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Old 05-25-2018, 12:42 AM   #1
BIGglaSS
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"Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Hi guys, I think I have a truck addiction problem. Is this the right support group? I did not need another project, nor do I have room for another truck. But, I couldn't resist, and brought another one home. (I have 2 other project cars to finish, plus I'm helping my dad finish his.) But, at least this one runs and drives. My daughter named it Gerald, and it stuck.

Overall, it is a fairly solid truck. The cab and bed are decent with only a few rust holes to repair. It has an older single stage metallic repaint that is in poor condition. I spent a few days of cleaning, and installed a new water pump. It still needs a little bit of work to be a driver.

I'm not sure what all I'm going to do with this one, or how far I will take it. For now, I just want a driver to tinker with while I focus on finishing my 57 pickup.

The current plan, get it clean and running/driving safely. Fix the fender / grill damage. Lower it. Restore the interior. If I decide to take it further, Paint/body and LS swap.








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Old 05-25-2018, 03:42 PM   #2
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Excellent! That's my Dad's name and my middle name!! Truck looks like a great foundation. Mike
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Nice truck, 81 GMC is good year. Looks like some one either swapped engine or heads on yours. You have the pre75 head/carb setup from the looks of it.
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Old 05-26-2018, 11:21 AM   #4
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Thanks. I was a little confused when shopping for a valve cover gasket. I didn't know what the integrated head was. The guy at the parts store actually knew what was needed, and said to get one for a 76. I haven't put it on yet.. The more I look at it, I get the "might as wells".. Do the LS swap now... Instead of putting in the time to fix the oil leaks, tune it up, and rebuild the worn out clutch linkage. Decisions...
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:14 AM   #5
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

I spent the last 2 months tinkering with this truck. I came up with a plan.
Phase 1, clean it and drive it.
Phase 2, lower it.
Phase 3, LS swap it.
Phase 4, body/paint/interior.

Phase 1 is complete. Lots of cleaning, and nickle & dime stuff... Did some hammer/dolly work on the radiator support and pulled it out. Swapped out the fender and bumper, and new trim. Wow, this reproduction stuff leaves a lot to be desired. Not show quality, but, good enough for a driver.




I got it insured and driving. After a few trips around the neighborhood, I was going to take it to my "picture spot", for more photos... And the radiator sprung a leak. Sorry guys, no more pictures. It's back in the garage until I get a radiator.

Meanwhile, I need to finish up two other builds before getting to phase 3 and 4 on this truck. Or maybe sell it.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:02 PM   #6
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Finally did some driving. And... trying to stop at 35 mph was a bit exciting.. back to the garage for a brake job, and phase 2. Altitude adjustment.

Meanwhile, got some new tires mounted with my hillbilly home tire changer:




Interior still needs a lot of work. As a temporary fix, I painted the door panels.


I'm not too excited about the mis-matched fender. But for now, it will have to do.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:29 AM   #7
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Made some axle flip blocks:


With new KYB's installed, axle flip is done:
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:46 AM   #8
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Looks good. Just need some GMC hub caps now.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:22 PM   #9
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Cool project! I'll follow along.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:44 PM   #10
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aggie91 View Post
Looks good. Just need some GMC hub caps now.
These?


I got some weight on this rear end. 2" of frame clearance. Looks like these springs are saggier than (fill in the blank).


Today has been nothing but drama. I decided that I may have to replace these saggy springs some day. So I removed all the spring and shackle nuts and applied obscene amounts of anti-seize. Then torqued them.

Moving on to the shock bolts. The last bubba that replaced shocks used a 7/16" bolt on the lower mount. So the holes were elongated and too sloppy to even fit a 1/2" bolt. The shocks are KYB 344055 for Toyotas and Nissans. The isolators are 5/8" and the bushing is 12mm. So, I opted to drill out the lower mounts for a 5/8" bolt with top-lock nut.

Passenger side, a 3" bolt is too long and hits the u-bolt. 2.5" is too short. Pulled it out and shortend it 1/4":


Drivers side nut was pinched in the u-bolt axle plate. Had to remove it, and re-torque the u-bolts. I will have to get into there with the die grinder and clearance the plate.


I'm desperate to get this driving again. I need it out of the garage. I have the rest of the month off for vacation. I was planning on using this time to get my 57 pickup sprayed with primer. Hopefully the GMC will be out of the garage by tomorrow!
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:11 AM   #11
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Clearanced for shock bolt on drivers side. If I had to do this again, I would repair the holes and use 12mm bolts. Or, lower the shock mount. I think it will need a notch and relocate the lower shock mounts for more travel.


I spent the last few days cleaning and powder coating the control arms. This afternoon I got the uppers assembled.


Can't wait to get this back on the ground!
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:56 AM   #12
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Yes sir, those are the ones! That is going to be sweet!
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http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=418618

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Old 08-13-2018, 11:49 AM   #13
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Phase 2 complete!


