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Video: Video: Rescuing a 1977 Peterbilt 359 From Its Grave - First Time On the Road in 18 Years

After the 8v71 Detroit in Ryan's GMC General blew up on the way home from Ohio last month, things worked out in his favor. He got first dibs on a very solid original 1977 Peterbilt 359 in a local town. It originally pulled bulk tanker and reefer (and possibly flatbed as well). The owner of the truck ran it until the year 2000, when he acquired GBS and had to retire from trucking. The truck was parked on a mountain in a secluded area about 7 years ago, and was last started 3 years ago before the owner passed away from cancer. Ryan found out about it through word-of-mouth, and I'd say he got the deal of the year. He asked for my help identifying the truck and getting it running, since I'm a bit more familiar with Peterbilts than most other brands. This 359 is a '77 flat-dash model (one of the last flat-dash models before they switched to the "Corvette dash"), short hood, 290" wheelbase with a "Canadian spread" drive axle setup and a 36-inch "coffin" sleeper. The frame was lengthened years ago, and they also double-framed it behind the cab at that time. It has a 400 Big Cam Cummins, (straight-piped with a jake brake), 13-speed RTO12513 Roadranger, Peterbilt air-leaf suspension, and we think it has 3:90 or 4:11 rears. The truck has 618,000 original miles. It didn't take much effort to bring the 359 back to life. All the fuel tanks were about half-full, and we checked to make sure there was no antifreeze in the oil. Put two good batteries in it, gave it a shot of starting fluid, and it fired right up and ran pretty strong. We dug it out and loosened up the brakes, then towed it to get it out of the wet area it was parked in. Then I followed Ryan over the mountain for the 13-mile trip back. The truck ran excellent and it definitely has some power. It should clean up really well...the sleeper, on the other hand, is a different story.
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Rescuing a 1977 Peterbilt 359 From Its Grave - First Time On the Road in 18 Years