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1973 Peterbilt 359 Restoration


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By ShomotionDenver - Monday, December 27, 2010 4:25 PM
I'm restoring a 1973 Peterbilt 359 factory daycab.  I'm looking for some advice on the factory air cleaners.  Who was the OEM manufacturer back in the 70's, Donaldson ?  I'm looking to stick with the painted steel air cleaners with chrome bonnets.  I have a couple of part's trucks and they all seem to have slightly different air cleaners, main difference is diameter of the cans and total length.  Unfortunately, none of the air cleaners are stamped with a manufacturer name.  The pair I'm thinking of using are apprx 14.5 inches in diameter, definitely not 15 inches or 13 inches.  Any input would be greatly appreciated.

The truck is equipped with a NTA 400 Cummins.  Engine is a bear to start in the cold weather but pulls great.  Are there any issues I should be aware of with this engine? 
By Don Hancock - Monday, December 27, 2010 4:40 PM
Welcome to the forum!

Pictures please!
By ShomotionDenver - Monday, December 27, 2010 4:45 PM
Thank You, extremely resourceful site!  Pictures are on my office computer, I'll post some tomorrow.  I purchased the truck from Frohlick Crane Service, who was was the second owner.  I believe the truck has always been in Colorado, no frame rust or rot whatsoever.
By Dan Bruno - Monday, December 27, 2010 8:04 PM
If they are oil bath, they are most likely made by Vortox.  Vortox had a metal tag riveted on to the air cleaners.  If they are dry filter type, they are most likely Donaldson if they are of the same vintage as the truck.
By dclerici - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 5:11 AM
I'm thinking that in '73 the Vortox AB series was the std. air cleaner. That's not to say that you couldn't order a Donaldson or even a Farr. There is one model of the AB series that is 14 1/16" dia., 19 7/8" tall, and 5 1/2" inlet & outlet. You can try the Vortox and the Donaldson website to try and visually id what you have.
By FBHOMER - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:10 AM
Call a Pete dealer with the vin # and they might be able to print off the line sheet,and it will tell you everything that was put on it new.That would be nice to have anyway.
By wayne graham - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:23 AM
Welcome to the party. nta 400 is hard to start cold but is a sweet running motor once you warm it up. You need a good repeat good block heater anytime it is below about 40 degrees. that engine likes to warm up before using it and it likes to cool down before you shut it off. watch the pyrometer and you should be fine. wayne
By wayne graham - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:38 AM
I forgot to ask does it have a two stick. that motor backs off fairly quick so it shifts real nice with a 5x4. Wayne
By ShomotionDenver - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:38 AM
I checked with Peterbilt and they were not very helpful, too lazy to go back to MicroFiche records ! 
By wayne graham - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:52 AM
You are blessed with the RUSH operation. classic example of small co being bought by a big one. The only thing they want to do is take your money for parts they dont have in stock but if you are willing to pay air-freight plus top retail they can order them for you. Wayne
By ShomotionDenver - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:56 AM
Truck is equipped with a Eaton Fuller 12513 and I'm not sure on the rear gear ratio.  Are you aware of any area that are prone to leak oil on the engine?  There seems to be a leak on the front of the engine but I haven't had time to steam clean to determine where it's exactly leaking from.  What are normal pyrometer temps for a NTA 400 under load ?

As you can see in the attached pics, I changed out the doors with newer doors off a Peterbilt 379.  The original doors had cracks and the old chain style window assemblies.  We plan on working the truck, so I want the crank windows to be functional.   Also, you will notice that I eliminated the air vents on both sides of the cab.  I ordered several models from Peterbilt and none were an exact match (too wide, tall, etc); all of the used one I found were worn and didn't stay closed. 
By ShomotionDenver - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 7:00 AM
Yes, and now they greet you with "Welcome to Rush" with a big smile on their face.  I'd prefer a grumpy parts guy who knows his sh*t over a smiling one that could care less about my needs.  Needless to say, I purchase all my trucks from Peterbilt in Wadsworth, Illinois rather than my local Rush store.