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Old 08-13-2018, 01:39 PM   #14
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Looks good!
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:37 PM   #15
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Love it!!!
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Center Console Rebuild to Cup Holder Model
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:58 AM   #16
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Very cool!
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1965 Chevy Stepside(Grandpa's Old Blue) and (July 2015 Shop Build!)
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=372424

The LST Challenge:
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...=1#post7812257

Korbin's 1st Square: "Sunburn"
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=418618

1985 GMC Sierra: "White Trash", Korbin's 2nd now...
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=632305

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Old 08-14-2018, 12:40 PM   #17
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Gerald has a whole new attitude
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:48 PM   #18
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

I like it!
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:29 PM   #19
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Thanks guys! I've been enjoying putzing around town with it the last few weeks. Needs some tunes, audio update will be coming later this month! Also having cold start problems... I hate carburetors with modern fuel.

Also, I'm tempted to trim a wee bit more off the front coil springs. Sits a little high in the front.
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Old 09-26-2018, 10:00 PM   #20
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

I finally got-a-round-tuit, and rebuilt the carburetor. During the disassembly, I realized why Gerald was so fussy about cold starting. There is no choke. The choke linkage is hooked up to the idle cam, but no way to actuate it.

After cleaning and re-assembly, I set the choke manually by hand. He fired up instantly! Then.... Gas everywhere. The carb over flowed. After a few minutes of banging my head, not wanting to tear the carb open again.. I pulled the top off and re-installed the old float needle and seat. Problem solved. It is aggravating to know that a simple needle/seat that costs a dollar, from a rebuild kit could cause a FIRE!

Anyway, that is behind me now. Gerald is running good, and will start cold if I pop open the hood and manually set the choke. No pictures, because rebuilding a carb is boring.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gerald now has tunes! The goal was to spend as little $ as possible, be completely stealth, and have a system that will blow away a current factory stereo. I spent a few months of collecting parts, and scoring some killer mis-priced deals on Amazon. First up, installing the Pioneer H.U.

Using some 22g, bend up a sleeve to mount the head unit in the dash.



(a few spot welds held it together, not pictured)

Mounted in the dash:



I had some scrap textured ABS plastic, that I glued to the face of the dash trim plate. With the bezel installed:


Then I mounted a Soundstream stealth 3ch amp to a 16g sheetmetal bracket.


Mounted discreetly behind the ash tray.



Next up, these baby speakers went into the dash. Proper dash speakers in these trucks present a problem. No space to work with, and not easy to enclose them. After throwing a few ideas around on the audio forum, another member recommended to try a full range speaker. This design is called a BMR. The simple explanation is due to its design, it can play a full range of sound without distortion and doesn't need to be enclosed. They won't win any competitions, and lack mid-bass. But, for less than $40, they work. No distortion. If I didn't have a budget, I would have done 4" mids and tweets in the dash, in the $400 range. For this project, I was not willing to spend that kind of coin. Compromise.


I made a baffle from a piece of 1/4" plastic, and mounted to the dash.

Installed.

Repeat other side.


Last piece of the puzzle, an 8" subwoofer, (ported and tuned).



Overall, I couldn't be happier. This system exceeded my expectations! I have very little $ invested, and it met my goals. Unfortunately the dash speakers are lacking, but for stealth, bang for buck, they sound good. If I were to do this again, the only thing I would change is the dash speakers for a set of component 4" speakers. They wouldn't be stealth, but with some time and fabricating, I could make them look like the factory put them there.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's it for Gerald for a long while. Next phase would be an LS swap, but I don't have the time or the space for that. For now, it runs, drives, and sounds good! I enjoy driving around town, and listening to my tunes. This truck is rough, tough, and has character! And, for the right price, its always for sale.
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Old 10-20-2018, 02:07 PM   #21
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Good start. I like the direction your going with it. Keep it coming.
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:31 PM   #22
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Thanks for checking in. Unfortunately Gerald is "driveway art" for a while. Had a little drama during a beer run the other day. The carb I rebuilt started gushing again. Dang lucky it didn't burn to the ground. I have rebuilt dozens of carbs over the years, and never had one that kept leaking. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. It could be a year or two before I have the time and space to do an LS swap.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:59 PM   #23
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Holy crap bro, I love the look of the truck... simple just does it for me. Killer job on the stereo mount too... I need to do the same thing and I am just going to mirror what you did. I went with the kicker 4" coax's in my dash and have 6x9 in my door (the previous owner hacked the doors) but, I am going to move them in the back corners. What are the dimensions of your box? I just picked up some wood to try and slam a Kicker 12" behind my seat. I think I can make it work....
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:44 PM   #24
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Frank, Thats what I love about this truck, it has character.

I tried Pioneer coax's, and they hit the dash pad. I may have to try the Kickers. I'm not too excited about the ones I put in. After listening for a while, they sound kind of harsh. But that little sub, just blows me away!

The box is engineered to the "T" to get the best out of it. Off the top of my head, I don't have the dimensions. But, if you give me the model # of your 12", I can help you out in designing a box specifically for that speaker. Once upon a time, I squeezed two 12s behind the seat of a Mazda pickup, so I know it will fit fine in our squares.


Meanwhile, I got Gerald running again yesterday. Wifey was running errands in my daily truck, and I needed lumber. So, I tore down the carb again, adjusted the float, and couldn't find any explanation why it was leaking. After a test run, I took it to HomeyD. Got some lumber, and did some cruising with no leaks!
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:38 PM   #25
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Re: "Gerald" the 81 GMC.

Sweet! Bumper mounted turn signal mafia! Not into phase 3 tho.
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