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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i've been reading on here and like the idea of getting one of the 60's chevys and dropping a detroit in there. what tranny would you recommend? what engine would be good? also, can you install a engine brake on them or is it an exhaust brake? thanks
p.s. on trannys, i wouldn't want more than 6 gears in a manual. no autos for me on this.
p.s. #2 this would be a daily driver so i might install a muffler.
 

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Friend of mine has a 72 GMC 1 ton with a 4-53T, a Spicer 3000 series 5 speed direct drive, soon to be swapped for a 3053A overdrive, and a Spicer 5831 Auxiliary transmission. It's was his daily driver until recently, and he has driven it all over the country, and still does.
He swapped for a solid front axle, made from a 4wd axle, but just a pipe for the center. the cab needed no work to fit the engine.

Another friend has a 4-53T, with Spicer 12 speed in a 70's 3/4 ton Dodge truck, it's his daily driver.

I had a 73 Chevy 1 ton with a 4-53T, a Clark direct drive 5 speed, and 4.56 gears, needed better than 3.54 to be right. It had the independent front suspension with lots of modifications to it and the oil pan. I sold it, as I felt I could do a better job on a conversion. The new owner promptly installed a ford 9" with 2.?? gears, and drives it everyday.

I just recently had a 61 ford f350 with a 6V53T, and a Roadranger 10 speed overdrive. Drove it home to CA from VA with 4.56 gears and 28" tires, swapped axles for 3.73 and 38" tires. Then drove it from VA to CO to WA to NY and back to VA, it was a great truck for road trips. I feel that a 6V53, while it did fit nicely in the Ford, is to big and heavy to be a good swap in a 1 ton size truck.

My own project, a 48 Chevy 6400 has a 4-53T, Roadranger RTO-6610 (10 speed over) Dana 70HD with 3.54 gears, and will have 9R22.5 tires at 38" tall. This truck I plan to keep forever, and it will be my daily driver.
the engine, transmission and axles are installed and done, next comes all the plumbing of brakes, fuel, and air (for the air starter). The fit the cab with some sheet metal work, and finally restore the sheet metal and apply paint.

For your truck, what size is it, or will it be, what will you haul with it, and how often?
If you want a small truck with good mileage then a 1/2 ton with a 3-53T would be best. I have another friend with one of those, he loves it, daily driver again.

For a more useful truck a 4-53T is best, and I feel that a 1 ton is the minimum you should start with, although 3/4 would work depending on your use.

there are some nice Spicer and Fuller 6 and 7 speed transmissions from medium duty trucks that you may want to look in to. If not that then the NV4500 would be a good choice. For a work truck a 5 speed with evenly spaced gears is a good start, but I really liked the 10 speed in the Ford I had, and I am sure to like the one in my truck, I always had the right gear for the conditions, where with a 5 speed you often need more in between..

There are 53 series Jake brakes available, they are extremely expensive new, and quite expensive used if you can find them. I have a set installed on my 48 Chevy. I don't think an exhaust brake is a good idea on a Detroit.

Before you ask, 71 and 92 series are way to big for anything less than a 2 ton truck, but that's not to say it has not been done..

Grigg
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the size truck will probably be a 1 ton truck or a 3/4 ton truck. i'll be mostly hauling and not towing for now. you're saying that it's better to have more gears? on 10 speeds, you don't have to use every gear do you? thanks
 

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I think a 4-53T would be ideal for what you describe.
A non turbo engine is not worth the trouble.
You will want to find a true turbo from the factory 4-53T, and not a non turbo engine with a turbo added later. There are literally dozens of different parts in a turbo engine compared to a non turbo. Including pistons, liners, cam, oil pump and pickup, block, valves, rods, and some more parts too. Spend the extra time and money to find a good or rebuildable turbo engine to start with.

I am sure you could get by with a 5 speed, and many people do. While I was towing with the Ford with 6V53T, 10 speeds was very nice. The engine did not get up and go until 1800 rpm, so any up shift you wanted to end up turning faster than that when you let the clutch out in the next gear. The 53 series are usually governed at 2800, and all you do is burn fuel after that, no point in winding them out any more.
With 10 speeds, evenly spaced, I could up shift at 2400-2500 with about a 500 rpm drop.
When empty I would skip several gears, usually start in 4th or 5th, skip some and finish with 9th and 10th, or some thing like that,

A Roadranger is not for everyone. People either love them or hate them, depending on the drivers understanding and skill, or lack of.
I am not a professional truck driver, and had never driven a Roadranger until I bought the ford, although I had driven a number of smaller unsynchronized transmissions. Bought the Ford in CA, and drove it home to VA, it took almost the whole trip before I was comfortable with shifting, the first day was pretty bad.. I started with using the clutch, and about half way home figured out how to shift without the clutch, much faster to shift.

Whatever transmission you do decide on, figure out how it will shift, and what that does to engine speeds. My Dad has a 6 speed in his newer Ford pickup truck, with a gas engine, the shift from second to third, (or 4th to 5th, I forget) when shifting at 3,000 rpm, is over a 1,000 rpm drop (from 3,500 it's even more than that). When pulling a trailer you have to really wind it out to make that shift, much much more than the other gears. That transmission would be almost unusable for towing with a 4-53, you may never make that upshift without a good tail wind or a down hill.

So, it's more than the number of gears, but how they are spaced, and where the engine makes its power. You need to be able to make all the shifts while keeping the engine in it's power band, and without over speeding it to do so.

Grigg
 

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I would say no harder than putting in any other non stock engine in, assuming it physically fits the hole.

