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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All -

This is the 4th squarebody I've owned in my life and while I'll never sell this one, it probably won't be my last. It's a sickness really.

I purchased this 1979 GMC 1/2 ton short bed about 5 years ago and it's been more a less a "work truck" since I bought it from a guy about 100 miles from where I live. I paid $2500 for the truck and had to trailer it to my house. It's in rough shape in some areas and one or more of it's previous owners have made some pretty heinous "repairs" to it over the years. I will detail those in a later post.

I have finally decided to spruce this truck up a bit and make it more of a fun weekend cruiser . I wanted to document the transformation here, so here I am. I will detail the planned transformation in my next post along with the list of repairs I have made so far. The only real modification I have made to it to date was swapping out the mudder wheels and tires on it for some torque thrusts (15x8 front and 15x10 rear). Here are a couple of pics to get stared with more coming tomorrow along with more info.

Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle

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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So the list of issues with this truck is long, but I think that is to be expected for a 44 year old truck that hasn't really been that well taken care of.

I still need to reaearch the VIN (will try and do that tomorrow) but currently the drive train is a very tired 305 with a T350 and a 12 bolt. If you look closely at the bumper, it looks like it started out at a dealership in El Paso, TX, so I'm guessing it's been in my area most of it's life.

In the few years that I have owned it I pulled off the cast iron intake and the quadrapuke that was on it and threw on a Performer intake and a 600 vs Holley that I rebuilt. I also had to replace 3 of the freeze plugs (including the one under the engine mount - that was fun) because some genius decided not to use brass plugs and they rusted out.

One of the things I love about these trucks that don't have a lot of accessories is how much room it leaves under the hood!

Car Hood Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive exterior

So back to the to do list. I plan on doing the vast majority of the work myself (with the help of a couple of my buddies). I also want to try and keep my transformation budget to $5000, not including a lot of the parts I already have for the truck. So here is the list:

1. Drop kit front and rear. Probably around a 4/5 drop or so.
2. Swapping out the 12 bolt for a slightly narrowed Ford 9" with a gear swap and a locker.
3. Rebuild the T350 and add a stall convertor, shift kit and new shifter.
4. Pull out the smoking 305 and install a 350 with a cam, some vortec heads, a single plane intake, and yes......a little boost. :cool:
5. Replace the current rad with a 4 core aluminum radiator.
6. Rebuild the entire front end.
7. Redo most of the interior.
8. Fix several small rust areas on the truck and straighten out a few small dings.
9. Lose the lead weight of a rear bumper and replace it with a roll pan.
10. Strip the bed and rhino line it.
11. Do an at home paint job after completing all if the required body work
12. Replace all of the body to frame mounts and paint most of the frame
13. Several other small items that I will detail out in subsequent postings

I know most of you are thinking there is no way I will accomplish this on less than $5000, but I already have most of the major components to make it happen. I also want to have this list completed by the end of the year. I work two full time jobs, but I am determined to get it all done by Dec. 31 come hell or high water. Will be burning a lot of midnight oil.

Here are some more pics of the beast.

I think one of the previous owners decided to hang the truck off of a cliff by the front cross member. :rolleyes: Will have to replace that with a custom piece.
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Couple general shots of the truck. Love the white diamond plate Chevy emblem on the front. I have am entire new grill for the truck so that thing is outta there!
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Some of the rust spots I will need to cut out and repair.
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Shot of the rear. El paso, Texas baby!
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And finally the trashed interior. This is the part of the transformation that I'm not looking forward to. Going to be A LOT of work and time.
Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Automotive design Steering part

So that's it for starters. I'll post more this weekend. Gonna get to work on the rust spots and getting the F9" going!

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Checked the VIN today. Turns out it started it's life at the Lakewood plant in Atlanta. Also had a 250 ci straight six from the factory.

Regarding the transformation I will probably be jumping back and forth working on different parts of the truck, so I apologize in advance if at times my sequence of repairs doesn't seem logical.

This week I will be working on the 9" third member and repairing at least one of the rust spots. Dropped off the pinion and locker at the machine shop yesterday and they texted me early this morning to inform me they were ready. Yukon rebuild kit from the guys at Quick Performance (they were very helpful).

Here are the newly installed bearings.
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Here is a before and after pic after giving the case and pinion support the old electrolysis treatment.
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Going to take the wire wheel to it this weekend and hit it with brake cleaner before assembly. Will throw it together at my buddy's house this coming week. Gonna paint it hugger orange! Don't hate me Ford guys! :LOL: Pics to come on that as it progresses. Rust repair pics and progress tomorrow....

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Changing the intake & carb most likely cost you performance & mileage . Most everyone used steel core plugs until a few years back , they'll usually last the life of of the engine if the cooling system is maintained properly . Unless the chev rearend is failing they're generally a pretty stout unit .The stall chosen for convertor generally is matched to the engine . You'd save money in the long run swapping for a modern OD trans .. Appears you have a ton of rust repair to attend to !
Appreciate the input. The intake and carb swap on the 305 that is currently on it might have cost me mileage (which I'm not concerned about) but only helped increase performance for sure. I'm sure a lot of people use steel plugs, but as long as I have been around cars I've always used brass plugs for obvious reasons as does everyone else I know. As far as the rearend goes I'm sure the 12 bolt would be fine, but I want the 9" in there so that'll happen. Love TH350's and been running them for years. Gotta buddy that rebuilds transmissions for a living and I'm sure he'll give me a great deal on doing this one. Rust spots that I can see that need patch work number exactly 4, so not overly concerned about it. If there is more under the paint I'll get those done as well. Thanks again.

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So I have already started on the rust repair process on one of the cab corners. Cut out spot was about 2" x 2.75" or so.

Azure Wood Gas Tints and shades Natural material

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Cut a patch panel from 16 ga I had laying around (didn't have any 18). It fit relatively well. Finally will have some to get it welded in tomorrow.

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Oh and I was cleaning up the garage today with the wife and found this. Still works great! More tomorrow!

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Sorry guys. Been a while since I posted. Been super busy at work. Still gotta break out the welder to start welding in those patch panels, but did find some time to clean up the 3rd member and got the pinion bearing preload started (using a Yukon 2 piece solid pinion spacer with a .015 shim). Just set the locker in the case and should have it all dialed in by tomorrow night hopefully. Picking up the hugger orange paint for it tomorrow as well! :cool:

Helmet Personal protective equipment Rim Metal Fashion accessory

Automotive tire Gas Automotive design Bumper Engineering

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