’ and drivin’ so I had to winch it on to the trailer in the Big “O” parking lot. After winching it ¾ of the way on the winch hook slipped, causing the truck to roll off the trailer…it didn’t crash into anything..whew! Thank goodness for big shop lots”.

Jerry Sutherland

For Part Four of this Star in Rehab story please follow this link.

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