The Dash & Interior Rebuild of a 1953 GMC Panel Truck
In this process, we took an existing 1953 GMC Panel Truck and completely restored the body. Below, you can see a diagram of the colors we used for the truck thanks to Planet Color. Below that, you can look through a gallery of images taken during the restoration process from start to finish.
The fuse block and related electronics were mounted in the new seat pan under the driver’s seat to reduce the “rats nest” under the dash. Of the 60 some wires that leave the fuse block, only those that were needed for the gauges, steering column and the Old Air Products Hurrican airconditioning unit and accessories were brought up behind the firewall insulator. The rest of the wiring goes back to the tail lights and fuel tank, the engine or the headlights.
To make things compact under the drivers seat, we mounted the fuse block, relays and miscelanous compter relays and sensors to a wood base with enough slack in the wire harness umbelical to allow it to slide out for service.Here is how we “branched” the wiring tree:
The bundle of dash wires comes out of the front of the seat pan box, under the floor pan and up through the original e-brake hole in the driver floor and then up along the toe board and behind the firewall (we cut a “channel” in the firewall insulation to accomodate the wiring.) We will build a foot rest “box” to mount on to the toe board to protect the wiring.
A second branch of wires--headlights, signal lights, brake switch and horn--was routed along the inner front fender to the front of the truck.
From the Caprice computer, a third branch of wires (mainly the composed of the Painless ignition wiring harness) exits the seat pan and crosses over to the passenger side and ties into the engine wiring harness and sensors.
The fourth branch of wires leaves the rear of the seat pan through a small hole and feeds the fuel pump, fuel gauge, and tail lights.
Engine Wiring. For the engine computer we used the Painless TBI wiring harness and for the general body wiring we used a universal street rod wiring harnes that we found on EBay.
Haneline’s new Three-N-One Elelctric dash instruments were the perfect choice to replace the stock GMC mechanical gauges. The new gauges include the Speedo, Fuel and Volt in one set five-inch and Tach, Temperaguwe and Oil in the other cluster. The three-N-One gauges were desiged for custom applicaations with a 120 MPH speedo, LCD odometer, fuel and volt plus matching tach with oil, and temperature for custom installaltion. The gauges offer a clean design, flexibility and state-of-the-art mechanics. The two-gauge set included all the sending units, trim rings and brackets and the installation was straight forward and simple. The Haneline gauges have their own wire harness that we pluged into the main body harness. We needed a transmision indicator and found the perfect fit with a Dakota Digital transmission gear indicator that also included turnsignals. Installation was easy lwtih its onw harness and sending unit.has its own harness.
For those special trim parts that are unique to GMC and Chevrolet trucks, we turned to The Filling Station and Steve and Jerry Kassis who we have known for more than 30 years--we were Sacramento neighbors at one point in the mid-1970s when we were just getting started.
We learned rather quickly at the start of this project, that there are times when it is often more economical to replace a part with a quality reporduction than to rebuild or restore it. A visit to your local chrome shop will shock you into reality--expecially when it comes to low grade potmetal parts that need to be refinished. Bumbers were another shocker as well--the cost of new straight bumpers was the same or less than re-chroming and the quality is better.
As with any vehicle this age, the rubber window and door seals are dried and cracked or all together missing. We ordered everything we needed from the Filling Station to completely refurbish the truck--window glass and rubber as well as door seals. Kendell McSparren of McSparren Auto Glass of Stockton did the installation and saved us lot of time and guess work. He has had quite a number of these old trucks in his shop over the years.
The AcoustiTruck has all of the twenty-first century bells and whistles including a 7” Valor Multimedia Center with navigation, bluetooth, AM/FM/CD a/DVD and rear view camera—all hidden away under the stock dash facia. We installed a set of glove box hinges on both ends of the center dash grill that folds down to reveal the Valor system. Once the dash grill is lowered, the Valor screen slides out into a full upright position for easy viewing.
The rear view camera is located in a false tailpipe at the rear of the car.