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Old 04-23-2012, 12:34 PM
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Newbie looking for Advice/Guidance-- 1973 Chevy C20 292 L6

Hey everyone, this will be my first "big" project that I get my hands dirty with. Just picked up a 1973 Chevy C20 for a couldn't-pass-it-up price from an 85yo who couldn't use it anymore, and has only used it to drive down the hill to pick up firewood once a month for the last ten years. garage kept, 148k, all original, very little surface rust. a couple dings and dents collected over 40 yrs but really should clean up to be a nice rig.

anyway, drove it around for 30 mins before closing the deal (worst part is no P/S, but figured I could drop the cash for a P/S retrofit). got on the hwy and the thing ran like a horse until we hit traffic; would be alright at speed, but once she slowed or stopped couldn't keep her running. fast forward, we get home and I've got the hood up and noticed that the vaccuum tube had popped off. anybody with thoughts on whether this could be the bog-out culprit? unfortunately this will be my first foray into ignition systems.

I figure I will give her a good once over with an upgrade to an HEI distributor (thinking Proform distributor and coil) and new plugs, wires, etc. Any tips/tricks to watch out for? She will be a weekend driver (for now), no intentions to race or go crazy. Just want to have fun with the truck and give it the treatment it deserves!

Also looking for suggestions on piecemeal upgrades that I can do over the next 12-18 months (so I can start saving for them! ). Price will be an issue, but I'm not adverse to putting some cash in my rig (think "nice steak dinner" vs. "champagne and caviar") )!

Excited to be on board- I'll be appreciatively sponging up as much wisdom as you all can throw at me!

(will try to post pics tonight)

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Old 04-23-2012, 03:01 PM
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Hey Jaybones, welcome to HR.

Your C20 definitely sounds like it will be cool.

Your problem at idle (in traffic) is probably the loose vacuum line. Check that it fits correctly and that the hose is in good shape. Unless the engine backfired it was probably already disconnected. You might not notice it at first while the engine is cold and the choke has the idle up a notch. But after she warmed up and the idle dropped to normal, a disconnected vacuum line could definitly make the idle rough enough for the engine to quit.

No big problem, but since you have a new toy with many unknowns start with a good visual inspection of your truck for:
Vacuum lines/hoses - cracks, burns, abrasions
Radiator and heater hoses - swelling, cracks, abrasions
Fuel lines - leakage anywhere (be sure to check back by the tank too)
Gaskets - look for signs of leakage
Brakes - look for leakage of fluid from wheel cylinders/calipers
Shocks - look for signs of leakage
Wiring - loose connections, cuts, abrasions, burn marks
Belts - cracking

All of this is just common sense stuff, if you're not sure what to look for get a knowledgable friend to help you look. Most problems can be found with a good visual inspection, find them and fix them before your truck abandons you on the side of the road.

Be sure to search the forum for your questions, there are a lot of good threads about inline six engines, and engines in general. If you have specific questions post them in the right forum (engine, suspension, tansmission, etc); provide details and pics (if you can) to get the best response from the members.

Good luck with that truck.
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:55 PM

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I second starnest's suggestions. Work on the disposable items (rubber and gaskets) first. You may find that you can get your truck to perform suitably for your weekend use without significantly altering its stock equipment. You'll certainly learn a lot about your truck by simply removing and replacing these items.
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