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Project 1962 Chevy C10 Swede Update: At A Crossroads

Project 1962 Chevy C10 Swede Update: At A Crossroads

For a few days, Swede was running fine and helped me get lots of chores down like taking out the trash.

Project trucks are full of ups and downs as you bring them back to life. Old Swede is no exception to this. Sadly, things are certainly on the downward side right now.

What’s going on? Not much and that’s the problem. As I driving home the other day from goose hunting, the oil pressure light came on. This light has been coming on and off as of late. However, this time, it was more than the light coming on. Swede started losing power rapidly. With just a few miles until getting home, I did my best to keep up the RPMs and the momentum. I was able to get it into our subdivision before it finally died.

Project 1962 Chevy C10 Swede Update: At A Crossroads

Running errands the day before included a trip to Menards – one of the top places I wanted/needed Swede for.

Popping the hood, I initially thought it was just overheated. After getting a tow home, I parked it for the night.

The next day, I swapped out the thermostat and idled it for a while to see if the light came back on. Nope. I thought I had it. I drove it around the block as a test drive. Immediately, I knew something was really wrong. It had no power yet again. Putting the gas pedal down resulted in no power improvement and Swede was barely able to get out its own way. One trip around the block, about a half mile, and the oil pressure light was on again! Time for some investigation.

Project 1962 Chevy C10 Swede Update: At A Crossroads

Getting the oil pan off was a much more stressful job than I imagined. It required jacking up the engine to free the pan from the crossmember. Fun side note: the front engine mount bolt had no nut on it. It was just hanging there.

On the advice of many of my friends and family, I took off the oil pan and inspected the oil pump screen. The screen was mostly clear.

Next, I pulled off a bearing to inspect it for wear. As I inspected it, even this novice could see, there was something very wrong. The inserts showed massive signs of wear and there were marks on the bearings were it looks like it was beating around the block with no fluid. This engine was not in good shape.

Project 1962 Chevy C10 Swede Update: At A Crossroads

Inspecting the bearing brought some bad news. While I could just replace them, I should really go through the entire engine. The bearing wear could be just sign of more damage to come.

Swede had been smoking pretty good for a while and I knew a rebuild was in his future, but I was hoping to get some miles out it. Now, with his struggles to make it around the block, I knew the rebuild time was now.

Over the next few days, I talked with several friends and family. I’ve learned more about the truck and different ways to move forward. For starters, I’ve learned the engine had been overhauled many different times in the past. Well, “broke farmer overhauled” which means the bare minimum was done to keep it going. This really brings the engine blocks rebuild status into question.

I’ve also learned rebuilding an engine can often cost the same as buying a rebuilt engine. Buying a rebuilt engine is just one of many options.

Also, I’ve learned there might be a 235 engine in the area I could get for cheap and rebuild it myself. This is then another option.

Finally, I could scrap the 235 and put in a different engine. With the transmission’s health in question, swapping the engine and transmission out makes a lot of sense in the long run. Yet, this swap is a considerable investment and I’m just not ready to do it financially.

Project 1962 Chevy C10 Swede Update: At A Crossroads

Another thing I learned is the hood doesn’t keep out the snow since the brackets aren’t working right. This is the last picture of the engine I have when it was still running fairly well.

As of right now, Swede now sits on the side of the house with his engine mounts undone and oil pan off. I’m not certain of the right path to go and I’m exploring all options. Swede and I are indeed at a crossroads. Whichever way I go, I want it to last for years and years. I’m just not sure which way I should go.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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1 Comment

  1. Allan Thomas January 20, 2017

    Tim, after our last evening conversation, concerning Swede’s head removal, I personally think this is the right way to go. With the removal of the head, we who share your anxiety are hopeful that we may be able to rebuild his power plant at a reasonable cost. Without this step we may never truly know. You can count on this set of hands to help wherever they are needed.


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