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Old 03-20-2018, 09:56 PM   #101
Smniekamp
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

An old car guy once told me that the key to working on a project vehicle is to do something with it every day. Even if the only thing you do is remove a single screw, it helps keep the project moving along. So, as much as I didn't want to today after work, I went out and gave The Ox some love.

My plan for mounting the bed is to weld some flat bar to the frame of the bed, and bolt it to the frame of the truck. That way it can be removed from the truck later on if I change beds. Today I wire wheeled the rust off the mounting points on the bed frame, measured my truck frame holes, and drilled my flat bar mounts.

The bed frame sections cleaned.
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Drilling holes in the flat bar with my drill press.
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Cleaning the bed surface up, one square foot down, 55 to go....
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Old 03-26-2018, 01:33 AM   #102
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Sunny Sunday meant time spent on The Ox. I started off by welding a spacer on my mounting plate. The truck frame is a 1/4" wider than the bed frame. The rear end is all installed and welded on, however I still need to finish the front two mounts. I cleaned up and painted the spare tire bracket and spare tire rim black...which means the its back on the front of the truck. Some people aren't into that look, but I like it with the flatbed. I also replaced my old grill with one that has a clean Chevy badge, its in much better shape, almost a shame to put the tire on the front haha.

Tacking the spacer onto my mounting plate.
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Welded up, feel like I'm getting a little better at it!
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Mounted on, I welded all around on the bed frame after this picture.
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Fresh grill!
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The Ox as of today.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:42 PM   #103
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Bed is completely mounted! Finally.... Took The Ox to work this morning and she ran great, fun to be back on the road with everything together. Next project is to clean up the bed for paint. I grabbed some big mud flaps for the back over the weekend as well. I feel like they help the look of the flatbed.

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Old 04-07-2018, 08:51 PM   #104
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Tried my hand at some rust repair today. The fender itself isn't in that great of shape, but it needs some paint to match the rest of the truck and I couldn't bring myself to paint over a rust hole. So, I gave it a shot, and tried replacing some sheet metal for the second time. I burnt through plenty of times, but got the hang of it after a bit. Next time it will turn out a lot cleaner haha.

Here is the hole i decided to work on today...
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Used a dremel with a cutting wheel to remove the crusty part of the fender, it actually worked pretty good!
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After some welding and plenty of grinding...
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Waiting for my body filler to dry.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:55 PM   #105
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Sun is out, so of course I spent a little time outside and painted my repaired fender! Next project is some bed liner to match the driver side of The Ox.

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Old 04-08-2018, 10:58 PM   #106
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Couldn't pass up working on The Ox today with all the nice weather we are having... so I layed down my bedliner on the passenger side of the truck. My OCD can rest a little easier now that the truck is symmetrical again haha. Its even approved by the old lady.

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Old 04-09-2018, 08:01 AM   #107
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Nice work
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:11 AM   #108
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Truck is looking good!!!
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:51 PM   #109
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

I just picked up on your thread.

Are you going for just a flatbed or are you planning on a dump bed? With a nice flat surface a dump hoist would be great. I had a Pierce Wrecker 2 ton hoist installed by a local equipment place about 14 years ago and it is great to have for the times when I need it. My preference would be for a dump insert, but they run about $3-$5K for a nice one and the conversion I got was about $2k back then.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:43 PM   #110
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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Nice work
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Truck is looking good!!!
Thanks guys! It's been a lot more work to put this flat bed on than I originally thought...
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:45 PM   #111
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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Originally Posted by tucsonjwt View Post
I just picked up on your thread.

Are you going for just a flatbed or are you planning on a dump bed? With a nice flat surface a dump hoist would be great. I had a Pierce Wrecker 2 ton hoist installed by a local equipment place about 14 years ago and it is great to have for the times when I need it. My preference would be for a dump insert, but they run about $3-$5K for a nice one and the conversion I got was about $2k back then.
I actually never thought of doing a dump bed... but it sounds like a good project if I ever picked up a dually! For now I'm just going to keep it as a regular flat bed.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:54 PM   #112
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

More progress over the past few days. I can't get my camper on with the bed being so wide. I'm pretty sure it was originally for a dually truck. The camper jacks aren't wide enough to fit over the bed... so... I decided to cut 5" off each side to narrow the bed up a little. I don't have a plasma cutter or anything fancy like that, so I gave the old grinder a workout. It took about three hours, but the bed is now 10" narrower!

I also used one of my low budget resto techniques on my dashboard badge. The silver sharpy never lets me down when touching up faded lettering haha.

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Old 04-18-2018, 10:56 PM   #113
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Badge lettering touch up with silver sharpie...

