CHEVY New life to an old square body farm truck

ck80

Royal Smart Person
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Feb 18, 2014
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What? You realize the general pricing on NOS truck fenders for 73-80, right? I've heard the aftermarket fenders aren't all that and a bag of chips, but NOS GM fenders are pricey AF.
NOS aren't horrible (at least my opinion) outside of ebay where the same ones have been overpriced and unsold for years. I budget $400 each piece towards it, and have seen them as low as 250 about 2 months ago. My problem is, there's always SOMETHING - like the radiator conking out- just when it's time to go pick them up because someone is selling.

10 years ago $120 got you them right from gm. My problem with "aftermarket" isn't just the insane hours trying to get them to line up... they 'claim' same gauge and thickness of metal as original but the strength of the metal is garbage comparatively. Tailgates bend if you sit on them. Fenders dent if you lean on them.

These companies don't grasp that when you make a fender in 2020 for a 2020 truck it's largely an appearance item and the integrity comes from the underpinnings, so weak steel is fine. But when you make a fender in 2020 for a 1970s truck, the integrity comes from the fender metal itself so weak flimsy steel is a no-go.

Besides, its all about project creep... spend $100 or $200 on aftermarket, or $400 on original. One is done right, the other you won't be happy with within a couple years. Factor in body work time, paint and materials cost... an extra 800 on the fenders/doors above aftermarket cost is a drop in the proverbial bucket.

I try to keep things straight in my head by comparing NOS to late model costs. Fender on the 2018 isn't that much different than NOS for the 1977, I just try not to think how cheap it used to be
 

ck80

Royal Smart Person
Thread starter
Feb 18, 2014
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Man is that truck beat but not that rusty. Those trucks melted away up here, if NOS fenders are the same material, I would not want them, supposedly recycled metal. The GMC's rusted worse the Chevy's for some reason. I love the straight 6, too bad those are years with the intake part of the head, no 4bbl swap without an older head.
The longevity of the platform actually saw different part numbers for the same sheetmetal panels, and even saw stampings made in different countries through the years everywhere in North america.

Depending on when it was stamped you can actually see the tooling wearing out, lines less crisp or precise. I almost think they ran it until the quality of the parts was degrading then stopped

Check the rear shock mounts on the frame they like to crack there.

If they are cracked get some big washers and weld them on

Easy fix

All good there from what is visible. Frame is still nice black paint too. Of course, shocks/springs will be coming along down the road.....

73-75 were made from Japanese recycled metal

Toyota quality? Bwahaha. 73-76 had slightly different/unique doors because they were pre-power window setup.

Luckily I will be sticking with the 1977-1991 style. I have a passenger door that still has a sticker, it was replaced on a utility truck truck shortly before it was scrapped. Problem is, it was set up for the tiny base model 'sport' mirrors I hate, and not the big normal dumbo style mirrors I want (and have NOS in boxes.)
 
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ssn696

Living in the Past
Supporting Member
Jul 19, 2009
4,756
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Mid-life crisis
I'll have to do some digging, but I might have bone white A and B pillar trim pieces if you're patient.
 
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ck80

Royal Smart Person
Thread starter
Feb 18, 2014
1,713
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Brakes on this thing are a nightmare... not because of the truck, but because of the PARTS.

Seriously, is everything junk nowadays?

Had not one, but TWO sets of rotors show up beat to crap from Summit courtesy of UPS and, perhaps low quality steel.

Latest adventure? Trying to install other parts that arrived safely.

Had the rear drums apart for about 4 hours dicking around with things this morning. First problem, truck has 11x2 rears. Not the slightly wider 11x2.75 rears. Why a problem? Well, the hardware kit from online, as well as all the hardware kits at the different in-town chain stores had the pins for the 2.75 width shoes and won't fit a 2 inch one. Manufacturing error because the part numbers are clearly for a 2 inch.

Ok, so, reuse some of the hardware even though you shouldnt, it was still in good shape.

Put it together.... ready to slide the first drum on and..... NOPE. adjustment screw was backed all the way out. Parking brake cable not an issue. Wheel Cylinder backed down... well, let's check anyways.

Got the wife, rigged up a band strap around the pads, had her in the cab of the truck, and tried bleeding the cylinder in case there was an internally collapsed line and the cylinder wasn't quite backed down..

NOPE.

took apart, put together a couple times. No improvement. Started fitting parts together on the ground, curious thing... the adjustment screw notch seated fully to the shoe on one side, BUT, because of how the shoes were welded together by whoever napa uses, there was 1/16" plus of air gap inside the notch because the curve of the shoe prevented the notch from fully seating (not an issue on the old screw.)

OK. Let's grind a little off the corner of the notched cap on the screw so it can seat in the shoe. Put it all together and....

NOPE.

Back to pulling it apart, looking at everything... got a bright idea. Put the 2 shoes inside the new empty drum, and, put the adjustment screw in place to see if it's even possible for these things to ever fit. And....

NOPE.

Once the fully backed down screw is spreading the bottoms of the 2 shoes apart, there isn't enough space left at the top for the steel post to pass through. Well, maybe the new drum is machined wrong, let's try the old worn one and repeat...

NOPE.

Doesn't fit that either. Taking the old and new shoes out and measuring them a bunch, turns out the "notch" that the adjustment screw sits in starts 1/16" FURTHER from the edge on the old shoes than the new ones. Combine both sides and brakes are spreading 1/8" apart from where they should be, which is just enought to hold up the drums.

Crap parts, but supposedly "the best quality highest tier" napa makes for the truck.

So, we hung the ebrake parts inside the old empty drum, put the tire back on, lowered the truck down, and time for a drink.

After a break taking the old shoes to another parts store to compare to something that will FIT before buying, and NAPA crap goes back tomorrow.
 
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ck80

Royal Smart Person
Thread starter
Feb 18, 2014
1,713
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It's been awhile with no updates... Basically been trying to make progress on everything ELSE but this truck for a while.

I've got a great working low mile 4l80e-hd sitting in our wrecked 3500 vandura. Been looking at what it'd take to get into the truck and it looks like... a bit of effort.

I haven't been able to find anyone with info or a kit to attach a cable to a monojet, just qjet/edeljunk. That means I'd need to replace the cylinder head, so I could put an offy 4bbl intake on, then do some sort of headers into exhaust, just to get a 4bbl on it, before buying a crossmember and standalone controller for it.

Long term it's probably the way to go anyways, but, I just wish I could find better info on a monojet engine running a 4l80e. Might be time to start parts accumulating
 
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