As far as money, there is no good answer. Building a truck is like building a house, you can scrounge used stuff, and do the labor yourself, or you can buy the best materials you can find, and still do the labor, or have someone else do it for you, either with cheap parts, or good ones.
Detroit Diesel parts seem to be reasonably priced, and often cheaper than other makes, but the actual cost of the engine and it's parts is minimal in a good conversion, it's all the small stuff that adds up.

I estimate I'll have the price of a new truck in mine when done, just parts, not my labor. It could be done cheaper, but would not be as nicely done, reliable, and easily serviceable. I plan to keep my 48 forever, and it is rebuildable should I wear it out once or twice. A new truck is not as easily rebuildable, especially 25 years down the road.

Grigg
 

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nice thread!, I am friends with two people that drag race 6v53s in pickup size trucks. Doug Doring now has a Altered rail


Doug Sortiro runsa ford pickup with a 6v53 540 allison combo too
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I Bought Doug Dorings OLD race truck from the late 80's / early 90's its designed for a allison 540 trans and uses a 9" ford rear etc... The truck is a flip nose '74 chevy style body etc, at the height of its career the truck ran 10 sec 1/4 mile.

I have a 6v53 and a set of used jakes for the project. I am thinking I want to do a standard shift trans and put a really old truck cab on the frame - make a rat rod outta it to drive on the street and have fun with etc. any how this is agood thread.. I will try to dig up some links to some detroit stuff.
http://www.teamdiesel.com/

Grigg what did you get mpg wise with the 10speed and the 6v53?
Thanks and what injectors were you running?
oh do you know any one with a extra set of independant fuel racks or control tubes? the single screw ones.. I am looking for a set fro my 6v53..

Thanks
Deo
 

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I have seen some of Doug's trucks, and know a few people who know him, but I have not met him yet.

I'll post some pictures of the ford I had, sold it several months ago to a guy in Alabama. He has another truck and is considering a 4BT, and asked if I would be interested in doing some of the work, that's how I ended up here to start with.




You asked about the single screw fuel control tubes. I have a set of doubles I took off the ford when I put the new style on, if anyone need some. for the single screw type, and any other Detroit parts, give Timothy or Harold a call at Leid Diesel Service in PA. They are a great place to get two cycle parts, very fair, and a pleasure to deal with, mention that Grigg Mullen suggested you call, may not hurt.


Grigg
 

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Here is a picture of my 48, before I started, and essentially what it will look like when done, just with a flat bed.

This is the chassis as it sits now


If you know of any 53 series Jakes (Jacobs 53a) sets or parts for sale I may be interested. Have a set on my 4 cylinder, but could use some more.

The Ford had N65 injectors If I remember right. I drove it non stop out to Colorado from Virginia empty (10,000 lb), at 75 mph plus, averaged 10 mpg. Then towed a 7,000 lb truck and hauled an additional 3,000 lb in my bed from Washington state to Albany NY, got 9-9.5 mpg at an average of 60-65 mph.

You say you want to put an old cab over your 6V53, I don't think that's a good idea, unless you do a lot of work, even then it may not be a good idea. The 6V53 just fit in the 61 ford with out any firewall changes. There is almost no possible way to fit one in my 48, just not enough room, the 4-53T almost fits, and to make it happen the inner fenders will suffer. While personaly I don't really think a 6V53 belongs in anything 1 ton or less, I am pretty sure a pickup sized truck from the late 50's and older is not a good place for a 6V53. At least not for a useful work truck, a show truck or race truck may be different..

More pictures of my 48 Chevy truck, the 61 ford, and the work I have done to them on the link below.

Grigg
 

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Here are a few pictures of the 73? Chevy with 4-53t I had for a little while.
I bought it in CO, drove it home to VA.
This one was converted from a 454 gas the same year it was new, had only 60,000 miles before the conversion, or so I was told.
I bought it thinking I would put that engine in my old Chevy. Mostly I just learned what not to do, and that I could do a better job myself, so I sold the truck as it was to a guy in NC, as far as I know he is still driving it.

Then continued searching for a 4-53T for my planned conversion. I think by that time I had also decided to build it as a 2 ton, and was also looking for a 48-50 Chevy 2 ton with good cab and frame. Ended up finding the truck (yellow one above) after I found the right engine.





Grigg
 

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Nice projects. .I like the 6v53 twin turbo you did!.. nice.. as for the jake set it took me a LOOONG time to find this set..I will let you know if I come across another.. as for the old body on my drag chassis I plan on a no hood open style engine compartment kinad like this .. a 4bt members ride..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVlov_t4fjg
or like this , Racing Duallie's old school ride from the TDR



I have visions of something like that, jake , straight pipes or long staight vert mufflers.. and a manual trans etc,,,.. I have a old metal radiator should from a detroit diesel gen set that i want to use as a grille shell.etc..
As for Leids I have seen there ad in the Truck traders etc.. good to know.. I know Doring didn't have any extra sets last time I had asked.
Thanks
Deo
 

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Thanks, but the twin turbo 6V53T is not really my work. It was converted long before I was even born, in the mid 60's. All I really did was swap the steel valve covers for aluminum to make it look better, and did a few other small mechanical things.
The big thing I did, as soon as I got it home, was to update the axles, brakes, steering, and gears to make it safer, faster, and more useful. Installed a 12,000 lb Rockwell rear from a 2004 Freightliner, including the spring suspension. The front is a Rockwell I-beam type from a 94 TopKick, I narrowed it about 9" so it would fit. Large hydraulic disc brakes all the way around, and a hydrobooster.

The 48 Chevy is the only one I am building from scratch.

Sounds like you have a plan for your project, keep us informed with the progress. What transmission will you run?

Grigg
 

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i have a turbo diesel intake that would bolt right up. if your intrested let me know.i want $100 for it. I used one on my truck and i was abel to run it with no probs and put on a nice k&n
 
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