www.shomotion.com
By wayne graham - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 7:17 AM
I like to keep the pyro below 900-f. that way you wont have to get aquainted with your head bolts. I also am firm on keeping fuel settings within specs. You will get plenty of advice on shims buttons etc. and how it will run so much better but i feel if you increase fuel you build a bigger fire thus more heat. Your front oil leak is probably crank seal or accessory drive seal. you will have to investigate that. heat is the number one enemy of that motor. There is a lot of guys on here who are mechanics or owners of this motor like i have been. Just ask and everyone i have met on here will try to help. Be sure to make freinds with Glen Akers. Wayne
By junkmandan - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 7:50 AM
Welcome to the board, Denver !   Thought you might post a picture of your air cleaner in question as we can probably ID it that way .
By Aaron - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 4:40 PM
If it is running dual air cleaners it most likely is a Vortox G 140, I think those were still carried up thru the 70's.
By Don Hancock - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 6:35 AM
I stopped in at our local Pete dealer in North Haven Ct. yesterday because they were also a GMC dealer and I told the parts guy I was looking for any info on My Crackerbox and he dug up a parts book form the late 60's early 70's and copied some pages for me pertaining to the 66-68 48" aluminum tilts. Told him if they were going to chuck that book to call me. Also was able to buy a couple mudflaps with GMC logo.
By wayne graham - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 7:58 AM
Don that is the way to do it. a lot of good books got tossed before anyone realized what was happening. Wayne
By 70Pete359 - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 4:40 PM
What, if anything had to be done to use the 379 doors?
By Don Hancock - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 4:59 PM
Bob,

They have a bunch of them, They say                GMC

                                                                         TRUCK

                                                                TRUCK CENTER INC

                                                                  NORTH HAVEN CT

Flaps are white Ill take a pic and post it.

By ShomotionDenver - Friday, December 31, 2010 9:25 AM
379 doors are a perfect match on the 359 (model year 1973+).  You might need to modify your striker plate to match with the 379 door catch but nothing too complicated.  We went with a 379 door hinge and had to enlarge some of the factory holes on the 359 to make the hinge work.  It's easy to find the 379 doors but I would recommend replacing the hinges regardless of how nice the doors look, most of the hinges are well worn and make it difficult to get a good fit.  We went ahead and replaced all the seals and door felts as well.
By wayne graham - Friday, December 31, 2010 9:55 AM
Denver, I know you don't need my approval or opinion for that matter but I love to see someone do things right. My compliments sir. Wayne
By Cam - Thursday, January 20, 2011 2:12 PM
A quick primer on the hinges:  The 359 hinges were plain steel, with 1/4" mounting holes.  The early 379 hinges are also steel, but have 5/16" mounting holes.  These can get a little confusing, as some of them have little shiny stickers on the hinge assembly, to fake the look of stainless.  Finally, at some point they switched over to an entirely stainless hinge, still with the 5/16" mounting holes.  So, changing from a 359 plain steel hinge to a 379 stainless hinge requires you to buy two new "nut strips", one that goes in the door, one that goes in the jamb.

I bought all of this for my '79 359, which is currently being restored.  Sometime shortly thereafter, I found a guy on eBay that sells a reproduction stainless hinge, made for 359s with 1/4" mounting holes.  These are the way to go, as you don't have to buy, and change out all those nut strips.
By Rogerstar1 - Monday, March 14, 2011 7:53 PM
Do you hve an oil bath type air cleaner for a late '60s an early 70's Peterbilt ?    If so and would part with one please contact me.   RogerDurban@aol.com
By kblackav8or - Monday, March 14, 2011 9:00 PM
I have on that is a Vortox that appears to be about a 15" or better oil bath same or similar to what I have seen on Petes.  Only hiccup is I probably won't be able to get it to you until May if you are interested.  It is currently in use and has a few dings but nothing to difficult to fix.  Not rusty and appear intact. 
By Billytwostick - Sunday, September 25, 2011 10:58 PM
not sure where your located but if you have a 1500 watt circulating water heater installed and truck is plugged in about four hours prior to start up you will never have a problem with starting.

I live up in canada and the first thing we made sure of was to get the water heaters installed and never had problems even on the coldest days of winter never missed hauling.

temro was the brand name used to get them at napa
By mmptech - Monday, February 05, 2018 12:46 AM
Check with AJ int he greeley store, he is a pretty good 359 guy. Was sellinig parts for them when they where new.