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Old 04-18-2018, 11:10 PM   #114
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

One more set of pictures, admittedly I didn't get all this work done in one day. The last two posts were from yesterday, and these pictures are from today. I went to the local metal yard and picked up 20ft of 1/4" gauge 4" flat bar to cover up the sides of the bed. It was not cheap.... $75... It was hard to spend that much on this budget build, but I think the results will be worth it. I cut the pieces to length and tacked them in. I was a one man show today, so I used a C clamp to help me hold the bar in place while I tacked it to the bed. They are not very light haha. Next step will be to clean the sides up a little, prime them, and then paint!

When I cut the edges of the bed off I cut the end pillars off with them. From there I cut them off the edge of the bed, resized them, and got them welded back in place.
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Side of the bed before the flat bar was installed.
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Flat bar welded in place, ready for paint.
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Old 05-03-2018, 02:00 PM   #115
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Question for you guys...

I've burned up my 5th ICM in my distributor...yes 5th... I normally get about 600-1000 miles on them before they die. It's a bit of a pain because when they go out, the truck loses all spark and leaves me on the side of the road. This has made me a little cautious about longer distance drives.

So far I've replaced the cap, rotor, coil, plugs, and cleaned all my grounds... but it still continues to occur. This last time however I read online that the dialectic grease that comes with the ICM is only for the plug connections and not for the heat sink. I went and got some actual "heat sink compound" that was made for electrical components and used it with my latest ICM. Its called "Arctic Silver 5". Hopefully I see better results with it. If it blows again I'm going to be at a total loss...

Has anyone else heard that the dialectic grease is not a good heat sink compound? Anyone used this Arctic Silver 5 stuff?
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Old 05-03-2018, 02:13 PM   #116
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Dielectric grease works just fine and is what is used from the factory. Arctic Silver is a pretty high end thermal paste used for CPUs in computers and is overkill but will work excellent. If you continue to burn up modules, I’d be looking into making sure you have a clean +12v line that is not dropping or spiking voltage and ruining the modules.
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:54 PM   #117
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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Dielectric grease works just fine and is what is used from the factory. Arctic Silver is a pretty high end thermal paste used for CPUs in computers and is overkill but will work excellent. If you continue to burn up modules, Id be looking into making sure you have a clean +12v line that is not dropping or spiking voltage and ruining the modules.
Thanks man, that's good to know! All my motorhead friends around here have no idea how to troubleshoot a vehicle if they can't plug it into a code reader haha. I really appreciate the input. I'll have to trace my distributor wiring and check for any damage.
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Old 05-03-2018, 10:00 PM   #118
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Put in a couple hours wire brushing the surface of the bed and prepped it for paint, then rolled it on. 4 hours of prep.... 30 minutes of painting lol. Also put the silver sharpie to good use on my fender badge. Nothing groundbreaking, but painting always makes The Ox look like progress was made.

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Old 05-03-2018, 11:03 PM   #119
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Something you might want to do before you get too attached to that flatbed is call up your insurance company - I just found out myself that adding a flatbed to your truck, even if it’s for personal use only, automatically requires you to carry commercial insurance. If it’s not reported to them, they can drop any claims you make.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:25 AM   #120
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

looking awesome!!
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Old 05-04-2018, 01:28 PM   #121
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

You have to be careful with adding paint and making things look better. Now your gas tank looks terrible. Now you will have to paint that. Then.... your springs will look bad... then your frame.... it just never ends.
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Old 05-18-2018, 01:30 AM   #122
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Splurged a little and bought some coil over style shocks. I did the rears yesterday. Soaked all the bolts with PB and they still needed an impact to turn them off. I wouldn't be surprised if the shocks on the truck were original. The old ones were completely shot. I could move them up and down with almost no effort. To get the coil overs in position I had to use a floor jack and a pry bar. They gave me a 3/4" lift in the rear! I'm sure it will settle over time though haha. Fronts will be going on this weekend.

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Old 05-18-2018, 01:35 AM   #123
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

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You have to be careful with adding paint and making things look better. Now your gas tank looks terrible. Now you will have to paint that. Then.... your springs will look bad... then your frame.... it just never ends.
You inspired me man! Sanded and painted my tank, frame, and springs....now I really need to replace my rockers and cab corners....this never ends! But its all fun

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Old 05-18-2018, 09:14 AM   #124
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Looks good! Nice work.
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:39 AM   #125
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Re: 1981 K20 Project - The Blue Ox

Every time I see this thread I feel I'm lazy. Do love the truck.

On the ignition thing - Delco modules have more 'spike' protection than the others. That's why they cost more.

When my 4.3 started eating modules, discovered a bad Accel plug wire that caused internal distributor arcing (very difficult to see on a black cap) and subsequent failure. Good GM wires and module went 60K with no more issues. I no longer will buy Accel wires because of that.
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